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Blog Tour: Ghoster by Jason Arnopp Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Ghoster by Jason Arnopp, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the author:

Jason Arnopp

Jason Arnopp is the author of the new Orbit Books novel Ghoster, which Barnes & Noble’s SFF blog has said, “just might qualify as the first true horror novel of the 21st Century.” The Three author Sarah Lotz calls it, “a fiendishly smart exploration of obsession and social media addiction”, while Cross Her Heat author Sarah Pinborough reckons it’s, “twisty, creepy and utterly absorbing.”

Arnopp’s previous novel was The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (2016), which has been described as “a magnificent millennial nightmare” (Alan Moore), “scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum” (Sarah Lotz) and “The Omen for the social media age” (Christopher Brookmyre). Director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code) optioned the film rights shortly after the book’s 2016 release.

Arnopp co-wrote the official behind-the-scenes book Inside Black Mirror with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

Check out his four shorter-form fiction titles:
— Beast In The Basement, a suspenseful, mind-blowing thriller novella
— A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home, a chilling and groundbreaking short story set in YOUR home
— Auto Rewind, a dark, emotionally charged thriller novelette
— American Hoarder, a supernatural creep-fest available only when you join the author’s free mailing list at JasonArnopp.com

Arnopp previously wrote and executive-produced the Lionsgate feature film Stormhouse and script-edited the Peter Mullan feature The Man Inside. He has also written for the worlds of Doctor Who (BBC), The Sarah Jane Adventures (BBC) and Friday The 13th (New Line Cinema).

In his past life as a rock journalist, he interviewed the likes of Bon Jovi, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Guns N’ Roses. He was once surrounded by angry guards holding semi-automatic weapons at The Vatican. His Slipknot biography, Slipknot: Inside The Sickness, Behind The Masks, was released in 2001 and is now available as a Kindle Edition. Arnopp has also written a guide to journalistic interviewing, entitled How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else, which is also out on Kindle.

Arnopp’s latest non-fiction book is From The Front Lines Of Rock. Available in the Kindle Store now, it gathers 30 of his favourite nterviews he wrote as a rock journalist, with the likes of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Korn, Kiss, Faith No More, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails and Green Day.

When you sign up for Arnopp’s free newsletter at JasonArnopp.com, you can also download his short story American Hoarder for free. You might also want to check out his YouTube channel by searching for his name there. What a wonderful world.

About the book:

Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty flat. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his texts, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the door that she can’t explain.

And the growing feeling that she’s being watched . . .

Click the link below to grab your copy:

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp

Ellen’s Review:

The Last Days of Jack Sparks was one of my top reads of 2017 and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Ghoster! From the blurb alone it was obvious this was going to be a spooky read – perfect for October and dark nights when all you have for company is a good book and your mobile phone for the constant scrolling/refreshing/rotating around the same four apps. Yes! My evenings really are THAT exciting…

Ghoster is a thoroughly modern horror story; a smartphone being the centre of the intrigue and chills. Our main protagonist Kate Collins is a paramedic from Leeds who has a serious addiction to her phone and social media. Did you know that you can actually become addicted to your phone!? Apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram use the very same brain circuitry used by slot machines and cocaine to keep us using their products as much as possible…every text, like, swipe or notification gives your brain a little buzz of dopamine. Scary huh! This addiction caused a serious accident in Kate’s past so she now carries the most basic of phones (also known as a dumb phone) to resist the pull of the buzz. She actually meets her soulmate Scott Palmer on a digital detox weekend, how sweet when the stars align eh? And surely it’s just a coincidence that this is the guy she swiped right on a few months ago? Oh and look at that he’s a vegetarian too. I am obviously a MASSIVE cynic (and thank God dating apps weren’t a thing in my youth) because Kate falls for Scott and they are soon a serious item with her agreeing to move from her home in Leeds to his gorgeous flat in Brighton. The day before the move though Scott stops all contact, no response to Kate’s texts which leaves her understandably confused. Her place is all packed up and ready to go with new tenants lined up, she has transferred her job to Brighton what can she do!? Is Scott injured, his phone dead/lost or has he seriously ghosted her (when a person cuts off all contact with their friends or the person they’re dating, without warning or notice beforehand)?

