Blog Tour

Blog Tour: The One by John Marrs – Review

The OneA big welcome today to John Marrs and the blog tour for his novel, The One which was published as an eBook in January with the paperback following in May 2017.

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

 

Chris’s verdict on The One:

Imagine a world where all it takes to find your prefect partner is a simple DNA test. Should you follow the science and seek out that person, or follow convention and see where your heart leads you?

The book follows the stories of several individuals who are drawn together because they have received a notice from the DNA match website identifying their match. The characters are a strange group – Intellectuals, officials and even a serial killer.

The One BannerI found that the book asks various questions; if you find your perfect match will you love them? If you fall in love with someone other than your match then will it, or can it, work out? And if you have met your perfect match will they love you despite your flaws?

The stories all occur simultaneously, following linear time though out the book, with individual chapters for each character which works wonderfully so as to draw you though the book as you always want to know what is going to happen to X or Y next.

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Blog Tour: The Hit by Nadia Dalbuono – Review

The HitThe Hit by Nadia Dalbuono was released on 9th February 2017 by Scribe UK.

The investigation of a hit-and-run in Rome leads Detective Leone Scamarcio on a deadly journey to confront his Mafia past.

When Leone Scamarcio is called to investigate an apparent hit-and-run, it seems like a job for a traffic officer, not one of Rome’s top detectives.

But when the victims are kidnapped on their way to the hospital, and Scamarcio discovers that they are the family of one of the country’s top television executives, the infamous Micky Proietti, things start to get interesting. Everyone, it seems ― from Premier League footballers to jilted starlets and even the Calabrian Mafia ― has an axe to grind with Proietti.

As Scamarcio delves into the underbelly of Italian show business, he discovers a possible connection between this investigation and his own Mafia father’s right-hand man. To solve the case he must travel home to Calabria, but can he finally banish the ghosts of the past?

 

My verdict on The Hit:

Detective Leone Scamarcio is back for his third novel in The Hit.

High flying TV executive Micky Proietti seems to be living the charmed life. He has a successful and lucrative career, a beautiful wife and a perfect son.

Then, when the three of them are in an accident, it is only due to the quick thinking of the driver that they are not all killed. Micky makes it to the hospital, his family doesn’t. They disappear. They’ve been kidnapped. Scamarcio is then in a race against time before this family is hurt further. His enquiries soon unearth secrets he didn’t expect and the investigation means he has to go back to his own past too.

This was my introduction to this series. I had not read the previous two novels. For the overall plot, this wasn’t an issue. You can pick this up and follow it. However, the only advantage in reading the first two before this one is that there are certain passages that elude to an incident in Scamarcio’s past so reading more in the series might give you more of an insight into that.

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Blog Tour: Helen Fields Shares An Extract From Perfect Remains

51ed9jd2HkLA huge lovely welcome today to Helen Fields and the blog tour for her new novel, Perfect Remains (a DI Callanach thriller,) which was released by Avon on 26th January 2017. 

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

 

Helen and Avon have kindly shared an extract from Perfect Remains. Enjoy! 

Jayne Magee was about as unlikely a target as anyone could imagine. There was no suggestion that Elaine Buxton was a regular at any church at all, so religion wasn’t the link. The pathologist hadn’t been able to estimate Elaine’s time of death, meaning they had no established pattern to follow, only the knowledge that she’d been missing sixteen days before her body was found. This time, the abductor might keep Jayne alive for weeks or she could be dead already. The killer had become a male in Callanach’s mind. There was no evidence, nothing solid, only years of past cases and what was screamingly obvious. Maybe it was more than one person, he considered, but Ava was right about looking at personality first. He couldn’t see such an obsessive character working well as a team player.

Callanach met with Jayne Magee’s assistant, Ann Burt, that afternoon. She dropped a dripping umbrella into Callanach’s bin then removed and folded her headscarf before sitting down.

Callanach instinctively tidied his desk as she settled in. Stick thin, shrill and at the far end of her sixties, he guessed, Ann Burt told it like it was. She reminded him of his grandmother, distant though those memories were.

‘So I’m talking to the detective inspector, am I?’ she began. ‘You’re the third person I’ve repeated myself to today. Would you like to tell me what’s going on?’

