blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Taste of His Own Medicine – Linda Fawke*

How long can the desire for revenge last?

Kate Shaw, a successful pharmacist, goes to a thirty-year reunion at her old university and uses the weekend to settle some old scores. Her main target is her ex-lover, Jonathan. She decides to scar him for life as he scarred her. Her bizarre plan works but he shocks her with his strange, unwanted reaction.

What is the unexpected link between Jonathan and Kate’s husband?
What is the significance of the ‘Love Bite’ photograph?
What hold does Jonathan have over Kate?

Revenge is never simple.
A darkly humorous story of love, lust, loss and vengeance.

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Linda Fawke is an arts person who studied science but always wanted to write. Now retired, she indulges this passion, writing fiction and non-fiction, even occasional poetry, preferably late at night.

She has now written two novels, ‘A Taste of his own Medicine’ and its sequel, ‘A Prescription for Madness’ using her background in pharmacy as the setting of both. These are easy books to read, suitable for Book Club discussions. ‘ A Prescription for Madness’ is more serious than the first book, dealing with such issues as pregnancy in later life and Down’s Syndrome.
She has been a winner of the Daily Telegraph ‘Just Back’ travel-writing competition and has published in various magazines including ‘Mslexia’, ‘Litro’ online, ‘Scribble’, ‘The Oldie’, ‘Berkshire Life’ and ‘Living France’. She was a finalist in the ‘Hysteria’ short story competition.

Visit Linda’s blog where her ‘Random Writings’ include a range of topics
from travel to ‘Things that pop into my head’.

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My thoughts:

I didn’t really take to the character of Kate, who’s held on to grudges for thirty years and decides to carry out some acts of revenge at her university reunion, both large and small. While her embarrassing of one former classmate was a little funny, some of the other things she does just seem a little mean. She should really have seen a therapist instead to work out her issues.

And it doesn’t go well, the one person she decides to take the most long-lasting revenge on, former boyfriend Jonathan, turns out to be a truly nasty, manipulative man, twisting everything into a cruel game, involving her unwitting husband (who isn’t a particularly faithful one), seemingly planning to toy with Kate’s happiness for the foreseeable future.

It ends on a cliffhanger, with Kate forced to wait and see what Jonathan will do next. Neither of them are particularly good people and maybe they deserve each other.

I did enjoy the book, I just didn’t warm to the characters, either trapped in the past or boastful idiots, I don’t think I’d enjoy knowing them if they were real people. But then that may be the point – who would want to be around this lot.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, so the saying goes, and I think the point of this twisted and well written story is that no one ever gets away with it, you can’t carry out cruel games and expect to walk away.


*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 Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside – Jessica Ryn*

She’s not lost. She’s just waiting to be found…

Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.

So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.

But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.

Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?

And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home….

My thoughts:

This was a gentle, sweet portrayal of mental illness, addiction and homelessness, it doesn’t shy away from the ugliness but treats its characters with kindness and compassion.

Dawn and her fellow residents at St Jude’s all have had very difficult lives that they’re finally starting to move on from when their safety and sanctuary is threatened.

Dawn constantly reinvents herself, in her head, each new life more fantastical than before, running from the pain of her real life.

There is real heart in this story of people with less than nothing finding their way in life and building a family.

The characters are well written and empathetic, I especially felt for Grace and Cara, as well as the irrepressible Dawn.

I will admit a little tear in my eye at a few points but the redemptive and heartwarming ending made up for the sniffling.

*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: How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) – Gary Raymond*

RARELY HAS THE POWER OF CINEMA BEEN FELT BY SO MANY, IN SUCH OPPOSING WAYS…

“Love Actually dulls the critical senses, making those susceptible to its hallucinogenic powers think they’ve seen a funny, warm-hearted, romantic film about the many complex manifestations of love. Colourful Narcotics. A perfect description of a bafflingly popular film.”

By any reasonable measurement, Love Actually is a bad movie. There are plenty of bad movies out there, but what gets under Gary Raymond’s skin here is that it seems to have tricked so many people into thinking it’s a good movie. In this hilarious, scene-by-scene analysis of the Christmas monolith that is Love Actually, Gary Raymond takes us through a suffocating quagmire of badly drawn characters, nonsensical plotlines, and open bigotry, to a climax of ill-conceived schmaltz.

