Blog Tour Review and Guest Post: Where Dragonflies Hover by AnneMarie Brear

I have quite a long post today but it’s for an amazing book that I really didn’t want to put down and that is unusual for me. Read on for a guest post on researching the book and my review of this stunning and thought-provoking story.

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From the Blurb:

Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …

Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it.

Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.

Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …

Book Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | Kobo | B&N | Google Play | Itunes |Goodreads

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Guest post by AnneMarie Brear

For some years I have had a fascination of what is known as the First World War, or the Great War. (World War I 1914 – 1918)

This was a time of enormous change in the world. For the first time countries banded together to fight a common enemy. I’ll not go into the politics of the time or the reasons why the war happened, that is for professional historians to determine, but the effects of the war were far reaching, particularly in Europe.

In Great Britain the changes impacted on all walks of life, from the wealthy to the poor. Women were asked to step into the space left behind by the men who went to war. Not only did they have to work the men’s jobs, but they also had to keep the home running as well. Not an easy task to a female population who was expected to simply marry and have children and keep a nice house. Women of that time were sheltered from the world, innocent. All that was soon to change.

In my book, Where Dragonflies Hover, modern woman, Lexi, finds a diary written by an Australian nurse, Allie.

Allie wrote about her time as a nurse in Great War, and of falling in love with Danny, an English officer. She wrote of her struggles to help injured and dying men who came to her straight from the battlefield, covered in mud and blood.

To write Allie’s story I had to do a lot of research about World War I. I enjoy researching, and because the Edwardian Era is one of my favourite eras, it was no hardship to spend hours reading sources from that time.  I really wanted to make Allie’s story as real as it could be. One of my research sources was reading, The Other Anzacs by Peter Rees. A truly extraordinary book detailing the true stories of Australian nurses in WWI. A lot of my inspiration came from that book. What those nurses went through was simply remarkable.

Another book I read was The Roses of No Man’s Landby Lyn MacDonald. Another interesting account of what the allied nurses and VADs from other countries went through. These women went from the comfort and security of their homes to the heart of battle zones.  They had to learn new skills swiftly, for even dedicated career nurses had never experienced before the types injuries and wounds they encountered only miles from the front line. Those women had to sustain difficulties they never thought of, for example at times they were food shortages, hygiene hardships, danger from bombings, homesickness and many more problems. Yet, these women, some just young girls, dutifully headed into an alien world without the promise of survival.

It is, of course, impossible for me, or anyone, to know exactly how these women felt during this challenging time, we can only read about their experiences. However, simply reading about them is enough for me to give them my heartfelt gratitude and admiration for what they endured.

I hope I did justice to their stories, to what they gave up and for the sacrifices they made to help us win the war.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Review: I don’t read many stories that jump time periods and even less that involve war so with that information you may wonder why I chose to read this?  Basically it appealed to me because of the story, I have always loved old buildings particularly castles and houses so the house was something that interested me.  Also although I tend to avoid war stories and films, though not all, this is a was story from the perspective of a nurse and that is something I have not encountered before.  These aspects piqued my interest and so I decided to take a chance on the book and I was not disappointed.

Despite the fact that I avoid war stories where possible I do know a fair bit about WW1 and the horrors that faced the soldiers there so when I was reading Allie’s thoughts and experiences of dealing with soldiers covered in mud and her observations of trees that were blown up I was not surprised.  However, what was new was the way in which this information was conveyed.  The story was written in such a way that I felt like a fly on the wall, I was completely immersed in what Allie was seeing and experiencing but was completely safe from any of the dangers that she faced.  I know this was an accurate but fictional account of someone but it honestly felt like I was reading someone’s actual diary.  I have been having some difficulties of my own recently and this story reminded me of the real struggles that people faced in that war including not knowing if they would even live to see the end of the day.  Reading that helped me realise that my problems, while important were not as bad as they could be and that was incredibly helpful for me.

