*Blog Tour* The Mountain In My Shoe by Louise Beech

Hi everyone,

So today is the blog tour for the lovely Louise Beech and her new book, The Mountain In My Shoe and it’s the turn of my new guest reviewer Ellen to take the reigns for today’s stop on the tour!🙂

About the book:

A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself. On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all. Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.

You can purchase your copy by clicking HERE.

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About the author:

Louise Beech remembers sitting in her father’s cross-legged lap while he tried to show her his guitar’s chords. He’s a musician. Her small fingers stumbled and gave up. She was three. His music sheets fascinated her – such strange language that translated into music. Her mother teaches languages, French and English, so her fluency with words fired Louise’s interest. She knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic.

She loves all forms of writing. Her short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her first play, Afloat, was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2012. She also wrote a ten-year newspaper column for the Hull Daily Mail about being a parent, garnering love/hate criticism. Her debut novel was a Guardian Readers’ pick for 2015.

She is inspired by life, history, survival and love, and always has a story in her head. Her debut novel, How to be Brave, came from truth – when Louise’s daughter got Type 1 Diabetes she helped her cope by sharing her grandad’s real life sea survival story. Her second novel, The Mountain in my Shoe, will be released in September 2016 and was inspired by her time working with children in the care system.

When she was fifteen Louise bet her mother ten pounds she’d be published by the time she was thirty. She missed this self-set deadline by two months. Her mother is still waiting for the money.

Link website – louisebeech.co.uk

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Ellen’s Review:

I’ll admit to being nervous about this book as I loved How to be Brave. I needn’t have worried; it was fantastic and I raced through!

A story about two lost and damaged individuals. Bernadette; who is childless and subject to a controlling husband and Connor; a young boy who has been around the block in care homes and foster care. He has two “anchors” in his disruptive existence: art and Muhammed Ali. The name of the book was inspired by the quote: “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe”. Connor certainly has a lot of mountains to conquer! On the evening Bernadette decides to leave her husband, he doesn’t return home from work. Connor doesn’t arrive at his foster home after school. Where are they? Who would be interested in both these people linked to Bernadette?

The story is interspersed with chapters from Connor’s “lifebook” – a memory book specifically for children in the care system. This lifebook gives us clues along the way into Connor’s background and family history. I didn’t realise this happened so it was an eye opener for me and really made me think about what these kids go through every day.

Louise is such an emotive writer, you can’t help but get wrapped up in the characters and their lives. There is a certain beauty and magic to her words which resulted in me loving this psychological thriller as much as her contemporary fiction. I’m glad to have found a new favourite author in Louise.

Make sure to keep up with the blog tour:
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The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

*Huge thanks to the ever wonderful Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my copy of The Bird Tribunal to read!*

About the book:

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough. Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.

My thoughts:

Back in April, I was lucky enough to have a cover reveal for The Bird Tribunal and I was super excited because it sounded like something I would love. Well, I wasn’t wrong!!!! 😊

The Bird Tribunal is one of the most unsettling books I’ve read in a long time. Following Allis and Sigurd’s progress through the book is almost like a character study. Both characters are clearly battling personal demons, and as the book unfolds it becomes much clearer why they are both so isolated in a physical and emotional sense.

Initially, Allis’s job as housekeeper and gardener keeps her busy but it does little to dispel the cold atmosphere created by Bagge in his home. When their relationship is turned on its head, this atmosphere becomes wrought with tension and at times, fear.

The Bird Tribunal is menacing, chilling and threatening in equal measure. Every turn of the page brings the reader closer to the unexpectedly gripping finale and it will leave you breathless as you will not see it coming.

I cannot recommend The Bird Tribunal highly enough. Disturbing, cold and completely unnerving, I could not put it down. All the stars. Exceptional!

Get your copy HERE.

 

*Blog Tour* The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay Smith


Hi everyone,

Today, I’m thrilled to take part in the blog tour for Natasha Courtenay-Smith’s blog tour for The Million Dollar Blog. I’m doing something a little different for this one, instead of hosting content, I’m the one providing the content. I’ll be discussing my own experience of blogging. More on that in a bit!

