#bookreview #newrelease ON THE EDGE by @AuthorJJesmond @Verve_Books #OnTheEdge #publicationday @hollieeeem

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SYNOPSIS

Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes – the riskier the better. Both her work and personal life revolved around it. Until she went too far and hurt the people she cares about. So she’s given it all up now. Honestly, she has. And she’s checked herself into a rehab centre to prove it.

Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a ‘family emergency’ takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.

Once safe, the real challenge begins. Jen must face her troubled past in order to figure out whether something triggered a relapse to this risky behaviour, or if there is a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown. Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and fraught relationships will she be able to piece together what happened – and trust herself to fix it. 

MY THOUGHTS

This debut novel from Jane Jesmond has certainly introduced me to a new author to add to my list.

This action packed and wonderfully atmospheric read kept me gripped throughout.

Jenifry Shaw, known as Jen, has been climbing her whole life. Running free along with her brother Kit, through the wild landscape of Cornwall and with a renowned mountaineer father, it’s in her blood. But adrenaline has become a drug and as her climbing became more and more risky, and after one climb ends with catastrophic outcomes she replaces the adrenaline with real drugs.

We first meet Jen in a rehab centre that she has entered voluntarily, but equally can not wait to leave. She receives a call from her brother, whom she hasn’t spoken to for some time, asking for her help. He is in serious financial difficulty after months of renovating their old family home into a holistic conference centre. Issues with their mother not also helping matters.

Arriving late and exhausted, and putting off having to meet her brother and any locals, she checks into the small hotel. The next things she knows, she awakens, finding herself tied to the outside of the lighthouse, dangerously dangling over the edge! Has she taken something that means she would have placed herself in such a situation without remembering so? Or has someone drugged her and left her to die? Who??? And Why????

As she tries to consider whether her life is in danger from herself or someone else, she starts to stubble upon the many secrets harboured by her home village.

With dramatic and superbly vivid descriptions of the Cornish weather and landscape and a well written and pacy plot, I found this a very engaging and enjoyable mystery. With a cast of characters feeling like they all have something to hid and a not overly reliable main character with problems of her own, the story line is full of twists and turns and mysterious red herrings that really ds keep the reader ‘on the edge’.

Fast moving action, yet full of characters, story lines, and back story information, this is a tightly, efficient and effective written thriller, and it’s the first in a series with more to come! Can’t wait!

Huge thanks to the publishers for the proof copy of this book and a great new find!

ON THE EDGE IS PUBLISHED TODAY!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

On The Edge is Jane Jesmond’s debut novel and the first in a series featuring dynamic, daredevil protagonist Jen Shaw. Although she was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, raised in Liverpool and considers herself northern through and through, Jane’s family comes from Cornwall. Her lifelong love of the Cornish landscape and culture inspired the setting of On The Edge. Jane has spent the last thirty years living and working in France. She began writing steadily six or seven years ago and writes every morning in between staring out at the sea and making cups of tea. She also enjoys reading, walking and amateur dramatics and, unlike her daredevil protagonist, is terrified of heights!

#bookreview A Thousand Tiny Disappointments by Sarah Edghill. @EdghillSarah @BloodhoundBooks

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Delighted to share my review with you today for a new novel called A Tiny Thousand Disappointments. I was contacted by the author herself asking if I would like to read a copy in exchange for a review. I said I would be happy to and I’m so glad I did! It is a wonderfully written debut novel and has received some great comments from some great authors.

A Tiny Thousand Disappointments is published by Bloodhound Books and was released on September 21st. It is available to buy on Amazon.

Release date: 21st September 2021

Published by Bloodhound Books

Available in paperback and EBook (as I write the kindle version is available at just 99p)

SYNOPSIS

Martha is being pulled in too many directions, trying to be a good mother, a loving wife, and a dutiful daughter. Despite it all, she’s coping. But then her elderly mother is rushed to the hospital and dies unexpectedly, and the cracks in the life Martha is struggling to hold together are about to be exposed.
 
When she discovers her mother has left her house to a stranger, she’s overwhelmed by grief and hurt. Getting no support from her disinterested husband or arrogant brother, Martha goes on to make some bad decisions.

