Thursday 29 November 2018

Within The Silence by Nicola Avery Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Within the Silence by Nicola Avery, please check out the other stops on the tour.

I have a wee guest post from Nicola, enjoy.

I’ve always felt that I’ve done certain things before. Or knew things about places or properties I’d only just visited. Even felt instant connections, good and bad, to people I’d just met. This feeling could at times be very overwhelming and emotional. I also have no explanation for my desperate need to travel to Australia, where I lived for over ten years. I remember landing in Sydney, after an extensive trip through other countries, and announcing that ‘I was home’! Such a strange and powerful connection.

In my late twenties I returned back to the UK for a wedding. Whilst here I accompanied my parents to visit a small village in Sussex. Here I walked past an overgrown entrance to a driveway with a side view of a property. Against all advice I strode up this driveway to the house, now completely abandoned, the paint on the side entrance door chipped and faded, the windows curtain less, the garden out of control. On the main lawn I stood and faced this house, and knew it. Somewhere in my psyche I remembered and loved this building. So powerful were the emotions I even suggested coming back from Australia and living there if my father would buy it! He didn’t. When I returned back to Australia, photos of this abandoned property were put amongst my trip photos, no explanation could be found for my need to have these in the wedding trip album.

Five years later I received a letter from the UK in which contained a photo depicting that same house, with its name, a hay stack in the field beside the property with 3 young children dressed in Edwardian clothes. The photo had been in my dead grandmother’s personal collection.

When I came home to England, some five years later, I investigated my family tree, discovering that the property had once been rented by a member of my descendants back in 1780.

This was all too coincidental and, as a result, I decided to study and understand the concept of previous existences, testing myself where possible with my heightened intuition around this area. I have now mapped out most of the properties in the surrounding areas, and know names of those that lived there during this period and the relationship to one side of my family.

This fascination led me later to further investigations, guiding me to Glastonbury where I underwent a professional past life recall – the results were astounding. Still not convinced, but definitely intrigued, I later studied hypnotherapy and past life therapy myself, in an attempt to further understand the techniques and findings. After qualifying I provided past life therapy to a number of individuals and had the privilege to share some extraordinary stories and sessions with them.

Do I believe myself? Well I can’t verify everything as proven, but I can still astound a number of individuals with my knowledge of things, I couldn’t possibly know.

Within the Silence by Nicola Avery is published on 22nd November, you can buy yours now, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)The Collector by Fiona Cummins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < than 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - MacMillan

Source - Fellow book worm

Blurb from Goodreads

The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara's mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family's legacy. But he can't forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy's life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

My Review

First if you haven't read the first book, "Rattle" I suggest you do otherwise you have missed so much of the back story. This is the sequel and we have the same characters from the first book, the Bone Collector isn't happy he has lost all of his collection and is looking for the one who got away. He needs an apprentice, he needs new specimens and he knows exactly who and what he wants, nothing will stop him this time! On the other side is the officer who tangled with the collector and can't settle knowing he is still out there. What follows is a race against time, a cat and mouse game, who will survive?

We open with a news article covering the wee girl who went missing, then skip to young Saul, a troubled kid who has to look after his alcohol dependent mother, keep face with his friends and deal with his emotions. Someone is watching Saul and has great plans for him. Detective Etta Fitzroy's still picking up the pieces from her losses on the Bone Collector case, starting to rebuild her life when the past reaches out, the game is on.

Saul is a huge part of the story, Etta actually doesn't play a huge part. We get a microscopic look into Saul's life, follow the Bone Collector in his quest, snapshots with Etta and little Clara Foyle's mother as she struggles to accept her daughter is gone. The story grips the reader from pretty much the opening chapter because we have had the back story (so again if you haven't read Rattle please check it out) and we need to see what comes next. I love getting a story where you follow the bad guy and their plans/skulduggery. I am looking forward to the next from this author, 4/5 for me this time!

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Monday 26 November 2018

According to Yes by Dawn French

According to YesAccording to Yes by Dawn French
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Poundshop

Blurb from Goodreads

The Foreign Land of the Very Wealthy - otherwise known as Manhattan's Upper East Side - has its own rigid code of behaviour. It's a code strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family.

Emotional displays - unacceptable.

Unruly behaviour - definitely not welcome.

Fun - no thanks.

This is Glenn Wilder-Bingham's kingdom. A beautifully displayed impeccably edited fortress of restraint.

So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric thirty-eight-year-old primary school teacher from England, bounces into their lives with a secret sorrow and a heart as big as the city, nobody realises that she hasn't read the rule book.

