Blog Tour Extract~ Cold Breath by Quentin Bates

Hi everyone,

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Cold Breath by Quentin Bates, and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Bates, Quentin.jpg

Quentin Bates made his escape from suburbia at the end of the seventies as a gap year turned into a gap decade spent in the north of Iceland. He worked ashore and at sea before returning to England and, once finally ashore for good, drifted by accident into journalism.

Finally the lure of fiction became too strong to resist. Sergeant Gunnhildur and the series of novels she features in have their origins in a deep affection for Iceland and its people, and an intimate knowledge of Icelandic society and its language, customs and quirks.

Today Quentin divides his time between the north of Iceland and the south of England, translating books from Icelandic in addition to working on his own fiction.

About the book:

COLD BREATH.jpg

Gunnhildur reluctantly allows herself to be taken off police duties to act as bodyguard to a man with a price on his head . . .

Hidden away in a secure house outside Reykjavík, Gunna and the high-profile stranger, a guest of the interiors minister, are thrown together – too close for comfort. They soon find they are neither as safe nor as carefully hidden as Gunna and her boss had thought. Conflicting glimpses of the man’s past start to emerge as the press begin to sniff him out, as does another group with their own reasons for locating him. Gunna struggles to come to terms with protecting the life of a man who may have the lives of many on his conscience – or indeed may be the philanthropist he claims to be.

Isolated together, the friction grows between Gunna and the foreign visitor, and she realises they are out of their depth as the trails lead from the house outside Reykjavík to Brussels, Russia and the Middle East.

Cold Breath by Quentin Bates

Extract:

Go for a walk,’ the pale man suggested. ‘Don’t go far. Don’t go out of sight.’
The plump man opened his mouth to speak and then quickly shut it. It had been an instruction, not a suggestion.
‘How long?’ he asked, his voice quivering. Next to him his wife could not hide the helpless hatred in her eyes.
‘Twenty minutes,’ the dark man said, pointing to the wavelets being whipped up on the surface of the lake by a bitter wind. ‘Leave your phones on the table. Go that way and walk around the lake. Be where we can see you.’
‘You . . . ?’ the woman began.
‘Come on, Hanne. We don’t have a choice,’ the man muttered to his wife, taking her arm. He stared steadfastly ahead as they walked away, while she shot a single furious glance over her shoulder towards the two men.
It was supposed to be the holiday they had been looking forward to. For the first time there was no need to hurry. There were no longer projects to manage, classes to teach, meetings to attend, deadlines to meet, or jobs waiting for them to return to. Retirement meant they could spend as long as they wanted touring this rocky island they had long wanted to visit, arriving before the tourist season got underway and taking things slowly, dawdling around the northern coastline as they made their way to Reykjavík, stopping whenever and wherever they saw fit.
That had been the plan, she reflected bitterly, until the unwelcome visitors had arrived one night before they had got as far as the ferry, with an offer they dared not refuse.
‘How long should this take?’ the pale man asked, watching as the tubby man and his stick-thin wife walked stiffly, arm-in-arm, around the shore of the lake.
‘Not long. Under the driver’s side bunk. Tools?’
They disappeared into the camper van, and the dark man opened a compact tool box on the table as he looked around.
‘Nice truck,’ he said. ‘House-proud people. Very tidy.’
‘Maybe they
wanted the place to look its best for their visitors.’
The elderly couple, still arm-in-arm, returned windblown after a slow walk around the grey waters of the lake where the wind filled the air with spray.
‘We’re finished. Thanks for your co-operation,’ one of the men said, standing up from his seat in the camper van’s back door as the couple approached.
‘It’s not as if we had a choice in the matter,’ the woman snapped at him, her voice loaded with helpless anger.
He shrugged. ‘It’s not our choice either, I’m afraid. Now we’d like you to go away and enjoy the rest of your holiday. Forget you ever saw us.
It goes without saying that you won’t say a word to anyone, ever. In which case you’ll never hear from us again.’
The pale man dipped a hand into his pocket and took out a sheet of paper folded into four. He held it up and handed it to the woman.
‘What’s this?’
‘Take a look.’
She unfolded it carefully and stiffened as she saw it. Her husband’s face sagged as she showed it to him.
‘Your
house. Your daughter’s house,’ the pale man said, his finger sliding over each of the four pictures. ‘Your son-in-law’s business. And this is where your mother lives. Just so you know. Not one single word.’