Things get even more confusing when Kate arrives in Brighton, Scott’s flat is totally bare and a weird face has been drawn onto the patio glass. The only thing left behind is his smart phone, which appears to have been dropped in the middle of this moonlight flit. Do you think Kate can resist this glowing mine of information; if only she could access all his apps she might get an idea of what has happened but in fact all she ends up with is more questions, creepy phone calls and the feeling that she is being watched!

I absolutely loved this book, having read Jason’s previous books I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and enjoyed every creepy AF twist and reveal that he threw at me. Arnopp has cemented himself as one of my all time favourite authors and I look forward to whatever comes next. In summary (I know I’ve waffled on) if you’re looking for a thrilling, funny, head f**k of a book go buy Ghoster!!! Maybe avoid looking for it on your smartphone though…..

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Blog Tour: Effin’ Birds by Aaron Reynolds Ellen’s Review

Hi folks,

Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Effin’ Birds by Aaron Reynolds today, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the author:

AARON REYNOLDS is a humourist, professional speaker, and the man behind the @EffinBirds and @swear_trek Twitter accounts. When he’s not on Twitter, you can find him producing a series of podcasts and at ComicCons dressed as George Lucas. He has been a baseball writer, a fine art printer, and a mall Santa Claus photographer. Aaron was raised in Mississauga, Canada, a suburb where they cut down all the trees and named the streets after them. He currently splits his time between Toronto and Ottawa.

About the book:

Have you ever looked a bird dead in the eye and wondered what it was thinking?

With Effin Birds, the most eagerly anticipated new volume in the noble avocation of bird identification, you can venture into nature with confidence. This farcical field guide will help you identify over 200 birds, but more importantly, for the first time in history, it will also help you understand what these birds are thinking:

  • The vainglorious grebe is acutely aware of its own magnificence.
  • The hipster pelican thinks the world is a sh*tbarge.
  • The overbearing heron wishes you better luck next time, f*cknuts.
  • The counsellor swallow wants you to maybe try not being a d*ckhead.

Alongside beautiful, scientifically accurate illustrations and a whole lot of swearing is incisive commentary on modern life and the world we, as humans, must navigate. Or maybe it s just some pictures of effin birds, okay?

Click the link below to order your copy:

Effin’ Birds by Aaron Reynolds

Ellen’s Review:

I have loved Effin Birds material for quite a while having followed the Twitter account (@EffinBirds) so was delighted that there is now this field guide! As a child I loved illustrated nature guides and this is a delightfully funny (and very sweary) update perfect for the adult audience.

The drawings used are beautiful and the captions that accompany them hilarious, I could really identify with a lot of them and definitely spotted some work acquaintances!

This is a great book to dip into when you need a little chuckle and a cheer up. Obviously this type of humour isn’t for everyone but it really appealed to me and I’ve already eyed up the merchandise available to add to my Christmas list.

Effin fantastic!

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Blog Tour: Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir and I’ll be sharing her review with you all.

About the author:

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 the Reykjavik Noir series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Trap was published in 2018, and a Book of the Year in Guardian. The film rights for the series have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja lives in Reykjavík with her partner. Follow Lilja on Twitter @lilja1972 and on her website liljawriter.com

About the book:

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.

As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis, María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed.
Ruthless drug baron Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home.
At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive.

Click the link below to order your copy:

Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir

Ellen’s Review:

Cage is the explosive finale to the Reykjavik Noir trilogy by Lilja Sigurdottir (Snare and Trap being the first two) and what a finale it is! I would definitely recommend reading the previous novels as there is a lot of information that is relevant and all the loose threads are finally tied up. Also, it’s a cracking trilogy!!

Cage is set six years after the events of Trap so as you can imagine a lot of things have changed in this time. Agla has served her sentence and is being released from prison but her former love Sonja is not there to meet her. I have to admit to warming more to Agla in this book as I’d previously found her to be very needy and manipulative; it was great to see this different side to her personality. She has had plenty of time to think while she was incarcerated and comes out more determined than ever to make a difference and do the right thing…in her own way of course!  After her release she is hired to look into what appears to be some dodgy dealings in in the aluminium sector. She brings in María for help, a former banking prosecutor and enemy, who is now an investigative journalist with The Squirrel (awesome name!).

