2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood By Heide Goody & Iain M Grant.

Today I am pleased to be on another of Kelly’s fantastic blog tours and this is a festive one. I’m sharing an extract I hope you enjoy it and as ever be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour. I hope this Tuesday treats you well.

Excerpt 1 

 

Guin looked out from the carousel ride. Her dad and Esther had already wandered off. There was Esther’s son, Newton, standing by the nativity scene. He saw her looking and gave her a wave. 

Snow was falling steadily now and it was a blurry screen against the wooden stalls and lights of the market. Through it, Guin caught a glimpse of long hair, big glasses and a hat with furry earflaps. It was the woman who had knocked her to the ground earlier. Guin felt a surge of anger. The bump had been an accident but that didn’t matter. Guin was eleven and bearing grudges took little effort.

The woman was still walking round with her nose in a book! She wasn’t even looking at the stalls! Guin tutted. People had no right to go wandering blindly around Christmas markets, not buying stuff and being a general hazard. The woman should buy something or go home.

Angry though she was, Guin couldn’t help but wonder what was so interesting about a book that could hold the woman’s attention completely. Guin suddenly wanted to know. The curiosity was threatening to overcome her anger, which made her angrier still. There was nothing an angry mind hated more than having its anger reasonably eroded by a more positive emotion.

The carousel slowed to a stop. Guin slid off Pokus the horse and down the wooden steps. Newton stood staring glumly at the nativity scene.

The woman with the heavy book trudged past Newton, each oblivious of the other. The woman had something dangling from the fingertips of the hand supporting the book. It was a five-pointed star, but no Christmas decoration. Even from a distance, Guin could see it was constructed from twigs and string, neatly bound and tightly secured.

Guin decided to follow her. “I’m here,” she said to Newton as she passed.

“Good. Good,” he said, still looking at the carved nativity. “Have fun?”

“Sure,” she said. The book woman was moving off through the crowd. “I’m just going to look at something for a minute.”

“Okay,” said Newton.

In the crowd, following the book woman was difficult. Guin was not tall and the afternoon shoppers pressed in closely, but glimpses of that flappy-eared hat drew her on. She saw the woman, cut away from the stalls and down a side route. However when Guin reached where the woman had been, she was gone. There was just a set of footprints in the settling snow.

They led up a dark and narrow alley between two houses. Here the snow had only fallen in a narrow strip down the centre of the alleyway. Above, the sheer white sky was a thin line between rooftops.

She didn’t see the book and the star on the ground until she’d almost stepped on them. The book lay open on the ground, collecting snowflakes in its pages. The star made of twigs and string lay next to it, like it had been dropped.

Guin turned about. The woman had gone. There were no people in sight at all.

“That’s weird,” she said. She picked up the book and the star.

It was possible she had simply dropped her book. People dropped things all the time. But this was definitely just weird.

 “Just a little way,” she said, under her breath, “and then we’ll go back and find Newton.”

The path behind the houses ran up to a drystone wall. There was something on the ground by the wall: a flat shape draped over the wall. It was hard to make out in the gloom.

Guin made towards it. The shape began to move, sliding slowly over the wall. Guin hurried.

When she got close enough to see what it was, she couldn’t understand what she was seeing. Dangling from the top of the low wall was what appeared to be an arm-length glove. It was a peachy pink, skin coloured. It wasn’t an actual human arm: it was floppy and rubbery and quite lifeless. But if it wasn’t an arm-length glove, in a perfectly realistic skin tone, what was it?

There was something else: fat and round on the ground in front of the wall. Guin recognised that.

As she hurried closer, the arm-glove slid away over the wall as though pulled from the other side. The hand seemed to wave goodbye before disappearing. Guin crouched by the fat round object. It was a big winter hat with furry earflaps. She picked it up. There was something red and sticky on the brim.

Guin heard voices on the other side of the wall. No, not voices exactly, but high-pitched chittering chattering noises that were very much like speech. She stepped closer. Between the top of the low wall and the sweeping boughs of the trees there was only a black-green darkness.