If she were a good daughter, she would abide by her mother’s final wishes. If she were a good daughter, she wouldn’t destroy the evidence . . .

MY THOUGHTS

An extremely well written debut about a woman called Martha and her day to day struggles and situations brought about by events in her life over the last few years.

After the sudden death of her mother, she soon discovers that neither herself or her brother have been left her mother’s house, and although neither of them ‘need’ it financially, they expected it and they can not understand why their mother would make such a decision. On finding this information, Martha has to make a quick decision on how to handle the matter. This act later fills Martha with regret and in doing so, along with the lack of support from family and friends, makes Martha question her role as a daughter and re-evaluate her life and herself.

The characters within this book and the relationships Martha has with those characters are so believable and somewhat relatable, that this story soon placed itself into my imagination, enabling me to become quickly and utterly absorbed. Her emotions and thoughts are marvellously described by the author as are the actions of others, particularly the character of the brother-in-law who had me inwardly raging at one point in the book. Although both Martha and her brother are comfortable off and perhaps because of this, it really makes you think about the whole issue of inheritance and if parents are expected to leave what they have to their children.

There are two other very key elements to this story and that is Martha’s marriage and her son. I won’t go into these major parts of the book, as it will give too much away, but they are key to how Martha responds to things and the overall outcome of the story. The inclusion of the character of Martha’s friend is also a very interesting addition to Martha’s story.

I very much enjoyed this novel, and although moving and poignant, I found it an uplifting read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

THE AUTHOR

Sarah Edghill worked as a journalist for many years, writing for a range of newspapers and magazines, before turning her hand to fiction.

She is an alumna of the Faber Academy Novel Writing course and her work has won prizes and been short-listed in novel and short story competitions.

She lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, three children and far too many animals.

Sarah can be found on Twitter at @EdghillSarah or www.sarahedghill.com.

#bookreview #newrelease CAVE DIVER by JAKE AVILA @JacobPAvila1 @ZaffreBooks #CAVEDIVER

Published 5th August 2021

Publisher Zaffre

Number of pages 400

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SYNOPSIS

Acclaimed explorer Rob Nash has lost his way. Grieving the death of his wife, and blaming himself, he sees no reason to carry on. But when his ‘Uncle’ Frank Douglas offers him the chance to lead a cave diving expedition in the jungles of Papua, Nash can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

But the expedition might not be what it seems. With a decades old Japanese submarine buried deep in a cavern, and a team hell-bent on unleashing the treasures it hides, Nash finds himself on a ship heading for danger. With a lethal band of criminals on board, who will stop at nothing to get the gold, Nash is fighting for his life. Whilst battling his own demons, can he forgive himself for the wrongs of his past – and survive the perils of the deep?

MY THOUGHTS

We meet a new action hero in this debut novel.

Rob Nash is the world famous Cave Diver of the title. While still emotionally broken by the death of his pregnant wife on one of his dives he is enticed back into diving by the opportunity to dive fabled caves in Indonesia. Accompanied by his “Uncle” Frank, Rob soon begins to suspect that things aren’t what they seem and those paying for him to dive have ambitions beyond the documentary he agreed to make.

This story moves along at quite a pace, initially with pathos, then excitement and finally jeopardy as Rob uncovers the plot while trying to overcome his guilt and new found claustrophobia and keep the innocent (and not so innocent) safe. Believably he takes on the project as a penance and a way to pay back his family and others, once involved he has to see it to its conclusion.

Rob’s character is developed early in the story and we quickly understand that something has gone wrong in what was clearly an idyllic life, his guilt makes him distance himself from his family and others and it is only when the amazing opportunity and his mounting debt comes along that he begins to re-engage with his family. The other characters are also well drawn and easy to visualise.

The use of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as a setting brings these atmospheric locations directly into the story and we are given an opportunity to learn a little about the people, the history and the modern challenges of this region as the story progresses.

The author shows either a great knowledge for the technical side of diving or has thoroughly researched the subject, which only added to this convincing read. An enjoyable, tension fuelled novel that kept me engaged throughout.

