#BlogTour #Extract: Butterfly Assassins by Steve Walsh @wifiofdreams @zooloo2008 #ButterflyAssassins #SteveWalsh #RedLiteraryAgent

Good afternoon everyone I’m on the blog tour for Butterfly Assassins by Steve Walsh today and I have a great extract to share with you today.

You can find the extract below along with some details on how to purchase your copy, but first here is a little bit about the book.

Book Synopsis:

When a Brimstone butterfly flaps its wings and a chain of events culminates in a car accident and a young girl’s admission to an intensive care ward, random chance plays no part in Wilson also being admitted to the same ward. Lost in the limbo land of the unconscious, his liberation comes from an unlikely source. Butterfly Assassins is the sequel to Wilson indeed! The WiFi of Dreams Book One.

Butterfly Assassins is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.

Extract:

Dusk was descending on The Market Square as Sally arrived in her favourite pyjamas; a pink pair in brushed cotton with a seahorse embroidered on the breast pocket. Lovely as they were, the pyjamas were not going to cut the mustard that night, because a Year 10 fashion show was in progress and Sally was most certainly not, dressed for the occasion. A bench by the Clock Tower offered a vantage point for viewing the catwalk running up the centre of The Market Square and far enough from the razzamatazz for Sally to stay anonymous. Even at that distance, she recognised many of the celebrities in the audience, familiar faces from gossip magazines, reality TV and influencers on Instagram.


Many of Sally’s teachers had accepted their invitations and Rachel Tiffany Thomas, the ringleader of the gang targeting Sally at school had a front row seat. Other girls, most notably the clique of self-centred wannabes from two years above, were playing the part of fashion models strutting down the catwalk as though parading through Cheadle on a Saturday afternoon. Flashes from paparazzi cameras lit the scene in silent bursts of light. Even at her young age, Sally recognised the event as a visual metaphor for her suppressed emotions. This was a dream bearing a grudge.


She studied her tormentor-in-chief. Rachel Tiffany Thomas was puckering her bee sting lips, arranging locks of hair over heavily made-up eyes and sucking in her anorexic cheeks to gorge on selfies. Sally had the urge to go and slap her stupid, idiotic face. And she wouldn’t get into trouble for it either; after all, this was only a dream. To see a stinging, red handprint superimposed on all that pink blusher and the teary look of shock, oh, that would be so satisfying. But Sally didn’t have the malice for such a pointless act of retribution. The fashion show was just a foolish fantasy; the frustrations and torment of school, thinly veiled.

About The Author:

For twenty years Mancunian Steve Walsh honed his skills in prose as an advertising copywriter; his claim to fame is as the creator of the hotel booking service, laterooms.com and the first car insurance comparison site, easycover.com. So, the birth of Meerkats, a Welsh opera singer and being confused.com might be considered as down to him. He now uses his vivid imagination and gentle Mancunian wit to write visionary urban fantasy novels with bold concepts. The second book in the WiFi of Dreams trilogy, Butterfly Assassins, takes the reader on a richly imagined, fact meets fiction adventure story to which we can relate and feel we can touch. A whimsical interrogation of the inexplicable and fundamental tenets of our lives – the role and meaning of dreams, the nature of the hereafter, hard and soft science, a love story – what more can you want?

#BlogTour: The Collector’s Daughter by Gill Paul @GillPaulAUTHOR @AvonBooksUK @RandomTTours #TheCollectorsDaughter #GillPaul #RandomThingsTours #5Stars #mustread

Book Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author comes a tale of long-buried secrets and a discovery that will change everything, perfect for fans of Dinah Jefferies and Lucinda Riley.

An unforgettable discovery

In 1922, Lady Evelyn Herbert’s dreams are realised when she is the first to set foot inside the lost tomb of Tutankhamun for over 3,000 years.

A cursed life

But the months after the discovery are marred by tragedy, when Eve’s father dies suddenly and her family is torn in two. Desperate to put the past behind her, Eve retreats into a private life with her new husband.

A deadly choice

But she is harbouring a dark secret about what really happened in Egypt. And when a young woman comes asking questions years later, the happiness Eve has finally found is threatened once more…

The Collector’s Daughter is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

I’m a huge fan of this author so you can imagine my excitement at being invited onto the blog tour for The Collector’s Daughter, her latest book. Once again the author has written an absorbing, emotional piece of historical fiction that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Firstly the author has clearly done her research and her vivid descriptions helped transport me to another time, often making me feel like I was actually there experiencing everything for myself. I didn’t know much about Egypt’s history before reading this so I eagerly drank in all the fascinating details about ancient Egypt and Egypt between the two world wars. It was especially interesting to see how archaeological digs were carried out at that time and how different they are compared with today. It was also great to experience the expat scene there and interesting to see the difference between how they lived compared with the locals.

