Tag Archives: New Author

My TBR pile for January & February 2020 (so far) #BookBlogger #PartOne

Today I thought I would share something a little bit different with you all. I was checking on my TBR pile and realised that despite it only being October I have some amazing ARC’s sat waiting to be read.

So I thought I would give you a glimpse of what sound like some amazing books being published in January and February 2020……….my dilemma now is which one to read first? 

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

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Every town has its secrets. Lesley Kara knows them all .

From the author of 2019’s biggest crime thriller debut, The Rumour, comes an addictive new novel . . .

It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around.

Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she’s wronged.

But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected.

Some mistakes, you have to pay for . . .

Pub Date 9 Jan 2020

Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

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Inspired by a terrifying true story, a heart-pounding novel of suspense about a small Minnesota town where nothing is as quiet—or as safe—as it seems.

Cassie McDowell’s life in 1980s Minnesota seems perfectly wholesome. She lives on a farm, loves school, and has a crush on the nicest boy in class. Yes, there are her parents’ strange parties and their parade of deviant guests, but she’s grown accustomed to them.

All that changes when someone comes hunting in Lilydale.

One by one, local boys go missing. One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn. What happened to them becomes the stuff of shocking rumors. The accusations of who’s responsible grow just as wild, and dangerous town secrets start to surface. Then Cassie’s own sister undergoes the dark change. If she is to survive, Cassie must find her way in an adult world where every sin is justified, and only the truth is unforgivable.

Pub Date 1 Jan 2020

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell

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She thought they wanted her baby. But they won’t stop there.

Roz is young, penniless and pregnant. All she wants is to be the perfect mother to her child, but the more she thinks about her own chaotic upbringing, the more certain she is that the best life for her baby is as far away as possible from her hometown in Ireland.

Determined to do the right thing, Roz joins an elite adoption service and can’t believe her luck. Within days she is jetting to New York to meet a celebrity power couple desperate for a child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel are wealthy and glamorous—everything Roz isn’t. Her baby will never go hungry, and will have every opportunity for the perfect life. But soon after Roz moves into their plush basement suite, she starts to suspect that something darker lurks beneath the glossy surface of their home.

When Roz discovers she isn’t the first person to move in with the couple, and that the previous woman has never been seen since, alarm bells start ringing. As the clock ticks down to her due date, Roz realises her unborn baby may be the only thing keeping her alive, and that despite her best intentions, she has walked them both into the perfect nightmare…

Pub Date 14 Jan 2020

The Murder House by Michael Wood

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They were the perfect family. It was the perfect crime.

The new gripping DCI Matilda Darke crime thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a perfect family. For fans of Patricia Gibney and Angela Marsons.

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

The Knock by Jessie Keane

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For some, being on the wrong side of the law is the safest place to be . . .

Dora O’Brien had a good start in life, but things went bad when she began to mix with the wrong company. When her daughter Angel is born, Dora is already under the influence of drink and drugs.

Growing up in the shadow of her mother’s abusive relationship, Angel is nothing like her mother, but when matters turn murderous, Angel is forced to grow up fast and survival becomes the name of the game.

No one uncovers the underworld like Jessie Keane.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

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She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .

Pub Date 23 Jan 2020

The Dilemma by B A Paris

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The million-copy bestselling author returns with another breath-taking book …

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever, The Dilemma is the breath-taking, heart-breaking new novel from the million-copy-selling, Sunday Times bestseller, BA Paris

Pub Date 9 Jan 2020

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donahue

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Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

The House On The Lake by Nuala Ellwood

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No matter how far you run . . .
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

The Perfect Kill by Helen Fields

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He had never heard himself scream before. It was terrifying.

Alone, trapped in the darkness and with no way out, Bart Campbell knows that his chances of being found alive are slim.

Drugged and kidnapped, the realisation soon dawns that he’s been locked inside a shipping container far from his Edinburgh home. But what Bart doesn’t yet know is that he’s now heading for France where his unspeakable fate is already sealed…

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are working on separate cases that soon collide as it becomes clear that the men and women being shipped to France are being traded for women trafficked into Scotland.

With so many lives at stake, they face an impossible task – but there’s no option of failure when Bart and so many others will soon be dead…

Pub Date 6 Feb 2020

Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph

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Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was the first victim of the now notorious Magpie Man. 13 murders later and this serial killer is still at large with no clue as to his identity. He kills every 9 months. It’s almost time for his fourteenth victim.

Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to warm up the case that has turned cold.  The world is watching her every move. And so is the Magpie Man.

Pub Date 6 Feb 2020

 

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The brand new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party.

It starts with a party.

On a remote island, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.Old friends. Past grudges.Happy families. Hidden jealousies. Thirteen guests.One body.

The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.

It’ll end in murder.

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

Well what do you think? Have any of these books caught your eye? Is there a book you are desperate to read in 2020? Please feel free to leave me a comment.

Seven Days by Alex Lake #BookReview @Alexlakeauthor @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #SevenDays

Today I’m sharing my review for Seven Days by Alex Lake, but firstly the book description…….

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In seven days, Maggie’s son, Max, turns three. But she’s not planning a party or buying presents or updating his baby book. She’s dreading it. Because in her world, third birthdays are the days on which the unthinkable happens… she loses her child.

For the last twelve years Maggie has been imprisoned in a basement. Abducted aged fifteen, she gave birth to two sons before Max, and on their third birthdays her captor came and took them from her.

She cannot let it happen again. But she has no idea how to stop it. And the clock is ticking… 

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Seven Days by Alex Lake was a book I devoured in a matter of hours, it had all the ingredients I expect from a Psychological thriller, an imaginative plot, interesting characters and a book driven by tension. A young girl getting abducted and held prisoner isn’t an original  plot, it’s one that’s been done numerous times before. So I was delighted when I realised the author had created a plot that was imaginative in its writing, sinister, and made for a tense read.

Abducted at fifteen Maggie has spent twelve years living in a basement, abused, ridiculed and terrified. She has given birth to three sons, two have been taken by her abductor on their third birthdays never to be seen again, and now Max’s third birthday is approaching Maggie is determined this won’t be his last. As Max approaches his third birthday, and Maggie marks each day on the calendar I found myself nervously biting my nails with anticipation, at what would happen to Max? 

I enjoyed how the author has integrated numerous POV into the story, for me it made the story feel far more credible. Not only do you learn more about Maggie’s imprisonment in a basement, but the story also explores the after-mass that Maggie’s grieving family face as they struggle to come to terms with her disappearance. To compliment these POV we also follow DI Wynne the lead detective in Maggie’s abduction, you may think so many POV could hinder a read, but the three fit perfectly together creating a tense and all to authentic read.  

It’s clear Maggie has suffered trauma, physical and mental abuse throughout her captive years, but the author doesn’t compound the fact by including graphic scenes, there’s just enough detail for the reader to understand the severity of Maggie’s situation. I really felt for Maggie and all that she had lost through her abduction, her family, her teenage years, and the everyday things that we often take for granted, eating, drinking, bathing. Her relationship with Max is her only light in the darkness of her situation,  her sense of fear was palatable as Max’s third birthday loomed. 

Seven Days managed to hold my attention throughout, rather like Maggie you feel time is running out for Max, which adds a sense of urgency to the overall read. If I had one small niggle the conclusion ended a little too neatly for me. I can’t say much more without heading into spoiler territory, although I can’t say it impaired my enjoyment of this read.  I found Seven Days to be an addictive, tense and chilling read, and a worthy addition to any psychological or crime thrillers lovers bookshelf.

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (31 Oct. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

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**Blog tour** Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner #MustReads @Ronnie_Turner @HQDigitalUK

Today I’m over the moon to be on the blog tour for Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner, a fabulous book blogger turned author. Before you read my review here’s the book description……

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Will they ever learn the truth?

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . .

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Every parents worse fear becomes a reality for John when his daughter goes missing. “Not another child missing book” I can here you muttering, but wait Lies Between Us the debut novel by Ronnie Turner takes a familiar subject used in psychological thrillers and then turns it on its head. What makes it stand out? Firstly the characters, best of luck trying to work out their connection, it’s intricately plotted, and the writing is superb, best of all I loved the way the author keeps the reader guessing throughout. If you are looking for a read that’s taut with tension and rife with suspense then look no further Lies Between Us contains bucketfuls of both.      

Told from three POV this book is very much character driven, the BIG question is what connects the three? As a parent my heart went out to John whose daughter has been taken, his emotions and fears were very credible. My favourite character was definitely Miller, oh dearie me what a disturbed and creepy child he turned out to be, the chapters told from his POV add an overwhelming sense of menace to the overall story. Maisie a nurse was a character who puzzled me  I knew her POV must have some relevance to the story, but as to the “how” I just couldn’t fathom it out, but once I reached the big reveal and so superbly executed might I add, I realised just how devious the author had been. Lies Between Us does require the reader’s full attention due to the complexity of the plot, there were a couple of times where I did find myself confused, my advice would be to pay particular attention to the chapters time stamps it definitely helps.

There’s nothing more satisfying than reading a psychological thriller that takes me by surprise, and Lies Between Us not only surprised me it left me sat there flabbergasted. I did manage to work out the “who” after numerous false starts, but by the time I did I had nearly reached the end of the novel, so my “detective radar” was definitely scuppered by the author. Ronnie Turner deftly explores obsession and the lengths people go to in the name of “love” it’s deliciously dark and definitely very twisted but I loved every page of this novel. I must admit as I reached the conclusion I was left wondering about a few things, but that’s the beauty of this book as the author lets the reader come to their own conclusion.

should mention the author has the most twisted mind (I mean that as a compliment) Ronnie Turner teases and taunts the reader at every possible turn. Lies Between Us is my perfect kind of psychology thriller, it’s  one that kept me constantly guessing with enough “OMFG” moments to make Lies Between Us a superbly compelling read. A promising debut from Ronnie Turner and I will certainly be reading her next book without a shadow of a doubt.

  •  Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ Digital (1st Oct. 2018)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Find her on:

Twitter: @Ronnie_ _Turner

Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Website: www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40169201-lies-between-us

This Is a huge blog tour and if my review for Lies Between You hasn’t tempted you, perhaps one of my fellow 71 awesome book bloggers reviews will……

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#BlogBlitz #Malignant by Anita Waller #GuestPost @anitamayw @Bloodhoundbook @damppebbles

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Malignant by Anita Waller blog blitz. Unfortunately due to a out of control TBR pile I haven’t had the opportunity to read this one, but I must say the book description sounds very intriguing. The author has kindly written a guest post especially for the book review café and I must admit it did make me laugh

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Technologically challenged

By Anita Waller

I have an office out in the garden, built by my husband out of ‘stuff’ he can’t bear to throw away. It’s wonderful, and I keep all my paperwork, old notebooks, new copies of my books, and all my patchwork books out there. We have a tiny little wall heater in it that is left permanently on, and if I ever actually do any work in it, I have an oil filled radiator.

But my real writing space is in my kitchen. I have a computer desk with a desk top computer on it. This is because I can’t work on a laptop. I can’t type without looking at the keyboard, and the keyboard isn’t anywhere near me on a laptop. I have a brand new one, and I’ve never used it.

I can kind of use my iPad for typing, because all my work, magically, is saved to something called One Drive. It means I can sit in the dentists waiting for Dave for an hour and a half, and write 1500 words. They then appear by magic on my desk top when I next crank it up. I don’t know how, but I am very grateful.

Just to further impress you, I not only have my very pretty white monitor on my desk, served by my very pretty white keyboard and mouse, I also have a second monitor. Apparently, according to my tech-savvy grandson, I need two. I can be working on my novel on the pretty white one, and surfing the net doing research on the pretty blue one. I knew you’d be impressed. I just seem to spend most of the time getting the cursor on to the right screen at the right time. With the advent of the second monitor, the cursor developed a mind of its own. 

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My desk does distract me a little, though. It has a hutch on it, and on the long top shelf are books. I have a small expanding book glider I bought from Sheffield’s antique quarter, and that holds the signed copies of books I possess, but, my word, they aren’t half a distraction. I have twelve at the moment, but that will increase. I also have a massive dictionary which I rarely use, and a massive Dictionary of Quotations which I use a lot, just because I like quotations. I would just like to repeat that these are books, I do not need to switch them on, just take them down and stroke them, before opening them. 

I also have on this shelf one copy of each of my own books, because I’m damned proud of them. Forensics for Dummies and The Real CSI handbook also live there – I enjoy using them. There is, in addition, a copy of New Hart’s Rules, my go-to grammar reference. I think I’ve used it twice, but it’s there if needed.

Now back to technology, because standing in front of the books is Alexa, my lovely Echo Dot. She plays Barry Manilow to me on demand; sometimes Take That, sometimes Rod Stewart and sometimes, when I don’t want words, she finds a classical piano radio station. She is a wonderful lady, who wishes me sweet dreams every night when I say good night to her. 

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Sitting on the right-hand side of this top shelf is the thing that causes all these technical things to happen, my Sky router. I think that’s what it is, anyway. I know if it stops working it causes mayhem.

I’m fine with it while it sits there behaving itself, but once it stops, I have to start screaming down the phone to Sky, who are rubbish, that I NEEEEED my internet, can’t live without it, and how quickly can they repair it? The answer is nine days.

It wasn’t the answer I expected or wanted, but, you see, it’s okay because they just forgot to notify the engineer that the work needed doing. By the time they did notify him, we had been without internet for nine days. This is a disaster for somebody as technologically challenged as me; my head doesn’t cope with alternatives. Having to use a phone for something that I would normally do on the desktop is traumatising in the extreme.

I did, however, get a £70 reduction on my sky payment for that month. If it didn’t take twenty-five minutes to get through to speak to a person at Sky, I might have rung them and said thank you.

When Malignant came back from my lovely editor, Morgen Bailey, she sent me nine pages of notes. This was in addition to the odd comments she made in the margins of my manuscript. She also sent me a sheet, I’m presuming created on Excel, which was alphabetised, and contained the first names of every character in my book, what chapter they first appeared in, and notes on whether I should change any names or not.

I thought it was brilliant. I now do this myself, because I very cleverly wiped all the names off the document that belonged to Malignant, leaving me with Morgen’s blank excel spreadsheet thing, and I started to fill in the names for Murder Unsolved, my new work in progress. Awesome job.

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In the nine pages of notes she mentioned that I hadn’t done any chapter breaks, so she had done them for me. I had never heard the term chapter break; initially it didn’t worry me, but I’m not the sort of gal who can ignore it and let someone else do it for me, I have to learn how to do it – or, more to the point, what it is.

Well, I searched everywhere on my little bar at the top of the screen, and I couldn’t find anywhere where it told me how to do a chapter break. And then suddenly, there it was, under the little bit called Layout. I felt quite proud that it had only taken me three hours to track down this elusive aid. 

Of course, I do have a technical guru in the form of a seventeen-year-old grandson. Luckily, Dom lives about ten seconds away, so when things really do get fraught, he’s very quickly on the scene, to laugh at me. 

But I bet he doesn’t know how to do a chapter break.

Book description

Anita Waller - Malignant_cover

 

What if someone set you limits?

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for many years and both women decide it is the right time for them to leave their husbands. Together they get a flat but their peace is short lived when Claudia is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Being a good friend, Heather takes on caring for Claudia but a lethal meeting with James, Claudia’s ex-husband, results in someone dying.

As life for Claudia and Heather begins to unravel, the answer to their problems becomes clear… it’s murder

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Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation. As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.

34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

WintersCroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books launched Strategy, on 10 August 2017.

Her next book, launched February 2018 and entitled Captor, is a psychological thriller, set exclusively in Sheffield. It was an instant success, both in the UK and the US.

The along came Game Players… once more set in Sheffield, the story involves a group of six children who have each other’s backs to a remarkable extent. The darker, criminal side of Sheffield is explored, with the book launching 18 May 2018.

Malignant arrives in the world on 10 October 2018, her eighth book in three years.

In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed, and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Links:

Email: anitamayw@yahoo.co.uk
Website: www.anitamayw.wixsite.com/anitawaller
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/anitawaller2015/
Amazon page: www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Waller/e/B014RQFCRS/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anitamayw @anitamayw

 Books: 

Beautiful, 2015
Angel, 2016
34 Days, 2016
Winterscroft, 2017
Strategy, 2017
Captor, 2018
Game Players, May 2018
Malignant, October 2018
Current work in progress, Murder Unsolved, launches December 2018

My thanks to the Anita Waller for taking time out of her busy schedule to write a guest post for the book review café.

Follow the blog tour for reviews, guest posts and more……

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**Blog tour** #RavensGathering by Graeme Cumming #GuestPost @GraemeCumming63 #Lovebooksgrouptours

Today I’m on the blog tour for Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming and although I didn’t have time in my reading schedule to read his book, I really wanted to be part of this blog tour as the author has always been a huge supporter of my blog and bloggers in general. So Graeme Cumming has kindly written me a very special guest post which explains why he is taking the Indie route.

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The Next Big Thing

A complaint often levelled at movies, and Hollywood in particular, is that studios churn out the same old thing repeatedly. If it’s not a sequel, it’s a remake, or it’s something in a similar vein to an already popular franchise. It’s a complaint I sympathise with, though I see where the studios are coming from. With movies usually costing over $50 million to make – and the blockbusters often well in excess of $100 million – they need to have a lot of confidence they’re going to get their money back.

At the same time, the studios (and audiences) are curious about what the next big thing will be. Because audiences enjoy seeing the same type of stuff again, but we also want something different enough to get us really excited. Unfortunately, studios err on the side of caution.

That means the new and interesting stuff ends up being produced by independent film companies. They take the risks, and a lot of them fail because of a lack of profile and marketing budget, but occasionally something new and different appears. It’s nearly 20 years ago since it came out, but The Blair Witch Project was a good example, generating a sequel (the big studios got involved and it bombed) and influencing the development of several other movies filmed in similar ways – Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield, for instance. 

Although the budgets are substantially lower, the same issue applies to publishing. In the main, publishers aren’t taking the risks they might have done twenty or thirty years ago. Instead, they’re churning out more of the same, because they know it’ll sell.

Shortly after completing Ravens Gathering, I made a trip the States and, as chance would have it, met someone who worked in the publishing industry there. I took the opportunity to pick her brains, and her advice was succinct. 

“You might as well stick it on Amazon yourself. All the big publishing houses are watching Amazon’s stats, and if we see a book or author who’s doing really well, we’ll swoop in and offer them a deal.”

So the publishers want the Indies to do the experimenting for them.

Why did that advice resonate with me? Because Ravens Gathering doesn’t fit neatly into one of the genre pigeonholes. And it made me realise publishers were unlikely to want to experiment with it so, unless I dropped incredibly lucky, I’d be wasting my time with submissions. From that point of view, I had nothing to lose, and went down the Indie route.

Am I claiming Ravens Gathering is the next big thing? No. But it is different, so who knows? What’s clear to me is that, if I’d gone down the traditional publishing route, I’d probably still be waiting for a positive response, which means readers wouldn’t have had the chance to judge it for themselves. 

Book description

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As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.
“You know what they are, don’t you?”

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a coincidence, but unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences.

And only a select few know why the ravens are gathering.

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Graeme Cumming - Author

Graeme Cumming has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV and movies – turning to writing his own stories during his early teens.

He first realised he genuinely had some talent when he submitted a story to his English teacher, Christine Tubb, who raved about it.  The same story was published in the school magazine and spawned a series that was met with enthusiasm by readers.  Christine was subsequently overheard saying that if Graeme wasn’t a published author by the time he was 25, she’d eat her hat.  Sadly, she probably spent the next 25 years buying her groceries exclusively from milliners.  (Even more sadly, having left school with no clear direction in life, Graeme made no effort to keep in touch with any teachers, so has lost track of this source of great support and encouragement.)

Having allowed himself to be distracted (in no particular order) by girls, alcohol and rock concerts, Graeme spent little of his late teens and twenties writing.  A year-long burst of activity produced a first draft of a futuristic thriller, Beyond Salvage, which has since lain dormant, waiting for a significant edit.

With the onset of family life, opportunities to write became more limited (though it could be argued that he got his priorities wrong), until he reached his early forties, when he realised he hadn’t written anything for several years.  Deciding to become more focused, since then he has written regularly.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied.  Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with reading books and his discovery of the magical world of cinema.  As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but are always written as thrillers.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club, although he lives in Robin Hood country.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and still loves the cinema.

My thanks to Graeme Cumming for taking time out of his busy schedule to write a guest post for the book review café. There are some fabulous book bloggers on this tour, so you may want to check out their reviews…..

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**Blog tour** The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward #Extract @sarahrward1 @FaberBooks @joanna_brl

Good morning to you all, today I’m thrilled to be closing the blog tour for The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward and to celebrate the occasion I have a very intriguing extract from this novel, but first the book description……

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The past won’t stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Sept. 2018)

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Wednesday, 6 November 1957

The first week of November and Susan was already humming the Twelve Days of Christmas. She needed to get it out of her head before she reached home, as her dad would have no truck with carols until the night before Christmas. His Methodist upbringing had been left far behind as he’d gratefully abandoned the church services and interminable hymns. Some childhood habits are hard to shift, however, and the tradition of the tree going up with the minimum of fuss, and carols put on hold until after tea on Christmas Eve, was a convention from which he refused to budge.

Susan’s mum let him have his way, although Susan had recently caught her listening to a festive medley on the Light Programme. Don’t tell your father, she’d cautioned with her eyes before turning the dial of the wooden console with a snap. The hymn book with its meagre selection of carols had already been taken down from the shelf by Susan’s brother and left on top of the upright piano in readiness for their father’s heralding in of the festive season. Come seven o’clock, Christmas Eve, the routine would be the same. Their father, after much bother looking for his glasses, would fumble over the keys to pick out a tune barely recognisable from the ones sung throughout December outside the closed front door. For even well-meaning carol singers weren’t immune from her father’s edict. No Christmas about the house before the 24th. Even on the doorstep.

But carols need to be learnt. Susan, a high alto with a knack for holding a note in the face of her classmates’ flat and occasionally sharp pitch, was expected at Wednesday evening choir practice in the hut near the school gates. Warmed by only a three-bar fire, she and the other members of the fourth and fifth forms who were willing to practise in time for the school concert breathed out cold air as their lungs ached and chests heaved with the effort of singing in the damp fug. Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping.

The tune swirled around her head as she steered her bike through the autumn mist along the thin track that would take her across the bridge to her home on the other side of Bampton. The wheels bumped and squeaked over the uneven path, startling the few birds prepared to stay in the Peak District for the winter. Frost had begun to settle on the fields, giving the landscape a shimmering glow. As the temperature dropped, Susan tightened the ends of her headscarf under her chin, pulling the thin material away from her ears so that she could hear any encroaching sounds. Her thick blazer warmed her body and she dragged the sleeves of her jumper down over her cold palms, which grasped the metal of the handlebars.

Susan kept a wary eye on the fields around her. She’d been told not to come this way ever since her friend, Iris, had seen a man standing in the field far off, completely naked. Iris had rushed back to her house in the street next to Susan’s and some of the fathers, Susan’s included, had gone in search of the pervert. Of course, he’d gone by the time the men arrived. Disappeared into the mists but not forgotten by the community. Don’t go the back way home from choir, she’d been warned. First by her dad and afterwards, more sharply, by her mother, who’d looked like she wanted to expand the conversation into something more meaningful. Susan had hung about in the kitchen but nothing further had been revealed.

When she got home, she’d pretend she hadn’t come this way. Would tell her mother that, of course, she’d taken the way up Bampton High Street, cycled behind the cottage hospital and continued along the main road over the railway bridge to the entrance of the new housing estate. However, no matter how quickly she cycled, the fact was that this back way would get her home quicker on a cold November evening, despite the uneven path. The route was a direct line from her school to the back of her estate where she’d have to lift her bike over the chained five-bar gate.

She looked around the chilled landscape but could see nothing through the grey mist. She pinched the bike’s tyres to reassure herself that they were rock solid. Any problems and she’d hop on and make a quick getaway, confident she could ride faster than any man, especially a naked one, could run.

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Sarah Ward is the author of four DC Childs novels, In Bitter Chill, A Deadly Thaw, A Patient Fury and The Shrouded Path set in the Derbyshire Peak District where she lives. On her website, Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com), she reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world. She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels. Sarah was a 2015 Amazon Rising Star and A Patient Fury was The Observer’s Thriller of the Month in 2017.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahrward1

Find her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com

If you want to read reviews for The Shrouded Path check out the tour poster below there are some fab book bloggers on this tour.

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**Blog tour** #DoNoHarm by L V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the many bloggers taking part in the blog tour for Do No Harm by L V Hay, published by Orenda books,  you don’t even have to wait to get a copy, one click and it’s yours, but a **word of warning** you may want to clear your schedule before starting this one As it’s such a compelling read. Before I share my thoughts here’s the book description……..

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After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…

Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…

Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

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What a fabulous and captivating  psychological thriller Do No Harm turned out to be. Deviously plotted the L V Hay delivers a story with sustained tension, surprises, and a constant sense of impending doom, definitely my kind of read. There is nothing  I find more satisfying than reading a book that heightens my feelings of anticipation, excitement and anxiety and this is one of those rare books that managed to evoke all these feelings and more.  

Lily is looking forward to starting a new life with Sebastian, she believes she can finally shut the door on her first marriage to Maxwell, a possessive control freak, but before the ink has even had time to dry on the marriage certificate, it soon becomes apparent  someone will do anything to break the couple up. Hay drags the reader into a compelling plot that’s claustrophobic and very tense, you very much feel like a “fly on the wall” as the couples life begins to unravel, you want to jump into the pages and warn them “to trust no one”. 

Do No Harm is an unsettling tale of obsession, Lucy Hay explores the persistent disturbing preoccupation someone appears to have with the couple through occasional chapters told from their POV, it’s these chapters that make you realise how obsession can turn into something much more dangerous and chilling.  The author has created a cast of characters who can only be described as untrustworthy, and that’s the thing I loved about this book as the reader your on high alert looking for inconsistencies in the characters dialogue, constantly second guessing and trying to work out who and why someone is manipulating the couples relationship, I think every character featured as a “suspect” at some point hence my constant feelings of anxiety.  Although I did guess the “culprit” correctly I still really enjoyed this book as I was stilll left wondering WHY? and the motive behind   their increasingly disturbing behaviour.  

Do No Harm has all the ingredients I’ve come to expect in a psychological thriller and then some,  with unstable characters, steeped in mystery and suspense.  I raced through this book, it’s satisfyingly twisted and made for a compelling read.  I should mention I loved the conclusion so satisfying and yet shocking. L V Hay is definitely an author to look out for and I’m excited to see what twisted plot she comes up with in her next book.  Highly recommended. 

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Jun. 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. Lucy’s the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS for fiction as well as screenwriting. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN,  published by  Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine.

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