blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Murder of Graham Catton*

Everyone says Graham Catton was the perfect husband, professor and father. Why would someone murder him? His wife, Hannah Catton, tells the police she remembers nothing from the night of the murder. Why would she lie to them? Evidence against the accused, Mike Philips, is minimal and he protests his innocence throughout the trial. Why would they convict him? Journalist Anna Byers has overturned numerous prison sentences with her popular podcast CONVICTION and she believes the wrong man is behind bars. What will she do to help him? Someone knows more about the murder than they’re telling. It may have been Hannah’s husband who was killed, but listeners are about to become judge, jury and executioner on this season of CONVICTION.

Katie is a graduate of the University of Birmingham with a BA(Hons) in English and an MPhil in Literature and Modernity, and in 2012 started her blog, Fat Girl PhD – writing about body image, feminism and health. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Independent, and the BBC, as well as a number of media outlets in the US, Canada and Australia. Katie is currently working on a PhD in Female Rage in Literary Modernism and the #MeToo Era. THE FURIES is her first novel.

My thoughts: the true crime podcast has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and this is an interesting take on the genre of true crime podcast novels. Instead of following the investigator/host it follows the family of a victim and possibly a suspect for the killing.

Hannah has tried to move on from her husband’s brutal murder, tried to protect her daughter from it too. But a podcast is about to dig it all up again.

The way this novel unwinds, flipping between Hannah trying to do her job as a psychiatrist and the podcast episodes, the reactions of her daughter Evie and colleagues, patients and strangers, is really interesting. Hannah’s memory isn’t reliable and as events get more and more frightening, is she beginning to crack under the pressure?

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Five Things – Beth Merwood*

For nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten.
Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off.
When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange
happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.

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Beth Merwood is from the south of England. The Five Things is her debut novel.

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My thoughts: this is a sweet and sad story about childhood and the death of a young boy. Wendy narrates the events of the summer of 1974, when her friend’s younger brother went missing. It shatters a lot of the innocence of simple summer pleasures and forces the children to grow up quickly – darkness forcing its way into their lives.

As she grows up, what happened to Tommy stays with her, as do The Five Things – the key points she and her friends felt were not fully investigated and could explain what led to Tommy’s death. Their beliefs may ultimately be wrong, but they attempt to find answers anyway.

A bittersweet tale of childhood’s end, when summer becomes darker and the real world intrudes.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Phosphate Rocks – Fiona Erskine*

During the demolition of a factory, a shocking discovery is made: a mummified corpse encased in a carapace of hardened dust – phosphate rock – surrounded by ten objects that provide tantalising clues as to its identity…

A professional engineer with forty years of international manufacturing experience, Fiona Erskine’s first graduate job was in the factory described in Phosphate Rocks. Born in Edinburgh, Fiona grew up riding motorbikes and jumping into cold water. After studying chemical engineering at university, she learned to weld, cast and machine with apprentices in Paisley. As a professional engineer she has worked and travelled internationally and is now based in the North East of England. Her first novel, The Chemical Detective, which was shortlisted for the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award 2020, was followed by The Chemical Reaction.

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My thoughts: this was really interesting in several different ways. As well as solving the death and putting a name to the body found beneath the old chemical factory, each object becomes the story of the men and women who worked there, of the chemicals they processed and the machines they used. It was utterly fascinating and so well written that even the science bits were absorbing (I’m not always very good with chemistry).

Inspired by the factory the author started her career in, and the real working men and women of Leith, this is an ode to a different time and the people who lived in it. Bits are very sad and shocking, but I found it utterly engaging and wanted to hear more stories of the various characters who could be found inside the factory gates.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Mirrorland – Carole Johnstone*

Twelve years ago my life began again.

But it was a lie.

With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is the story of twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.

Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.

But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…

A sharply crafted mystery about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Daphne du Maurier.

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Carole Johnstone is an award-winning writer from Scotland, whose short stories have been published all over the world. Mirrorland, a psychological suspense with a gothic twist, is her debut novel.

Having grown up in Lanarkshire, she now lives in the beautiful Argyll & Bute, and is currently working on her second novel: a very unusual murder-mystery, set in the equally beautiful Outer Hebrides.