The characters were all fantastic creations that I loved following throughout the book. They were all based on real historical figures and I so enjoyed researching more about them on the internet, especially when I discovered some photographs of them towards the end of the book which helped bring them to life. I absolutely loved Eve who was a very strong lady who is, even from a young age, determined to succeed. It was wonderful to see her fight against others expectations of her from a young debutant determined not to just get married and be a socialite to an older lady rehabilitating after a stroke, Eve wanted to do things her way! Her relationship with her husband was really beautiful to read about, especially how they complimented each other despite being so different.

Overall I adored this book and felt I was quickly drawn into the story which had a great pace to it. There was always something happening that helped keep my attention and I found I enjoyed both timelines equally which is unusual for me. The gradual revealing of secrets was cleverly done and I enjoyed the tantalising way in which the reader discovers what happened. If you are a fan of dual timeline historical fiction then I highly recommend this book.

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

About The Author:

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in the twentieth century and often writing about the lives of real women. Her novels have topped bestseller lists in the US and Canada as well as the UK and have been translated into twenty languages. The Secret Wife has sold over half a million copies and is a book-club favourite worldwide.

She is also the author of several non-fiction books on historical subjects. She lives in London and swims year-round in a wild pond.

#BlogTour: The Unravelling by Polly Crosby @WriterPolly @HQstories @SianBaldwin #TheUnravelling #PollyCrosby #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

A darkly beautiful dual-timeline novel with a captivating mystery, for fans of Diane Setterfield and Kiran Millwood Hargrave

’Like a surreal cabinet of curiosities – haunting, eerie, evocative’ Bridget Collins, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Binding

When Tartelin Brown accepts a job with the reclusive Marianne Stourbridge, she finds herself on a wild island with a mysterious history.

Tartelin is tasked with hunting butterflies for Marianne’s research. But she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing than the curious creatures that inhabit the landscape.

Because the island and Marianne share a remarkable history, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars, and some terrible secrets.

As Tartelin pieces together Marianne’s connection to the island, she must confront her own reasons for being there. Can the two women finally face up to the painful memories that bind them so tightly to the past?

Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Unravelling is the captivating novel from the author of The Illustrated Child.

The Unravelling will be published in hardback and ebook on the 6th January 2022. You can pre-order your copy using the links below.

My Review:

The Unravelling is an atmospheric, immersive dual timeline story about butterflies, silk and secrets.

Firstly the thing that most struck me about this book was the author’s beautiful special style of writing that just draws the reader into the story. I felt completely transported to the island with the author’s vivid descriptions helping me to picture the scene so I felt like I was actually there watching everything unfold.

Marianne was an interesting main character who I enjoyed learning more about throughout the book. The timeline moves back and forth between her as a young girl to her as a grown lady. I found both timelines to be very interesting though I must admit Marianne did irritate me in her youth as she seemed so full of herself and quite vain at times. The house and the island seemed like characters themselves at times as they seemed to be trying to hide their secrets at some points. It was great fun to explore them alongside the characters and discover their secrets. I especially loved the beautiful descriptions of the wild life on the island and the unusual taps in the house.

Overall I loved this book which I found hard to put down as I didn’t want to exit the wonderful world the author had created. The gradual revealing of secrets was really well done and there were some twists which took me completely by surprise. I can’t wait to read more from her in the future.

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

About The Author:

Polly Crosby lives in Norfolk with her husband and son, and her very loud and much-loved Oriental rescue cat, Dali. To find out more about Polly’s writing, please visit pollycrosby.com. Polly can also be found on Twitter as @WriterPolly.

#TunesForTuesday: Broken Minds by Tom Didsbury @tomdidsbury #BrokenMinds #TomDidsbury #TwitchStreamer #UKSingerSongwriter #newmusic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the first Tunes For Tuesday – the same as Music Monday but on a Tuesday as I seem to find it hard to post on Mondays…

Today I’m featuring the lovely Tom Didsbury and his fantastic EP Broken Minds. I first found Tom on Twitch, first as a friendly person in another music streamers chat and then as as streamer when he decided to start streaming. Tom has an absolutely amazing voice which always blows me away. He streams on a Sunday morning and I always love the chill vibes that help me wake up. He plays some of his amazing originals, some chill indie tunes (with the exception of a black eyed pea song that snuck into the list) and, as he’s a huge Disney fan, a lot of Disney songs that my daughter loves dancing along too.

Tom was kind enough to answer some questions for me which you can read below.

You can follow Tom on twitch or social media by clicking on the links below.

How To Listen:

Tom’s music is only available to listen to on SoundCloud at the moment though he is hoping to get his music in other platforms soon. Sound is a free app and works like Spotify in that you can make a library featuring songs and artists that you like. It is also available via computer using their website.

If you would like to listen to Tom on SoundCloud I have included a link below.

Interview:

Tell us a little about yourself?