Many thanks to Karen Stretch at Bonnier Books for my advance copy of the book.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Jake Avila is a full-time writer with a BA in Writing and Information Technology. He has a background in freelance journalism writing on politics, culture, technology, and sport, and taught secondary English for ten years. In 2019, he won the Adventure Writer’s Competition Clive Cussler Grandmaster Award for Cave Diver and then went on to win the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for the book in 2020. British born, he now lives in Australia.

UNCOUPLING BY LORRAINE BROWN #review #blogtour #debut @orionbooks @LorraineBrown23 @AlainnaGeorgiou #Uncoupling

Published by Orion 18th February 2021

Hardback £14.99 Also available in eBook and Audio

Affiliated link for purchase from Blackwell’s https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Uncoupling-by-Lorraine-Brown-author/9781409198383 Also available from other sites and your local bookshop.

It’s my stop on the blog tour today, and I’m delighted to share with you my review of this fantastic debut UNCOUPLING. Many thanks to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou of Orion Books for my wonderful proof pack and spot on the tour.

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SYNOPSIS

Hannah and Si are in love and on the same track – that is, until their train divides on the way to a wedding. The next morning, Hannah wakes up in Paris and realises that her boyfriend (and her ticket) are 300 miles away in Amsterdam!

But then Hannah meets Léo on the station platform, and he’s everything Si isn’t. Spending the day with him in Paris forces Hannah to question how well she really knows herself – and whether, sometimes, you need to go in the wrong direction to find everything you’ve been looking for…

MY THOUGHTS

Hannah and her boyfriend Si are on an overnight train from Venice to Amsterdam to attend a family wedding. However, during the night the train carriages split, as European trains can do, and while Si continues to Amsterdam, Hannah finds herself on the way to Paris. Arriving with no passport, ticket or luggage, and very little money Hannah starts to panic. Not one for taking control of her life, she is out of her comfort zone.

Rushing through the Gard du Nord she trips over the bag of a fellow traveller called Leo, a resident of Paris, but who too was caught out by the splitting train, and so is also having now to wait for the next connection to Amsterdam. With a number of hours to fill before the train arrives, a confident Leo manages to persuade a reluctant Hannah, that not only is he willing to help her but could also show her the sights of the city before she has to leave. Oh…and how he does!

I flew through this utterly delightful book over a couple of days, losing myself in the well written, lovely story of how Hannah and Leo not only find each other but also themselves as they spend the day whizzing through the streets of Paris. This wasn’t just a romance story between two young people, but was very much a love story between Leo and Paris which oozed from the pages in his choices of destinations and the way they were described. I loved the way the author described each setting and used Hannah’s camera to capture it into the readers mind. I found it a delightful and delicious romance read, which whisked me away from this grey and anxious time, to the smells and sounds, sights and delights of a summers day in Paris. A reminder of being young and free, to be able to travel, to arrive at a bustling international train station, with the day ahead to drop in at cafes and restaurants, to enjoy the sun and sights. It really was just the ticket!

This is by no means a soppy love story, but a well written and believable tale. We learn of the back story to both characters, Hannah’s relationship with her boyfriend and watch as Leo and Hannah’s attraction grows. There is a good side story also taking place involving Si, and the pace and increase of intensity of ‘will they won’t they’ between Hannah and Leo was just right. I loved the character of Leo. He made my heart melt.

I heartly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lorraine Brown previously trained as an actress and has just completed her final year of a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling. She lives in London with her partner and their 8-year-old son. Uncoupling is her first novel.

There is an interesting piece on how Lorraine became a published author here: http://booksbywomen.org/the-process-of-writing-uncoupling-from-school-secretary-to-published-author/

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THE LONG LONG AFTERNOON BY INGA VESPER #bookreview #debut @wekesperos @bonnierbooks_uk #LongLongAfternoon

Published by Manilla Press

Hardback February 4th https://www.blackwells.co.uk/?a_aid=babbageandsweetcorn

416 pages

Many thanks to the publishers for sending me a wonderful proof pack which even including a G&T!

