Blog Blitz Extract ~ The M Word by Eileen Wharton

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog blitz for The M Word by Eileen Wharton and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all further down!

About the author:

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Eileen Wharton is not the naughty great-grandaughter of Edith Wharton. She is currently employed by MI5 but has had various jobs including: wigmaker to Donald Trump, Megan Fox’s stunt double and Ann Summers ‘toy’ tester. She also tells lies for a living.

She currently has five ‘lively’ offspring ranging from thirty to ten years of age and has no plans to procreate further much to the relief of the local schools and police force.

Her first novel, ‘Shit Happens’ was published in 2011 to worldwide critical acclaim. She’s also won awards for exaggeration. It did top the Amazon humour chart so she’s officially a best-selling author.

Her first children’s picture book, ‘The Shmoogly Boo’ was published in the same year and another is in the pipeline entitled, ‘My Dad’s Better than Your Dad.’

Her first crime novel, ‘Blanket of Blood’ was launched as a paperback on Friday 28th November 2016. She is now working on the sequel ‘Blood’s Thicker.’

 She teaches English to teenagers and lives on a council estate in Bishop Auckland. She has never eaten kangaroo testicles, is allergic to cats and has a phobia of tinned tuna.

Author links

https://www.facebook.com/eileen.whartonwriter

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eileen-Wharton/e/B00QQT2IKE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1525777837&sr=8-1

http://eileenwhartonwrite.wixsite.com/eileenwharton

About the book:

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Roberta Gallbreath is middle aged and menopausal. She dislikes her children, detests her ex-husband and despises her colleagues.

When her mother dies, Roberta is left with a pile of letters and a mystery surrounding her son. The letters reveal Roberta’s heritage is not what it seems and she is soon on a mission to become a better person.

Told with humour and emotion, The M Word is the tale of one woman’s journey to find out where she came from. As she looks to the past for answers, more questions are raised. Will Roberta discover who she really is?

The M Word by Eileen Wharton

Extract:

Chapter 1

 

@RobertaGallbreath

#Restingbitchface

#Flissflop

‘Mother is dying,’ a voice on the house phone says.

‘Who is this?’ I ask.

‘It’s Fliss, who do you think it is?’

‘Let me see. It’s three years since I spoke to you last, Felicity, so I wasn’t expecting to pick up the phone and hear your voice.’

‘Are you coming or not?’ my sister snaps.

‘Where?’

‘Home, of course. She’s dying, Roberta. Even you must care about that.’ What’s with the even you shit? Why do people say that? My sister is good at emotional blackmail. ‘She’s asking for you. God knows why.’

‘How long?’

‘Days rather than weeks. Doctor said to gather the family. Can you tell Carolyn and Shoni?’

‘And Drew,’ I say. Silence. ‘He didn’t do it, Felicity.’

‘Whatever.’

‘I know my own son.’ Silence. ‘He might be a lot of things, but he’s not a thief.’

‘I didn’t ring to argue with you. Just get here, will you.’

‘I’ll come tomorrow,’ I say. She hangs up.

My sister’s a bitch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all sweetness and light myself, but Felicity is a witch and a martyr, and there’s nothing more unattractive than the smell of burning martyr. She stayed with Mother when she could have left to live in Bermuda with a police officer from Pocklington she had met on eHarmony. She’s bitter and twisted, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t be, living with Mother all those years?

 

#nilbymouth

Mother’s on form. Even on her deathbed, she can make me feel like crap. She sits up in bed, her grey curls flattened by the pillows she’s now propped on, winceyette bed jacket draped around her spiky shoulders, “ALICE GALLBREATH: NIL BY MOUTH” at her head.

‘Don’t know why you bothered coming all the way up here,’ she says.

‘It’s only twenty minutes up the road.’

‘Why do I never see you, then? There’s nowt for you in t’ will.’

‘I don’t want anything, Mother,’ I say.

‘That’ll be a first. Stand up straight and put your legs together. You couldn’t stop a pig in a passage.’

‘Stop with the compliments, will you?’ I say.

‘What you doing here?’

‘I came to see you.’

‘Want to watch me die?’

‘No, Mother. I came to say my goodbyes.’

‘Goodbye, then.’

‘Jesus, can you not just…’

‘What? Just what?’ Mother asks.

‘Just be nice,’ I say.

‘That’s rich, coming from you.’

‘Look, I know I haven’t been the World’s Best Daughter,’ I say.

‘Pah. Understatement of the year. Get one of those thingies from the nurse, will you?’

‘Thingies? Which nurse?’

‘The one that’s plain as a pikestaff. I need to say a decade of the rosary every time I look at her… A thingummy jig whatsit doodah…’ She sets off coughing, and I think she’s going to choke to death there and then. She waves her hand madly in the direction of the cupboard next to the bed.

