#BlogBlitz #Guestpost : Mark of the Devil by Tana Collins. @TanaCollins7 @Bloodhoundbook 

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz for Tana Collins’ latest novel, Mark of the Devil. Unfortunately I’ve not had time to read this fabulous sounding book but I do have a guest post from Tana about her journey to getting published.

Blurb:  While Inspector Jim Carruthers and team are busy investigating a series of art thefts they receive an anonymous tip about the body of a young woman on a deserted beach.

The bizarre clues to her identity, and what might have happened to her, include a strange tattoo, a set of binoculars and slab of meat left on the cliffs.


The team’s investigations lead them to a local shooting estate and its wealthy owner Barry Cuthbert. However, Carruthers suspects Cuthbert is not all he seems and the DI soon starts to wonder if the cases of the missing works of art, the dead woman and the estate are connected.

 

Then when the body of a young gamekeeper is pulled from the sea tensions boil over. The trail of clues lead the team to the unlikely locale of Tallinn and into the sinister world of international crime and police corruption.


Needing answers Carruthers must look further afield than Fife. However, the closer he gets to discovering the truth the more danger he finds himself in.

 

Since everyone who crosses the vengeful killers seem to end up dead, can Carruthers solve the case with his life intact?



Guest post: My journey in to getting published.

It took me a long time to write my first book and as luck would have it a relatively short time to get published. I always think you need a bit of luck in order to get a publishing deal. For starters you need to hit the market at the right time with the right sort of book.


My luck came in the form of the decision to write three books in a series and get the first two professionally edited before even thinking about approaching publishing companies. That decision stood me in really good stead. I also had an excellent editor without whose structural guidance would have made my debut novel, Robbing the Dead, a completely different book. And a poorer one at that. After her first reading of Robbing the Dead she told me that I would have to do a massive rewrite if I wanted it to be good enough to get published. In actual fact I ended up rewriting it twice.  But I didn’t give up.

That’s the other thing about writing. You can’t be a quitter. I once heard the saying, “the writers who get published are the ones that never quit.” And that is so true. I’m living testament to that. In fact it took me ten years to write and rewrite my first book. In that time, to be fair, I had already written the second in the series, Care to Die. And it was on the strength of the second, not the first, that I got my publishing deal. I actually got turned down by my now publishers for Robbing the Dead. They told me that my work was too close to someone else they had on their books, but that if I didn’t have a deal with another publishing company by October of that year, (the year being 2016) I was to get back in touch with them.

Although I’d had a few publishers nibbling nobody else had stepped forward and snapped me up so in September I approached Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books again, letting her know that I had a second book in the series. The commisisoning advisor, Alexina Golding, read Care to Die and told Betsy they had to sign me up! In October 2016 I was offered a three book publishing deal. I’ve never looked back.

Although I’d had a few publishers nibbling nobody else had stepped forward and snapped me up so in September I approached Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books again, letting her know that I had a second book in the series. The commisisoning advisor, Alexina Golding, read Care to Die and told Betsy they had to sign me up! In October 2016 I was offered a three book publishing deal. I’ve never looked back.

Robbing the Dead, was released in February 2017 and became an Amazon Number One bestseller. Care to Die was published in June 2017 and became a Top 10 bestseller, endorsed by Peter Robinson, the author of the DCI Banks series. Mark of the Devil, the third novel in the series, is being published on 24th April. I am utterly delighted with the reviews I’ve received for the series from Amazon and Goodreads readers. I aim to write contemporary plots set in a Scottish setting with a cast of convincing characters. One reviewer said of my books that I write “hard hitting crime thrillers which have a deeply emotional side to the plot.” I love that. I think it sums up what I’m trying to achieve perfectly.