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SYNOPSIS

Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time . . .

It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.

While the Haney’s neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family’s ‘help’, who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes’ starched curtains than anyone, and it isn’t long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help. But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole ‘perfect’ world to set alight . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Set around a Santa Monica suburb called Sunnylakes and neighbourhoods of South Central in 1959, the book opens with a short first chapter, containing a somewhat uneasy narrative from one of the main characters, wife and mother Joyce Haney. We are introduced next, to Ruby, a young black woman, who wants to become a teacher and is working as ‘the help’ to a couple of houses within Sunnylakes. She is saving as much as she can for college. Ruby is a wonderful character but as you can imagine experiences a lot of racist remarks and actions from her employers, however, Joyce treats Ruby differently, she treats her like a human being and Ruby has become to regard her more as a friend. Next up is Detective Michael Blanke, recently transferred to the area under a cloud, which we later learn more about. It isn’t long before his and Ruby’s paths cross.

I was hooked to this story right from the very beginning. The setting is marvously portrayed, along with the Californian suburban life of the 1950’s. The racial tensions and social issues of the area make up a signifycant part of the book along with the sexist attitudes of men, both white and black, of these times and young Ruby most definatly gets her share of all of these injustices.

The mystery element of the book was gripping and the two themes ran well along side each other, making the book a rich, complex and highly enjoyable read. Is Joyce still alive? What are the secrets and longings of the other women of Sunnylakes? The characterisations were extremely well crafted and each came to life in their own distinctive way. I particularly liked the ‘friendship’ very slowly forming between the detective and Ruby and loved reading their conversations with each other. Wonderful vocabulary and great characters fit brilliantly in amongst this really absorbing and enjoyable ‘whodunit’. A fantastic debut! Would highly recommend.

THE AUTHOR

Inga Vesper is a journalist and editor. She moved to the UK from Germany to work as a carer, before the urge to write and explore brought her to journalism. As a reporter, she covered the coroner’s court and was able to observe how family, neighbours and police react to a suspicious death. Inga has worked and lived in Syria and Tanzania, but always returned to London, because there’s no better place to find a good story than the top deck of a bus.

#bookreview SHIVER BY ALLIE REYNOLDS

Delighted to share with you today my review of Headline’s lead debut for 2021, Shiver by Allie Reynolds.

Released January 21st and with TV rights for a chilling drama series based on the book snapped up by the commissioners of Bodyguard, Luther and The Cry, it’s a chilling locked room mystery set in the dangerous and highly charged world of competitive snowboarding.

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SYNOPSIS

They don’t know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.

How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.

The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.

MY REVIEW

Shiver tells the story of 5 friends, Milla (our lone narrator), Curtis, Brent, Dale and Heather, who met 10 or so years ago when they were all, bar Heather, competitive snowboarders. This suspenseful, dual time line novel flips back and forth from present day, as they gather together for a reunion, of which none are overly enthusiastic to attend, in a remote lodge, off season, in the area of the French Alps they once all gathered, 10 years previously for the British Championships.

With chapters headed Present Day and Ten Years Ago, we go back and learn of these athletes highly competitive nature, dangerous sport and what happened to Curtis’s sister, Saskia. Soon on arriving however, they find out that it wasn’t Milla or Curtis who sent out the invites and as a deserted lodge greets them, mobiles disappear and cable cars stop running a much more threatening chill than that of the snow descends.

As we learn of the friends dynamics and past secrets, tensions back then and now increase and the present soon becomes an escape to survive.

I enjoyed reading this debut by Allie Reynolds. The past chapters moved at a good pace, the competitiveness and dynamics of the snowboarders interactions were very well written, as well as the description and feel of the book’s cold and dangerous setting. The author, being once a competitive freestyle snowboarder herself, brilliantly adds information on the sport and does a good job of conveying how dangerous it must be.

The characters are all very different, with some more likeable than others and as they meet again in present time, there is a real sense of fear with the author using the lodge to great effect in portraying the mounting tension and suspense never knowing who to trust. With the present day chapters only covering around 3 days they felt a lot slower moving than those from the past but with events speeding up considerable with the conclusion of the book.