Ingimar is another familiar character from the previous two books; still riding high on his success and wealth but his marriage is suffering and his son Anton is a hormonal ticking time bomb of emotions. All these storylines are brought together cleverly and there is a definite sense of an ending to the trilogy.

An intricate but fast paced and dramatic conclusion!

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Blog Tour: Cradle to Grave by Rachel Amphlett Ellen’s Review

Hey everyone,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Cradle to Grave by Rachel Amphlett, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all just a little further down!

About the author:

Before turning to writing, USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, and dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC. She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

The Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold have been sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series are published by Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

Her novels are available in eBook, print, large print and audiobook formats from libraries and worldwide retailers.

A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance.

You can stay in touch with Rachel via her Reader’s Group, or drop her a line via the contact form.

About the book:

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity – and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child’s belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time – but they have no leads, and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?

Click the link below to order your copy:

The Family by Louise Jensen

Ellen’s Review:

Cradle to Grave is book eight in the Kay Hunter series by Rachel Amphlett and I can guarantee I will never tire of them! This series has become a comfort blanket of a read to me; I know as soon as I start I’ll be drawn in and lost in Kay Hunter’s world. This could be read as a standalone but I’ll always recommend people to start from book one (Scared to Death) and read the whole series.

The book opens with an innocent scene of a father taking his son on a fishing trip but soon descends into horror when a faceless body drifts towards them down the river! As Kay and her team locate the murder site the case takes a gut wrenching turn when children’s belongings are discovered and it becomes apparent that they are also investigating an abduction. This hits all the team hard whether they are parents or not and they are desperate to find the missing child who may still be in danger. Kay is especially touched by the case, she is still grieving over the loss of her own baby and is determined to reunite the family. Talking of family, it was lovely to see relationships between Kay and her mother finally defrosting and bridges being built.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but Kay’s partner Adam is one of my favourite secondary characters. Always there for her at the end of the day with a cold glass of wine, a lovely meal, comforting words and sometimes a cute home guest thanks to him being a vet! It’s great to see a glimpse of Kay at home and how strong her support network is. Adam is the perfect book boyfriend!

Another strong addition to the series – bring on book nine!

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Blog Tour: The Family by Louise Jensen Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Family by Louise Jensen, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all just a little further down!

About the author:

Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate and The Date. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s latest thriller, The Family, is published in autumn 2019 by Harper Collins.

The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Debut of 2016 Award. The Date was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ Prize 2018. The Surrogate has been nominated for the best Polish thriller of 2018. The Gift has been optioned for a TV film. 

Louise began writing novels after an accident left her with a disability, as a way to escape her chronic pain and the ensuing depression. She also writes flash fiction, and features and articles for both magazines and online publications. Louise specialises in writing about mindfulness, chronic pain and mental health.

Louise loves to mentor writers of both fiction and non-fiction, and also teaches workshops.

About the book:

ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.
 
But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.
 
Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

Click the link below to order your copy:

The Family by Louise Jensen

Ellen’s Review:

I can’t believe that this is the first book that I have read by Louise Jensen! I do have all her others on my Kindle so I’ll definitely be reading them as I enjoyed The Family so much; it was a one sitting read for me, I couldn’t put it down.

Laura and her 17 year old daughter Tilly are struggling to cope after the sudden death of her husband. Crippled both financially and emotionally Laura is faced with losing her florist business and home. There has been a rift in her family due to a dispute so she feels she has nowhere to turn. When a local community offer her and Tilly somewhere to stay in return for working on their farm until she is back on her feet it seems like all her problems have been solved.

You know that saying about when something seems too good to be true it probably is….it doesn’t take long for Laura to become uncomfortable in this new environment however enigmatic their “leader” Alex is. After a suspicious death on the farm it becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems at Oak Leaf Organics, a lot of the members have something to hide and Tilly has become quite enamored with her new way of life (and Alex).  Laura discovers it’s far easier to join the community than leave it!

