#BlogTour: One Ordinary Day At A Time by Sarah J. Harris @sarahsky23 @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #OneOrdinaryDayAtATime #SarahJHarris #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

The world is just waiting for you to discover it…

The uplifting, original new novel from the award-winning author of The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder.

TWO PEOPLE
 
Simon Sparks is the man you know from behind the counter at the local Prince Burger (‘hold the gherkin!’), fry shovelling, shelf stacking, hiding away from the world. And Jodie Brook is the single mum you see crossing the street with her son Zak – always chasing a dream she can’t reach.
 
ONE LIFE
 
What if life could be so much more? When Simon and Jodie’s worlds collide, it upends everything they know. But in chaos comes opportunity. And for every person who’s ever doubted them, they find someone who’ll finally believe…
 
ONE ORDINARY DAY AT A TIME
 
From the award-winning author, Sarah J. Harris, comes a warm, uplifting story about ordinary people, extraordinary tomorrows, and all the ways that life can surprise us…

One Ordinary Day At A Time is available in hardback, ebook and audiobook now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

One Ordinary Day is a beautifully written, uplifting and heartwarming read with characters you’ll just fall in love with!

Firstly Simon and Jodie are two fantastic main characters who were a joy to follow throughout the book. Both of them have some heartbreak in their past which makes them a bit vulnerable and cautious with each other at first. A beautiful friendship soon develops though which was wonderful to see! The author has cleverly written the characters so they seem very real and I felt like I really got to know them throughout the book. I was cheering for them every step of the way and kept hoping they’d get the happy ending I felt they deserved.

This is a book that draws you into the story from the first page and soon has you in its grip. I think I went through every emotion whilst reading crying one moment and then smiling the next as something really beautiful happened. As you can probably imagine things don’t go according to plan and there’s lots of twists along the way which kept me guessing as to what would happen. The ending was perfect though I felt very sad to have finished the story and leave the characters behind.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Harper for my copy of this book via netgalley.

About The Author:

Sarah J. Harris is an author and freelance education journalist who regularly writes for national newspapers. She became fascinated by synaesthesia and face blindness during her work as a journalist. THE COLOUR OF BEE LARKHAM’S MURDER is Sarah’s debut adult novel. She lives in London with her husband and two young children.

Old Peculiar Crime Novel Of The Year Short List @HarrogateFest @midaspr #TheakstonFestival #CrimeNovelOfTheYear

Good morning everyone and happy Tuesday! Today I’m very excited to be able to reveal the Old Peculiar Crime Novel Of The Year Short List.

Harrogate, 15 June 2021: The six authors shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year are today unveiled after being chosen by a public vote and the prize Academy. Now in its 17th year the most coveted prize in crime fiction – presented by Harrogate International Festivals – celebrates crime writing at its best, transporting readers around the world from Calcutta to California to the frigid North Sea.

The Short List:

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.  She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.  Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed  four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths.  Is Ivor March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?

Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, and has been shortlisted four times for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her Brighton-based mystery series is set in the 1950s and 1960s. Elly has also written two mysteries featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur, The Stranger Diaries, which was a Richard & Judy bestseller and won America’s most coveted accolade for crime fiction, the Edgar Award, and The Postscript Murders. Elly lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their cat, Gus.

Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)

Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)

Calcutta police detective Captain Sam Wyndham and his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-not Banerjee, are back for another rip-roaring adventure set in 1920s India.  1905, London.  When Bessie Drummond, an old flame of Sam Wyndham’s, is attacked in the street, he is determined to get to the bottom of it. But the next day, Bessie is found dead in her room and Wyndham soon finds himself caught up in her murder investigation. The case will cost the young constable more than he ever imagined.  1922, India.  Leaving Calcutta, Wyndham heads for the hills of Assam, ready to put his opium addiction behind him. But when he arrives, he sees a ghost from his life in London – a man thought to be long dead, a man Wyndham hoped he would never see again.  Wyndham knows he must call his friend and colleague Sergeant Banerjee for help. He is certain that this figure from can only be after one thing: revenge…

Abir Mukherjee is the bestselling author of the award-winning Wyndham & Banerjee series of crime novels set in Raj-era India. He has won the CWA Historical Dagger and the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing, and has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, and HWA Gold Crown. His novels, A Rising Man and Smoke and Ashes were both selected as Waterstones Thriller of the Month. Smoke and Ashes was also chosen as one of The Times’ Best Crime and Thrillers since 1945. Abir grew up in Scotland and now lives in Surrey with his wife and two sons.