About the author:

Edinburgh based Tana Collins is the author of the popular Jim Carruthers detective series set in Fife. Her debut novel, Robbing the Dead, published February 2017, became a No 1 Amazon bestseller for Scottish crime fiction.  Care to Die, the follow up in the series, also became a Top 10 Amazon bestseller. Published on 1st June 2017 Care to Die was described by Peter Robinson, author of DCI Banks,  as  “A finely plotted mystery. Tana Collins racks up the suspense on this one. DI Jim Carruthers is a cop to watch.”  In September 2017 having won one of the coveted Spotlight places at Bloody Scotland Tana supported Lynda La Plante on stage.

Her third novel, Mark of the Devil, is to be published 24th April 2018. Author Leigh Russell writes of it, “A cracking read. The suspense never lets up.”

Tana is a trained Massage Therapist and Stress Management Consultant.


Author Links: 

Website: tanacollins.com

Twitter: @TanaCollins7

Author Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Tana-Collins-490774634440829

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#BlogTour #Q&A : Julie Newman, The Kindness of Strangers. @UrbaneBooks @Lovebooksgroup #KindnessofStrangers

Today I am delighted to bring you a Q&A with the author of this book, Julie Newman. My thanks therefore must go to the author for answering my questions and to Love Books Group for having me on this tour.


Blurb:  Secrets  and  lies  abound  in  Julie  Newman’s  breath-taking new novel.  When  Helen’s  chance  at  happiness  is  threatened  what lengths  will  she go  to  in  order  to  hide the truth?  Deceived  by her husband  and  desperate  for  a  ‘perfect’  family  life,  Helen  will do everything  she  can  to  get the  life she wants.   

Following  the  gripping and  controversial  Beware  the  Cuckoo, Julie Newman’s  new  novel  lifts  the  lid  on  family  secrets,  and  the dark past that haunts a seemingly happy household… 


Author Q&A : Julie Newman 

Tell us about yourself

I was born in East London but now life a rural life in North Essex. I am married with two children. I have been: a shop assistant, a carer, a saleswoman, a secretary, a driver, a painter and decorator, (yes, I really have), an invigilator and I have made umbrellas. I have had a small publishing business, but always wanted to be a writer. 

What made you start writing?

Reading made me start writing. The joy I got from reading was something I wished to share with others. 

Where do your ideas come from?

Anywhere and everywhere. A news item or a snippet of a conversation may spark an idea.

How do you manage to create such varied characters?

By observing people, the world is full of varied characters.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Just do it. By that I mean write whenever and whatever you can. I have kept a diary since I was eight years old and I like to write poems. Also read, lots. 

When you aren’t writing, what would we find you doing?

If I am not doing something with my family, you will find me reading, listening to music, running or cycling. If I’m not doing any of these things I am probably at the theatre. 

What are you reading just now?

I have just finished The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal and plan to read The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford. I’m also reading Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. I always read a non-fiction title alongside a fiction one.

Any plans/ideas for the next book?

Yes, the next book is underway. All I can say at the moment is that it is a story set across two continents with a strong female protagonist. 



#BlogTour #Review : Keeper by Johana Gustawsson. @OrendaBooks @annecater @JoGustawsson

Many thanks to Orenda books and Anne Cater for having me on this blog tour.  Having been fascinated about Jack the Ripper for years this book captured my attention and so I had to read it, my thoughts are below but first, read the blurb to find out more about the book.

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Blurb:  

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.

London, 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?

Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down. Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.


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My Review:  I’ve always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper and the fact that he was never caught so when I heard about this book I was immediately interested.  The historical parts, while good were a smaller part of the book than I expected with the main focus being on the murders and abduction in 2015.  That being said the historical details and the descriptions of the cases at that time an in 2015 were very well done, so much so that I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone who is squeamish.  The images that are conjured up by the writing are very vivid and quite unpleasant at times.

If you’re not a fan of historical fiction but love crime I would still suggest giving this book a go.  The historical parts are relevant and interesting but are also giving background to the 2015 murders so the book has quite a different feel from one that is set entirely in the past.  Because of that I would recommend this book to both crime lovers and historical crime fans.

