Echo Murder by Laura Laakso @LLaaksoWriter @LouiseWalters12 #magic #MurderMystery #WildFolk #PI #EchoMurder #review

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Yannia Wilde returns to the Wild Folk conclave where she grew up, and to the deathbed of her father, the conclave’s Elderman. She is soon drawn back into the Wild Folk way of life and into a turbulent relationship with Dearon, to whom she is betrothed.

Back in London, unassuming office worker Tim Wedgebury is surprised when police appear on his doorstep with a story about how he was stabbed in the West End. His body disappeared before the paramedics’ eyes. Given that Tim is alive and well, the police chalk the first death up to a Mage prank. But when Tim “dies” a second time, Detective Inspector Jamie Manning calls Yannia and, torn between returning to the life she has built in Old London and remaining loyal to the conclave and to Dearon, she strikes a compromise with the Elderman that allows her to return temporarily to the city.

There she sets about solving the mystery of Tim’s many deaths with the help of her apprentice, Karrion. They come to realise that with every death, more of the echo becomes reality, and Yannia and Karrion find themselves in increasing danger as they try to save Tim. Who is the echo murderer? What sinister game are they playing? And what do they truly want?

My Review

With thanks to Louise Walters (publisher), for providing an arc paperback to review. I had already read Infallible Justice which I thoroughly enjoyed, the story provides a mixture of various magic types with murder mystery, along with very intriguing characters. The covers of the books are also very well designed, giving an unusual edge against other books in the same genre.

This story brings you into a murder straight away within the first chapter, the victim is killed, not long after he just ‘disappears’ before the paramedics eyes! With this being the beginning, it prepares you for a murder mystery with a fascinating twist or two!

Yannia returns back to the Wild Folk, to visit her father the Elderman, who is dying. Yannia returns only to see what is happening with her father, she believes she has been asked to return after her agreement with her father to stay in Old London (to continue her Private Investigation work), to be with him for his last few living days.

The passion between Yannia and her betrothed mate Dearon, is a strong desire that neither can ignore. However, Yannia is conflicted between what she wants and the needs of her people. I enjoyed reading more about the Wild Folk and how they live and hunt.

Yannia returns to Old London, after receiving a mysterious call from her police contact DI Jamie Manning, she meets up with her sidekick Karrion, who in the last book, only began his journey with Yannia as her apprentice. They work extremely well together, with her being from the Wild Folk and Karrion being a Bird Shaman, they combine their skills to solve the murder(s).

Once everything has been explained as to what the victim Tim Wedgebury has been supposedly been involved with, Yannia and Karrion begin their investigation. There are many unanswered questions, one is; why is Tim being targeted, when he is clearly not dead or got any enemies!?

Throughout the story, you learn more about the other types of magical people, that could be involved. The places they go for their ‘magical’ shopping, which intrigued me into finding out more about Old London. This story I believe does enhance this, giving the reader a more in-depth understanding of the magic around.

As Yannia and Karrion investigate further, the plot thickens to what is happening to Tim and who could be involved. It would seem that there is a reason behind why Tim is being targeted, however he doesn’t understand why, he is a quiet man, only looking after his mum.

I really enjoyed once again, how Yannia becomes involved within the research into her investigation, the various people she speaks to, providing the clues she needs. This makes the story flow, allowing the reader to be in her shoes.

With a fascinating twist to the murders, how can one man be murdered more than once? Along with the relationships between Yannia, Wishearth and Lady Bergamon, it brings the story to life with characters that you will remember. Even from the first book I would love to visit Lady Bergamon’s mysterious garden, lovingly grown and cared for. Wishearth has a loving elder feeling about him, I believe he has his own reasons for helping and protecting Yannia.

I am very much looking forward to reading the next chapter in Yannia’s life, what could happen, will she permanently return to the Wild Folk, will she get another fascinating magical case!? Laura Laakso’s next book is called Roots of Corruption.

You can purchase Echo Murder direct from the publisher here.

Here is my review from her first book Infallible Justice.

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A Pair of Sharp Eyes by Kat Armstrong #KatArmstrong @HooklineBooks #LoveBooksTours #content

Coronation hears of the murders before she even reaches the slave port of Bristol – six boys found with their throats slit. Horrified, she questions the locals’ readiness to blame the killings on Red John, a travelling-man few have actually seen. Coronation yearns to know more about the mystery. But first she has to outsmart the bawds, thieves and rakes who prey on young girls like her: fresh from the countryside and desperate for work. When the murderer strikes shockingly close to Coronation, she schemes, eavesdrops and spies on all around her until the shameful truth is out.