About the book:

In a world where everyone wants to blog and blog posts are ubiquitous, how do you stand out? How do you blog your way from nobody to somebody? How do you, as a business owner, use content to build your brand and drive your success?

Blogging has become the ‘it’ career of the modern world and every business knows that blogging should be an integral part of their marketing and success, but it’s actually never been tougher to be shine in the digital storytelling landscape.

No matter who are you – a mum at home, a budding fashion blogger or a small business owner –The Million Dollar Blog will be your ultimate guide to starting a successful blog or taking your existing blog to the next level.

Through a combination of practical advice and interviews with some of the world’s most famous and successful bloggers, vloggers and content strategists, including Seth Godin, Lily Pebbles, Grant Cardone and Madeleine Shaw, entrepreneur and digital strategist Natasha Courtenay Smith shows you how to build a blog that will increase your profile, create new opportunities, earn money and change your life.

To purchase your copy, click the link below:

The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith

About the author:

Natasha Courtenay-Smith is a British entrepreneur and media expert. She is the founder and former director of press and publicity agency Talk to the Press, one of the UK’s first online press agencies, which helps individuals sell their real-life stories to newspapers and magazines. The business won numerous awards under Natasha’s guidance. In 2014, Talk to the Press and its online associated membership website Case Study Link were acquired by the UK’s largest newswire operator, SWNS, and Natasha left the business following a handover period.

Natasha now works with talented and high profile individuals on their websites, digital strategy, google search conversion, profile and publicity. She is pioneering at method that allows celebrities to create and publish their own news stories.

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My blog and me…

I’m not used to talking about myself so I apologise in advance 😂

I started my blog a couple of years ago, and my only intention was just to rave about the books that I was reading. Never did I imagine it where it would lead me. I’ve made so many great friends, had lots of new bookish experiences and been introduced to some of my favourite books ever.

I only got into reading and reviewing seriously since having my daughter. She has always been a great sleeper so I had plenty of time to read in the early days. Blogging gave me something to do for me, a place where I could share my reviews and talk about the books I’ve been enjoying.

I’m still fairly new to the blog scene, so I feel at times it’s hard for me to impart any advice. If I had to though, I would say try to find your own style. Make your blog your own. The book blogging community is a small one, but safe and friendly. Reading is so subjective. There’s a reason they say no two people read the same book. So no two reviews will ever be identical.

Be honest. Be brave. Take a chance. 😊

 

Dance With The Enemy by Rob Sinclair


*Thanks to the author for my review copy*

About the book:

Carl Logan was the perfect agent. A loner. No real friends or family. Trained to deal with any situation with cold efficiency, devoid of emotion. But Logan isn’t the man he used to be, or the asset he once was. Five months ago his life changed forever when he was captured, tortured and left for dead by Youssef Selim, one of the world’s most violent terrorists. When Selim mysteriously reappears in Paris, linked to the kidnapping of America’s Attorney General, Logan smells his chance for revenge. Pursuing his man relentlessly, oblivious to the growing trail of destruction that he leaves in his wake, Logan delves increasingly deep into the web of lies and deceit surrounding the kidnapping. Finally, he comes to learn just what it means to Dance with the Enemy.

About the author:

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller.

Rob’s first novel, Dance with the Enemy, was published in June 2014 and is the first in the Enemy Series following embattled intelligence agent Carl Logan. Rise of the Enemy, the second book in the series, was released in April 2015, with the third book, Hunt for the Enemy, being released in February 2016. The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn. 

Rob worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. He now writes full time.
Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Rob’s website is http://www.robsinclairauthor.com and he can be followed on twitter at @rsinclairauthor


My thoughts:

Right! Another action thriller review! What makes this one stand out?! CARL LOGAN!!! Exactly what you look for in a main character for these kinds of books! Flawed, tired, battling inner demons and thrown back into work with a bang! 

Dance With The Enemy is the start of the Enemy series, and what a stellar opener! I was hooked early on and I couldn’t stop reading! Thankfully (depending on how you look at it!) I was couch-bound with my back when I was reading this so I blasted through it! And the best part? I have the next two in the series to read! 

