Book News

Book Extract: iRemember by SV Bekvalac

A big welcome to SV Bekvalac and the blog tour for her fabulous sounding novel, iRemember. Here’s a bit about the book…

The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.

It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.

Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect. She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.

A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.

 

SV Bekvakac and Lightning Books have shared an extract today. Enjoy.

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

Government Inspector Icara Swansong, Bureau Rank 4, has been sent into Desert Ring 2 to collect evidence on a suspected insurgent (Off-Gridder) ring-leader, Lucian Ffogg. She has only just arrived. And already things aren’t adding up. Here she is, trying to connect to the mnemonic surveillance network iRemember to help with her investigation. It’s a network of absolute surveillance. Yet she can’t get through. Which shouldn’t be possible. As she tries and fails to get a connection, we learn more about Icara’s mission and the Bureau’s internal power struggles, as well as discovering what it is that Icara wants. Really wants. More than anything. And it has nothing to do with her mission in the Desert…

 

 

…iRemember remembered everything. There couldn’t be nothing on file. Every time she tried to access an engram – the endless spiralling circle. She was getting tired of waiting.
 She didn’t feel safe out here. Noises were making her feel quite jumpy. She expected an Off-Gridder ambush at any moment. She felt for the tube of Liquid Scream and her service weapon in its holster.

Lucian’s psych-evaluation had not been flagged red by iRemember. If it had, the situation would have been much easier to deal with. She would have landed in the Lot, and, enacting Bureau Code Points 79-100 (Serving Employees whose Mental Processes Make Them Unsuitable for Service) she would have stuck an enormous hypodermic syringe deep into Lucian Ffogg’s neck. The Code outlined exactly what she would do with him then. None of it involved pretending to inspect the guttering or looking at rooms full of ancient computers.

The Lot had been flagged as part of a large interior operation. Nicknamed Project Eraser by the Board, it was an attempt to identify and erase any suspected corruption in the Bureau. It was a pet project of the Temple and was being spearheaded by the Bishop.

Only Inspectors with the highest academy scores and with unimpeachable records of comportment were selected to join Project Eraser. Icara had been among them.

She believed in iRemember. She loved the Bureau, that old concrete block, with a glass dome on top in the shape of a pre-frontal cortex. And as soon as she stepped into the Bureau building, she had known exactly what she wanted. She wanted to be architecturally elevated. Up on the top floors, with the decision makers. And eventually, she wanted to hit the ceiling. By which she meant she wanted to be at the very top. Sitting in Frome’s big green Chesterfield.

Icara was proud to be involved in Project Eraser. Partly because she thought it would get her closer to the top. But also because she really believed in iRemember. She believed that it was possible to make the City a better place. She believed in the rule of law and the importance of working for the greater good. The Bureau had always been beset by corruption. But in the ten years since Icara’s graduation from the Academy, there were increasing whispers that the Bureau was actively covering up criminal activity. Still only whispers. For the moment.

Icara was convinced that the Bureau was ultimately a good place. So it was a little dirty. That could be cleaned up. There was no place in the State for people like Lucian Ffogg. People who did not respect the rule of law. People who put the stability of the City in danger. People who fraternised with insurgents.

With Helena Frome leading it, the Bureau could never really be corruption free.

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Book Review: Clover Cottage by Christie Barlow

Hello and welcome to Christie Barlow and the blog tour for her new novel, Clover Cottage. This is the third novel in the Love Heart Lane series. 

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what.

When Vet Rory Scott inherits ramshackle Clover Cottage in the quaint village of Heartcross, Allie MacDonald just knows this is their happy ever after. A place to call home with the man she loves – it’s her dream come true!

Until Rory drops a bombshell. He loves Allie but he has dreams of his own to follow – to live and work in Africa. Clover Cottage will have to wait just a little longer…

Allie can’t imagine life without Rory, but she loves him too much to hold him back. And as he embarks on his adventure, Allie begins to rethink her own plans. She loves Rory and knows she wants him in her life, but maybe she can follow her own dreams too?

