My Favourite Reads of 2017~Part 2~Series

Hi everyone,

Following on from this morning’s Favourite Reads of 2017 post, in this one I’ll be sharing the #booklove for books read as part of a series. Not all of the books in this list were published in 2017, but I did read them all this year, so that totally counts, right?! 🙂

As with before, and in no particular order, here are the books in a series that I read and enjoyed over the course of 2017…

High Force (DCI Ryan 5) by L. J. Ross

Cragside: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 6)

This is a series that is going from strength to strength with every new book. I love DCI Ryan, and these books are always bumped to the top of the TBR. A great series, excellent characters and totally worth checking out. (FYI, the newest, Dark Skies, was published yesterday!)

Hope to Die

Hope To Die by David Jackson

I find it difficult trying to say how much I enjoy David Jackson’s books because I can never do them justice. Packed with a great cast of characters, a tense and gripping plot, Hope To Die was an excellent second instalment in the DS Nathan Cody series. A Tapping at my Door (the first book) is well worth adding to your TBR!

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A Room Full of Killers is another brilliant installment in the DCI Matilda Darke series. This one focuses on Starling House and its inmates, young murderers. When one of the inmates is murdered, Darke and her team are called to investigate. What follows is a nail-biting, fast-paced and very twisted tale. Interspersed with chapters from the inmates of Starling House, A Room Full of Killers is Michael Wood’s darkest book yet. I LOVED it!!!!

Black Echo

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

An oldie, but a goodie next. I decided to go back to the start with Harry Bosch this year. Corruption, conspiracy and so much more take place in The Black Echo. I had forgotten how good Connelly is at creating such a strong plot. Whilst it moves at a slower pace, nothing is out-of-place, there is no padding. The whole story fits together effortlessly and is supported with an excellent cast of characters. A series I will always recommend, especially for the crime fans.

The Liar

The Liar by Steve Cavanagh

I honestly cannot recommend The Liar highly enough. There aren’t enough superlatives in my vocabulary to vocalise how much I enjoy these books. Addictive, thrilling, massively fun, you won’t be disappointed picking up The Liar, or the previous two books either!!!

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Freefall (Pendulum Trilogy #2) by Adam Hamdy

Corruption, subterfuge, murder are all present in Freefall. But it’s the little intricacies like levels of trust, networks (both people and technology) and lies that weave this book into the expertly crafted web the reader has to pick through. Every time I thought I knew something, I was told something different. The authors sleight of hand is immense in Freefall. Adam Hamdy makes the reader look one side, while he’s creating something dangerous on the other, which means the tension is ramped up completely!

ACOTAR ACOMAF ACOWAR

I absolutely devoured these three books. I didn’t write full reviews for them, but you can catch my thoughts on the three of them by clicking the links below the pictures. This was not a genre I was used to but I am here for it after reading these books!!! 🙂 (See next set of books LOL!)

Shadow and Bone Siege and Storm Ruin and Rising

As above, no full reviews for these three. I don’t know why they ended up with mini-reviews because I loved them all! The Grishaverse is one of my new favourite imagiary places, and I fully intend to revisit these books in the future because they completely captured my imagination from start to finish!

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Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson ~ Translated by Quentin Bates

It wouldn’t be a favourite reads post without the addition of my fave Icelander. I love Ragnar Jónasson’s books, and Whiteout was no exception!

I cannot recommend this series, and this book highly enough. Always atmospheric, often chilling and with plenty to keep the reader turning the pages, Whiteout is definitely a book to add to your TBR. The whole series is though, to be honest. If you haven’t read them, then you really should get on it!

I binge-read the three Dan Forrester books in one week, they are that compelling! I haven’t gotten my reviews written up yet, but it’s safe to say this is one of my most favourite series that I’ve read recently. Excellent characters, twisty plots and brilliant writing made these an absolute joy to read!

In The Still by Jacqueline Chadwick

Briefly Maiden by Jacqueline Chadwick

I know I mentioned Jackie’s In The Still this morning, so I’m cheating a bit here. But Briefly Maiden is the second book in the Ali Dalglish series so it merits a mention here too! I’ll just say this, If In The Still was dark, Briefly Maiden is pitch black. I can’t recommend this series highly enough, especially if you like your reads dark and disturbing!