For the Wilder-Bingham family, whose lives begin to unravel thread by thread, the consequences are explosive. Because after a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone starts saying . . . yes?

My Review

Rosie Kitto has left England and bagged herself a job looked after two wee boys from a very rich family whilst their parents are mid divorce. Rosies employer is Glen Wilder, not a hair out of place, she is very conservative, cold, her home, her grand children, her rules. Rosie could not be anymore different, eccentric, embracing life, emotions and trying to work through things she has ran from in England. America has a lot to offer for Rosie but Rosie has much more to offer this family, the power of letting go and saying yes.

Let me start by saying I loved how this started, think a non magical Mary Poppins, Rosie is the breath of fresh air this family needs. The grandmother Glen doesn't do emotion, affection or letting go, Rosie is all about living in the moment, praising the children, encouraging the kids to embrace who they are and showing them with affection. She challenges Glen's rule and the males of the family respond positively. As Rosie moves in she teaches them all how to interact, how to say yes, and finds herself learning what causes the family to be the way they are.

So she is fun loving and I really liked how she broke down the boundaries without being a bitch, she was so good with the kids and just brought life to the family. However the book then took a turn that I didn't see coming, I didn't really get the point of and it just ruined it a wee bit for me. Sex in a book is never an issue, I have read 50 shades but I just felt was it really required in this story and how it comes about. Maybe one or two scenes ok I got but the other parts just, for me, seemed to come from no where and it took away from the book.

Her relationship with Glen, if you can call it that also flipped a wee bit and I was a bit like really? Like I get what the author was going for and one part I thought ah fair enough but other parts I just couldn't fathom. I am absolutely in the minority as so many seemed to love this book and I didn't hate it at all. I just struggled to get my head around Rosie's choices/behaviour because she was so fun loving and focused on the job/bairns then it took a total sweep in direction. I also felt some of the issues covered in the book weren't given as much attention, scope, depth for how big a thing it was compared to some of the smaller stuff. Not badly written at all, I do like French books, I think this is my second and I will read her others but I think the things the main character chose to do and because it was so unexpected, to me, I just couldn't wrap my head around. 2.5/5 for me this time, absolutely grab a copy and check it out, as I say so many loved it and I didn't hate it I just didn't love it.

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Saturday 24 November 2018

What Was Lost by Jean Levy

What Was LostWhat Was Lost by Jean Levy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 464

Publisher - The Dome Press

Source - Review Copy

Blubr from Goodreads

How would you live if you had no memories? And what if you were suspected of a terrible crime?

Sarah has no memories. She just knows she was found, near death, on a beach miles from her London home. Now she is part of a medical experiment to see whether her past can be retrieved.

But bad things seemed to have happened before she disappeared. The police are interested in her hidden memories too. A nice man she meets in the supermarket appears to have her best interests at heart. He seems to understand her - almost as if he knows her...

As she fights to regain her memories and her sense of self, it is clear that people are hiding things from her. Who are they protecting? Does Sarah really want the truth?

My Review

Meet Sarah, a children's author, successful, a woman who spoke her mind as and when, well that was Sarah. Sarah now is a very different woman after her accident, well we think it was an accident. Sarah was found near death and injured at a beach after being missing, Sarah has no memory of what happened. Whatever Sarah survived was enough to affect her brain and shut out all of her memories apart from when she was a child. For her own protection she lives in a very sheltered bubble, assessed by professionals, her money and contact with others controlled. Life is very confusing and lonely for Sarah until she meets a man at the supermarket, fate brings him to her life again and again until Sarah starts to trust him and try piece together her memory and what actually happened.

Sarah isn't a reliable narrator to be honest, purely because she herself isn't sure what has happened, she tries to take note of things so she can remember. As the reader this can be a wee bit frustrating as you just want to know everything and "What Was Lost" doesn't give up it's secrets easily. We follow the professionals trying to unravel and understand Sarah's brain and we also get snippets of chat from the police. We know something bad has happened but we are as much in the dark as everyone else.

For a debut novel it really hooks you in, slowly revealing more of the story as we get snippets from the other characters. I was like oh I am not sure about you and something isn't right with this one, I felt like I used to watching murder she wrote, I suspected everything and every one lol. The professionals in the book, well some of them, really ripped my knittin in the way they handled some of the decisions or actions with/in regards to their patient.