And always there, nestled in the beautiful village of Heartcross, surrounded by the people she loves, will be the place that will always bring them back to each other. Their forever home, Clover Cottage.

 

Allie has lived in Heartcross for most of her life and with Rory, the local vet, she feels as though she has met the love of her life. When he inherits Clover Cottage, she begins to picture the potential happy life for them both. When Rory drops a bombshell and opportunities threaten to pull them apart, Allie can feel the happiness slip away.

This is the third installment in the Love Heart Lane series and although I had not read the previous two books, this can be read as a standalone. There are characters that cross between the novels, but I didn’t feel as though I was playing catch up. I do want to eventually make my way through the first two books in the series though as I have quickly fallen in love with the residents of Heartcross.

All of these characters add something wonderful to the story and to me, feel real and relatable, even Zach, the visiting celebrity. I like how he was incorporated into the story. It wasn’t how you’d expect. I didn’t guess how it was going to go and it didn’t end the way I thought. There were a few surprises that kept the pace up well.

This was told from Allie’s point of view. I liked her. She displays a rollercoaster of emotions and I became invested in the relationship between Allie and Rory.

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Book Extract: How Not To Be A Loser by Beth Moran

Beth Moran joins me on Novel Kicks today as the blog tour for her latest novel, How Not To Be A Loser, continues.

 

Here’s a little about the novel…

Amy Piper is a loser. She’s lost her confidence, her mojo and her way.

But one thing she has never lost is her total love for her thirteen-year-old son Joey, and for his sake she knows it’s time for a change. But first she has to be brave enough to leave the house…

What she needs are friends and an adventure. And when she joins a running group of women who call themselves The Larks, she finds both. Not to mention their inspiring (and rather handsome) coach, Nathan.

Once upon a time Amy was a winner – at life, at sport and in love. Now, with every ounce of strength she has left, she is determined to reclaim the life she had, for herself and for Joey. And who knows, she might just be a winner again – at life, sport, and love, if she looks in the right places…

 

Beth and Boldwood Books have shared an extract from How Not To Be A Loser today. Cup of tea or coffee? Check. Biscuit? Check. Comfortable chair? Check. Right, all set. Enjoy.

 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

Stop Being a Loser Plan

Day One

It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t get woken up by my phone alarm blaring, spring out of bed and decide today was the day. I didn’t open up Facebook and one of those irritating quotes – embrace the rain if you want to dance under the rainbow – actually inspired someone for the first time ever to change something. After cajoling my son, Joey, out of bed, I didn’t gaze at his beautiful face as he poured a second giant bowl of cereal, raving about the school football match coming up, and in a surge of love and regret suddenly experience the pivotal moment in a decade of non-moments.

In fact, apart from the invitation that arrived in the morning post, most of the day went precisely as expected. Which was, in summary, exactly the same as pretty much every other weekday. I waved Joey off to school, reminding him to hand in the form about the meeting that evening and cleared away the breakfast dishes. I worked at my desk in the kitchen, breaking the monotony of writing about corporate social responsibility policies by swanning off to eat lunch in the living room, because that’s the type of wild and crazy woman I am.

I rescued Joey’s football kit from festering on his bedroom floor and stuck it in the wash, because despite telling myself on a daily basis that it’s time he learnt the hard way, circumstances dictate that I also live with an extra-large pile of parental guilt, so I make life easier for him where I can.

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NK Chats To… Hilary Grossman

Hi Hilary. It’s so nice to welcome you to Novel Kicks today. Your latest novel, Mom Genes has just been released. Can you tell me a little about it? 

Hi Laura! Thank you so much for having me! I am so excited to “chat” with you. Mom Genes, which is my fifth novel, is currently available on all eBook platforms and has been published today (March 24th.)

It is the second book in my Forest River PTA series, but it’s a completely standalone story. Mom Genes is a heartwarming and hilarious book about a PTA mom, Claire Conroy, who is searching for a fresh start while struggling to survive suburban backstabbing and parental politics

 

What songs would be on a playlist for this novel? 