“Hello?” she called.

There was no reply.

“You left your hat here,” she said to the darkness.

There was nothing for several seconds and then Villast, útlendingur.

 The voices sounded close, like they were just over the wall, down by the mossy trunks of the nearest trees. Guin leaned nearer.

 Thank you once again to Kelly for including me on this fabulous tour. As I already stated be sure to check out the rest of the tour. I also want to take this time to apologise for my silence, life has taken over but I’m hoping to spend some of my day off writing reviews and penning posts to share with you all.

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: In the Wake extract

Today I am pleased to be a part of the In the Wake blog tour….sorry it’s late in the day.

Blurb: When a body is found floating in London’s Royal Albert Dock, successful public relations expert Kay Christie is sent to quiet the media, but things get complicated when it emerges that she knew the victim.

As events spiral out of control, Kay discovers that those close to her may be harbouring another secret – the story of a missing girl. Can Kay discover the truth before her life unravels and she risks losing everything?

In the Wake questions whether we can ever truly leave our pasts behind and explores the lengths that we will go to protect the people that we love.

And now onto the extract that I’m to share with you today.

Kay’s mind was back with the body. She needed another look. She needed longer to go over the features of the face. It could be anybody. How could she see from up there? She remembered

the policeman. He was at a similar distance away. She could remember the cleft of a deep wrinkle across his forehead. Could she trust her own eyes?

Belinda turned down the television so Kay could only just hear the satisfying clonk of darts thudding into the board. The boat gave off an insulated hum of electricity. The tap dripped.

“Look, you’ll find this out tomorrow anyway. It’s a murder,” Belinda said.

“Murder?” asked Kay, feigning surprise. The only surprising element was that Belinda had worked it out so quickly. She really was rather capable.

“It’s a man,” said Belinda. Kay’s pulse quickened and her stomach turned over the wine, already too much wine. She felt acid rising into her mouth. Belinda’s news desk had been listening to police radio. They knew someone who worked at the mortuary. This person had been paid two hundred pounds to keep them informed. Belinda probably knew more at this point than the police. Kay wondered if she knew about her dad.

“One of the ears has been cut off,” said Belinda. “Apparently it is common in gang related murder.” All this talk of a severed ear. How had Kay missed such a crucial detail? She had only glimpsed for a few seconds. Was the ear the source of the foam on the face? No. That wasn’t at the side. The foam was at the nostrils and mouth. Kay had seen his left side and there was something wrapped around the head. Dark material. Yes. She had seen that. That must have been where the ear had been cut

off.

“You’re shivering,” Belinda said and she opened the stove to heap on another log. “Wasn’t carrying a wallet, unfortunately. We’ll get ID soon enough, got all my sources working on it. They’re pulling dental records now.” 

But Kay had missed what Belinda was saying. She had already got up and rushed to the bathroom.

It felt that Belinda’s boat, rather than being moored in Canary Wharf’s basin, was moving in a rough sea. Like it was being thrown around. But the storm was inside Kay’s head.

She made it to the sink and splashed water on her face and looked at her ashen expression in the reflection of a porthole. If Kay was right, if he was who she thought, she knew Belinda would recognise him too. His name repeated in her head: Lance Corporal Benedict Phillips.

 Be sure to check out the rest of the tour…

 

 

2019, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: I Can See The Lights By Russ Litten

Today I am pleased to be sharing a cover courtesy of Kelly @ Love Books Group. I must say I’m intrigued by this cover…

If like me you want to know more about this story…then look no further.

Blurb: The prose poems in I Can See The Lights are earthy and raw, but also incredibly sensitive. It’s pretty much guaranteed that more than one of them will bring you to tears. Characters are vividly brought to life, and stark but warm environments evoked in a down to earth, yet almost painterly manner by Russ Litten’s uncompromising voice.

Tales of home, of un-belonging, of strife at sea – of a northern city’s beating heart. Told in a mesmeric, stripped-down tone, this collection is a work of genius.