I really loved how the story was told from Laura and Tilly’s point of view and seeing how different the same conversation was perceived by each other. As the mum of a 16 year old daughter it really made me think about how my chats are interpreted! I was desperate for them to find some common ground rather than appear to be at each other’s throats as this made them even more vulnerable to outside influences.

The Family is a fascinating insight as to how easy it can be for people in vulnerable situations to be taken in and gas-lighted by a concept/promise of happiness. I will be recommending this one to everyone I meet!

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Blog Tour: The Love Delusion by Nicola Mostyn Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Love Delusion by Nicola Mostyn and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the author:

Nicola Mostyn

Nicola was born and lives in Manchester. Shehas a Master’s degree in English Literature and has spent more time immersed inthe works of Philip Larkin than is strictly healthy. Her inspirations are StephenKing, Tina Fey and Joss Whedon and as such she’s a big fan of the funny – bothha ha and peculiar. Her debut, The Gods of Love, was shortlisted for TheWriters’ Guild Best first novel. The Love Delusion is the companion novel. Aswell as writing novels, she works as a creativity coach and has written anon-fiction book for aspiring writers, Seven Creative Gremlins. For moreabout Nicola visit www.nicolamostyn.com

Social Media Links –

Twitter- @nicolamostyn

Facebook  – https://www.facebook.com/nicolamostynauthor/

Insta:@NicolaMostyn

http://nicolamostyn.com

https://linktr.ee/nicolamostyn

About the book:

LOVE IS . . . A MYTH?

That’s the belief of Frida McKenzie,devoted member of The Love Delusion movement, determined to cure humans of ourridiculous obsession with love.

But there’s something she’s forgotten…

When Frida finds a mysterious picture ofherself with a man she barely knows, the certainties she has about her worldbegin to unravel.

What are the sinister roots of the cultthat seems to have gripped humanity? Why can’t she remember anything abouther life before – including the strange(ly attractive) man in that picture? Andjust when exactly did she take up fantasy role play?

As a battle approaches that’s been millennia in the making, it’s beginning to look like there’s only one question that really matters: if love conquers all, what happens when it’s gone?

Ellen’s Review:

As a child my bedtime stories were the Greek Myths and Legends (I had a very cool auntie) so imagine my delight upon reading The Gods of Love last year and now it’s sequel The Love Delusion! The ancient Gods and Goddesses live amongst us and I loved this modern update on what they would be doing now.

Frida (who is a descendant of Eros, God of Love) has had her memory wiped and is now a Love Delusionist, a member of a movement that encourages people to be single and turn them against love. She has no memory of her previous battle with Anteros (head honcho of the Delusionists), her love for Dan or the fact that Gods and monsters are real. A visit from old friend Psyche, although Frida has no recollection of this, unsettles her and things began to unravel. She has an inexplicable reaction to being around Dan and begins to doubt everything she thinks she knows especially when she finds a photograph of them together and a mysterious potion. Dan’s memory has also been wiped and his skills as an Oracle have faded.

It is typical for the Gods to use mortals as their playthings, Frida and Dan are no exception and they are soon on the run from the Anterists trying to stop the extinction of love and the release of a big bad from the Underworld. I particularly loved the glimpse of the Underworld and some of the characters that appeared. Once again I was sucked in to this world of mythology and urban fantasy; I totally want to hang out with Psyche at Medusa’s bar!!

An absolute delight to read, you’d be foolish to resist!

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Blog Tour: Heart in the Right Home by Lisa Hill Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Heart in the Right Home by Lisa Hill and I’ll be sharing her review with you all 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:

Wedding bells are chiming in the village of Clunderton, but will it be happy-ever-afters all around? Rebecca Cavendish thinks not. All she’s feeling is shame and remorse since her affair with property mogul, Edward Hardwicke, whilst in another corner of the village, Louise Edwards is slowly coming to the conclusion she might not be in love with husband, Johnnie, anymore.

