Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K Quinn @HQStories @suzykquinn #blogtour #review #unnerving #secrets #suspense #DontTellTeacher

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For Lizzie Riley, switching her eight-year-old son Tom to the local academy school marks a fresh start, post-divorce. With its excellent reputation and outstanding results, Lizzie knows it’ll be a safe space away from home.

But there’s something strange happening at school. Parents are forbidden from entering the grounds and inside, there are bars across the classroom windows.

Why is Tom coming home exhausted, unable to remember anything about his day? What are the strange marks on his arm? And when Lizzie tries to question the other children, why do they seem afraid to talk?

Tom’s new school might seem picture-perfect. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving…

My Review

I won a copy of this book before the blog tour had been organised, I jumped at the chance to join in and tell how great this book is!

The book is all about a young mother who has divorced her abusive husband, an emotional time for her and her young son Tom. Tom has been under a lot of stress and he has been given medication to help him cope.

They move into a new area and Tom starts a very well known school with a reputation of  excellence. However, Lizzie – Tom’s mum isn’t really sure, the buildings appearance looks threatening, the way the children are dressed –  in a perfect uniform, also the fact that once the children line up, parents are not allowed into the playground due to safeguarding. The Head Teacher is one that seems to look approachable but has this aura about him, that says he’s not what he seems! All of these things that concern Lizzie, questioning, has she done the right thing?

When Tom comes home from school on the first day, he doesn’t seem like his normal self, he is usually chatty, however he seems withdrawn, very tired and is saying things that Lizzie knows is caused from stress.

The story flips back in time when Lizzie meets Olly – her ex-husband, along with Kate who is the social worker, supporting Lizzie and Tom’s case.

When Lizzie meets Olly it seems like a whirlwind romance, everything was perfect from the beginning, however things start to turn as their relationship continued.

Kate is very much an over worked social worker, with the stress of coping with so many ‘needy’ cases, her own emotions can take on too much of how she feels for others. There are cases she knows need to be dealt with, however she is told she must deal with the cases that are put as priority first.

The twists to this story and the way it is told, brings a new meaning of suspense, to have the emotions of the young family, the concerns of not knowing of what is happening, with feelings that you have no control, brings this story into a physiological mind-field!

This is definitely one to read, most likely in one go! I will be looking into reading more by this Author.

You can purchase this fabulous book here at Amazon.

About the Author

Suzy K Quinn is a British fiction author, and writes in three different genres: psychological thriller, comedy and romance.

She was first published by Hachette in 2010 with her debut novel Glass Geishas (now Night Girls), then self-published a romance series, the Ivy Lessons, which became an international bestseller and a #1 Kindle romance bestseller in the US and UK.

After her second daughter was born in 2013, she self-published the Bad Mother’s Diary series, which also went on to become a #1 Kindle romantic comedy bestseller.

Suzy K Quinn’s novels have been translated into 7 languages and her books have sold over ¾ million copies worldwide.

Suzy lives in Wivenhoe, Essex, with her husband Demi and two daughters, and travels to Mexico every year to write and study Mayan story telling.

Suzy loves her family, friends and readers, but when pushed to add more to the list, she also loves travelling, food and alcohol.

http://www.suzykquinn.com
http://www.facebook.com/suzykquinn
Twitter: @suzykquinn

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The Whisper Man by Alex North #blogtour #review #TheWhisperMan #creepy #emotional @writer_north @penguinrandom

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken . . .

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys.

Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home.

Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window . . .

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My Review

With thanks to Jenny at Penguin Random House, for providing a proof copy to review for this blog tour. With this stunning front cover, a blurb to get enticed by along with already stunning feedback! I could not wait to read this book!

The story begins when a young boy goes missing, his parents have no idea where he went and what could have happened to him. There is a history of child kidnapping and murder, that had taken place in this same area a long time ago, however the person was caught and is now in prison. How could it be that the same identical type of kidnapping has taken place again, the concern of will the body of the boy be found, could it be happening again, but who could be doing this!?

There are gripping and unnerving points throughout this story, making you read at the edge of your seat! The story goes into depth about the main characters Tom and his son Jake, who lost their wife and mum recently.  They are already going through various emotions of trying to move on, with her loving memory still to continue on. However, when Jake starts to talk about a friend that Tom can’t see, things start to become very creepy! With new voices being herd, pictures that represent things that are not clear to Tom, Tom starts to become very worried about Jake.

Tom is doing his best to be a single parent, although he is struggling himself to cope and support his young son, sometimes it doesn’t always work and his frustrations show. Moving to this quiet and what they thought was ideal place to start anew, is not quite what it seems.

DI Pete Willis was the Detective who found The Whisper Man those many years ago and put him in prison, the memories of the case haunt him, the emotions he feels have impacted his own person life and his own demons.

With a house that Tom and Jake move into being unusually different, to a point of being unnerving and some strange butterflies that appear, this story is one to appreciate with every once of horror it gives. The storyline is written beautifully also with realistic characters,  your imagination can go wild, to extend the horror and bring you back to reality with the raw emotion that flows through this book from various characters.

