Author, Book Blog, Edinburgh Event, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Interview

An Interview with @RonButlinMakar @BCKidsBooks @saltpublishing #Author #Scottish #Edinburgh @edbookfest

Copy of Edinburgh Book Event

On a sunny afternoon in Edinburgh, I was a bundle of nerves. I was about to do my first ever in-person interview. I was heading to the gorgeous Balmoral Hotel to interview author and poet Ron Butlin.

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The Balmoral Bar ~ Edinburgh

I need not have been nervous it was a marvellous afternoon and I had a delightful time.
Here is my interview with Ron Butlin, I do hope you enjoy.

Kelly xo

An Interview with Ron Butlin

Ron Butlin
©Rob Butlin ~ Blackwells Edinburgh

Was it a natural progression from the poetry to novels?

Yes, I did a book of poetry and then a collection of short stories, I then went on to write what I assumed was another short story, however, it kept getting longer and then eventually I thought oh my goodness this is a novel.  For me, poetry is text argued through image, where as a novel is argued through character, plot etc and that really is the difference.

Moving from adult stories to children’s fiction, how did that happen?

That was a complete surprise, my wife has been suggesting for a long time to write a kids book.  Then one day I was writing a poem and I realised that kids would like it. So I brought out a picture book  Here Come the Trolls. and that’s how it started. 

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Your children book Steve & FranDan which has been a huge success is superb, as an adult, I really enjoyed it has great potential to be a long running series, will there be a next adventure for the trio?

There will indeed, I sat down to write another adult book but the kids elbowed their way in and took over. I sent it to the publishers and they read it, made a few suggestions. I will be going up to Perth for a few days to work on the suggestions. 

How do you find the editing process?

Oh, I love it, because you are getting closer and closer to the real book. I enjoy the first part of the process too, often waking in the night wondering how the kids will get out of trouble, what can Nessie do to save them? But that first rush of the adventure is superb. But I also enjoy the editing process, you are stripping away all that is not needed and bringing out into focus what is pure. It’s never boring, I never feel the pressure of having to get it done. 

Do you have much say in the final cover?

Yes, I do. I love the cover it’s the same illustrator Here Come the Trolls, James Hutcheson.  We work together very well. We will be at the Edinburgh Book Festival with Here Come Trolls and also I will have a spot with Billionaires Banquet too. 

It must be a new experience reading to children and having their feedback?

Oh yes, I mean it’s so heartwarming because the kids are so real and it’s all over in the first five seconds whether they are with you or against you. I remember the very first Trolls event I did was at a primary school and we got to the end and I was signing the books. One wee boy aged six threw his arms around my legs and said “I love you” and my heart soared.  It was so straight from the heart, genuine. I love that have that immediacy with the kids. Kids ask the most perceptive questions.  

Who is your favourite author?

They change, depending on whom I am reading at the time. I read the classics, the Russians, Kings etc I love all that kind of thing. An Author I only discovered a couple of years ago was Stephen King, I wrongly assumed all his books would be a gore fest but if you pick your way through there are some crackers, one of my favourites being The Green Mile, I  think it’s one of the most compassionate novels about the human condition.  

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What events do you have coming up at the Edinburgh International Book Festival?

You can find and book tickets for all Ron Butlins, Edinburgh International Book Festival events here ~ EdBookFest Website

Thank you so much to Ron Butlin for being on my blog today, I had such a wonderful experience interviewing in person. The gorgeous shortbread from The Balmoral Hotel was an added delight.

Ron Butlins Books 

 

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©KAL Photography

 

Book Jacket 

Steve has had enough – enough of cyber-bullies, enough of adults messing up the world. Sharp-witted Fran and her brother worry-wart Dan feel exactly the same. And so, along with his dog Nessie, Steve and the FranDan twins leave town in the dead of night to start on the biggest adventure of their lives …

But if things were bad before, they soon get worse. Much, much worse. Some seriously bad men show up. Why have Steve and Dan been overpowered and led away as prisoners? Why are they kept tied up in the barn of a disused farm?

Having managed to escape, and with no way to call for help, Fran knows it’s up to her to mount a one-woman rescue.

To order ~ Amazon UK

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Book Jacket 

1985, Edinburgh. Thatcher’s policies are biting deep – fat cats and street-kids, lovers, losers and the rest struggle to survive. Hume sets up a business catering for the rich and their ever-growing appetites. But by the new millennium, these appetites have become too demanding . . .

Powerful, challenging and very funny, Billionaires’ Banquet is an immorality tale for the 21st century.

To order ~ Amazon UK

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Book Jacket 

Through gaps in the roof we didn’t repair

through cracks in the walls we pretended weren’t there…

…the trolls have come creeping

while we were all sleeping.

Trolls on your chair, trolls in your bed –

is anything worse than a troll on your head?

What happens when your house is invaded by trolls – mischievous creatures who do nothing but cause havoc and mayhem? Find out in this zany and charming book which tells you how to get rid of them for good and make your house a troll-free zone!

To order ~ Amazon UK

Before you go, why not check out our review of the audio book The Other Twin By Lucy V Hay ~ Click to read.

june 29, 2016

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Book Blog, Guest ~ Reviews

Hell Hath No Fury By @AnnabellReadLuv #HellHathNoFury #AnnabelleAnders #Romance @loveaffairwfict

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Hello Lovelies,

Today you are in for a treat, we have a guest review from Kimberly our USA voice. Today, Kimberly has reviewed Hell Hath No Fury by Annabelle Anders. Enjoy.

