Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Where the What If Roams and The Moon Is by Esther Krivda Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for "Where the What if Roams and The Moon Is" by Esther Krivda all stops on the tour offer different content so please check them out.

Can we just take a wee minute to look at this book cover, I LOVE it!

And I have ten things about Esther

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me
By Esther Krivda

Where the What If Roams and the Moon is Louis Armstrong

I take Singing Lessons.

If I were Queen, I’d paint the Roses Turquoise.

I walk around singing in my apartment. Or is it, I walk around my apartment singing? I should know that. (You do probably. Or is it, You probably do?)

I don’t sing that great.

I still sing.

I can sew. I have two projects that I plan to tackle. Any day. Skirts. One skirt is on its way from the newly formed Selkie Patterns. They call it their London skirt. They designed the pattern and the fabric. The fabric has Big Ben and a church (I think) on it. I’m waiting. And the other skirt I saw in a window when I was walking to the 42nd Street Library to go write in their Reading Room. It stopped me in my tracks. I got the big idea I could copy it. We’ll see. For the overlay part of the skirt, I bought a tulle-y-lacey-netty-see-through-like fabric; for the underskirt, I bought a stretchy drapey fabric; then I bought two kinds of ribbon; both black, one lacey, one velvet; both for the ruffle-y trim. I think I can copy it. I don’t have a pattern. I’ll just do it. I’ll be a Nike.

I take portrait drawing classes. Whatever you do, don’t draw your loved-ones. Draw strangers. And then don’t ever show it to them. I mean look what Lucian Freud did to The Queen. What could she say? That’s when you’re glad you’re not a fly on the wall. (There seems to be a Queen theme here. I don’t know why. We don’t have Queens where I come from.)

I am the youngest of seven children. Some of my brothers and a sister and my Mother and my Father are in the Big Unknown. That makes me sad.

I have a beautiful view. I am including a photograph of it. What you’re looking at is the tippy-tippy end of Northern Manhattan. That’s where, supposedly, the Indians got gypped and sold Mannahatta (not a typo) to some greedy people. That makes me sad. Every June, this Mohawk Chief comes to the park that you’re looking at and Blesses us anyway. He blesses the River, and the Eagle, and the Wind, and the Rain, and the Earth, and the Trees, and the Clouds, too. It makes me so happy.

Oh, by the way, my Uncle is the What If.

You think I’m kidding.

Think again.

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Good, The Bad and The Rugby by Mark Farrer Blog Tour

Eeek this is my first blog tour with Emma at #damppebblesblogtours

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer

#TheGoodTheBadTheRugby @mark_farrer

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby Blog Tour runs from Thursday 1st to Wednesday 14th November 2018 so please check out the other stops

Book Blurb:

Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room. Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.

Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.

About Mark Farrer:

Mark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla panna cotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.

And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.

And mashed potato.

He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mark_farrer

Website: http://markfarrer.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Farrer/e/B074S4XMGL/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Bad-Rugby-Mark-Farrer-ebook/dp/B07H3ZL5P5/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538912556&sr=1-1&keywords=the+good+the+bad+and+the+rugby+mark+farrer

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Good-Bad-Rugby-Mark-Farrer-ebook/dp/B07H3ZL5P5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538912862&sr=8-1&keywords=the+good+the+bad+%26+the+rugby+mark+farrer

Download DIRTY BARRY for FREE! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dirty-Barry-Mark-Farrer-ebook/dp/B0792YCD2X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539679727&sr=8-1&keywords=dirty+barry

UK Only Giveaway:

For your chance to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link. Please note this a UK only giveaway. The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer. There is no cash alternative. The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018. Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveaway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons

Dead Souls (D.I. Kim Stone, #6)Dead Souls by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 387

Publisher - Bookouture

Source - Gift

Blurb from Goodreads

The truth was dead and buried…until now.
When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy - and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

My Review

Kim Stone and the team are back after an archaeological dig uncovers human remains bringing about a joint investigation with someone from Kim's past. Throwing up one of the hardest investigations Stone has to endure, from a personal and professional aspect the team are pushed to the brink.

With Stone and Detective Travis investigating the bones, Stone's team are investigating hate crimes bringing the danger a bit too close to home. This aspect of the book will make for hard reading for some fans, racism, suicide, abuse and brutality are horrific and Marson's does well to capture the reality within fiction.

We learn a wee bit more about Stone's past, her and Travis background and how they both struggle to remain professional and focused with the elephant in the room. Yet another dark tale with some of the worst sides of humanity but glimmers of light from the team and the relationships they have. 4/5 for me this time, short chapters are guaranteed to get a thumbs up from me, add to that a story that hooks you pretty much from the get go!