Author Bio:

Russ Litten is the author of the novels Scream If You Want To Go Faster, Swear Down, Kingdom and the short story collection We Know What We Are.

As one half of the electronic storytelling duo Cobby and Litten, he has released three spoken word/electronica albums My People Come From The Sea, Boothferry and Pound Shop Communism.

He has written for TV, radio and film and has worked as a writer in residence at various prisons and youth offender units. I Can See The Lights is his first poetry collection. 

2019, Self Care Sunday, Uncategorized

Self Care Sunday

Well it sure has been a while since I wrote one of these posts. Last Sunday I threw myself into work having said goodbye to my favourite Boyz on the Friday and having celebrated Halloween early on the Saturday by Sunday I was ready to work and not think about anything that might make me emotional.

I haven’t listened to anything remotely Boyzone since that Friday. Since starting in the cinema on the 1st October I’ve been well and truly loving life. Throwing myself into work being a team player and working lots of extra hours today I’m feeling kinda sleepy so it’s a coffee day, I came home and had a Baileys hot chocolate this morning I’ve been half catching up on the soaps alongside some family time coffee and Heidi Swain’s latest The Christmas Wish List which got me thinking of when we wrote lists to promote the novel.

I then explained what the lists were about to my 7 year-old niece and she’s started writing hers.

So far we have advent calendar chocolate, making gingerbread men and a good ole family roast. When my 4 year-old niece next comes over I will be getting her to do the same. It’s the start of November and this is my third Christmas book this year each of them have given me all the feels although this morning in my tired state I swear I could smell mulled wine in just reading it. My sister in law yesterday mentioned a plum & Cinnamon gin and that sounds like Christmas in a nutshell.

I’ve loved making a little time for me this morning- I’m honestly loving my job I do need to balance my sleep pattern ended up having the Baileys hot chocolate with an episode of 13 Reasons at the stupidest time this morning and I may have placed an order with Superdrug that I’m now on my way to collect before I get the bus into work. So very soon I will be back with Hattie and Dolly.

This is me trying to not look like a Halloween ghoul. If you love what you’re doing it will never be a chore.

How is your Sunday fairing? Tell me your plans are we reading, watching TV or films.

I also have one of these to enjoy later when on my break they are simply divine. Any of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know I love an Irish coffee or two.

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: The Christmas Wish List By Heidi Swain

Today I am overjoyed to be on the blog tour for The Christmas Wish List.

It’s always a pleasure to be invited onto a Simon & Schuster blog tour, not only are they a pleasure to work with their authors are also amazing and Heidi is one of my absolute favourites.

Having just last month started a new job I’ve been somewhat juggling my reading alongside saying goodbye to my favourite Boyz I seem to have had everything come at once.

So today I should be sharing my review, instead I will be sharing my thoughts so far and telling you about Heidi’s latest festive offering.

Blurb: After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

My thoughts so far….I’m loving Hattie and Dolly’s relationship. It instantly made me miss my Nan. We had such a close relationship and right up to the end I was going round for tea and to watch films. I’m questionable about Johnathan but there have been so many little things that have made me smile.

I will be reviewing this properly as soon as. Make sure you check out the rest of the tour I would like to take the time to thank Simon & Schuster again for my gorgeous package which I forgot to take a picture of and I’m now at work…

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: So Lucky By Dawn O’Porter

Blurb: Fearless, frank and for anyone who’s ever doubted themselves, So Lucky is the straight-talking new novel from the Sunday Times bestseller.

IS ANYONE’S LIFE . . .

Beth shows that women really can have it all.

Ruby lives life by her own rules.

And then there’s Lauren, living the dream.

AS PERFECT AS IT LOOKS?

 Beth hasn’t had sex in a year.

Ruby feels like she’s failing.

Lauren’s happiness is fake news.

And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out…

The bold and brilliant new novel from Dawn O’Porter, the bestselling author of The Cows.