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton (Penguin Random House UK, Viking)

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege.   Children and teachers barricade themselves into classrooms, the library, the theatre. The headmaster lies wounded in the library, unable to help his trapped students and staff. Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news. In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love.

Rosamund Lupton is the author of Sister, a BBC Radio 4 “Book at Bedtime”, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, winner of the Strand Magazine critics award and the Richard and Judy Bookclub Readers’ Choice Award. Her next two books Afterwards and The Quality of Silence (also a Richard and Judy pick) were Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been published in over thirty languages.

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway (Little, Brown Book Group, Constable)

Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite – to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future – they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought into terrible focus – some things are impossible to leave behind.  In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.

Brian McGilloway is the author of eleven crime novels including the Ben Devlin mysteries and the Lucy Black series, the first of which, Little Girl Lost, became a New York Times and UK No.1 bestseller. In addition to being shortlisted for a CWA Dagger and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, he is a past recipient of the Ulster University McCrea Literary Award and won the BBC Tony Doyle Award for his screenplay, Little Emperors. He currently teaches in Strabane, where he lives with his wife and four children.

We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (Bonnier Books UK. Zaffre)

Thirty years ago, a teenage Vincent King became a killer.  Now he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California, where not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend and sister of the girl he killed.  Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but for the whole town.

Chris Whitaker is the award-winning author of Tall Oaks and All The Wicked Girls. Both books were published to widespread critical acclaim, with Tall Oaks going on to win the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award. We Begin At The End has been optioned for film and is currently in development. It was an instant New York Times bestseller. Chris lives in Hertfordshire with his family.

The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.  Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story.  The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new.  But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Trevor Wood has lived in Newcastle for twenty-five years and considers himself an adopted Geordie. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for sixteen years. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. The Man on the Street, his first novel, was published to widespread critical acclaim and won the 2020 CWA New Blood Dagger. One Way Street is his second novel.

Voting:

The public are now invited to vote for the winner via www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com and the winner will be announced on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 22 July, and will receive £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said“This is it: the crème de la crème of crime. This shortlist really does showcase the breadth and depth of the genre. It’s going to be a fiercely fought prize this year so make sure you vote for your favourite. Until then, I look forward to raising a glass of Old Peculier at the winner’s announcement on 22 July!”

The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 by UK and Irish authors. The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WHSmith.

#MusicMonday: Whiskey Rider by Rooks @jaybowcott @rooksyyc #WhiskeyRider #Rooks #JayBowcott #TwitchStreamer #recommended

Good morning everyone and welcome to another Music Monday. Today I am featuring Whiskey Rider which is the new Single from Rooks.

“ROOKS is a 3 piece rock band which formed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in July 2018. The band features Jay Bowcott on guitar and vocals, Darryl Swart on drums and and Brent Rossall on bass. Their sound is unapologetic guitar rock, drawing influences from bands like Thin Lizzy, The Rolling Stones and The Black Keys.”

I first discovered Rooks through Jay’s twitch stream and he quickly become one of my favourite streamers. His down to earth nature and fantastic guitar playing makes his streams very easy to watch. He has helped introduce me to lots of new music, not just Rooks, which I have really enjoyed as I always love discovering new music.

Jay was kind enough to answer some questions for me and you can find his answers in the post below.

You can follow Jay and Rooks on social media by clicking the links below.

Rooks Music:

Rooks Music has a very classic rock feel to it and their songs are very easy to get stuck in your head. I drive my husband mad by singing bits of their song Fire when I first heard it as it was so good! Their latest single is whiskey Rider which I’ve featured below but I’m also a huge fan of their song Fire so have included the video for that below too.

Interview with Jay Bowcott:

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a full time musician from Calgary / Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. I love folk music and outlaw country, it’s always been a fixation of mine since I was in my teens. It’s my life long goal to make a record that is a staple in people’s record collections. I’m still working on it! 🙂

What first got you into music?

My parents had some good pals that made them mix tapes when I was kid. They’d put things like, Neil Young, Dylan, The Byrds, Blue Rodeo, Tom Petty and Dire Straits on there.. So they sent me on a good path from a really early age. I’m grateful for that influence.