It is a book that keeps the reader on their toes as you honestly don't know what is coming, why people are behaving as they are and what else is being kept from us/Sarah. I liked the build up, the tension and I loved the wee cat who isn't a big part at all but did demand attention when he briefly appeared. The brain is an amazing organ and I found myself putting the book down and looking up relevant conditions whist reading this, I love when a book does this.

I am so happy this was sent to me for review and I cannot wait to see what is next from this author, if you are looking for something new and like books that keep you guessing then this is for you. 4/5 for me this time and had work not gotten in the way I am sure I would have read it in one sitting.

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Friday 23 November 2018

Talking with Female Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee

Talking with Female Serial Killers - A chilling study of the most evil women in the worldTalking with Female Serial Killers - A chilling study of the most evil women in the world by Christopher Berry-Dee
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 7 days on and off

Pages - 320

Publisher - John Blake

Source - Asda

Blurb from Goodreads

Christopher Berry-Dee, criminologist and bestselling author of books about the serial killers Aileen Wuornos and Joanne Dennehy, turns his uncompromising gaze upon women who not only kill, but kill repeatedly.

Because female murderers, and especially serial murderers, are so rare compared with their male counterparts, this new study will surprise as well as shock, particularly in the cases of women like Beverley Allitt, who kill children, and Janie Lou Gibbs, who killed her three sons and a grandson, as well as her husband. Here too are women who kill under the influence of their male partners, such as Myra Hindley and Rosemary West, and whose lack of remorse for their actions is nothing short of chilling. But the author also turns his forensic gaze on female killers who were themselves victims, like Aileen Wuornos, whose killing spree, for which she was executed, can be traced directly to her treatment at the hands of men.

Christopher Berry-Dee has no equal as the author of hard-hitting studies of the killers who often walk among us undetected for many years, and who in so many cases seem to be acting entirely against their natures.

My Review

Berry-Dee gives us a snapshot insight into some of the worst female killers, I know the book says female serial killers however some mentioned are only single killers. All of those mentioned are horrific, make your skin crawl, your breath catch and make you question humanity. Some of the names featured I recognised as I have read/seen a lot of true crime over the years but some were new for me.

Let me just start by saying this isn't a terribly written book however there was a lot that I didn't love. There is A LOT of self promotion and I don't have an issue with authors bragging on their previous work, why not they have worked hard for it. However this is one of his books and I think the focus should be on the material in the book. There are a lot of throwbacks and name dropping to his previous books/shows and not always relevant, in my opinion, to the sentence it is dropped in. There also seemed to be missed opportunities or cut offs, for example on one part the author is talking about how horrific something is the police seen or said and there is no detail given, the sentence just rounds up by X was killed or reference to their family. You get a wee bit of history on one killer and a token mention of who they killed then the next person will have more than a few pages on their background and who they are and their victims were.

I think my problem is when I read books like this each person gets approximately the same amount of focus or at least a chapter to themselves. This book you would have pages on one person then one paragraph on another. The other thing I noticed was the author would name call or negatively comment on the persons appearance or weight in quite derogatory terms. I haven't came across this before and everyone is absolutely entitled to their opinions and some of these individuals are the most heinous to have walked the earth but name calling from an author I found to be surprising.

I think many people have and will love this book as a snapshot introduction to female killers rather than an in depth look. The cover features Myra Hindley (well the one I read did) she features only in a passing sentence or two. He seems to have a fair few books under his belt and has worked/interviewed many killers so knows his stuff, I just didn't like how this one presented. I would read this author again I just won't be running out to buy his previous works. Try it and let me know, I would love to hear your thoughts as I think I may be more in the minority as I didn't love this one, 2/5 for me.

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Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

Today is my stop on the blog tour for debut novel "Every Colour of You" by Amelia Mandeville.

Every Colour of YouEvery Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - when I could over 3 days (work)

Pages - 400

Publisher - Sphere

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Living back at home and spending most of her time behind a checkout till, it's fair to say things aren't going quite as Zoe had planned. But she's determined to live every day to the full, and she's spreading her mission of happiness, one inspirational quote at a time.

Since his dad died, Tristan has been struggling with a sadness that threatens to overtake everything. He can't face seeing his friends, can't stop fighting with his brother, and as much as he pretends to be better, the truth is he can't even remember what 'normal' feels like.

One person can change everything.

When these two meet, Zoe becomes determined to bring the missing colour back into Tristan's life. But the harder she tries to change the way Tristan sees the world, the more she realises it's something she can't fix - and in trying to put him back together, a part of her is beginning to break . . .

A novel to break your heart and put it back together again - Every Colour of You is the debut novel from Amelia Mandeville, with heart-wrenchingly relatable characters, big emotions and an unforgettable story.

