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Book Release Blitz: She’s the One Who Gets in Fights – S.R. Cronin

She'stheone

Happy publication day to S.R. Cronin! Check out this brand new Historical Fantasy, She’s the One Who Gets in Fights and enter for a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card!

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She’s the One Who Gets in Fights (The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters Books)

Publication Date: May 14th, 2021 🎉

Genre: Historical Fantasy

It’s the 1200’s, and the small realm of Ilari has had peace and prosperity for generations. That doesn’t mean every citizen is happy, however.
Sulphur, the third of seven sisters, is glad the older two have been slow to wed. It’s given her the freedom to train as a fighter, in hopes of fulfilling her lifelong dream of joining Ilari’s army. Then, within a matter of days, both sisters announce plans and now Sulphur is expected to find a man to marry.
Is it Sulphur’s good fortune her homeland is gripped by fear of a pending Mongol invasion? And the army is going door to door encouraging recruits? Sulphur thinks it is. But once she’s forced to kill in a small skirmish, she’s ready to rethink her career decision.
Too bad it’s too late. The invasion is coming, and Ilari needs every good soldier it has.
Once Sulphur learns Ilari’s army has made the strategic decision to not defend certain parts of the realm, including the one where her family lives, she has to re-evaluate her loyalty. Is it with the military she’s always admired? Or is it with her sisters, who are hatching a plan to defend their homeland with magic?
Everywhere she turns, someone is counting on her to fight for what’s right. But what is?

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Excerpt

In early spring, after the last of the snow melted and the mud dried, I told my parents I wished to visit friends I’d made while studying. Then I rode to Pilk to learn more about joining the Svadlu. I knew they had a booth at the largest market there, often staffed by Svadlu officers who’d answer questions. I had a lot of them.

They accepted women, but what were the standards? Were they the same as for the men? Being a Svadlu provided status and a fair amount of pay, so they never wanted for recruits. How many people who tried to join were accepted?

The next day I found the booth. Officers wore cloaks of saffron yellow, but this man boasted a scarlet cape covered in regalia, identifying him as a Mozdol. My nervousness surprised me as I approached him.

“Hello, lass,” he greeted me with warmth. “Let me guess. You’ve got a younger brother who wants to join us but he’s too nervous to come talk to me himself. Am I right?” He seemed pleased. With what? That he induced nervousness in potential recruits?

“Uh, no. Sir. I was hoping to get some information on me joining.”

“You?”

He looked at me more closely. Of course I wore a dress, not my fighting clothes, so I didn’t much look the part, but he squinted at me anyway.

“You’re tall. Well-muscled for a woman and you look to be in good shape. Have you ever held a sword?”

“I’ve been sparring since I was a child.”

That impressed him.

“And I’ll do whatever you need to me to. Answer questions about weapons, engage in fights, perform tests of strength, whatever you need.” I spoke too fast in my eagerness.

“Slow down,” he chuckled. “All that’s good, but actually, none of it matters compared to what I’m going to tell you next.”

He hesitated as if he wasn’t sure how to explain this vital fact to someone as ignorant as me.

“You’re a farmgirl, right?” He looked at my clothes again.

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, the Svadlu are more of a city operation. We do things differently than on the farm.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean being a member of the Svadlu is a pretty good deal. Lots of young people want in.”

“I know. That’s why I’ve worked so hard.”

“And that’s good, but most successful recruits get in because they have a sponsor. You know, someone already in the Svadlu who vouches for them. Um, especially if you’re, well, you know, a woman. Then it helps a great deal if one of us says you’re up to it.”

“But I can prove I’m up to it!”

“I suspect you can.” The look he gave me held respect, but he stayed firm. “A sponsor makes the difference. Why don’t you ask around? Surely your family knows someone who can help you.”

He looked up. Several people stood behind me now, all hoping to talk to him. “If you’ll excuse me …”

I rode back to Vinx dejected. I already knew my family had no contacts in the Svadlu and I had no idea of who I could turn to find some. Why did I have to know someone in order to get in? What stupid kind of way was that to run an army?

Available on Amazon

Will be available through Kobo, Apple, and Barnes & Nobel later this month!

About the Author

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Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.

She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels.  She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how eccentric she is.

All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.