Kelly xoxo

HHTF Review

“It says ‘historical, romantic comedy’.” Hmmmm, an interesting mix, I wondered what that meant. What it means is delicious, guilty pleasure fun! Think Cinderella devising ways to off her husband because he isn’t quite the Prince Charming he was set out to be. Mix in another hottie in the wings, some best friends that any girl would kill for, and just the right amount of spice and that pretty much sums up Hell Hath No Fury by Annabelle Anders.

A courtly romp during the height of British high society, Cecily learns that no title or amount of money can make her accepted by the ton, and that those of that society certainly aren’t guaranteed the good manners that the word is supposed to represent. Moderate on the heat level, I thought the “steamy” scenes did not override the plot. The story moves along at a great pace, and while there is some fine tuning that I would suggest (Ms. Anders repeats details and descriptives at times), these did not detract from my enjoyment whatsoever. Hell Hath No Fury is listed as book one in the Devilish Debutantes series, so I am excited to see what is in store for Rhoda, Emily, and Sophia in future instalments.

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To keep the money, he has to keep her as well…

Cecily Nottingham has made a huge mistake.

The marriage bed was still warm when the earl she thought she loved crawled out of it and announced that he loved someone else.

Loves. Someone else.

All he saw in Cecily was her dowry.

But he’s in for the shock of his life because, in order to keep the money, he has to keep her.

With nothing to lose, in an attempt to goad the earl into divorcing her, Cecily sets out to seduce her husband’s cousin, Stephen Nottingham.

Little does she realise that Stephen would turn out to be everything her husband was not: Honourable, loyal, trustworthy…

Handsome as sin.

Stephen returned to England for one reason. Save his cousin’s estate from financial ruin. Instead, he finds himself tempted by his cousins beautiful and scorned wife.  

He isn’t sure what to do first, strangle his cousin, or kiss his wife. His honour is put to the test, right along with his self-control.

Amid snakes, duels and a good catfight, Cecily realises the game she’s playing has high stakes indeed.

There are only a few ways for a marriage to end in Regency England and none of them come without a high price. Is she willing to pay it? Is Stephen?

A ‘Happily Ever After’ hangs in the balance, because, yes, love can conquer all, but sometimes it needs a little bit of help.

Author Links

Website   Facebook   Instagram   E-mail

Order Links 

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2tC9RPg
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2v03Hh8
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2uFcmoZ
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2veqUZX
iBooks: http://apple.co/2toEbNP
B&N: http://bit.ly/2rAcyjn
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2rjnfHI
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2s35v6s

For a sneak peek use the easy link below.

If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook.  It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.

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Sandra Ireland ~ Author ~ Lovebooksgroup.blog
Author Guest Post, Book Blog, Book Event News, Crime Authors, Noir At The Bar Dundee

Noir At The Bar #Dundee #Author @22_ireland @PolygonBooks #Scottish 26th July 2017 #Guestpost

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Lovelies,
Today I have Sandra Ireland popping by with a guest post all about ‘Noir’. Only one sleep till the BIG event in Dundee. If you are heading that way tomorrow, please say hello to me. Enjoy,

Kelly xoxo

Noir By Sandra Ireland 

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With just a days to go before Noir @ the Bar hits downtown (or maybe uptown) Dundee, I thought I would begin my blog post with a definition.

What is noir?

My Google search led me into a rabbit warren of fascinating discussions, and as any writer will recognise – give me Google and I will give you a blank page. However, I have managed to struggle back from the murky depths of the ether to bring one or two interesting facts to the (bar) table.

Post-war American exports were dubbed ‘black (noir) films’ by the French, because they were in such contrast to the typical Hollywood film of the Thirties. This new cinema was edgy and disturbing, riddled with crime and corruption. The lead was generally a rough-around -the-edges anti-hero, who appeared to have slept in his overcoat, rather than a squeaky-clean matinee idol in a pressed shirt.

The mood was pessimistic, menacing and morally ambiguous. We liked this mood so much, we have dubbed our literature ‘noir’, and now we have a whole family: American noir, Mediterranean noir, Tartan noir, Scandi-noir and so on. Urban noir, predictably, suggests dark deeds in even darker alleyways.

To a writer, anything can become noir. My work-in-progress is set in a scrapyard. I’m going to call it car noir.

This brings me neatly round to the Gothic, which is at the heart of all of the above. In Gothic literature, the setting reflects the mind. Long before Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler, we had Sir Henry Walpole (The Castle of Otranto) and a woman called Mrs Radcliffe, who made a very good living from darkness and decay, at a time when good livings were definitely not for girls. Readers of my debut novel Beneath the Skin will know that I favour noirish settings and shadows, creaky staircases and nightmarish basements, but with a nod to the Gothic, my characters are on a dark and winding road of their own. Not so much the perpetrators of crime, but the victims of it.

I was thrilled to discover that Noir @ the Bar, Dundee, will take place in a basement (Braes below, Perth Road). How fitting! If you dare to join us there, we will guarantee you an evening of menace, pessimism and moral ambiguity!

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A taxidermist with a secret. A soldier with nothing left to fight for. A mother determined to protect her young son. Together, can they fight the past that doesn’t want to let them go?

Taking a job in the studio of an Edinburgh taxidermist is probably not Walt’s wisest move. Already suffering from combat stress, and struggling to outrun the horrors of his time on the front line, he finds himself confronted by the undead on a daily basis.

His boss Alys and her sister Mouse are sharing a secret that is threatening to destroy them. When Mouse’s eight-year-old son disappears, can Walt find the strength for one more battle and finally lay the past to rest?