Website

My thoughts: this is a sad, shocking and disturbing book about twin sisters, their secret fantasy world and the truth about their lives. Cat has blocked out her memories, and left Edinburgh far behind, but returns after her sister goes missing.

El and her husband Ross bought the home the twins grew up in and Cat finds little has changed, it still holds its horrors for her. But as the search for El’s body winds down and Cat’s relationship with Ross starts to turn dark; the memories of their shared childhood resurface.

I was gripped by this tale of fantasy worlds, nightmares and tragedy. Cat and El’s childhood is twisted and strange, raised in isolation by their mother and grandfather, they never left the grounds of their house until they were 12. Cat has repressed her memories but returning to the house starts to bring things back to the surface. Ross is a fascinating character, a childhood friend and neighbour, but is he El’s saviour or captor?

Mirrorland is the fantasy world the twins created, a world they escaped into, in a covered alleyway down the side of the house. There they felt safe and could escape the horrors of their home. Until they couldn’t. But who is sending Cat emails and directing her to pieces of El’s diaries and why?

As she starts to dig into what happened to her sister and recover her long buried memories, the house takes on an increasingly sinister aspect. Mirrorland is similarly full of darkness. A really interesting, dark read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Crimson Countess – Brynn Myers*

When a god and a vampire queen desire you, things can get complicated.

Nola Blair is a free-spirited artist who’s been offered a hefty sum to create a unique piece for a party at Elizabeth Bathory’s ruined castle. It’s an assignment she declined––twice. However, at the behest of her sister and her best friend, she finally gave in, choosing her career over her annoyance with the misogynist ass trying to secure her services.

Erzsebet Bathory has been trapped for centuries and would do anything to escape, including using her own son, Paul, to do her bidding. Soon she’ll be free and take her place among the ferals as their queen.

Andrik Kane had no idea his life would change when he saved Nola from a band of rogue vampires. Charged with the hunting of ferals and their creators, one broken rule and the blood of a beautiful brunette in distress ends up giving him more than he ever bargained for.

One wants her blood, the other wants her to be his. Who will decide Nola’s fate?

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Brynn Myers is a paranormal romance author. After considering writing a hobby for years, she finally turned her passion and talent into a career. She came into the paranormal genre later than most but has always loved fairy-tales and all things magical. Using that love, she creates charmed worlds by writing stories involving passionate, strong willed characters with something to discover.

Brynn lives with her family in Central Florida.

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INTL Blog Tour Giveaway!

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Grand Prize:
– An autographed copy of The Crimson Countess, TCC swag, and a $10 Amazon gift card.

Runner-Up Prize:
– 10 readers will win a digital copy of The Crimson Countess!

This is open internationally & it ends on June 26th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST.

EXTRACT

Blood ran like a river through the streets as Reese and Andrik fought the mob of ferals clamoring out of the blind spots in an alley near the harbor.
“If we don’t annihilate them all, the humans will surely get involved, and this situation will soon be even more out of control,” Andrik shouted.
“I know!” Reese replied as she continued to slash through the half a dozen ferals in front of them.
Andrik smiled. This wasn’t the first time he and Reese had fought side by side. He had trained her soon after she was turned, and she fought a lot like him, but still had her own personal flair. Andrik always used to tease her about wanting to play with her prey. She was the only warrior he knew who could stun a feral long enough to not only set up her next move, but to make her victims happy to die by her hand. They were simply caught off guard by her due to her gift. They knew she was a vampire, but she was also something else––something they couldn’t resist.
Reese was over six feet tall, with short, spiky black hair, and a muscular build that was always wrapped in leather; but that wasn’t what halted them, no, it was her light silver eyes, a gift from Manya during her transition that made the ferals stop in their tracks. They wanted, no needed, to take in her appearance. Their mistake. It gave her the chance to kill them quick, but she loved to savor their need to admire her and waited until they snapped out of it before striking the final blow.
As Reese dropped her last feral, Andrik looked around to confirm they’d taken them all out. The area was clear except for a few faint footsteps in the distance which were human. The ferals were gone––for now at least.
“That was a little too easy, don’t you think?” Reese said as she cracked her knuckles.
“They were young and untrained.”
“Yes, but still,” she retorted.
Andrik flicked his dagger and watched as the blood splattered onto the ground. It, along with the dead bodies began to shift and change into the black mist associated with their makers. As the swirls of dust dissipated into the air, Andrik smiled, pleased as usual. The humans would be left none the wiser.
“Do you think the ferals are innocent in this?” Reese, too, flicked her blade to clear the black blood.
“I don’t know. That remains to be seen. Either way, their end will be the same,” Andrik said despondently. “You know as well as I that ferals have no place in this world. They’re dangerous to pure-bloods and to the humans, not to mention an abomination.” As the last feral dissipated, another band came down the opening of the alleyway. “Where do they keep coming from?” Andrik snarled.
Reese started to respond but was forced to fight instead. This group was more savage than the last. Reese and Andrik fought with epic skill, but these ferals managed to get some hits in too. This horde had been trained to fight and battled for their lives. In the end, Andrik and Reese prevailed, but they both were rough around the edges and confused by this new breed.
“We have to figure this shit out and fast,” Reese huffed. “If this keeps up, we’ll need more than the two of us fighting.”
Andrik nodded as he watched this last set of ferals diffuse. “I want to know where they are coming from.”
“Thea will be pissed we weren’t able to bring her a live one to read.”
“It’s not as if we had a choice. These ferals are not what we’re used to. We need a new plan.”