SR Cronin | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

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Dylan Thomas Prize 2021 Shortlisted – The Death of Vivek Oji – Akwaeke Emezi – book review

The winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize – which is for international young writers – will be announced today. So keep an eye on Twitter for the winner.

Launched in 2006, the annual Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the most prestigious awards for young writers, aimed at encouraging raw creative talent worldwide. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence. Worth £20,000, it is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes as well as one of the world’s largest literary prizes for young writers. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama. The prize is named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas, and celebrates his 39 years of creativity and productivity. One of the most influential, internationally-renowned writers of the mid-twentieth century, the prize invokes his memory to support the writers of today and nurture the talents of tomorrow.

I was kindly sent a copy of one of the shortlisted titles – The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi to read and review and my thoughts are below. It arrived a bit later than planned due to a delivery mix up but better late than never!

What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom. 

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

My thoughts: this is beautiful and terribly, terribly sad, for several reasons.

From the title you know that someone dies, but the book is about how that someone, Vivek Oji, lived. It’s about his childhood, told through his cousin’s words and about his secrets, told through his friends. Vivek is only young when he dies, and his grief-stricken mother searches for answers – how did he die, who brought his body to the door of their house and left it there?

Slowly, as Vivek’s story unfolds, we learn about him, about who he really was, about the secrets he kept from all but his closest friends.

Beautifully written, moving and tragic, this is the story of one life, but it could be the story of so many, keeping parts of themselves hidden and secret, keeping love and truth buried, even as it causes them pain.

**some of the above text is taken from a press release about the shortlist but the review is entirely my own opinions and words**

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Blog Tour: The Players – Darren O’Sullivan*

Read my review of the author’s previous book Dark Corners

 In this game it’s kill or be killed…

A stranger has you cornered.
They call themselves The Host.
You are forced to play their game.
In it one person can live and the other must die.

You are the next player.
You have a choice to make.This is a game where nobody wins…

A nerve-shredding cat-and-mouse serial killer thriller that will keep you guessing and reading into the night, perfect for fans of Adrian McKinty, John Marrs and Steve Cavanagh

My thoughts: trips to Peterborough are never going to be the same again, and neither are pipecleaners!

A motorbike helmet wearing man declares himself “The Host” in a series of horrific videos where he makes two people fight to the death while threatening their loved ones, but who is he and why is he doing this?

Inspired by the classic Trolley Problem and the idea of whether humans are always good, this is cold blooded and deeply chilling thriller. DI Karen Holt is suspended but that doesn’t stop her trying to catch the sinister figure instigating these terrible events, even when it puts her in the killer’s sights.

An interesting protagonist, Karen spots clues before some of her colleagues but she isn’t perfect or always able to save a life, which makes for a more realistic character. She is however perhaps too driven, after the case that led to her suspension, she’s willing to risk everything, from her career to her marriage, to her life, to solve this case fast, and she misses things because of that.

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

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Book Blitz: Time Ripper – D.E. McCluskey

TimeRipper

Welcome to the book tour for time-travelling, sci-fi, TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey! Read on for more details and a chance to win an amazing giveaway– A copy of the book AND a $20 or £20 Amazon gift card! 

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Publication Date: February 25th, 2021

Genre: Time Travel/ Thriller/ Historical Fiction/ Sci-Fi

Publisher: Dammaged Productions

It is the year 2288, and Earth is reeling from the most horrific terrorist attack it has ever endured.The Quest, a pseudo-religious splinter group, have taken a stance against the Earth Alliance’s authority of the planet.It is down to Youssef Haseem, now the highest-ranking official left in the EA, to build a team to face the threat of total inhalation if he doesn’t stand down and bow to The Quest’s demands. Then the leaders of The Quest disappear, and a legend emerges in the year 1888. But just who is the mysterious stranger stalking and viciously killing women on the streets of Whitechapel, London?A mission is launched! A battle of wits against time itself. A fight to be played out in the present and the past, with the fate of humanity at stake.Legends can happen anytime…

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About the Author

Author Photo

My name id David McCluskey, I am an author from Liverpool in the UK. I have written seven novels so far. TimeRipper is my latest. I started writing about 15 years ago, beginning with short horror stories for children that were written in rhyme. I enlisted the services of an artist and created my very first comic from them. Interesting Tymes is a great seller at comic conventions around the UK, as it offered something that a lot of comics these days don’t, something for the children to get their teeth into (so to speak).