Meanwhile, Lottie Hardwicke is resisting the urge to do what she does best…interfere. When Edward’s son, James, turns up announcing Hardwickes’ intentions to develop land on the outskirts of the village into residential homes, and Edward makes a further shocking announcement, a divide begins to set hold amongst the villagers, perhaps more monumental than the country being torn apart by Brexit…

Will Lottie refrain? Or will she cave-in to that need to interfere, and ensure everyone ends up with their heart in the right home?

Heart in the Right Home by Lisa Hill

Ellen’s Review:

I loved Heart in The Right Place and looked forward to a return visit to the village of Clunderton where there is trouble brewing.. The characters I was already familiar with were present and a few new additions were there to give a more rounded view of the lives and loves of the residents.

Lottie Hardwicke is once again a star player as she navigates the troubles and gossip of Clunderton ; her colleague Rebecca Cavendish feels like a scarlet woman after her affair with Edward Hardwicke and his marriage breakdown, Louise Edwards is falling out of love with her husband Johnnie and James Hardwicke whirls in with the announcement that the Hardwickes are planning to develop land on the outskirts of the picturesque village. On top of all this Edward Hardwicke has shocking news which will test everyone’s allegiance.

It is impossible for Lottie not to do what she does best, which some would call interfering, but she views as just giving people a nudge in the right direction. She definitely has her work cut out for her in Heart in the Right Home and I did wonder whether she would be able to put a stop to the ill feeling amongst all involved!

A fantastic second book and I hope there will be more!

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Blog Tour: Sleep by M K Boers

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Sleep by M K Boers and I’ll be sharing a guest post from the author.

About the author:

M K Boers spent her early childhood in Surrey, in the south of England, and her teens moving round the UK, but currently resides in the Netherlands. 
Under her pen name Miranda Kate, she has been featured in several Flash Fiction anthologies, and has published two collections, one of dark flash-fiction tales called Mostly Dark, and another of science-fiction stories called Slipping Through, the latter containing a short novella for which a sequel will be forthcoming this year. 

You can find out more at her website: https://purplequeennl.blogspot.com/
Facebook @MirandaKateAuthor and Twitter @PurpleQueenNL 

About the book:

A marriage made in heaven, a murder made in hell.

Why kill the man you love?

Lizzy was struggling, everyone knew that.

He shouldn’t have done those things.

He shouldn’t have pushed her so hard.

And now, her children, her marriage, her hope – gone.

It was all her fault, she knew that, but was there a chance of redemption?

Lizzy Dyson’s on trial for her life. She knows she must pay for what she did, even if it wasn’t planned, but will the jury believe her?

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY!

Guest Post:

What inspired Sleep

I wrote the prologue for Sleep back in 1991, while at work. It was for an entry to win a copy of James Herbert’s book ‘Portent’. I sent it away but got no response, which wasn’t a surprise. It needed a lot of work, being the first piece I had ever written! 

From that, I had an idea for the full novel I wanted to write, but at that time I knew I didn’t have either the life experience or the writing experience to pull it off. I wanted to write about what would drive a woman to kill her husband, starting from when she met him and fell in love. I wanted the reader to watch the downfall of the marriage and have empathy for her and understand her motives, but I needed a few years to gestate on it – turns out it took 28! 

My influences came from various places. I’m a huge Stephen King fan. Really his writing has always shaped how I think as a writer: the depth of characters he portrays; the inner struggles of some of them; and how nothing is ever black and white. I was also influenced by my playwriting teacher at college, where I studied Theatre. He worked in a prison, helping inmates who were doing the last third of their life sentence with their writing. He talked to us a lot about what it was like to be in prison and the difficulties the inmates experienced, emotionally and mentally. This shaped how I wanted Lizzy to come across. 

As someone who has struggled with mental health, writing about the breakdown came naturally; it was easy to imagine what would have played a part. In some ways the emotions Lizzy experiences are reflective of my own over the years in various relationships – exaggerated of course, even though I did own a freezer knife! 

I hadn’t envisaged writing a court drama, and the initial draft was heavily influenced by American crime shows I’d watched, like The Good Wife and Boston Legal. I had the set up completely wrong and had to research the legal systems in the UK. I found out how Crown Court was conducted, and fortunately have a friend who is a barrister, and who was able to connect me with a criminal barrister who answered all my questions about the case and the plea.