So, that’s it. My favourite reads of 2017, over two posts, DONE!

I really hope you guys find something you like from my choices.

Thanks to each and every one of you for keeping up with Bibliophile Book Club this year.

To the authors, publishers and everyone who makes the book-world turn, you guys are the real heroes!

Keep reading 🙂

My Favourite Reads of 2017~Part 1

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of year again. CHRISTMAS!!! The trees are up, the stockings are hung, and presents are wished for. So, I’ve compiled a selection of books I’ve read throughout the year. Books I loved, books that moved me, books that captured my heart and mind completely.

BUT, there are so many of them, that I’ve decided to write two separate posts so I can fit them in. In this one, you’ll find standalone books, and in my follow up post, I’ll be chatting about books in a series!

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some of the books that I read and loved in 2017, plus two recommendations for 2018…

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

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The format for The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is partly what made it for me. Told using alternating chapters, the reader is taken on two journeys. Samuel Hawley’s past and how he got to where he is, and the present told through Loo’s eyes. Perfectly crafted, this dual narrative barrels towards an unexpected conclusion. No spoilers in saying that, I just didn’t see where it was going. It has been over 6 months since I read this, and I still think about it.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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One Of Us Is Lying hooked me completely from the outset. I loved the premise. Five teenagers in detention and only 4 of them make it out alive. I mean, terrible yes, but how could you not want to find out why?! And the comparisons to the seminal John Hughes classic are not unwarranted. I devoured this one, and recommend it quite regularly!

Blackwater by GJ Moffatt

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American crime fiction at its best and most gripping, Blackwater will grab you by the throat from the first chapter and won’t let go. Superb characterisation, a gripping plot and excellent writing made this a no-brainer for this list!

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

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If We Were Villains was reminiscent of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life for me. In that, I mean that we get to see the characters, really see them, faults and all. Their highs and lows, petty dramas, competition between themselves, selfishnes and methods of self-preservation are there in all their glory. The arcs of these young, strong-willed characters takes the reader on an emotional journey, and this is where the story format really excels. It feels like you are reading a contemporary Shakespearean drama, yet it still stays true enough to the originals. it is bloody, honest and gruelling at times, but utterly rewarding to read.

Afterlife by Marcus Sakey

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Afterlife is an absolutely outstanding book! Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. It is compelling and beautiful, yet so dark at the same time. It is a mix of crime/dystopian fiction and a love story unlike any other, spanning years and worlds, with a very different antagonist. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It caught me unawares and I will be thinking about it for a long time!

Tin Man by Sarah Winman

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Tin Man is an eloquent and highly descriptive book. It is full of colourful and flowing prose, which made it a joy to read. In terms of books outside of my comfort zone, this is definitely one of those, but I am so glad I read it. Emotional but completely beautiful.

Blackwing by Ed McDonald

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Loved Blackwing! I’m new to this whole fantasy book reading thing, but I’m starting to figure out what I enjoy and Blackwing is just amazing! It has epic world-building, a damn fine main character, a band of supporting characters that is both motley and brilliant, and an absolutely insane plot!

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

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*I never actually wrote a full review for this one. I genuinely couldn’t find the words to do this book justice. I still can’t. I need to re-read it but all I know is in all its brutality, I still loved it.

I am months out from reading MAD and I am still haunted by Turtle Alveston. I can’t find the words for how much I enjoyed this book. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It is raw, visceral, disturbing and challenging, but boy is it rewarding. I don’t read books like this usually, but I am so glad I got to read MAD. It will stay with me for a long time, and I will recommend it to everyone!

Age of Assassins by RJ Barker 

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Age of Assassins thrives on its characters, with each and every one of them really well developed. Some you will love, some you will loathe, but that’s what you want isn’t it? To feel something for those whose journey you’re going along with. Add to this a great plot and plenty of action and you’ll find yourself hooked immediately!