This compelling thriller peels back the skin of one modern family to reveal the wounds no one wants to see. It deals with the effects of trauma, and explores how facing up to vulnerability is sometimes the only way to let go of the past.

To order and also have a sneak peek, click the handy links below.

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Before you go please check out an interview we did with Claire MacLearly last month, Click to read.

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If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook.  It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.

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Book Blog, Book Event News, Crime Authors, Detective Series, Guest ~ Reviews, Noir At The Bar Dundee

Noir At The Bar #Dundee #Author @ChrisLongmuir #Authors #Scottish 26th July 2017 #Guestpost

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Hello Lovelies,

On the lead up to the big event on Wednesday, I have author Chris Longmuir here with an exclusive guest post for you. Enjoy.

Kelly xoxo

Chris Longmuir

Chris is an award-winning novelist and has published three novels in her Dundee Crime Series. Night Watcher, the first book in the series, won the Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award. Missing Believed Dead is the third book in the series.

Chris has recently published the first book in a new series set just after the Great War. This series features Kirsty Campbell, Dundee’s first policewoman. Her next book, to be published soon, is another Kirsty Campbell mystery set during the First World War.

She has also published a non-fiction book entitled Crime Fiction and the Indie Contribution. This is an examination of crime fiction as well as an evaluation of independently published books in this genre.

Her crime novels are set in Dundee, Scotland, and have been described as scary, atmospheric, page turners. Chris also writes historical sagas, short stories and historical articles which have been published in America and Britain. However, A Salt Splashed Cradle is the only historical saga currently published. Writing is like an addiction to me, Chris says, I go into withdrawals without it. She is currently working on a new Kirsty Campbell novel.

Chris is a member of the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers Association and the Scottish Association of Writers. She designed her own website and confesses to being a techno-geek who builds computers in her spare time.

 

Life and Times of a Writer By Chris Longmuir 

Even when I was a child I wanted to write but never thought that was possible. I read voraciously but at that time the writer was invisible. A name on a book. There were no author tours, book signings, or promotional events. The writer was allowed to remain in his or her writer’s cave and concentrate solely on the next book.

How times have changed. We creep out of our caves into the full glare of publicity. Demands are made, and we become dizzy in the spotlight. For someone brought up in the Scottish ethic of hiding your light under a bushel, this is not very comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong. I love meeting readers. We have something in common. A love of books. I could quite happily spend the rest of my life reading if it wasn’t for that damned writing itch.

You don’t know about the itch? Let me enlighten you. Writing is like an addiction and many writers, myself included, suffer withdrawals if we are prevented from lifting our pen or pencil, or tapping on our keyboard trying to create the next blockbuster. Of course, blockbusters are difficult to achieve but that doesn’t matter because most of us are happy if readers enjoy our stories.

I used to suffer dreadfully before I gave up work to concentrate solely on writing. I was a social worker in quite a senior position so there were no 37 hour weeks for me. It was more likely to be 50 hours or over. So you can imagine the torment I went through when I was prevented from writing.

I’ve been writing now for over thirty years and before I became a full-time writer it was mainly articles and short stories which were published here and in America. Becoming a full-time writer allowed me to develop into a novel writer. Initially, it was a bit of a shock to the system because, as anyone who has ever tried to get a book published will tell you, the road is rocky and littered with rejections.

The first book I wrote was a romantic historical saga. I bet you didn’t expect that because I’m better known for my crime fiction. Anyway, the saga, A Salt Splashed Cradle, was considered by a publisher but that was the year sagas went out of fashion. It’s called ‘Sod’s Law’. So, although I had started the sequel I decided there was no point in continuing if no publisher would be interested. That was the reason I turned to a life of crime.

I’m quite interested in social history. How ordinary people lived in the past and I had researched the origins of women police for one of my articles. Did you know the first women police services were set up by the suffragette organisations? This fascinated me. And in the course of my research, I discovered that there was a policewoman in Dundee in 1919. That was enough to set the creative juices flowing and my Kirsty Campbell was born, fully formed, and in a police uniform.

Kirsty first came to life in The Death Game set in a bleak Dundee just after the First World War. In this book, Kirsty becomes involved in ritualistic murder, missing children, and a deadly game of sacrifice and death. I acquired a publisher for this book after it won an international competition for the best unpublished crime novel. It was one of twenty winners and we were all given a contract with the promise of publication within a year. But at the end of the year, only five of those books were published. My guess is that the publisher, who was a new kid on the block, overestimated what they would be able to do. It was Sod’s Law again.

I’m never one to give up without a fight so I thought to myself, ‘Well, the saga didn’t work, the historical crime hasn’t worked out, I’d better try contemporary crime fiction’, and that resulted in the first book of what was to become my Dundee Crime Series.

Since then my Dundee Crime Series has become really popular but that didn’t happen overnight. Night Watcher the first book went the rounds of the publishers with the usual round of rejections even though it won the Scottish Association of Writers Pitlochry Award for best crime novel. So I wrote Dead Wood. It suffered the same fate, rejection after rejection. But it too won the Pitlochry Award and then it went on to win the Dundee International Book Prize, and that was my breakthrough to publication because the prize came with a publishing deal. I’ve never looked back since that day.

Following the publication of Dead Wood, I published Night Watcher, as well as the third book in the series Missing Believed Dead. Then The Death Game was published and following that Devil’s Porridge.

So, you could say that when Dead Wood was published I became an overnight success. Such a pity it took me thirty years!

I’m off to scratch my itch again. You’ll find me in my writer’s cave.