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Childhood

There’s no question I had the perfect childhood for someone who wanted to be a writer – which I did from an early age. Both my parents were bibliophiles and took us to bookshops every weekend. We weren’t well-off, but books were something I was allowed in unlimited quantities. I inherited my mother’s own library of childhood classics (including several titles by a wonderful almost-forgotten writer called Gwendoline Courtney), and even one or two books that had belonged to my grandmother. I spent hours pasting homemade library labels into my collection, more hours arranging it in alphabetical order, and I kept my Puffin Club diary for a whole year, faithfully recording the fact that almost every night during that period I ate chips for tea.

I was three when I learned to read via Ladybird’s Peter and Jane, and over the next ten years I gobbled my way through every well-known classic of children’s literature: reams of Enid Blyton followed by What Katy Did, Little Womenand its sequels, the Little House on the Prairiebooks, E. Nesbit (my first crush was on Oswald Bastable), Noel Streatfeild, Arthur Ransome. Perhaps children’s lit was less gender-specific than it became, as I was equally devoted to Tom Brown’s Schooldays, Fifth Form at St Dominic’s, Billy Bunter, Jennings and Darbyshire, and even some of the early Biggles books, which I purloined from my brother along with his Willard Price adventure stories (for some reason I was never keen on TinTin).

My mother was a gifted English teacher with a vast knowledge of YA and an appetite for discussing the texts I was studying at school. We watched the ground-breaking TV drama series Play for Todayevery week, and went to the theatre, and my father took me to poetry readings and gave me money to buy all the books I could possibly need when I went to university to read English. Then there was my actual English teacher, Paul Kent, a brilliant and learned man who had worked in publishing and was passionate about inspiring others with a love of literature. His feedback on my teenage writings was key to building my confidence, even though it was long years before I found a publisher for my fiction.

Given all this encouragement it may not be surprising that I wrote stories from an early age, and I was lucky enough to go an Arvon course in my mid-teens, though at that point I wanted to be a poet.

Sadly everything changed when I went to Oxford (where one of my friends joked that my parents had obviously locked me in a library for the last ten years – I had read the entire reading list before term started and was naïve enough to say so). I didn’t have the confidence to get involved in student journalism or to try and publish after graduating. I chose academia instead – producing literary criticism seemed safer than writing original work, though I did write a novel in secret, inspired by Northanger Abbey, when I was 20.

In fact I wrote a lot in my twenties and thirties, but never had the courage to show my writing to anyone. I became phobic of doing so, and didn’t even realise how much I’d produced until I came to move house and discovered I’d filled a Victorian cabin trunk with short stories and half-finished novels. At that point I decided to take my ambition seriously, and began to set time aside to work in earnest. By then I had three young children, so I wrote at a furious rate while the youngest was at pre-school. I would race home after the school run and ignore the phone; those two-and-a-half hours flew past.

Looking back I had a lot of luck with my childhood and perhaps it was inevitable I would become a writer. I’m hugely grateful to the people who taught me to read and kept me reading – you can’t be a writer unless you read, and as widely as possible. Writing is a solitary, difficult occupation. If someone does or says something that helps to keep you going, remember and appreciate it.

Purchase it here at Amazon.

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Ryder on the Storm by Ray Clark @T1LOM #LoveBooksTours #shortstories #murder #ghosts

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When builder Terry Johnson spots what he thinks is a bargain he can’t resist but to succumb to temptation. The large, detached house stands on the side of a railway track and would be perfect for his needs … and it’s cheap! 

But Billington Manor has a very tainted history, and the grounds upon which it stands were part of an unsolved murder back in the 1850s. Terry is about to discover that the road to hell is not always paved with good intentions.
Based upon a true incident, Ryder On The Storm is a stand-alone supernatural crime novella from the author of the IMP series, featuring desk sergeant Maurice Cragg.

 

My Review

With thanks to Kelly for providing an ebook copy to review for the blog tour. The synopsis along with my previous reading of this authors books , I was definitely interested in reading this short story.

The story goes straight into describing the grizzly scene of the murder of George Ryder. It then fast forwards to the future in 2015 when Billington Manor is being sold to Terry, he seems to be excited with the challenge of this old building, with his wife due to give birth soon, he has his hands full.

Terry is confused that the Billingtons that own the Manor, wish to sell as quick as possible, using cash only, not involving banks or surveyors. Something that is rarely done, in the sale of a property. Do the Billingtons know something he should know about!?