‘In here?’ I ask. She nods. ‘A tissue?’ She nods again. I hand her a tissue, and she spits into it. Fresh red blood mixed with black swirls like a marble. She folds the tissue, shoves it into my hand and gestures to the plastic bag taped to her locker. I try not to retch as I stuff it in. ‘You haven’t exactly been Mum of the Year, either.’

‘Go on, kick me while I’m down.’

‘I’m not here to kick you, Mother. Felicity said you were asking for me.’

‘Yes, I wanted you to know that I know who took the money and your father’s watch, and I want you to get it back.’

‘Listen, if you’re going to accuse Drew again, I–’

‘I’m not.’

‘That was a terrible time for us…’

‘I wasn’t going to accuse Drew,’ she says. ‘I know it wasn’t Drew. He wouldn’t nick off his granny. I want you to get it back. I still want Drew to have it.’

‘Who was it?’

‘I don’t want it to cause trouble. I just want you to get it back.’

‘From where, Mother? Where do I get it from?’

‘Fliss,’ she says faintly.

‘I don’t understand. What about Felicity?’

‘It wasn’t your dad’s watch. Well, it was. But not the man you thought was your dad.’

‘What do you mean? What are you talking about? You’re talking in riddles. Whose was it? Mother?’

‘The letters explain,’ she says, her breath shallow and laboured.

‘Letters? What letters?’

‘In there,’ she says, pointing to the bedside cabinet. ‘They explain.’

‘Explain what?’

‘Everything. They explain everything. Forgive me…’

Her breath grows ragged, and the machine beside her beeps. A nurse comes running. It’s all a bit of a blur after that. Doctors run in. They shock her, and her heart starts again, then stops. They shock her again, calling, ‘Alice, Alice, can you hear me, Alice?’

When I’ve seen paramedics performing CPR on the telly, it’s so clean and clinical. This is brutal. Messy, noisy, the sound of ribs cracking, a blue mouth foaming, eyes rolling.

It seems like hours before a man in a white coat shakes his head and says, ‘Time of death, eleven twenty-two am.’

I can’t say that what I feel is sadness, but there is shock. Definite shock. Seeing Mother silent and not deadly. I wouldn’t say she looks peaceful or that she looks like she’s sleeping. She looks dead. Bitter Alice. Deceased. What did she want to explain? What did she want me to forgive?

I open her bedside cabinet and take out a brown bag. Inside is a bundle wrapped in red cloth. Unwinding the material, I can see letters, a huge bundle of letters, held together by elastic bands. I stuff them into my bag, intending to read them when I get home.

I sit beside the bed in a state of shock until Felicity arrives and blames me for killing our mother. ‘I think, in fact, that it was lung cancer that killed her.’

‘She was alright last night,’ she says. ‘She was chatting about Freda Birchill’s granddaughter being done for shoplifting.’

‘She wasn’t alright, though, was she? You called me up here because she was dying. You said to me that she didn’t have long left.’

‘Yeah, but I didn’t think…that she would really die.’ Her face crumples then, and I feel almost sorry for her. I put my hand on her shoulder, and she shrugs it off. ‘Do you think it’s been fun looking after her for the past twenty years while you swanned off to the city? You, the big I am.’

‘It’s Newcastle, Felicity, not New York. If you wanted a life, you could have chosen one.’

‘Chosen? Chosen?’ Her voice rises, and she beats her chest. ‘I didn’t have choices. My path was paved when you left. I couldn’t leave as well, could I? She’d have been on her own.’

I ignored her self-pity party. ‘She mentioned the money and Granddad’s watch. She said she knew Drew didn’t take it.’

‘If you’ve come here to cause trouble, I swear I’ll …’

‘Do what? Fliss, you invited me to come.’

‘Just go back to where you came from.’

‘I came from here, actually.’

‘So why do you talk as though you have a mouth full of marbles?’

‘What is it you want from me, Felicity?’

‘Nothing. I want nothing. Precisely what you’ve given me over the years.’

‘I’m going back,’ I say. ‘Let me know the arrangements for the funeral.’

‘Oh, yes, leave it all to me as usual. You can tell Drew to stay away, for a start.’

‘I’ll tell him no such thing. And I’ll tell you another thing, Mother wants him to have his granddad’s watch. Well, she said it’s not Dad’s. So, what do you know about that?’

‘Nothing. I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.’

‘She wants me to find the watch and give it to Drew, and that’s what I’m going to do.’ Her face turns red, then green, then white. She storms off, sticking her nose in the air.



Make sure to check out the other blogs taking part in the blitz:

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With a heavy heart…

Hi everyone,

It’s with a very heavy heart that I have to write this blog post…

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to take time away from my blog due to health reasons. More on that in a little bit.

I will still be honoring any blog tours that I, or Ellen, have committed to, but I will not be taking on any more books, content posts or blog tours for the foreseeable future.