Oh my, this is a hard question, but a few songs come to mind.

The first would be Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” because Claire is faced with quite a few problematic situations in the book. First, she returns home from a trip to Italy gearing up to separate from her husband of thirteen years. Then the meddling mothers spread rumors about the “real reason” for her divorce.

The second would be “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge because Claire’s family plays such an essential role in this story, especially her hysterical grandmother, Gigi.

The last would be “Take Me Back To The Night We Met” by Lord Huron because thanks to a chance encounter, Claire reconnects with someone from her past.

 

Hilary’s writing space

What’s your writing process like, from idea, to first draft and then to final edit? 

I’m pretty impulsive, so as soon as an idea pops into my head, I start writing. I don’t plot out my books. I let the story take its twists and turns. I often to run to my laptop fresh out of the shower, dripping wet, because one of my characters “told me something funny.

After I finish the first draft, which is always pretty rough, I read it over and polish it, and add a lot to the story. Then I send it to my editor. She has a keen eye and incredible insights, and I pretty much end up writing the book over again.

 

What has your route to publication like and, in your opinion, what’s the most common mistake new writers make when looking to be published? 

My route to publication has been like a roller coaster. I self-published my first book, Dangled Carat. Then a few months later, I secured a publisher who then published my second novel, Plan Bea. Right before they were about to publish my third book, Plan Cee, they went out of business. As soon as I received my rights back, I self-published all of my books, and have been self-publishing ever since.

I think the most common mistakes new writers make when looking to be published, they don’t have a complete understanding of the industry and the process. There is so much to know. It is overwhelming. However, I have found the author community is the most generous group of people. Everyone is always so eager to help each other out and share their experiences and knowledge.

 

Which author has impacted you the most as a writer? 

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Book Review: The River Home by Hannah Richell

Hello to Hannah Richell and the blog tour for her latest novel, The River Home.

The river can lead you home. Or it can take you under…

In their ramshackle Somerset home, its gardens running down to the river, the Sorrells have gathered for a last-minute wedding.

Lucy is desperate to reunite her fractured family. Eve is fighting to keep her perfect life together. Their mother, Kit, a famous author whose stories have run dry, still seethes with resentment towards her youngest child. And Margot, who left home eight years ago under a black cloud, is forced to come face to face with her darkness…

As the family come together for a week of celebration and confrontation, their relationships are stretched to breaking point. But can you ever heal the wounds of the past?

 

Eve, Lucy and Margot may be sisters but they are all very different.

Eve is the stoic older sister. On the outside, she has the perfect marriage and two children.

Lucy is the free spirit, the one who just wants her family back together.

Margot is the mysterious, closed off sister who has done all she can to put miles between herself and her childhood home and Kit, their mother who is struggling to finish her best-selling series of books.

When Lucy announces that she’s getting married, Margot heads home and back to the past she has wanted to escape from.

One word for this novel… WOW.

This is the first of Hannah’s books I have read but I am fast becoming a fan.

Immediately, I was drawn into this compelling novel, right from the first page. I could picture Windfalls, the river and the surrounding areas. It all felt so vivid.

The characters are all strong, complicated women who, through a lack of communication, miss out on so much with one another. It made me sad. I got emotionally involved with all these women. Each of them has such a distinct, unique voice. They are each holding their own secrets and there was a small part of me that wanted to shake them all. I grew so fond of them throughout the course of the book.

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Book Review: The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess

Orla is a trainee reporter with a five-year plan: work her way up the career ladder, move to London and secure a job on a big national newspaper. She doesn’t want a boyfriend, he’s only going to hold her back anyway.

Aiden spends his life travelling the world and living in a tent. He knows his goal: to photograph animals and raise awareness of global warming and wildlife conservation. He’s definitely not looking for a relationship past the odd casual hook-up!

So when Orla and Aiden’s lives collide, they do everything to not fall for each other – with the opposite effect. But they stick to their plans, and go their separate ways…

Five years later, they meet again…

 

Orla has a five year plan. Advance in her journalism career, move to London and work at one of the national papers. What she didn’t count on was Aiden.