As the sale goes through, Terry arrives to look over the property to see what needs to be done, the Billingtons seem to strangely disappear while he is looking around, quite conveniently, I might add! As the weather develops into a more severe storm with thunder and lightning. He enters one room where a man in old style clothing is sitting in the rocking chair. This man asks Terry some questions about his past relatives, then he finally introduces himself as George Ryder – the man murdered many years before!

From here it is a spiral of the past history re-living itself, along with realistic hallucinations bringing the past to life, while Ryder explains why. Terry does his best to move and get away out of the house, as he struggles through this, his wife is having their baby.

The story flicks back to when Ryder was alive, what started the ball rolling with him being murdered and what he said, something that will haunt the murderers future! I really liked this twist to the storyline.

This story has moments of pure terror, not knowing what might happen next and to whom. Considering it is a short story it packs a lot in, with a huge finale that continues the curse!

Definately worth a read, Ray Clark is very good at keeping you wanting more, providing enough gore and emotional description to bring the story to life.

Along with this story, I was given a few more short stories, where the author goes to writing classes and discusses different writing methods. I especially enjoyed The Mysterious Affair at Smiles, very intriguing ‘who dun it’, not knowing how the person was killed, which I thought was a fascinating read.

You can buy it here at Amazon

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A Different Time by Michael K. Hill @MKHill0221 @The_WriteReads #blogtour #review #LostLove #ThePast #AMustRead

A different time

A lonely, young man risks all to uncover the mysteries of the woman talking to him from the past, but time is running out.

My Review

With thanks to Dave from The Write Reads, for providing an ebook copy to read for this huge blog tour!

I was fascinated by the brief although intriguing synopsis of this book. I was expecting some kind of lost love letter or something similar, however I was very wrong, I loved reading this from start to finish!

Regardless of this being only just 195 pages long, this story brings to life areas of family, life, love and loss.

The story is well written and easy to follow with the jumps between Keith who is in 2019 and Lyndsey 1989.

Lyndsey is a young girl, unsure of her future. She is a great artist and takes life as it comes, she lives with her mum and step dad, with her own worries and concerns she starts to create a series of tapes, recording her feelings and thoughts, hoping that it will help her find out what life will bring her.

Keith is a fan of comics and has collected them since he was little, with his father supporting his collection. He works full time as an accountant, has a best friend, so as a whole he is happy, however he feels he is missing something.

As Keith looks to complete his final comic collection, he accidentally comes across a VHS-C tape, he needs to find out what is on this tape, it pulls him in a way he cannot describe.

Once Keith finds out what is on this tape, everything for both Keith and Lyndsey change dramatically. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, as this story is even now very emotional, this is one that will stay with me!

As the story develops, Keith becomes obsessed, risking his best friends friendship and job, to find out more about Lyndsey. He uses every penny he has to locate more of these tapes, that he so longingly feels that he must have.

As you find out more about Lyndsey the story comes together, bringing her life events and situations to a point that turns the whole story around.

Keith finally locates more of these tapes, however this is when things turn for him. He finds out where Lyndsey lives and goes on a journey he feels, will bring an end to his search.

This is a wonderfully written, emotionally driven story. Not just a love story, but with a twist of time-travel. I would happily read this story again, I enjoyed the 80’s and 90’s references, along with the Prologue from 2007, where you will finally make the connection further along in the story.

I have no doubt in recommending this story to read and adore, it gives the reader so much in such a short story.

Purchase it here Amazon US or Amazon UK.

About the Author 

Beginning as a sketch comedy writer for American television, Michael K. Hill progressed to become an internationally published writer of fiction and non-fiction. His short story anthology, Anansi and Beyond, published in 2017, and his debut novel, A Different Time, is available now. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, kids, and 7 rescued animals.

Website:

http://michaelkhill.com/

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Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey @gaileyfrey @torbooks @JamiedoesPR #magic #PI #Detective #love #murder

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Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.

Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.

She doesn’t in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.

Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

My Review

With thanks to Jamie for not only providing me with a hardback copy of the book but also a pin badge – that I just adore!

I love a good story with a touch of magic running through it, the blurb said quite enough to get more intrigued!

I really appreciated the work gone into each character in this story, with Ivy trying to be someone else to impress and to hide feelings from her twin sister, to Tabitha doing her best to keep away from Ivy, keeping secrets for various reasons. The mage children in the school which are all heading towards young adults, each had their own creative characteristic flair.

Learning about the grounds of school along with the lessons that were taught, brought this story to life, giving the base line for what was about to become.

The death of a teacher happens within the school grounds and it is felt by the Head Ms Torres, that this was not just a magic accident but a gruesome murder. She invites Ivy to investigate, however the feelings Ivy has about this are clear to see.