Chris Longmuir

Connect with Chris ~

https://www.chrislongmuir.co.uk/

http://chrislongmuir.blogspot.co.uk/

Amazon Author page

Check out Chris’s books ~ Amazon UK

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Book Jacket 

Murder, Mystery, and Munitions

East London, January 1917:
“He pulled her into his arms and kissed her long and hard before he strangled her. With a last glance at the fire, he turned and ran for the door to escape the inevitable explosion.”

Sixteen-year-old Munitionette, Sally, witnesses the saboteur escaping from the explosion at Silvertown Munitions Factory. When their paths cross again at Gretna Munitions Factory, he knows she can identify him, and that he dare not hesitate to kill again.

The explosion has set off a lethal chain of events, and when Policewoman Kirsty Campbell, and MI6 agent Beatrice, join forces to protect Sally, they find themselves following a murderous trail that entangles them with saboteurs, Irish revolutionaries, a German spy, and a plot to assassinate the King.

The body count is rising. The clock is ticking. And the stakes are higher than Kirsty could ever have imagined.

To order your copy and have sneak peek, click below ~

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Before you go please check out an interview we did with Claire MacLearly last month, Click to read.

If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook.  It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.

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Book Blog, Canelo Books, Excerpt

Marked For Death By Matt Hilton @MHiltonauthor @ElliePilcher95 @canelo #SneakPeek

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Hello Lovelies,

Today on the blog I have a sneak peek of the newly published crime thriller Marked For Death by Matt Hilton. Published by Canelo on 17/7/17. I hope you enjoy, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Kelly xoxo

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Joe Hunter has been Marked for Death in his most explosive outing to date

It should be a routine job. Joe Hunter and his associates are hired to provide security for an elite event in Miami. Wear a tux, stay professional, job done.

But things go wrong.

Hunter is drawn into what appears to be a domestic altercation. When he crosses the mysterious Mikhail however, he soon finds something altogether more sinister…

Before long this chance encounter has serious repercussions for Hunter and his friends. Good people are being killed. On the run, in the line of fire, the clock is ticking.

From the bars of Miami beach to car chases and superyacht grenade battles, bestseller Matt Hilton dials up the intensity in this rip-roaring, set-piece filled thriller perfect for fans of Lee Child, David Baldacci and Stephen Leather.

Sneak Peek ~ Excerpt 

Splinters of glass cascaded across the sidewalk, a bed of needles on which the squint-eyed thug went to sleep. Seconds ago he’d been jumping around, as hyper as a speed addict, spitting froth from the corners of his mouth in his agitation, until I’d delivered the sleeping pill by way of a straight right to his jaw.

I hadn’t planned on sending him through the window, but the subsequent explosion of glass, the slap of his body on the pavement, bought me a few seconds while his pals blinked in astonishment at his downfall. By the time their attention turned back to me, I was on the offensive. I upended a table, scattering food and condiments, and kicked it into the thighs of the two men nearest me. While they wasted time trying to clear the obstruction, I vaulted it and kicked the first of them over onto his back. While he was down I stamped on his groin. He jack-knifed at the waist, woofing in agony, and met my knee with his face. He sprawled out flat again.

The third guy should have hit me while I was still side-on to him, but he made the mistake of going for a two-hands grab, intending to yank me off his downed pal. He caught the collar of my jacket, began hauling, but that worked in my favour: I pivoted half-circle and rammed the tip of my left elbow into his liver. He lost all control of his grip, and likely his bowels, as his response was to squat and shudder out a deep groan. Reversing my pivot, I again employed an elbow, and this time his fat head made a perfect target. He crashed against the upturned table, his weight thrusting it back a few feet before he flattened out.

The violence had been shocking and sudden, and to the observers out on the sidewalks I might have looked as much like the instigator as I did the perpetrator of the brutal exchange, but I’d only gone there to enjoy a quiet lunch. I should have known better; I tend to attract trouble. If there’s an idiot in the room they always gravitate towards me, and sadly I’m not the type to suffer fools.

And the trio of punks lying around me in varying degrees of messed-up had been drunken fools.

They’d come off the beach overheated, but instead of lining their stomachs with food and maybe taking a soft drink they’d elected for pitchers of beer. Too much hot sun plus too much cold beer: not a good combination. The alcohol made them boisterous, rude and belligerent. Squint-eye didn’t understand that four-letter words were best kept between his own ignorant company, and he had no right to complain when asked by the manager to keep it down around the lunchtime diners. His way of dealing with the request was to get louder and begin throwing his weight around, challenging anyone who thought himself man, enough to shut him up. I told him to shut it.

Squint-eye – encouraged by his equally stupid friends – set his chin, then strolled over to my table with his fists clenched.

‘You goin’ to make me shut it, old man?’ he demanded, one eye watering, the other pinched almost shut. Dried spittle formed scummy patches at the corners of his mouth. More spit was ejected when he wiggled his fingers and beckoned me to try it. ‘C’mon, asshole, you want to have a go?’

‘Let’s take this out in the parking lot,’ I said as I stood.

‘Why not do things right here?’ To punctuate his point, he snatched up a ketchup bottle from my table and swung for my head. Before the bottle was halfway through its arc, my fist impacted his chin and things kicked off.

It’s one thing standing against bullies, but my problem was I didn’t have much balance when dealing with them: once tripped, my switch was prone to overkill. Surrounded by the recumbent trio, I took abashed glances around, observing the shocked expressions of my fellow diners. I felt bad that I’d helped ruin their day out.

A family of three sat at the nearest table, shocked into immobility, loaded forks still raised. I could see the partly masticated remains of a cheeseburger in the wide mouth of a sturdy, ginger-haired kid. His eyes were huge and glossy with excitement.