Seriously though, action thrillers are the most fun for me to read. I love the pace, the speed at which the plot can change, the subtle hints at what’s possible happening, and let’s face it, the game of cat and mouse will never get old! 

Rob Sinclair has written a superb thriller! Super fast paced, with some excellent characters and a very well thought out plot! Dance With The Enemy is a promising introduction to the Enemy series, and as soon as I have time, I’ll be devouring the next two!

Highly recommended!!! 

*Blog Tour* For The Love of Grace by Andy Blackman

Hi everyone,

Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for Andy Blackman’s For The Love of Grace and I’ve got a great guest post from the author himself!

About the book:

Grace Backer had a life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she raised her son, Tom, with her secret intact. Tom is a prodigal child, destined to escape the slums of the East End of London for a better life; circumstances will make him flee his loving mother and their home much sooner than expected. Tom starts a new life in Odessa, Russia, and with the help of new-found friends starts a business. At last, he is finally accepted into a new and loving family, but one which holds its own dark secrets. A chance meeting with the son of a duke of the realm leads to close friendship and a new business partnership. When Tom decides to move his company to London and have his regal new friend run it, the firm thrives. However, not everything is as it seems, and Tom?s business soon conceals dangerous secrets of its own. Years later, when Tom finally decides to return to London, he is a wanted man, one hunted by the intelligence agencies. If he is finally to be reunited with his beloved mother and his best friend, he must fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets is never easy.

Preorder your copy by clicking HERE

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About the author:

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren.

Without further do, I’ll hand you over to Andy Blackman…

Conception of the Novel

The concept of the novel was family, I can remember as a child in the 60’s doing things together as a family at home, not like nowadays where children are spread around the house in different rooms, playing with either Xboxes, computers or mobile phones, never coming together to socialise, but prefer to sit in front of a screen and do their own thing,  it was the same with meal times, we always sat around the table and ate together as a family unit, it seems to me that some family meal times are set around television listings, we never had all the devices or distractions that children have now, so we used to play board games as a family and we had the art of conservation, and knew how to socialise we used to spend hours playing card games with our parents or make games up but still played as a family, one of my favourite games was hunt the thimble, one person left the room, you hid the thimble and then when they came back in you gave them clues of “hotter, colder”, and it was a laugh and all the family played especially at Christmas when you had extra family members present, I wonder how long children today would last playing a simple game like that before they became bored.  

We did have a television but it was not 24 hour with 200 channels as it is today, so the use of the television was very restricted.  So I decided to base my novel on a time when family was important, not because they could be because the art of conservation was still thriving and it was normal to sit and talk, also family life was different you had more relatives around you, and saw more of them, today, families are more self contained in their own bubble, plus travel is easier and families tend to fragment more, as a child with limited transport families tended to stay and live in the same area, although some did move away, I can always remember going to visit my grandmother, we had to take two buses to see her so it was a day out and an adventure to us children, but now as I am older and  look back at that journey today it would be a 15 minute car journey, nothing in this day and age, and people go for a weekend visit to see their relatives and spend hours on a car journey.

The other concept was what to choose as a genre, I definitely was not going to write a romance novel, although I must admit there is some romance in the book, Horror is not my thing, I do not like even to watch horror films, comedy perhaps, but I decided eventually to select crime/thriller as I always found these books more appealing to me. I then decided to start my book in the era where I think family life was still very important and families values were still very much part of life, so it was not a stretch for Grace to help her son escape justice, although him leaving for a far off place was more of a life sentence to her than it was for him.  The book started with these principles and it took on a life of its own as I was writing it, parts were very easy, some needed thought, but it did flow most of the time, and I am proud of the finished book.


Huge thanks to Andy  Blackman for joining me on the blog today. Make sure to keep up with the tour on these blogs:

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Run by Adam Hamdy & SIGNED Pendulum Giveaway

Hi everyone!

So, I recently read and absolutely loved Pendulum by Adam Hamdy (review here) so I was thrilled to hear from Katie that there is an eNovella called RUN being released tomorrow. I was lucky enough to read it, and it packs a serious emotional punch between its pages.