 

Check out the tour:

Cold Breath - Quentin Bates - Blog Tour (2).jpg

Blog Tour~ Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir Ellen’s Review

Morning all,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Lilja author photo.jpg

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

About the book:

TRAP cover.jpg

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.
Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.
With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Ellen’s Review:

Having read Snare the first in this trilogy I was delighted to get tangled up in the next book Trap. I absolutely adore the covers for both books, so simple but eye catching and would look a treat together on your bookshelves! Although this could be read as a standalone I would recommend reading Snare to fully enjoy Trap.

In the beginning of the book Sonja and Tomas are in Florida after escaping from the drug smuggling trade that her ex husband Adam had embroiled Sonja into. However this freedom is cut short when Tomas is kidnapped and Sonja is forced to return to the clutches of Adam and the drug gangs and back to Iceland. You can really sympathise for Sonja and her situation; she is desperate to get Tomas back and resorts to agreeing to once more return to the drug smuggling with the help of her friendly, look-the-other-way customs officer Bragi. Sonja is not going to give in without a fight and is soon caught up in a risky plot involving the deadliest criminals to ensure her family’s safety.

Meanwhile Sonja’s lover Agla is struggling with her own problems; awaiting trial for financial misconduct and attempting to pay back some massive debts. Once more I struggled to warm to Agla, she just appears so fragile and needy when it comes to Sonja and I worry how she would cope if their relationship came under pressure and she was rejected altogether.

I really enjoyed Trap and look forward to reading the final book in the series.

Check out the tour:

Trap First BT Poster .jpg

Blog Tour ~ Heart in the Right Place by Lisa Hill Ellen’s Review

Hi guys,

Today is Ellen’s turn on the blog tour for Heart in the Right Place by Lisa Hill and I’ll be sharing her review with you all just a little further down!

About the author:

Lisa Hill

Lisa grew up in the village of Bussage, near Stroud, in the Cotswolds until she returned to Cheltenham as a teenager. She is married to her very own hero, Matt, and has three sons, Hamish, Archie and Laurence. Her first encounter of a romance author was chats over the garden wall between her father, Godfrey, and Mrs Cooper from the neighbouring village of Bisley. It came as quite a surprise in later life to find that Mrs Cooper was in fact Jilly Cooper! Lisa’s writing inspiration now comes from other Cotswolds authors including Jill Mansell and Katie Fforde.

Lisa writes contemporary women’s fiction with a light-hearted tone. What interests her most is people, their interactions, emotions and relationships. It’s probably why her career to date has been based in property; she confesses herself that she is ‘naturally curious’.

When she’s not busy writing, helping Matt run his electrical empire, or being her sons’ taxi service, Lisa enjoys long walks with the family gundog, Sparky, and is training to be a counsellor where she hopes, one day, to be able to provide therapy in the form of writing to those who need it.

Lisa is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme and attributes this supportive and informative scheme to her career to date, including her debut novel, Meet Me at Number Five, and this year’s perfect summer read Heart in the Right Place.

About the book:

Heart in the Right Place.jpg

Lottie Hardwicke is Yorkshire’s answer to Kirstie Allsopp, but ten years spent raising her three children with husband, Drew, has relegated her to Saturday Girl status at the family estate agents. This is Lottie’s year; she’s turning over a new leaf and is going to make her time in property less of a borderline obsession and more of an actual career. Only, she hasn’t bet on her interfering in-laws returning to scupper her plans or her teenage crush, celebrity Tom Thorpe, arriving in the village and offering her the opportunity of a lifetime, which could compromise everything…

Can Lottie have it all? Can she be a hands-on mum and get her career back, without wrecking her marriage in the process?

Heart in the Right Place by Lisa Hill

Ellen’s Review:

Now and then I like a bit of sparkle from my reading choices, not the twinkling vampire kind but the type of book that you can skip through merrily with a smile on your face and a real feel good factor. Heart in the Right Place by Lisa Hill delivered precisely all the feels that I was looking for and more!

I’m a Yorkshire lass so loved that this story was set in Harrogate, a place I am quite familiar with. Lottie and Drew Hardwicke are the main characters but there is a wide and varied cast to support them. Lottie’s best friend Jude and her dad Jack, Drew’s parents Pamela and Edward and the celebrity blast from Lottie’s past Tom Thorpe. Each have their part in the story and I loved how all the narrative threads wove together and tied up neatly to deliver the perfect package of a heart-warming tale.

