Time to get Christmassy! I’m delighted to be kicking off Advent by taking part in the blitz for this lovely festive story.

Him With The Beard

Do you remember that moment you stopped believing in Santa Claus?

When nine-year-old Mille suddenly no longer believes in Santa Claus, it turns the house upside down.

Her mother, Stella, is in a pickle as the hunt to find Santa Claus unearths some family secrets.

Christmas is at risk!

And there’s only one person who can save it.

 

My review

This is a lively and lovey festive novella. Our heroine is mum Stella, office mouse for most of the year but every December coming out of her shell and into her own as a Christmas elf helping out at Santa’s grotto. This year, though, she goes even further…

Every household needs a Stella at Christmas! What a kind and energetic and total Christmas-crazy person she is, galvanising everyone around her into the Christmas spirit. But not daughter Mille this year. She’s decided Santa doesn’t exist, and that’s that. She sees through all her mother’s efforts to persuade her he’s real. And worse, her cynicism begins to eat into Stella’s beliefs and enthusiasm too. Husband Kalle tries to keep everyone happy and upbeat but there’s a lot of tension this Christmas. Has the season of goodwill been ruined for ever now that him with the beard no longer holds sway?

This is a funny and clever story. It touches on so many key Christmas issues – Santa of course, family love and gatherings, tradition and memories. Christmas is a time that really brings back moments from the past – our childhood Christmases, recollections of time with grandparents or parents or other relatives now passed away, that magical  belief in Santa. It’s true that once our children stop believing in Santa, Christmas can lose a good chunk of its charm and raison d’être. But, if like Stella, Kalle and Mille, we look beyond the man in red and all the consumerism we can see that the Christmas values are still there and are to be cherished. Santa comes in many different forms.

I adored the atmosphere of this novella, which is set in Denmark. I was lucky enough to experience the run-up to a Danish Christmas many years ago when my husband worked there temporarily. I had the famous and delicious rice porridge and a glass or two of Christmas aquavit, and came home with loads of beautiful wooden and paper Christmas decorations that still adorn the house and tree even though they’re all thirty years old now!

Do read this gorgeous little story. It’ll truly get you into a Christmassy mood but also make you think about what this rather crazy season is actually all about.

 

Purchase  Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pernille-Meldgaard-Pedersen/e/B07HXLPDSJ/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Pernille-Meldgaard-Pedersen/e/B07HXLPDSJ/

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/him-with-the-beard

Itunes UK – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/isbn9788797086216

Itunes US – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9788797086216

 

Author bio

Pernille was born in 1988 and loves that she was born in the decade with the tallest hair, the most colourful clothes, and the best music.

Her imagination never stands still, and it’s often expressed in words and pictures.

She wrote her first story when she was six years old. It was about the cat she unfortunately never got but wished for more than anything.

She loves autumn and Christmas and believes in elves.

From day to day she is a knight in training, an animator, and a secret agent – she has saved the world a few times by now.

She’s also a professional daydreamer.

She thinks the recipe for a good book is the same as the one for having a good life – a sense of kinship, humour, love, and that one thing that gives you a daily smile.

Vestercity is a fictional city based on her upbringing near the city of Herning in Denmark.

 

Social Media Links –

twitter: https://twitter.com/Pernille56

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PernilleMeldgaardPedersenAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pernillemeldgaardpedersen/

website: https://pernillemeldgaardpedersenuk.blogspot.com/

 

And look, there’s a giveaway!

Giveaway

Win A Cosy Christmas Pack – with One Jim Shore Santa Claus Ornament, Santa Claus Marshmallows, A Chocolate Advent Calendar, A Pretty Christmas Storage Box and finally, A Signed Copy of my book Him With The Beard.

Open internationally.

link to giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2ed2358c3/

 

Synopsis
A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?

Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father?

The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

The Merest Loss is historical fiction with a twist. It’s pacy and exciting with captivating characters and a distinctive narrative voice.

My review
The very detailed synopsis above gives you an excellent taster of what the books action about, so it only really remains for me to tell you how beautifully written this book is. The author has an easy, flowing style. He writes in the third person present tense, which is unusual for historical fiction but works extremely well by making everything so immediate. History is repeating itself now for us.

I have to confess I was a little daunted when I saw the long list of dramatis personae that opens the book. Would I ever remember who this earl was or how that lady fits in? You don’t have to worry as the action lays out who’s who and you easily work out the roles they play in the rich tapestry of this book. The wide circle of people we meet gives a broad portrayal of society at the time.

The author has chosen a fascinating period and a particularly fascinating historical figure to write about. He has clearly done painstaking research and added plenty of imagination. I especially enjoyed the insight into horseracing in the book. That’s something that our author has a lot of interest in and it really comes alive on the pages. Letter-writing, a characteristic of the era in question, is used to great effect.

Eminently readable and very enjoyable, this lively novel brings the past back to vibrant life.

Purchase links
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5/
https://www.amazon.com/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5
https://www.independentauthornetwork.com/steven-neil.html

Author bio
Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire.

Social media links

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016617465298 and https://twitter.com/stevenneil12

Synopsis

Jane Hewitt had been miraculously healed—cured of a terminal cancer that had been eating away at her body for months. After one meeting with an incredible young woman, Jane rose from her wheelchair and walked out, believing that her lifetime of devoted faith had been rewarded.

The next day, Jane died in her husband’s arms, devastated that her God had deserted her. Her husband, Ian, blames her hastened death on the faith healer she visited. But that faith healer is a teenage girl called Megan, who has been in a coma for five years, and has no say over how her gift is used.

When Ian is arrested after being accused of breaking in to Megan’s house and trying to tamper with her life support, he turns to the only person he knows can help clear his name, and stop this family deceiving any other victims—Dr Alex Ripley, the so called Miracle Detective.

Fascinated by Megan’s case, and needing a distraction, Ripley finds herself on Holy Island, off the coast of North Wales, caught up in an investigation that will prove more sinister and dangerous than she could have imagined. Ian is not the first person to complain about Megan and her supporters, but he seems to be the only one left alive. For now.

A Hollow Sky is the second Alex Ripley Mystery.

 

My review

A Hollow Sky is a thoughtful and thought-provoking mystery with a definitely unsettling undercurrent of menace. It unrolls slowly to begin with, but as it gains momentum it really begins to sweep you along as the tension mounts. This is the result of excellent, careful writing.

As well as the mystery involving comatose Megan and a cast of scarily obdurate and arrogant people adhering to somewhat extreme religious beliefs, there is a personal interest story line involving Alex  Ripley, who is an intriguing and complex character. She’s certainly courageous and determined and I wouldn’t want her on my trail!

The setting in the close-knit village is almost claustrophobic, exactly as the author intends. I mentioned that feeling of menace earlier, and it lurks. stagnating in every corner. Alex comes in like a breath of fresh air, but will she be enough to recharge the oppressive atmosphere and chase the evil away?

In summary, an excellent, absorbing, slightly disconcerting mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat right to the end.

The book is the second in a series but works fine as a standalone, and is an enticing introduction to this author.

 

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hollow-Alex-Ripley-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07H9DTFM8

US – https://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Alex-Ripley-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07H9DTFM8

Direct from Red Dog Presshttps://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop

 

Author Bio

Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.
He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.
He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.

Social Media Links –  

www.facebook.com/mseancoleman.author

www.twitter.com/mseancoleman

Giveaway to win paperback copies of The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494165/

 

Synopsis

The sequel to S. W. Ellenwood’s debut novel, The Janitor and the Spy, picks up six months after Thomas Thornhill’s nightmare mission in Amsterdam. On his own, he now goes under the alias of Jack Montferrand and seeks to gain entry into the oldest and most dangerous triad in Asia to find Them.

On the inside, he finds the triad not as stable as he thought, forcing him to win their trust and prove his worth to them at every turn as new rivals sprout up. He plunges his hands deeper into the filth, and himself deeper into the alias of Jack, so much so that he starts to wonder where Thomas ends and Jack begins.

 

My reviews

This is another fast-paced, snappy thriller that carries on from where The Janitor and The Spy left off. It’s largely set in Hong Kong where our hero Thomas, going by the name of Jack Montferrand, needs to infiltrate one of the triads in order to continue to track down ‘The Twelve’ whom he learned about in the first novel. His ex-boss, who died at their hands as did Thomas’s fiancé, gave him a name as a lead to find them, and this is what Thomas is working on. It’s not going to be straightforward and it’s bound to be painful, if not deadly.

The author has a light, easy style, with touches of humour, but he can create horror and tension just as well. He’s obviously done a lot of research and creates a very convincing setting for the action, down to details of ethnic food the characters eat. The characters in question are interesting and rounded, and we get a good idea of what makes them tick, particularly Thomas.

Punchy and enjoyable, definitely one to read if you enjoy contemporary thrillers. There’s doubtless a lot more to come from this talented author.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Lumberjack-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B07JFCHTD4

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Lumberjack-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B07JFCHTD4

Author Bio

S. W. Ellenwood is thankful to have a close-knit family of two parents, a brother, and two sisters. A homeschooler who graduated college from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Ellenwood loves all forms and genres of stories and was inspired by The Lord of the Rings films and his parents to write. You can find Ellenwood writing his next novel at the local coffee shops or playing table top games with his best friends.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/swellenwood

Website: http://www.swellenwood.com/

 

Tales from the Pays d’Oc

Twenty-one tales of life, love and laughter in the land of sun and vines.

What is Matthieu doing up an olive tree?  Why won’t Joséphine ever eat pizza again?  Who went four by fourth? And who rescued two hapless Americans at Armageddon Falls?

Travel to the Languedoc, feel the scorch of the sun on your shoulders, smell the dust and the lavender and the ripening grapes and follow the adventures of the Saturday Club and the regulars at l’Estaminet.

In this collection of stories, Patricia Feinberg Stoner revisits the territory of her memoir, ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ with a whole host of new and familiar characters.

 

My review

As an expat in France myself I was really looking forward to reading this book, which turns out to be a total gem. I love discovering other people’s versions of France. With this book it’s via a fictional route, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s based, however loosely, on the author’s experiences.

You don’t have to be an expat to love every minute of this charming collection of vignettes set in and around the Languedoc village of St Rémy des Cévennes.

The antics of members of the Saturday Morning Club, who meet at the Café de l’Ane (the Donkey Café, which I suspect is a tongue in cheek name!) keep us entertained. This assortment of characters, some local but most blow-ins from various distances, form a good-natured assembly with their shared love of their life in France as the gelling point. We meet most of them in more detail in various amusing exploits. The author is particularly good at portraying relationships – the way Henry plays the part in the Club of the old-fashioned English gentleman who’ll never quite fit in, but with his French wife he’s actually more immersed than others. The patient ‘yes dears’ from tolerant wives, the teasing by one partner of another, and so on. It’s beautifully done and really brings the book to life.

The descriptions are wonderfully detailed. I can picture every scene clearly and feel the heat of the summer days, hear the sounds of the busy market, and smell the truffle that Useless (who isn’t at all) finds.

This is a light and enjoyable read, something you can devour in one go, like a warm croissant, or take leisurely nibbles from, like baguette that accompanies a salad-based lunch. Either way, it’s thoroughly delightful.

 

Purchase Links

UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Pays-dOc-laughter-vines-ebook/dp/B07JF8RV2N

US – https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Pays-dOc-laughter-vines-ebook/dp/B07JF8RV2N

About Patricia Feinberg Stoner

Patricia Feinberg Stoner is a former journalist, advertising copywriter and publicist. For four years she and her husband were accidental expatriates in the Languedoc, southern France.  During that time she wrote a series of magazine articles which eventually became her first book about the Languedoc: ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc.’

?Now back in the UK, she lives with her husband in the pretty West Sussex village of Rustington, where Michael Flanders encountered a gnu and the mobility scooter is king.

She spends much of her time writing short stories and comic verses. Her first book, ‘Paw Prints in the Butter’, is a collection of comic poems for cat lovers, and is sold in aid of a local animal charity.  In 2017 she published her second book of comic verse: ‘The Little Book of Rude Limericks’.

?In the autumn of 2018 Patricia returns to the locale of ‘At Home in the Pays d’Oc’ with a new collection of stories: ‘Tales from the Pays d’Oc’.

Patricia welcomes visitors to her Facebook page (Paw Prints in the Butter) and to her blog www.paw-prints-in-the-butter.com.

?

You may occasionally find her on Twitter @perdisma.

Synopsis

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach…

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans. But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home… And someone is watching… Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

 

My review

This is a book that will probably push you out of your comfort zone. It certainly did with me. Too many books like this and I’d be losing my faith in human nature! The book is very darkly ingenious and intensive, and makes for a very original if challenging read. It’s worth the effort, though, as it’s very entertaining and will totally grip you.

We have a cast of damaged characters. The punchy storyline varies between these different people, which adds yet another layer of wariness and menace to the novel that’s already full of it. They all have secrets, that range from shady to downright murky, and are the sort of people you’d be well advised to run away from should you encounter them in a dark alley!

The book is full of energy, and also surprises. Even in an unpredictable book, we like to think we have an idea what might happen next. You don’t have a hope in this one. The author’s creativity knows no bounds and he leads us a macabre, merry dance.

If you fancy a book that’s definitely unique, blackly quirky and which will leave you plenty to think about, then this is one for you.

 

About the author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

 

The book is published by Orenda Books and is available in all Amazon stores as an ebook and paperback, and also as an audiobook.

 

 

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Today I’m thrilled to be helping get the blog tour for Five Ladies Go Skiing off to its start.

Synopsis

A delightful new novel of love and friendship from Karen Aldous…

Ginny is alone now after losing her husband, so her friends (her F.L.O.W.E.R.S) decide with his first memorial imminent, learning to ski in the Swiss Alps would be a great distraction for her. What Ginny’s friends fail to add into the equation however, is their own distractions! The baggage they carry with them not only threatens their skiing but scales mountainous emotions throughout the trip. The questions then are…can their friendships survive, and can Ginny ever trust enough to love again?

 

My review

This is a bustling book, with lots of action and plenty of emotion. Our five ladies are all mature, and have accumulated plenty of figurative bumps and bruises along the way, and now may accumulate some physical ones as they meet for a skiing holiday. Their goal is to support recently widowed Ginny but they all have need of a break for one reason or another. And then there’s a threat to their close friendship to contend with too.

We see the family backgrounds to our main characters of Ginny, Angie, Kim, Cathy and Lou. Five is quite a lot of balls to keep in the air, but the author does it beautifully. Each gets the attention they deserve and plays their role to the full. They’re distinct and so there’s no confusing who’s doing what, and which one’s which. Five makes for plenty of variety. Between them they present many of the problems familiar to women of a certain age – loss, health problems, flagging libido, regrets – but with optimism and energy, thus sending a message that there’s hope for us all!

The Christmastime action is festive and fun, but not without tension and a few tears. Our five valiant ladies all discover something about themselves, and go home richer and better people.

This is an extremely enjoyable, touching and entertaining book, most definitely to put on your ‘TBR before Christmas’ list!

Purchase Links

http://mybook.to/FiveLadiesGoSkiing on Amazon worldwide

Five Ladies Go Skiing on ibooks

Five Ladies Go Skiing on Kobo

Five Ladies Go Skiing on NOOK

Author Bio

Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!

Much of Karen’s inspiration comes from her travels and meeting people. The UK, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and parts of the USA and Asia are just some you will experience in her books to date. However, wherever she goes, new characters emerge in ‘Karen’s World’ screaming at her to tell their stories; past or present. She loves to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives – but struggle to control them! And, of course there’s always a gorgeous hunk or two!

See more… http://www.karenaldous.co.uk/about-me/

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenAldousAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarenAldous_

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenaldous_/

 

And hooray, there’s a giveaway!

Giveaway – Win 5 x Paperback copies of Five Ladies Go Skiing (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –Please note prize will be distributed once the paperback is available (published 13th December).  UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494163/

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Synopsis

Erin and Heather Douglas are struggling. Their mother’s death has left a void in their family and everyday life has side-lined their dreams.

Erin has buried herself away in the family home and left her stage career. By hiding away, she is evading the pain of returning to London and the acting world where her ex-fiancé is enjoying success and a new relationship. When she meets charismatic Texan Jackson McGee, she wrestles with her feelings for him. Should she trust another man?

Heather is juggling babies, work, a rocky marriage and running on wine. An overheard conversation makes her wonder if husband Mark would cheat on her.

Can the sisters help one another to face their fears, dust off and revive those dreams and find joy in life?

 

My review

This is such a delightful book. There is so much happening – a mother dying early, a miscarriage, alcoholism, postnatal depression, an extra-marital relationship. But don’t panic! If that makes this book sound heavy and pretentious, it absolutely isn’t. These various problems are there but handled gently and subtly woven into the plot, rather than shoved in the reader’s face. It adds so much richness to what’s already a beautifully written and touching story.

It’s a book largely about the excuses we make for ourselves and our loved ones when we know that either we or they are not behaving the way they should. ‘My sister’s the one with all the free time since she’s unemployed so she can look after Mum on her own.’ ‘I don’t have time.’ ‘I know I shouldn’t but I deserve another drink.’ ‘Where’s the harm in flirting with another woman – my wife’s so busy with the new baby.’  ‘I can’t face doing that today because I’m tired.’ And so on. We’ve all convinced ourselves we’re doing the right thing when we know we’re not, and the characters in the novel are no different.

It’s also about family relationships, those all-pervasive bonds that support yet can also shackle us. Erin and Heather spar and argue, like so many sisters, but they love each other deeply. Their brother Fraser is well-meaning and kind, but now much help. Families have their ups and downs, and we some storms being weathered in the novel until a balance is found.

Our heroine, Erin, is sweet and sympathetic, but not a pushover by any means. She shows strength and resolve, and we see her blossom in the novel. The hero, Jackson, is exactly the sort of man we want him to be, a foil to the unpleasant Damien who’s presence is felt throughout.

So much to enjoy and relish in this touching story.

 

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barn-Buried-Dreams-When-daylight-ebook/dp/B07GY3YFQ7

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Barn-Buried-Dreams-When-daylight-ebook/dp/B07GY3YFQ7

Author Bio

Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. She has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking Oscar on the beach, trying to avoid the gym and spending time with her family and friends.

Her new release, THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS – when will they see daylight?, is a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. It starts in Dunleith, the same Northumbrian setting as her debut novel ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, and some characters cross both books. Readers can enjoy either book as a stand alone

Chrissie enjoys tweeting to readers on @ChrissieBeee
Her instagram account is chrissie_bradshaw_author
Her blog is newhenontheblog.com
and she has a Chrissie Bradshaw author page on Facebook.
She would love to hear from readers

 

And hooray, there’s a giveaway!

A giveaway. A read, a cuppa and a treat.

Win a Paperback copy of ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’, limited edition mug featuring both of Chrissie Bradshaw’s  novels and  a box of fresh macarons delivered from ‘Urban Cakehouse’.  (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Fourth Victim

Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquillity and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder.

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry, but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

 

My review

This is a carefully written police procedural with a strong sense of place. London oozes out of every sentence and is created in detailed imagery. It’s not always pleasant but cities have their blemishes. There’s also the added dimension of mental health issues in the form of Dissociative Identity Disorder, which is dealt with sensitively although we see the devastating consequences it can have in this novel.

The author gets inside his characters’ skins. We see how and why they annoy each other, why they’re attracted to people they know they shouldn’t be, how they’re crippled by grief, driven by the desire for justice, as the case may be. The human interest level is always there, which sometimes isn’t the case in procedurals where it’s all about unmasking the villain. The author admits to being a ‘people watcher’ and that comes through very clearly. He creates real people, warts and all.

The plot’s an interesting one, particularly with the element of DID as part of its complexity, and it’s particularly clever how we have three dead bodies, yet indisputably four victims. A nice touch.

The Fourth Victim is an absorbing novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy solving crimes alongside fascinating protagonists.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fourth-Victim-John-Mead/dp/1912575361/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-fourth-victim/john-mead/9781912575367

Author bio

Born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estates ever built, I was the first pupil from my local secondary modern school to attend university.

I have travelled extensively during my life from America to Tibet. I enjoy going to the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that I am an avid ‘people watcher’ and love to find out about people, their lives, culture and history.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in my novels are based on real incidents and people I have come across. However, I have allowed myself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

 

Social Media Links 

Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

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The Janitor and the Spy by S W Ellenwood

Synopsis

Baby wipes are not the best at cleaning up blood, or what happened to Thornhill in Amsterdam.

They told Thornhill it would be a simple spy mission that he was more than eager to take on, but of course, it wasn’t.

It didn’t take long after meeting the contact for Thornhill to question if he or anyone else connected to him was going to be able to make it out of Amsterdam alive. Passing strangers on the streets became potential hitmen and dinner with criminals became a safe haven as Thornhill seeks to find answers from an old man named Golay.

 

My review

I must start with an apology to the author and the book tour organiser. I’m a day late posting this review due to a date muddle entirely on my part. I shall make sure not to be so organisationally challenged again.

This is a snappy and energetic read, high on intrigue. Our hero, Thomas Thornhill, is a seasoned spy but even he is a little daunted by this latest mission. He is to retrieve some papers from an old contact, but things don’t go to plan. The contact, Golay, gives him the runaround, a colleague disappears and even Thornhill’s minder seems to be at risk.

I especially like how details about Thornhill emerge indirectly as the novella proceeds. For example, he’s a bit particular about what he eats and it’s important to him to look the part. He also reveals a softer side that’s not been completely hardened by his line of business. He will kill if he needs to, but he can show compassion to those that deserve it.

Thornhill travels from America to Amsterdam, where all the excitement starts, then back to America but his work isn’t over yet. There are some super twists, and some poignancy, at the end, which definitely leave the reader wanting to find out what’s going to happen next.

We meet an interesting cast of characters, all nicely delineated and memorable. The settings are persuasive and detailed, and very atmospheric. The plot is well thought out and lively. In summary, a snappy, enjoyable read.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janitor-Spy-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B013KNYGVC/

US – https://www.amazon.com/janitor-spy-thornhill-book-ebook/dp/B013KNYGVC/

   

Author bio 

S. W. Ellenwood is thankful to have a close-knit family of two parents, a brother, and two sisters. A home-schooler who graduated college from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Ellenwood loves all forms and genres of stories and was inspired by The Lord of the Rings films and his parents to write. You can find Ellenwood writing his next novel at the local coffee shops or playing table top games with his best friends.

Social Media Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/swellenwood

Website: http://www.swellenwood.com/