Here’s the synopsis:

Embedded with the British Army in Afghanistan, recording the devastation that the war on terror has brought to the country, photo-journalist John Wallace’s endurance is about to be put to the ultimate test.

A planned assault on an insurgent compound has gone wrong with devastating consequences. Now Wallace has only one option if he is going to get justice for those involved. He can expose those responsible. But to do that, he will have to RUN…

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PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY BY CLICKING HERE

Read on for a little taster from Run….

Wrapped in a white womb, blind, deaf and numb, Wallace felt strangely calm. The world had ceased to trouble him. Past and future had no meaning; there was only now, and in the deadened present, he lost all sense of himself. Robbed of history, ambition and desire, he believed he might be at peace, but at the very instant he began to savour the blissful serenity, it was torn from him. The protective shield of the transient womb was the first thing to go, and the white dust cloud thrown up by the explosion began to dissipate. Like a slumbering baby hauled into the world for the first time, he struggled to cope with the sudden rush of feeling as his senses were assaulted by the unfamiliar chaos that surrounded him. The sweet aroma of gunpowder mingled with the heady scent of burning oil, but both were quickly overpowered by the acrid stench of scorched flesh.

He realised that the blast had blown him onto the soft sand that surrounded the walled compound. He rolled onto his front and pushed himself to his knees, invigorated by a sudden burst of survivor’s glee: he was alive. He could see wraiths running through the dust and smoke, shadowy figures moving with deliberate urgency. Soldiers, he realised, the word suddenly filling his mind. Sabre Platoon … J Company … Fourth Battalion … Lancaster … Marwand.  His thoughts were slow and disjointed, as though they too had been thrown into disarray by the grenade. Camera. That single word connected everything, and Wallace sparked to life with a sudden recollection of his place in the world. He checked his chest as he got to his feet, but his camera was gone, blown clear by the blast. As he staggered through the swirling dust, scouring the ground, he realised that his hearing hadn’t returned. He had the vaguest sense of a world of sounds, but everything seemed distant, muted by a swollen pressure.


To be in with a chance of winning a SIGNED PROOF COPY OF PENDULUM by Adam Hamdy all you have to do is comment on this post! Competition will close at Midnight tonight (September 21st).

Good Luck!🙂

 

Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey

About the book:


Sixteen years. That’s how long Clyde Barr has been away from Colorado’s thick forests, alpine deserts, and craggy peaks, running from a past filled with haunting memories. But now he’s back, having roamed across three continents as a hunter, adventurer, soldier of fortune, and most recently, unjustly imprisoned convict. And once again, his past is reaching out to claim him.

By the light of a flickering campfire, Clyde received a frantic phone call for help from Jen, the youngest of his three older sisters. Then the line goes dead. Clyde doesn’t know how much time he has. He doesn’t know where Jen is located. He doesn’t even know who has her. All he knows is that nothing short of dying will stop him from saving her.

Tagging along with Clyde on this strange, desperate, against-all-odds rescue mission is a young woman named Allie whose motivations for hurtling into harm’s way are fascinatingly complex. As the duo races against the clock, it is Allie who gets Clyde to see what he has become and what he can be.

My thoughts:

You know when you have a cover quote from Lee Child that you’re onto a winner!

This was one of the books that I read while I was trying to rest my back and I absolutely tore through it!

I love a good action book! Like, really love them! Manly, testosterone-fuelled books are super fun for me. In the same way that I love Die Hard and so on, it’s the same with these kinds of books.

Nothing Short of Dying was brilliant! It had loads going for it. An interesting main character (a definite pretender to the Jack Reacher throne but excellent all the same), some intriguing side characters and a banging plot. The bad guys were baaaaaaad, the violence was plenty, and it was just a thrill ride!

Erik Storey is definitely one to watch as regards an action thriller author. You can tell he’s been an outdoorsy, wilderness kinda guy. It translated well in the knowledge of outside stuff (clearly, I do NOT do outdoorsy as I don’t even know how to describe it 😂) and it worked well with the plot.

Thoroughly enjoyed this one! Highly recommended!