My thoughts: I really liked this take on the myths that surround the real Countess Bathory – the vampirism, the bathing in the blood of young virgins, and giving it all a new spin. It’s well written and nicely paced, gripping and enjoyable. I liked Nola too and felt a bit sorry for her as fate has taken some rather mean twists with her life, and safety, at risk.

🧛‍♂️Taking it back to the classics – the vampire in literature.🧛

Vampires are pretty old, myths about monstrous blood drinkers have been around for centuries, and real people like Erzabet (sometimes anglicised to Elizabeth) Bathory are all part of this. But there are some truly classic literary vampires that you should check out.

🧛The Vampyre – John Polidori – Dr Polidori was a guest at the Swiss chateau where Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was born and this slim but still creepy tale was his contribution. Tragically he would die very young and without having written anything else.

🧛‍♀️Carmilla – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu – believed to be the inspiration behind the granddaddy of all vampire stories, this is another slim volume with a creepy side. The titular vampire (who might be modelled on Bathory) preys on a young girl, Laura, but the two find themselves drawn to each other before Laura’s father ends the monster to save his daughter.

🧛Dracula – Bram Stoker – this is the most famous bloodsucker out there and while his many incarnations might colour your perception, this is a seriously weird book. Comprised of diary entries and letters, it chronicles Jonathan Harker’s experiences at Castle Dracula in Transylvania, again inspired by real places and Vlad the Impaler, and those of his wife Mina and her friend Lucy after the Count brings his reign of horror to Whitby.

🧛Interview With a Vampire – Anne Rice – Lestat, Rice’s most famous creation, has seen it and lived (or un-deaded?) it all and here he tells a foolish reporter all about it. The others in the series are good but this is probably the best one.

🧛‍♀️Lost Souls – Poppy Z. Brite – something a bit more modern in this 90s vampire Road trip novel. Molochai, Twig and Zillah are out for blood, literally, when they meet Nothing and Ann, and take them off to New Orleans, with hero Ghost in hot pursuit.

What are your favourite vampire stories? Fan of the Gothic? Tell me all in the comments.🦇🦇🧛‍♂️

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour – 20/20 – Carl Goodman*

Can you see a killer before it’s too late?

On the first day of her new job, D.I. Eva Harris is called to the scene of a brutal murder at the heart of Surrey society. A shocking crime by a meticulous killer – who escaped with the victim’s eyes.

With the body drained of blood and no forensic evidence left at the scene, Harris’ efforts to find the killer becomes desperate. But as her investigation is complicated by corruption at the heart of the police, she doesn’t know who to trust on her own team.

As the pressure mounts, Eva realises the murder is even more horrific than it seems, and her own dreadful history threatens to be drawn out with it…

A dark and compulsive detective novel, for fans of Chris Carter and M.W Craven.

Carl Goodman is from Surrey and 20/20 is his first crime thriller. It introduces Eva Harris, a newly promoted DI with a computer science background, thrown in at the deep end with an especially gruesome murder. Carl likes hard-hitting, contemporary stories with dark and unusual themes and is currently working on more DI Eva Harris novels.