Who inspired you to make music?

Three big important letters. MOM. My mom was a big help, she used to encourage me to sing constantly and had me singing for the neighbours and my parents pals regularly.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

I write about my life generally. I love folk and pop blues and bluegrass.. So it all comes out now and then. My songwriting as a result can be rather random genre wise because of the range of influences I draw from. I don’t like to be put in a box with it.

What is your creative process like?

I have a few different approaches when I’m writing. One of them is just to blindly start playing chords and making a song from nothing. The other approach is looking up performances from random artists I love and only listen to 1 or 2 chords of a song and then build on the direction that “intro” of a song was taking me. It’s crazy to see how different my song ends up than the song I was building from. There’s so many approaches to writing I’ve found over the years. Another approach is to write poetry and then build music overtop of the words.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo or Willie Nelson.. (one can dream)If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?WILCO! ❤️

What is one message you would give to your fans?

Thank you! I don’t think I realized how important external validation is, but the pandemic really proved to me that just loving music isn’t enough. Without others listening I would have absolutely no drive or inspiration. I work with the people who are listening. They’re my muse. So it’s a big resounding THANK YOU.

What is the most useless talent you have?

MarkioKart champion over here..

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Surprisingly I don’t.. that’s when I rest the vocal chords haha.. I just listen to the water.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

I’d be dead. Not to be morbid or anything, but music is the most positive thing in my life and is my depression medication. The industry itself is a burden, but the music is a powerful antidepressant.

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

Performed all over Canada. My favourite venue is the Medicine Hat Esplanade. Beautiful 750 person theatre. Love it. And MIKEY’S ON 12TH in Calgary Alberta.. They’ve been really great to me over the years. My band ROOKS is doing some Stampede stuff in Calgary but Canada is still coming out of the COVID situation so it’s a slow resurgence in the gig department.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

Twitch is a genius medium in my opinion. It’s really something. I have a hard time comprehending whether I like what the internet has done or hate it.. hahaha.. There’s just so many changes so fast. It’s a huge learning curve, but as streaming evolves I’m learning to love gigging within that medium. Right now there’s a lot of hoops to jump to have a good setup, but it’s bound to get easier, and it generates a great community.

What is your favourite song to perform?

All of them. Just LOVE playing.. but if I HAD to pick one.. I’d say it’s my song Ghosts.. or as far as covers go.. probably “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan.

Which famous musicians do you admire?

RIP: Tom Petty, John Prine, Tony Rice.

ALIVE: Jeff Tweedy, Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

I don’t rock the boat that often.. haha

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Being comfortable means you’re making no progress… and the days when your guitar sounds the worst are the days you should practice the hardest. You make the most progress when you fight you brains desire to give up.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

Get rid of the big wigs and keep it about the art. The people who control art that aren’t artists are the biggest problem.

What’s next for you?

Taking it one day at a time. It’s about the journey and not the destination. 🙂

Thanks for answering my questions Jay!

Music Monday Playlist:

You can now listen to Rooks and all other previously featured Music Monday artists on a special playlist linked below. Alternatively you can listen to the songs in Jays Twitch playlist which his lovely mod Criss has out together which I’ve also linked below.

#BookReview: Dead Ground by M.W.Craven @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK #DeadGround #MWCraven #teampoe #teamtilly #5stars #recommended

Book Synopsis:

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe is in court, fighting eviction from his beloved and isolated croft, when he is summoned to a backstreet brothel in Carlisle where a man has been beaten to death with a baseball bat. Poe is confused – he hunts serial killers and this appears to be a straightforward murder-by-pimp – but his attendance was requested personally, by the kind of people who prefer to remain in the shadows.

As Poe and the socially awkward programmer Tilly Bradshaw delve deeper into the case, they are faced with seemingly unanswerable questions: despite being heavily vetted for a high-profile job, why does nothing in the victim’s background check out? Why was a small ornament left at the murder scene – and why did someone on the investigation team steal it? And what is the connection to a flawlessly executed bank heist three years earlier, a heist where nothing was taken . . .

Dead Ground is available in ebook, hardback and audiobook now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

I’ve been a huge fan of this series from the start, so a new Poe & Tilly book is always cause for great excitement. This book was no exception as I thought it was a hugely enjoyable, intriguing and gripping read.