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Friday, 9 November 2018

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages -455

Publisher - Balzier + Bray

Source - Competition win

Blurb from Goodreads

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

My Review

Meet Jane, forced from her family to train to defend and keep safe families with money, to become an Attendant. Effiencent in slaughtering zombies but also etiquette so as to behave in an acceptable manner in front of the families and their friends. Jane isn't the only one, Miss Prenton's school of Combat is one of the better ones, taking in children under the Native and Negro Reeducation Act. Racism is alive and well and America will use it to keep their "better" families safe and use the "undesirables" of what is left of society to protect the elites!

This book is so infuriating in parts, the main character Jane is a delight, she is sassy, smart and has her own plan. She needs to bow to some of the rules but she won't allow herself to be compromised which leads her to being in many hot water situations.

Told in first person narrative we learn a bit about Jane's upbringing and day to day life and issues within the school and how these girls are treated, what the end goal is. The author has taken slavery and put it into an apocalyptic situation, exploring some of the most horrific behaviours of human beings. Whilst this is of course a work of fiction, the school aspect is taken from very real events from history. The kids in America from Native families had been forcibly removed and sent to "schools" to be taught how to be civilised. At the end of the book the author has included some books readers can check out to read more about this, pretty shocking.

The book itself is an interesting take on the zombie apocalypse, the racism, supreme-ism is probably more in the story than that of the apocalypse but both interweave and an interesting read. I can't imagine anyone reading this and not being upset or annoyed at some of the behaviours of the characters but you will love Jane. She is strong, loyal, brave, fearless and just a great female character. This was my first dance with this author I would absolutely read her again, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Savage by Richard Laymon

SavageSavage by Richard Laymon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over 4 days

Pages - 437

Publisher - Headline Feature

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

Whitechapel, November 1888: Jack the Ripper is committing his last known murder and beneath the bed on which he's butchering his victim cowers a fifteen-year-old boy. So begin the adventures of Trevor Bentley: a boy who embarked on an errand of mercy and ended up on a quest for vengeance, a boy who will bring the horrors of the Ripper to the New World.

My Review

Imagine Jack the Ripper had an eye witness to his last slaughter, that witness is fifteen year old Trevor. Trevor gets a first hand account of what Jack is capable of and being the fine young lad he is he can't let Jack carry on, by intervening he changes his own life and those he encounters forever. The first part of the story is Trevor, encountering Jack and how they come to part. Then Jack ends up on a bit of an adventure, a bit of a western, outlaws, coming of age, fighting, shooting, murder and then back to Jack. It was almost two different stories, the part with Jack the Ripper then a few hundred pages of different adventures, growing up, shaves with death and then back to Jack.

For a fifteen year old Trevor has a very good streak of nobleness, righteous and justice - maybe kids where like that back then who knows. It has a bit of a Tom Sawyer I think I want to say, remember Treasure Island type adventures and pirates, jostles with bad guys and growing up? A bit of all that and then one of our worst killers in history.

Certainly different and an interesting take on the old Jack the Ripper but whilst some parts worked well some could have been stronger if left to that vein or split into two separate stories. I have read a few Laymon books and I do like his writing. He carves great characters and sets scenes so vivid you can easily lose yourself in the world he has created, even just a few pages in. 3.5/5 for me this time, I will be buying more of his work!

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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Hard Return by Rosie Claverton Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Hard Return by Rosie Claverton, all stops are different so please check out the other stops.

Some info for the book and author

Hard Return by Rosie Claverton
Publisher: Crime Scene Books (4 Oct. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1912563037
ISBN-13: 978-1912563036
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hard-Return-Amy-Lane-Mysteries/dp/1912563037/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539021880&sr=8-1&keywords=hard+return+rosie+claverton

BLURB: 12 men locked in a compound. 12 men watching their every move. 1 man murdered. When Jason's friend Lewis is trapped in a secret prison compound with a murderer, Jason must go back behind bars - but Amy won't let him go in alone. Hiding their intentions from both the convicts and their watchers, they work together to find justice for the murdered man while keeping their cover. As the danger mounts, Jason, Amy, and Lewis find there might be no escape for any of them - except in death.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosie Claverton is a novelist, screenwriter, and junior psychiatrist. She grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. She then moved to London to specialise in psychiatry.

Her first short film Dragon Chasers aired on BBC Wales in Autumn 2012. She co-wrote the ground-breaking series of short films The Underwater Realm. Her Cardiff-based crime series The Amy Lane Mysteries is published by Crime Scene Books.

Between writing and medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series, advocating for accurate and sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems in fiction.

Recently returned to Cardiff, she lives with her journalist husband and their nearly new daughter.

Website: http://www.rosieclaverton.com/

Twitter: @rosieclaverton

For my stop on the tour I have a guest post, enjoy.