Hello! My name is Tom, I’m 28 and I am sat here in my pyjamas listening to yet another film soundtrack, and that pretty much sums me up! I am new to the Twitchosphere, starting my streaming journey in March (after a very successful charity stream in January), and am beyond grateful to the friends I’ve made along the way. I graduated university in 2014 gaining Honours in Music Composition and Technology, which I then put straight to use as a manager of a well known coffee chain in the UK… Music always been a pipe dream for me, and one that I have pushed to the background for fear of failure, with every excuse under the sun for not pursuing something even as a part-time venture. After my Dad died in early 2020, I realised I had used one too many excuses in my life and that I could not wait any longer to get back to writing and performing music. My Dad was a lover of all things music and my biggest fan. So the Twitch streams are for him, and I know he’d be as equally proud as I am of myself for taking this step and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

What first got you into music?

I had piano lessons from a very early age, and there was always music playing in the house. One of my most vivid memories is coming downstairs on a Saturday morning to the theme tune of ‘Sound of the 60s’. I was lucky enough to have passionate teachers at school who showed me how to play, write and enjoy music to the fullest.

Who inspired you to make music?

I remember discovering City & Colour in the late 00s which pushed me to beg my parents for an acoustic guitar. I had always played piano, but I had never composed until discovering Dallas’ music. When I received an acoustic guitar for my birthday (must have been 15/16 years old I think), I began to play in different tunings and seeing what interesting chords I could come up with. Fast forward a few years to university, and I was lost in Bon Iver, Bon Iver which shaped my musical creativity and lead me to my EP: ‘Ethereal Man’ in 2014. 

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

A mix of Radiohead and Bon Iver, an attempt to ignore the norms of rhyming couplets, bridges, choruses, etc.

What is your creative process like?

It probably sounds daft, but if I sit at the piano/guitar and a song doesn’t come to me within 5 minutes then I stop and come back another time. Almost all of my songs have been written in one sitting and within a short time-frame – an equal measure of luck and laziness haha!

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

How long have you got? Justin Vernon/Thom Yorke, either or and I’d probably be too incapacitated to create anything!

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

Any – just the opportunity to play live and be given a chance would be more than enough!

What is one message you would give to your fans?

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to having “fans” – crikey! I would say: thank you for helping me re-discover my enjoyment for playing/writing music, I wouldn’t be doing it without any of you. 

What is the most useless talent you have?

Being able to name 99% of the flags of the world? That or being able to recite The School of Rock front to back.

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Not as often as you might think! But when I do, it’s *always* Disney.

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

I’d still be doing my actual career of being a financial analyst haha – got to pay the bills!

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

I haven’t performed in many places unfortunately, mostly open mics and weddings. But my claim to fame is that back in 2012 I supported Rudimental at Chester University’s summer ball, the night that ‘Feel the Love’ went to #1! Attending gigs, however, I’ve been privileged enough to visit many, many venues. Top of the list is MK Bowl – I’ve seen both Kings of Leon and The Prodigy (I know, tad different) as the sun sets and into the night, what an incredible place. That and Blackpool Opera House for Bon Iver – the sound of that hall was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Worst venue has to be The Met Lounge in Peterborough watching The View and Iglu & Hartly (throwback). Sweaty, noisy, sticky – I think I was born a grumpy old man! 

No upcoming shows, no, but I am available for gigs and weddings so please consider me if you or someone you know is getting married!

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

A huge question – the internet has allowed artists from all of the world to have their music heard, shared, and loved far more easily than we could have dreamed 20 years ago. We can write and produce tracks from our bed and have them on Spotify the same day. So in terms of releasing music, fantastic.

That being said, in terms of artists making a living, well we could be here all day. The current model of music subscription services is unsustainable. Artists cannot keep making 0.00004p per stream, because if they do, gig prices go up, audiences are priced out of gigs, less likely to stream the music, and we go round and around. The % artists get in 2021 is criminal and there needs to be a bigger drive on actually purchasing artists’ music (remember CDs/LPs?), and we have the internet to blame for that.

What is your favourite song to perform?

Anything Disney – I have so much fun doing them!

Which famous musicians do you admire?

Bon Iver, my favourite artist. Radiohead for pushing boundaries and ignoring the status quo. Queen for being the greatest band to have ever lived (don’t challenge me on this). Hans Zimmer for being kick ass!

What is the most trouble you’ve ever

I have never been in trouble, I would never do anything I’m not supposed to…

Thanks so much for answering my questions Tom!

Music Monday Playlist:

You can now listen to all previously featured artists on a special playlist I’ve created on Spotify.

Thanks for reading and happy listening!

#BlogTour: The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt @emma_harcourt @Harper360UK @RandomTTours #TheShanghaiWife #EmmaHarcourt #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

Forbidden friendship, political conspiracy and incendiary passion draw Australian woman Annie Brand deep into the glamour and turmoil of 1920s Shanghai.

Leaving behind the loneliness and trauma of her past in country Australia, Annie Brand arrives to the political upheaval and glittering international society of Shanghai in the 1920s. Journeying up the Yangtze with her new husband, the ship’s captain, Annie revels in the sense of adventure but when her husband sends her back to Shanghai, her freedom is quickly curtailed.