Although this is a crime story and the police in both London and Sweden are very much involved it’s more a story of Emily Roy investigating both disappearances and murders in her job as a profiler.  Alexis Castells is present too but in a smaller capacity and while what she is doing is connected to the current murders it has more of a personal connection for her.  The story moves about quite quickly, one chapter you are in 1888 London, the next Sweden in 2015 but thankfully the chapters are very clearly labelled which avoids the confusion that does arise in some novels.

It’s a gripping story, I found for me there were times when it didn’t flow as well as others but it kept my attention throughout.  All the time I was wondering what was next, was there more to the 1888 connection, why were there murders in both London and Sweden.  I did have ideas about the conclusion and in part I was right but there was such an unexpected ending that this book really does deserve that much used phrase of ‘a twist you won’t see coming’.  I really didn’t see that ending coming at all and am still dealing with the shock!


About the author:

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Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. Her debut, Block 46, became an international bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.



#BlogTour #Review : Ghost by Helen Grant. @helengrantsays @FledglingPress @LoveBooksGroup

I am thrilled to be taking part in day one of this blog tour. Many thanks have to go to Love Books Group for having me on the tour and for telling me about the book launch, without which I might not have discovered this unusual book.

Blurb:   

Langlands House is haunted, but not by the ghost you think.

Augusta McAndrew lives on a remote Scottish estate with her grandmother, Rose. For her own safety, she hides from outsiders, as she has done her entire life. Visitors are few and far between – everyone knows that Langlands House is haunted.

One day Rose goes out and never returns, leaving Augusta utterly alone. Then Tom McAllister arrives – good-looking and fascinating, but dangerous. What he has to tell her could tear her whole world apart.

As Tom and Augusta become ever closer, they must face the question: is love enough to overcome the ghosts of the past?

In the end, Langlands House and its inhabitants hold more secrets than they did in the beginning…

My Review:  I’m not sure where to start with this book. The blurb says a lot but equally gives very little away so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t have to worry though, this book grabbed me from the first page and as I read it slowly sucked me in. I read most of this in an evening, a feat which I rarely manage but here it was easy. The writing is so good it just draws you into the story and you keep reading because you want to know what is going on. I spent a fair bit of time wondering what was going on, what Augusta was being told and what I thought was going on were not the same at all. I was quite confused until I got to the point where things became clearer. However that clarity only raised more questions and so my questions continued. 

Unlike many books this one has a very small cast of characters, some of whom are only in it for a paragraph or a couple of pages. There are essentially only three main characters with the rest playing minor roles. However, this works perfectly because of the story. As Augusta has hidden from the world for years her own world is obviously limited and therefore a large number of characters would not fit at all. 

While this is not a ghost story as such it is creepy in places. Don’t let that put you off though, I don’t read creepy or scary books and this book I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s a level of isolation, emptiness and possibly neglect (not sure that’s the best word to use) throughout the story and the fact that it is maintained as well as it is is testament to the skill of the author. I finished the book a few hours before I typed this and I’m still unsure how I feel about Augusta and her situation and I suspect it will take me a while to work that out. 

This is the first book I’ve read by Helen Grant but it certainly won’t be the last. If you want something different with a bit of mystery and intrigue then this is definitely worth a read. 
Author bio: 

Helen Grant writes thrillers with a Gothic flavour and ghost stories. Her first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and won an ALA Alex Award in the US. Her other books include the exciting Forbidden Spaces trilogy. 

Helen’s latest novel Ghost (Fledgling Press 2018) is set in Perthshire, where she has lived since 2011. When she is not writing, Helen loves to research the lost country houses of Scotland and to visit the sites where possible. Her experiences of exploring these fascinating places inspired her to write Ghost. 