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Blog Tour: Clare Swatman Talks About Her Debut Novel, Before You Go

Clare_SwatmanIt’s blog tour day for the brilliant debut novel, Before You Go by Clare Swatman. 

When Zoe’s husband Ed dies, her world caves in. But what if Zoe can get Ed back?

You find your soulmate . . . 

Some people stare love in the face for years before they find it. Zoe and Ed fumbled their way into adulthood, both on different paths – but always in the same direction. Years later, having navigated dead-end jobs and chaotic house shares, romance finally blossoms. Their future together looks set . . . 

Then the unthinkable happens.

One morning, on his way to work, Ed is knocked off his bike and dies. Now Zoe must find a way to survive. But she’s not ready to let go of the memories. How can she forget all of the happy times, their first kiss, everything they’d built together? Zoe decides she has to tell Ed all the things she never said. 

Now it’s too late. Or is it?

 

I’ve reviewed Before You Go below but first, I had a chat with Clare about her novel and her writing process. Hi Clare, thank you so much for joining me today. Your new book is called Before You Go. Could you tell me a little about it and what inspired it?

Thank you for having me. Before You Go is the story of Zoe and Ed. When Ed dies Zoe is left grieving and wishing she could go back and say all the things she didn’t say to him before he died. Then one day, after hitting her head, she wakes up as her 18 year old self, and realises that, for whatever reason, she’s back in the very first day she met Ed, and that she’s going to get the chance to see him again. Slowly, she realises she might even have been given the chance to change the past – and her future. It’s a story about enduring love, and regrets, and second chances.

Most of my ideas are inspired by people’s real stories. I was a true life magazine journalist for years and found that people’s real stories were actually a lot more interesting than anything you could make up! The spark for this came from a story I read about a woman who had an accident and when she woke up she thought she was 17 and didn’t know who her husband and kids were. Although this isn’t what Before You go is about, it got me thinking about what it would be like to wake up as a 17 year old again – and that sparked the idea for the book.

 

Which writers inspire you?

Margaret Atwood has always been one of my favourite writers. I love the way she writes really simply but conveys so much. I also adore Maggie O’Farrell. For me her stories just flow beautifully and her characters zing from the page. Her writing makes me want to be better. Last year I also really enjoyed the quirkiness of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon so I hope she becomes one of my favourite authors, and I love Kate Atkinson too; although her books require a bit of concentration, they’re worth it!

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Blog Tour: Gilding The Lily by Justine John – What Makes A Good Novel

justine profile photo Gilding The LilyThe blog tour train rolls in today. I am pleased to be welcoming Justine John to Novel Kicks. Her latest novel, Gilding The Lily was released on 24th November 2016.

A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…

I’ve reviewed Gilding The Lily below but first, Justine talks to us about what she feels makes a good novel. Over to you, Justine.

I’ve read a fair amount of books and the ones that I enjoy most are the ones that keep me guessing until the very end, and then for it to be a real wow-factor.

I love to see body language in a setting or a discussion and I like to be able to understand what the character is feeling, so I get to know them, their peculiarities and their traits. That makes them real for me.

Recently I read a novel, where I guessed who the culprit might be half way through – but I also thought ‘no, this writer is too clever – she is leading me up the garden path and in the end it will be someone else’. It made the story almost more intriguing. But the end revealed that the killer was who I thought it was after all. For me it was a big let-down and I was truly disappointed. It also put me off buying the writers next novel. It was well written, grammatically speaking, and the paragraphs, points of view and story rolled and built up nicely. It was just the ending that let me down.

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Blog Tour: Amanda Brooke Talks About Her New Novel, The Affair

amanda-brooke-credit-mark-mcnulty-use2011Today, I am welcoming Amanda Brooke and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Affair which was released by Harper on 10th November in electronic form with the paperback release due for 12th January. 

A shocking story about a fifteen-year-old girl and the man who took advantage of her

“You might as well know from the start, I’m not going to tell on him and I don’t care how much trouble I get in. It’s not like it could get any worse than it already is.

I can’t. Don’t ask me why, I just can’t.”

When Nina finds out that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, is pregnant, her world falls apart. Because Scarlet won’t tell anyone who the father is. And Nina is scared that the answer will destroy everything.