Against her will, Annie finds herself living alone in the International Settlement, increasingly suffocated by the judgemental Club ladies and their exclusive social scene: one even more restrictive than that she came from. Sick of salacious gossip and foreign condescension, and desperate to shake off the restrictions of her position in the world, Annie is slowly drawn into the bustling life and otherness of the real Shanghai, and begins to see the world from the perspective of the local people, including the servants who work at her husband’s Club.

But this world is far more complex and dangerous than the curious Annie understands and, unknowingly, she becomes caught in a web of intrigue and conspiracy as well as a passionate forbidden love affair she could not have predicted: one with far–reaching consequences…

The Shanghai Wife is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

The Shanghai Wife is a beautifully written story about an interesting period in China’s history. It’s a book that spans a few genres as it’s part historical, part romance and even part thriller towards the end.

Annie was an interesting main character who I both wanted to hug and shake at different parts of the book. I loved her rebellious nature and that she didn’t want to conform to the normal social rules of the day. However I felt frustrated with her niavity and some of the things she manages to get involved in. I found myself wishing I could somehow step into the book and help her.

The historical details in this book were incredibly vivid and I felt transported back to 1920s China. I hadn’t read much about Chinese history so I loved learning a bit more about the time. It was definitely a turbulent time in the country’s history with lots of political upheaval, riots and danger. It was interesting to see the contrast between this, the lives of the other expats and the romantic scenes at the beginning. It made the book seem quite realistic and I enjoyed looking more on the internet.

Overall I did enjoy this book which wasn’t what I was expecting it to be – in a good way. The pace of the book was well developed and I enjoyed going from the more detailed descriptions at the beginning to the faster, more grittier bits at the end. I’d definitely recommend it to a friend and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

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

About The Author:

Emma Harcourt has worked as a journalist for over 25 years, in Australia, the UK and Hong Kong. In 2011, she completed the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course and The Shanghai Wife was borne. Emma lives in Sydney with her two daughters. She is currently working on her second novel.

The Reading Agency reveals Quick Reads 2022 Authors @readingagency @midaspr #QuickReads


–       Authors revealed at Evening Standard Stories Festival featuring Mosse & Wheatle

–       ‘Buy one gift one’ 10th anniversary campaign sees 35,507 books donated to new readers

– Quick Reads 2022 titles set to form part of World Book Night booklist

About Quick Reads 2022 Titles (14 April 2022)

MW Craven, The Cutting Season (Hachette, Constable)

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned 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… M. W. Craven is married and 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. http://www.mwcraven.com

Book Synopsis:

Poe’s just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon… Hanging from a hook in a meat packing plant isn’t how Washington Poe wants to spend his weekend. He’s been punched and kicked, and when the Pale Man arrives it seems things will soon go from bad to worse. The Pale Man is a contract killer, and he and his razor are feared all over London. But Poe knows two things the Pale Man doesn’t. And now things are about to get interesting…

Paula Hawkins, Blind Spot (Penguin Random House, Transworld, Doubleday)

PAULA HAWKINS worked as a journalist for fifteen years before writing her first book. Paula was born and brought up in Zimbabwe. She moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. Her first thriller, The Girl on the Train, has sold 23 million copies worldwide. Published in over forty languages, it has been a Number 1 bestseller around the world and was a box office hit film starring Emily Blunt.Paula’s second thriller, Into the Water, and her latest book, A Slow Fire Burning, were also instant Number 1 bestsellers.

Book Synopsis:

‘How can you say things like this? How can you be so blind?’ Since they were kids, Edie, Jake and Ryan have been the closest of friends. It’s been the three of them against the world. Edie thought the bonds between them were unbreakable. So when Jake is brutally murdered and Ryan accused of the crime, her world is shattered. Edie is alone for the first time in years, living in the remote house that she and Jake shared. She is grief-stricken and afraid – with good reason. Because someone is watching. Someone has been waiting for this moment. Now that Edie is alone, the past she tried so hard to leave behind is about to catch up with her…

Ayisha Malik, Sofia Khan: The Baby Blues (Headline, Review)

Ayisha Malik was born and raised in South London and is a lover of books (obviously), and writer of contemporary fiction. A former publicist at Penguin Random House, turned managing editor at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, turned full-time writer. Her debut novel, Sofia Khan is not Obliged, and its sequel, The Other Half of Happiness, (Zaffre), were dubbed as the ‘Muslim Bridget Jones.’ Her latest novel, This Green and Pleasant Land, (Zaffre) is out now. She has also contributed to the anthology, A Change is Gonna Come, (Stripes Publishing), and upcoming collection, A Match Made in Heaven, (Hope Road Publishing). Malik is also known for ghost-writing Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain’s, adult books. http://www.ayishamalik.com

Book Synopsis:

Sofia Khan is going about everything the wrong way. At least, that’s what her mother, Mehnaz, thinks. Sofia is twice-divorced, homeless and – worst of all – refusing to give up on a fostered baby girl. Sofia’s just not behaving like a normal woman should. Sofia doesn’t see it like that. She’s planning to adopt Millie, and she’s sure it’ll be worth it. (Even if it means she and Millie have to stay at Mehnaz’s place for a while.) And as Sofia finally begins to live the life she’s chosen, she finds both romance and happiness start to blossom. But then someone comes back from the past – and not even Sofia’s own past. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice. To do what’s best for those she loves, Sofia might have to break her own heart. And she might find herself needing the last person she expected…

Santa Montefiore, The Kiss (Simon & Schuster)

Santa Montefiore’s books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and have sold more than six million copies in England and Europe. She is the bestselling author of The Temptation of Gracie and the Deverill series, among many others. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London. santamontefiore.co.uk

Book Synopsis:

Sometimes your biggest mistake can also be a blessing… Madison has always known she had a different father to her siblings. But it wasn’t until she turned eighteen that she learned his name. And now she wants to meet the man who shares her fair hair and blue eyes: Robert. Robert is a very lucky man. A big house, beautiful wife, three handsome sons. Eighteen years ago, he made a mistake. A brief fling that resulted in a daughter nobody knows about. Robert must finally tell his family the truth. Will they ever be able to forgive him and accept Madison as one of their own?

Kate Mosse, The Black Mountain (Macmillan, Pan Books)

Kate Mosse is an award-winning novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer, the author of six novels and short story collections, including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and number one bestselling Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter. Her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and published in more than forty countries. The Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, she is also the Deputy Chair of the National Theatre in London. Kate divides her time between Chichester in West Sussex and Carcassonne in south-west France. http://www.katemosse.co.uk

Book Synopsis:

It is May, 1706. Ana, a young Spanish woman, lives in a small town on the north-west coast of Tenerife with her mother and twin younger brothers. The town is in the shadow of a mighty volcano, which legend says has the devil living inside it. However, there has been no eruption for thousands of years and no one believes it is a threat. One day, Ana notices that the air feels strange and heavy, that the birds have stopped singing. Tending the family vineyard, a sudden strange tremor in the earth frightens her. Very soon it will be a race against time for Ana to help persuade the town that they are in danger and should flee before the volcano erupts and destroys their world. Will they listen? And Ana herself faces another danger… ‘A powerful storyteller with an abundant imagination’ Daily Telegraph

Graham Norton, The Swimmer (Hodder, Coronet)

Graham Norton is one of the UK’s most treasured comedians and presenters. Born in Clondalkin, a suburb of Dublin, Norton’s first big TV appearance was as Father Noel Furlong on Channel 4’s Father Ted in the early 1990s. He then secured a prime time slot on Channel 4 with his chat shows So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton. Known for his quick wit Graham began hosting a variety of talent shows on BBC One from Strictly Dance Fever and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? to The Eurovision Song Contest and BAFTAs. Graham was soon approached by the BBC to front his own self-titled chat show The Graham Norton Show in 2007. Graham Norton has won 9 BAFTAs for Best Entertainment Performance, and Best Entertainment Programme. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, a show on BBC Radio 2 every Saturday, and is a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Norton won the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards in 2017. Graham’s third novel will be published in hardback, eBook, and audiobook in October.

Book Synopsis:

Helen is a retired teacher living on the Irish coast. She enjoys the peace and quiet – despite the burden of Margaret, her unpleasant sister. Margaret arrived three years ago for a short holiday, but somehow managed to stay and worm her way into Helen’s life. One day, Helen sees a man struggling in the sea and decides to investigate. She doesn’t quite know what it is, but something about it feels very strange…

Lemn Sissay, My Name Is Why (abridged) (Canongate)

Lemn Sissay MBE is a BAFTA nominated International prize winning writer. He was awarded an MBE for services to literature by The Queen of England, The Pen Pinter Prize and a Points of Light Award from The Prime Minister. Google “Lemn Sissay” and all the hits will be about him. There’s only one person in the world called Lemn Sissay. http://www.lemnsissay.com

Book Synopsis:

How does a government steal a child and then imprison him?How does it keep it a secret?This story is how.This story is true. My Name Is Why is a true story about growing up in care and fighting to succeed despite the cruelty and failures of the care system.

Alex Wheatle, Witness (Serpent’s Tail)

Born in 1963 to Jamaican parents, Wheatle spent much of his childhood in a Shirley Oaks children’s home. He wrote lyrics about everyday Brixton life. By 1980 Wheatle was living in a social services hostel in Brixton, South London. He participated in the 1981 Brixton riots and aftermath. While serving time in prison he took to reading. His first novel, Brixton Rock, was published to critical acclaim by BlackAmber Books in 1999. Following the publication of his second novel, he turned his attention to writing YA fiction and has won a number of awards, including the 2016 Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. http://www.alexwheatle.com

Book Synopsis:

Cornell is having a bad time. Kicked out of school for a fight he didn’t start, he finds himself in a Pupil Referral Unit. Here he makes friends with one of the Sinclair family. You just don’t mess with the Sinclairs, and when Ryan Sinclair orders him to come with him to teach a rival some respect, Cornell witnesses something that will change his life.Torn between protecting his family and himself, Cornell has one hell of a decision to make. Witness is Alex Wheatle at his best: a thrilling story about street violence, friendship and making the right choices.