He’s a wildlife photographer who spends his life traveling the world. They don’t plan to fall in love but they do.

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Book Extract: Surviving Me by Jo Johnson

Hello to Jo Johnson and the blog tour for her novel, Surviving Me. 

Jo has shared an extract with us but first, here’s a little about the book.

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.

 

Grab that hot drink, biscuit, chair and enjoy. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

This excerpt features a conversation with my main character, Tom and his best friend, Harry, a doctor. Tom has recently lost his job and is too afraid to tell his wife as she’s desperate to start expensive fertility treatment. They talk about Harry’s new job but then Harry encourages his friend to tell his much younger wife about his predicament. Adam, is his brother-in-law, the other main character.

 

Harry and I can spend long periods without saying much. Eventually he describes his new job. ‘It’s exciting, Tom. I will actually get to know my patients and the staff.’

‘Explain what’s wrong with them?’

‘Neurological disorders like MS, brain injury and stroke; they will come to us for a few weeks or months for rehab.’

‘A care home?’

‘Not at all; they will be under sixty-five, most younger. The brain injuries are often blokes in their twenties. They will be stable, so not dependent on nursing care, and stay Monday to Friday. I will get weekends off and more evenings.’

‘I haven’t heard you talk about work like this for a while, all fired up with medical-student passion.’

‘I know. I was getting more and more disillusioned, which I didn’t like. This will give me more control and I have the freedom to work as I see fit. I intend to stay for years so no more moving from pillar to post.’

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Book Extract: The Chapel by Jess B. Moore

I hope you’re all having a good Saturday? I am happy to be welcoming Jess B. Moore to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel,  The Chapel.

Here’s a little about the book.

Mallory Johansen has nearly given up on thinking she’ll get her act together – the one where she plays the part of an adult – by the time she hits thirty. As it is she’s desperate and depressed. Her only friend is leaving town, she’s paired to work with a man who can’t stand her, and she finds herself homeless. Definitely hasn’t mastered being a grown-up yet. 

Otis Bell wants nothing more than to play his guitar, book acoustic bands to perform at his upcoming music venue, and be in charge of his own life. Instead, he’s working full time in his family’s auto shop. He only owns half the supposed music venue, which stands as an abandoned church and needs more than a little work. When his best friend moves away, he’s paired with an aloof girl he’s never liked as partner, and stretches himself thin working too many hours. 

The Chapel is the little music venue that could. Full of potential. Full of ugly carpet, peeling paint, and exhausting work. Mallie and Otis navigate their way through a fledgling partnership, trying their darnedest to get the place up and running, while trying pretty hard not to fall in love in the process.

 

Jess B. Moore has shared an extract with us today so grab the drink of your choice, that chair and enjoy.

(Warning – strong language.)

 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

This scene from The Chapel is taken from the first chapter, introducing Mallie, her cousin Tyler, and setting up the story which will unfold. The book starts with Tyler dropping a bomb on Mallie and throwing her life into a tailspin!

 

The thing about being in your late twenties is that you’re supposed to have it all figured out. The career, the house, the long term relationship, the life plans sprawling out before you.  You’re expected to have your shit together.

I don’t have a career. Not really.  I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my life.  I take photos and I’m good at it, but I don’t enjoy wedding photography or infant photography or running wild toddler photography.  I haven’t found a way to make money doing nature or still life or anything else with my camera.  I help at my Aunt Violet’s vintage shop that barely brings in enough revenue to keep me on the payroll.

No house. Not one that’s mine.  Not one I want to live in for any length of time.  The place I rent is small, smells bad, and the landlord is suspect.  The neighbors are loud and disrespectful of my desire to sleep during the nighttime hours.

I have never had a long term relationship. I can’t imagine one will crop up before I hit my thirties.  The guys I’ve dated have been few and far between and never serious.

My life plans are vague at best. Dismal and depressing at worst.

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New Book Releases: March 2020

Tinder Press

If there was ever a time to stay in, curl up in a comfortable chair and find a good book, this is it.