Lizzy’s story is important to me, because I think as a society we tend to judge others quickly, and see things in simple terms. I believe things can get very complicated, especially emotionally and in the way people respond to what they have experienced. People suffer abuse and trauma in a multitude of ways, and what might be traumatic to one person isn’t to another. Our feelings and emotions are squashed to maintain a facade for the external world, and we suppress ourselves, as well as the things that upset us, often to breaking point. But Lizzy’s story shows that it is possible to recover, to take responsibility for your actions and emotions and still be a valuable, worthy human being. 

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Blog tour: Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of seventeen romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her recent novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award.

Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on http://www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can’t walk in. 

You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website http://www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

About the book:

When a mini-break becomes make or break…

Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she’s thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil’s constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it’s not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.

But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.

What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there’s a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.

Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?

Click the link below to order your copy:

Three Day in Florence by Chrissie Manby

Ellen’s Review:

Now and again I like to embrace my sparkly side and Three Days in Florence really provided the sunshine I needed!

Kathy Courage has held a life long desire to visit Florence after hearing tales of her parents honeymoon there and is given the opportunity to attend a family wedding. The only thorn in her side is her boyfriend Neil and his three teenage children who are intent on ruining her break. The daughters are mortified to even be seen in the vicinity of Kathy, his son is permanently glued to his phone and Neil is just a condescending a-hole! I could definitely identify with some of the behaviours from the trio of teenage terrors but thankfully my daughters aren’t as vapid as Neil’s!

The issues with this extended family aren’t the only problems that Kathy faces there’s also a surprise proposal, a mix up with flight times leaving her alone in Florence for three days and a robbery. I wouldn’t have blamed Kathy if she holed herself up in a hotel room for those three days but instead she is Kathy the brave and embraces the moment to explore. She is taken in by the glorious Innocenti family who show her what kindness truly is; cheeky Manu and “fragrant” pup Faustino were a delight to read!

I loved seeing how Kathy changed under the influence of The Innocenti family and how she stopped to take stock of what she really wanted out of the rest of her life.

This is the first book of Chrissie Manby’s that I have read and I will definitely be reading more. The perfect poolside read!

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Books

Blog Tour: We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

Hey everyone,

Today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Originally from London, Mike Shackle has called Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, New York and Dubai his home over the years before settling down with his family in Vancouver. In that time, he’s sold washing machines, cooked for royalty, designed a few logos, and made a lot of ads. Ideally, he’s happiest day dreaming over a cup of tea.

About the book:

The first book in The Last War series: a debut epic fantasy full of crunching revolutionary action, twisted magic, and hard choices in dark times.

The war is over. The enemy won.

Jia’s people learned the hard way that there are no second chances. The Egril, their ancient enemy, struck with magic so devastating that Jia’s armies were wiped out. Now terror reigns in the streets, and friend turns on friend just to live another day.

Somehow Tinnstra – a deserter, a failure, nothing but a coward – survived. She wants no more than to hide from the chaos.

But dragged into a desperate plot to retake Jia, surrounded by people willing to do anything to win the fight, this time Tinnstra will need to do more than hide.

If Jia is to get a second chance after all, this time she will need to be a hero.

Click the link below to order your copy:

We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

My thoughts:

We Are The Dead was such a surprise for me. I began reading thinking it would be just like the usual fantasy books I’ve read of late, it turned out to be so much more.

Jia is a place ravaged by war, wiped out by a devastating magic. It is ruled by fear and death, where nobody is safe. Tinnstra, a deserter has survived, but at what cost? When she is pulled into a plot to reclaim Jia, it means going back to everything she had ran from.

What follows is an absolutely brutal, gripping and thoroughly brilliant story. I found myself completely captivated by the writing, engaged in the story and willing it forward in the hope of a good outcome.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started We Are The Dead, but I am sure that I loved it. The rich world-building, excellent characters and tense narrative made this a gripping read. I became fully immersed in this world, rooting for the Shulka, willing the characters on as the action heightened.

It is an utterly absorbing read. Dark, violent but with ultimately human issues at its heart. Family, survival and loyalty are all in play here, and I loved it from start to finish!

Highly, highly recommended!

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