How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) is the definitive case against a terrible movie. With a foreword by Lisa Smithstead.

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Parthian Books WHSmith

Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor, and broadcaster. He is presenter of The Review Show for BBC Radio Wales and editor of Wales Arts Review. He is a regular writer on film, music, literature, and theatre, and can often be heard on BBC Radio 3 and 4 as an arts commentator and reviewer. His novels include For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015), The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018), and the upcoming Angels of Cairo (Parthian, 2021).

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My thoughts:

Love Actually is the worst Christmas film ever, possibly one of the worst films. So I went into reading this knowing that I already agreed with the title – I refuse to sit through this deeply weird and very rubbish film every year.

Gary Raymond breaks down the film scene by scene and examines its lazy plotting, terrible script, casual misogyny and fatphobia, and the total lack of good jokes. The excellent actors are totally wasted on the ghastly plots, some of which never seem to actually go anywhere (poor Laura Linney).

I found myself nodding along to Raymond’s excellent dissection of this genuinely terrible film and wishing Richard Curtis had just done a Vicar of Dibley special instead.

An excellent book for anyone who likes film, Christmas and would rather poke themselves in the eye with a roast parsnip that sit through the drivel that is Love Actually again this Christmas. 2020 has been bad enough, do yourself a favour and watch literally anything else. Or read this book.


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

books

Small Press Celebration: Bitter Lemon Press

Founded in 2003 in London, Bitter Lemon Press publishes thrillers and crime fiction by writers from all over the world, Japan to South America, Eastern Europe to New Zealand.

Many of the translated books have won awards in their homelands and these are the first translated editions in English.
Summer of Reckoning by Marion Brunet and The Fragility of Bodies by Sergio Olguin were both shortlisted for the CWA Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger Award 2020. The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda has also had some amazing reviews this year.

They are publishing the new Guido Guerrieri novel by Italian bestselling novelist Gianrico Carofiglio called ‘The Measure of Time’ in March which is very exciting. And have the first book set in Uruguay called ‘Crocodile Tears’ by Mercedes Rosende due out in January. Plus, ‘The Transparency of Time’ by Leonardo Padura, Cuba’s greatest living novelist, in June which is bound to get lots of media attention.


The latest in the highly successful Guido Guerrieri series, shortlisted for the 2020 STREGA prize, Italy’s most prestigious literary award. It is a tense courtroom drama set in Southern Italy, but also a tale about passion and the passage of time. Guerrieri had fallen in love decades earlier with Lorenza, a beautiful older woman who was in his eyes sophisticated and intellectual. She made wonderful love and opened his mind to high literature, but ultimately treated him as a plaything and discarded him. One spring afternoon Lorenza shows up in Guerrieri’s office. Her son Jacopo, a small-time delinquent, stands convicted of the first-degree murder of a local drug dealer. Her trial lawyer has died, so for the appeal, she turns to Guerrieri. He is not convinced of the innocence of Lorenza’s son, nor does he have fond memories of how their relationship ended two decades earlier. Nevertheless, he accepts the case; perhaps to pay a melancholy homage to the ghosts of his youth.

On a stormy summer day the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s, and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only person spared injury. But the youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. The police are convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident, who was herself a childhood friend of Hisako’ and witness to the discovery of the murders. The truth is revealed through a skilful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbours, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.

The story is set in Uruguay, it starts in a Montevideo prison where Diego waits for his lawyer, the slick Dr Antinucci, always raybanned, chain-smoking, never frisked by the prison guards. Diego, betrayed by his partner in crime, was arrested for kidnapping a businessman. But charges will not be pressed. The businessman and his wife have described Diego as duped by his partner, certainly no master criminal, so he will be let out. But Antonucci has plans for him, a favour must be returned for his surprising freedom, he must join forces with the psychopath the Hobo and hold up an armoured truck in Montevideo. The mad and hilarious caper includes the robbery of course which degenerates into appalling violence, a few murders, and the general bungling of affairs by all the men involved. It is the belittled women, including Police Inspector Lima, who end up the true heroines of the story. This seemingly classic lowlife crime story has a powerful message: never, ever underestimate the women. All told with excoriating wit and humour from the Rio de la Plata.

Head over to the website to find out more and sign up for the newsletter.

Thanks to the team for sending me all the lovely book covers and letting me know what’s coming up.

blog awards, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Imperfect Alchemist – Naomi Miller*

In Tudor England, two women dare to be different …

Two women. One bond that will unite them across years and social divides.