All the elements of family life can be found in the pages of Heart in the Right Place; the good and the bad. It was great to see the realities of what happens when things aren’t quite right and the issues that we all have to overcome. I have to say that I’d love a Tom Thorpe character to arrive into my life and solve some of my problems! In my head he was Sean Bean and who would say no to a visit from him??

This was the first book of Lisa Hill’s that I have read and I will definitely be looking out for more.

Check out the tour:

Heart-in-The-Right-Place-Blog-Tour.jpg

Blog Tour ~ The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech and I’ll be sharing her review with you all in just a little bit!

About the author:

thumbnail_Louise Beech.jpg

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be
Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in
My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in
the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has
won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the
Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport
Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of
Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre,
where her first play was performed in 2012

About the book:

thumbnail_Lion Tamer front cover final.jpg

Be careful what you wish for…
Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he
wishes it hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve.
When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems
to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

Ellen’s Review:

Louise Beech has once more broken me with her beautiful writing, her intention must be to crush my usually stony reading heart to dust! The Lion Tamer Who Lost is primarily a love story about Ben and Andrew but their journey was never going to be an easy one. Ben is 23 years old and living at home with his brash and bigoted father. Ben is struggling with his sexuality and fears of rejection by his family. Andrew is an older man that enters Ben’s life and turns it upside down. Can they make their relationship work? I really enjoyed the coincidences that occurred in TLTWL, this is a subject that fascinates me in real life so I never struggled to believe it’s place in the book.

The story is told over different timelines; Ben/Andrew in the past and the present where we find Ben working in a Lion sanctuary obviously trying to get over something. This “something” is gradually revealed throughout the novel and there is not much more I can say without spoiling the reading experience for others.

I loved the Lion Sanctuary setting of The Lion Tamer Who Lost; Louise’s descriptions are so vivid that I was immediately transported to Africa. The relationship between Ben and his lion cub Lucy was a delight and really gave an insight into Ben’s determination and strength of character. He refused to give up on Lucy and was obviously so attached to her and her success in becoming part of the pack. I think Lucy was actually my third favourite character after Ben and Andrew!

Louise’s writing is so powerful that in my mind Ben and Andrew are real people. For days after I’d be thinking about them before catching myself and remembering it wasn’t a film I’d watched or anyone in my life that actually existed. To be able to create that depth of emotion and recognition in a character from a reader takes some doing.

A gorgeous book which deserves all the stars!

Check out the blog tour:

The Lion Tamer Blog Tour Poster Final.jpg

Blog Tour ~ The Proposal by S. E. Lynes Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Proposal by S. E. Lynes and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

S E Lynes Author Photo.png

After graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband. In Aberdeen, she worked as a producer at BBC Radio Scotland before moving with her husband and two young children to Rome. There, she began to write while her children attended nursery. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. She now combines writing with lecturing at Richmond Adult Community College and bringing up her three children. She lives in Teddington. 
 

About the book:

The-Proposal-Kindle.jpeg

The first thing you should know, dear reader, is that I am dead…

Teacher Pippa wants a second chance. Recently divorced and unhappy at work, she uproots her life and moves to the countryside, determined to make a fresh start. But Pippa soon realises: your troubles are never far behind.

When Pippa meets blue-eyed Ryan Marks, he is funny and charming. He is haunted by his past – but insists he is a changed man. 

He might just be the answer to all of her problems. And Pippa can tell the truth from lies. She’d know if she were in danger. Wouldn’t she?

From Amazon chart bestseller S.E. Lynes, The Proposal is a page-turning and utterly gripping thriller about the lengths we will go to for someone we love. Perfect for fans of Gone GirlThe Woman in the Window and The Wife Between Us.

The Proposal by S. E. Lynes

Ellen’s Review:

I have been  a huge fan of SE Lynes since her debut Valentina and have been eagerly awaiting the next release – as always I wasn’t disappointed! The Proposal is the perfect example of a psychological thriller, all the ingredients are there to create an explosive read and one that left me feeling like I needed a hot shower.

The main character of Pippa is someone who I loved to hate; Self-centred, selfish and pretty moral free. Her behaviour got serious eye rolls from me throughout the whole of the book. She is a teacher who has published one novel and has serious writer’s block over her second. An ex con (Ryan) turns up on her doorstep selling household wares so what’s the sensible thing to do? Well, if you’re Pippa (already half sozzled) you invite him in and after feeding, watering and clothing him end up with an agreement (the proposal) to use the details of his criminal past and weave them into your new novel. No strings attached. Yeah, how did you envisage that would ever end well Pippa!? She is so desperate for success she is seemingly oblivious to the chaos that follows her around, divorced from her husband, picks up then drops her best friend as and when and now indebted to a potentially deadly individual.