So, without further ado, I wanted to share some upcoming March releases with you all.

The first one up is one I am very excited for and that is Hamnet, the latest from Maggie O’ Farrell.
The plot sounds right up my street. It goes something like this.

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl falls ill. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches for help but there seems to be no one home.

Their mother is a mile away in her garden which is full of medicinal herbs. Their father is in London. Neither parent know that one of their children will not survive the week.

This is due to be released on 31st March.

 

Orion

The second book on my list is Tiny Pieces of Us by Nicky Pellegrino.

You know when you read the blurb of a book and you know it’s something you have to read but it is also going to make you cry. This is one of those books for me.

Also due for release on 31st March, Tiny Pieces of Us focuses on Vivi Palmer. She knows what it’s like to live life carefully. She was born with a heart defect and although she’s now had a heart transplant, she’s not dared to make the most of it.

When she comes face to face with Grace, the donor’s mother, she wants Vivi to help her find the other people who have pieces of her son.

Vivi may just find a whole new world waiting for her.

 

The next book on the list is The Silence by Daily Pearce. This book was released on 1st March (you can read my interview with Daisy here,) and it sounds amazing.

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Book Review: A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aidan, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

 

Caroline sees a stranger outside her new beach house. Her house that reflects her outwardly perfect life.

Her husband however is lying to her and everything in her life is turning upside down.

So, when Aiden shows up, a bartender at the party where she has a very public row with her husband, she turns to him for comfort… and revenge.

Although their brief fling means nothing to Caroline, Aiden becomes obsessed.

Then Caroline’s husband goes missing and her life descends into chaos where she is suspected of her own husband’s murder.

I’d not read any of Michele’s novels so this was my introduction. It did not disappoint.

This novel pretty much had me on the edge of my seat all the way through.

It’s a rollercoaster of suspense, tension and an ending that blindsided me.

The style of writing was interesting. It jumps around but I was soon completely into the story.

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Book Extract: The Widow’s Mite by Allie Cresswell

I don’t think there’s a better way to begin a new week than to welcome Allie Cresswell to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Widow’s Mite. 

Minnie Price married late in life. Now she is widowed. And starving.

No one suspects this respectable church-goer can barely keep body and soul together. Why would they, while she resides in the magnificent home she shared with Peter?

Her friends and neighbours are oblivious to her plight and her adult step-children have their own reasons to make things worse rather than better. But she is thrown a lifeline when an associate of her late husband arrives with news of an investment about which her step-children know nothing.

Can she release the funds before she finds herself homeless and destitute?

Fans of ‘The Hoarder’s Widow’ will enjoy this sequel, but it reads equally well as a standalone.

 

Allie has shared an extract today. Grab that cuppa, a comfortable chair, a biscuit and enjoy. First, Allie gives us a little introduction. 

 

Allie: Writing a novel about bereavement brought all kinds of issues into the limelight. Apart from exploring the emotional corollaries – what does grief feel like, how and when does it strike? – death brings practical consequences that had to be studied. How does being, suddenly, alone feel and what differences does it entail in day-to-day life? There must be a hundred small divergences that impact everything from the ironing pile to the shopping list, the signing of birthday cards, holiday choices,  TV viewing.

Then there are the landmark occasions, previously shared, but that now must be faced alone.

Here, a group of single women discuss their plans for Christmas

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

‘What are you all doing for Christmas?’ Gloria asked, helping herself to the last sausage roll.

‘We always do a Christmas lunch at church,’ Gwen said, gathering the dirty plates and tea cups back onto the tray, ‘for those who find themselves alone. Last year there were twenty or so of us – we barely had enough turkey. The helpers get there early to start the prep, and then there’s the meal and the clearing up afterwards. It was gone four by the time I got home, so the whole day had gone by pretty well.’