As the investigation starts, Ivy finds out various pieces of information, doing her best not to arise suspicion that she herself is not magical, as she feels it could impair the feelings of the staff and students towards her.

There is a small group of young children, one child Alexandria is well known at the school, she pulls strings around the teachers, due to her parents having a big impact on the school. However, this small group have a secret, that Ivy believes plays an important role to solving what is thought to be a murder, but is it?

Ivy connects with various teachers, getting to know them better, what they teach and what they are capable of. She gets especially close to Rahul a Physical Magic teacher.

With the National Mage Investigative Service providing details of the case they believe was an accident, things go missing along with information arriving, that Ivy struggles to understand what they mean.

With other twists to the story like the Prophecy, that one student believes he is the ‘chosen one’, to reliving the feelings felt when Ivy and Tabitha were children, something that is still quite raw.

As clues become clear, Ivy believes she knows who killed the teacher and why, however the story twists on a knife edge, bringing a shocking revelation to Ivy, making her realise there is more to this murder and the secrets within the school.

Decisions have to be made, secrets are uncovered, Ivy makes her choices and the ending I thought was perfect, could there be a second chance!?

This book is ‘magical’ (sorry excuse the pun!) I enjoyed every moment of this story, from the engaging characters, Ivy’s direct investigative attitude to the gripping moment the story turns. It is a must read!

Purchase it here from Amazon.

An evening of crime, film and book browsing with Murder & The Barrister! @BBookChamber

The Barrister’s  Book Chamber is situation in the Town of Retford, it may seem like any other book shop but it isn’t!

The book shop offers so much more, from the huge selection of used to antique books,  along with the almost theatrical themed decorated walls and memorabilia, giving this shop a feel for almost any book lover to appreciate.

I was invited to come along to an evening of the Murder & The Barrister, showing of a film, a browse and tour throughout the new part of the shop, with a treat at the end with a goody bag! What more could I ask for!?

I have been to the shop many times before and I have loved it from the beginning, I adore the decoration and the feel of the place, it always makes you feel welcome. Angela (The Barrister) and her team (family), have made a magical job in creating a place not only to purchase books from, but to enjoy them at their best. The book shop has its small but well equipped cafe at the back of the shop, full of home made delicious cakes!

The evening of the Murder & The Barrister was set off to a great start with watching the film ‘Clue’ one of my old time favourites, it still made me laugh and was very apt for the evening. We were given popcorn to enjoy while watching the film, along with other sweet and savoury treats.

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After watching the film, we had a tour of the new part of the shop, in the top floor of this listed building. There is a continuation of the fascinating decor throughout with the stairwell being themed perfectly around Jack the Ripper! The first room on your left at the top of the stairs, being a room that currently held Agatha Christie books, this room will change as and when it is time for the next choice of theme. There is a room full of general crime/murder mystery books.

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Then there is a room that will be used for meetings, general hire or for creative days. With this room in mind, the Barrister’s Book Chamber are offering anyone to hold a stall anywhere inside the shop for the Christmas fair, bringing an extra edge to Christmas shoppers that wish to warm up.

The final room is the Barrister’s room, Angela is the Barrister of the Book Chamber. We had a talk about all the interesting facts of the do’s and don’t’s while you become a Barrister. The clothing, the wig; which is not recommended to be new when you start, the older it looks the better, it allows others not to realise that you might be new and without experience! Everything that we learnt about has been placed within this room, so you an learn more about the Barrister, while you visit the shop.

Within the Barrister’s room it has books from real life crimes, something we were told “the gruesome the better!’ so if this is something you like reading about, this will be your room!

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Rainbow selection of antique books, so much choice!

There is so much variety within this small although well balanced book shop, they offer local author visits, book subscriptions along with book readings held within their Wonderland children’s book shop not far from this one, which is also something you need to see to believe!

You can find the Barrister’s Book Chamber here on Facebook or here on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Country Lovers by Fiona Walker @fionawalkeruk @HoZ_Books #CoverReveal

They say you should never go back, but glamorous Ronnie Percy did just that, to the home she ran away from with her lover.

But not everyone is finding it easy to forgive and forget.

Daughter Pax, fighting for custody of her small son as her own marriage disintegrates, is furious to have to spend New Year’s Eve waiting for some stranger her mother has invited to help run the family stud farm.

Even more annoyed is the staunchly loyal stud head groom, Lester. Does Ronnie think he’s lost his touch with the horses? And anyway, who is this so-called Horsemaker, Luca O’Brien? Why does he seem to be running away from something? And what is the true story of his relationship with grey stallion Beck, once destined for the Olympics, now broken and unrideable, screaming his anger from the Compton Magna stables.

