Bloody Scotland 2017

So, days after moving house I spent the weekend volunteering and attending events at Bloody Scotland in Stirling.

The weekend kicked off in style with the announcing of the winner of the McIlvanney prize (Denise Mina) and then with a torchlight procession from Stirling castle to the Albert Halls.  

As a volunteer I was positioned about halfway down the route so was able to get an amazing view of the procession as it came down the street. All the volunteers were also offered the opportunity, as we made up the rear of the procession, to carry a torch of our own (something we never expected).  This made an already impressive experience even more amazing and was the perfect way to start the weekend. I headed home after this as I had an early start the next morning.

Day 2 

On Saturday I had the pleasure of working two events.  One was with C.L. Taylor, Sarah Pinborough and Clare Mackintosh who were a joy to listen to and were an excellent panel. The conversation flowed well and I couldn’t believe all 3 of them had only met the night before!  

The second panel was Catriona McPherson, C.F. Peterson and Michael Ridpath. This was a fascinating hour in which all three authors discussed detting their writing in villages and remote places rather than the cities of Scotland such as Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

Shift over I whizzed off to one of the other venues to catch Peter May in discussion with Lin Anderson.

I’ve seen Peter May talk before but it was a pleasure to hear him again. This time he discussed his Enzo series, the fact that all of the publishers in the country turned down The Blackhouse when it was sent to them and becoming a French citizen amongst other topics. All in all a fascinating and entertaining hour.  

After that it was time for a quick lunch before more of Lin Anderson, this time with Ragnar Jonasson and Thomas Enger.  (And the news that Scotland won the Bloody Scotland football match 6-3!!)

During this hour we heard a lullaby that Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul character composed for his unborn son and a lot of discussion about setting novels in countries which get little, if any, daylight in the winter months. It was another excellent panel and I ended up leaving with a copy of Lin Anderson’s new book simply for asking Ragnar where his inspiration for the character of Ari Thor came from. 

Day 3

A shorter day today. First I went to the Denise Mina and Liz Nugent event. 

I missed the beginning of this due to watching Mo Farah win the Great North Run but it was still interesting nonetheless. It was fascinating to hear Denise Mina talking about the people in her latest book, The Long Drop, and her concerns about the book itself. Hearing about the inspiration for Liz Nugent’s, Lying in Wait (a stunning novel), was equally fascinating and added a little more depth to the novel itself. 

After that it was back to work where I had a surreal few minutes in a minibus-taxi with the panelists on the next panel and the lovely Karen Sullivan. Bloody Scotland allows some authors to pitch their novels to publishers in the hope of getting a deal or, at least, a bit more exposure. This next panel was some of the results of that pitch opportunity from the past few years. 

Steph Broadribb, Jospeh Knox and Matt Wesolowski have all had books published as a result of taking part in pitch perfect. I was already aware of them having read Deep Down Dead and had the pleasure of meeting Jospeh Knox at my book group a few months ago but it was fascinating to hear their stories of what happened after they had pitched their novels and how they got from that to being the published authors they are now. 

My last and final event of the day was working on the Chris Brookmyre event. 

Chris spoke for the whole hour (apart from audience questions).  There was an extract from his new book, out in November called Places in the Darkness which sounds like a mix of science fiction and crime and is set on a space station orbiting Earth.  While quite different from his usual books this one does sound intriguing and may possibly bring him a host of new fans.

That was the end of my weekend and what an ending it was. Bloody Scotland is back slightly later next year on 21st September and I, for one, can’t wait. See you then!!

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Taking a short break and other things….

Changes are happening here as I’m moving house next week (Tuesday to be exact!). Apart from doing the blog tours I signed up for I haven’t done anything else recently because of the impending move, and before that, the search for somewhere to move too. This move is not something I chose but was forced upon me by my landlord so you can imagine how stressful it’s been recently. 

Because of this I’ve decided to take a short break from the blog, and twitter, while I move and settle in. However, I am going to be at Bloody Scotland next weekend so will probably have some pictures and tweets to share during that weekend. After that it will be all quiet again until the 12th when I wil be back and taking part in the Orenda blog tour for House of Spines by Michael J Malone.

For the rest of September, October and November I am have some blog tours and reviews scheduled but after that nothing and I’m considering keeping it that way for a while so I can have a proper attempt at getting through my review book pile and Netgalley books.  I need to have a proper think about what I want to do with this blog and that’s what I plan on doing later this year. It’ll still remain a book blog but there may some other changes, only time will tell…….

Blog Tour: Kill Me Twice by Simon Booker

I’m thrilled to be taking part in this tour and have an extract for you today. 

Blurb:   Karl Savage is dead.

He must be. His ex, Anjelica, is in prison for murdering him in an arson attack. Multiple forensic experts testified to finding his charred remains.

So when Anjelica begs investigative journalist Morgan Vine to prove her innocence, it seems an impossible task. It doesn’t matter that Karl was abusive. That Anjelica has a baby to care for. That she’s petrified of fire. The whole world knows Karl is dead.

Then he turns up outside Morgan’s window . . .



Extract:

Stubbing out her cigarette, Morgan stretches her aching arms as far as the roof of the car will allow then turns off the radio. 