I am gutted that this has to happen but I know that it needs to be done. I’ll still be on here, Facebook, and Twitter, so I’m not going anywhere. Any posts that are already scheduled will be going out as normal, and there are quite a few, but that’s about all that will be on here.

I’ve been having a hard time lately with anxiety and panic attacks and I’ve noticed that reading certain kinds of books exacerbate these things. ( I am NOT in any way blaming anyone for this. It’s the adrenaline overload that my body can’t handle, no matter how much I love the books/authors!) I’ve been having heart palpitations and I have seen a direct correlation from the tension between the pages and my body’s reaction to this. I can’t, in good conscience, continue to read for review when it is detrimental to my health.

Parallel to this I actually have a chronic illness, which I don’t usually discuss, because it’s not relevant to the book love. But I am in a lot more pain recently, and when you couple this with the effect it’s having on my mental health, then it just makes sense to take a break. Well, for me anyway.

I am so grateful to you all for reading, and for your support along the way with my little blog. But it’s time to put my health first, and to do that, something has to give. So I will be pulling back from reviews and blogging but there will be the odd review on here from time to time.

I will continue to read, but not as much, and certainly not the genres that I love so very much. Which sucks. But I know that I can’t continue the way I am going, and I need to read some lighter stuff when I do decide to pick up a book.

Suggestions welcome by the way, because I have no idea where to look as my dark heart isn’t used to shiny happy books.

I am sad writing this. Genuinely. My emotions are all over the place, and though I’m not saying goodbye forever, even goodbye for now hurts..

Enter The Dark by Chris Thomas

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About the book:

An anonymous website, a few clicks, and Joe Henderson’s life is changed forever.
‘The Red Room’ is the only place where the failings of a weak justice system are righted and where the line between good and evil becomes blurred. When the lights go up, viewers bid, criminals are punished, and the Brotherhood of the Righteous broadcasts a show like no other.
The room has remained hidden until now, when a video arrives in the inbox of the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit. But outclassed, outplayed, and torn apart by corruption, is there anything Detective Pete Harris and his team can do except watch?
Their only lead may be the room’s latest bidder, Joe Henderson. Because when Joe found the Red Room, it found him too, and now the Brotherhood are watching through the wires, willing to do wrong for a righteous cause.
As they pull Joe deeper into the dark web, will he find any mercy or a way out? And could he be the Red Room’s next volunteer?

Enter The Dark by Chris Thomas

My thoughts:

I’m a big fan of cyber crime type books so I was looking forward to reading Enter The Dark. Dealing with the seedier side of the internet, the dark web, and those that dwell there made it a promising read.

Imagine if you could decide how to punish people who have committed heinous crimes, and watch the punishment being meted out on a live stream. Well in Enter The Dark, The Brotherhood of The Righteous will let you, but for a price. With Bitcoin being an untraceable way to pay, these vigilantes will take your money in return for letting you watch people being tortured.

At times gruesome (it doesn’t bother me, but it can be graphic), Enter The Dark is a good addition to the cyber crime genre. It has some horrible characters, an interesting plot, and is quite current in terms of the technology used.

I enjoyed this one. A quick read, and a decent opener for a series, but possibly not for the faint of heart.

Recommended!

What You Want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka

KL

About the author:

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Kristen Lepionka grew up mostly in a public library and could often be found in the adult mystery section well before she was out of middle school. Her writing has been selected for Shotgun HoneyMcSweeney’s Internet TendencyGrift, and Black Elephant. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats.

About the book:

Shaken by the outcome of her last big case, PI Roxane Weary is keeping a low profile. When she takes on a new client who suspects his fiancée is cheating on him, Roxane is happy to have landed a run-of-the-mill surveillance job. Until, that is, Marin Strasser, the woman she’s been tailing, turns up dead.
The police are convinced her client is the one who pulled the trigger. Certain – and scared – that things aren’t so straightforward, Roxane starts to follow a paper trail that gets more dangerous the farther it goes.
So who really was Marin Strasser? Who could have wanted her dead? And how can Roxane stop her work from once again pushing away the few people she thinks she can trust?

What You Want To See by Kristen Lepionka

My thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed The Last Place You Look I was delighted to be able to read and review book two in the Roxane Weary series, What You Want To See.

Roxane is such a great female lead. She is a private investigator, but bless her, she has a tough time of it. She has her own issues, but these lend themselves well to her character development. In this book, she definitely has her work cut out for her!

Tasked with investigating Marin Strasser, she’s not expecting to hear Marin has been gunned down in a suspected mugging. The investigation takes a turn for the worse when Marin’s fiancée becomes a suspect. What follows is a journey into the past, on a road paved with secrets and lies.

As usual, there is excellent characterisation. Roxane is flawed but so damn likeable that its hard not to root for her the whole way along. Throw in some property fraud and some shady alliances and you have a really interesting crime thriller.