Passionate, sexy, gripping, laced with her trademark wisdom and humour, this is bestselling Fiona Walker at her dazzling best.

Cover Reveal

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A gorgeous front cover depicting a country house and stables, with passion and fireworks!

About the author

Fiona Walker is the author of eighteen novels, from tales of flat-shares and clubbing in nineties London to today’s romping, rural romances set amid shires, spires and stiles. In a career spanning over two decades, she’s grown up alongside her readers, never losing her wickedly well-observed take on life, lust and the British in love. She lives in Warwickshire, sharing a slice of Shakespeare Country with her partner, their two daughters and a menagerie of animals. fionawalker.com @fionawalkeruk facebook.com/fiona.walker.16568

Follow Fiona:

Twitter: @fionawalkeruk

Facebook: @fionawalkeruk

Pre-order links:

Amazon

Google Play

Kobo

iBooks

Follow Head of Zeus:

Website: www.headofzeus.com

Twitter: @HoZ_Books

Facebook: @headofzeus

Instagram: @headofzeus

The Community by Joe Hakim @JoeHakim_  @Wildpressed #LoveBooksTours #GuestPost #blogtour

A northern coastal city. A sinister, extra-dimensional intelligence is taking hold…

Joe Hakim draws the reader into the heart of a disenfranchised community impacted by strange forces beyond its control. A group of friends: separated by time, choices, and circumstance are reunited by their shared encounters with an uncanny presence that looms over their lives. The seeds were sewn in their childhoods, now they must try and understand what is happening, before it is too late.

Raw and uncompromising, The Community fuses social commentary with a dose of sci-fi horror, to cast a light on an existence spent in the Void.

Publisher’s note: this book contains strong language and explicit sexual references.

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Inspiration

It’s a slippery bleeder, inspiration, innit?

For most of my life, I’ve held onto the belief that the source of a writer’s inspiration, and their methods in general, should be held onto tightly and kept from view like the secret to a really stunning magic trick. And if I’m honest, deep down, my belief has been reinforced by a fear that revealing anything about my personal little writing rituals would somehow rob them of their power.

Like a lot of writers, one of my main sources of income comes from teaching creative writing. I work with schools, community centres and charities, and I particularly enjoy working with people who think that creative writing ‘isn’t for them,’ or that their background, education, or social class somehow excludes them from writing and the arts in general.

Most people, when faced with the prospect of sitting down and writing something, immediately throw up barriers. And the earliest set of questions I get when start working with a new group of writers also happen to be the most difficult to answer: ‘How do you make a start? How do you find inspiration?’

In classic stage-magician style, I address these questions by avoiding them. Instead, I tell them to cast aside fears about spelling, punctuation and grammar: it doesn’t matter, we can go back and fix them later. Then I ask them to do simple writing exercises based around memory, association and sensory input; lists in the most part. And most, if not all, find that writing for the sake of writing – with no expectation or anticipation of how it’s going to turn out – makes those precious bubbles of inspiration float to the surface, ready to be popped.

Because distraction is not only one of the most powerful tools in a stage-magician’s repertoire, it’s also an essential part of writing as well, not only for the readers, but for the writers themselves.

And that’s how I’ve managed to write a feature about inspiration without saying anything about the inspiration behind The Community, my new sci-fi/horror novel set on the streets on Hull, published by Wild Pressed Books September 2019.

Because I’d much rather you see the trick first, and maybe, if you catch me backstage after the show, I’ll explain how I did it.

Purchase it here  

About the Author

Joe Hakim lives and works in Hull.

He’s performed spoken word at venues and festivals around the UK, including Latitude, Big Chilland Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He was co-host and organiser of Write to Speak, (Hull Truck Theatre 2009 to 2013).

He is currently working with schools in Hull as part of First Story.

In January 2017, Joe travelled to Trinidad with The Roundhouse and Wrecking Ball Press, as part of the Talking Doorstepsproject. This culminated in a performance at the BBC’s Contains Strong Languagefestival in September 2017, which featured young people from Trinidad’s 2 Cents Movement working alongside young people from Hull’s Warren Youth Project and Goodwin Community Centre.

Theatre work includes co-writing and developing Omni-Sciencewith Brick by Brick, performed at Assemble Fest 2017, and Come to Where I’m From, developed in association with Paines Plough and performed at Hull Truck in May 2017.

The album ‘The Science of Disconent’, his second with musician Ashley Reaks, was released in 2018.

Joe toured and performed with LIFE, a Hull-based punk band, performing on the UK leg of the Slaves European tour.

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