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

Hi guys,

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

About the author:

Lisa Hill

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

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

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

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

About the book:

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

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

Heart in the Right Place by Lisa Hill

Ellen’s Review:

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

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

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

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

Check out the tour:

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Blog Tour Review ~ Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

Morning all,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield and I get to share my review with you!

About the author:

James S1

James Stansfield grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and now lives in Cardiff with his wife and daughter.  He began his writing career contributing features and television reviews to the website Den of Geek, covering shows such as The Killing, Banshee and Archer.

His action thriller debut, Anaconda Vice, will be published in February 2018.

About the book:

anacondaviceKINDLE

When Lucas Winter, a retired professional wrestler, runs out of gas on a dark and desolate road, his only thoughts are on getting to the lights of the small town up ahead, getting some gas, and getting out of there…only things aren’t quite what they seem in the tiny town of Anaconda.

Before he has a chance to solve his transport problem, Lucas finds himself in trouble with the law after a local man picks a fight with him…and then ends up dead. Innocent, Lucas fights to clear his name, tangling with the local law enforcement and the family of the dead man, who seem set on taking their revenge. Can Lucas get out alive? And just what is it that the residents of Anaconda are hiding….

Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

My thoughts:

I’m a sucker for small town claustrophobia, so needless to say, Anaconda Vice is right u my street. So much so, that I devoured this book in a handful of sittings over 24 hours. I just couldn’t put it down!

Lucas Winter is a fantastic character. Retired from wrestling, Lucas is returning home from an event when his car decides to give up on him on the side of a road. Seeing lights in the distance, Winter finds himself walking into Anaconda, a seemingly deserted town that is all shut up for the night.

Hanging around in the hope of getting his car towed to a garage, Winter unwittingly finds himself in trouble with the law after an altercation, and when the other person turns up dead, well then he’s in real trouble.

What follows is a dark journey into how far a place will go to keep outsiders away and the lengths they will go to protect their own. Finding it hard to clear his name, Winter finds himself in big trouble. It’s really hard to review this one without going into too much detail!!!!

I genuinely loved this one. Lucas Winter is a fresh new addition to the list of characters I will want to read about forever, up there with Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch even! A story full of surprises, showing the extremes to which people will go to keep secrets buried. Anaconda Vice is an absolute thrill ride. Exciting, clever and action-packed. A superbly written thriller, it has a quiet menace that builds with intensity until the explosive end.

Highly recommended!

Make sure to check out the blog tour posts:

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Blog Tour~White Midnight by Daniel Culver

Hi guys,

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for White Midnight by Daniel Culver and I get to share my review with you all!

About the author:

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Daniel Culver is a writer and editor, currently living and working in east London, having spent his formative years fluttering between the council estates of Essex and the wilds of Asia and the Americas.

He is an alumnus of both Faber Academy and Curtis Brown Creative and his quirky, crime debut will be published in March 2018.

About the book:

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Elizabeth Nowicki, a British woman and self-confessed stoic, settles down in the seemingly idyllic American town of Midnight, with her new husband and his two children. Six months on, life as a step mom is harder than she thought, and the shine of the American Dream has already worn off.

Bored and lonely, Elizabeth is drawn into a nightmare when someone in a duck mask murders two local cops…and the investigation reaches her new neighbourhood. When this is followed by strange happenings across the street, leading to another death, Elizabeth starts to conduct her own investigation….but can she find the killer before the killer finds her?

Published by Manatee Books on March 15th, you can pre-order your copy by clicking the link below:

White Midnight by Daniel Culver

My thoughts:

White Midnight is one of the quirkiest books I’ve read in a long time, but those quirks are definitely what made it stand out from the crowd for me.

Set in a quiet American town called Midnight, it follows British woman Elizabeth Nowicki as she settles in with her new husband and his two kids. All is not what it seems in Midnight though. When two local cops are murdered by someone in a duck mask, Elizabeth becomes tangled up in the investigation, putting herself firmly in the sights of a dangerous killer.

White Midnight is a superbly-written debut. It is weirdly wonderful, with a very interesting cast of characters, There is a tension that bubbles under the narrative the whole way through, adding a sense of foreboding as to what could happen. I couldn’t put this book down, and more than once it actually made me shudder. Who knew ducks could be so malicious!

Daniel Culver has written a very clever first novel. Highly entertaining, humourous in parts, but always dark. White Midnight is one of the best, most original debuts I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time.

Highly recommended!

Follow the blog tour:

Blog Tour~Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

Morning all,

Let’s try this one again, shall we? And do the correct blog tour post on the correct day! I’m blaming it on the cabin fever, haha! Anyway, today is my stop on the blog tour for Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield and I have a Q&A with the man himself!