I then began to create more comics, some for children, some for adults, before creating my own graphic novels. Doppelgänger is a dark psychological horror, Olf is a children’s graphic novel about Father Christmas and his reindeer, A Christmas Carol is a rewriting of the original tale, but in rhyme, and DeathDay Presents is an adult comedy based in Hell.

From there I moved on to writing novels. My debut novel The Twelve is still my best seller on Amazon.

I write under the name of D E McCluskey for my adult fiction, and I will be launching a children’s range of novels this year under the name Dave McCluskey (I don’t want children buying some of the other horror based stuff by accident).

I still live in Liverpool with my partner, Lauren, and our children, Grace and Sian. We have a sausage dog called Ted, who likes to leave little sausages around the house, just to remind us why he is a sausage dog.

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Blog Tour: Mamma – Diana Tutton*

The doomed mutual attraction of a middle-aged widow and her new son-in-law, who is much closer to her own age than her daughter’s, forms the central drama in this social comedy with tragic overtones.

Joanna Malling lost her husband in the first year of their marriage. At the age of 21 she was left with a baby daughter to raise alone. Now twenty years later, Libby is herself a grown woman living in London, and Joanna buys a new home to begin the next stage of her life. But her solitary existence is about to be shattered when Libby announces she is engaged. And with a change of job for her new husband Steven, the newly married couple move in with Joanna. What starts as an uneasy relationship between Joanna and Steven develops into something much more intimate and reminds Joanna of all she has missed out on. With Libby growing suspicious, Joanna must make a heart-rending decision.

The author: Diana Tutton (1915–1991) was a British writer whose novels focused on taboo relationships and family dysfunctionality. In the Second World War she drove a WVS mobile canteen, before she followed her husband to Kenya and joined the FANYs. In 1948 the family moved to British Malaya where she wrote her three novels. Mamma was published in 1956.

My thoughts: I have enjoyed discovering new-to-me women writers through this British Library project (I also really like their Classic Crime series too) so was delighted to be asked to review Mamma.

You might think that the 1950s were very staid and writers never covered anything eyebrow raising or taboo, but you’d be wrong. Diana Tutton is proof of that. Her books were about some very shocking subjects, including incest, and this one is about a doomed and never acted upon romance between a woman and her daughter’s new husband.

Joanna is only 5 years older than Steven and resents the idea that she should just fade into widowhood, she’s not even comfortable with the idea that her daughter is old enough to get married at 20. Her frustrations about the roles society boxes women into are genuine and haven’t hugely changed since the 50s – Maiden, Mother, Crone is a trope from the Ancient World that persists.

This makes her see Steven, 15 years older than Libby, differently. She isn’t initially very keen on him and worries about the age gap between him and her daughter, the life experiences are so different. But Libby insists it doesn’t matter. And it isn’t until circumstances force them into sharing Joanna’s house that she realises her indifference is really something more.

I found this compelling and utterly fascinating, both for what it has to say about women and also the plot, which is slow burn and sneaks up on you. What seems like a gentle domestic tale is much more, but not apparent on first glance. I felt for Joanna, for the way she’s forced into roles and made to act like a woman much older, when at 41 she’s still fairly young and if she were around now would be seen quite differently.

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

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Book Blitz: Born in Salt – T.C. Weber

I’m thrilled to share this brand new Dystopian Thriller, Born in Salt by T.C. Weber with you all today! Read on for more details and a chance to win a digital copy of the book, in your format of choice!

PSSSST! It’s also available for review! Contact R&R Book Tours for more info!

BornInSalt_ebook_cover_FINAL

Born in Salt

Publication Date: May 1st, 2021

Genre: Alternate History/ Dystopian

Fifty years after a coup replaced President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a fascist dictatorship, America is a land of hopelessness. Ben Adamson, a 19-year-old farm boy in southern Illinois, wants only to spend his time fishing and hunting. But when his dead brother demands justice for his suspicious fate in a colonial war, Ben and Rachel, his brother’s fiancée, are drawn into an underground revolutionary movement.

After staging a rally against the war, Ben and Rachel are arrested by the Internal Security Service, who have perfected the science of breaking people. Ben is given a choice: betray the rebels, including his best friend from childhood, or Rachel will be lobotomized.