This is absolutely defiantly one to read this year! This is one book you will most likely read in one go, which will keep you unsettled and locking your doors, long after finishing reading it!

You can purchase it here at Amazon.

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Tight Lines by Ted Denton @UrbaneBooks @LoveBooksGroup #TedDenton #LoveBooksTours #blogtour #excerpt

Ted Denton’s explosive debut novel is an exhilarating action thriller pitching the privileged, seductive world of a professional sports agent against a backdrop of political double-dealing, corporate corruption and brutal violence.

A young Daniel Ratchet arrives in Spain to begin his dream job as a golf agent on the European Tour. In London, the Russian Rublex Corporation, with its history mired in ‘Vory’ mafia criminality, is working on a huge gas deal off the Falkland Islands with the British government. Veteran civil servant Derek Hemmings is tasked to rubber-stamp the deal for the Foreign Office.

But things are not what they seem … With the help of Wallace, a cantankerous old golf coach, Daniel discovers match fixing, fraud and corruption on the Tour, all at the seeming behest of Rublex. A thorn in the Russians’ side, Daniel is kidnapped before he can expose the truth. Wallace, needing help, contacts an old army buddy who deploys violent loose cannon Tom Hunter on a mission to save him.

A tense race against time ensues, both to rescue Daniel from the clutches of the Vory and for Hemmings in Whitehall to prove that the deadly deal is corrupt. The stakes are high. As the body count mounts will the volatile Hunter reveal the truth or will he be too late?

Dead or alive, the truth always comes at a cost.

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Seizing the initiative Derek began. ‘So Mr Golich, I understand that you wish to do a little business with Great Britain?’

‘Well only if Great Britain wants me. And of course the little business of my money.’

He laboured the word, clumsily attempting to draw every last grain of irony from his point. They locked eyes. And then the oligarch began to laugh. Loudly. Heartily. After a short period

his mirth spread to the muscle in the unforgiveable suit who joined him with an obsequious snigger. He stopped laughing and straightened the knot in his tie. He cleared his throat.

‘This little business, as you call it, is billions of pounds invested by MY Rublex Corporation into gas exploration in the international waters off YOUR British Falkland Islands, and the infrastructure

for YOUR British workers living on them.’ The emphasis of his words was used to make the crude point.

Derek reciprocated. ‘Yes indeed. OUR Falkland Islands. YOUR money in exchange for Britain’s co-operation in transporting this gas for sale across the world under our protection and licence in the good name of British Petroleum. Joint enterprise, sharing in the proceeds, potentially one hundred billion pounds over the next ten years.’

A stiff retort. ‘Correct. I’m pleased you have an understanding of the arrangements, Mr Hemmings.’ He tapped his fingernail crisply against the edge of the teacup. ‘It seems your Prime Minister

wishes to move ahead as soon as possible. He told me so himself when we played golf at Queenwood, other day. I love you British because of your famous justice, the sense of honour. Not like the bitch traitors in US. You say you make the deal. You make the deal.’ Golich spat out the word ‘bitch’ with genuine venom causing Derek to glance around him to see if they had been overheard.

Well, the old stager thought, the rumours are true, they are golfing buddies after all. Followed quickly by a second thought: I wouldn’t mind an invitation to play Queenwood with the Prime Minister myself.

‘British Prime Minister gives me his word. He tells me this is stronger than the mighty British oak tree. Deal happens, okay.’ Again the hard stare. Unblinking eyes. No invitation to respond.

‘With all due respect Mr Golich, whilst I am indeed here to discuss and ratify the deal with yourself and Rublex Corporation, we do have due process and procedures to follow. And I intend to satisfy myself with the full probity of this deal before we make a commitment to you or anyone else. Now, I have some questions regarding the origins of your investment stake for the gas development station. We need to be satisfied with regard to international money laundering rules and regulations.’

Boris Golich stood up from his seat raising a hand to silence the civil servant in mid flow. ‘The talking is over now Mr Hemmings. The offer stands for one week only and then is off the table forever.’ He waved his hand dismissively, curling his upper lip. ‘We know plenty of governments who will make such a deal with Rublex during this period of, how do you say, “global economic uncertainty”? So you have no business asking questions of my wealth. It will simply do no good for you.’

The word you was definitely emphasised. These not so subtle messages were certainly being telegraphed. He stalked from the room followed closely by the gigantic minder, a disproportionate

shadow. Derek was left feeling distinctly uneasy. He peered from the huge bay window out onto the square, partially hidden behind a long, elegantly embroidered drape. Watched as the Russian climbed into the back seat of a waiting Silver Fox Rolls-Royce which purred away in the direction of Park Lane.

Well that went better than expected Derek old boy, he chided himself ruefully.

Purchase it here at Amazon.

Author Bio

Author Ted Denton was offered a bursary at an early age to serve as a commissioned officer within the British armed forces. Fascinated with both geo-political relations and bipartisan negotiation, Ted has engaged with international governments, political faculties and Non-Governmental-Organisations (NGOs).

Ted has forged an exciting career through his founding of a private international consultancy. He undertakes extensive global travel and exploration. Ted is passionate about writing, boxing and adventuring.