In The Still by Jacqueline Chadwick

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In The Still is a graphic and evil crime thriller. Usually, with all of the crime books I read, I tend to read with detachment as I’ve become desensitised to violence between the pages, However, In The Still is different. It got under my skin. It made my heart pound. I was afraid to turn the pages to see what fresh hell Jackie Chadwick would unleash on her unsuspecting readers. The antagonist is so sick and twisted, yet unbelievably clever. That is what kept me hooked from beginning to end.

2018 Recommendations:

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First, I’m going to go with Luca Veste’s forthcoming book The Bone Keeper. Out in March next year, I had the pleasure of reading this in 2017 and it is absolutely brilliant.  A chilling crime read. Full of tension and with a sinister undercurrent, it will definitely get under your skin.

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In keeping with last year, I’m recommending Matt Wesolowski’s next book, Hydra. It’s another Six Stories book, and if you though Six Stories was creepy, just wait until you read Hydra. It is utterly chilling and completely compelling. You won’t be able to put it down!


Right! That is Part One of my Top Reads of 2017 done! I’ll be sharing my Top Series Read in 2017 later on today, so keep your eyes peeled for that! 🙂

Oh, and if you want to check out any of the previous years books, just click the links below to have a look:

Top 10 Books & Series Pt 1 2015

Top 10 Books & Series Pt 2 2015

Top 13 Books of 2016

Happy reading 🙂

Dark Skies: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 7) by LJ Ross @LJRoss_author

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*Many thanks to the author for my review copy!

About the author:

Louise was born in Northumberland, England.  She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.

Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

LJ Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of  DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon Kindle UK bestsellers chart.

Its sequels, Sycamore Gap,  Heavenfield, Angel and High Force were all top five UK bestsellers and she recently hit the top of the charts again with her sixth book, Cragside, which was number one in the UK on pre-orders alone.

The novels are all available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store, as well as in selected independent bookshops. Holy Island is also available in German translation.

About the book:

Beware what lies beneath…

One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost.

Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?

Click the link below to order your copy:

Dark Skies: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 7) by LJ Ross

My thoughts:

Having read and loved the previous six (SIX!!! I can’t believe there’s been that many already!) books in this series, I was thrilled to be able to read Dark Skies just before publication. I had been waiting for this one since I finished Cragside so needless to say I started this one as soon as I could and it was definitely worth the wait!

In Dark Skies, Ryan and his team are tasked with investigating the discovery of a decades-old body found in a reservoir. While they think they are investigating an old case, it seems that the killer has been in hiding all these years, and they’re not done yet.

What follows is a really great, pacy story. I found myself flying through the book and before I knew it I was at the end! Packed full of secrets and little moments that make you go “huh?!”, it was so great to get back into the world of Ryan and his team!

I don’t want to go into the plot, because spoilers! BUT, there are some interesting moments between Ryan and his new superior that ramp up the tension of the narrative. She’s a bad penny, that one, and I’m intrigued yet scared to see what’s going to happen in the future. Think Wicked Queen from the fairytales, but possibly with a much darker side, time will tell on that front…

Brilliant story. I was gripped. I love how the author makes the characters relatable. And don’t even get me started on her amazing eye for locational descriptions. I’ve never been to any of the places in this series, but thanks to the descriptive language LJ Ross uses, it feels like if I close my eyes I can totally see it!

Another cracking book in the DCI Max Ryan series. If you haven’t yet picked up a book by LJ Ross, I suggest you do. The characters, settings and plots are so expertly crafted that you’ll get lost between the pages faster than you realise!

As always, highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

Holy Island by LJ Ross

Sycamore Gap by LJ Ross

Heavenfield by LJ Ross

High Force (DCI Ryan 5) by L. J. Ross

Cragside: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 6)

Angel (DCI Ryan 4) by LJ Ross

(Apologies for Angel being at the end in terms of chronological review order, I can’t change it 😭)

November 2017 Book Haul

Hey everyone,

It’s book haul time 🙂 And a few days late, AGAIN!!!

For any of you who don’t know, this is where I list the books that have made Bibliophile Book Club their new home in the previous month. The books are usually bought books (a LOT of bought books), ARC’s sent from publishers, Netgalley review books and just basically any books I get go on here.