The Proposal is told in various ways; Pippa in the future looking back on these events via journal entries, blog posts from her author page extolling about her perfect life as a best-selling author at Cairns Farm with the inimitable housekeeper Mrs Danvers and voice recordings from Ryan detailing his spiralling obsession with Pippa. This book is a serious lesson in not trusting everything/everyone at face value. I am loathe to spoil this book for future readers but just be prepared and DON’T miss the editor’s note at the end.

If you’re looking for a novel packed full of suspense, shocks and a sting in the tail then The Proposal is the one for you. Five stars for this outstanding read!!

Check out the tour:

The Proposal - Blog tour.jpg

Blog Tour: The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham

Hey guys,

Today its my turn on the blog tour for The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham and I’ll be sharing my review with you all!

About the author:

Alison Belsham
Alison Belsham initially started writing with the ambition of becoming a screenwriter — and in 2000 was commended for her visual storytelling in the Orange Prize for Screenwriting. In 2001 she was shortlisted in a BBC Drama Writer competition. Life and children intervened but, switching to fiction, in 2009 her novel Domino was selected for the prestigious Adventures in Fiction mentoring scheme. In 2016 she pitched her first crime novel, The Tattoo Thief, at the Pitch Perfect event at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival and was judged the winner.

Twitter:@alisonbelsham

About the book:

The Tattoo Thief

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed The Tattoo Thief. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I found myself getting pulled into the story really quickly. I liked the tattoo angle, not least because I have a few myself, so it was interesting to read about.

Marni Mullins is a tattoo artist, and she stumbles upon a body in a dumpster when taking a break at a tattoo show. Conflicted, she calls it in but then goes back to work at the tattoo show, not expecting anything to come of it. Until the police find her.

What follows is a twisty-turny read with lots of things going on. DI Sullivan is investigating the discovery, but he has a lot more going on than what he’s letting on. I enjoyed reading about him and his thinking processes.

I loved the interactions between Francis and Marni too, especially as the book progresses. Their back and forth banter is good fun to read. There is definitely a connection there, and I liked them both as characters.

The Tattoo Thief is a really interesting crime thriller, told from multiple viewpoints, including the killer. It is graphic, and more than a little tense at times. Hard to believe its a debut!

Recommended for sure!

Check out the tour:

Tattoo-Thief-Blog-tour

Blog Tour~The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham and I’ll be sharing her review with you all further down!

About the author:

Alison Belsham
Alison Belsham initially started writing with the ambition of becoming a screenwriter — and in 2000 was commended for her visual storytelling in the Orange Prize for Screenwriting. In 2001 she was shortlisted in a BBC Drama Writer competition. Life and children intervened but, switching to fiction, in 2009 her novel Domino was selected for the prestigious Adventures in Fiction mentoring scheme. In 2016 she pitched her first crime novel, The Tattoo Thief, at the Pitch Perfect event at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival and was judged the winner.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/alisonbelsham

About the book:

The Tattoo Thief

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham

Ellen’s Review:

The Tattoo Thief is one of those books that will really get under your skin…sorry I couldn’t resist! It is true though, I really struggled to put this book down and was walking round my house with kindle in hand permanently. It is a really fast paced, intriguing tale and the action kicks off early doors when Marni (tattoo artist) discovers a mutilated body in a dumpster. After phoning this in to the police anonymously she soon becomes deeply involved in the case as it becomes obvious there is a serial killer on the loose with a penchant for tattoos. Not just any old tattoo, this killer desires the best work out there and has a very specific wish list.

The tattoos of the victims are removed while they are still alive so be warned this book is quite graphic and gruesome. As I’ve said before I’m a bloodthirsty soul so I really enjoyed these elements of the story. I also loved the relationship between Marni Mullins and DI Francis Sullivan, never a truer example of chalk and cheese have I seen! Marni is wary of the police due to past life events and Francis is an ardent church loving individual. Their worlds clash and both must bend a little to assist in the case.

Marni Mullins was definitely my favourite character in this book and I’d actually like to know more about her life before her dealings with the tattoo thief. A fiery French ex-husband, time in prison and unresolved issues from her past…there’s another story waiting to be told!

A fantastic debut and I look forward to seeing what is next from Alison Belsham.

Check out the tour:

Tattoo-Thief-Blog-tour.jpg