Tight-Lies

 

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston #blogtour #extract #TheCloserIGet @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks @AnneCater #BigSummerReads

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

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Extract from the book

Chapter 2

EIGHT MONTHS EARLIER

‘I’m a writer,’ Tom said. ‘I write novels.’

This was usually the point at which people asked ‘Anything I’d have read?’ For most of the authors Tom knew, the honest answer would be ‘Probably not’. But he was one of the lucky ones. His first novel had been an international bestseller. Rights were sold in forty countries. There was even a film adaptation starring Ryan Gosling, which ensured that while Tom Hunter wasn’t exactly a household name, he did enjoy a certain amount of brand recognition. He also had a level of financial security rare among his peers, and a flat overlooking the river in an area of Vauxhall largely populated by hedge-fund managers.

Success had come easily to Tom. Too easily, his detractors might have said – and there were plenty of those. The critics hadn’t been kind about his second novel, and it had struggled to repeat the success of his first. Truth be told, he was still struggling – though this was something he was barely willing to admit to himself, let alone anyone else.

None of which was of the slightest interest to the woman looking at him from behind the reinforced glass partition. ‘And you’re here to give a statement?’ she said. ‘Perhaps you could start by telling me what happened?’

Tom had thought about this a lot on his way to the police station. Where to begin? What to say? He’d given a brief account to the two officers who visited his flat three days ago. But this was more serious. This woman was a detective. What he said now would determine what further action, if any, was taken. He’d never given a police statement before. He didn’t know what was expected.

He loosened his shirt collar and leaned forwards in his plastic chair. ‘I went through this with the police on Tuesday.’

‘I know. But if you wouldn’t mind going over it again, just so I’m clear.’

Was this a test, Tom wondered – a way of checking whether he had his story straight?

‘I’m being harassed,’ he said.

The detective nodded. ‘I’m aware of the nature of your complaint. The person you say is harassing you – is this someone you know?’

‘Not really.’

‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand.’

‘It’s someone I met online,’ Tom explained. ‘A woman, on Twitter.’

The detective gave him a look which suggested that social media wasn’t her favourite topic of conversation. Tom wondered how much police time was wasted investigating complaints made about comments posted on Facebook or shared on Twitter. Quite a few, he imagined. He was aware, also, that Detective Inspector Sue Grant worked for the hate-crime unit, and was probably used to dealing with cases far more serious than this. Online harassment was one thing. But it was nothing compared to a man who’d been queer-bashed or a woman whose husband was using her as a punch bag.

‘That’s where it began,’ he said, fidgeting in his chair. ‘But pretty soon it started spilling over into other areas of my life – emails, blogs, comments posted on Amazon and various online forums.’

‘And you’ve never actually met this person?’

‘No. Yes. Kind of.’

The detective gave him a quizzical look. ‘Well, which is it?’

‘We met once, I think. At a book signing.’ Tom smiled modestly. ‘I do a lot of book signings.’

‘And do you recall meeting her at this book signing?’

‘Vaguely. I meet so many people. And it was quite some time ago.’

‘How long ago exactly?’

Tom thought for a moment. ‘About a year.’

The detective looked surprised. ‘This has been going on for a whole year?’

‘More or less.’

‘Why didn’t you report it earlier?’

Of course, he’d known that she would ask him this. He’d been going over it in his head since he made the initial phone call to the police, trying to think of how best to explain himself. ‘I thought I could handle it. I thought she’d lose interest. And to be perfectly honest, I was rather embarrassed.’

‘Embarrassed? Why?’

He shrugged. ‘A man being bullied by a woman – it’s a bit pathetic, isn’t it?’

The detective looked at him. ‘Men can be victims, too. Domestic abuse, harassment – it can happen to anyone.’

‘That’s good to hear,’ Tom said, then quickly corrected himself. ‘I mean, it’s good that you take this stuff seriously, Detective.’

‘We take all crime seriously.’

Tom smiled and nodded. ‘Yes, of course.’

The detective tapped at the keyboard on the desk between them, rolled her eyes and rose from her seat. ‘I’m afraid we’re having a few problems with our computer system. So, if you’d like to follow me, we can go and make a start on your statement.’

She instructed the officer at the reception desk to buzz Tom through, and escorted him into the interior of the police station, opening each successive door with a swipe of her security pass. As they waited for the lift, Tom’s eyes were drawn to a poster on the wall. A woman’s bruised and battered face stared back at him. ‘Domestic violence is a crime’, the text stated. ‘Report it!’ Not for the first time, he wondered if he was doing the right thing.

Then he recalled Emma’s stern words on Tuesday evening: ‘She won’t stop, Tom. She’s made that perfectly clear. And for all we know she could be dangerous. She’s already affecting your health. You have to do something now, before it gets any worse.’

It was Emma who urged him to call the police and waited with him until they arrived. She’d offered to accompany him tonight, too, but Tom had insisted that it really wasn’t necessary. There was no way of knowing how long this would take. Some things he was better left doing alone.