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My thoughts: this is a grisly one and no mistake. I could picture the exact scene in Le Chien Andalou as soon as it was mentioned. I think all the crime fiction I read means I’m not very squeamish but I know eyes are where some people (including Mr Mads) draw the line. It grosses them out too much. And I do get it. But it just doesn’t bother me. However, someone is killing innocent people and stealing their eyes, which is super weird and there might actually be two killers here.

I liked Eva, I felt a bit sorry for her as she was being manipulated by a particularly nasty boss, trying to solve two sets of murders, and not die because someone keeps trying to kill her. But she’s tough, holds her ground and does her job, even when, as a cyber specialist, she feels completely out of her depth. Her team are pretty capable too, and she comes to rely on them, building a strong relationship especially with Becka Flynn. I can’t wait to see what other cases await this crack team in leafy Surrey.

I related to the area too, my grandparents live not far from Kingston and I went there a lot as a teenager and student, so I know it well. Always entertaining seeing your old haunts through new eyes as it were!

I really enjoyed this book, I’d been in a bit of a slump and turns out what I needed was a series of truly brutal killings to get me out of it. Not entirely sure what that says about me though…

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Fatewreaker – M.K. Wiseman*

Read my posts on the first two books The Bookminder and The Kithseeker

The Fatewreaker (book 3 of the Bookminder series)
England, 1680 A. D.
Liara and Nagarath’s enemy has unexpectedly come to their aid, surrendering to the magick-
suppressing forces of the king of France so as to buy time for their escape. But that doesn’t
necessarily mean Anisthe is on their side. Vrsar’s war mage, Liara’s father-in-magick, has never been
a man do to things for others. And he has always has plans within plans.
In fleeing to England with his apprentice, the Wizard Nagarath realizes that Liara’s power is no
longer her own to command. With the shattering of Khariton’s magick mirror in the Palace of Versailles, the young woman has become trapped in an alliance with the ancient and evil mage.
What is more, at eighteen-years-old, her life remains tied to Anisthe’s for another two years per the Laws of Magick. Anisthe, who is now imprisoned for having helped them evade the king’s spellpiercers.
Forced to revisit his own past, Nagarath is finally learning that there are some histories you cannot
outrun. As for Liara, the darkness within her heart is greater than she ever could have imagined. This
after Dvigrad’s orphaned magpie having finally learned to love. For, in the words of Khariton himself, “In magick you can never have friends. Only rivals.”
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My thoughts: finally everything has come to this – a great showdown between the legendary Merlin and the wicked Khariton, who has tricked Liara into allowing him to occupy her body and mind.

But Nagarath will do his best to help her and even the formerly villainous Anisthe wants to prevent her death. But things aren’t as easy as they seem.

There is yet more hopping between countries – this time to England and to the strange realm Merlin has been imprisoned in for centuries. Liara needs to find a solution to the predicament she’s in, and Anisthe’s last words to her as they fled France “find the book” are haunting her.

Liara has grown hugely as the three books have gone along – from petulant orphan brat to great and clever mage, and she’s also had to deal with some affairs of the heart too. Her friend Kresimir makes a reappearance and she and Nagarath have grown closer, but she’s afraid of harm coming to anyone she loves.

Merlin isn’t like he is in more traditional, Arthurian, stories, he’s not very likeable at all. He just wants power and doesn’t seem to care if he harms anyone to get it. Only Nagarath seems to feel any guilt about the people he’s endangered as he tries to help Liara and keep her safe.

An interesting and fast paced ending to this smart trilogy.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Serpent King – Tim Hodkinson*

The fight for vengeance has no victors…
AD 936
The great warrior, Einar Unnsson, wants revenge. His mother’s assassin has stolen her severed head and Einar is hungry for his blood. Only one thing holds him back. He is a newly sworn in Wolf Coat, and must accompany them on their latest quest.
The Wolf Coats are a band of fearsome bloodthirsty warriors, who roam the seas, killing any enemies who get in their way. Now they’re determined to destroy their biggest enemy, King Eirik, as he attempts to take the throne of Norway.
Yet, for Einar, the urge to return to Iceland is growing every day. Only there, in his homeland, can he avenge his mother and salve his grief. But what Einar doesn’t know is that this is where an old enemy lurks, and his thirst for vengeance equals Einar’s…
Read Tim Hodkinson’s newest epic Viking adventure.