Although traumatized and addicted to a powerful drug, Ben refuses to doom anyone he cares about. Can he find a third option? Can he free Rachel and strike back at the dictatorship, while dodging the suspicions of police and rebels alike?

Excerpt

The New Bethany Town Square was a small grassy space in front of the county courthouse. Main Street split into two here, running to either side of the square and the courthouse before recombining. To the south of the square, it ran past most of the stores. To the north, it passed the city and county police stations, then a stretch of newer buildings and houses.

The year after I was born, 1965, was the twentieth anniversary of retaking the Philippines from the Japanese, forcing them into an armistice. Every town got a statue. In New Bethany, the government erected a marble Marine in the middle of the town square, rifle held high in triumph. It wasn’t an ideal spot to call for an end to war, but it was the only public space in town.

Rachel lived only a few blocks from the square, but I insisted on picking her up. The police would have seen the flyers by now, and might want to arrest her before we even started.

I was late again. Rachel stood on her front porch, wearing her funeral dress and tapping a foot. She carried a paper shopping bag in one hand, and scowled at me.

“Sorry I’m late.” At Rachel’s insistence, I’d put on my suit, and it took me forever to get the damn tie right. “Are you sure you want to do this? Talking to people one on one is a lot safer.”

Her face tightened even more. “It’s a little late to back out now. Besides, God blesses the righteous and Jake will be with us.”

I led Rachel to the truck and opened the passenger door for her. “Let’s get it over with, then.”

I parked on Lincoln Street, just off Main, and we hopped out into chilly gloom. Dark clouds gathered in the west, threatening rain. I focused on the task—swung down the tailgate and pulled out the mike and amp I’d borrowed from Jesse, the band’s bassist. He’d kill me if they got wet.

The amp had a power inverter so you could run it off a car battery. Together they weighed at least a hundred pounds, so I’d strapped them to a stand-up dolly. No mike stand, but I had enough to carry as it was. I handed Rachel the black microphone case and cables and she slipped them in her bag.

A couple dozen people were in the square, wearing coats over Sunday suits or dresses, the women’s hats sprouting feathers of near-extinct birds. I recognized Alyce and maybe half the others.

Rachel’s face fell. “I was expecting a lot more.”

“Maybe they’re afraid,” I said. “Or it’s the weather.”

“Or they don’t care. The weather is fine.” She straightened. “We’re early. More will come.”

My stomach seized. Figures squatted or lay on rooftops around the square, pointing guns and cameras.

Atop the three-story law office building, a suited man held a long-lensed camera. Next to him, a man in black body armor braced a high-powered rifle on a tripod while another peered through binoculars. Opposite the courthouse, on the First Consolidated Bank roof, more of the same. On the east side of the square, city police aimed guns out the second-floor windows of the column-fronted City Hall.

The courthouse itself had a peaked roof. After the coup, the government had added a wooden bell tower on top, from which, I supposed, you could see the whole town. Beneath the purely decorative bell, half hidden by white columns, a dark-suited man stared at us through binoculars. A sheriff’s deputy pointed a rifle with a fancy scope.

I’d never seen anything like it. Security for visiting politicians, sure, but nothing like this.

The clock on the bottom of the tower read 12:18. We had twelve minutes to prep or escape.

“Do you see the snipers?” I whispered to Rachel.

“Yes.” Her voice quivered. “But we’re not doing anything wrong. They’re just trying to intimidate us.”

She was probably right. They wouldn’t actually shoot us. Or would they? We were easy targets, standing still in the open. They could take their time and go for a head shot.

Past the bank, I spotted Paul standing outside the New Bethany Diner, sipping soda or something from a jumbo-sized paper cup. No sign of the others. Not surprising, since the group hadn’t approved our rally. And it was better Sarah wasn’t here—that would just add to my worries.

Rachel hugged Alyce and other people she recognized, then reached in her bag and pulled out my brother’s portrait, the one that had been propped on his casket at the funeral. She leaned it against the base of the soldier statue.

Behind the picture glass, Jake smiled at me. I plugged the mike into the amp and clipped the amp to the car battery. I flipped a switch and the power light turned green. I tapped the mike, and the speaker thumped.

