Blog Blitz: The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog blitz for The Bitter End and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the authors:

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ANN EVANS

Ann Evans was born and bred in Coventry, West Midlands, and started writing just for fun after giving up her secretarial job to have her three children.

Having caught the writing ‘bug’ there was no stopping her, and as her children grew up, she continued to write for a variety of genres. She spent 13 years at her local newspaper as a Feature Writer as well as working freelance on magazine articles.

She also writes books for children, young adults, reluctant readers and some romance. (Ann Carroll) Her first adult crime novel, Kill or Die was published in 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

Having worked with writer/photographer Robert D. Tysall for many years through magazine work, Ann and Rob teamed up to write the supernatural thriller, The Bitter End – Ann’s first collaboration with another writer.  This will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer of 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-Evans-Books-146957850210/

https://twitter.com/annevansauthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9812907.Ann_Evans

Robert+D+Tysall+.jpg

ROBERT D. TYSALL

Robert Tysall was born and brought up in Rugby, Warwickshire, and played the sport the town is famous for in his youth, until he discovered a passion and talent for photography, music and writing poetry and song lyrics. His career so far has been a busy mix of being lead vocalist and percussionist in bands plus working as a professional freelance photographer.

He is currently in a 60s, 70s & Beatles duo, and lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Heather. He has two grown up children. Rob is multi published on the photographic side of things with countless magazine articles, generally working alongside writer Ann Evans.

For many years he has dabbled with ideas for stories and finally the time felt right with this book. It seemed a natural turn of events for both Rob and Ann to team up and write The Bitter End together.

With his debut novel completed, now there’s no stopping him, and two more book collaborations with Ann are currently in the pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/robert.tysall

https://twitter.com/TYSALLSPHOTOS

About the book:

Ann Evans and Robert D Tysall - The Bitter End_cover_high res.jpg

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.

As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.

Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?

Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.

Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.

Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.

As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

Ellen’s Review:

I was that weird child that loved reading Greek myths/legends and horror stories, I’ve never been sensitive to gore and scary stuff so as soon as I read the Blurb for The Bitter End I knew it was my kind of book. This is definitely a supernatural horror story rather than a mystery thriller.

The Bitter End opens in Auschwitz where a young woman called Petronella survives the gas chambers and is summoned to see Hitler. Hitler is actually possessed by a daemon called Lamia (in ancient Greek mythology Lamia was often described as a bogeyman; a night-haunting daemon which preyed on children) who has been using his body to enact horrors on the world for her personal amusement. Lamia is all about destruction and revenge!!

After this transfer the story skips to the 1980’s where we become acquainted with Paul and Owen, two young boys who are best friends and get up to the kind of mischief you’d expect at their age. One of their favourite games is knock-a-door-run and one of their favourite victims for this is the local cat lady/rumoured witch who just happens to be Petronella/Lamia. On this occasion their game goes seriously wrong leading to nothing but pain and trauma that will haunt Paul for the rest of his life. As I mentioned before, Lamia lives for revenge!

I really enjoyed the horror/supernatural elements of this story and it definitely gave me the chills as I read under my duvet. I live in the countryside and was avoiding looking out of my window onto the nearby woods as I neared the end. I finished this book in one sitting I was so engrossed in the story. If you’re looking to give yourself the heebie-jeebies go buy The Bitter End!

Catch up with the tour:

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Blog Blitz Guest Post ~ The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall

Hi everyone,

Today I’m on the blog blitz for The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall and I’ll be sharing a guest post with you all a little further down!

About the authors:

download (1).jpg

ANN EVANS

Ann Evans was born and bred in Coventry, West Midlands, and started writing just for fun after giving up her secretarial job to have her three children.

Having caught the writing ‘bug’ there was no stopping her, and as her children grew up, she continued to write for a variety of genres. She spent 13 years at her local newspaper as a Feature Writer as well as working freelance on magazine articles.