As the suspects mount – from Scarlett’s teacher to Nina’s new husband of less than a year – Nina searches for the truth: no matter what the cost.

 

Hello Amanda. Thank you so much for joining me on Novel Kicks today. Your new book is called The Affair. Can you tell me a little about it and how the idea originated?

Thank you for inviting me on to Novel Kicks, it’s lovely to be here again! The Affair begins with the news that fifteen year old Scarlett is pregnant to a married man. She won’t say who it is, but the two likely candidates are her stepfather and her teacher. The story is told from the point of view of the men’s wives; Scarlett’s mum, Nina and teacher’s wife, Vikki. I also introduce Scarlett’s voice as a narrator, and she describes the early days of her relationship and how she feels when the accusations start to fly. I’m not sure how much I can say about how the idea originated without giving too much away. I had a scene in my head of a schoolgirl watching from the periphery while other people’s lives fell apart. She wasn’t meant to be the focal point of the book, other than perhaps a final reveal, but after long chats with my editor, the premise of the story morphed into something quite different, and it was both a pleasure and a challenge to write.

 

Can you describe what your typical writing day is like? Any rituals like needing tea or writing in silence?

You’ve asked that question at a very exciting time, because I gave up work this month to write full-time. I’ve spent thirty-one years in local government and for the last five I’ve been juggling two careers, fitting in my writing around the day job. I can tell you what I plan to do, which is to concentrate on my writing in the morning, which allows me to spend the rest of the day thinking about what I’ve written and where I need to take the story next. I’m conscious that working from home will be quite sedentary, so I’ve had my treadmill adapted, with a small desk that fits on top of the handlebars. My first hour of writing will be spent walking and typing so I can wake up my body and brain at the same time. As I’ve said, that’s only the plan so you might need to ask me again in a year’s time to see if I’ve kept to it.

 

the-affair-pbHow do you approach writing your novels? Are you much of a planner and need to know your characters well and plot inside out? Do you edit as you go?

When I have an idea for a story, I like to mull it over in my head for a while before I commit to paper. The starting point is a two page synopsis, which doesn’t necessarily cover sub-plots or minor characters but should be enough to capture the essence of the story. My next task is to cut up the synopsis into about twelve sections, which in theory will be the chapters and, if nothing else, it gives me some reassurance that I have enough of a story for a full length manuscript. When I’m ready to start writing, I tend to have a very clear idea of the opening and final scenes, but the rest of the book remains relatively fluid. I enjoy getting to know my characters and they’re the ones who fuel my imagination as I go along, creating situations and conflict I never could have imagined from the start. In terms of editing, I see that first draft almost as a test run, it’s only during the subsequent rewrites that I really get to know the story.

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Blog Tour: Christmas Cheer (Willow Cottage) by Bella Osborne – Extract and Review

Bella OsborneOK, I admit it, I already have the Christmas songs playing and if I could get away with it, I would already have my tree up. I adore this time of year. I love the songs, the lights and any excuse to dig out the Christmas films whilst eating mince pies.

One of the things I love the most are the Christmas themed novels. I am very excited to say that Bella Osborne is with Novel Kicks today (welcome back, Bella,) with the blog tour for her latest Christmas themed novel, Christmas Cheer which is the second book in the Willow Cottage series.

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric!

A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Thanks to Bella and Avon, we have an extract from Christmas Cheer. Enjoy…

‘Carly!’ said Beth, her voice sharp.

Carly spun in Beth’s direction with an exaggerated movement. With slow blinks she looked at Beth until something registered.

‘Beth! This is … um … what was your name again?’ She swung precariously back towards Jack who stopped her falling on him with one hand whilst holding the pub table steady with the other.

‘I know who it is.’ Beth was trying to suppress the annoyance that was rapidly developing within her.

‘He’s lov-erly,’ cooed Carly whilst she stroked his arm in a deliberate action.

‘I’d like to know what he’s planning on doing with my drunk friend?’ Beth retorted. Jack let go of

Carly as if she were a lit firework.

As the accusation slowly registered, Carly looked hurt. ‘I’m not dunk!’ she protested as she slowly slid towards the floor.