The lift groaned as the doors closed, prompting a sharp spike of anxiety. Tom wasn’t good with lifts at the best of times – a hangover from the days when he first moved to London and lived on the ninth floor of a tower block in Kennington, where he once found himself trapped in the lift for over an hour. At least this lift didn’t smell of urine, although there was the familiar whiff of fast food. He wondered about the eating habits of the woman standing next to him. She caught his eye and he quickly averted his gaze. The lift stopped on the third floor, where she led him along a windowless corridor with harsh strip lighting and into a large open-plan room with carpet the colour of weak tea and rows of desks and computer terminals, most of them unoccupied. As they entered the room, the detective exchanged greetings with a couple of uniformed officers and a tall, stern-looking man in plain clothes with his shirt sleeves rolled up – her sergeant, she explained in a hushed voice.

She led Tom over to an empty desk, pulled up an extra chair for him to sit on and took out her pocketbook. ‘Perhaps you could start by telling me what you know about this woman…’ she checked her notes ‘…Evie?’

Tom nodded. ‘Eve Stokes. She calls herself Evie.’

‘When did you first become aware of her?’

‘She’s someone who started following me on Twitter.’

‘And you said this was about a year ago?’

Tom shrugged. ‘More or less. It’s hard to be exact. I have a lot of Twitter followers.’

‘I see. What else?’

‘She started by tweeting me, saying she was a big fan of my work. She has a blog where she writes about books. She’s clearly educated and often quite insightful. But there’s a lot of anger and frustration there. Some of her blogs are quite extreme.’

‘Extreme in what way?’ ‘There’s a lot of upper-case invective.

The detective looked at him blankly. ‘She uses capital letters a lot, for emphasis. And she can be quite vicious. She writes like a disaffected teenager who’s read a few books on literary criticism, but she’s in her thirties. She clearly hasn’t done as well in life as she thinks she ought to have, which is probably why she spends so much time on Twitter, sniping at newspaper columnists and other writers. She lives in East Dulwich with her father. He’s not very well, or so she says.’

The detective raised an eyebrow. ‘For someone you’ve barely met, you seem to know rather a lot about her.’

Tom smiled grimly. ‘Well, you know what they say – know your enemy.’

‘I thought you said she was a fan.’

‘She was, yes. But fandom is a funny thing. It’s never really about you – it’s really about them. Fan is short for fanatic, you know.’

The detective gave him a look that said she wasn’t born yesterday.

‘It really is a form of fanaticism,’ Tom continued. ‘Almost a disorder in some cases. Certainly so in hers. That’s the thing with social media. All sorts of people have direct access to you. And when you’re in the public eye…’ He paused and gave a modest smile. ‘When you’re known, even in a small way, you’re bound to attract a few oddballs. Twitter can be a real vipers’ nest at times. But it’s good for book sales, so…’

‘And you run your Twitter account yourself ?’ the detective interjected.

‘I do.’

‘You don’t have someone who could do it for you?’

‘I can’t afford staff.’

‘But presumably your publisher can?’ Tom coughed.

‘I’m between publishers at the moment.’

‘A friend, then?’

‘There’s nobody I’d really trust to do it properly. It’s a lot to ask of someone.’

‘But it would give you a break. Sometimes these things die down when the person realises they’re not getting through.

Tom shrugged. ‘If only. If you ask me, she needs sectioning.’ ‘A person can only be detained under The Mental Health Act if they’re deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others.’ The detective consulted her notes. ‘You say you met Ms Stokes at your book signing. Is that the only time you’ve seen her in person?’

Tom thought for a moment. ‘There was one other occasion – at the farmers’ market at Oval. At the time I put it down to coincidence. Now I’m not so sure.’

‘But you recognised her?’

‘It was more a case of her recognising me. She looked over and waved.’

‘And did you speak?’

‘I acknowledged her and moved swiftly on. I didn’t wish to be drawn into a conversation.’ ‘Why was that?’

‘I don’t know her. My gut instinct told me that something wasn’t quite right.’

‘I see. And has Ms Stokes ever made direct threats against you?’

‘It depends what you mean by threats.’

‘Has she ever threatened to cause you physical harm?’

‘Not directly, no. But she’s hinted at it. After she turned on me, she made veiled comments on Twitter about getting back at me in some way. “Don’t get mad, get even” – that sort of thing. I don’t know what she’s capable of. She could be a knife-wielding maniac for all I know.’ Tom smiled weakly.

‘What I do know is that she’s obsessive and relentless, and clearly very angry with me.’

‘And why do you think that is?’

‘Honestly? I think she developed a crush on me, and she can never have me.’

‘Because you’re attached?’

‘Because I’m gay.’ Tom searched the detective’s face for some reaction, but her expression remained impassive.

‘I see. And was she aware of this?’

‘I didn’t lead her on, if that’s what you mean.’

‘I’m not saying you did. I’m just after the facts.’

Tom sighed. ‘I don’t make a secret of it. I’m not one of those professional gay types. I don’t shout it from the rooftops. But it’s not something I’m ashamed of. It’s part of who I am. It’s not all that I am.’

‘But if she knows you’re gay, surely she—’

‘We’re talking about someone who isn’t quite right in the head,’ Tom said, more irritably than he’d intended.