She also writes books for children, young adults, reluctant readers and some romance. (Ann Carroll) Her first adult crime novel, Kill or Die was published in 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

Having worked with writer/photographer Robert D. Tysall for many years through magazine work, Ann and Rob teamed up to write the supernatural thriller, The Bitter End – Ann’s first collaboration with another writer.  This will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer of 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-Evans-Books-146957850210/

https://twitter.com/annevansauthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9812907.Ann_Evans

Robert+D+Tysall+.jpg

ROBERT D. TYSALL

Robert Tysall was born and brought up in Rugby, Warwickshire, and played the sport the town is famous for in his youth, until he discovered a passion and talent for photography, music and writing poetry and song lyrics. His career so far has been a busy mix of being lead vocalist and percussionist in bands plus working as a professional freelance photographer.

He is currently in a 60s, 70s & Beatles duo, and lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Heather. He has two grown up children. Rob is multi published on the photographic side of things with countless magazine articles, generally working alongside writer Ann Evans.

For many years he has dabbled with ideas for stories and finally the time felt right with this book. It seemed a natural turn of events for both Rob and Ann to team up and write The Bitter End together.

With his debut novel completed, now there’s no stopping him, and two more book collaborations with Ann are currently in the pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/robert.tysall

https://twitter.com/TYSALLSPHOTOS

About the book:

Ann Evans and Robert D Tysall - The Bitter End_cover_high res.jpg

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.

As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.

Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?

Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.

Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.

Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.

As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

Guest Post from Robert D. Tysall:

The idea behind the story.

 

I’ve always felt that a lot of the witch stories were all along the same lines and I wondered if it could be approached from a different angle. What if the witch wasn’t just a human witch but a demon witch, in fact the first of her kind; and that she has been walking side by side with us through the annals of history, throughout the time that mankind has been here – and doing the biddings of Beelzebub.

She and others of her kind have spread all over the planet and Satan has been using them to cause all the mayhem and catastrophes in the world – all the hatred, wars and fighting. Unbeknown to us they have all been caused by this almost alien-like creature.

The working title for the book was Witch One but we felt it was too simplistic to tell the full tale. Also, it dawned on me that Lamia and those of her kind may not even consider herself to be, as we call them, a witch. As the conception of a witch is purely human.

I also wanted to create a situation where people of the military fighting forces who tend not to have any belief in such supernatural ideals, find that they have no other choice but to believe. They have to accept there is something else here that is not helping us, or on our side. Hence the creation of the protagonist Paul Christian, a former Naval Officer.

You often hear people in authorive professions such as the police say that they don’t believe in coincidence or conspiracy theories, but our characters are faced with undeniable evidence that can’t be dismissed.

Thinking of a new angle for any supernatural or horror type of situation is never easy, but I do think we’ve actually achieved it with the story of The Bitter End.

Follow the blog blitz:

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Blog Tour Extract ~ Cold Desert Sky by Rod Reynolds

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Rod Reynolds’ latest book, Cold Desert Sky. I’ll be sharing an extract with you all further down, but first here’s the all-important bookish information 🙂

About the author:

Rod Reynolds.jpg

After a successful career in advertising, working as a media buyer, Rod Reynolds took City University’s two-year MA in crime writing, where he started The Dark Inside, his first Charlie Yates mystery. This was followed by the second book in the series, Black Night Falling, in 2016. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

About the book:

Cold Desert Sky.jpg

No one wanted to say it to me, that the girls were dead. But I knew.

Late 1946 and Charlie Yates and his wife Lizzie have returned to Los Angeles, trying to stay anonymous in the city of angels.

But when Yates, back in his old job at the Pacific Journal, becomes obsessed by the disappearance of two aspiring Hollywood starlets, Nancy Hill and Julie Desjardins, he finds it leads him right back to his worst fear: legendary Mob boss Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel, a man he once crossed, and whose shadow he can’t shake.

As events move from LA to the burgeoning Palace of Sin in the desert, Las Vegas – where Siegel is preparing to open his new Hotel Casino, The Flamingo – Rod Reynolds once again shows his skill at evoking time and place. With Charlie caught between the FBI and the mob, can he possibly see who is playing who, and find out what really happened to the two girls?