It was great to be back solving a case with the fantastic Tilly and Poe. I have always loved the special relationship they have and the hilarious banter between them. Some of their conversations actually made me laugh out loud at times which helped break up some of the darker moments in the book. It was nice to see some old characters return and to meet some new ones too. Despite not initially liking Hannah I found myself warming to her and hope that she makes an appearance in a future book.

The murder case was a very interesting one and I really enjoyed following it. As you might expect from this series it was incredibly well plotted with lots of red herrings that kept me guessing who the murderer was until the end. There was also some fascinating descriptions of some of the technology available now which I loved learning about, although my hardware engineer husband wasn’t enthusiastic about all my questions.

This was a bit of slow starter as the author sets the scene but I didn’t mind this as I was enjoying getting to know the case. It soon picks up though and the pace gets faster as the story goes on. I read half the book in one evening as I was so caught up in the story and really wanted to see how it ends. The ending of the book was brilliant and very dramatic with lots of surprises right until the end. There are hints at the end about a new case for Tilly and Poe which I can’t wait to read!

Huge thanks to Little Brown for my copy of this book via netgalley. If you are looking for a new crime series I highly recommend this one!

About The Author:

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, returning after 31 years to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals.

His first novel featuring Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw, The Puppet Show, was published by Constable to huge acclaim, and it has since won the CWA Gold Dagger Award and been shortlisted for the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards: Best Crime Novel, the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award and the Dead Good Reader Awards.

M. W. Craven lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

#BlogTour: The House In The Clouds by Victoria Connelly @VictoriaDarcy @rararesources #TheHouseInTheClouds #VictoriaConnelly

Book Synopsis:

Two strangers, one house, and a secret to be revealed.

Artist Abigail Carey has always dreamed of a life in the country and, when Winfield Hall comes up at auction, she’s desperate to make the place her home. The only trouble is that businessman, Edward Townsend, has exactly the same idea.

With its position high on the Sussex Downs, Winfield is a stunning house, but it hasn’t been a home for a long time and there’s a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. It’s going to take a lot of time and money, so Edward and Abi decide to take a risk and share the house, each living in their own wing.

But can these two strangers agree on a vision that suits them both? And will free-spirited Abi ever get the rather reserved Edward to reveal the secret he’s been hiding for so long?The House in the Clouds is the first novel in a brand new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

The House In The Clouds is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy by clicking on the links below.

My Review:

The House In The Clouds is a captivating and intriguing read which is the first in a planned trilogy.

Firstly i always love books set in big, old houses as there is always so much potential for things to happen. I quickly fell in love with Winfield Hall and found myself wishing I lived there or that I could visit it. The beautiful, vivid descriptions of the surrounding countryside made me feel like I was actually there at times and able to see the view with my own eyes.

The chapters switch between Edward and Abi’s perspective which made for very interesting reading. It was great fun getting to know the characters and to learn more about their lives. They initially seem so different to each other but as the book goes on the reader learns that they do actually have things in common which I thought was very clever. Both characters have a few secrets about their past/ families that they are keeping from each other and I enjoyed watching that unfold. I did keep hoping it wouldn’t be anything too dramatic though as I didn’t want anything to stop the characters living at Winfield Hall together.

Overall I thought this was a great first book and I look forward to seeing what happens next time.

Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Victoria Connelly is the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series. With over one million sales, her books have been translated into a dozen languages. The first, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria flew to Berlin to see it being made and even played a cameo role in it. A Weekend with Mr Darcy, the first in her popular Austen Addicts series about fans of Jane Austen has sold over 100,000 copies. She is also the author of several romantic comedies including The Runaway Actress which was nominated for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Best Romantic Comedy of the Year. Victoria was brought up in Norfolk, England before moving to Yorkshire where she got married in a medieval castle. After 11 years in London, she moved to rural Suffolk where she lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage with her artist husband, a Springer spaniel and her ex-battery hens. She’s written about her experience of country life in three volumes of autobiography: Escape to Mulberry Cottage, A Year at Mulberry Cottage and Summer at Mulberry Cottage. You can get a heart-warming novella, A Dog Called Hope, when you sign up for her newsletter at: victoriaconnelly.com You can find her on Twitter @VictoriaDarcy and at facebook.com/victoriaconnelly

#BlogTour: And Now You’re Back by Jill Mansell @JillMansell @JessFarrugiaPR @headlinepg @RandomTTours #AndNowYoureBack #JillMansell #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

One magical night in Venice, Didi fell in love. But it ended – and he left without even saying goodbye.