England, 1575. Mary Sidney, who will go on to claim a spot at the heart of Elizabethan court life and culture, is a fourteen-year-old navigating grief and her first awareness of love and desire. Her sharp mind is less interested in the dynastic alliances and marriages that concern her father, but will she be able to forge a place for herself and her writing in the years to come?

Rose Commin, a young country girl with a surprising talent for drawing, is desperate to shrug off the slurs of witchcraft which have tarnished life at home. The opportunity to work at Wilton House, the Earl of Pembroke’s Wiltshire residence, is her chance.

Defying the conventions of their time, these two women, mistress and maid, will find themselves facing the triumphs, revelations and dangers that lie ahead together.

Naomi Miller is professor of English at Smith College, Massachusetts. She is author or editor of nine books in early modern studies and Imperfect Alchemist is her first novel.

My thoughts:

This was very good, I enjoyed it a lot. One of my favourite types of historical fiction is bringing back to public consciousness amazing women about whom we know very little, as they weren’t the ones writing the records or histories.

Duchess Mary Sidney Herbert was a pioneering writer and alchemist, a woman way ahead of her time. She knew many of the notable figures of her time, including Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare. As well as her interest in alchemy, she wrote a play about Cleopatra and gathered a Circle of engaging minds around her, both men and women to discuss art, literature, science and other topics.

Naomi Miller adds flesh to the bones of Mary’s life, illuminating this fascinating woman and bringing her brilliantly to life. By adding in the fictional Rose, her maid and companion, she adds heart and friendship to what may well have been a quiet household under the Duke, who is uncomfortable with his younger wife’s friendships with men like Walter Raleigh.

Rose is another interesting figure, despite being fictional, she bridges the gap between the herbal remedies of many a midwife or wise woman and the “alchemy” of the upper classes, where science met wishful thinking (the Philosopher’s Stone, the Elixir of Life).

Rose is all too aware that for a woman of her class to dabble in healing can bring a charge of witchcraft, while women like Mary were encouraged to keep a still room and make home remedies.

Looking at class through these two women is interesting too, Rose’s father was a cloth merchant, albeit not a very successful one, but she’s not of the mercantile class, and can’t read and write to begin with.

I found this intriguing, that while Mary dreams of being a literary sensation and taken seriously by the male dominated world she lives in, all Rose wants is a cottage of her own and to maybe make and sell her herbal cures. Rose is more of a realist, enforcing the sense of Mary as a woman far ahead of her time.

Overall this is an incredibly engaging and intelligent book, it brought the late Elizabethan age vividly to life, with its Enlightenment ideals, but deeply ingrained misogyny, despite the gender of the monarch. I would love to learn more about Mary and the other women she encouraged to write and think for themselves. These women have too long been footnotes in history and deserve books of their own.

*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 Failsafe Query – Michael Jenkins*

‘Some secrets were meant to be buried forever. Until now.’

Sean Richardson, a disgraced former intelligence agent, is tasked to lead a team to search for a British intelligence officer on the cusp of exposing thousands of secrets to the media. It includes a long lost list of Russian moles embedded since the Cold War, one of whom remains a public favourite in the British parliamentary system.

The action moves with absorbing pace and intrigue across Central Asia and Europe as the puzzle begins to unfold through a deep hidden legacy. As Sean gets closer to the truth, senior figures are left to nurse their anxiety knowing that if the secret is revealed, it will destroy their lives.

On the verge of success, his eye is taken off the ball, and the Russians step forward ready to pounce.

Tense, fast paced, and insightful, The Failsafe Query twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic finale.

The first in a set of spy thrillers that have been expertly crafted with stunning plot lines, magnificent locations, and twists that leave you gasping for air. Perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Scott Mariani.

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I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.

I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.

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My thoughts:

This was a fast paced, clever and knotty thriller. There’s a mole somewhere in government, secrets threatened with publication, a missing body and the Russians are on the trail of a list of names. Sean and his team must do whatever is necessary to locate the dead agent’s remains and his files full of top secret information before the Russian operatives do.

Combing the French countryside looking for potential burial sites quietly, trying not to attract attention, the team utilise both high tech and low (dogs’ noses mostly) to look for the remains. The files are even better hidden, even the killers missed them.