Blurb from Goodreads

Meet Tristan, from the opening chapter we know he has just been through something intense and very quickly learn of his ongoing battle with his mental health. Zoe explodes into his life very quickly and this story is theirs, meeting in a hospital waiting area and every day that passes there after. Each chapter flips from Tristan and Zoe, headed each one so we know who is speaking and each in first person narrative. A reluctant friendship, decided on by the headstrong Zoe who is hiding some secrets herself!

We know Tristan is suffering and trying to just get through each day. Zoe is a lighter than life character, little miss positive to the point of annoying at times. Tristan had the life anyone would want before it all changed, popular, handsome, university life, girls at his heels. Now Tristan doesn't know how to get through the days, his mental health is an uphill struggle every single day and then there is Zoe. Tristan has no option, Zoe has decided to invade his life and she isn't going anywhere, they ARE going to be friends. The story allows the reader a glimpse of life with the black dog, the feelings, the not knowing why you feel how you feel, the lows, the lack of control and the impact of of that has on the individual and those around them.

Both the characters are very different and whilst Zoe is very positive and strong willed you get a hint of something, but not sure what, isn't quite what she projects. It is an emotive read when you get into it and how Tristan impacts on Zoe with some of his struggles is a bit hard to read but I think many readers will be able to identify with it when close to someone like Tristan. Mental health, dysfunctional families, friendship, health, grief, loss, love and personal growth are just some of the issues covered in this debut novel. It took me a wee bit to settle to this one but once I did I couldn't put it down to see where it was going and what was next for these two. Emotive and tough reading in places, shining a light on some very important issues that even in 2018 society shys away from or misunderstands, 4/5 for me this time. I look forward to seeing what Mandeville puts out next, a book that will stay with you after you finish the last page!

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Saturday 17 November 2018

November's giveaway

Guys I am so sorry this is so late, it has been a bit of a month!

So, up for grabs is an Amazon voucher for £5, I haven't worked out how to sort it worldwide so it is ONLY UK guys, sorry. Decembers comp will definitely be worldwide.

To enter, as always, please use the Rafflecopter below, good luck guys!

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Friday 16 November 2018

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

Prince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #11)Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - just about 1 week on and off

Pages - 458

Publisher - Anchor Books

Source - Amazon I think

Blurb from Goodreads

The vampire world is in crisis – their kind have been proliferating out of control and, thanks to technologies undreamed of in previous centuries, they can communicate as never before. Roused from their earth-bound slumber, ancient ones are in thrall to the Voice: which commands that they burn fledgling vampires in cities from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to Kyoto and San Francisco. Immolation, huge massacres, have commenced all over the world.

Who – or what – is the Voice? What does it desire, and why?

There is only one vampire, only one blood drinker, truly known to the entire world of the Undead. Will the dazzling hero-wanderer, the dangerous rebel-outlaw Lestat heed the call to unite the Children of Darkness as they face this new twilight?

My Review

The Voice is speaking to vampires and causing chaos and murder through them but who is the voice and what does it want? We catch up with Lestat, the voice reaches out to him also and we get a wee bit of a back story on some of the important ones in Lestats life and some of the vampires from previous books make an appearance.

So it was nice to catch up with Lestat after everything he has done and he withdrew into himself. He saved a human and we get a look at her and her life. The voice makes a fair few appearances to other vampires and incites riots/deaths/murder. It is a busy busy book and to be honest I expected A LOT more of Lestat. However we visit so many other vampires I would say Lestat is in less than half of the book. It is still an interesting read just not what I was expecting and whilst I liked it I didn't love it. We go back to the origins of how vampirism started and to be honest if you didn't read the previous books there is enough info in this to catch up.

If you enjoyed the previous books I think you will like this, I also noticed there are two more after this one so I will check them out. I enjoyed catching up with old characters and meeting new ones, the voice was an interesting spin also, 3/5 for me this time.

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Thursday 15 November 2018

The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse

The House Across the StreetThe House Across the Street by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Twenty-three year old Katy Speed is fascinated by the house across the street. The woman who lives there, Gloria, is the most glamorous neighbour on the avenue, owning a fashionable dress shop in Bexhill-on-Sea. But who is the woman who arrives in the black car most Saturdays while Gloria is at work? Sometimes she brings women to the house, other times they have children.

Hilda, Katy's mother, disapproves of Gloria. She wonders if these mysterious visitors have just been released from prison. Is Gloria secretly bringing criminals, or worse, into the heart of the community?