Minnie felt the familiar swell of sadness press her throat and behind the eyes. She had not thought about Christmas. Last year she and Peter had spent it at a hotel in the country. Lots of log fires and mulled wine. Artfully decorated trees in every room. A local choir singing carols on Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas day, a big breakfast followed by a brisk walk. An exquisite lunch at a table for two. The chef had dressed up as Santa – she had glimpsed the chequerboard pattern of his kitchen trousers beneath the furred hem of his cloak. Peter had given her a gold watch set with diamonds round the face. Her hand pushed back her cardigan cuff to reveal it. She had not sold it although she was sure it was worth several hundred pounds. She could not believe that this year she would be reduced to lunch in the draughty church hall with the rest of the lonely old souls who were not wanted elsewhere. The very thought of it made her eyes well. In and of itself it was so pitiful, but in comparison to last Christmas it was tragic. Dolly [her dog], always so sensitive to Minnie’s emotional compass, made a whimpering sound. Thankfully Gloria had followed Gwen out of the room to help with the dishes so Minnie was able to wipe her eyes and pull herself together before the others reassembled.

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Book Extract: You’ve Got My Number by Angela Barton

Hello and welcome to Angela Barton on what is the final day on her blog tour for her new novel, You’ve Got My Number. 

About the novel…

Three isn’t always a magic number … 

There are three reasons Tess Fenton should be happy. One, her job at the Blue Olive deli may be dull, but at least she gets to work with her best friend. Two, she lives in a cosy cottage in the pretty village of Halston. Three, she’s in love with her boyfriend, Blake. 

Isn’t she? 

Because, despite their history, Blake continues to be the puzzle piece in Tess’s life that doesn’t quite fit. And when she meets intriguing local artist Daniel Cavanagh, it soon becomes apparent that, for Tess, love isn’t as easy as one, two, three … 

 

Angela has shared an extract today. Grab that cup of coffee, tea or a glass of wine (go on, it’s Sunday,) and enjoy. 

 

***** beginning of novel****** 

 

Introduction: My hero, Daniel, has a twin sister. Although Denise is a secondary character, I share a particularly difficult time of her life with my readers. A bizarre happening involving a parrot plays its part in this storyline, but as unbelievable as it appears, it was taken from reality – it happened in my life.

 

It had taken a shockingly short time since returning from their idyllic day out on Hampstead Heath, for Denise’s happy, organised life, to turn upside down. After the boys had been bathed and their knees had been scrubbed clean of grass stains, she’d taken a long hot shower. She sang beneath the deluge of water as the rose-scented bubbles decorated her skin. Her mind had been full of their day out, her family, the bottle of wine she would shortly share with Simon and the bar of Galaxy chocolate secreted away from her sons.

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Book Extract: When The Time Comes by Adele O’ Neill

I am happy to welcome Adele O’ Neill to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, When The Time Comes. 

Here’s a little about the book…

Her husband says it’s suicide. The police say it’s murder.

Liam Buckley was a married man with two teenage children when he moved out of the family home to start a new life with his lover. His wife Jennifer never forgave him, but now she needs him to come back: she’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the kids can’t cope alone.

One day after Liam moves home, Jennifer is found dead. Liam thinks it’s suicide. But the police, led by DS Louise Kennedy, are convinced it’s murder.

Liam hires a retired detective to help prove his innocence, but it’s no easy task. The children are distraught, and Jennifer’s best friend, Sarah, is waging a campaign against Liam, determined to expose him for a liar and a cheat.

As secrets surface from the complex web of Buckley family life, DS Kennedy must decide. Did Jennifer Buckley end her own life, or did Liam take it from her? The answer, when it comes, will shock them all…

 

Adele and Aria have shared an extract today. Grab a cup of tea, a comfy chair and enjoy. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

When I think of my ex-wife Jenny, it’s her smile I see, the roguish way she used to lift the corners of her mouth just enough to suggest that underneath the warmth and kindness, she’s a bundle of fun. Abbie, our fifteen-year-old daughter, is just like her, or I should say, just like how Jenny used to be, before everything changed.