Review: Firstly, I’m sorry that this has come so late in the day. What I must say is I love that blog tours take me out of my comfort zone and hand me books I would have missed. Until now I haven’t read anything by Dawn but I will definitely look into more from her.

So Lucky is a frank and very real book about three separate women and many others who feature alongside them. Showing that each of us have our own worries and strains in everyday life. Re-enforcing the quote you don’t know what others are battling as we are all on our own personal journeys. I loved that Lauren seems completely happy on the outset but even she is facing her own issues.

I’m a 35 year old woman who has just this month moved to a job where most of my colleagues are younger than me, but I’ve never felt happier. That’s not saying that my life is perfect and where I want it to be, because it’s not. I have many hang ups that are still getting me down but slowly but surely I’m battling them and this book has given me food for thought and something to smile at. We are all a work in progress and we all need to give ourselves a break with a bit of self love.

I am wholeheartedly trying to embrace a fully more positive mindset and so far so good.

Be sure to check out the book and the rest of the tour.

2019, Blog Tour, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: The Final Trail By AA Abbott

It’s always a pleasure to receive an email from Kelly @LoveBooksGroup so when this one pinged through my instant response was yes.

I just love looking at book covers and this deep purple fits the time of year perfectly.

I haven’t read any of this series but I must say I’m left feeling deeply intrigued.

What are your thoughts?

If that isn’t enough to wet your appetite here is a bit more about the book itself.

THE LAST EDITION OF TENSE CRIME THRILLER

SERIES SET IN BIRMINGHAM

RECEIVES CITY CENTRE LAUNCH

Birmingham has well and truly been put on the crime thriller map with the success of the TV series Peaky Blinders but for bookworms amongst us the popular Trail Series has long brought readers into the modern day 21st century with its tense storylines, murder and intrigue set in and around the city.

The Trail series features a vodka business, a cancer cure and obsessive killers. Every book is a good read in its own right – each is a great crime story with terrific twists to keep the tension mounting – but together, they follow the same characters over several years.

The Trail series author AA Abbott also known as Helen Blenkinsop, has been compared with the likes of Ruth Rendell, John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer.  She lived and studied in Birmingham for nearly 20 years and her passion and love for the city became the inspiration for the Trail series.

Now, after four successful editions the last storyline will be revealed in the publication of THE FINAL TRAIL which will be launched in Birmingham on 28th October.

In the last book …”Glamorous Kat White has built a successful craft vodka brand in Birmingham, but she has an uneasy relationship with her business partner, Marty Bridges. Her mother had previously supplied with poisonous vodka. Marty doesn’t trust Kat, resents having to depend on her for commercial success, and isn’t thrilled that his eldest son wants to marry her. That’s not his biggest problem, though. He’s trying to develop a cancer drug with Kat’s brother, Erik, and it’s draining money he doesn’t have. Just as he finds an investor with pockets deep enough to fund their research, Erik is lured to the former Soviet Union and thrown into jail. Meanwhile, Ben Halloran, who killed his father to save Kat’s life, is faced with the twin risks of a murder charge and his brother’s deep-seated desire for revenge. Can Ben escape with his life and liberty? And can Marty save both Erik and his business – and learn to trust Kat?”

Helen said “I’ve been writing about these amazing characters for over 5 years, so you can imagine, they have become a part of my life. It’s been a great journey and they have come through so many storylines that it feels right for them to achieve their dreams at last.”

Most of the action in THE FINAL TRAIL takes place across the city and features the famous Rose Villa Tavern and 1,000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter; The Mailbox, home to the BBC in Birmingham, Holloway Head by the famous Pagoda Island and locations in Harborne and Edgbaston.

Helen added “It’s going to be very sad to launch the last book as the stories and characters have built up such a following but it will give me the opportunity to weave new and exciting tales – I have so many ideas buzzing in my head.”

THE FINALTRAIL is a perfect read for those who like a fast-paced crime thriller combined with suspense, humour and plot twists.  It’s ideal to take away on holiday and provides a great read during the autumn/winter nights.