Cold Desert Sky by Rod Reynolds

Extract:

CHAPTER ONE

DECEMBER 1946

No one wanted to say it to me, that the girls were dead. But I knew.

Maybe the desperation showed on my face. No one wants to disappoint a zealot when he’s coming at you, demanding answers and looking for a sign that his search isn’t futile. The ninth day since they went missing, and every street rat and lowlife I could collar told me just enough to get me off their back: no clue/they probably split town/I’ll ask around. Walked out thinking they’d soaped me and that I didn’t know how this would end, the same as ever – two broken bodies in a funeral home or some godforsaken alley in this bullshit City of Angels.

Sunlight came at me between two buildings; late afternoon, already low in the sky – winter’s touch on an otherwise bright day. I bought a newspaper from a vendor, leaned against the wall and pretended to skim the headlines, front and back. I’d already been through it for real that morning, found no mention of them. Now it was just cover to scope the diner across the street. The joint was a corner dive on North La Brea, name of Wilt’s, nothing going for it save for the pretty broad dressed in Mexican getup out front, peddling the brisket special and looking like she’d sooner be someplace else.

 


Most everything I’d done so far was conducted in the hours of darkness; this was the first daylight meet I’d risked. Not my choice, but short notice was Whitey’s condition when we’d arranged it that morning. Whitey Lufkins – a lifetime losing gambler who stemmed his losses turning snitch for anyone with enough green. I knew him from my stint at the LA Times when he was a bottom-rung stop for every legman looking for street talk. Now that same street talk held that he was in over his head with his bookmaker – and his readiness to meet suggested it was true. He didn’t know it’d be me on the other side of the table, though; caution came first. Whitey thought he was seeing a private dick on the missing girls’ trail; I had to ask Lizzie to make the calls to set it up, and she played the dispassionate secretary without much call for pretence.

I was early but I spotted Whitey through the window, already inside. I stayed where I was, waiting and watching, looking for anything out of place. It was automatic now, had been since we returned to LA three weeks before.

I’d felt it as soon as we set foot back in the county, and Liz-zie the same. It’d taken less than a day to confirm that Bugsy Siegel was searching for us. Buck Acheson, my editor at the Pacific Journal, was the one to break the news; a rushed call from a payphone on Wilshire the day we got back, Buck saying he’d picked up on it a week before, while Lizzie and I were still upstate. His voice, his words – he played it all as low key as he could in the circumstance, but his sign off was resounding: ‘I’m pleased you’re back and your job’s still yours ifyou want it, but Charlie, it’s best ifyou stay away from the officesfor now.’ Buck wasn’t one to worry for himself, so the meaning was clear: don’t make it easy for him to find me.

 


The city that used to be mine, and now I couldn’t move for looking over my shoulder.

I let five minutes go by. Whitey fidgeted with his cup and checked his watch twice. Two men left the diner but no one else went in. About half the tables were occupied, more seated along the counter. No one that worried me on first glance, but who the hell knew any more? After Hot Springs. After Texarkana—

Whitey checked his watch again, looked ready to bail. I cracked my knuckles and crossed the street, went inside. He was facing the door, saw me as soon as I did. He had a pallor about him, where the name came from, but worse than I remembered and accentuated now by pockmarks on his cheeks. He made to get up then stopped himself halfway, caught in two minds. I slid in opposite him.

‘Charlie?’

‘Have a seat.’

Previous reviews:

Black Night Falling by Rod Reynolds

Check out the blog tour:

COLD DESERT SKY_BLOG TOUR POSTER.jpg

Blog Tour: After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac and I’ll be sharing my review a little further down!

About the author:

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Jane Isaac lives with her detective husband (very helpful for research!) and her daughter in rural Northamptonshire, UK where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her Labrador, Bollo. Her debut, An Unfamiliar Murder, was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’ The follow up, The Truth Will Out, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-Thriller.com.

After He’s Gone is Jane’s sixth novel and the first in a new series featuring Family Liaison Officer, DC Beth Chamberlain. The second DC Beth Chamberlain novel will be released later in 2018.

Connect with Jane at www.janeisaac.co.uk .