Then one night, the house burns down. In the wreckage, the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found. Katy is sure the unexplained visitors must be responsible until her father is arrested and charged with murder. Have the police arrested the correct person? Are the rest of the street safe? Can Katy find the truth before it's too late?

My Review

Katy is always watching the house across the road, usually when ironing. Gloria is always bringing in women to her home but why, what is she doing, why the mystery? When the house burns down and bodies are found Katy can't rest, she needs to know what Gloria did and why her father is arrested.

The pace of this one is a wee bit different from the others I felt. We start off getting to know Katy, her sharp tongued mother, her relationship with her father and brother. The book splits into three main parts, the family dynamics, the murder and the investigation.

Katy's story is really involved in the whole book, we learn of the family interactions, Katy's friendships and the sheltered life and her complex relationship with her mother. Katy is such an innocent and pure character, loyal, fierce and brave if a little misguided.

The book takes a few dark turns, violence, murder, secrets and some tense scenes that kept me turning page after page. The story isn't continuous action or a thriller from the get go but Pearse has a knack of hooking you from the beginning even with the family build up scenes. If you like her previous books I think you will enjoy this one, 4/5 for me this time.

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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:



Amazon Author Page:

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Download DIRTY BARRY for FREE!

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!

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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

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.


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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Thursday 1 November 2018

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton Blog Blitz

Today is my stop on the blog blitz for the paperback release of The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton, if you haven't read her already this is a good place to start! Check out my review and the others stops on the blog blitz xxx

The CraftsmanThe Craftsman by Sharon J. Bolton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Taken to Read - 1 day

Pages - 352

Publisher - Trapeze

Source - TBConFB

Blurb from Goodreads

August, 1999
On the hottest day of the year, Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady attends the funeral of Larry Glassbrook, the convicted murderer she arrested thirty years earlier. A master carpenter and funeral director, Larry imprisoned his victims, alive, in the caskets he made himself. Clay effigies found entombed with their bodies suggested a motive beyond the worst human depravity.
June, 1969
13-year- old Patsy Wood has been missing for two days, the third teenager to disappear in as many months. New to the Lancashire police force and struggling to fit in, WPC Lovelady is sent to investigate an unlikely report from school children claiming to have heard a voice calling for help. A voice from deep within a recent grave.
August, 1999
As she tries to lay her ghosts to rest, Florence is drawn back to the Glassbrooks' old house, in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where she once lodged with the family. She is chilled by the discovery of another effigy - one bearing a remarkable resemblance to herself. Is the killer still at large? Is Florence once again in terrible danger? Or, this time, could the fate in store be worse than even her darkest imaginings?

My Review

Florence Lovelady is a police officer, we open with her at a funeral, the funeral of a killer, 1999. We head back to 1969 when Florence was new to the area and just a WPC, not only having the difficulty of working a case with missing kids but trying to carve her place in the team, being a woman! As another child goes missing, this one closer to home, more pressure mounts on the team and Florence is more and more a likely target for the fall guy. All eyes are on Florence, the cops, the townsfolk and even the killer!

There is a lot going on in this book, child murder, kidnap, small town, sexism, inequality, bitchiness, police investigation, relationships, due timeline and witchcraft! I would have LOVED to have seen a lot more dedicated to the craft, in the throwback time period we do have some. When we flip to the present again we have some but for me, for one character there is a huge chunk missing from A to B. I know that is a bit vague but I don’t do spoilers, I just felt there was a fantastic opportunity to give us more on the how people came to get into the craft. I did love the history parts and they say an author is doing their job when they leave you wanting more. I do find witchcraft and anything of that ilk, when done right, can make a great thread in a story, what I did get here I thought was great.

There are atmospheric scenes, the killer buries them alive - can you think of anything worse! Bolton does fantastic scenes with realism to have the reader holding their breath, heart pausing and the hairs on the back of your neck standing!

Emotions were high, the treatment of the young Florence at the hands of the other officers, sexism, bullying, complete disregard for valid points purely because she was a woman. The level of hatred and nastiness really ripped my knittin. I suppose for the time period it would probably be commonplace but I was absolutely infuriated.

The book has a good pace, grabs you pretty much from the beginning. The timelines are easy enough to follow as it starts in the 90s, heads back to the 60s and highlights when you are back to the 90s. Whilst we know early on who the bad guy is there is plenty of intrigue and mystery to keep you going with sidelines supplying surprises as you get into it. Sure I have read Bolton before, I know I have some of hers on my shelves, I will need to dig them out for sure, ⅘ for me this time.

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