And now she sees him. Emerging from the front door, buttoning an elegant grey overcoat with a black velvet collar, a look she associates with smug Tory MPs. He hurries along Harley Street towards Regent’s Park. She climbs out of the Mini, shoving her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket and setting off in pursuit of her second quarry of the day.

Reaching the top of Harley Street the man turns onto Marylebone Road. The traffic is bumper-to-bumper, exhaust fumes and rush-hour tension filling the air. Increasing her pace, Morgan closes the gap between herself and Singh, following as he takes advantage of a red light to cross the road. He turns onto a wide street leading into the park. She falls into step.

‘Mr Singh?’

Without slowing, he turns to scrutinise her face. No trace of recognition.

‘Yes?’

‘Morgan Vine? We met the other day?’

‘Ah, yes.’ He carries on walking. ‘Are you a local?’

‘No. I wanted a quick word.’

‘I’m in rather a hurry.’

‘That’s OK. I’ll walk with you.’

He does nothing to alter his pace. ‘If you insist.’

The tree-lined road runs alongside the park and is bordered by white stucco terraces. The street lighting is a soft pink, the traffic sparse. Once again, she notices the man’s fingernails: bitten to the nub.

‘I need to ask about the arson attack on your house.’

A wary tone enters Singh’s voice. 

‘How do you know about that?’

‘I’m a journalist. It’s my job to know things.’

‘I’m not sure I can help you, so -’

Morgan interrupts. ‘Do you think the attack on your home had anything to do with the Karl Savage investigation?’ No response. ‘The charred corpse you identified as his? The Anjelica Fry case?’

‘I fail to see a connection.’

‘The thing is, Mr Singh, Anjelica is a pyrophobe while Karl Savage is a pyromaniac.’

‘Was,’ says Singh.

‘Excuse me?’

‘Savage was a pyromaniac. He’s dead.’

‘That’s what I want to talk to you about.’

The man stops and turns to face her. ‘Remind me who you work for.’

‘No one,’ says Morgan. ‘I’m a freelance journalist investigating a miscarriage of justice.’

‘And barking up the wrong tree.’


About the author:   Simon Booker is an author and screenwriter.  He has writen a variety of programmes such as The Stepfather for ITV1 and BBC adaptations such as Just William.  He has also worked on other series including The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Holby City and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries starring Diana Rigg.  He has also written romantic comedies for American television such as Perfect Strangers which starred Anna Friel and Rob Lowe.  

Cover Reveal!! The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland

I am thrilled to be involved in the cover reveal for what I think is a very atmospheric and even almost creepy cover. It’s amazing!  Usually for cover reveals I put the book blurb below the cover but this time I’ve put it above because I think, for this book, it works better that way.  

The Secret Mother is out on 9th November, pre-order links below…

UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2xrkDu4
US 🇺🇸
http://amzn.to/2vXeg3W

Blurb: ‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.

Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children. 

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans ofGone Girl, Girl on the Train andThe Sister.


About the author 

Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two sons and Jess their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer songwriter, but now she spends her days writing suspense thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

www.shaliniboland.co.uk

https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

https://www.facebook.com/ShaliniBolandAuthor

Blog Tour Review:  The Collective by R.S. Williams

I’ve always loved pirates and am trying to read more sci-fi and fantasy so when I got the opportunity to review this book (I guessed pirates from the cover) I decided to take the plunge. More info, my review and giveaway are below.

Blurb:   Matilda Gregson never knew a world outside hers existed, that is until Harvey comes along and shows her something beyond her imagination. All that is on Tilly’s mind is finishing her dissertation, getting her degree, and spending time with her friends before the end of the school year. 

But everything changes when she meets Jenny, an agent of a secret society, and nothing prepared either of them for the adventure they are about to endure. Under the pressures of surviving, their friendship grows and they find friends in the most unlikely of places, and betrayal just around the corner.

Will they both be able to stop him before he tears Jenny’s society to the ground?

AmazonUK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1539948390/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738 

Rating: 3.5/5

Review:  This is the story of Matilda (known to everyone as Tilly) who is spending a lot of time in the university library doing her dissertation on pirates. Here she meets Jenny who seems nice but Tilly senses something different about her. These differences become more apparent when she meets Harvey and suddenly not getting peace in the library for research is the least of Tilly’s concerns.  

I loved the premise of this book, the secret society Jenny is involved with is amazing I would love to be able to do what she does. It’s a swiftly moving story that doesn’t let up though it does take a few pages to get into while the scene is set for what happens later, which I can’t say more without giving the story away.  The main reason I didn’t rate this higher is that I didn’t get a clear picture of Tilly and what she’s like. The information was there but I didn’t get a good feel for it and would have liked more depth to her and Jenny. 

There’s a lot in this book and, while it wasn’t exactly what I expected it is an enjoyable read and one that promises more in future books (I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that there’s a sequel coming!).  For the first book it’s a good start and I’m sure it will develop into a fascinating series.