I wanted to hurry this up and waved Rachel over. I handed her the mike. “You’re on.” The battery would last at least an hour, but I doubted we would have that long.

Rachel examined her filigreed watch. “Let’s let the crowd grow.”

I glanced at mine. 12:30.

More people arrived. But half were cops—city police, county police, state police, and eight men wearing silver long-sleeved shirts, black pants, and matching ties. Their caps bore a perched eagle clutching a saber and whip. Internal Security.

New Bethany’s gray-haired police chief paced back and forth, carrying a megaphone. The Internal Security troops stared at us, long batons and compact submachine guns fastened to their belts.

My knees shook. “Rachel, I’ve got a bad feeling. Really bad. We should go, right now.”

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About Author

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Ted Weber has pursued writing since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. Trapped at home during the “Snowmageddon” of 2010, he transformed those interests into novel writing. His first published novel, a near-future cyberpunk thriller titled Sleep State Interrupt, was a finalist for the 2017 Compton Crook award for best first science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel. The two sequels, The Wrath of Leviathan and Zero-Day Rising, are also available. His latest release, Born in Salt, pits an Illinois farm boy against a ruthless fascist government that took power in a coup. Mr. Weber is a member of Poets & Writers and the Maryland Writers Association, and has run numerous writing workshops. By day, Mr. Weber works as an ecologist, and has had a number of scientific papers and book chapters published. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Karen. He enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents.

For book samples, short stories, and more, visit https://www.tcweber.com/

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Book Review: The Broken God – Gareth Hanrahan

Dark gods and dangerous magic clash in this third book of Gareth Hanrahan’s acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Iron Legacy. “This is genre-defying fantasy at its very best . . . Insanely inventive and deeply twisted” (Michael R. Fletcher). 

Enter a city of dragons and darkness . . . The Godswar has come to Guerdon, dividing the city between three occupying powers. A fragile armistice holds back the gods, but other dangerous forces seek to exert their influence. Spar Idgeson, once heir to the brotherhood of thieves has been transformed into the living stone of the new city. But his powers are failing and the criminal dragons of the Ghierdana are circling. 

Meanwhile, far across the sea, Carillon Thay—once a thief, a saint, a god killer; now alone and powerless—seeks the mysterious land of Khebesh, desperate to find a cure for Spar. But what hope does she have when even the gods seek vengeance against her? 

“A groundbreaking and extraordinary novel . . . Hanrahan has an astonishing imagination” (Peter McLean). 

My thoughts:

The third book in The Black Iron Legacy hits the ground running, with Cari on the way across the sea looking for a cure for Spar’s slow fading away. But her leaving Guerdon leaves the New City vulnerable to others.

The dragons of Ghierdana have set up shop, as part of the Lyrixian delegation occupying the city and are sinking their claws into the criminal underworld.

I was totally hooked from page one, this series has been one of my favourite of the crop of newer fantasy writers in the last few years. Intelligent fantasy, smart world building with engaging and personable characters. I was really engrossed in the story, Cari develops as a character even further, as she learns more about who and what she is.

The various plot lines start to coalesce as the book heads towards its conclusion, setting up further adventures to come in the next book, which I cannot wait to read.

A big thank you to Orbit Books for sending me a copy of this book.

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Blog Tour: Paparazzi – Jo Fenton*

A stalker. A popstar’s family murdered. A terrified photographer.

It’s thirty years since Becky White joined the police. Now, six months after leaving the force, she is
suffering from PTSD, when an old friend turns up with a tempting offer.
Following the creation of The White Knight Detective Agency, their first client is a press photographer – a member of the Paparazzi – a young woman with a mysterious and troublesome stalker.
But as the case develops, Becky and Joanna find themselves embroiled in murder. When they are unable to prevent further deaths, their investigation takes them down an unexpected path.
But can they trust their instinct? And will they identify the killer in time to save a child’s life?
Paparazzi, the second instalment in the bestselling Becky White Thriller series. takes you on a journey into the deceptive world of superstars – and those who follow them!

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Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire, UK. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered
Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.
Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career
as a writer of psychological thrillers.
When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.
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Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Revelation by Jo Fenton (Open INT)

My thoughts: this was an interesting crime novel, and I couldn’t guess the killer, which is always a good thing. As ex-copper turned PI, Becky is a fascinating character, she no longer has the powers to arrest she once had or the resources, but she’s still clever and has a nose for detection. Her colleagues Joanna and Will are able to assist and are as brave as she is, which comes in handy when confronting a murderer.