I didn’t like Lexi quite as much as I did Allie.  She was still a well-written and believable character but some of the things she did irritated me a little so I enjoyed the periods when she was reading the diary a little more than I enjoyed reading about her.  Her story is interesting and equally realistic and I loved the fact that she wanted to buy the house and save it from ruin and development for profit but Allie’s was the stronger story for me and the one I was drawn to most.

Reading this book has made me want to read more about nurses and people other than soldiers in WW1 because their stories tend to be the one’s less focused on but for me are the one’s I want to know more about.  In the guest post the author mentions a book she read for research, The Other Anzacs and I think that is an excellent place for me to start as well.

It’s been a while since I’ve said this but this is a book I would highly recommend to anyone whether it is their usual reading taste or not.  I wasn’t disappointed and I don’t think you will be either.

Author Info:

Annemarie Brear has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order!

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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COVER REVEAL: Watching You by J.A. Schneider

I am thrilled to be able to be involved in the cover reveal for the latest Kerri Blasco book from J.A. Schneider.  I’ll also be taking part in the blog tour so look out for my review on the 25th April, coincidentally also the release date for this amazing sounding book.  Due to other review commitments I haven’t read it yet but I am very much looking forward to doing so.  So, read on for some blurb, check out the cover below (talk about atmospheric!) and if you want to pre-order it you can do so here.

 

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Blurb: A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Kerri isn’t convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine, a wife, mom, and reading addict. She loves thrillers…which may seem odd, since she was once a major in French Literature – wonderful but sometimes heavy stuff. Now, for years, she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and police procedure. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

 

 

 

There’s Something About Cornwall. Guest post by Daisy James.

So, you’ll probably remember that I had a cover reveal for this book on the blog a few weeks ago.  Well today I am really pleased to have a guest post from the author about the importance of research, location and local food and drink in her writing.

 

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Guest post:  Location, Location, Location!

Location is always very important to me when I’m writing. It’s almost as though it’s another character that requires just as much attention, just as much crafting, as any other. My first novel – The Runaway Bridesmaid – was set in New York. I enjoyed an amazing trip there a couple of years ago, for a milestone birthday, except, instead of spending five exhilarating days taking in the sights, because of Hurricane Sandy we ended up being there for eleven. Everywhere was closed, even the Broadway shows, so I grabbed a pen and some paper and started writing and my first published novel was born.

When I began researching my fourth book, I wanted my characters to have a fabulous backdrop for their story, so it had to be Cornwall. The scenery is so beautiful and diverse, not to mention the fact that the sun always seems to be shining. There’s Something About Cornwall follows Emilie Roberts, a food photographer, who takes a culinary road trip around the whole county as she works on a photoshoot for a celebrity TV chef working on her next cookery book.

Emilie’s epic journey starts in Padstow where she meets Matt at a beach party. He becomes a last-minute replacement driver for an orange-and-cream vintage campervan they’ve nicknamed The Satsuma Splittie. There’s plenty of stops along the way and lots of baking and tasting of the delicious Cornish food that is being photographed.

I wanted to showcase not only the local recipes, but also the wide array of artisan beverages that Cornwall is famous for. So, in Truro, they visit an apple orchard where Emilie photographs the Cornish Cyder Cake and Apple and Caramel Loaf, but they also indulge in a few pints of the local Scrumpy.

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Apple and Caramel Loaf

During my research, I was amazed to find that vineyards flourish on south-facing slopes and fabulous white and rosé wine is produced in Cornwall. The county is also the only place in England that grows tea – Tregothnan Tea – it offers a whole new meaning to the label English Breakfast tea!

I also came across the Southwestern Distillery, run by Tarquin Leadbetter, which produces not only Cornish Gin but also Cornish Pastis. The pastis is a modern take on the classic French aperitif and the first of its kind created in the UK. It is made with gorse flowers foraged from the Atlantic clifftops and fresh orange zest finished off with a touch of liquorice root. Tarquin also grows his own Devon violets for use in his Tarquin’s Gin.

http://www.southwesterndistillery.com/

I hope readers will enjoy escaping to our southernmost county when they read There’s Something About Cornwall.