Author Bio:

Rhianne Williams, formally known as RS Williams, writes Fantasy, Adventure and Romance novels. As an avid reader Rhianne has always been in love with the written word and the emotions a good story can create.
Discovering she had a knack for creating stories as a teenager, she started work on her first story. However, at 16 the mundane adult world called her back to an admin job and Rhianne put writing on the back burner until she turned 20. Rediscovering her fascination with writing and creating Rhianne then threw herself back into her writing in 2014.

When she isn’t catching plot bunnies, typing up her creations or writing on her blog, you’ll find her in front of the television watching her favourite shows, spending time with her family and getting lost in others fictional worlds. 

Author Links:

Website: http://www.littlenovelist.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilnovelist

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

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/littl3Novelist/

Instagram: littlenovelist93
The Collective Giveaway
This giveaway is for 1 signed paperback copy of the book. UK only.

 Rafflecopter entry link

Cover Reveal!! Zenka by Alison Brodie

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for this book which Iam also reviewing in November. What a dramatic cover this is!! It just leapt off the screen at me when I first saw it. I can’t wait to read this book and I hope once you’ve seen the cover and read the synopsis that you’l be as excited as I am about it. 

Publication date: 6th November 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Thriller

“She’s the one to die for”

Zenka is a seductive Hungarian pole-dancer with a stubborn streak. When London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not.

“How can you be my guardian angel,” Jack scoffed. “You’re only five foot two.”

Zenka shrugged, “So vat? I am small, but a grenade is also small.”

Jack receives a letter saying he has a son, Nicholas. Nicholas is a wimp, bullied by his flatmate, pussy-whipped by his girlfriend and terrorised by his elderly patients.

Jack is delighted to be a dad, but he has to tread carefully. People are out to harm him and those close to him. Can he use his wealth, wiles and tough-guy contacts to make a man out of this mouse – before his enemies turn him into mincemeat?

Zenka takes charge. She’s going to “bring out the gorilla” in Nicholas. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out exactly where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill … or be killed.

As family ties become more disturbing, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

***

ZENKA is a black comedy/crime thriller/romance set in gangland London in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

***

Praise for ZENKA: “ZENKA is top of my list for best fiction this year. If Tina Fey and Simon Pegg got together to write a dark and hilarious mobster story with a happy ending, ZENKA would be the result!” -Lauren Sapala, Book Reviewer and Writers’ Coach.    

Link to 26 5* reviews for Alison Brodie’s last book, Brake Failure – ALL from top book bloggers: http://www.alisonbrodiebooks.com/untitled

Add to Goodreads

Author Bio:

Alison Brodie is an internationally-published author. GOOD HOUSEKEEPING chose her debut for their Pick of the Paperbacks. The Scottish Daily Mail reviewed ‘Face to Face’: “Vain but wildly funny leading lady.”

Alison has a criminal record for busking/disturbance of the peace in Piccadilly Circus; speeding in Spain and hustling in Athens. She lives in Biarritz, where she can be found speaking unnintelligabuble French.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Blog Tour Review: Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove by Sarah Bennett

Blurb:  A second chance by the sea? When Kiki Jackson’s marriage falls to pieces, there’s only one place that she knows she can escape to – her sister’s little guesthouse in Butterfly Cove.  But she’s worried that turning up on bride-to-be Mia’s doorstep, especially with her two adorable children in tow, will spoil her sister’s imminent wedding plans!  Luckily, handsome neighbour Aaron Spenser offers to share his new cottage with Kiki until she’s back on her feet. And as the wedding draws closer, Kiki realises that Butterfly Cove may be offering her little family more than just a new home…  Maybe this is where her new life begins…?  An uplifting and heartwarming read, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd
Buy Links 

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wedding-Bells-Butterfly-Cove-Book-ebook/dp/B01MS885PW 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Wedding-Bells-Butterfly-Cove-Book-ebook/dp/B01MS885PW 

Amazon CA   https://www.amazon.ca/Wedding-Bells-Butterfly-Cove-Book-ebook/dp/B01MS885PW 

Amazon AU  https://www.amazon.com.au/Wedding-Bells-Butterfly-Cove-Book-ebook/dp/B01MS885PW 

Kobo UK  https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/wedding-bells-at-butterfly-cove-butterfly-cove-book-2 

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wedding-bells-at-butterfly-cove-sarah-bennett/1125488370 

iBooks https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/wedding-bells-at-butterfly-cove-butterfly-cove-book-2/id1203772409?mt=11 

Rating: 4.5/5

Review:  I have to admit I loved this book.  While it deals with some serious issues it does them in a positive and forward looking way. It doesn’t dwell on them but shows the characters moving on and dealing with life’s challenges. 

This book is so well-written that the characters leap off the page at you and you feel involved in what they are doing rather than just an onlooker. All of the characters are clearly developed, none of them are flat and without personality and that comes across really well. I could add more here but than would risk spoilers and I don’t put spopilers in my reviews.

This is one of those books that basically feels like you’re getting a hug when you read it. Although it’s set in the summer it would also be an ideal winter read when the weather is poor and you want nothing more than to cosy up at home with a good book. 



Author Bio:   Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

Author Links
Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/SarahBennettAuthor

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Sarahlou_writes 

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Bennett/e/B01N6J6ZE1