About The Reading Agency & Quick Reads

The Reading Agency is a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. We work closely with partners to develop and deliver programmes for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Reading Agency is funded by Arts Council England. www.readingagency.org.uk

Quick Reads, a programme by The Reading Agency,aims to bring the pleasures and benefits of reading to everyone, including the one in three adults in the UK who do not regularly read for pleasure, and the one in six adults in the UK who find reading difficult. The scheme changes lives and plays a vital role in addressing the national crisis around adult literacy in the UK. Each year, Quick Reads works with UK publishers to commission high profile authors to write short, engaging books that are specifically designed to be easy to read. Since 2006, over 6 million books have been distributed through the initiative, 5 million library loans (PLR) have been registered and through outreach work hundreds of thousands of new readers each year have been introduced to the joys and benefits of reading. From 2020 – 2022, the initiative is supported by a philanthropic gift from bestselling author Jojo Moyes.

#BlogTour: The Chateau by Catherine Cooper @catherinecooper @fictionpubteam @HarperFiction @RandomTTours #TheChateau #CatherineCooper #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…

A glamorous chateau

Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.

A couple on the brink

The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.

A secret that is bound to come out…

Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.

The Sunday Times bestseller is back with a rollercoaster read, perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

The Chateau is out in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

I absolutely loved this author’s debut novel so I was very excited to read this book. I was definitely not disappointed as once again the author has written an addictive book which was hugely enjoyable to read.

I was quickly drawn into the story and into the character’s brilliant sounding life in rural France. It’s a bit of a dream of mine to renovate an old house so I loved living precariously through the characters as they went through the process. The author does a great job of setting the scene in this book and the descriptions of rural France as well as the welcoming ex pat community sent a tingle down my spine. I felt like I’d love to live among this community (with the exception of the murder obviously). It definitely seemed like a charmed life and I enjoyed feeling a part of it as I read.

The story is told in two timelines, one following the couple as they arrive in France and the other flashing back to two months ago. I enjoyed following both timelines and watching secrets being revealed in one which helped me make sense of what was happening in the present day. Neither of the main characters were particularly likeable but that didn’t spoil the book for me as it helped me read without any prejudice. They seemed quite realistic characters and it was great to follow them throughout the book.

Overall i really enjoyed this book and would definitely be recommending it to others. As you can expect from this author there is a fantastic plot with some great misdirection and some jaw dropping twists that helped keep me guessing. The end twist was truly amazing and took me completely by surprise which I always love.

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:

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist living in the South of France with her family. Her debut thriller THE CHALET was a top five Sunday Times bestseller and spent three weeks in the Kindle top 100. THE CHATEAU is her second novel.

#BlogTour: Windswept by Annabelle McCormack @annabelledando @RandomTTours #Windswept #AnnabelleMcCormack #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

A British nurse in WWI Egypt races to deliver explosive intelligence that could change the course of the war in this novel of suspense, adventure, and love.

May, 1917. Ginger Whitman left a life of wealth and privilege in England to train as a battlefield nurse and serve in the Great War. Working on the brutal frontlines in Palestine, she finds a wounded soldier hiding in her camp. The soldier claims to carry intelligence unmasking a secret plot against the British—and that traitors within British intelligence are searching for him. Desperate and dying, the soldier entrusts a coded message to her care.

Ginger is hurled into an unfamiliar world of intrigue and murder amidst the war-ravaged Arabian desert. She’s determined to help her country but trusting the wrong person could cost her life. Then the arrival of mysterious and handsome British intelligence officer Major Noah Benson offers a chance of help. But Noah may be as dangerous as he is charming. As she’s swept away by stolen moments on the desert sands, Ginger realizes her heart may also be at risk.

Hunted by a shadowy enemy spy, Ginger must decide if she can trust Noah. But as she grapples with her decision, Ginger makes a shocking discovery: a sinister secret that threatens to shatter the world she thought she knew.

Windswept is available in all formats now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Windswept is a thrilling and moving book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love books set in the first and second war so this book instantly appealed to me.

Firstly I loved the main character Ginger, who was a very inspirational and fiesty lady. Coming from a privileged background it would have been easy for her to sit out the war and I admired her determination to get involved. I found it fascinating to follow her on her journey to Egypt and to learn more about her experiences there. The romance between Noah and herself was lovely to watch develop. It helped bring some light relief from some of the more serious moments in the book and I found myself hoping that everything would work out.