Now, thirteen years on, Shay Mason is back.

The old spark is still there, but Didi’s determined to ignore it. As manager of a stunning Cotswolds hotel, she’s happy at last, and soon to be married. Anyway, Shay isn’t staying. He’s made a promise to his father. He’s going to keep it. And then he’ll be gone.

But Shay’s return stirs up long-forgotten emotions, and the scandal that led him to leave raises its head once again. It’s time for buried secrets to come to light. And it seems that this was someone’s intention all along . . .

From the beloved author of IT STARTED WITH A SECRET comes a fabulous new novel about love, friendship and finding the way to your best life.

And Now You’re Back is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

I always love Jill’s book as they are great to escape from reality for a little while which was much needed over the chaos of half term. This book was no exception and I loved being transported into another person’s life for a few hours.

I was drawn into the book from the start and absolutely loved the opening scene of the couple in snowy Venice. It all sounded so perfect that I wished I was there too experience everything alongside the characters. The book isn’t all fluffy though and this book often felt a bit more serious then previous books which I found very interesting.

The book is told from multiple points of view and I definitely had my favourites amongst the characters. I did wish some of the characters had more story then others but I think that would have made the story completely different. There are lots of different plot lines going alongside each other and I found it very interesting to follow the characters as they try to work through their problems. This author is know for her happy endings but there were times when she kept me on my toes and made me wonder how things would end which I enjoyed.

Overall another funny, feel good read from one of my favourite authors that will be perfect for enjoying on the beach this summer, or in your garden depending on how things go.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Headline for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

‘The queen of witty, heart-warming, feel-good love stories’ Red; ‘One of my favourite writers’ Katie Fforde

Jill Mansell started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that inspired her to join a local creative writing class. She has since written over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers, including It Started With A Secret,Maybe This Time,This Could Change Everything,The One You Really Want and You And Me, Always, and her books have sold over 13 million copies around the world.

Jill’s hobbies include buying stationery, particularly magical new colours of ink for the fountain pen she uses to write all her books. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @JillMansell – and Facebook – /OfficialJillMansell.

#BlogTour: This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #ThisIsHowWeAreHuman #LouiseBeech #TeamOrenda #RandomThingsTours #5stars #recommended

Book Synopsis:

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy … she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.When these three lives collide – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.A topical and moving drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family … to survive … This Is How We Are Human is a searching, rich and thought-provoking novel with an emotional core that will warm and break your heart.

This Is How We Are Human us available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Wow what an amazing read. I’m such a huge fan of this author and a new book from her is always very exciting. Once again she has written a thought provoking, moving book which I will be recommending to everyone.

The thing I most like about this author is the amazing way she has in creating characters and a situation that just draws the readers in so they feel like they are actually there watching everything unfold. I quickly fell in love with the three main characters and found myself caring about them like I would friends in real life.

Each chapter is told from the point of view of different characters and it was interesting to follow them through the book. The author gives the reader lots of time to really get to know the characters so I felt like I had really got inside their head and knew what made them tick. I found myself wondering what I would have done in the same situation and admiring Veronica for making what I felt were some very brave decisions.

As someone who has worked with people with autism and actually know a mum who made a similar decision to Veronica I was interested to see how the author described the situation. As expected it’s very sensitively done and I felt very realistic. My understanding is the author actually worked with a family to research this book and I thought the characters were beautifully portrayed. I so enjoyed getting to know them through the book and following them on their journey. I felt very sad to finish the book and leave them behind.

I think this would make a great book club read as I feel there would be lots to discuss and it might help educate people about autism. I will be recommending it to everyone and have already lent my copy to my mum.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour. I purchased my own copy of this book.

About The Author:

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. Follow Louise on Twitter @LouiseWriter and visit her website: louisebeech.co.uk

#BlogTour: The Cookbook of Common Prayer by Francesca Haig @FrancescaHaig @AllenAndUnwinUK @RandomTTours #TheCookBookOfCommonPrayer #FrancescaHaig #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

When Gill and Gabe’s elder son drowns overseas, they decide they must hide the truth from their desperately unwell teenaged daughter. But as Gill begins to send letters from her dead son to his sister, the increasingly elaborate lie threatens to prove more dangerous than the truth.