Jack was looking blindly from one woman to the other as if he’d just been teleported there. ‘I was just …’

‘For someone that wasn’t looking for a relationship a few hours ago you’ve sure as hell come round to the idea quick!’ Beth stepped forward and grabbed Carly by one arm and hauled her into a standing position. ‘Come on! We’re leaving now.’

Carly wobbled on unsteady legs, grinned inanely at Jack and was towed away.

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Blog Tour: Extract From All She Ever Wished For By Claudia Carroll

All She Ever Wished For Claudia CarrollI’m excited to be welcoming Claudia Carroll (best-selling author and all round lovely lady,) back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her new book, All She Ever Wished For which was released by Avon on 6th October. 

Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?

One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…

All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…

Thanks to Claudia and the lovely people at Avon, I have an extract from All She Ever Wished For to share with you. Enjoy! 

The present

‘The main thing is not to panic,’ says Bernard, my hubby-to-be, when I call to fill him in on what’s just happened, my imminent heart attack, etc.

‘Try not to panic?’ I say, doing the exact polar opposite. ‘Bernard, I’ve just been summoned for jury service, bloody jury service and you’re telling me not to panic?’

Claudia Carroll

Claudia Carroll

I consult the now half-scrunched letter in my hand for about the thousandth time today. ‘Here it is in cold, hard print. I’ve got to be at the Criminal Courts of Justice at 9 a.m. this coming Monday morning. So forgive me for panicking when this lands on me less than a month and counting before D-Day! Do you realise how much there’s still left to do?’

It’s a rhetorical question; of course Bernard hasn’t the first clue what’s left to do. After all, he’s a forty-three-year-old heterosexual male. What the hell does he know about weddingy floral centrepieces or alternate menu choices for coeliac lacto-ovo vegetarians?

‘Now I strongly suggest you stay calm dearest,’ Bernard says patiently. ‘All this panic is getting you nowhere.

A nice cup of tea, that’ll soon set you to rights.’

Bernard, it has to be said, thinks that there’s no drama in this life that can’t be instantly righted with a cup of Clipper gold blend.

‘The thing you have to understand,’ I sigh, regrouping and trying my best to keep cool, ‘is that with a wedding like this, there’s a whole clatter of stuff that you can only leave till these last, precious few weeks. So there’s no way in hell I can handle something as huge as jury service right now. Besides, I’ve got my family and pals all roped into helping me out before the big day, how could I possibly just skive off to court and leave them to do all the heavy lifting for me?’

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Blog Tour: If I Only Had A Duke by Lenora Bell – Author Interview and Book Review

41I5v96odWL._UX250_I’m very happy to be welcoming Lenora Bell to Novel Kicks today and her blog tour for the latest novel in the Disgraceful Duke series, If I Only Had a Duke which is due to be released by Piatkus on 30th August 2016.

After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

Well, the duke ruined her plans and now he’ll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage – he uses dalliances to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart . . . and he’s losing it to Thea.

I’ve reviewed the book below but first, I’ve had a chat with Lenora. Hi Lenora, thank you so much for joining me today. First, can you tell me a little about your typical writing day and how many words you aim to write on a daily basis.

Hi Laura! Thanks for having me here at Novel Kicks! I see you have a cat named Buddy. Every writer should have a cat, don’t you think? They’re such good companions for long writing sessions. They just curl up and sleep to the sound of your clicking fingers on the keyboard as if it were rain pattering on a tin roof. (Yes, Lenora, I totally agree!)

Writing for me is both agony and ecstasy. There is a certain amount of slogging through the trenches that needs to happen before the words on the page learn to fly. A typical writing day for me means churning out extremely rough stream-of-consciousness pages and then spending three times as many hours trying to wrestle those rough pages into something fit to be seen by other eyes. I may have ten rough pages and only produce one edited page *sigh*. But when things go right there truly is no better feeling.

 

Do you have any writing rituals (plenty of coffee, writing in silence etc?)

Coffee, of course! Absolutely necessary for those late night writing binges. I find what helps me the most to focus on the emotional heart of scenes is to do some yoga and light a candle before I write, and then stop every hour or so and take a quick yoga break. It helps me focus as well as helps stretch all those cramped writing muscles.