I was REALLY good in November with my book buying. I’m still trying to make a dent in my TBR, so I think I’m conscious of not buying all the books, no matter how much I want them! So without further ado, here are the books that I got in November…

  1. Now You See by Max Manning
  2. Zero Hour by Eamon Ambrose
  3. Close to Home by Robert Dugoni
  4. The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Lesley Welsh
  5. Angelfall by Susan Ee
  6. Did You See Melody by Sophie Hannah
  7. Devil’s Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman
  8. Evidence by Jonathan Kellerman
  9. Killer by Jonathan Kellerman
  10. Self-Defence by Jonathan Kellerman
  11. Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
  12. All The Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J Church
  13. A Good Time to be a Girl by Helena Morrissey
  14. The Sister by Louise Jensen
  15. A Map of the Dark by Karin Ellis
  16. The Good Mothers by Alex Perry
  17. The Wedding Savages by Sabri Louatah
  18. The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard
  19. Briefly Maiden by Jacqueline Chadwick – Read that review HERE
  20. Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan
  21. Dead Lemons by Finn Bell

And that’s it. I KNOW!!!! And I even managed to read 17 books in November, bringing me up to 177 books read, or 178 at the time of typing this, so I’m pretty pleased with that!

Have you read any of these? Would you read any? As always, let me know in the comments!

Here’s what I read in November:

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And a handful of the books I got throughout the month:

Until next time…

Happy reading 🙂

 

~Blog Tour~ Water & Glass by Abi Curtis~ Ellen’s Review

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About the book:

In the lower depths of a massive submarine, ship’s zoologist Nerissa Crane takes an ultrasound of a heavily pregnant Asian elephant. The elephant conceived off-ship but, it transpires, was forced on board – along with Nerissa and a hastily assembled collection of humans and animals – by an apocalyptic environmental disaster that has flooded the earth. Nerissa is calm and solitary in her work and in navigating the trauma of her husband’s presumed death in the floods; but when one of her animal charges escapes, she is reluctantly forced to enter the ship’s thrown-together communal world where she uncovers a shocking conspiracy that causes her to question who and what she is. Water & Glass is a thrilling dystopian tale about human nature – and the animal world – under great pressure and in enclosed spaces.

Click the link below to order your copy:

Water & Glass by Abi Curtis

About the author:

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Abi Curtis is Professor of Creative Writing at York St John University. She has won an Eric Gregory Award and Somerset Maugham Award for her poetry collections, The Glass Delusion (Salt, 2013) and Unexpected Weather (Salt, 2009). She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing and is inspired by art, psychology, science and the environment. She has written on such subjects as mushrooms in Freud, squid in literature, and the creative possibilities of pollination, and often collaborates with artists and musicians. Water & Glass, her first novel, is published by Cloud Lodge Books.

Ellen’s Review:

I really enjoyed this dystopian book where we join zoologist Nerissa on board the ark inspired Baleen; a submarine loaded with a collection of animals and humans destined to be a brand new start for all after an environmental apocalyptic disaster. It doesn’t take too much imagination to envisage this version of our possible future with the current issues we are facing in the world. It is no surprise that the author of Water & Glass is an award winning poet, her words are lyrical and poignant.

When one of Nerissa’s animal charges goes missing she is forced from her solitary life into the other decks of the vessel and discovers all is not as it seems aboard the Baleen and that not everything she and the other passengers have been told is true. The story is told from various POV’s, one of my favourites was Molloy; a wooly brown rat who is very tame and shows no fear of humans. All Molloy wants is food, warmth and partnership and isn’t that what we are all after!?

This is a book about human (and animal) nature; how far will we go to ensure our survival? I hope there will be more I the series as I really got involved in everybody’s stories!

Check out the blog tour:

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First Monday Crime is coming…

It’s nearly time for the December First Monday Crime event and I’ve got a little snapshot of some of the participants!

On December 4th, some amazing crime writers will be doing the First Monday Crime night and you can reserve your free seat by clicking the link below to be taken to the First Monday website:

First Monday Crime- Reserve your seat!