Meanwhile an enemy agent deep within the government is starting to feel uneasy, his name is on a list and the scandal his exposure could bring will topple the government.

This was gripping and fascinating stuff, I was interested in all the clever techniques used by Sean’s colleagues and the brilliant way the secret files had been hidden. The political subplot ties very nicely in with the rest of the story and the ending leaves things waiting ready for the sequel.

*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 Last Blast of the Trumpet – Marie Macpherson*

Conflict, Chaos and Corruption in Reformation Scotland

He wants to reform Scotland, but his enemies will stop at nothing to prevent him.

Scotland 1559: Fiery reformer John Knox returns to a Scotland on the brink of civil war. Victorious, he feels confident of his place leading the reform until the charismatic young widow, Mary Queen of Scots returns to claim her throne. She challenges his position and initiates a ferocious battle of wills as they strive to win the hearts and minds of the Scots. But the treachery and jealousy that surrounds them both as they make critical choices in their public and private lives has dangerous consequences that neither of them can imagine.

In this final instalment of the trilogy of the fiery reformer John Knox, Macpherson tells the story of a man and a queen at one of the most critical phases of Scottish history.

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Scottish writer Marie Macpherson grew up in Musselburgh on the site of the Battle of Pinkie and within sight of Fa’side Castle where tales and legends haunted her imagination. She left the Honest Toun to study Russian at Strathclyde University and spent a year in the former Soviet Union to research her PhD thesis on the 19th century Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov, said to be descended from the Scottish poet and seer, Thomas the Rhymer. Though travelled widely, teaching languages and literature from Madrid to Moscow, she has never lost her enthusiasm for the rich history and culture of her native Scotland.

Writing historical fiction combines her academic’s love of research with a passion for storytelling. Exploring the personal relationships and often hidden motivations of historical characters drives her curiosity.

The Knox Trilogy is a fictional biography of the fiery reformer, John Knox, set during the 16th century Scottish Reformation. Prizes and awards include the Martha Hamilton Prize for Creative Writing from Edinburgh University and Writer of the Year 2011 awarded by Tyne & Esk Writers. She is a member of the Historical Writers’ Association (HWA), the Historical Novel Society (HNS) and the Society of Authors (SoA).

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My thoughts:

I initially struggled to get into this, I think it might have been the language but once I did it was fascinating stuff. The 16th century was one of extreme changes and violence, including in Scotland, where the same rows about religion raged as they did in England (somehow the only thing we learnt about Scotland at this time in school was that Mary, Queen of Scots, was Elizabeth I’s cousin).

John Knox wanted reformation – to put the Bible into a language the ordinary person could understand and take power away from priests and bishops of the Catholic faith.

Cue a battle of wills and faith that still has implications today. Of course we know what happened next to Mary, and how her son became James I and VI, uniting England and Scotland, but reading about what happened before then, within Scotland, was really interesting.

*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: Always Adam – Mark Brumby*

London-based financial journalist Spencer Beck is obsessed with billionaire biotech prodigy, Adam Reid, orphaned in his mid-teens when his parents died in a tragic murder-suicide in New York City. A shadowy informant with MI5 connections promises Beck unfettered access to the mysterious Reid and introduces him to Daniel Flanagan, a retired Big Apple detective who investigated the deaths of Adam’s mother and father. Spencer’s initial scepticism, fed by the suspicions of the former police officer, turns to excitement when Reid reveals the truth about himself and his altruistic ambitions to protect society from a deadly virus with a powerful vaccine he’s developed.

But when Beck’s entire world starts to implode, he discovers Reid harbours a vendetta that, left unchecked, threatens not only his survival but that of an entire species.

A shadowy informant with MI5 connections promises Beck unfettered access to the mysterious Reid and introduces him to Daniel Flanagan, a retired Big Apple detective who investigated the deaths of Adam’s mother and father. Spencer’s initial scepticism, fed by the suspicions of the former police officer, turns to excitement when Reid reveals the truth about himself and his altruistic ambitions to protect society from a deadly virus with a powerful vaccine he’s developed.

But when Beck’s entire world starts to implode, he discovers Reid harbours a vendetta that, left unchecked, threatens not only his survival but that of an entire species.