#BlogTour #Review : A Home at Honeysuckle Farm by Christie Barlow. @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources

Blurb: 

A family secret

One shocking argument and ten-year-old Alice Parker’s world was turned upside down. Her peaceful life at Honeysuckle Farm in the quiet rural village of Brook Bridge swapped for the bustling metropolis of New York City. Alice’s life was changed forever…

A second chance

Now, thirteen years later, Alice’s American dream is over. With her life in tatters, there is only one place Alice wants to be… home at Honeysuckle Farm. So, when Alice learns her beloved Grandie is ill, she knows this is her last chance to heal the family rift.

A forever home?

But secrets still swirl in Brook Bridge, and Alice is no closer to discovering the truth. And for some reason her new friendship with local heartthrob Sam Reid seems to be making the locals tense.

Sick of the lies Alice knows it’s time to lay the past to rest once and for all. But could the truth ruin her hopes of ever calling Honeysuckle Farm home again?

Purchase Link – https://tinyurl.com/y8yvvapd

My Review:  I read one of Christie Barlow’s books last year and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading this one with all the hints of nystery and past unknowns that are in the blurb. We start with Alice overhearing an argument and suddenly leaving the farm where she’s lived for the first 10 years of her life. Fast forward and she’s then 23, in New York and questionning her life and whether she is happy or not. I have to admit that at this point I found Alice quite irritating. I can completely understand not being happy with life but she was being so defeatist that I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop it. Not long after this point she finds out her grandfather is ill and decides to head home to see him and to revisit the village she left so suddenly 10 years earlier.

Obviously to say more would spoil the story as nothing I’ve said so far is not already in the blurb above. Happily once Alice is back in the UK and dealing with her past and spending time with her Grandfather she does also show some maturity and, while she rightly has concerns about her future plans, the defeatist attitude disappears which I was pleased to see.  

Honeysuckle Farm and Brook Bridge sounded lovely. The descriptions of both were so clear that I could envision everything with ease. There’s a certain comfort that comes from going back to somewhere where people have known you for years and that came across really well. The villagers themselves were well-rounded characters who brought the story to life. 

This is one of those books that is a lovely, light read despite there being some serious scenes in it. While the serious parts are dealt with appropriately they don’t drag the book down from it’s summery feel.  If you want a book full of warmth and hope then this one is definitely worth considering. 



About Christie Barlow

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream and A Home at Honeysuckle Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia. 

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for http://www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world. 

She loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via her website http://www.christiebarlow.com, Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author

#BlogBlitz #Review : The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin. @HollyMAuthor @bookouture

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog blitz for Holly Martin’s latest novel. Many thanks to Holly and Bookouture for having me on this blitz.

Amazon Buy Link:  myBook.to/THCBTSSocial

Blurb:  Escape to Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover a charming little seaside village brimming with heart-warming friendships, quirky characters and plenty of sunshine.

The perfect place to fall in love this summer…

Tori Graham is in need of a holiday. Trying to piece her heart back together after losing the love of her life, she escapes to Blossom Cottage, with its picturesque views of the sea. And plans to spend the summer in gorgeous Sandcastle Bay, where her best friend Melody Rosewood lives.

Tori’s not expecting her summer by the beach to be eventful, until she meets handsome and mysterious Aidan Jackson…

Aidan looks after the holiday cottage Tori is staying in. Healing from past hurts, he wants to avoid any further chance of heartache. But could this newcomer be the breath of fresh air he needs?

Finding herself embracing life in the coastal community, Tori starts to fall in love with Sandcastle Bay and its welcoming cast of residents. But that’s not all she begins to fall for, as Tori is swept away by Aidan’s genuine heart and mischievous sense of humour. The attraction between them is undeniable, but will a simple holiday romance be enough?

As Tori’s stay in Sandcastle Bay comes to an end she has a tough decision to make…. Has her heart found a new place to call home?

A joyously romantic summer read that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

My Review:  I’ve not read a Holly Martin novel for a while so I was really looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint. We follow the story of Tori Graham who is desperate need of a break after being really busy at work and dealing with some tragic news. We start by following her as she arrives at Sandcastle Bay and immediately becomes acquainted with the uniqueness of the area and its residents. She catches up with her friends, gets involved in local business and has some interesting experiences with the locals.  