‘Sorry your boy had to witness that,’ I said to the kid’s parents.

The father, the progenitor of his son’s red hair and freckles, glimpsed at the kid, then shook his head, as if an apology was unnecessary. ‘Can’t get him off those online shoot-’em-up games, I’m betting he’s seen much worse.’

The mother, a frumpy blonde, and obviously the parent that’d determined the kid’s stocky figure, moistened her lips as she stared up at me. ‘They asked for what they got, mister,’ she announced.

Other diners were in agreement, some of them even offering a short round of applause. One old guy sitting close enough to spit on the thug I’d elbowed cackled softly in laughter. He used an immaculately white sneaker to prod the downed man. He spoke directly to him. ‘If you’re intent on throwing your weight around, you should expect a hard landing now and again.’

His words of wisdom rang as a personal warning to me. I looked for the manager, held up my hands in apology. ‘I’m sorry about the trouble; I only planned on getting them outside and on their way. Things rapidly got out of hand, though.’

‘This wasn’t on you, Joe,’ the manager said, his expression one of sombre reflection. I’d been visiting his beachside diner for years, and was on first name terms with Grant. ‘That punk would’ve smashed your head with that bottle if you hadn’t stopped him.’

‘I was more annoyed that he called me an old man.’ I smiled to show I was joking.

‘Yeah,’ said Grant, who was my senior by a couple of years, ‘he asked for it. I only wish I’d opened the window first.’

‘That wasn’t planned either,’ I assured him. ‘I’ll pay for the damages, Grant.’

He pointed down at Squint-eye, who was still dozing on the sidewalk. ‘He can pay for the damages.’ He checked out the overturned table, the spilled food and crockery. ‘The rest is salvageable.’

‘Maybe we should put them in the recovery position or something.’

‘Let’s drag ’em into the parking lot, let them sleep it off,’ Grant suggested. ‘It’s garbage collection day, maybe someone will do me a favour and throw them in the trash.’

He was jesting. Plus he had a duty of care, as did I. Between us we got the trio of young punks propped in the shade at the side of the diner, and slapped them into wakefulness. I didn’t hold a grudge. As long as they behaved – and shelled out ample reimbursement to Grant for the broken window – I’d allow our disagreement to end.

To be fair, when they did come to, they wore similar expressions of sombre reflection to Grant’s countenance earlier. They knew they’d been in the wrong, having had some sobriety knocked back into their foolish heads. Squint-eye paid up, and even offered me an apology and his hand. I didn’t believe for a second it was a trap to pull me into a headbutt, but call me cautious. I clapped him on the shoulder instead, directing him back to the beach.

As he had during previous visits to his diner, Grant again offered me a job, which I again declined. It had become a discussion point with us to a point where we sounded like a stuck record.

‘I’ve already got a job.’

‘You seem to have plenty downtime,’ Grant countered. ‘I sure could use you on the door over the summer break…’

‘I’d make a poor doorman,’ I said. ‘I can’t differentiate doors from windows.’

He shook his head at the lame joke.

‘Besides,’ I went on, ‘I enjoy eating here; it wouldn’t be the same if I worked here. I wouldn’t be able to relax.’

‘You never relax,’ he reminded me. ‘You should take up yoga or something, Joe, do some breathing exercises, or you’re going to burn yourself out. You’re not as young as you used to be.’

I blinked at him in mock surprise. ‘I just knocked a guy through a window for suggesting I was old.’

‘I didn’t say you were old, just…well, not young either.’

‘And you think me working a door, bouncing groups of drunken reprobates, is going to be good for my health? Thanks for the out, Grant.’

He extended his hand. ‘The offer’s always open.’

I had no reservations about taking his hand, and I winked my appreciation.

‘Can I get you a fresh plate?’ Grant offered. My lunch was currently being mopped off the floor by one of his serving staff.

‘Lost my appetite,’ I admitted. I squinted at my wristwatch for effect. ‘Besides, it’s time I was getting on…before age really does catch up to me.’

‘Got a lot on?’ His tone was doubtful.

‘I’m a busy man,’ I said.

I was lying. I was between jobs and was growing antsy. On another day I might have made do with slapping some sense into Squint-eye and his pals, not beating on them as vigorously as I did. Boredom had a detrimental effect on me, and a worse one on the fools that snapped me out of laconic mode.

The truth was, I was mildly embarrassed. Despite the show of appreciation from the diners, I was sorry that I’d acted so violently, especially in view of children, and was uncomfortable about returning inside. I couldn’t eat while being eyed openly – or surreptitiously – by the other diners. I especially didn’t want to field their questions or misguided accolades, let alone reproof once the adrenaline spike faded and they began thinking more clearly about the kind of person in their midst. I said goodbye to Grant and strolled through Mexico Beach towards my beach house, seriously ready for a change of scenery.

To order your copy please use the easy link below ~

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Book Blog, Borough Press, Guest ~ Reviews

The Chilbury Ladies Choir By Jennifer Ryan ~ #GuestReview By Kimberly Livingston @JenniferiRyan @BoroughPress

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Hello Lovelies,
Today, Kimberly is here with a review of The Chilbury Ladies Choir, find out her thoughts and which cover Kimberly liked more.

Which do you like more? Tell us in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by, please help us by liking and sharing the post.