A novel about family, food, grief, and hope, this gripping, lyrical story moves between Tasmania and London, exploring the many ways that a family can break down – and the unexpected ways that it can be put back together.

The Cookbook of Common Prayer is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

The Cookbook of Common Prayer is an emotional, absorbing read that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.

Firstly I’ve got to admit this book wasn’t at all what I thought it would be – in a good way. Yes it was very emotional as I had expected but it was also quite hopeful and uplifting in places which I really liked. I felt this was predominantly a story about love and family which was lovely to read about.

The story was told from the point of view of several different characters which allows the reader to get an holistic view about what was happening within the family. It was interesting to get to know them all personally and to see the different ways they were dealing with their grief. I started to feel I knew them all personally and wished I was able to help them somehow. My favourite character was definitely Teddy who I quickly fell in love with. His devotion to his papa as well as his determination to try and help in some way despite grieving himself was very poignant to read about.

I really enjoyed this book and found it quite hard to put down. I often found myself trying to sneak away from the kids to try and read a few more pages. I loved spending time with the family and going on a journey with them. The recipes were a great edition to the book too and it was lovely to see how cooking helped Gill. I felt quite sad when the book ended and I had to say goodbye to the family.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Francesca Haig is an author and academic. Her previous novels are The Fire SermonThe Map of Bones; and The Forever Ship. Her poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies, and in her 2006 collection, Bodies of Water. She grew up in Tasmania, and gained her PhD from the University of Melbourne. She lives in London.

#MusicMonday: First Light by Samuel Alexander @AlusamMusic #FirstLight #SamuelAlexander #NewSingle #ClassicalMusic #TwitchStreamer #recommended

Good morning everyone and welcome to another Music Monday. Today I’m featuring the lovely Samuel Alexander and his beautiful new song First Light. As well as this I was also lucky enough to get Sam to answer some questions about his music!

First Light is a truly beautiful, relaxing piece of music that gives me chills every time I listen to it. The wonderful piano playing and bird song combine to make a relaxing piece of music that was much needed during half term. Sam’s music is starting to get some notice and he was recently featured on the radio in Australia which is amazing.

If you would like to follow Sam on social media you can do so by clicking on one of the links below.

First Light:

Sam’s music are mainly classical piano pieces though he is working on his first guitar track. He has had no process training and likes to just work things out by ear. Below is his new song First Light as well as his recent radio interview.

You can listen to more of Sam’s music by clicking on of the links below.

Interview:

What first got you into music?

I’ve always enjoyed the way that music can transport you to another place, another world. I wanted to be able to do that, so started learning piano from my grandmother in my early years. I learnt for a while but didn’t keep at it as I grew older, stopping before secondary school.

Who inspired you to make music?

I never anticipated to be creating music myself. I would mess around with ideas, but didn’t think much of them until my mid 20s when I really needed music as a creative outlet for the personal things I was walking through.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

My music can be quite relaxing, transporting the listener to another place, however it can also be very cathartic. Much of my music was written while processing my own pain, and I try to show how hope can still exist through those parts of my music.

What is your creative process like?

Most of my music has been written by me connecting with my current emotion through the notes that are played. I will sit at the piano and close my eyes or look away. I play a single note at a time until I find that it resonates with my current state. Once that has been found, there is always a second note that accompanies it. After finding those two core notes, I find that building a piece around them starts to flow naturally.
I have also made a few pieces by specifically setting myself a challenge. It may be to try a new bass pattern, or create music out of a prompt or series of numbers. These challenges can be some of my favourite pieces as I remember where they all started.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Ludovico Einaudi. He is an incredible composer with a very similar style. I feel like he could make string arrangements that would more than accompany my pieces, they would enhance them immensely!

If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?

Again, Ludovico Einaudi. Mostly because once I’m finished with my set, I can sit back and enjoy his performance! Haha

What is one message you would give to your fans?

It’s never too late to learn or create, and play what you connect with. Music is so powerful and has the ability to heal. Don’t let anyone elses ability or opinion make you feel like your personal connection is meaningless or worthless. Especially yourself. Don’t play music to be good at music; play for yourself.

What is the most useless talent you have?