 

Your new book, If I Only Had a Duke is the second in the Disgraceful Duke series. Can you tell me about it?

I’m so excited about this book! It’s the second in the Disgraceful Dukes series and is loosely inspired by the Wizard of Oz. If you read it with that in mind you’ll find subtle references throughout the novel. This is the story of Lady Dorothea Beaumont, who’s had more than enough of her family’s scheming and just wants to escape from London and live a quiet life as a spinster, and Dalton, Duke of Osborne, who uses public spectacle to distract from his true purpose—finding the man who destroyed his family.

 

How did you approach writing this novel in terms of planning and research?

I worked closely with my fabulous editor at Avon Books, Amanda Bergeron, on planning and plotting. Sometimes my plots tend to wander and she always reined me in and redirected me to the heart of the story. As for research, I read books and watched videos on everything from Regency-era traveling coaches, ships, and gaming hells to etiquette and recipes for trifle. It was tons of fun!

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Extract: Because of You by Helene Fermont

Because of you Hélene FermontBecause of You by Helene Fermont is released today by Fridhem Publishing.

Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to. 

Thanks to Hélene, Fridhem and Palamedes PR, we have an exclusive extract to share with you. Enjoy.

As soon as Easter and Passover were over, Hannah organised a meeting between her grandmother and friends. “I booked a table at Cosmo,” she told the girls. “Ella and Granny’s old friends Katja and Tanya will be joining us.” May was approaching and with it, sunny hot weather. The ladies made the effort to look their best.

Opting to wear a light blue dress, her hair in a soft shade of red perfectly matching her lips, Zipporah admired Tanya and Katja’s bright kaftans, the latter wearing a turban to conceal her loss of hair due to old age. Meanwhile, Hannah assisted dressing Ella, choosing a lavender dress with matching jacket. Rosie and Sanna also made the effort to dress up.

Seated at the large table in the buzzing restaurant overlooking the crowd around them, Rosie kept thinking everyone looked wonderful. “You look years younger than your actual age!” she blurted out, referring to each by surname.

“Please don’t! Unless you refer to us by first name, we’ll feel ancient,” Zipporah whispered in her ear.

It was difficult choosing from the extensive menu. “I’m postponing my diet,” said Sanna. This place’s worth it.”

Nodding her agreement, Katja replied, “You’re a girl close to my own heart. Women are wrong assuming being thin as a stick’s attractive – men prefer a fuller, feminine figure!” Her Russian accent matched that of her friends’. Beaming, Sanna wholeheartedly agreed.

“I’d never contemplate cutting down on my food, neither would Tanya,” Katja added, winking at the larger woman seated next to her.

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Blog Tour: No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan – Extract and Review

tracy-buchananI’m very happy to be welcoming Tracy Buchanan back to Novel Kicks and her blog tour for her new novel which is called No Turning Back (published by Avon on 28th July 2016.)

When radio presenter Anna Graves and her baby are attacked on the beach by a crazed teenager, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her daughter.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister.

A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the ‘Ophelia Killer’, responsible for a series of murders twenty years ago.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life…?

I have reviewed it below but thanks to Tracy and Avon, here is an extract from chapter seven of the book. Enjoy. (Warning, small amount of bad language.)

 

The Third One

‘My friends call me Coolio,’ the boy says.

I laugh.

‘Not for the reasons you think though,’ he adds. ‘It’s ’cos I once got my fingers stuck in a freezer door.’

I laugh again. This one’s funny.

‘I like it here,’ the boy says. We’re sitting in his garden, looking out towards the sea through the broken panels of his fence. It’s boiling hot and we’re both trying to huddle under a small tree, the one piece of shade out here. He’s new here, only been living in The Docks for three weeks.

I can’t help but look towards his pond. It shimmers under the bright exhausting sun and I have a flashback to the week before and the pale body that had lain prone in filthy water.

Guilt swirls with excitement. You said that will change, the guilt will eventually fade. I think you’re right, I’m starting to feel braver, fingers tingling with excitement.

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Blog Tour: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent – Liz’s Approach to Writing

Liz NugentI am pleased to be welcoming Liz Nugent to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her new book, Lying in Wait.

‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must – because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants …

I’ve reviewed the book below but first, Liz chats to us about her approach to writing psychological thrillers. Over to you, Liz….

I have always been interested in the psychology of killers. What makes them tick, how they deal with the horror of what they have done. Two books which were hugely influential were John Banville’s The Book of Evidence and Sebastian Faulks’ Engleby. Both were first person narratives about deeply flawed men.

I used to work on a TV soap opera and one day in a story meeting, we were discussing a character who had just killed somebody and I insisted that he must be extremely distressed and I said ‘You know the way when you dream you’ve murdered somebody and you wake up in the horrors?’ Everyone just stared at me and that was when I realised that I was the only one who had those nightmares. I kill people in my sleep!

Liz-Nugent-QC1-V2 (5)

In real life, I am a pacifist and actively avoid confrontation, so I’m not sure from where this murderous side of my psyche comes, but I hope it has given me an edge when writing from the point of view of murderers!

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Competitions: A Family Holiday Tote Bag Winner…

image1To celebrate the release of her new book, A Family Holiday (read my review here,) we had a limited edition A Family Holiday tote bag to give away.

Well done to Wendy Jones who has won herself that tote bag.

About A Family Holiday:

She’ll do whatever it takes to keep this family together…

As the nanny to four quirky but loveable children, Charlie French has learnt that if there was ever a cement shortage Weetabix would be a viable substitute and that YouTube videos can go viral in seconds, much to her horror. But, most importantly, she’s learnt that whatever happens you stick together as a family.

102715-0 A family HolidayWhen tragedy strikes, Charlie is forced to decide whether it’s time to move on or fight to keep the children she loves. With the distraction of the children’s gorgeous Uncle Felix and the chance of a holiday in stunning Antigua, she’s left wondering if turquoise seas can wash away their present troubles. Is the pull of white sand beaches too tempting to resist or will paradise fail to keep them all together?

A gorgeous summery beach read, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Jill Mansell.

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Book Review: Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic to the Rescue

Bantam Press, October 2015

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she’s on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family.

She’s determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with long-time enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe…).

As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet! So can she save the day just when they need her most?

Becky is back in the newest book of the Shopaholic series. The previous book, “Shopaholic to the stars” left us on a massive cliff hanger as we discovered Becky’s dad had run off to Las Vegas with Suze’s husband Tark and Bryce to find an old friend and put things right. Therefore, unlike the others in the series, to properly enjoy this one you should definitely read the previous book as a lot of story lines are continued on, a new style used by Sophie Kinsella

There is a lot going on in this book apart from the hunt for Becky’s dad from the fight to win Suze back after she starts spending more time with Alicia Bitch Long Legs to Tark’s apparent need for space and time away from Suze.

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Blog Tour: The Last of The Bowmans by J. Paul Henderson.

51Xj1lmmeJL I am very happy to be a part of the blog tour for the latest book by J. Paul Henderson, The Last of The Bowmans.

After an absence of seven years, Greg Bowman returns home from America to find his father lying in a bamboo coffin, his estranged brother Billy stalking a woman with no feet, and his 79 year-old Uncle Frank planning to rob a bank. While renovating the family house, he is unexpectedly visited by the presence of his dead father and charged with the task of ‘fixing’ the family. In the course of his reluctant investigations, Greg discovers an unsettling secret of his father’s, and one that brings him face to face with the consequences of his own past.

Lyle Bowman is eighty-three years old. Taking a break from painting his house he decides to go and get a Double Decker from the local shop. What he has not realised is that he has drunk a glass of white spirit and his inability to walk results in him being knocked over and killed by a double-decker bus.

His youngest son, Greg returns from America for his funeral. It is the first time he has been home to see his family in seven years – his Uncle Frank and his older brother, Billy (a brother with whom he has been estranged.) Whilst staying in his father’s house, Greg’s Dad suddenly appears. What ensues is a look at this dysfunctional family who has to learn how to be a family again.

This book was not what I expected. There were elements of the story that took me completely by surprise especially the ending. There is a thread of sadness running through it but it is also done with great humour. There were some bittersweet moments, some strange moments and some outright funny moments – my favourites involving Greg’s Uncle Frank. I think out of all the characters, he was my favourite.

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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