Kelly xoxo

 

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USA COVER

 

Review By Kimberly Livingston 

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And so begins The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan. Luckily for the village of Chilbury and the surrounding area, the women tolerated no such thing. With the encouragement of the new choirmaster, Prim, the women found themselves able to pull together both in music and strength during the impending Nazi invasion. The story of wartime England is told through each of the main characters’ letters and journal entries, a diary of sorts for the reader to glimpse into their private worlds. In the acknowledgements by Ms. Ryan, it was noted that “At the beginning of the war, an organisation known as Mass Observation began, encouraging ordinary individuals to keep diaries and journals and send them into the headquarters, where some would be published in a newsletter.”

While each chapter is in the writing of a different character, the book still reads as the wonderful novel that it is. Mrs. Tilling and Kitty Winthrop’s diary entries, as well as Edwina Paltry and Venetia Winthrop’s personal letters, each add their own voice to the horrors, victories, and celebrations of the time. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir captures what it was like to be a woman in the 1940’s; having to suddenly work outside the home to help with the wartime effort as all the men had gone to the front and the realisation that they could be independent without those same men.

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When I read I rarely visualise a story in my mind, but this one played like a movie, and what a beautiful movie it would make! (Hint Hint to producers!) This novel is one for my bookshelf!

I admit, I prefer the US cover to the UK one, and will be buying that copy. They both show the village with the warplanes and the music, but the US version, with its sunset colours and sketches of women, captures the story more. I believe this cover speaks to the heart of the book: the women of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. These women are rich of character and varied as can be; humorous, romantic, demanding, heartbroken. In the end, each and everyone proves the power of song and love.

 

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UK COVER

 

Book Jacket 

Kent, 1940.

In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot. Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and when the Vicar decides to close the choir until the men return, all seems lost.

But coming together in song is just what the women of Chilbury need in these dark hours, and they are ready to sing. With a little fighting spirit and the arrival of a new musical resident, the charismatic Miss Primrose Trent, the choir is reborn.

Some see the choir as a chance to forget their troubles, others the chance to shine. Though for one villager, the choir is the perfect cover to destroy Chilbury’s new-found harmony.

Uplifting and profoundly moving, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR explores how a village can endure the onslaught of war, how monumental history affects small lives and how survival is as much about friendship as it is about courage

To order your copy and have a sneak peek read ~ use the links below.

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Before you go please check out our review ~ The Other Us By Fiona Harper #HQ Stories
Click to read.

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Book Blog

*BIG NEWS* Blogger In Residence ~ Chasing Time #Writing #Retreats @ChasingTimeScot #Scottish

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Hello Lovelies,

I am beyond excited to share my news with you, I am going to be the Blogger In Residence on the Stop The Clock event that Chasing Time Writing Retreats is holding. I will be there all weekend in Arbroath at Rosely Country House Hotel taking photographs and blogging about the exciting daily going on’s.

The retreat is run by three incredibly talented women.

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The author of Beneath the Skin, a psychological thriller published by Polygon. The Bone Harp, a modern gothic tale with a mythical twist, is her second novel and will be out next Spring. Her poetry, inspired by the East Coast landscape, has been widely published in anthologies, including Seagate III (Dundee), and Furies (For Book’s Sake). She is the 2017 winner of the Dorothy Dunbar Trophy for Poetry, awarded by the Scottish Association of Writers.  Sandra is Secretary of Angus Writers’ Circle and Writer-in-Residence at NTS Barry Mill, Angus, where she is currently researching mill-related folklore for a forthcoming non-fiction work. She has many years of experience in facilitating creative writing workshops in various settings, including the local community, Continuing Education, in schools and in healthcare. From Autumn 2017, Sandra will be teaching creative writing at the University of Dundee.

Sandra says: “Our retreats are going to be a voyage of discovery for our guests. I’m looking forward to helping them explore not only the glorious gothic landscape of Rosely, but their own imagination. Prepare to be inspired!”

Elizabeth Frattaroli

29303538An award-winning writer for children and young adults. Her first children’s novel, Pathfinder 13, won the 2016 T.C. Farries Trophy at the Scottish Association of Writers annual conference, and she has previously been shortlisted for The Greenhouse Funny Prize Award with one of her picture book texts. She has also written short stories which have been published in several magazines, such as the My Weekly Fiction Special. She is currently working on a young adult novel, Sixteen Again, which is a modern day Sleeping Beauty story with a Faustian twist. Elizabeth is Vice President of The Angus Writers’ Circle, as well as the club’s representative for the Scottish Association of Writers, and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She also delivers creative writing workshops to pupils in her local primary school.

Elizabeth says: “Having been lucky enough to go on various writing retreats myself, I know how valuable it can be to escape the everyday routines and commitments you may have at home, and be able to concentrate solely on developing your writing. In Rosely Country House Hotel we have found the perfect place to host our retreats, with its uniquely atmospheric setting sure to provide writing motivation around every corner.”

Dawn Geddes

jTD0MIAL_400x400 A freelance journalist and author. She writes for a number of publications including The Scots Magazine, Daily RecordGurgle.comScottish FieldMADE magazine, Scottish Wedding DirectoryThe CourierNo 1Living Magazine and Scotland Now. Dawn writes dark fiction and has had a number of her short stories published in magazines such as Take A Break Fiction Feast. Her first novel, The Worry Dolls, led to her being represented by the Sophie Hicks Agency in London earlier this year. She is currently working on her second novel, Linger, which is a ghost story for young adults.

Dawn says: “I find Rosely House Hotel to be an incredibly inspirational setting. It’s unique gothic beauty helped sow the seeds of my first novel and I’m really looking forward to introducing fellow writers to the hotel, and providing them with the time and space they need to create.”