Oh, gee, I have too many things I can do that are useless! Haha

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Until a month ago I would have said no, however I may or may not have been caught belting ‘Royal, Brave and True’ recently. I though I was home alone!
I will never not sing Disney songs loud and proud.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

Well, music isn’t really a career for me at the moment. It is a hobby that I would love to pursue further, but in the meantime I have spent the past 10 years working on camps for kids, teaching them outdoor recreation.

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?

I have never performed in a public venue, however I do livestream my music from my living room to Twitch, so I guess my living room.

Do you have any upcoming shows?

No official shows, however I may be playing live during a break at an upcoming video game event in Melbourne.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

In many ways, but I think exposure is the biggest way. People can be discovered quickly and grow a fanbase extremely fast through the internet, however this has also flooded the music industry. Recent developments with livestreaming platforms have definitely been a positive though.

What is your favourite song to perform?

On piano, probably ‘Resolve to Resolve’ by Samuel Alexander (me).
For guitar and singing, I’d say ‘Oceans Between Us’ by The Getaway Plan.

Which famous musicians do you admire?

Ludovico Einaudi, Hans Zimmer and many other composers.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

I was suspended from school after passing notes during class. I won’t disclose what was written/drawn on said notes.

What is the best advice you have been given?

‘Whether you believe you can, or you can’t – you’re right.’ – Henry Ford
Now, Henry didn’t tell me this himself, but it speaks bounds about how much what we say and believe impacts the outcome. I’m still working on believing I can.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

I would make it easier to navigate which organisations will bring in real exposure to you music and which won’t. Since releasing music a year ago, I have seen hundreds of advertisements telling me how to promote my music, however many of these organisations don’t bring real views or exposure, they just bring in numbers through the use of not accounts and other dodgy tactics.

What’s next for you?

Continue aspiring to grow through my online streams on Twitch whilst producing more music for my community to listen to.
Hopefully one day I will create the right connections to see my music become more than a hobby.

Thanks so much for answering my questions Sam, good luck with First Light!

Music Monday:

You can now listen to First Light and all previously featured Music Monday artists on a special playlist on Spotify.

#BlogTour: Thread Needle by Cari Thomas @Cari_Threads @HarperVoyagerUK @RandomTTours #ThreadNeedle #CariThomas #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.

‘Magic and love. Love and magic. They destroy everything in the end …’

Anna’s Aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences.

Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever.

Until she meets Effie and Attis.

They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revellers lose themselves in a haze of spells.

But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her Aunt was right all along.

Is her magic a gift … or a curse?

Perfect for fans of Garth Nix, V.E. Schwab and Alix E. Harrow.

Thread Needle is out in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Thread Needle is a magical, gripping coming of age story which is the first book in the series.

Firstly I tend to love any books that have magic in them so I knew from the start that I would like this book. The author has done a great job of creating a fascinating magical world that lives, just out of sight, alongside modern day London. The world of magic and the binders was interesting to learn more about, particularly as a lot if the rituals are ones used in traditional witchcraft which I thought was a nice touch.

The author has created some amazing characters who I liked to follow through the book though I did love to hate a few of them especially Vivienne. There seemed to be a definite division between the characters as to whether they were good or bad which I found intriguing. Anna was a great main character who I felt it was easy to get behind. I really felt for her and the horrible way Vivienne treats her so found myself cheering for her when she starts to rebel and find herself.

I found this book very intriguing and quickly became absorbed into the story. There are multiple mysteries running alongside each other which I found very interesting and enjoyed watching them unravel. As you can probably guess with this being the first book in the series there are a few questions left unanswered and I now can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Harper Voyager for my copy of this book via netgalley.

About The Author:

Cari Thomas grew up in the Wye Valley area of Wales and, after studying English Literature & Creative Writing at Warwick University and Magazine Journalism at the Cardiff School of Journalism, moved to London. She worked as a journalist and at a creative agency, before finally doing what she’d always wanted to do: quit her job and write a book about magic. The result is Threadneedle, her debut novel and the first in her Language of Magic series. Be introduced to a world of wild, ancient witchcraft hidden within today’s London; where libraries made of books breathe dusty pages beneath the city, where witch clubs serve up magical cocktails and vintage shops sell memories. A world where magic gleams light and very, very dark. Cari now lives in Bristol with her husband and son. Discover more on her website: CariThomas.com