The only thing that jarred a bit for me was the inclusion of either MI5 or 6, looking to recruit Becky, they got in the way a bit and it wasn’t fully explained as to what they wanted, I found Roger a bit too pompous and oblique. Hopefully in the next book this plot line is expanded upon and makes a bit more sense as I got a bit fed up every time the investigation got a bit sidetracked.

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


**Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and wil lnot be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random
Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Blog Tour: The Girl on the Platform – Bryony Pearce*

A missing child. A single witness.

I am the girl on the platform.

When new mother Bridget catches her train home from London, she witnesses something terrible: a young girl is taken from the platform, right before her eyes.

No one knows where I am.

But no one is reported missing and with Bridget the only witness, she is written off as an attention seeker. Nobody believes her – not even her own husband.

Can you find me?

But Bridget knows what she saw, and becomes consumed with finding the little girl. Only she can save the child’s life… but could delving into the mystery cost Bridget her own?

A dark and absorbing thriller with the impact of memorable series like Broadchurch or The Missing, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and Erin Kinsley’s Found.

My thoughts:

This was a clever and enjoyable thriller, exploring ideas of memory and mental illness.

While suffering from post natal depression, a terrible condition, and on medication, Bridget sees a child being abducted from a train station platform. But no one believes her.

Unable to trust her memory, and her rather terrifying mother, scared she might lose her baby daughter, she tries to prove she saw a crime and isn’t crazy.

As someone who lives with depression and anxiety, I completely understood how frustrating Bridget found things, people so easily blame your mental health when you seem a little unsure about things. It’s a cruel trope and unfair. Just because you’re unwell doesn’t mean you can’t see things or be trusted.

Bridget’s mother is the one spreading doubt about her health, manipulating events and causing fractures in Bridget’s marriage. I really didn’t like her from the off.

The final act is full of twists and surprises, and takes this into darker territory. I wasn’t expecting any of it and it was cleverly done.

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

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Blog Tour: The Queen of Romance – Liz Jones*

The first biography of the bestselling author and journalist Marguerite Jervis Daughter of an officer of the Indian Medical Corps, Florence Laura Jarvis (1886 – 1964) was born in Marguerite Burma and became one of the most successful novelists of her time .

During the course of her 60-year career, Marguerite published over 150 books, with 11 novels adapted for film, including The Pleasure Garden (1925), the directorial debut of Alfred Hitchcock. In her heyday she sold hundreds of thousands of novels, but is now largely forgotten; under numerous pseudonyms she wrote for newspapers, women’s magazines and the silent movie screen; she married one of Wales most controversial literary figures, Caradoc Evans.

She also trained as an actress and was a theatrical impresario. Known variously as Mrs Caradoc Evans, Oliver Sandys, Countess Barcynska and many other pseudonyms, who was she really?

Liz Jones has dug deep beneath the tale told in Marguerite Jervis’s own somewhat romanticised memoir to reveal what made this driven and determined woman. And what turned her from a spoilt child of the English middle classes to a workaholic who could turn her hand to any literary endeavour and who became a runaway popular success during the most turbulent years of the 20th century.

Liz Jones writes drama and creative non-fiction, reviews, short stories and journalism ranging from Take a Break to New Welsh Review. Along the way she has raised two daughters, tried to change the world, worked in a café-cum-bookshop, a housing association, in community development and lifelong learning. She is now a Teaching Fellow at Aberystwyth University.

My thoughts: this was a really interesting book. I hadn’t heard of Marguerite Jarvis or any of her aliases. Even studying English Literature for years, she never crossed my path as a writer. Which is a shame. Her life was more interesting than fiction. She reinvented herself so many times, as a writer, a “countess”, a theatre owner. Her books were made into films during the silent era, and then adapted into plays for her theatre company.

I really enjoyed learning about this interesting and colourful woman, her life, marriages and work. Her devotion to her last husband, Welsh writer Caradoc Evans, and her son Nicholas meant she never stopped writing, desperate for money to support them. It’s a shame her books seem to be hard to get hold of these days, yes I looked, as while they’re not particularly fashionable, they’re a part of literary history.

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