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Stop The Clock Writing Retreat ~ 29th September ~ 1st October 2017

Immerse yourself in a weekend dedicated to your writing

This weekend retreat is all about creating time for you and your writing. Whether you’re new to your creative practice and need some help getting your writing off the ground or you’re stuck half way through a project – this retreat will provide you with the time and the tools that you need to get the words flowing.

Friday evening.

Over supper and drinks in the bar, we’ll discuss your ongoing writing projects. Whether it’s an idea for a short story or a longer work-in-progress, we’ll chat about the obstacles that are preventing you from achieving your writing goals.

Saturday

After breakfast, we’ll have a walk around Rosely Country House Hotel’s beautiful grounds to help stir our inspiration, before going into the main workshop:

What are you waiting for? Smoothing out the bumps on your writing road

The afternoon will be set aside for private writing time, and pre-arranged one-to-one sessions where you will receive feedback on your writing. Our evening meal will be followed by drinks in the bar and a chance to share your work around a roaring fire.

Sunday

After a word exercise, to keep the inspiration flowing, we’ll go into the Sunday’s workshop, which is:

Making each word count: prioritising writing when life gets busy

After lunch, we will draw up a plan of action on how to keep the weekend’s momentum going and discuss how we are going to take our writing forward.

**SPACES ARE LIMITED**

Booking information: Two nights fully catered accommodation
Price for single occupancy: £275
Price based on sharing a twin room – £250
Deposit of £100 payable on booking
Balance payable no later than 11th of August 2017

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Connect with Chasing Time Writer Retreats for more information or to book yourself that much need writing getaway.  More retreats are available~

Telephone: ~ 07548 710980
Tweet: @ChasingTimeScot
Email: chasingtimescotland@gmail.com
Blog: Chasing Time Writing Retreats Blog

Massive thanks for the opportunity to be your blogger in residence, Chasing Time Writing retreats it is a true honour and I cannot wait to attend and share the experience with our followers.

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Author Guest Post, Book Blog, Noir At The Bar Dundee, Saraband Books

Noir At The Bar #Dundee #Author @ClaireMacLeary #Authors #Scottish 26th July 2017 #Guestpost

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Hello Lovelies,
I am extremely excited for Wednesday’s Noir At The Bar Dundee if crime fiction floats your boat then sail along for an evening filled with top notch crime fiction authors reading from their novels.  Today on the blog I have a special guest post by Claire MacLeary author of the Cross Purpose which was longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize 2017. I am so grateful to Claire for writing the article and for being on my blog today.

Enjoy

Kelly xo

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Dundee By Claire MacLeary 

Dundee holds a special place in my heart. Why? It’s where I became a writer. Like so much in life, it happened by chance. Born in Glasgow, I’d worked in London and Edinburgh, married and ended up in Fife. 


I’d always wanted to write. Won essay prizes at school, read English at university, held down jobs in advertising. But for years I was too busy running my own business and raising a family to contemplate anything more. It was only when my children reached senior school that I joined a Dundee University Continuing Education class in Creative Writing. At the end of the year, the group – Nethergate Writers – published an anthology of short stories. I was back in print!


In 2009 the University conferred an honorary degree on William Boyd. A literary hero of mine, I went along to his reading. Chaired by acclaimed novelist, Kirsty Gunn, Professor of Writing Practice and Study, it was a seminal moment. Talking afterwards to Kirsty about my writing, she said, ‘Do my MLitt.’ So in 2010 I did.

The next year was full-on. My days revolved around Kirsty’s Writing Room and were a whirl of lectures and intensive writing sessions. Literary salons afforded the opportunity to network with noted authors, publishers and agents. In 2011, I graduated MLitt with distinction.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Over the next few years, a number of my short stories were published. As my confidence grew, I set out to write a crime novel. Featuring two ill-matched ‘women of a certain age’, Cross Purpose bucks the trend of jaded detectives and smart forensic scientists, celebrating instead the fortitude and resilience of the many ordinary women who juggle part-time work with family life.

The road to publication demands not only dogged persistence but an element of luck. My first break came when I pitched to agent Jenny Brown at an event sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust, my next when I met the redoubtable Sara Hunt of Saraband, who was to become my publisher.

Cross Purpose launched in February under the Contraband imprint to five-star reviews. It has recently been longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year, proof that readers have taken my unlikely crime due, Maggie and Big Wilma, to their hearts. A sequel, Burnout, is due for publication next spring.

Now living in Glasgow, I’m delighted to be reading on 26 July at NoirAtTheBar, back in Dundee, where my journey began.

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Cross Purpose 

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Book Jacket 

When Maggie Laird’s disgraced ex-cop husband suddenly dies, her humdrum suburban life is turned upside down. With the bills mounting, she takes on his struggling detective agency, enlisting the help of neighbour Big Wilma . And so an unlikely partnership is born. . But the discovery of a crudely mutilated body soon raises the stakes… and Maggie and Wilma are drawn into an unknown world of Aberdeen’s sink estates, clandestine childminding and dodgy dealers.. Cross Purpose is surprising, gritty, sometimes darkly humorous a tale combining police corruption, gangs and murder with a paean to friendship, loyalty and how women of a certain age can beat the odds.

To order your copy and have sneak peek, click below ~

Before you go please check out an interview we did with Claire MacLearly last month, Click to read.

Please be sure to check out more titles brought to you by Saraband ~ Website

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LoveBooksGroup.blog ~ #Interview
Book Blog, Harper Collins, Interview

Summer In Manhatten By Katherine Garbera #Author #Interview @katheringarbera @HarperImpulse

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Hello Lovelies,
Today on the blog is author Katherine Garbera with our ‘Real You’ interview. Summer in Manhattan was published by Harper Impulse on the 14/07/2017 on eBook.