About the book:

afterhesgone-isaac-ebookweb.jpg

‘The safety catch on the Glock snapped as it was released. Her stomach curdled as she watched the face of death stretch and curve. Listened to the words drip from his mouth, ‘Right. Let’s begin, shall we?’

When Cameron Swift is gunned down outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer: a dual role that requires her to support the family, and also investigate them.

As the case unfolds and the body count climbs, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets.

Even the dead…

After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac

My thoughts:

I really enjoy Jane Isaac’s writing and I was thrilled to be asked to read After He’s Gone for reviewing on the blog tour. It’s a book that is packed with secrets and it deals very well with the impact they have and the consequences on those involved.

DC Beth Chamberlain is a really great character. She is tenacious honest and unrelenting in her determination to do right by those that she is helping. I really liked reading about her and I look forward to more books in the future.

After He’s Gone reminded me almost of a tv drama, I could really imagine it being on screen because it reads like a UK crime drama. I don’t want to say anything about the plot. But it is tightly woven and thoroughly engaging.

If you’re familiar with Jane’s books, then you’ll love this one. And if you’ve never read one of her books, I definitely recommend After He’s Gone as a good starting point.

Happy reading!

Check out the blog tour:

Jane Isaac.jpg

Blog Tour ~ Shattermoon by Dominic Dulley

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Shattermoon by Dominic Dulley, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all a little further down. First though, here’s the all-important bookish information 🙂

About the author:

Dulley, Dominic - credit Wendy Marie Photography

Dominic Dulley is a British science fiction writer whose first novel, Shattermoon, is the start of the fast-moving space opera The Long Game.

His short fiction has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, Far Orbit: Apogee, The Novel Fox SF Anthology I and Bastion Science Fiction Magazine among others.

He lives in Warwick with his wife and two children.

Twitter: @DominicDulley

Website: dominicdulley.com

About the book:

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Orry’s father is the best conman in the quadrant, running elaborate heists with Orry and her brother Ethan to target the ruling families of the Ascendancy. This time should be no different: straight in and out with a fortune in spice paragon in hand . . .
. . . until Orry goes off-script and everything falls apart. Less than an hour later the Count of Delf’s only grandson is dead and she’s on the run, accused of a murder she didn’t commit.
Turns out, the pendant Orry stole was crafted by the mysterious civilisation who once lived on the Shattermoon – and a lot of powerful people want it. It doesn’t take ruthless space pirate Morven Dyas long to track her down, and he’s not the only one on her tail. When she’s unexpectedly rescued by loner Jurgen Mender and his spaceship, Dainty Jane, Orry knows there’s only one thing to do.
It requires all of her powers of persuasion to get Mender to agree to her plan, especially when even she can see the madness of pitting an inexperienced young grifter, a space-dog long past his best and an obsolete spaceship against the Imperial Fleet, the worst of the space pirates – and the alien Kadiran, who are getting bored with their uneasy truce with humankind . . .
But what other choice does she have?

Shattermoon by Dominic Dulley

My thoughts:

Shattermoon is the first in a series featuring Aurelia (Orry) Kent, and it definitely packs a punch as a series opener. Orry and her brother Ethan help their conman father run his plays but when a young member of the Ascendency is killed and a pendant is stolen, Orry becomes the number one suspect. What follows is a high-octane chase through space with plenty of action and intrigue.

I found Shattermoon to be a really easy read. There is something happening constantly so the reader is flung into the drama right from the off. When Orry meets a space pirate called Mender, that’s when the fun really begins as the quest for the pendant takes precedence over everything else!

I don’t want to go into the plot, partly because there is a hell of a lot going on, but also because I don’t want to give away anything of the story. It weaves through space and time at breakneck speed and it will definitely take the reader on a thrill ride.

I really enjoyed Shattermon. It has great characters, and I really liked the world that has been created in the book. The action never lets up, and I found myself racing towards the end to find out what was going on.

Highly recommended for a fun space-opera read!

 

Check out the blog tour:

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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:

Eileen Wharton - The M Word_cover_high res.jpg

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.



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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..