Everyone in this story is such a well rounded character that they leap off the page. Even the two cyclists that only make brief appearances have their own personalities.  The area itself comes alive with the variety of people and uniqueness of the local crop around which tradition and celebration occurs. 

Sandcastle Bay is an area that you just want to move to.  Within the first few chapters I was wishing that it was real so that I could plan a holiday there.  

This is one of those books that you enjoy reading so much that you can’t wait to get home from work so you can get back to it. Any chance you get to pick up the book is a bonus. It’s a lovely escapist book that makes you feel warm and cosy reading it. Definitely one of Holly’s best and one that has left me impatient for a return visit to Sandcastle Bay.
About the author:

About the author: 

Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor

#Guest post by author Nicole. @nicoleauthor1

Today I am thrilled to have a guest post from Nicole who has one book out now and her second out sometime this year. As usual author info and a bit about the book area below so read on and see what you think.


Guest post 

Thank you Sandra for interviewing me and I am really excited to be here.  I love connecting with bloggers and readers even if my genre is different to theirs.

2017 was a very eventful year for me because I finally published my debut crime novel, A Few Bad Boys.  One of my beta readers couldn’t believe that someone like me, kind and sweet  (their words) could write something like it.

I was under the illusion that completing a novel was the hard part but I was wrong.  Once I finally wrote ‘The End’, there was no time to sit back and relax.  The book had to be re-written, edited, re-edited and then given to beta readers.  This was quite a nerve-racking time because obviously, after all the work put into the novel, I hoped that they liked it. During this period I designed my cover.  Once the beta readers finished reading the novel it was time to make a couple of minor changes.  I was so relieved to find out that they enjoyed it.

I decided to self-publish, mainly because I wanted to get, A Few Bad Boys, out into the world.  Since I am not tech-savvy there were a number of obstacles to overcome.  Luckily a friend of mine helped me format the book for Kindle and another friend helped me get it ready for CreateSpace.  Next came the huge task of marketing which was, and still is, very time consuming.  I have created my own website,  http://www.nicoletheauthor.com, where I also write a fortnightly blog and I have a facebook page.  I am quite proud of myself that I’m finally getting the hang of Twitter and Instagram.  I do have an author page on Goodreads and Amazon and this year I intend to improve them.

I have just completed my next novel, Survival At Any Cost, and I have submitted it to Lulu.  Whatever the outcome of this competion, Survival At Any Cost, will be published this year.

I have a couple of other projects on the go at the moment and I’m in the process of deciding which one to publish towards the end of 2018.

My Goodreads reading challenge this year is to read 50 books of which most of them will be new authors to me and they will be various genres.



About the author:

Nicole was born in London but has lived in Spain since 2000.  She has loved writing since childhood and won various essay competitions.  She has often though about writing a book but ‘normal’ life prevented it until recently.  In 2001 she married but a few days after her 10th wedding anniversary, her husband died in an accident.  Many people thought that she would return to England but she was adamant that she wanted her two children to remain where they had friends.  She is filled with determination and never gives up.  Despite having to overcome many problems she always tries to be positive and has inspired many people.  Apart from reading and writing she loves animals, walking by the sea, music, yoga, meditation and many other things.  She is a powerful voice in the fictional world of crime.


Book Blurb : A Few Bad Boys

Lucy Fratelli is the girl who has everything – beauty, brains, her own apartment, a close family and friends.  Unfortunately she is hiding a secret from her family and her best friend, Julie.  Lucy knows that she can tell her family and Julie anything but she also knows that if they find out her secret, there will be hell to play.

Terry Fratelli, Lucy’s father, is a gangster and lives for his family.  He will do anything to make them happy and protect them at all costs.  When Lucy’s secret is revealed he will stop at nothing to keep her safe.