THE FINALTRAIL will be available to order from Amazon in e-book, paperback and  dyslexia-friendly format from Monday 28th October 2019.

Website:  https://aaabbott.co.uk/   

Twitter:  @AAAbbottstories

Blurb:

Family feuds just got bloodier… A gripping thriller, and a great story of death, revenge and vodka.

To save glamorous Kat White’s life, Ben Halloran killed his gangster father. Now his brother wants to even the score.

The gripping Trail series of British crime thrillers reaches its dramatic conclusion in this compelling page turner.  

Twitter Handles 

@AAAbbottstories

Buy Link

https://amzn.to/2BJmoHg

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Q&A with Dean Burnett

Today I’m lucky enough to have two fantastic blog tour posts and this is a Q&A with Dean Burnett, the book Psycho-logical was very aptly released on World Mental Health Day.

1. What was your inspiration for writing Psycho-logical?

I’ve been writing about mental health matters for many years now, and people seem to really like when I do, and find it useful. I’ve long wanted to put all my knowledge down in a book, I figured that’d be even more helpful, Audible offered the opportunity to do so, so I took it

2. What do you hope readers get from it? And who are you aiming this audiobook at?

I’m hoping to ‘ground’ mental health matters in more tangible ways. By explaining the mechanisms and actual workings of the brain in things like depression etc, I can hopefully reduce stigma and further understanding. It’s aimed at literally anyone who struggles with, knows anyone who struggles with, or is just interested in, mental health issues.

3. I think it’s a subject we should speak about more and it’s something that needs to be done in a controlled manner. Would you agree?

Indeed. While I think it’s important that people can share their experiences, I feel it can often lead to things getting out of hand, and discussions can lose sight of the actual facts, as we see them

4. What’s your average writing day?

It’s mostly spent in my garden, where I have a dedicated writing cabin. It’s basically me, sat in a wooden box, typing for many hours a day, occasionally disrupted by my cat fighting other neighbourhood cats on the roof 

5. Did writing this audiobook take it out of you emotionally as well as physically?

Perhaps a bit, but this effect was mitigated by the fact that it’s all stuff I’ve been writing and teaching about for years. Hearing the contributions from my friends who shared their mental health experiences was often very moving though. 

6. Where would you like mental health to be in 5 years time? Do you think as a society we would have moved on into a way of helping rather than of taboo?

I wouldn’t be able to say exactly where mental health will be, but the progress has been good and I’m hoping it will continue. It’s more widely accepted and acknowledged now, compared to how it was, but i’d like to increase understanding and acceptance of the mechanisms and science, rather than a focus on inspirational memes or well-meant but largely meaningless platitudes

7. Who are your biggest inspirations in terms of writing and why?

I don’t really have specific inspirations or role models, I’ve always been sceptical about the idea of modelling your life and goals on someone else’s. I think, if I had to pick though, it was Spike Milligan who had the biggest impact, especially his war diaries. The mix of brilliant humour and deep tragedy and introspective analysis showed me that it was possible to do such a thing.

8. Did you write this from personal experience, and if so can you explain?

All the stuff I write is things I’ve learned, but I don’t have mental health problems of my own thus far. However, my background, growing up in a pub in a remote economically-depressed community, as well as being a resident of Bridgend and the suicide spate in the late 2000s, these all informed my compassionate approach and constant desire to improve mental health understanding.

9. What is your advice for anyone suffering?

It’s tricky. There’s so much advice out there, and a lot of it is contradictory or well-meant but ineffective. I guess I’d just want to point out that your issues and your suffering is genuine, and anyone dismissing it has no right to do so. It’s your mind, only you can say what goes on in it

10. What do you hope to Psycho-logical achieves?

I’m hoping it can reduce fear and uncertainty, and hopefully stigma, around mental health. If just one person feels better about their issues or situation, that would be enough.

Thank you Dean for joining me today…if you would like to know more about the book here is the blurb.