There’s also some fun stuff going on, take a look at the details from their site:

December 4, 2017

6:30 pm

City University, College Building, A130

 

Our event this month is a real holiday treat! Not only do we have a cracking panel- Louise Jensen, Chris Whitaker, Susi Holliday, Mel McGrath, moderated by the lovely Claire McGowan, but wine will be graciously sponsored by No Exit Press.

 

As an extra festive bonus, some of the finest crime fiction authors in the WORLD are going to pitch their cherished dream projects to you, the audience. A panel of experts, with savage wit and repartee, will be there to add commentary, but YOU decide who the winner is! There will be tears, laughter and possibly dinosaur detectives.

 

This part of the event will be crafted under the careful and caring gaze of MC Howard Linskey, Rod Reynolds, Abir Mukherjee, Cass Green, Leye Adenle, Susi Holliday, Derek Farrell, Lisa Cutts, Chris Whitaker, Mason Cross, Neil White and James Carol as they vie for the ultimate prize: the coveted title of First Monday Pitch an Audience Champion 2017.

 

And don’t forget about our Secret Santa Book Exchange. Bring a book (pre-loved is fine!) wrapped in tissue/news/wrapping paper and get a book in return!


Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city.His debut novel, Tall Oaks, won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger. Chris’s second novel, All The Wicked Girls, was published in August 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.

Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker

Tall Oaks

I had Tall Oaks on my TBR for far too long so it was another book I picked to read this summer and I’m just sorry I left it so long. It is a taut and emotive story, with such a great cast of characters that I was sucked in immediately when I started reading it. I couldn’t put it down until the very end and its safe to say I was put through the emotional wringer by the end. Highly recommended!

Louise Jensen

Louise Jensen is the bestselling author of the psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift and The Surrogate and is a repeat holder of the No. 1 spot in the UK and Canadian charts as well as being a USA Today bestseller. To date Louise has sold over 800,000 books and her novels have been sold for translation in sixteen territories. Louise was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Surrogate is Louise’s recently released third novel about how far we’d go to create that perfect family.

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Another interesting psychological thriller, The Sister is perfect if you want twists and turns aplenty and you love an engaging past/present storyline!

MJ McGrath

Melanie McGrath is an Essex girl, cofounder of Killer Women, and an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction. As MJ McGrath she writes the acclaimed Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries, White Heat, The Boy in the Snow and The Boneseeker, twice longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and picked as Times and Financial Times thrillers of the year. As Melanie McGrath she wrote the critically acclaimed and bestselling family memoir Silvertown. As Mel McGrath she is the author of her recent psychological thriller Give Me The Child. The New York Times called her ‘wickedly talented.’

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I devoured this book when I read it. There was something very compulsive about Give Me The Child, almost like you know something bad is about to happen but you cant look away. That’s how I felt when I was reading it anyway!

Is it just me, or are kids possibly one of the creepiest plot devices in books lately?! I don’t know about you guys, but the mere mention of a quiet or distant child in a book sets of all of the warning bells in my head and I want to put the book in the freezer. I have two of my own, so it freaks me out to read about children in books these days.

Anyway, I digress. Give Me The Child is an interesting take on the psych thriller genre. The main character,  Cat, is a child psychologist researching psychopathic indicators (!!!!) in young vulnerable children, which in itself is tough enough. Add to that the arrival of Ruby Winter, tension at home and you’ve got more than enough to keep the reader interested to see where the story will go.

Highly recommended!


So there you have it. A little snapshot from just some of the fab authors who will be at First Monday Crime next week. That link again, in case you need it, is below:

First Monday Crime- Reserve Your Seat!

~Blog Blitz~ A Matter of Love and Death by Caron Albright

Hi everyone,

Today I’m one of a few blogs taking part in the blog blitz for Caron Albright’s A Matter of Love and Death, and I’ve got a great guest post from the author to share with you all!

About the author:

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Caron Albright fell in love with books as soon as she could read and never grew out of it. With one foot firmly planted in Fictionland ever since, she is moving from one adventure to the next (strictly on the paper of course).