‘In her mind, she probably thought it was some minor obstacle to overcome. There are women like that, you know. They see gay men as a challenge.’

The detective smiled tightly. ‘You say she turned on you. What did she do exactly?’

‘Her emails and tweets became more aggressive. She started using homophobic language.’ Tom paused. ‘That makes this a hate crime, doesn’t it?’

‘Possibly. First we need to establish that a crime has been committed. Do you have copies of these emails and tweets?’

‘Some of them, yes. I deleted a lot of the emails. And some went into my spam folder.’

‘Can I ask why you deleted the emails?’

‘Just out of instinct, I suppose. They disgusted me, so I deleted them.’

‘Well the more you can find – the stronger the weight of evidence – the better the chances of the CPS pursuing the case.’

‘Do you think it’s likely that they will?’

‘It really all depends on the weight of evidence. I believe my colleagues asked you to bring in as much supporting evidence as you could find?’

‘They did,’ Tom said. ‘And I have.’

He reached into his leather messenger bag and took out a manila folder bulging with sheets of A4 paper. The detective looked slightly taken aback. She logged onto the computer in front of her and opened up a template headed ‘Witness Statement’.

‘Right,’ she smiled professionally. ‘Why don’t we make a start?’

About the Author

Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller. His first novel, Shameless, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, Lovers & Losers was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television.

He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications includingGuardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”.

He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing and the newly announced Polari Prize.

Paul Burston Author Photo

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Stilettos & Stardust by D.L Pitchford #blogtour #extract @dlpitchford @annecater

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A modern day Cinderella with a twist…
 
When high school seniors Noah Barton and Eden Prince’s academic rivalry ruins a thermodynamics demo, their physics teacher decides to help them get along. By forcing them to be lab partners.
As graduation approaches, Noah and Eden are too busy figuring out college to deal with each other. Noah’s football-loving dad sabotages his chance to win a big scholarship. Eden’s traditional mother cares more about finding her a serious boyfriend than encouraging her dreams.
Winning big at the regional science fair is their last hope.
Will Noah follow in his astronaut mother’s footsteps? Can Eden show her parents the environment is more important than any relationship? Will Noah and Eden finally learn to work together?
Follow Noah and Eden’s budding romance in this emotionally charged, sex-positive, gender-swapped retelling of Cinderella.

Extract from the book

For a long minute, she doesn’t speak. She drops the stilettos to the concrete and leans against the railing just out of reach. Her eyes study the view, and her boobs press together as she rests her elbows on the bar, creasing the dress. “Have you heard back from any colleges yet?”

I force myself to look away. “I got accepted to Archer Collins.”

She bristles at the words. “Really.” It’s not a question.

“Yup.”

“Shouldn’t you be excited?”

I shrug. “I don’t know if I’m going.”

Eden turns on me, her grip on the railing tight. “How could you possibly not attend Archer Collins?” She scoffs. “It’s the best science school on the East Coast. The fact that you were accepted speaks very highly of you. Besides, isn’t it the same school your mother attended?”

My eyes flutter shut.

I don’t want to talk about my mother. Not after every person tonight told me how sad they are for me and how they’ve kept our family in their prayers.

No, thanks.

“Do you have to be so nosy?” I snap, shooting her a glare. “Can’t you mind your own business for once?”

Eden’s determined brown eyes quiver as her face morphs into a sneer. “It was a simple question. You don’t have to bite my head off.”

Damn, she’s an easy mark.

“I don’t know why I bothered trying to be civil. You’d think—” She freezes, and her anger fades. “You want to distract me, don’t you?”

I turn toward the dark vista before us.

Eden falls silent, but I can feel her eyes on me. When she does speak, her words are uncomfortably gentle: “Don’t you have goals? Dreams? A desire to succeed? You can’t give up every time something inconvenient happens.”

My dreams and goals, my ambition, have all fallen to the wayside. Even my attempts to work on my STEM projects are halfhearted at best.

Wait, what?

It shouldn’t be funny, but my laughter escapes without restraint. “You’re the only person in the world who would say my mom dying is ‘inconvenient.'”

Eden’s face contorts into a frown. “Are you making fun of me?”

I settle my laughter, but my lips remain twisted into a smile. “It’s actually…kind of nice.”

Her frown deepens, and she looks away. “No one wants to force you to come back to school before you’re ready, but it feels like you’re giving up.” For once, her voice lacks her normal authoritative tone.

I shake my head.

Because she’s wrong.

Dad hates me staying home. He hates that I missed finals. He hates that I spent so long “moping” around the house instead of doing anything. He hates that I feel.

He was back at work three days after the accident. He had contracts and business associates waiting for his input. He had a million excuses. He moved on, acted like everything was normal.

And Ethan and Cliff? They didn’t even make the memorial. Cliff had a football game to attend, and I don’t have “clearance” to know what was involved in Ethan’s Raider assessment.

No one else cared when Mom died. I was the only one who cried.

“Well,” I say after a deep breath, “I’ll be back when the new semester starts. You can have your competition back.”