For a chance to win a book on the history of the much-loved, iconic camper van, a mug and a coaster, just follow Daisy James and retweet the pinned tweet. The prize will be drawn on 31st March 2017 (UK only).

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Daisy James links:

BuyLinks: http://buff.ly/2kQhrmp 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/daisyjamesbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daisyjamesbooks/

Also on Instagram.

 

Synopsis:   A knight in a shining camper van!

Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer Emilie Roberts. Not only has her ex-boyfriend cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the Cornish coast…

Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor Matt Ashby.

Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy-tale dreams come true?

There’s Something About Cornwall was published on 8th March and can be purchased here.  Also you can check out this and Daisy’s other books here.

 

 

 

 

The Somme Legacy Blog Tour: Guest post by M J Lee.

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and have an interesting guest post from M J  Lee on unclaimed legacies.  I’ve been a fan of Martin’s work since I discovered him through his Inspector Danilov series and would have posted a review of this book as part of the tour were I less busy and had more reading time than I currently have.  Having said that I have read and really enjoyed the previous Jayne Sinclair mystery, my review can be found here, and I already have The Somme Legacy on my tbr list for when I have a little more time so hopefully it won’t be long before I’m able to read what I know will be a fascinating story.

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Blurb:   July 1, 1916. The Somme, France.

A British Officer prepares to go over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

March 28, 2016. Manchester. England.

Genealogical investigator Jayne Sinclair, a former police detective, is commissioned by a young teacher to look into the history of his family. The only clues are a medallion with purple, white and green ribbons, and an old drawing of a young woman.

Her quest leads to a secret buried in the trenches of World War One for over 100 years.

Who was the real heir to the Lappiter millions?

From the author of the best selling, The Irish Inheritance, comes a gripping new book revealing family secrets hidden in the fog of war.

 

The Somme Legacy is the second book in the Jayne Sinclair genealogical mystery series, but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.

Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33657920-the-somme-legacy?ac=1&from_search=true

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N1SY2QR/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Somme-Legacy-Sinclair-Genealogical-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01N1SY2QR/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488113067&sr=8-1&keywords=the+somme+legacy

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Guest post:  Have you been left millions by a long-lost relative?

Each day in Britain people die intestate, without leaving any kind of will. What happens to their property, their assets and the money left in their bank accounts?

The short answer is that it ends up in the sticky fingers of those bowler-hatted gents in the Treasury. Unless, somebody claims it.

This is the background to my latest book, The Somme Legacy, featuring genealogical investigator, Jayne Sinclair. She is commissioned by a young teacher to research a lost legacy, left by the last Lord Lappiter when he died without leaving a will. Unfortunately, the only clues are a medallion with purple, white and green ribbons, and an old drawing of a young woman.

Her quest leads to a secret buried in the trenches of World War One for over 100 years. Who was the real heir to the Lappiter millions?

Of course, my story is fiction but it is based on what actually happens.

If you want to discover if you have been left money, there is a simple way to find out. Log on to https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/unclaimed-estates-list and check the list. Here you will find all the intestate inheritances that have been notified to the British Government, and which no relative has already claimed.

The list is updated daily and all the people on it must have at least 750 pounds in unclaimed assets. If you are a long lost relative, you need to register your claim with the Bona Vacantia division of the Government Legal Department.

You have to be quick though. The Bona Vacantia division generally waits twelve years (in some cases 30 years) before it closes an account. Once it does that, the money is snatched by the Treasury and the assets are lost forever in the maws of the Government, funding our ever-growing National Debt..

So why not log on today? You never know, you may have been left a million pounds that you knew nothing about….

 

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About M.J. Lee

Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

Links:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WriterMJLee

Website: http://www.writermjlee.com

 

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Guest post by Sheryl Browne. Author of After She’s Gone and Sins of the Father.