I have read 2 other books recently, which cover a similar story line, but this was my favourite out of them all.

Many thanks to Alara at Headline for the great sprayed edge proof copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

About The Author

Allie Reynolds is a former freestyle snowboarder who spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. For those five years, snowboarding was Allie’s life. She competed in the British Championships and was once in the UK top ten. British-born from Lincoln, Allie now lives by the beach in Queensland Australia. #Shiver Twitter: @AuthorAllieR

BOOK REVIEW FOR DEAR CHILD by Romy Hausmann

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dear child

book clipartSYNOPSISbook clipart

A windowless shack in the woods. Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.

One day Lena manages to flee – but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called ‘Lena’, who disappeared without a trace over thirteen years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle that doesn’t quite seem to fit.

book clipartMY THOUGHTSbook clipart

Wow!  Dark, immersive, intriguing, complex, and totally gripping.  A smart new take on a story of a person held captive.

This book has a very dark start, so much so, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a book for me. However, I continued, and was so glad I did.

Told from the viewpoint of a number of extremely well written characters, the story begins with Lena, abducted, she has been held captive, in a cabin in the woods, along with her two children Hannah and Johnathan and their father, her captor.  She has miraculously found a chance to escape, and running through the woods to the road, is hit by a car and badly injured.

The driver has called an ambulance. Lena is taken to hospital, along with her daughter. All they can get from Hannah are their names.  Running a trace the police find a resemblance to a Lena Beck who went missing, after walking home from a party 13 years ago, and the detective who lead the missing persons case and her parents are called.

That is a brief re-cap and I will stop there, as so much of the wonder of reading this book is from it’s structure and the way the author uses the perspectives from each character to build, continuously throughout the story, tracing out not only what is happening now, since her escape, but also during the time of her captivity.

There is an element of concentration needed for this but with such a well written book as this, and brilliantly translated I must add here, it is an extremely clever and gripping read.

The characters are so well thought out. Raw, vulnerable, sinister and the description of the chapters taking place within the cabin are frighteningly vivid.  The adults have that element of  being totally believable yet always , at the edge of my mind, wondering if they could be trusted. Hannah, who is particularly well written, is damaged and vulnerable but also slightly scary too!  This is a dark novel, but my investment in the characters and my need, to know how it ends, made me speed through this and I was utterly hooked.  When the part in the book that made me chuckle was the young girl deciding on which of her red crayons to use to draw the body on the kitchen floor, highlights the nature of this read but it is also much more than that. A great thriller and a great study of people.  Matthias’ obsessive and sometimes destructive hope in finding his daughter, after all these years.  Lena’s behaviour towards her captor and the damage captivity has had on the children, who know no different, is a real study to read.

An intense thriller that gallops along taking you on one hell of a ride!

Dear Child is out in paperback in December and can be purchased from BookShop.org https://uk.bookshop.org/a/1882/9781529401431

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Child-Romy-Hausmann-ebook/dp/B07WHWH4CQ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=C08ZLOZFR3DU&dchild=1&keywords=dear+child+romy+hausmann&qid=1604424639&s=books&sprefix=dear+child%2Cstripbooks%2C172&sr=1-1

and most independent book shops

BOOK REVIEW for THE RUMOUR by Lesley Kara

the rumour minethe rumour signed

SYNOPSIS

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realises what it is she’s unleashed?

 

MY THOUGHTS

When single mum Jo ‘up sticks’ from London to sleepy Flinstead on the Essex coast, it’s in hope of a fresh start.  Closer to her mum and a better place for her young son to grow up she is keen for them both to make new friends.

When she hears some gossip at the school gates she initially doesn’t think too much about it.  However the rumour is that there is a convicted child killer, now living in the town and as gossip can get a little carried away, Jo begins to join in and helps spreads the rumour.  What harm can it do? Plus it is a way to get talking to people, to make new friends.

Micheal, a journalist, and Jo’s ex hears of this spreading gossip and talks to Jo about it.  He is keen to follow it up in the hope of a story.  After the rumour starts to become talked of over town, Jo gets carried away and mentions a piece of information she has obtained from Micheal.  This leads to Jo becoming more involved than she would ever think possible.