“I’ll look forward to it.” She pushes away from the railing with a deep sigh. “Time to make a social appearance. Mama’s probably wondering where I ran off to.” She dramatically tosses her stilettos over her shoulder and marches toward the door, her hips swaying with her determined walk.

When she’s gone, I rest my chin on my knuckles and close my eyes. How much longer till I’m allowed to call it a night?

Buy it here at Amazon.

About the Author

YA and NA author D. L. Pitchford is best known for her brutally honest stories and realistic characters.

Throughout her childhood, art and literature were encouraged in every form. Pitchford fell in love with The Lord of the Rings, The Dark Is Rising, and Harry Potter. By age ten, she wrote her first fantasy book. Her love of writing grew exponentially.

In 2013, Pitchford received her BA in English, Writing, and Fine Arts from Drury University. During her studies, she focused on the human condition and penned the first scenes of her debut novel. IF WE HAD NO WINTER released April 2017 and has been commended for its gritty tone and character growth.

Pitchford lives with her husband and two sons in Springfield, Missouri, where she continues writing young and new adult novels.

Website: http://www.dlpitchford.com/

Twitter @dlpitchford

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The Record Keeper by Agnes Gomillion #review #dystopian #heartfelt @AgnesGomillion @Sarah_Mather15 @TitanBooks

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The Record Keeper is a visceral and thrilling near-future dystopia examining past and present race relations.

After World War III, Earth is in ruins, and the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law – in every way – or risk shattering the fragile peace and endangering the entire human race.

Arika Cobane is on the threshold of taking her place of privilege as a member of the Kongo elite after ten grueling years of training. But everything changes when a new student arrives speaking dangerous words of treason: What does peace matter if innocent lives are lost to maintain it? As Arika is exposed to new beliefs, she realizes that the laws she has dedicated herself to uphold are the root of her people’s misery. If Arika is to liberate her people, she must unearth her fierce heart and discover the true meaning of freedom: finding the courage to live – or die – without fear.

My Review

With thanks to Sarah at Titan Books for providing a paperback copy for me to review.

This is the first book I have read with a passion to show racism at its most raw state. With a dystopian story, this book is full of dedication to a cause that you are taught to believe is right, you have no choice about your future and the fight within that develops throughout, is amazing and passionate to read.

The book starts off explaining how you are born into this dystopian world, you have no choice where you end up, you do not know your family, you are merely placed into whichever area you are chosen to go.

As the main character is born – Arika, she is already from an early age destined to be a fighter, as she grows up she quickly learns how to be top of her class within the schoolroom and how to keep her Teacher appeased, she is beaten at an early moment in school life, when she tries to defy the Teacher Jones and her rules. This in turn lets her learn how to keep the peace, however this has consequences with the other children in her class. along with her relationships with them.

Arika chooses to work excessively to get where she wants to go, to be a Senator. She chooses not to join in with the beauty parties she is invited to, only to study the most she can.

However, a new class mate joins the school and he is to become the one that changes everything for Arika, to bring her understanding of what is really happening around them, to reality. Hosea Khan seems to hold secrets that Arika is forced to find out what, her challenges allow her to develop her understanding of the world around her, encouraging her fight inside her to become visible. She has very little choices, find out the secrets or face a penalty – possible death!

As Arika finds out more about Hosea and what he is doing, she starts to realise that the people around the working areas are dying, dying of a disease that cannot be controlled. She finds within her soul to help and take risks, that I believe she would have never taken before she spent time with the dying.

From this she is taken to meet with Director Kumar, he requires to meet her and she doesn’t know why. Hosea is reluctant to tell her anymore, as they travel they are accosted by rebels and all seems lost. Until Hosea offers to provide them with powerful, DNA weapon. They agree and this starts a journey of training, meeting new challenges and admitting to your own demons, when it is most needed.

As Arika finally ends up back at the School House, her passion for a fight so rightly needed develops, this for me was the best part of the story, to get revenge in the most powerful and controlled way.

Throughout the book, Arika has lots to deal with, she is born to be taught and do as she is told, she is born with a fire in her soul which is controlled, to make her behave as  she is required in society, she gets close to people that she shouldn’t and this emotionally affects her. She even ends up finding out about her own family, something that is forbidden.

This book offers so much to the reader, from understanding the seriousness of racism and how the dystopian world chooses certain races to do different jobs within a society, it felt more than wrong, to take a pill that will erase your memories, so that you can’t remember why, or if you should be working on the land or who your family is.

This story is raw and emotional, however it gives you the knowledge that in the end, regardless of the challenges they faced, finding the courage and to question what is right, gives this book a story to appreciate and enjoy.

You can buy it here at Amazon, definately a book to read!

 

 

The Final Reckoning by Chris Bishop @CBishop_author @RedDoorBooks #LoveBooksTours #blogtour #guestpost

Despite Alfred’s great victory at Edington, Wessex is far from secure.

With the threat of an imminent Viking attack, Matthew, now a warrior, is sent to fortify and defend the ford at Leatherhead. There, hopelessly outnumbered, he faces his sternest test as he and a small band of barely trained Saxon warriors strive to hold out long enough for help to arrive or resolve to die trying.