She loves capers with feisty heroines, dashing heroes with a dangerous edge and thrilling locations and would gladly explore the world for the sake of research – preferably while tap-dancing, with a champagne glass in her hand.

Instead she spends her time in front of her keyboard, sipping herbal tea.

When she feels the need for a change, she switches to coffee and writing crime novels under the name Carmen Radtke.

Links:
 

 

About the book:

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Adelaide, 1931. Telephone switchboard operator Frances’ life is difficult as sole provider for her mother and adopted uncle. But it’s thrown into turmoil when she overhears a suspicious conversation on the phone, planning a murder.

If a life is at risk, she should tell the police; but that would mean breaking her confidentiality clause and would cost her the job. And practical Frances, not prone to flights of fancy, soon begins to doubt the evidence of her own ears – it was a very bad line, after all…

She decides to put it behind her, a task helped by the arrival of their new lodger, Phil. Phil takes her to a night club, where she meets charming but slightly dangerous club owner Jack. Jack’s no angel – prohibition is in force, and what’s a nightclub without champagne? But he’s a good man, and when Frances’ earlier fears resurface she knows that he’s the person to confide in.

Frances and Jack’s hunt for the truth puts them in grave danger, and soon enough Frances will learn that some things are a matter of love and death…

 

Guest Post:

Picking up the pen

By Caron Albright

 

Hands up if you, dear reader, ever wanted to be a writer. Odds are, your finger is either slowly pointing skywards, or you already have something finished, or a WIP (work in progress), or both.

Congratulations, you’re in good and, most of all, sympathetic company.

I don’t even remember the transition from voracious reader to budding writer; as a child it seemed logical that, if words on paper took you into another world, all I needed were pen and paper. No, don’t ask how many words I found that rhymed with spring (the poetry of an eight-year old). Let me say in my defence that the short story I wrote about the hamster and the stolen raw diamonds hidden among his food pellets could have become an instant classic, had I at age twelve not been blissfully unaware of the concept of a second or third draft. But at least it was original, and intended as an homage to Agatha Christie whose works already filled up a complete shelf in my room.

And that was it, for years, until I trained as a print reporter, constantly battling ever tighter deadlines. By then I was aware of the benefits of a second or third draft, but too time-strapped to do more than a five-minute polish.

This became my greatest obstacle when I finally found the courage to turn to fiction writing. I was so used to cranking out impressive numbers of words on a daily basis and coming up with idea after idea, if research on of them needed postponing, or events made them obsolete, that it was hard taking my time.

But – unless you are tied into a contract with strict deadlines – there’s no need for a mad rush, if your story isn’t quite there yet. By all means write, write as much as you can, but don’t beat yourself up if the words don’t flow. Or if what sounds utterly perfect in your head, doesn’t look as great on the page.

The best advice I ever had was, first get it written and then get it right. You’re allowed to type or scribble bad sentences, dig plot-holes large enough to hide an elephant in and let your characters wallow around in clichés (the same goes for poets, screenwriters, playwrights, novelists, non-fiction writers, diarists). It doesn’t matter if your work is never intended for the public or something that you will keep buried in a drawer. Allow yourself the freedom to write. Then read it, laugh, cry or bemoan you utter lack of talent (every writer I know tends to wallow in despair in between short-lived bursts of elation). And then get feedback.

There are more writers’ groups out there than ever, either meeting face to face (google them or ask at your local libraries), or join one of the many online groups.

Don’t ask your family or your best friends. Even if (that’s a big if) they possess all the qualities of a good reader and point out weaknesses, inconsistencies, logic errors, or praise your wit, sharp plots and lively dialogue, you will either feel hurt or insecure that they only want to spare their feelings.

Step away if critique turns into an attack of your work. Even the clumsiest effort deserves respect. Be respectful in return. Rejoice in your friends’ successes and support them in the low moments.

Don’t show your work to anyone if you can’t bear rejection. But most of all, love the writing. And please, please, please, whatever you do, stay a reader. There is no greater comfort escape, and means of enlightenment than a book. And if you have read Terry Pratchett’s ‘Carpe Jugulum’, you will find out that a book can save you in more ways than you probably dreamt of.

Follow the blog blitz:

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