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A Cambridge economics graduate, Mark Brumby is a vastly experience financial analyst and owner of Langton Capital, an FCA-regulated advisory company specialising in the hospitality and leisure sectors. He is a partner in the Imbiba Partnership, which invests in pub, bar and restaurant start-ups.

Mark wrote Always Adam (originally published as Payback) in 2013. Boomslang is republishing the book in November 2020 as it deserves to reach a wider audience in the current pandemic climate.

“Covid-19 has brought home not just the fragility of human life but the power of vaccines. Very shortly, we hope, a vaccine could physically alter the cell structure of three or four billion people and protect the same number again via herd immunity. But what if a vaccine were misused?”

“In some ways the world has changed but in many ways it remains the same. The ‘facts’ re our existence have not and will not change. But the events of the last few months have brought home the truth that we are only animals and that we are almost as much at risk from novel diseases with high R ratios and significant mortality rates as we have ever been.”

“I tried to take a step back and look at how we got here & what we’re doing. That sounds deep but some 99% of species that have ever existed are extinct, so what makes us so special?”

“Indeed, we’ve very nearly joined the list of ‘used-to-be’ species list on several occasions. Anthropologists believe that the human population at times in our history fell to a total of less than 10,000 individuals worldwide. You could fit them all in a small football ground and it’s more than a 99.99% reduction on the number of people around today.”

“As an author, Covid-19 has moved the goalposts a little. It has made the unbelievable a little more believable. A pandemic, until December of last year was, literally, a fiction.”

Mark Brumby is married with five children and commutes between London and his home in York.

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Publisher – Boomslang Books

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Published by Boomslang Books on 30th November 2020

My thoughts:

This was a really crazy ride, taking us from London to New York and from the modern age back to before humans like us existed.

Imagine if you could bring mammoths and Neanderthals back to life, imagine if our assumptions about our ancient relatives were wrong. Imagine if a billionaire genius wanted revenge on the entire human race and was prepared to weaponise a virus to do so.

Journalist Spencer is offered the exposé of a lifetime by a voice on the end of the phone – reclusive billionaire Adam Reid, the only survivor of his parents’ supposed murder/suicide, genius and inventor. Someone no other hack has ever been able to get close to. Of course Spencer says yes.

Suddenly his life is spinning out of his control – he’s drugged, the contact he meets is kidnapped, and now Adam Reid is asking him to come to New York. But things are going to get a lot worse.

Gripping, unexpected, relevant and clever, this was a rather brilliant read and the ending left me with a lot of questions – ones that may never be answered for me or Spencer.

*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: Mine – Alison Knight*

“What’s mine, I keep.”

London, 1968.
Lily’s dreams of a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give
up her illegitimate child. It doesn’t help that Lily’s husband, Jack, takes their daughter’s side.

Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily’s growing feelings for her married boss soon
provides a dangerous distraction.

Will Lily be able to resist temptation? Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them
down an extraordinary path thatcould destroy them all?

Mine – a powerful story of class, ambition and sexual politics.

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INVITATION TO AN ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH: On Saturday 28th November 2020, Alison will be joining
four other authors for a joint event via Zoom called Darkstroke Defined: The five writers will talk about their new books, read extracts and answer questions. For your free ticket, click here.

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher.

She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s
and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

Mine is a domestic drama set in 1960s London based on real events in her family. She is the only person who can tell this particular story. Exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual
politics, Mine shows how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a
member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

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Creative Writing Workshops

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My thoughts:

This was a shocking and gripping story, made even more so by being based on the author’s own family.

The story of Jack, Lily and Leo is tragic and painful – not exactly how you imagine a love story to go but it does happen. Lily and Leo want to spare others from pain but love is hard to ignore.

Written with love and the characters are brought vividly to life, as is 60s London, I could picture the houses and businesses perfectly.


*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

Blog Tour: A Cut Twice As Deep – Wendy L. Anderson

A CuteTwice as Deep

Welcome to the blog tour for A Cut Twice As Deep by Wendy L. Anderson! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a paperback copy of the book!