In a time ravaged by political uncertainty, Matthew is placed in intense personal danger as he is also ordered to investigate the tyranny of the Ealdorman’s stepson and dispense justice as he sees fit.

With his life still threatened by the wound to his chest, what is asked of him seems more than any man should endure as he faces . . . The Final Reckoning

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GHOST WRITER – THE HAND WHICH GUIDES THE PEN

by CHRIS BISHOP

 My debut novel –Blood and Destiny – started out as a short ghost story which I intended to submit to a literary competition.  I had a plot in mind which involved a team of archaeologists who discover the remains of a young boy and are curious to know why he’s buried in such a remote and lonely grave.

That is, in essence, still the Prelude to Blood and Destiny, except that as I began to create a backstory for the boy, it became apparent that he had his own tale to tell.  He seemed to take over the story, pushing me into all sorts of places I hadn’t intended to go and inducing all manner of twists and turns along the way.  The upside of this was that pretty soon his whole story came gushing out like… well, like all good stories should.

Admittedly, Anglo Saxon England was a period which interested me and that might explain why, when I checked the details I’d jotted down, they fitted the perceived facts like a glove.  Then, when I gave the boy a name (actually, I gave him two but you’ll have to read the book to find out why) he seemed to come to life and I realised that I was no longer writing a short story – I was writing a novel.

I sent a draft to several publishers all of whom were very complimentary but they either rejected it as being ‘not for their market’ or suggested so many revisions that I began to wonder who was actually writing it.  That’s not to say that their suggestions were unhelpful; in fact, I took some of them on board but, in the end, I opted to tell my story (or rather Matthew’s story) my way – in the way it had come to me.

One of the publishers made a very valid point in saying that the voice at the beginning of the story (in the Prelude) seemed older than the text suggests.  When I looked at this I realised why – it was because Matthew’s life did not end where my story ended, implying he had yet more to tell me.  With that in mind I drafted Book Two (The Warrior with the Pierced Heart) and Book Three (The Final Reckoning).

I’d like to think that Matthew’s ‘ghost’ guided my pen throughout the process.  Certainly it felt that way at times.  So, is it possible that this really is Matthew telling his story through me – and if so, does that mean it could be true?

Personally, I think not.  That would be to deny the hours of additional research, drafting and editing that are all part of writing a novel.  I think it is simply one of those stories which needed to be told and, if so, I regard myself as fortunate that it was given to me to tell it.

Purchase it here at Amazon.

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Final REckoning

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw @claidlawauthor @AccentPress @AnneCater #review #blogtour #TheSpaceBetweenTime

The Space FRONT COVER

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini’s perfect life begins to splinter when her celebrity father becomes more distant, and her mother dies suspiciously during a lightning storm. This death has a massive effect on Emma, but after stumbling through university, she settles into work as a journalist in Edinburgh.

Her past, however, cannot be escaped. Her mental health becomes unstable. But while recovering in a mental institution, Emma begins to write a memoir to help come to terms with the unravelling of her life. She finds ultimate solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theoremon the universe – which offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

My Review

With thanks to Anne for providing a paperback copy, for me to review for the blog tour.

This book has lots of levels of understanding on how we perceive our life to be. Emma Rossini is a young girl who has a film star dad and beautiful caring mother, however it isn’t as simple as it might seem.

The story jumps straight into meeting Emma and her mum, they go to the cinema for a surprise, Emma is excited but not sure how going to the cinema can be a surprise. The surprise is her dad on the big screen! Emma is proud to see her daddy, but things are not as she expected them to be in the end.

The story is told through Emma’s point of view as a child in the beginning, as the story continues you see her grow up and see how her point of view has affected how she is, when she is older.

When you read through the story you can see how mum swears a lot and blames her film star husband for many things, however Emma seems to turn it around to be the innocent side and feels that it isn’t so bad.

The grandparents do their best to support Emma and her mum, as her dad is too busy to attend important family events, like Christmas, Emma does feel a little let down. However, her Italian Grandad is an astrophysicist, he has fascinating ideas on how the universe is and how it affects the things we do, Emma develops a need as her life unravels, to use her Grandad’s theories to help her cope.

As her dad seems even further away, her mum dies in suspicious circumstances Emma does struggle with the grief and her emotions, she ends up in a mental institution, it is at this point she starts to reflect more on her life. I believe that the way her mum was affected how Emma grew up and how she feels.

This story is full of not only different layers of view points and emotions, it also allows you to make your own judgements, the story itself is well told, you get to think about what is fiction and what is not. With that in mind, this is not a quick read, it requires some concentration to appreciate the story as a whole.

I would recommend this book, it provides a different aspect of reading, more in-depth and allows you to think about how this book is so very close to life itself, I personally could relate to parts of it, making me think on how I perceive things to be, when I was young.

Purchase it here at Amazon.

 

About the Author

Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defence intelligence. He now runs his own marketing consultancy in East Lothian. He is married with two grown-up children.