Today I have something a little different.  It’s still a guest post but it’s a guest post by the author of the two books below, books 1 and 2 of the DI Matthew Adams series.  Sheryl has written other books which can be found here but these two are quite a contrast to her other books and that is what she talks about in her post, which can be found below. Happy reading!

 

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Are you ready to take a journey into the mind of a madman?

After She’s Gone.

Sins of the Father.

All-consuming thrillers that will eat you and spit you back out.

After She’s Gone

He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do?

There’s evil and then there’s Patrick Sullivan. A drug dealer, pimp and murderer, there are no depths to which Patrick would not sink, and Detective Inspector Matthew Adams has found this out in the most devastating way imaginable.

When Patrick’s brother is shot dead in a drug bust gone wrong, the bitter battle between the two men intensifies, and Matthew finds it increasingly difficult to hold the moral high ground. All he wants is to make the pimping scum suffer the way he did … the way Lily did.

But being at war with such a depraved individual means that it’s not just Matthew who’s in danger. Patrick has taken a lot from Matthew, but he hasn’t taken everything – and now he wants everything.

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What if you’d been accused of one of the worst crimes imaginable?

Detective Inspector Matthew Adams is slowly picking up the pieces from a case that nearly cost him the lives of his entire family and his own sanity too. On the surface, he seems to be moving on, but he drinks to forget – and when he closes his eyes, the nightmares still come.

But the past is the past – or is it? Because the evil Patrick Sullivan might be out of the picture, but there’s somebody who is just as intent on making Matthew’s life hell, and they’re doing it in the cruelest way possible.

When Matthew finds himself accused of a horrific and violent crime, will his family stand by him? And will he even be around to help when his new enemy goes after them as well?

 

Guest post: ‘WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO SWITCH TO THE DARK SIDE?’

To be honest, I’m not sure I have switched. Even in my contemporary romance, I tend to write about people and the gamut of emotion that comes with them, gravitating towards family and family dynamics and just how strong a family unit can be. I find my romance is becoming more and more edgy anyway and there is usually a bad guy or girl in all of my books. As long as the hero grows and the villain gets his comeuppance, then I get the buzz. I think I now lean towards psychological thriller because I see people as not all good or all bad. More opposite sides of the same spectrum with some crossover in between. Many of my romance novels feature a policeman and, as my leading characters grew, I found myself exploring police procedure and, inevitably, the traits of the protagonist. I suppose it was a natural progression to write thriller.

Of course, I had to do a little research before diving in. I’m lucky enough to have had the advice of a Chief Constable and more recently a Senior Police Detective and that has helped me tremendously. I realised I needed at least the basics of forensics too, so undertook a forensics course, which I passed I’m relieved to say. The internet is a massive boon to writers now, of course, you really can Google just about anything. You can access some fascinating case studies and headline news stories  – I dread to think what my browsing history looks like. I think the most important writing tool though is to read. Other authors can show you how to weave a story and they can be a massive stimulus for your own writing. I’ve read a fair few of Stephen King’s novels (who hasn’t?). Who could ever forget Misery? Unsuspecting, injured author held captive by a psychopathic and very angry fan? What a simple and truly fabulous premise. Martina Cole’s books were a huge influence on me, too, and the inspiration behind my desire to delve into the darker psyche of some of my characters. A book that stays with me is The Ladykiller. It’s with morbid fascination you glimpse into the mindset of a sexually depraved killer.

A writer’s mind thrives on exploration. Every scenario, every face, every place tells a story. A glimpsed situation, an argument between a couple, for instance, a verbal ‘slanging match’ in the street, and you have your stimulus for a story, upon which your overzealous writer’s mind will weave fictional facts. You simply can’t help yourself. So there it is. I have a need to explore the human psyche – and apparently I also have a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath. Thank you, Rachel at Rachel’s Random Reads. I think.

 

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Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy contemporary fiction and psychological thrillers.

A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and awarded a Red Ribbon by The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from multi-award winning Choc Lit.

Author Links

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