As a local woman becomes a target and as Jo’s guilt and fear increases, the tension both in the town and within the book builds and Micheal and Jo are dangerously drawn into events.

Full of twists and turns and a well described set of small town characters, this book had me gripped, leading me this way and that, trying to unravel the mystery of who this child killer could be.  The thriller ramps up as the book moves along and whether or not not figure some of it out, there is a great twist at the end.

A wonderful portrayal of a small seaside town, The Rumour is a pacy, addictive read.

 

I bought my signed copy of The Rumour from Caxton Books.  Based in the town of Frinton on Sea.

BOOK REVIEW for The BACK UP PLAN by Elsie McArthur

the back up plan

 

I was contacted by the author, Elsie McArthur, recently and she very kindly sent me a copy of her book The Back Up Plan to read and review.

SYNOPSIS

Giving up? Or moving on?That’s the question for thirty-something Marsaili McKenzie. Ten years after fleeing her tiny coastal village for dreams of fame and fortune in the big city, she finds herself on the brink of an existential crisis. Far from being the star actress she once imagined, she’s still working as a barmaid in a Glasgow theatre while all around her, her friends and family are getting engaged, pregnant or promoted.It’s all she can do to keep her head above water. But as a new year approaches, she resolves to give her acting dreams one last shot. That is, until a couple of unexpected distractions arrive on the scene.Will Hunter is undeniably handsome, as well as being aloof, socially awkward, posh and in the middle of a nasty divorce. And to make things even more complicated, he’s also her new boss.Local boy made good, soap star Euan Campbell, is the epitome of a charismatic leading man. His easy-going charm soon sweeps Marsaili off her feet, but is there more to him than meets the eye?To top it all off, Marsaili finds herself inexplicably drawn back to the simple, rural life she used to loathe. Can she finally figure out which dreams are worth pursuing, and would it really be so bad to resort to her back up career after all?Join Marsaili as she navigates the choppy seas of love, family, friendship and self-discovery. This heart-warming novel is full of romance, laughter and more than enough drama to keep you on the edge of your seat!

 

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MY THOUGHTS

It’s always lovely to find a new author and this debut novel from Elsie McArthur is a warm-hearted and very readable romance novel.

It’s not a genre I read a lot of, so for me, I went in not knowing what to really expect.  What I discovered was a lovely warm, witty and enjoyable read.

Our main character, Marsaili, is drifting along some what in life, awaiting for an opportunity to kick start her acting career.  However, it has been a number of years now and there haven’t been that many jobs, well hardly any at all!  Working in the bar of a local theatre, in the city of Glasgow, she lives in a rented house from her friend from university.

Originally from a small village in the Highlands, we also meet her family who still live there as she makes trips back home, and we are introduced to two new love interests, who couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried.

For me a romance novel needs believable characters and the author really succeeds here.  Warm, funny, sincere, I really became invested in Marsaili, wanting things to turn out well for her.  The author also has a very natural style of writing and this really brought the story to life.  It was delightful to lose myself for a couple of hours, in amongst the characters, each time I picked up the book and I really needed to find out if all turns out well.  Not just for Marsaili but for everyone.

There is also some beautifully described countryside, even with the cold and wet weather of winter, and her trips back home have a wonderful sense of place.  These parts really made it a book to curl up with.

A warm and friendly novel that is also a quick and engaging read.  One to lose yourself in, especially at the moment.

The Back Up Plan is out now, and available to buy from Amazon as both a paperback and kindle read, which is currently a bargain at just 99p!  Thank you Elsie for sending me a copy.  I really enjoyed it and wish you all the best with your book.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elsie McArthur is an independent author of women’s fiction. After studying law at university, and then re-training as a primary school teacher, she now lives in the Highlands of Scotland with her husband, two kids, a couple of badly behaved dogs and a cat with a superiority complex. As well as continuing to work part time as a teacher, she is now indulging in her first love of writing. Her first book, ‘The Back Up Plan’, was released in January 2020. Her second novel, ‘Love, on the Rocks’ – a tale of love, loss and starting over set on the remote Scottish island of Inniscreag – is due for release in Summer 2020.