A Cut Twice As Deep Final Front Cover

A Cut Twice as Deep

Publication Date: October 7th, 2020

Genre: Viking Adventure/ Sisterhood/ Romance

The bond between sisters is one forged in blood and fire. Twin sisters, Liana and Deirdre were inseparable like the two halves of a double-bladed axe, making the pain of having to leave each other a cut twice as deep. Their father, Gorsedd Gunnarson, King of the great country of Svartur Rokk, did not care about twin bonds or his daughter’s preferences and severed the pair with a single blow. Both Liana and Deirdre have been sold to the highest bidders for ships, weapons, and alliances. For Gorsedd Gunnarson these are very profitable and advantageous marriage arrangements, but the twin sisters would be torn from each other lives and sent to lands far apart forever!
Liana is forced to leave her childhood sweetheart and marry a stranger. Sweet, timid Deirdre would be wed to a Viking warlord. One would leave her home on a ship and the other on a horse. Both would travel great distances to new lands. Given no choice but to embrace the lives planned for them, they find that the future holds more than they could ever have suspected. In a land where blood and ice reign, danger and betrayal war with love and hope, as they fight to find happiness in a ruthless world ruled by the sword and axe.

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Excerpt

Liana recalled with great detail, the smoky room, and the flickering torches in iron sconces on the walls. Remembered the smell of sweaty men, oiled leather, damp fur, wood smoke, and roasting meat. Heard the rattle of sword and thump of drinking horns and the pounding of eating knives on the worn, beaten tables. Shadows crouched in the dark corners of the hall. She could see clearly in her mind’s recollection, how her father had suddenly stood after eating and drinking for hours and raised his large drinking horn on high. He smoothed his hand over his long greying blonde beard, straightened the black bear fur cloak on his broad shoulders, and roared for silence. As all eyes trained on King Gorsedd, the conversation and laughter quieted.

“This night!” Gorsedd Gunnarson’s deep voice boomed out and the men stilled to listen. “We celebrate!” The men roared in response and then quieted.

“Raise your mead horns and drink to my daughters!” The men raised their horns and cheered loudly sloshing mead on the tables and over their hands.

This was strange behavior coming from their father and Liana and Deirdre exchanged surprised glances as they moved slowly toward the front of the room. Pulled forward by this uncustomary sentiment, their father had their full attention.

“Tonight!” Gorsedd boomed again, waiting for the men to quiet down and regain everyone’s attention. “We celebrate the betrothal of both my daughters! Drink to our good fortune! SKOL!”

All eyes turned to stare, and the men drank to Liana and Deirdre.

“Skol!” they all shouted then quieted as Gorsedd began to speak again.

“For my eldest Liana, I have arranged a marriage contract with Tiernan Lachlan of Lochlannach and Kearn Mac An-Bharain of Noreg for Deirdre.”

He gestured toward strangers in the hall and bellowed.

“Welcome men from Lochlannach to Svartur Rokk my great mead hall where the warriors are more skilled at sword and drinking! These men will be taking Liana across Loch Indaal to marry Tiernan Lachlan!”

Loud cheers rang out and the men raised their drinking horns in salute, sloshed mead into their mouths, and banged their daggers on the tables.

Both Liana and Deirdre stared in wide-eyed shock at their father with their mouths falling open. This was the first time they had heard this news, and both girls stood stunned, disbelieving their ears. They turned and looked at each other, terror written on their identical faces. The men at the tables murmured and some continued to cheer, a few fell to grumbling.

Deirdre staggered in disbelief and her frightened gaze stayed fixed on Liana while she slammed down the pitcher of mead she had been holding onto the nearest table. Her furious gaze flew back and forth between their father and Deirdre.

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About the Author

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Wendy L. Anderson is a Colorado native and mother of two boys. A devout reader of the classics, fantasy, sci-fi and historical fiction, she has decided it is time to write down the fantasies from her mind. Writing about everything from fantastical worlds to the stuff of her dreams she takes her stories along interesting paths while portraying worlds she sees in her mind’s eye. Her goal is to deviate from common themes, write in original directions and transport her reader to the worlds of her creation.

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A CuteTwice as Deep

Blog Tour Schedule

November 23rd

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

Ma Book Yard (Review) https://www.mabookyard.wordpress.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

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

November 24th

Horror Tree (Guest Post) https://www.horrortree.com

@BetterOffRead (Spotlight) http://WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/BETTER_0FF_READ/

I’m into Books (Spotlight) https://imintobooks.com

November 25th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

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

@wineandbooklovers (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookandwinelovers/

November 26th

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

November 27th

Just 4 My Books (Review) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

@BrendaJeanCombs (Review) https://www.instagram.com/brendajeancombs/

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button
R&R Book Tours