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Tim Hodkinson was born in 1971 in Northern Ireland. He studied Medieval English and Old Norse
Literature at University with a subsidiary in Medieval European History. He has been writing all his
life and has a strong interest in the historical, the mystical and the mysterious. After spending several happy years living in New Hampshire, USA, he has now returned to life in Northern Ireland with his wife Trudy and three lovely daughters in a village called Moira.
Tim is currently working on a series of viking novels for Ares Fiction, an imprint of Head of Zeus.

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My thoughts: I always forget how complicated Middle Ages politics was. The Wolf Coats fight for one king, but would happily swap to another ruler, should their original king do something that negatively effects them. Or interferes with their own plans. In this Einar almost falls out with his fellows when his need for revenge doesn’t match up with the rest of the plans. Luckily they find a way round this and move ahead to unseat Einar’s ghastly father and rescue one of their own from an unwanted marriage too.

I hadn’t read the previous books in the series and I think this works well as a standalone – there’s enough back story given for you to understand what the Wolf Coats are doing and why. The terrible murder of Einar’s mother fuels him and his sworn brothers want to help him, and cause a little mayhem too.

The author has a degree in Norse history and understands the difference between going viking and being a Viking. I think that might be something useful for fans of this strand of historical fiction to learn! He also knows and weaves into the plot, the geography and various kingdoms of Northern Europe, giving a real sense of time and place to the story, which can be missing sometimes. An enjoyable and interesting read all round.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Couple – Helly Acton*

Millie is a perfectionist. She’s happy, she’s successful – and, with a great support network of friends and family (and a very grumpy cat) around her, she’s never lonely. She has her dream job at a big tech firm and is on track to become the company’s youngest ever Innovation Director. The last thing she needs is romance messing up her perfectly organised world.
Besides, normal people just don’t have romantic relationships. Everyone knows that being in a couple is a bit . . . well, odd. Sure, everybody has that one coupled-up friend who messes up the numbers at dinner parties, but it’s a bit eccentric. You know, like having a pet snake or living off the grid. Why rely on another person for your own happiness? Why risk the humiliation of unrequited love or the agony of a break-up when you can do everything yourself? No, Millie is perfectly happy with her conventional single life.
So when Millie lands a new project at work, launching a pill that stops you falling in love, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. That is, until she starts working with Ben. He’s charming and funny, and Millie feels an instant connection with him. Is this the spark that science and society are trying to suppress?

Will Millie sacrifice everything she believes in for love?

My thoughts: in a world where being single is normal, why would anyone want to be in a couple?

This was a really interesting and thought provoking book. I will admit there are days when I think about what my life would be like if I was single – different definitely, tidier and quieter. I married a very loud, messy man. I can work out what he’s been doing by the trail of chaos he leaves. And I know that my single friends get fed up of being asked when they’re going to meet someone, of being left out of invites because everyone else is in a pair.

Flipping that entirely on its head is really clever and really pushes you to think about why things are the way they are, about why society puts coupledom above any other relationship. Especially as you get older. Especially if you’re female.

I liked Millie and Ben, I was rooting for them, he seemed kind and funny and messy and she needed that in her planned out since she was 16 life. I loved her friends too – June and Al and Ruth. I loved that they were all so supportive and fun. That’s how it should be, your friends are just as important as any romantic attachment.

I didn’t like the word “slide”, after a while I began to react to its use the way some people do to the word “moist”, it made me cringe, hard. I needed Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya saying “I do not think that word means what you think it means” to comfort me.***

However, please don’t think any less of me for that, and the book is a lot of fun. And being single is not a crime, neither is being in a couple or even a throuple. As long as you’re happy, I think that’s what the book wants us to remember – that being happy is the key.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

***please tell me you’ve seen The Princess Bride? One of the greatest movies of all time. The book’s good too.

blog tour, books

Spotlight: Everyday Magic – Charlie Laidlaw

EverdayMagic

I am so thrilled to share Charlie Laidlaw’s latest novel with you all, Everyday Magic! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a signed edition of the book!

Everyday Magic Front cover FINAL

Everyday Magic

Publication Date: May 26th, 2021

Genre: Literary fiction/ Contemporary Fiction/ Humour

Publisher: Ringwood Publishing

Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it.  She’s married to someone who may, or may not, be in New York on business and, to make things worse, the family’s deaf cat has been run over by an electric car.