About the author:

James S1

James Stansfield grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and now lives in Cardiff with his wife and daughter.  He began his writing career contributing features and television reviews to the website Den of Geek, covering shows such as The Killing, Banshee and Archer.

His action thriller debut, Anaconda Vice, will be published in February 2018.

About the book:

anacondaviceKINDLE

When Lucas Winter, a retired professional wrestler, runs out of gas on a dark and desolate road, his only thoughts are on getting to the lights of the small town up ahead, getting some gas, and getting out of there…only things aren’t quite what they seem in the tiny town of Anaconda.

Before he has a chance to solve his transport problem, Lucas finds himself in trouble with the law after a local man picks a fight with him…and then ends up dead. Innocent, Lucas fights to clear his name, tangling with the local law enforcement and the family of the dead man, who seem set on taking their revenge. Can Lucas get out alive? And just what is it that the residents of Anaconda are hiding….

Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

Q&A with James:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Of course, but first, thank you for having me on the blog.  I grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire but I’ve been in Cardiff, Wales for 13 years now following 5 years in Scotland.  I live with my wife Genevieve and daughter Lily.  In my day job I’m an I.T. Support Analyst and Programmer, which is nowhere near as interesting as writing.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Yes, pretty much, in one way or another.  I’ve always written something.  I used to steal blank exercise books from school and fill them with stories or film reviews.  I suppose I started taking it seriously when I began writing for the website Den of Geek in 2012.  They gave me a chance and it was a big confidence booster.  

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Anywhere and everywhere.  I think one of the major plot points in Anaconda Vice came from a newspaper article I read one morning on the bus.  Other times it can be a hint of an idea or character from something on TV or a line in a song.  It all gets thrown together to hopefully form something that resembles a story.

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

I’m aiming to entertain.  I want people to look forward to perhaps settling down at the end of the day with it and being able to forget everything else that they’ve got going on.  There’s enough doom and gloom going on in the world right now that I think everyone needs some escapist fun and that’s what I hope Anaconda Vice delivers.  That’s how writing it felt so I hope that translates to the reader.

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Definitely, especially Twitter.  I’ve been quite overwhelmed by how supportive the book community has been on Twitter and it’s certainly helped news of Anaconda Vice reach people.  I’ve been a big Twitter user for a number of years and it’s a great tool for connecting with people you share common interests with.  I do think that you need to temper the promotional stuff with some personal bits too.  People want to know what you’re doing, watching, reading and enjoying, not just to be hit with a sales pitch several times a day.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

In terms of the actual writing, probably when you’re working on a chapter and without realizing it you’ve done a thousand words as it’s just flowed so naturally.  That always feels pretty good.

Away from the keyboard, I’m still getting used to the idea that people are reading a book that I’ve written, so whenever anyone tells me they are, or that they’re excited to read it, that’s something that’s been really encouraging.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

I suppose the worst thing that’s happened to me so far was having to throw away an entire book after working on it for seven months.  It was only a first draft and I know everyone says that first drafts are supposed to be terrible but I think you know when something is never going to work.  It was a learning experience if nothing else.

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I’d like to continue writing books about Lucas Winter, the protagonist of Anaconda Vice.  He’s a lot of fun to write and if people enjoy the character then I’d like to have another three or four of his adventures out by 2023.  I’m working on the follow up now and I’ve got at least another couple of plots in mind for him.

What’s next for you?

Immediately, that’ll be the second draft of Lucas Winter 2.  I recently sent a synopsis of the story to Liz and Lisa at Manatee Books and thankfully, they gave it a double thumbs up.

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

Absolutely.  I try to read for an hour before going to sleep most nights, though I sometimes don’t last that long if I’m tired.  I’ll read anything that takes my fancy, though in recent years crime fiction and thrillers in one shape or another have dominated most of my choices.  I like horror, YA and occasional bit of fantasy too.  I’m one of the many still waiting on that sixth A Song of Ice and Fire book.

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

My very favourite book is Alex Garland’s paradise gone wrong thriller The Beach.  I first read it when I was at university and it was like nothing else I’d come across before. I read it again every couple of years.  I don’t think I’ve ever identified with a character as much as I do Richard.  It’s simply a stunning book.

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Loads but right at the top of the list would be Futuristic Violence & Fancy Suits by David Wong.  It’s a future set thriller with some incredible world building and is so effortlessly cool.  It’s also one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  More recently, I would love to have written Six Stories or Hydra by Matt Wesolowski.  Those books are jaw-droppingly brilliant and I can’t wait to read what he does next.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Aside from the day job, parenting, writing and reading, I like to watch wrestling both live and on TV, which will probably come as no surprise given Lucas Winter’s background.  There’s a great promotion called Attack Pro Wrestling who run shows in Cardiff and Bristol so I go to see them about once a month.