The historical details in this book were really interesting and it’s obvious the author has done a lot of research into the time which made the story seem very realistic. I hadn’t read much about the first world war in Egypt and Palestine, I didn’t even realise it stretched that far out of Europe, so I eagerly drank in all the details about the British Gaza campaign.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and would definitely be recommending it to others. The plot was incredibly fast paced and there always seemed to be something happening to keep me glued to the page. The story seemed to have a bit of everything in it with lots of adventure, action and romance which made for a very thrilling read which kept me guessing until the end. I hope that there will be more books featuring Ginger in it in the future.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book. If you are a fan of historical fiction then I’d definitely recommend this book.

About The Author:

Annabelle McCormack writes to bring under-explored periods of history to life. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University’s M.A. in Writing Program. Half-Costa Rican, she also speaks fluent Spanish. She lives in Maryland with her hilarious husband, where she serves as a snack bitch for her (lucky-they’re-cute) five children. Visit her at http://www.annabellemccormack.com or http://instagram.com/annabellemccormack to follow her daily adventures.

#MusicMonday: Kristi Kates @KristiKates #KristiKates #twitchstreamer #singersongwriter #Interview

Good morning everyone and welcome to another Music Monday – on a Tuesday as my youngest wasn’t well yesterday.

Today I’m featuring the lovely Kristi Kates who is an amazing music streamer on twitch. She is based on the East coast of America so sadly streams a little early for me but I often see her being really supportive in other streams. Her community is always really welcoming and I’m always thrilled when I can catch a stream as she has some beautiful original music, as well as some fun covers. She was kind enough to answer some questions for me which I’ve included below.

If you would like to follow Kristi on twitch or social media you can do so by clicking the links below.

How To Listen:

Kristi sadly doesn’t have any original music on music streaming platforms yet but there are some lovely covers and a few originals on YouTube. I have included my favourites below. You can of course also listen to her on twitch and I have included a few twitch clips below too.

Interview:

Tell us a little about yourself?

Hi! I’m Kristi – I’m a musician, singer-songwriter, and sometimes actress or voiceover artist when I get those opportunities. I live just north of Manhattan (New York City, USA) and I love performing, creating stuff, and travelling.

What first got you into music?

I started reading when I was 3, and singing along to music not long after; got my first (toy) guitar at 5 or 6. When I got gifted a proper real guitar and a little Casio keyboard at 12 years old, I started learning how to create my own music, and that was it.

Who inspired you to make music?

I’ve always listened to lots of different music, but it’s the post-Britpop era – Travis, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Keane, Radiohead – that’s stuck with me.

I love that mix of poetic vocal lines, storytelling, and elegantly-ordered beats and arrangements, and I wanted to figure out how to recreate that type of songwriting with my own music.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

It would probably be classified as indie-pop, I think? Much like the inspirations above, I like to be a little fantastical with the lyrics, and I like a good, catchy pop melody.

I try to put a bit of optimism in, too; I think it’s important to try and keep a positive outlook in songwriting as well as life in general, as best as we can.

What is your creative process like?

I’m always writing down ideas or singing them into the voice recorder on my iPhone; but it varies as to how an actual song is written. Sometimes I’ll purposefully sit down and dig through my notes/recordings, sometimes a song will just kind of arrive out of nowhere!

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Oh nooo, that’s such a long list! Well, Tim Rice-Oxley, Neil Finn, Taylor Swift, and Jack Antonoff would all be amazing to write with; Chris Martin, Gary Lightbody, and Regina Spektor to sing with; and Nigel Godrich, Brian Eno, and Finneas as producers… that’s a start!

Clearly big dreams, ha ha! But why not?

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

Coldplay – I like the colour and positive energy of their live shows so much, and I think they’d also be great fun to hang out with after the gig.

What is one message you would give to your fans?

“Thank you!”

While I’d always write and sing regardless, without people listening to and resonating with what you perform, it’s a bit less rewarding, isn’t it? I feel quite honoured by the people who support my music and other projects.

What is the most useless talent you have?

Uhhh… well, I can do the cup-flipping rhythm trick from that Anna Kendrick song!

Do you sing in the shower?

Ha ha! Not generally – I think I’m more apt to sing while cooking.

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

I can’t picture not doing music, as it’s the one thing I’ve consistently wanted to do most of my life.

But if my music skills mysteriously vanished, I’d probably either do more acting – or something with animals, perhaps be a zookeeper.

Where have you performed?

Lots on Twitch the past several years! Also many of the smaller venues in NYC and a few each in L.A. and Chicago. And I was fortunate to get to perform on the Official TwitchCon Music Stages in 2018 (San Jose CA) and 2019 (San Diego), that was super fun.

What are your favourite and least favourite venues?

Favourite: Joe’s Pub and Rockwood are both excellent for live music here in NYC! On the opposite coast, I really like the Hotel Cafe in L.A.

Least Favourite: Anywhere that the musicians are secondary, and therefore basically being ignored; for instance, I don’t much enjoy doing restaurant gigs or such where your music is primarily background sound. Fortunately I haven’t had to do those in quite some time!

Do you have any upcoming shows?

I don’t have any shows booked IRL at the moment, thanks to the pandemic – but I do perform live on Twitch 3x a week. We do Mon/Fri/Sat live music shows – the Monday show is like a coffeehouse gig, while Fridays and Saturdays alternate between a “stage” set and assorted music theme nights.

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

It’s much easier to reach out to people you’d like to create music with, because the traditional avenues (agent, manager, etc.) between musician-musician have dissolved somewhat, which is great as I think we’ve all been missing collaborating over the past couple of years.

I also think – hope – that musicians performing online during the pandemic has been something of a helpful escape for people. Music is a necessity, after all 🙂

What is your favourite song to perform?

I can never answer the “pick one” sorts of questions, ha ha!

I think at the moment, I’ve been enjoying throwing some dance-pop into our sets, as that’s a bit different from the music I usually do.

Which famous musicians do you admire?

See my list of inspirations above! 🙂

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

I’m not a terribly trouble-prone person, thankfully!

I did sneak into a ton of live shows here before I was technically old enough to even be in a bar/venue, but I never got caught, probably because I don’t really drink, so I never pressed my luck.

I just wanted to stand in the back and spy on the bands and the techs and the crew, so I could figure out how everything worked on a big “real” stage!

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Don’t compare yourself to other performers or trends; keep your focus and energy in your own lane and on creating your own sound and story, and people will find you.

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

I wish the DMCA would be updated to reflect current times. It first became effective in 1998, and the music industry has undergone seismic shifts since then, between digital music in general and the internet. All of the restrictions and fines and whatnot don’t help us share music properly (so that musicians CAN get paid fairly, and can reap the benefits of people who love their music wanting to share it!) – they only slow everything down, and create unneeded friction between creatives and industry people.

What’s next for you?

We have some big seasonal stream events coming up on our Twitch channel between now and the end of 2021, including our Halloween weekend and then our full week of annual holiday content in mid-December, which has become a yearly tradition!

For next year, I’m planning to evolve my sound by finally sitting down to properly learn a DAW so I can start producing and releasing my own music, at least in demo form; and then getting back into an actual recording studio at some point to properly record some songs and expand upon some collaborations. I’m so looking forward to it!

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

Music Monday Playlist:

You can listen to all previously featured Music Monday artists on a special playlist I’ve created on Spotify.

Thanks for reading and happy listening!

Daughters Of War by Dinah Jeffries @DinahJefferies @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #DaughtersOfWar #DinahJefferies #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

The first book in a brand new sweeping historical series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author.

France, 1944.

 
Deep in the river valley of the Dordogne, in an old stone cottage on the edge of a beautiful village, three sisters long for the end of the war.
 
Hélène, the eldest, is trying her hardest to steer her family to safety, even as the Nazi occupation becomes more threatening.

Elise, the rebel, is determined to help the Resistance, whatever the cost.

And Florence, the dreamer, just yearns for a world where France is free.

Then, one dark night, the Allies come knocking for help. And Hélène knows that she cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. But secrets from their own mysterious past threaten to unravel everything they hold most dear… 

The first in an epic new series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller, Daughters of War is a stunning tale of sisters, secrets and bravery in the darkness of war-torn France…

Book Review:

I absolutely loved this absorbing, gripping read from a favourite author of mine.

I was quickly drawn into the story and into the lives of the three sisters. As I might have mentioned before I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, particularly if it is set in the second world war, so I absolutely loved all the brilliant descriptions of the period. I knew a little about France under the Nazi occupation but always enjoy learning new facts about the time. I was fascinated to learn more about the French resistance and to learn about the brutal Maquis who I hadn’t heard of before.

The three sisters were fantastic creations who I loved following throughout the book. I liked how different each of them were, how they each complemented each other and brought different elements to the story. As an older sister I did sympathize with Helene the most as I think that, if in a similar situation I too would be trying my hardest to keep everyone safe. The reader follows each sister on their own story and I found it very interesting to see where each sister ends up.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down as I was so absorbed in the story. It’s one of those books that I quickly realised I’d like so I felt I could just relax and enjoy where the story took me. It was fascinating to see where the three sisters stories lead them and I enjoyed discovering all the secrets that are revealed. As you can probably imagine with a book that’s set in wartime, there a few scenes that were difficult to read but I thought the author handled them sensitively so they weren’t overly upsetting.

This is the first book in a new series and I can’t wait to read more in the future.

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

About The Author:

Dinah Jefferies began her career with The Separation, followed by the number 1 Sunday Times and Richard and Judy bestseller The Tea-Planter’s Wife. Born in Malaysia, she moved to England at the age of nine. When she began writing novels, deeply influenced by her Eastern childhood, she was able to return there on annual research trips for each new novel.With her most recent bestseller, her seventh novel The Tuscan Contessa, she has moved to writing about a European setting for the first time and continues that in this new series.She is published in 28 languages and over 30 countries and has twice been a Richard and Judy bookclub pick.