Enjoy, Kelly xoxo

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Book Jacket 

A summer to remember…

When Cici Johnson falls for the charms of American big shot Rich Maguire, their drunken one night stand results in an unexpected pregnancy. Rich wants nothing to do with the baby or Cici, but she’s determined to give their child the love of two parents on her own.

Jason Hooper’s spent his whole life wondering what family really means. In and out of the foster care system, he never gets too close to anyone; just in case they walk away. But then he meets Cici and he feels as if he’s finally home.

For both of them, the summer they share in Manhattan couldn’t be sweeter. If only he’ll let his guard down, Hoop’s own happy-ever-after might not be make-believe anymore…

Real You Interview with Katherine Garbera

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USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 90 books since making her first sale to Harlequin Desire.  Katherine is known for her sexy heroes, feisty heroines and sensual stories.  A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

Describe yourself using three words?

Funny, driven, compassionate.

What inspired you to write your first novel?

The birth of my daughter.  When I brought her home from the hospital I thought I can’t keep doing jobs I hate, what kind of message is that for her? So I started writing and sold my first book three years later.

What time of day do you like to write?  

I prefer to write first thing in the morning before the events of the day clutter my mind.

What is your favourite book and why?

That I’ve read? Some of my favourites are A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle, I read this book for the first time when I was eleven and I liked that there were a lot of kids in the family and that Meg felt like the oddball.  Another favourite is Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman. I read the book when I was in university.  The story itself is powerful a woman coming to terms with her loss of self-identity but as a budding author, I liked the way she used point-of-view as a character tool to show how the protagonist is losing more and more of herself.

How did you pick the title of your book?  

The title was kind of a place holder for my story and started out as Summer At The Candied Apple but we changed it to Summer in Manhattan because we thought it was more concise.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?   No, they aren’t.  

What’s your favourite word? Hmm…I have a lot of them.  I’m tempted to say moist because I know that word irks some people! But really my favourite word is home.

If you were a colour what would it be?   Red.

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?  I plan the very basics of the story but then just go with the flow.

Who is your favourite Author?  I really have too many to name.

You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?
Sir Percy Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel, I just think he’d be fun.
Tonks from Harry Potter and I’d make her change form a million times.
Janie Crawford from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, I think she’d be very interesting to talk to.
Lastly,  Aragorn from Lord Of The Rings, he’s lived so many lifetimes I’m sure he’d have some interesting stories.

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What book are you reading at the moment? The Longest Kill by Craig Harrison for research and A Bride, A Barn and A Baby by Nancy Robards Thompson.

Where in the world is your happy place? Wherever my husband and kids are.

If you had one superpower what would it be? A bubble around myself so when I’m in a crowd no one bumps into me.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?  Severus Snape.  He deserves love.

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Are you working on a new project?   I’m currently working on a sequel to Summer in Manhattan that is set at Christmas. ☺

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?   I will be taking part in the Readers for Life Literacy in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort for the #RWA17 Readers for Life autographing on 7/29, 3-5 p.m.!  All proceeds will be donated to local and national literacy organisations

Connect with Katherine Garbera

Twitter Page
Instagram Page
Facebook Author Page
Katherine Gabera’s Website

To order your eBook today and also read a sneak peek, use the links below.

Before you go, please check out our review of  Meet Me At The Lighthouse By Mary Jayne Baker ~ click to read.

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For more Harper Impulse books visit ~ Website.

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Book Blog, Book~Reviews, Crime Authors, Orenda Books

The Other Twin By L V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks #LoveAudio #Review#TeamOrenda

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Hello Lovelies,
Today, I am so happy to share my review of the audio book The Other Twin By L V Hay. Published by Orenda Books. In celebration of the #LoveAudio week. Other formats including eBook and Paperback are also available.

Kelly xox

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Audio/Jacket Sleeve 

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister, Poppy, returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her?

Taking the listener on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well-heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade and where there is no such thing as truth….

My Review ~ By Kelly 

I think the key to a good audio book is a clear and concise narrator, which The Other Twin has with Kate Rawson.  Ms Rawson is very careful to keep up with the ever changing voices of the characters.  Next of course is having a meaty storyline to keep you engaged. Again that box is ticked, Lucy V Hay works wonders at leading the reader down a dark, gritty and heart thumping road.  It’s incredible that this is Lucy’s debut novel, it has a mature and extremely well-written style and is creatively clever.

I enjoyed the characters, Poppy is certainly memorable. My tiny niggle was that I would have liked to learn more about India. I wish we had a longer prologue with a hint of an emotional connection with Poppy and India.  But that is purely a personal preference.
We spend time with Poppy as she fights to find out if and why India committed suicide, not a spoiler, it’s on the book jacket. It’s nice to have a strong female as the main protagonist. Poppy is no push over and you will enjoy her journey.

I wouldn’t delay in buying this for a friend. Orenda has a knack for finding top notch writers with the ability to take us on haunting, terrifying and bare knuckle adventures and with The Other Twin and Lucy V Hay they have done it again.  Add Lucy V Hay to your list of must buy books and keep up to date with Lucy on Twitter and on her website.

You can order yours now and read a sneak peek, use the links below.

Thank you so much to Orenda Books, Lucy V Hay and Anne Cater for the opportunity to review.

Before you go, why not check out our review of Deep Down Dead with author Steph Broadribb.

CLICK HERE

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