I follow American Football between September and February.  I’m a New England Patriots fan which, well, our season didn’t end quite as we’d have hoped this year.  I also try to get out for a half hour run three times a week, which is a brilliant way to take some time out to solve nagging plot problems.  You’d be amazed what you can figure out whilst jogging along to Slipknot.

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

Our household is pretty heavily into gaming so Friday and Saturday nights are usually spent on the PlayStation.  My wife and I have just finished playing a fantastic game called Danganronpa – Trigger Happy Havoc.  It’s an interactive Japanese anime where you have to solve murders in a mysterious high school.  Games have played a pretty big influence on my writing.  When I wrote Anaconda Vice I was playing the first three Uncharted games and there’s definitely a bit of Nathan Drake in Lucas Winter.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

New York City.  It’s the best city in the world with just the most amazingly friendly people.  On our last visit, my wife and I saw Pearl Jam play two consecutive nights at Madison Square Garden, the second show being the best concert I’ve ever attended.  I also love the Madives.  We spent two weeks there in a villa over the water and I don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed in my entire life.

Favourite food?

I’m a total crisps fiend but saying Doritos seems rather lame.  There’s a place in Cardiff called the New York Deli which does the most incredible hoagies so I’ll go with those.  Oh, and my wife’s vanilla cupcakes are out of this world.

Favourite drink?

It’s a toss up between a good strong coffee and a glass of Shiraz.

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

I want to give some deep and meaningful answer here but the truth is, I just enjoy doing it.  Even when I was writing things that nobody but me would ever read, I always liked coming up with phrases, descriptions and stories.  And besides, I tried being in a band for years only to be forced to admit in the end that I had not one shred of musical talent, so writing it is.

Follow the blog tour:

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~Cover Reveal~ Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

Hi guys,

Another fab cover reveal today, this time its for Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield. I had the immense pleasure of reading this a few weeks ago, and I absolutely loved it. Needless to say, I was super excited to see the cover!

About the author:

James S1.jpg

James Stansfield grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and now lives in Cardiff with his wife and daughter.  He began his writing career contributing features and television reviews to the website Den of Geek, covering shows such as The Killing, Banshee and Archer.

His action thriller debut, Anaconda Vice, will be published in February 2018.

About the book:

When Lucas Winter, a retired professional wrestler, runs out of gas on a dark and desolate road, his only thoughts are on getting to the lights of the small town up ahead, getting some gas, and getting out of there…only things aren’t quite what they seem in the tiny town of Anaconda.

Before he has a chance to solve his transport problem, Lucas finds himself in trouble with the law after a local man picks a fight with him…and then ends up dead. Innocent, Lucas fights to clear his name, tangling with the local law enforcement and the family of the dead man, who seem set on taking their revenge. Can Lucas get out alive? And just what is it that the residents of Anaconda are hiding….

*A smart, fast-paced thriller, perfect for fans of Lee Child and Steph Broadribb*

 


 

Doesn’t it sound fab? You will have to wait a little bit longer for my review, but it is DEFINITELY one to add to your TBR.

 

I guess I should show you guys the cover, right??? 🙂

 

Have a look at this beauty!!!

 

 

anacondaviceKINDLE

Author Q&A~ Daniel Culver

Hi all,

In another of my author Q&A posts, today sees the turn of Daniel Culver. Daniel was recently signed to new publishers, Manatee Books so I’m thrilled that he’s taken the time to answer my questions!

About Daniel:

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Daniel Culver is a writer and editor, currently living and working in east London, having spent his formative years fluttering between the council estates of Essex and the wilds of Asia and the Americas.

He is an alumnus of both Faber Academy and Curtis Brown Creative and his quirky, crime debut will be published in March 2018.


And now read on to find out a bit more about Daniel…

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

I’m a writer from North London – originally from Essex – and I’m due to publish my debut novel with Manatee Books early next year. I’m a single parent and I also have two cats. I left school when I was fifteen with no qualifications; I didn’t care much for school, though, I always wanted to be a writer. It was around this time I wrote my first book on an old typewriter my mum bought me, but I gave up half-way through (authors DNF too). I’m an editor now (which is ironic considering I couldn’t spell for toffee as a teenager).

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

I’ve always loved film and television and, despite being school-averse, I’ve always loved creating things. I used to write song lyrics as a kid and was in a few bands (which were terrible), but I enjoyed the wordplay. Writing novels is just an extension of that (and also a clichéd two fingers up to all of the teachers and peers who thought I’d probably be a crack addict by now).  

 

How did you hear about Manatee Books and can you tell us about your journey with them so far?