Countless charities and awareness campaigns work tirelessly to show people that mental health problems are common and serious issues. But when it comes to mental health matters, one question that’s rarely asked is…why?   

Why are conditions like depression and anxiety so common?

Why is our mental health so vulnerable to the stresses and events of modern life?

Why do so many mental health problems have pronounced physical symptoms?

Why, if mental health problems are so commonplace, does anyone need to be made ‘aware’ of them in the first place?

And why is there still so much confusion and stigma about mental health matters?   

 

 

2019, Blog Tour, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: The Dead Of Winter by A B Gibson

Today I am pleased to be sharing two posts from two very different blog tours. See you get a delay from me and then bam two lots of goodness.

So without further ado I thank Kelly @ Love Books for inviting me on this tour. Today I will be sharing an extract from the book.

Blurb: Four young professionals pick the wrong weekend to visit a popular Pumpkin Patch Bed and Breakfast. It’s the last day of the season, and the weather and the farm are picture-perfect. Ma and Pa Winter are the consummate hosts, and they immediately win over Dillon, Tara, Josh and Julia with their homespun authenticity. Like the thousands of other visitors to Winters Farm and Orchard, the four are eager to pick apples and pumpkins and take the challenge of the Giant Corn Maze. But Ma Winter has other plans. A scary moonlight hayride spirals into a frantic twenty-four hours of deception and mayhem, and the group find themselves unwilling participants in a horrific family tradition.  

Dead of Winter purchase link

And here is the extract:

PA’S ROUGH, CALLOUSED HANDS HELPED steady the thirty-odd passengers up the steep and rickety steps of the old-fashioned hay wagon, where square bales lined the wooden fence-like railings for seating. The fresh, pungent aroma of the extra hay covering the floor added pleasant authenticity to the atmosphere, and a good whiff of Pas boozy breath added an element of danger.

The tall and ancient John Deere tractor with its rusted smokestack and pipes sticking out from all sides was reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting, and with giant tires as tall as Pa, the contraption appeared to be more than up to the task of pulling a wagon full of adults. To help seat her passengers, Ma used her flashlight like an usher, and she encouraged them to squeeze together and get cozy. Tara and Dillon found two bales next to each other and huddled under one of the quilts they brought along from the bonfire. Josh and Julia shared another, but they conspicuously did not huddle.

A nervous Carrie avoided eye contact with Ma as she boarded the wagon. She tried to slide unobtrusively on the bale next to Dillon, but Ma was quick to flash her light on an empty seat on the other side of the wagon and told her to sit there. “You know, for balance.” It was neither given nor interpreted as a suggestion, and Carrie reluctantly obeyed her order and made the switch.

Dillon lied to make her feel less afraid. “They probably shift people around all the time, like they do on small planes.” When Ma gave Pa a strange hand signal, he sensed another setup. “Uh-oh. This is going to be good,” he whispered to Tara.

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour

2019, Bath, beauty

Blogtober was….

Going so well until yesterday. Yesterday was my first ever late shift in my new job so I had no excuses really as I was at home for a massive chunk of the day, although I did run some errands and wash my hair and time just slipped by. I’d meant to post on my break and ended up reading.

My reading has been so so and actually having proper breaks means I get some in which is good. There’s probably a number of half started posts I could have finished but needed something light as I have a banging headache and should be sleeping now….

So…

This is the Body Shops coffee face mask and oh my I probably needed this in my system today. It’s very similar to that of Lush’s cup of coffee which has been a favourite for a while.

So what can I say about this. If you don’t like coffee steer clear as it’s a very strong and distinctive smell of caffeine. Which works for me. It also makes my face feel soft and hydrated.

Now here’s for one of those awful pics of me.

Ok so there’s two terrifying pics of me. Excuse the state but this stuff is fab. It’s worth every penny.

I’m sorry yesterday there was no post I’m eager to add different content to the blog and I would love to spend one day of my week answering questions here on Hayley Reviews so hit me..