She has the same luscious auburn hair that falls in waves down her slender back, the same porcelain skin that sizzles at the slightest hint of sunshine and the same affinity for random knowledge and clever facts. She puts her older brother and me to shame whenever The Chase or some other quiz programme is on, although I suspect that Josh lets her win sometimes. A shiver runs down my spine now, when I picture the four of us then, how we used to be. Nothing in any of our lives worked out exactly the way we wanted it to.

‘Sorry, Louise, it’s just a little…’ I don’t how to finish the sentence and fill my cheeks with exasperated air. ‘Overwhelming,’ I manage. ‘Hard to get my head around, you know?’ I look at her expectantly, hoping for a modicum of sympathy.

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Book Review: The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu

From a Tang Dynasty legend of a young girl trained as an assassin with the ability to skip between dimensions on a secluded mountain sanctuary to a space colony called Nova Pacifica that reflects on a post-apocalyptic world of the American Empire and ‘Moonwalker’ Neil Armstrong, award-winning author Ken Liu’s writings are laced with depictions of silkpunk fantasy, Sci-Fi and old Chinese folklore, wrapped up in a mesmerising genre-bending collection of short stories.

Ken Liu is one of the most lauded short story writers of our time. This much-anticipated collection includes a selection of his latest science fiction and fantasy stories over the last five years – sixteen of his best – plus a new novelette. In addition to these seventeen selections, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories also features an excerpt from book three in the Dandelion Dynasty series, The Veiled Throne.

 

When asked to take part in the blog tour for The Hidden Girl and Other stories, I couldn’t wait to get started.

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories is a collection of sixteen science fiction and fantasy stories. Most of them focus around technology and the human condition.

The first thing I want to comment on is the cover. It is absolutely beautiful.

I had not read any of Ken Liu’s writing before so I didn’t quite know what to expect. This is a stunning set of stories that really go into the amazing but sometimes devastating reality of technology and our reliance on it.

The Hidden Girl also examines how humans relate to one another and what we are capable of doing to each other.

These stories provoked such emotion and have made an impact. It was hard to pick one I liked over the others. However, Thoughts and Prayers was particularly hard to read when you consider what is happening in terms of gun control and internet trolling.

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Book Extract: We Are Animals by Tim Ewins

I am pleased to be welcoming Tim Ewins to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for his new novel, We Are Animals. 

Here’s a little about the book…

A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.

Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and, indeed, his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.

Jan has not. In his long search he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.

His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…

Will…

Not…

Leave.

But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?

Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heart-warming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).

For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.

 

Without further ado, here’s the extract. I hope you enjoy. Over to you, Tim. 

 

Thank you so much Laura, for letting me share an extract from We Are Animals with everyone at Novel Kicks! In this extract, the protagonist’s parents do not know that their son has stowed away on a stranger’s boat, dreaming of lands afar. I’ve chosen this extract as an example of one of the smaller love stories that pop up along the plot of We Are Animals.

I hope you enjoy it…

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Jan’s mother, still completely unaware of Jan’s lack of presence in Fishton, and of his unauthorised presence on England man’s boat, was washing the family’s clothes.

Now, there are three types of clothes washers. There are those who don’t use detergent and don’t sort their socks (the slackers), there are those who do use detergent but don’t sort their socks (the half-a-jobbers), and there are those who do use detergent and do sort their socks (the jobs-worths). Jan’s Mother was of category number three, religiously. It was when she was sorting Jan’s socks that she realised something must be wrong. There were seventeen in total, twelve of which she could match. She sat on her kitchen floor with the other five surrounding her. She’d had the odd odd sock before, and could handle that, but five? Something wasn’t right. ‘What a waste of detergent,’ she thought. Then she worried about the five missing socks. She hadn’t seen them when she’d been cleaning, and she prided herself on her housekeeping. Where were those socks?

Incidentally, you will notice that there are only three types of clothes washers – not four. No one has ever not used detergent but then sorted their socks. These people simply do not exist.

When Jan’s father returned home from the fish shop with their tea he found Jan’s mother sitting on the kitchen floor repeatedly tying the odd socks together and then untying them again.

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

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