Guest post When Second Fiddle Takes Over the Orchestra: Developing a Cast Over a Series

I don’t usually go back to re-read my old novels. However, when the first two novels in The Amy Lane Mysteries were relaunched this year, I spent a lot of time back at the beginning of the series. And I realised exactly how much my characters had changed and shifted over the course of the books.

At the beginning, my concept revolved around my two protagonists – Amy Lane, agoraphobic hacker, and Jason Carr, streetwise ex-con. They were complementary characters, growing together to solve crimes with aligned strengths and weaknesses.

The third POV character was Bryn Hesketh, a middle-aged police officer trying to make sense of an increasingly criminal Cardiff. His sidekick was the baby-faced Owain, an eager pup of a detective. Jason’s baby sister Cerys was a teenaged brat who had to see the consequences of her actions first-hand before she could grow up.

Hard Return is the fifth novel in the series and it marks a shift in direction. The first three novels form an arc where Amy and Jason are making and breaking their relationship, before they reach crisis point at the end of Captcha Thief. Terror 404 – the fourth novel, of course – is about reforming them as new partners, about to embark on a new journey together.

But their travel companions have also experienced trials and tribulations, victory and despair. Bryn has become more world-weary, more jaded, and has faded into the background as the younger, more volatile characters come to the fore. Owain has survived a near-death experience as a changed man, making decisions that break him apart from the group, walking the line between friend and enemy.

And little Cerys Carr became a police officer, and now the third POV character for my fifth book. She was only ever meant to be a background figure as part of Jason’s family, but readers loved her, and that made me see her differently. She also joined forces with Catriona, a character I threw into my second book as a foil within the police department, who then demanded I pay more attention to her and her sensible jumpers, her outdoor exploration, and her flaming red hair.

When I was making Jason’s criminal past, I also threw in his former best friend Lewis as part of a brief description. Little did I know that he would be opening a novel four years later! Exploring a character in depth who has been a constant presence throughout the series was a great way to explore Jason through their relationship, as well as Amy’s reactions to someone else enjoying a close friendship with Jason.

It’s hard to keep in touch with old favourites without alienating new readers. A couple of series antagonists make a reappearance in Hard Return, and I try to show how they are intimidating and powerful without rehashing all the bits of backstory that brought them to this book.

What started as a two-hander has organically grown into an ensemble cast, a family of characters that me and my readers have invested in. I wonder where we’ll be in five novels’ time!

Friday, 2 November 2018

Van Helsing by Kevin Ryan

Van HelsingVan Helsing by Kevin Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 272

Publisher - HarperCollins Entertainment

Source - ?Risi member

Blurb from Goodreads

Deep in the mountains of nineteenth-century Carpathia lies the mysterious and mythic land of Transylvania, a world where evil is ever-present, where danger rises as the sun sets, and where monsters such as Count Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's Monster take form and inhabit man's deepest nightmares -- terrifying legends who outlive generations, defying repeated attacks from the doomed brave souls that challenge them in their never-ending war upon the human race.

On order of a secret society, only a lone force of good stands against them -- the legendary monster hunter Van Helsing, a man revered by some and feared by many. In his ongoing battle to rid the earth of these fiendish beings, Van Helsing must now travel to Transylvania to bring down the lethally seductive, enigmatically powerful Count Dracula, and joins forces with the fearless Anna Valerious, a woman out to rid her family of a generations-old curse by defeating the vampire. But unknown to all, the immortal Dracula will stop at nothing to unleash his master plan of subverting human civilization and ruling over a world of havoc, fear, and darkness...

My Review

So this is a book of a movie and if I seen it it was a long time ago, I remember nothing from it. Hugh Jackman plays Van Helsing and I was quite happy to picture him as I read along, he works for an organisation of the Holy order that "doesn't exist". When the book opens we meet Frankenstein, Dracula and Frankenstein's monster, we quickly move on to Van Helsing. The hired gun who hunts down the unnatural and restores order somewhat to the world. As Van Helsing's story unfolds we see him come together with the small town that Dracula terrorises and come up against his deadly opponents yet.

The book is good, action from the get go, who doesn't know Frankenstein story? Well we get a wee bit more insight into it from the small chapters he features in. We also get to meet another character of old and see some fantastic battles with "good" vs evil.

Legends, family, honour, promises, bravery, murder, fighting are just some of the themes in the book. It is under 300 pages so relatively quick to sink, hence reading it in pretty much one sitting, less than a day. It has also put me in the mood to watch the movie, I would like to read more of the adventures like this, even see some of the same characters appear, a prequel? Plenty of action, characters from the old horrors I grew up with - if you take the book for what it is I think you will really enjoy it, I did, 4/5 for me this time.

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