What You Want To see is a great book, and aptly titled. I loved being back in Roxane’s world, and I’m already looking forward to the next one. If you haven’t read it yet, it is definitely one to add to your list!

Recommeded for sure!

Previous reviews:

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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About the book:

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

My thoughts:

I’m weeks out from reading Furyborn and I’m STILL having trouble trying to formulate a review decent enough to convey just how much I loved this book. It has got everything I look for in a book. Strong main characters, a truly epic story line and excellent world-building. Once I picked it up, I knew I was on to a winner, and I could not stop reading!

Rielle and Eliana are two of the best female characters I’ve read in a fantasy book this year, and I found myself thoroughly invested in their fates throughout the course of the book. I am still thinking about them and its been two months since I read Furyborn!

I am reminded of the addictiveness of Sarah J. Maas’s Court books when I think of Furyborn. It evoked much the same feelings as I had when I picked those up, and its safe to say that I NEED MORE from Claire Legrand. More Eliana, more Rielle, more Corien, who reminds me of both Rhysand AND the Darkling (Leigh Bardugo’s creation).

I don’t know what else to say. No amount of raving can convey how I actually feel about this book. It left me breathless. Gasping for more. Bereft when I finished it. Lots of feelings, basically!

I absolutely loved Furyborn. Right from the beginning I knew it was going to be a great read. Excellent characterisation, clever magical-type aspects, great world building, I just loved it all. The power struggles, the action, the dual timeline narrative, it all worked really well for me. A perfect foundation for a trilogy. It left me with questions, and wanting more to read, but that’s the beauty of the first book in a series. I can’t wait for the next!

Highly recommended!

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

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About the book:

Fourteen years ago, teenager Ellery Hathaway was victim number seventeen in the grisly murder spree of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. She was the only one who lived.
Now Coben is safely behind bars, and Ellery has a new identity in a sleepy town where bike theft makes the newspapers. But each July for the last three years, locals have been disappearing. Then Ellery receives strange messages hinting that the culprit knows exactly what happened to her all those years ago. When she tries to raise the alarm, no one will listen, and terrified she may be next, Ellery must turn to the one person who might believe her story…

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

My thoughts:

I read the majority of The Vanishing Season in one day because once I got pulled in to the story I had to keep going to see what was going to happen!

Ellie Hathaway is living under a new identity after surviving a killer when he was younger. Said killer is now behind bars, but Ellie has been getting strange messages, and now people are disappearing from the town she lives in. Nobody will believe her when she tries to tell them, so she takes matters into her own hands and calls in the FBI.

What follows is quite a tense read, packed with plenty of shady characters and a really interesting story. I was thoroughly engaged with this one and I was eager to see if my suspicions were correct or not. The Vanishing Season is definitely a fast-paced and clever crime thriller.

Recommended for sure!

Blog Tour~ Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen and I’ll be sharing my review with you all!

About the author:

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Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at
the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book
in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been
published in 24 countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film
adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring
the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is being
filmed now. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of
Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives
in Bergen with his wife.

About the translator:

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Don Bartlett lives with his family in a village in Norfolk. He completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Karl Ove Knausgård. He has previously translated The Consorts of Death and Cold Hearts in the Varg Veum series.

 

About the book:

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PI Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office from a woman who introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a nineteen-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously. Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail
leads to a gang of extreme bikers and to a shadowy group, whose dark actions are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…
Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the
world’s foremost thriller writers.

Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

My thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed the previous translated Varg Veum books, I was thrilled to be able to read Big Sister recently. Gunnar Staalesen is a masterful storyteller and I was eager to get reading.

In Big Sister, Veum finds out that he has a half-sister, Norma. The only reason he finds this out is because Norma turns up at his office needing his help in finding her missing goddaughter Emma. Emma has vanished from Bergen, and Norma figured this was as good a reason as any to track down her half-brother.

The police don’t seem to be taking the disappearance seriously, so Norma and Veum undertake their own investigation. This leads them into danger, when what seems to be a wide investigative net becomes quite smaller and they find themselves wondering what they have stumbled into.

I don’t want to go into the plot any more than that because Gunnar Staalesen does such a wonderful job of weaving the threads together that I don’t want to spoil it by picking them apart. I really enjoy reading about Varg Veum as a character. Something about him makes him seem really genteel, and relatable. This is what I love about these books, the comfort in picking up the book and feeling like you are catching up with an old friend. Staalesen’s lyrical prose makes it an engaging and enthralling read, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

Big Sister is an excellent example of Nordic noir. Hints of menace coupled with a chilling climate make this the perfect locational mystery. There is also an emotional element attached to these books, and that is extremely prevalent in Big Sister.

Highly recommended!

Previous Reviews:

Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen

Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen

Check out the blog tour:

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