 

The Lizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart

I am delighted to host the blog tour today, on the date of the books virtual launch party over on Facebook tonight at 7pm.  The Lizard is out now and is the debut novel of actor,writer and director Dugald Bruce-Lockhart.

 

the lizard blog tour

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION

I went to Greece to embrace the binary code, to get off the sidelines and become a player. To live in the moment. Or, as Ellie put it, to become my own man. Was I accountable for the horror, that fateful summer? Looking back, it’s easy enough to pinpoint the sliding-door moments where I went wrong. But then, what use is hindsight? As Kierkegaard wrote: ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards’. Cold comfort when you’ve taken another man’s life.

‘A terrific, atmospheric thriller. Taut, compelling, masterfully constructed. Outstanding.’ William Boyd.

 

MY THOUGHTS

This debut novel caught my eye when I saw it had an endorsement from one of my most favourite authors, William Boyd, so I knew I had to go check it out! After requesting it on Netgally I was contacted by Fiona on behalf of the publisher Muswell Press asking if I would like to take part in the blog tour. Fantastic!  So, with the book’s synopsis, the fab endorsement and a blog tour spot, I couldn’t wait to get reading!

Wow!  What a roller coaster of a ride this book took me on!

We meet Alistar Haston, a young university student, as he sets out for the Greek Islands, after being dumped by his girlfriend Ellie.  He’s determined to show her that he has spontaneity and a bit of ‘get-up-and-go’ and sets off into the sun in the hope that she may take him back.  Travelling light he hopes to take each day at a time, working his way across the islands to earn enough for a place to stay and an enjoyable few weeks.

However, very early on, after a somewhat drunken encounter with some other young people on a ferry, he realises he has had not only most of his cash but also his passport stolen. Determined not to give in at the first hurdle, and be sent back home, he stays and finds himself sleeping out in the open air and in need of work a little sooner than anticipated.

Bumping back into Ricky, one of the guys from the ferry, Alistar is offered the opportunity of making some cash, quite a lot of cash, working with Ricky for a German artist.  Even though he’s at first not sure about the offer, he soon decides to throw caution to the wind and off he goes.  These first few chapters of the book are quite racy.  Full of parties, sex, drugs and alcohol the book begins it’s sinister story and the character of Alistair starts to get drawn into it’s dark world.

I truly wasn’t expecting an opening of this kind to the novel, but for me, the book then begins to be a thoroughly tense, pacey and gripping thriller that I simply couldn’t put down.  At every turn Alistair’s situation becomes more and more nightmarish as he discovers just how much trouble he has found himself in.  The other characters in the book add great interest and believablity to the story and the pace gets faster and faster as we find our protagonist on the run and in fear of his life.

I loved the ebb and flow of this book, slowing down to introduce new characters and to be allowed the time in the novel to evoke the vibrant setting.  I was taken away, in my minds eye, to the heat and dryness of the island and to swimming in the gorgeous blue sea, only to be whisked back to the story line when another twist is presented taking me even further into this nightmare of Alistair’s holiday.  I also thought there was a clever use of the book’s setting in 1988, to explain why Alistair perhaps doesn’t do some of the things to help himself out of a situation that would be available to him now.

All in all I found this a dark, sinister but also highly entertaining and pacey thriller and as the story gets faster and faster, it concludes with a dynamite of an ending with a really great twist at the very end which may offer up a chance of another book??  If not I still really look forward to reading more from this author.

Hop over to Facebook tonight at 7PM for the book’s virtual launch!

The Lizard launch invitation

 

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart was born in Fiji and went to school at Sedbergh in Cumbria while his parents worked abroad. After St Andrews University he trained as an actor at RADA. He has worked extensively on stage and on TV and received many accolades including a Best Actor nomination from The Stage.

He recently directed a new production of The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson by Jonathan Maitland. He appeared as Michael Gove in the original production at the Park Theatre, London.  He lives in South East London