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The Space Between Time Blog Tour Poster

Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher #review #Shakespeare #fun @iandoescher @quirkbooks @JamiedoesPR

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Power struggles. Bitter rivalries. Rampant jealousy. Betrayals. Star-crossed lovers. When you think about it, it is pretty surprising William Shakespeare DIDN’T write Mean Girls. But at last, readers will be treated to the epic drama and epic hilarity of the classic teen comedy rendered with the wit, flair, and iambic pentameter of the Bard. The action unfolds as our heroine Cady disguises herself to infilitrate the conniving Plastics, falls for totally-off-limits Aaron, struggles with her allegiance to newfound friends Damian and Janis, and stirs up age-old vendettas between the factions of the high school. Bestselling author Ian Doescher brings his signature Shakespearean wordsmithing to one of the most revered stories of our time. Fourteen years after its release (feel old yet?) Mean Girls has become a cultural phenomenon and cult classic among generations of teen girls and other fans, and is more than apt for an Elizabethan makeover.

My Review

With huge thanks to Jamie-Lee from Quirk Books, for providing a paperback copy of the book to review.

I loved the film Mean Girls, I also enjoy a bit of Shakespeare, my favourite being ‘A Midsummer’s Nights Dream’. So with those two things mixed together, I was definitely looking forward to reading this re-creation of the Mean Girls, in Shakespearean language.

The book is beautifully designed with pictures and layout, as you would expect from a Shakespeare play, with stage sets and actions required.

The whole play made me giggle, on how the girls play on each others fears, ensuring the ‘Plastics’ were known as the best, to be them you have to be perfect, to join them a challenge in itself! The Burn Book was a highlight, it had all the mean comments of the people within the school year book, the best part was when the book got into the hands of the Head of the School. Breaking down the ‘Plastics’ cruel intentions.

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The play is all about who is who in the school, what part you play and the Spring Fling King and Queen nominations and who becomes them.

The characters in the play were matched to Shakespeare characters, which I could relate to, it gave the characters depth and a twist of modern fun.

If you enjoy Shakespeare and Mean Girls, you will love this, it is fun and perfectly matched to the film.

Purchase it here at Amazon.

Implant by Ray Clark @T1LOM @UrbaneBooks #LoveBooksTours #blogtour #repost #review #AMustRead #Implant #trailer #ChapterPreview

Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire. Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.

Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence.

Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy? The detectives race against time to stop the trail of horrific murders…

See the new trailer … here

Implant - Ray Clark

My Review – This review is from my original blog tour in August 2018 (I would still recommend this gruesome and enthralling book!)

With thanks to Love Books Group Tours, I was offered to read and review this fascinating book. The synopsis sounded gripping, I enjoy reading murder mystery books with some graphic detail, so this one intrigued me.

Not long into the story there was the first murder and gruesome it was! The victim had been nailed to a wall, lips sewn together and a fresh scar on his abdomen! The call comes in from a mystery person, who contacts one of the police officers to tell them a message, about how much time they have. The police officer has no idea at the time what this call is about, a few minutes later a call comes into the station, to say a local hardware store looks as though its been broken into. This is where the story starts, there are twists and turns all the way throughout, wanting you to read more, finding out who is connected and why.

There are a lot of characters within this story and sometimes you need to have a clear head to keep up, however every person in this story has a part to play. From the very beginning you get to know about PC Gary Close, who has a terminally ill mum and has recently had an operation himself; due to a sporting accident. Sargent Maurice Cragg is also a very esteemed character, with a sad family story of his own. The two main police characters are: Detective Sargent Sean Reilly and Detective Inspector Stewart Gardener. This story and two others are a part of the Gardener and Reilly Crime Series. Throughout this story previous jobs that the detectives have investigated are mentioned, this for me, has intrigued me to find out about the other two books, as they also seemed gruesome and interesting reads!

As the story continues there are more cleverly designed gruesome murders, with mysteries to follow each one, the way the murders were compiled were fascinating and made me wince as I read on. As the detectives investigate they are struggling to compile any solid evidence, its not clear how people are going to being murdered or why.

I really enjoyed how the story flowed; you are taken through police procedures and how the police team worked together, to use their own research to solve the mystery. I particularly loved how Detective Reilly enjoyed his food, at every stage if he has a chance to munch on biscuits, he does! The banter between the two detectives was also evident, showing the confidence and supportive relationship between them.

The downward slope to resolving the murders was like a snowball, you got to know who was involved and why, how they finally chased down the murderer, then you find out the logic behind why the murders took place.

The reasons were actually very sad and you could actually appreciate why this person (the murderer), went to such lengths to make them suffer!

At the very end of the story you find out a bit more behind one of the characters, it was very emotional and I felt very sorry for that character. Quite a surprising and final end to this very gruesome and shocking story!

I definitely recommend this book and I would love to read Imperfection!

YouTube video chapter preview – please click here

Purchase it here at Amazon.

About the Author

The British Fantasy Society published Ray Clark’s first work in 1995 – Manitou Man: The World of Graham Masterton, was nominated for both the World and British Fantasy Awards. In 2009, Ray’s short story, Promises To Keep, made the final shortlist for the best short story award from The Tom Howard Foundation. Ray is based in Goole, and has set his Gardener and Reilly crime series in nearby Leeds.

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