 

I started shopping my debut novel – White Midnight – around and I’d just joined Twitter as well. Not long after, I saw a bunch of tweets mentioning this new venture, and everyone had nothing but praise for Lisa and Liz (L2). So I sent them a couple of chapters and they wrote back the following day and asked to see more. Two days after submitting they contacted me and said they’d like to work together, which was amazing, and I was blown away by their efficiency; they had clearly ready the whole manuscript, and despite having interest elsewhere, Manatee felt like the perfect fit for my novel and me – they have been so supportive. (Also, I once met two Manatee Scientists in Guatemala and we bribed the guards of Tikal – the Mayan temple – then spent the night there, where I learned all about Manatee conservation, so I liked the name, too). Plus, I’ve always been drawn to indies and I know my novel is on the quirky side of commercial, so it was great to have someone respond so well to it; there was no doubt either side, which is quite rare in this business.  

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

I’m not actually sure, to be honest. I definitely have an abstract mind and absurd things just come into my head at random times of the day. I usually get told off for saying them out loud, so writing them down gives me the luxury of editing them later. I’m definitely drawn to the seedier side of life (as a writer, I mean). I’ve also lived in some colourful places and have done a lot of travelling, so I have a lot stored mentally and things usually just fall out on their own. Mainly ideas for characters or strange situations that drive the story.

How would you describe your writing?

 

Odd, abstract. Slightly quirky. If I had to place it within the realm of publishing, I’d say I wrote literary thrillers / literary crime with a satirical bent.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

I used to be social media-averse, but after being urged to join Twitter, I see how invaluable it is for writers and the publishing industry, also. Some writers go OTT with self-promotion, which I am not so keen on, but it’s a great platform to share and writer folk seem to be incredibly supportive of one another, which is great. I’ve definitely been won over.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

 

Making stuff up. It’s like a puzzle you create for your own amusement – you spend months creating these obscure vignettes; pieces that don’t seem to fit together, and then you’ll pull something out of the hat – this little strand sprinkled with magic – and suddenly everything fits together and then you sit and feel smug about it for five minutes … until you find another hole that needs plugging.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

 

Definitely waiting. Everything in publishing is so slow and I have limited patience and a short attention span, which means I’m already thinking about the next thing I’m going to write.

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

 

I’d like to have a few books under my belt, maybe some teaching, too. I’ve learned so much from being part of the Faber Academy and have had a pretty unique route to becoming published, so think I’ve got a fair bit to share. Also a movie deal. I would absolutely love to force my opinions on a director and make them ‘let me’ write the screenplay.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I’ve just finished the first draft of my second book and have (at least) two more up my sleeve, so I’ll just keep going until someone tells me to stop. I’ve also just written my first short story, which was a big challenge, as I do like to go on.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

I tend to read in bouts. When I was younger, I used to read a lot – mainly Tintin, and then everything John Grisham and Ben Elton had written. Now I’m pretty selective and I tend to be drawn toward the literary side of crime: anything from transgressive fiction to Booker winners.   

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

 

Favourite book ever is probably The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga; top five would be that, plus No Country for Old Men, Shutter Island, The Silence of the Lambs and The Sisters Brothers.

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

 

Fight Club – such a simple idea that became a phenomenon. Or Fifty Shades (for the cash, of course).

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

 

I work as an editor, so if I’m not writing, usually I’m editing something, or reading. That or playing with my cats.  

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

 

I cycle, go to the gym; I used to surf and have travelled a lot, but writing two back-to-back books has left me a veritable hermit for two years.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

NYC all day long (Brooklyn, if we’re being specific, and Coney Island if we’re being really specific).

 

Favourite food?

 

In & Out Burger.

 

Favourite drink?

Root Beer

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

I really don’t know. I tried to be an artist once, but gave up because the artworld is run by cretins who know nothing about art. I was never very academic, but I just love how language can be manipulated in a million different ways, to convey a million different things. I think writing a mystery novel is the ultimate puzzle, not just for the reader, but the writer, too. Ultimately, I was just not good enough at anything else, while writing feels comfortable and even when I look over the huge literary fuck-ball of my first vomit draft, I still feel like I’m in complete control.


Huge thanks to Daniel for taking part, and of course to Liz and Lisa at Manatee Books for setting this up! 🙂

Manatee Books info :

Manatee Books was set up in 2017, by best-selling author Lisa Hall in conjunction with blogger turned freelance publishing guru Liz Barnsley.  Their aim is to bring top quality fiction to the digital market. They are a small outfit, intent on publishing only the best of crime and women’s fiction. Their focus is on building the author brand, ensuring that all of their authors receive bestseller treatment through a strong marketing strategy and the knowledge that the Manatee Books team are there to support them through the entire publication journey.