But something has been changing in Carole’s mind.  She’s decided to revisit places that hold special significance for her.  She wants to better understand herself, and whether the person she is now is simply an older version of the person she once was.

 Instead, she’s taken on an unlikely journey to confront her past, present and future.

Everyday Magic is an uplifting book filled with humour and poignancy, and reminds us that, while our pasts make us who we are, we can always change the course of our futures.

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Chapter One

When Carole was little, she found a magic clearing in the woods near her home.  She had been exploring, surrounded by oak, birch, and hazel trees, picking her way carefully between bramble and nettle.  There was birdsong, squirrels darting across branches, and patterns of sunlight on the woodland floor.  She had been looking for bilberries, and her hands were full of small black berries.  She stopped to sit on an outcrop of rock by a wide stream that, in winter, could quickly become a torrent of brown water.  In summer, it was comforting; in winter, treacherous.  She ate her bilberries, the stream cascading over a small waterfall; the sound of water in her ears.  It was summer and the stream bubbled crystal clear.  The woodland rose in folds from the stream, and she climbed steadily upwards.  Here, the trees crammed in on her; it was darker.  When she looked up, she could only see sunlight trapped on leaves far above.  It was a part of the old woodland that she’d never been to before, but she pushed on, feeling that she was on an adventure and might suddenly come across a gingerbread house or wizard’s cottage. 

At the top of the hill she found herself in a small clearing.  It was only a few yards across, framed with oak trees, and perfectly round.  Sunlight from directly above made the clearing warm, and she stood at its centre, wondering if she was the first person to have ever discovered it.  Each of the oak trees around the clearing seemed precisely set, each one a perfect distance from the next, and she walked around them, touching each one, wondering if someone had planted the oak trees, or if the clearing really was a magic place.  She still sometimes believed in magic.  Then she stood again at its centre, wondering at its symmetry and why a long-dead sorcerer might have planted the oak trees.  Then, realising that the sorcerer might not be dead, and that she had walked uninvited into his private domain, she hurried away, not sure whether to be frightened or excited.  It was a place she often went back to that summer, and on following summers, sometimes alone and sometimes with her little brother.  They would sit in the centre of the woodland circle, eating bilberries, hoping to meet the sorcerer who had built the clearing.  She wasn’t frightened of him anymore; the clearing was too peaceful to have been made by a bad wizard.  It was their secret place, but mainly Carole’s, because she had found it.  It was a comforting place: it was somewhere she would go if she was sad or angry about something, because the woodland circle and its shifting half-shadows offered calm and new perspectives.  She could almost hear the trees speak to her, the wind in their branches making the leaves whisper, but so softly that she couldn’t understand.  She would listen, eyes closed, the leaves rustling, but she never understood what they were saying.  The circle of trees stood solid and immovable, dark and stoic, old and wise, and each one the colour of stone.

Available Here and on Amazon!

About the Author

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Charlie Laidlaw lives in East Lothian, one of the main settings for Everyday Magic. He has four other published novels: Being Alert!, The Space Between Time, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead and Love Potions and Other Calamities. Previously a journalist and defence intelligence analyst, Charlie now teaches Creative Writing in addition to his writing career.

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Book Tour Schedule

June 14th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com

@esmeralda_lagiggles18 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/esmeralda_lagiggles18/

Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

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June 15th

@swimming.in.books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/swimming.in.books/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Books Teacup & Reviews (Review)  https://booksteacupreviews.com/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

June 16th

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@geauxgetlit (Review) https://www.instagram.com/geauxgetlit/

@greeneyedgirl0704 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/greeneyedgirl0704/

@m_books.dogs (Review) https://www.instagram.com/m_books.dogs/

@reads.by.the.sea (Review) https://www.instagram.com/reads.by.the.sea/

June 17th

B is for Book Review (Interview) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

The Librocubicularista (Review) https://thelibrocubicularista.wordpress.com/

@theculture.hunter (Review) https://www.instagram.com/theculture.hunter/

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

June 18th

The Photographer’s Way (Review) http://www.thephotographersway.org

@jypsylynn (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jypsylynn/

@jenniferclaywood (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jenniferclaywood/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review)  https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@jeyreads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jeyreads/

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Review) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours