Hello and welcome to our spot on the Utrecht Murders blog tour! Please scroll down for [K]’s review of Utrecht Rain:
Maaike Meijer is attacked in a senseless outbreak of violence at the Dom Tower in Utrecht. Her brother, Freddie, fights off the assailants, but how is the brutality linked to a series of violent threats, cyber crime and the Dutch Secret Service? Truus Heda continues her work as a private investigator whilst caring for her lover before finding the missing link. As the nightmare unfolds we enter the world of Serbian gangsters and Utrecht Goths and see how Hoofdinspecteur Caes Heda and his overworked team tackle a crime that could consume the city.
Published by lulu.com in paperback format on 17th March 2020
Following on a couple of months after the events of Utrecht Snow life is progressing well for our team, up until Maaike and Freddie are violently attacked whilst out on patrol. Whilst the twins recover from their injuries Caes, Truus and the gang are thrown back into the darker side of fighting crime and brutal violence.
The well described story that was set in book 1 carried through to book 2, the snow has thawed. As we were introduced to the team in book 1 only a swift reminder was needed before I found myself back into the thick of things with the gang on the rain soaked streets of Utrecht.
I sympathised for Maaike as she struggled to deal with how limited her mobility was whilst she healed from her injuries, I felt the anger and frustration the team felt through lack of leads for the case and that something like this has happened to one of their own.
I loved the further development of the characters and not wanting to give away the storyline, with the way the book ended I cannot wait to see if there is a Utrecht Murders #3 I can get my hands on!
Jonathan loves to write. He is a retired teacher, lapsed Waterstones’ bookseller and former Basketball Coach. He taught PE and English for 20 years and coached women’s basketball for over 30 years.
He regularly teaches creative writing workshops in and around Leicester.
Hello and welcome to our spot on the Utrecht Murders blog tour! Please scroll down for [K]’s review of Utrecht Snow:
Utrecht police inspector Caes Heda leads a team looking into the disappearance of young women. Meanwhile his daughter, Truus, bored with University takes up a job with disgraced former police office Thijs Orman at his Private Detective Agency and finds herself looking for yet another missing girl, this time it’s her bosses own daughter. are they all linked? At the Kroonstraat Police station the team Caes has put together look into the normal run of the mill cases and try to overcome the weather as much as the crime in the city as snow envelopes the streets of Utrecht. We meet twins Freddie and Maaike Meijer who patrol the streets together with colleagues Adrie and Danny. The team is made up by Madelon Verloet and man mountain Ernst Hougewood. Together they investigate car theft, street crime, assault and finally murder. We look at the everyday lives of the police involved, Caes still traumatised after his wifes early death and Truus falling for Maaike.
Published by lulu.com in paperback format on 6th March 2020
Within the white snow of Utrecht women are going missing, Inspector Caes Heda and his team are tasked with investigating these disappearances but with clues and motive unknown how will they stop the kidnapper before they strike again?
When we first meet Caes ‘in charge of Crime at Kroonstraat Police Bureau, not committing it obviously, but tidying it up after it had been committed’ (love this quote, made me laugh out loud, comment after my own heart!) he is sat on a bus heading towards work. The description of his journey I felt was vivid, one of those cold crisp days, you could feel the cold seeping into your skin making me shiver. The rest of the book I carried on in a similar vein, despite only ever visiting Amsterdam I felt I was standing there beside the characters as they made their way around the streets of snowy and frozen Utrecht.
I sympathised with Caes and Truus who lost their beloved Femke, and how they are still adjusting to living their lives without her. I found I developed favourites within the team, Maaike and Freddie, twins who both entered the police force together and now patrol the streets together, still enjoying their sibling banter. The characters felt like a true empathetic group working together within the force, trying to make Utrecht a better place.
This is my first book by Jonathan Wilkins and now I have become attached to the characters I want to join them on back on the streets of Utrecht as soon as possible!
Jonathan loves to write. He is a retired teacher, lapsed Waterstones’ bookseller and former Basketball Coach. He taught PE and English for 20 years and coached women’s basketball for over 30 years.
He regularly teaches creative writing workshops in and around Leicester.
Hello and welcome to our spot on The Place We Call Home blog tour.
Thank you very much to Sarah @ BookOnTheBrightSide and Faith Hogan for providing a copy of the book to [K]
The review below is 100% honest and all of her own views.
Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills…
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…
Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills, until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.
Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.
Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.
Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.
Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.
Best-selling author, Faith Hogan returns with a family tale of love, loss, secrets and finding yourself.
We are introduced to Miranda and her family gradually, with the story split between present day and what is happening to the individuals , to the past where we meet Miranda as a child and read what shapes her into the woman we meet in the successful Corrigan Mills.
Along with the Corrigan family we are introduced to others in the village who have all grown up together so some are referenced in Miranda’s past, and others that whilst they had moved away had been drawn back to the magic of Ballycove.
Whilst I have never visited a quintessentially Irish village, I felt myself transported right into the heart of Ballycove, amongst the landscape in and around the village. Finding that I was there with the characters, experiencing their lives with them listening to them speak in lilting Irish accents and becoming emotionally involved in their wellbeing. Creating a hope that I will visit Ireland to see if my imagination lives up to the reality of the Emerald Isle.
I found I was immersed in this story that reads like a favourite relative has sat you down by the fireside to tell you a tale of love, loss and the warmth of family.
I have not read any of Faith’s previous work, but this book has touched my heart so as soon as I can I will be picking up another of her books to recapture the magic this one has woven for me
Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.
Faith’s latest book, The Place We Call Home is published in January 2020.
She writes crime fiction as Geraldine Hogan – Her Sisters Bones is available now!
Faith gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
Hello and welcome to our stop on the Everville: The Fall Of Brackenbone blog tour! Please scroll down for a spotlight.
Ancient civilizations, parallel worlds, aliens, time travel, epic fantasy, dragons and college! The Everville series can be read as stand-alone novels and have it all for teens, new adults, and all ages alike.
Two very different worlds, Easton Falls University and the magical realm of Everville are in dire need of a hero. Owen Sage embarks on an epic journey of monumental proportions to save these worlds all while fighting to keep the world within himself intact. This quest is not for the faint of heart nor is it for the weak of mind—only the bravest will succeed. Discovering the well-kept secret of The Fourth Pillar of Truth is only part of the feat. Owen will have to outwit the ever-powerful villain Governor Jahal and overcome countless other challenges along the way.
Roy Huff is a Hawaii-based author, research scientist, and teacher. After a difficult childhood, he moved to the islands and hasn’t looked back.
He’s since earned five degrees, worked on projects forecasting Kilauea volcanic emissions, and trained on geostationary satellites for NASA’s GOES-R Proving Ground. He stumbled into writing, but what he didn’t stumble into is his love for all things science fiction and fantasy. Later, he contributed a series of fiction and non-fiction books as well as widely shared posts on how to design life on your terms.
Despite early challenges, he embraces optimism, science, and creativity. He still dreams of traveling into space and circumnavigating the globe. But until then, he makes Hawaii his home, where he creates new worlds with the stroke of a pen. And he hopes you’ll come along for the amazing ride.
Stay tuned to Roy Huff’s upcoming releases and promotions on his author portal at https://royhuff.net and on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter. @realroyhuff
You can buy Everville: The Fall Of Brackenbone from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)
Hello and welcome to our spot on the Everything To Lose blog tour! Please scroll down for an excerpt:
Scientists claim their new sports drug will boost the performance of every athlete in the world. The Lambeth Group send scientist, Gavin Shawlens, to investigate the claim.
The product is stolen, top athletes disappear, and the research team are unaware that their product has a dangerous side effect. Gavin must stop the sports drug launch before more people die.
When Gavin disappears – Zoe Tampsin searches frantically to find him before he becomes the next victim.
As if Zoe hasn’t got enough on her plate. Past events in Gavin’s life catch up with him. A powerful US general decides that Gavin must die to prevent exposure of a 60-year old secret capable of world-changing and power-shifting events.
The chase is on…
Published in paperback and digital formats on 29th January 2015
Gavin Shawlens is visiting his student Laraine in her home. He is hoping to gather information about a technician who disappeared. Laraine was the last person to see him. The discussion takes an unusual turn around Laraine’s daughter, Jess.
Gavin followed Laraine through to the kitchen. She shifted a pile of children’s books from a kitchen chair. He noticed cracked glass on the kitchen door, and a damaged doorframe. Jess ran up the steep staircase to change out of her school uniform. Laraine made two cups of instant coffee, then called out, ‘Jess. What do you want?’
‘Juice and crisps. Please.’
The kitchen had less clutter than the living room, but yesterday’s washing-up waited patiently in the sink. ‘Sorry about the muddle, and the washing. There’s never enough time with uni and everything.’
‘It’s okay. My flat is the same, but without the kid’s stuff.’
‘Did your sister have treatment for her psychological trouble?’
Gavin shook his head. ‘Who told you Jess had a psychological problem?’
‘My doctor. He told me she’ll grow out of it in time.’
‘Your doctor is way off target.’
‘Well … he’s in his seventies. He’s a nice man, but he should’ve retired ten years ago.’
‘Jess doesn’t have a curse or a psychological problem. She has a gift that’s very special.’
‘How special?’ Jess asked as she stood in the hall with her homework book in one hand, and a pencil in the other.
Gavin knelt to her height for their eyes to meet. Jess smiled, and he smiled back. She changed into pink leggings, a white One Direction t-shirt showing a picture of the band, and grey rabbit slippers.
‘My sister Siobhan has your gift. Everyone tells her she’s special, but some people don’t understand. Sometimes, they get jealous, and cause trouble.’
‘My best friend, Alyssa, only likes me when I don’t tell her any funny business.’
Gavin squinted at Laraine with a querying expression.
‘That’s what Jess and I call her feelings.’
‘Jess. I know you’re special, and when you grow up like my big sister, you will be an exceptional lady.’
‘Good. By the way, my mum and dad are on a break. You can stay for a while, if you like.’
‘Homework!’ Laraine bellowed.
Jess skipped into the living room.
Gavin nodded. ‘Sharp cookie.’
‘You’re good with kids, Dr Shawlens. Do you have some of your own?’
‘No. But people will tell you that I haven’t grown up yet.’
‘How did your sister cope with school?’
‘Good and bad. You’re right to keep her feelings secret. Kids can be cruel about things they don’t understand.’
‘I’m worried for her. She’s so isolated. I think she’s going to turn into a version of Wednesday Addams,’ she confessed.
He smiled as he remembered The Addams Family. ‘I liked Wednesday.’
‘So, she won’t grow out of it?’
Gavin shook his head. ‘Some try to suppress or ignore it. Some successfully harness it to become creative artists. Fighting it, will cause frustration and anger.’
‘We’ve had that. Her dad tried to focus her mind on normal behaviour, but it’s too strong. I wish I could understand how her mind works.’
‘It’s not difficult.’
Laraine sighed. ‘We’ve tried. We met a consultant, and he recommended a series of tests to prepare her for medical therapy. He said he would cure Jess, but he wanted a fee of sixteen grand upfront. We don’t have that kind of money.’
‘There isn’t a cure because there isn’t a defect.’
‘I don’t understand.’
After a swallow of coffee, he said, ‘People have five basic senses. Smell, taste, touch, hearing, and vision. For people like you and me, they mostly work individually.’
‘Okay.’ She nodded tentatively. She wanted to know, but she didn’t want a lecture.
‘People like Jess and Siobhan have six, seven, or eight senses because their basic five can also work in pairs, and sometimes in threes. Sight and sound often work together. Touch and taste often pair up.’
‘So, when she touched you, she could taste a lemon tart.’
‘As strong a taste as the real thing. When she listened to the track, the sound stimulated a blue sky in her mind’s eye. Touch receptors in her hand felt warm water running through her fingers as if for real. Sound, sight, and touch working together as one. She’s a very special girl.’
Emotion sapped Laraine’s voice. ‘Oh my God—that must be so wonderful.’
‘My sister can feel the environment around her, whereas I can only see it.’
‘Dr Shawlens, thank you. It means so much for me to understand how she feels. I knew in my heart she wasn’t mad, or trying to cause trouble. Oh God, the rows we’ve had over that.’
Gavin raised concerned eyebrows.
‘Not with Jess, with my husband, Aiden. That stupid old doctor told us it would wear off. Aiden tried to get it out of her head before she started school. We’ve had an awful time. If only I’d known. I would have helped Jess keep her feelings secret. I’ve been so stupid. I haven’t made it easy for her.’
Tears scampered down her face.
‘It’s called synaesthesia. Jess’s brain gives her additional sensory information. An extra perception of the world. My sister can run her hand over a piece of wood, and say it has a smell of wet rhododendrons.’
Laraine shook her head. ‘People have told us she’s mad. I’ve thought the worst things about her. I didn’t understand.’
‘Be thankful we’re not living in the mid-18th century. In those days, the clergy didn’t like anything they couldn’t explain. Girls with this gift were branded evil, and burnt as witches. Just ninety years ago, people were put in a mental hospital, and given drugs or electric shock treatment.’
‘Oh God, how awful. Is it only in girls?’
‘Boys are just as likely to have it. It does run in families. I don’t have it, but it’s strong in my sister. When Siobhan cooks dinner, she must make sure her food is the correct shape. Otherwise, it won’t taste right. She’ll cut her meat into strips, so it doesn’t taste like—’
Laraine squealed. ‘Aagghh!’
She collapsed into a kitchen chair, and burst into a flood of tears. She held her head in her hands, and screamed. Gavin was rooted to the floor, unsure of what to do.
I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. I studied biochemistry, and I’ve worked in several Scottish universities where I did research on enzymes, and taught biochemistry. After thirty years of teaching and research I retired my academic pen, and took of a mightier fiction pen.
I live in central Scotland with my wife and we enjoy reading, writing, and walking in the hills.
The Lambeth Group books follow the secret government investigations of agent Zoe Tampsin. A strong female protagonist with courage, determination, and guile. She is assisted by specialist consultant, Gavin Shawlens.
Hello, welcome to our spot on The Chemist blog tour!
Thank you very much to Sarah @ Book On The Bright Side and Nathan Parker for providing a copy of the book to [K].
The review below is 100% honest and all of her own views.
Granville is in a mess once more.
The streets are infested with Charge, a deadly synthetic drug concocted by an enigma known as The Chemist.
Tommy finds himself in the midst of scandal yet again, as terrifying danger closes in on him; drugs, deaths and deception.
After hitting a rocky patch with Kirsten and things at home as tricky as ever, Tommy feels as though he is invisible.
But when Detective Brightwell calls upon his help in cracking the case, Tommy is immediately immersed into the Granville underworld, with the key surely lying with infamous crime family, the O’Clearys.
With the threat of Smiler looming, trustworthy people are hard to find. So who can he count on this time to help him muddle through this impossible situation?
The Rise of the Chemist is the second book in the Granville Series, sequel to The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson. It is a young adult fiction book, following Tommy’s difficult battle for justice, in a town where crime rules.
A series of teenage deaths triggered by a deadly synthetic drug, thrusts Tommy into the midst of an undercover operation. The targets? The Chemist, creator of the lethal, designer substance known as Charge, and the O’Clearys, a local crime family with their fingers in all kinds of illicit pies.
With one eye looking over his shoulder for the threat of Smiler (book one), Tommy must decide between what is right and what is easy.
With complications arising with Kirsten, and the relentless drive of Detective Brightwell, he finds himself questioning everybody and everything.
Once injected into the O’Cleary family, Tommy comes face to face with a harsh, brutal reality, which he scrambles to escape from.
But is it too late? Will Tommy find a way out? Will Granville ever be safe from Charge?
Find out in The Rise of the Chemist.
A short while after the events of book 1, we find Tommy is still trying to keep a normal life, but his friendship with Kristen has suffered from their meeting with Smiler and he is haunted by possible repercussions from the drug lord.
Despite Tommy striving for a normal teenage life, Detective Brightwell persuades him to try and infiltrate a gang to investigate who is supplying a new deadly drug called Charge as the police investigations have reached a dead end.
We see another side to Tommy, that despite everything in his life he is trying to have a normal childhood and enjoy himself. That is until he has to play a dangerous game, investigating the gang at Brightwell’s request. His relationship with his family is slightly better as both his mum and brother are trying to reduce their habits, and in this book we see more of his mum and brothers personality. I became quite fond of his brother as this book progressed. I do really feel for Tommy and all he has had to cope with in his young life, but he has a level of determination to do the right thing to be admired.
I suspected I knew how this story would play out, but right from the beginning I was surprised by the way this sequel twists and turns. I found I immersed myself in this book alot faster than book 1 as we had already met the characters before so I was quickly next Tommy watching over my shoulder for the reappearance of Smiler, dodging the awkward moments and trying to stay on the good side of a possible gang of drug dealers.
The storyline of book 2 knocked me for six, I cannot wait to see if there will be a book 3 and what will happen to Tommy next!
My name is Nathan Parker, a 32-year-old father of one from Blackpool, Lancashire. I’m recently married to my beautiful wife, Nadina, so beautiful in fact, let’s just say it’s a good job I have my sense of humour to rely on. Family has always been central to my universe, but since becoming a dad I feel as though life makes far more sense than it used to. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Sonny, my son who is 18 months old – watching him develop and learn brings me a joy I never thought was possible. With any luck, one child may become two – or more – as the years go by.
I’m proud of the fact I was born and raised, schooled and now live and work in sunny Blackpool. Despite its perception as a town with challenges – a perception which is accurate on many fronts – in my thirty-two years I have seen and experienced community, resilience, strength and good times in this town.
I am a Youth Worker by trade, graduating from Canterbury Christ Church University with a first-class BA honours degree in Youth Work and Community Learning and Development. For ten plus years I have worked alongside young people experiencing some of life’s toughest challenges and, although now working at a strategic level, I work hard to support and empower the young people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to create their own stories, with informed choices, broadening horizons and challenging inequality within the systems young people are bound.
My journey into writing began officially in 2017 when I was tasked with making a creative pledge to myself, to write it down and tell the workshop within which the task was set – which I’ve since learned meant I was 90% more likely to see it through… sneaky devils!
The pledge I set myself was to write a short story. Fast forward 12 months and I self-published my first novel; The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson, The First Book in the Granville Series. A fictional ‘anytown’ but certainly shaped from my knowledge of Blackpool.
The book enabled me to tell a story which was burning inside me; a tale inspired by personal and professional experiences told with realism through a world of fiction. My writing style is to take real life adversity, emotion and grit and weave it into stories filled with twists and turns, relatable characters and places which feel familiar to most.
I would say I’ve always loved to read, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth. I began my childhood as an avid reader, although it wasn’t the classics which hooked me in – ten year old Nathan was more of a Goosebumps fan. And I still read now; with a common, nightly routine of a few chapters before bed. My current read is Michael Connelly’s The Poet.
However, there was a huge void in my teens. A black hole within which books, reading and writing didn’t feature. School, Sports, Friendships, Hormones, whatever it was, I stopped reading and it wasn’t until my dad encouraged me to read again in my early twenties to help address a sleeping problem that I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird and fell in love with books all over again.
Truth is, I believe if the stories I write were available to fifteen-year-old me, I never would have stopped reading. I needed real life, I needed danger and I needed topical issues which explained life to me – adversity, relationships, risk and reward. This is what I strive for in my writing. I have been privileged in many ways in my life, but I have also seen and experienced challenges which I seek to harness and weave into my writing, so that one day a young reader may pick up my book and find connection, comfort or hope.
My debut novel The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson was shortlisted for Lancashire Book of the Year 2019, a feat which I am so very proud of.
The best part? The book prompted young people – young men in particular – to become passionate about reading. Am I the most qualified, technical writer in the world? Certainly not. But I believe my stories are raw, relatable and real and there is a gap in the young adult fiction market, which needs filling.
I’m currently working on the second book in the series and am enjoying working alongside schools, delivering talks and workshops to students looking at motivating the next generation to pick up a pen, or a book and allow their minds to wander.
Hello and welcome to our stop on Escape To America blog tour! Please scroll down for an excerpt.
On the surface, Escape from America is the story of an American aspiring to change his life and plan a future in China. Beneath the surface, however, this book features critical analysis of both countries in an effort to promote greater understanding.
China, in spite of its long history, is still a very “young” country where development is slow and unsteady. Sure, we from the “West” can say we’ve arrived—but have we really?
EFA is not anti-America, but rather is meant to educate and entertain readers who wish to truly “know” two of the world’s dominant superpowers, as well as provide powerful insight from someone approaching the subject from both a local and global perspective.
But that’s not all…
My “story within a story” is one that I believe can encourage you, whatever your background, to look more closely at your own home, your life, and take everything into account. Step back and ask yourself: Am I happy? Do I like what I see? What future goals might I wish to pursue?
Broadly speaking, for anyone who is not satisfied with the status quo and feels there are better ways forward, my book will inspire you.
III. Who Benefits?
As the author, I’m driven by a love of writing and sharing my thoughts. Certainly I want this book to sell and boost my profile as a serious writer. But that’s never been my driving purpose for doing this. My goal is to stimulate readers; to intrigue and try to enrich by satisfying their curiosity about America’s and China’s oft-misunderstood customs, and then ultimately, how does this correlate with their experience and their place in the world? If I’ve held strong to my purpose, then reading this book should be like a look into a double-sided mirror where at once, we see someone different staring back at us… yet we also see ourselves.
In following my typical writing style, EFA is a mix of concrete and color; in other words, I want to touch on topics serious enough to stimulate dialogue among readers and provoke further thought, but also keep things “light” enough so as to make the content more appealing and easier to process. It’s meant to span a variety of generations where schoolchildren and stuffed shirts alike can grab on to something and go “Hey, yeah he’s really struck a chord” or “It’s so simple I can’t believe we haven’t thought of it…” I don’t know, something like that, but you get my point! My favorite books, whether to do with rigid subjects such as stock investing or a how-to book for computer coding, gives the reader a chance to process and absorb the material, providing plenty of illustrative concepts and examples. And I love illustrative concepts and examples, if you couldn’t tell from our section headings by now. But fear not, you’ll still find plenty of plain text amongst my plain talk to help offset my overuse of imagery
Hello and welcome to our spot on the Crazy For You by Domhnall O’Donoghue. Please scroll down for an excerpt!
When Clooney Coyle promises Vonnie Gallagher they’ll be friends for life, he has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. The lonely and eccentric Vonnie quickly becomes obsessed with the kind-hearted but insecure actor, and her misguided crush soon develops into something much more sinister, which leaves Clooney’s career in tatters.
But when fate takes a strange turn and elevates the pair into an overnight celebrity couple, Clooney must decide whether to embrace the fame he has longed for since childhood or end the ridiculous charade before Vonnie’s jealous – and murderous – inclinations spiral out of control.
Prologue Clooney stormed the hotel corridor, scantily dressed in a white singlet and matching boxer briefs. He gripped a phone in place of the loaded gun that had scorched his hands moments earlier. If the stakes hadn’t been so high, the vainglorious thirty-seven-year-old might have paused his rescue mission and stolen a glance at his impressive, tanned physique in one of the gilded mirrors lining the walls on either side. He might even have chanced a selfie to excite Instagram – the moody lighting in the property was particularly flattering. ‘The more flesh the better!’ his millions of followers would often comment on his hourly posts. He’d always been happy to accommodate – just not now.
Clooney’s late grandmother was to blame for his love of expensive undergarments – how many times had she said, ‘Everyone should own good quality pants unless you want to be embarrassed in the morgue’? And the morgue was precisely where he feared he would soon end up.
What the near-naked actor lacked in actual body armour, he made up for in steely determination. Such was the intensity of the situation, he wasn’t even aware of the bestial grunts escaping his mouth. Thankfully, the exclusive ski resort was teeming with eccentric millionaires, all dab hands at behaving oddly; otherwise, Clooney would surely have received inquisitive glances – even been tackled to the ground by those fearful of terrorist attacks.
Ironic, given that the building’s only terrorist had fled moments earlier.
For now, nothing was going to prevent him protecting the woman he’d loved ever since he was in britches: the only person who had genuinely motivated him. Inspired him. Fascinated him. Never in his wildest dream had he imagined he would one day be responsible for averting her assassination; the world’s most famous person.
Yet here he was.
Breathless, Clooney reached the elevator and slammed the call button with as much energy as he could rally. As he waited, a disorientated lady waving a Bloody Mary slurred, ‘Nice bulge,’ before staggering past him, unconcerned that her potent vodka and tomato juice concoction was sullying the plush ivory carpet. On an average day, Clooney couldn’t resist a compliment. Today, with his laser-like focus on saving a life, her praise went over his pretty head. Frustrated that the elevator doors remained shut, he hit the button for a second then a third and fourth time.
‘Jesus Christ, would you open!’
A waiter, delivering breakfast to one of the bedrooms nearby, offered Clooney an apologetic shrug.
‘It is often busy in the morning,’ he said by way of explanation. ‘If you are in a rush –’
‘I am in a fuckin’ rush –’
‘Then you could always take the stairs. We’re only on the second floor.’
Without so much as a thank you, Clooney cleared the corner and sprinted down the stairwell, five steps at a time. He could hear the waiter shout after him – ‘Would it be possible to get an autograph?’ – a request that would have normally gladdened the heart of this world-famous ‘trailblazer’, as The New York Times had recently referred to him.
Again, not today.
How could you be so stupid, Clooney?
He felt his forehead moisten, briefly reminding him of those horrid periods earlier in his life when he’d battled social anxiety; his body publicly and embarrassingly unravelling at the first hint of awkwardness: sweating, blushing, stuttering.
Remember all those invitations you turned down? Locking yourself in your flat, too self-conscious and panicked to even greet the postman? Well, you should have stayed put, you absolute cad, and then all of this drama could have been avoided!
He finally reached the foyer. Guests sashayed across the marble floors en route to the restaurant to sample the local Alpine cuisine. How Clooney envied them: their most challenging decision that morning was choosing between a bowl of muesli and a sliver of schinkenspeck. Not that he could have entertained a morsel of food; in the past few moments, his stomach had become quite spirited, and he wanted to avoid discolouring his white underwear if possible.
As he hopped over a leather suitcase, cast aside by a new arrival too tired or too rich to position it out of harm’s way, he spotted her through the glass doors. Not the woman whose life he was trying to save but the woman – if you could even call her that – who was the cause of all these histrionics.
Vonnie. His nemesis.
Despite resembling the Michelin Man in her over-sized ski gear, her menacing presence was clearly evident. She briefly locked eyes with him and winked coquettishly before disappearing in the direction of the slopes. Clooney had always known that the fame and adulation he’d craved since childhood would come at a price. It seemed that this wench – the supposed love of his life – was hell-bent on making him pay.
Pay the ultimate price.
Hailing from Navan in the royal county of Meath, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT.
He now works as an actor and a journalist, dividing his time between Galway, where he films TG4’s award-winning series, Ros na Rún, Dublin and Venice, where he and his Italian lover continuously promise their well-worn livers that they will refrain from quaffing so much Prosecco. (Unfortunately, it seems some vows, just like nearby Rome, were not built in a day.)
Wine-drinking aside, for more than four years, Domhnall has also enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at Irish Tatler Man, a title whose various awards includes Consumer Magazine of the Year. Thanks to this role, he interviewed a host of high-profile names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Chris Pine, Kevin Spacey, David Gandy, and Jacques Villeneuve.
Domhnall has written for the majority of Ireland’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and RTE Online. He also writes a monthly column in Woman’s Way, the country’s biggest-selling weekly magazine.
His first novel, Sister Agatha: the World’s Oldest Serial Killer, was released in 2016 to critical acclaim (Tirgearr Publishing). His second book, Colin and the Concubine, was published earlier this year by Mercier Press, Ireland’s oldest publishing house. Book number three is called Crazy For You and will be published once again by Mercier Press in June 2020.
You can buy Crazy For You from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)
Hello, welcome to our spot on That Holiday In France blog tour!
Thank you very much to Sarah @ Book On The Bright Side and Rhoda Baxter for providing a copy of the book to [K].
The review below is 100% honest and all of her own views.
When Ellie’s boyfriend forbids her from going to France to attend her best friend’s wedding, she decides she’s had enough. She dumps him and goes to France by herself. But travelling alone is scary and Ellie realises how reliant she’d become on the men in her life. On holiday, she learns to trust her own judgement and grows in confidence. Just when she decides she doesn’t need a man to complete her, she meets Ash, who is everything her ex wasn’t. But is Ellie willing to give up her new found independence and link herself to another man?
– Friends to lovers
– Heroine asserting her independence
– Summer in France
– Tiny puddings
That Holiday In France is a standalone story set in the little Yorkshire village of Trewton Royd. Ideal for fans of Mhairi McFarlane or Sophie Kinsella.
When Ellie receives an invite to go to France for her best friend’s wedding, her boyfriend and father voice their disapproval. Resigning herself to not going Ellie tries to put it to the back of her mind, which doesn’t work. Finding that she cannot miss her best friend’s wedding, she split up with her dictating boyfriend and to her father’s dismay Ellie takes herself off to France, meeting another guest along the way to travel with.
This was a lovely heartwarming story about finding your own independence, the confidence in doing things that scare you, no matter how trivial they may seem and to never give up.
I loved Ellie’s character, how she evolved from deferring decisions to her boyfriend to finding the strength to do things on her own and find her own way in life and happiness. The other characters in this book were lovely and supportive of Ellie, apart from the cocky boyfriend who I found was too assertive of his own opinions for his own good.
I found I have already purchased book 1 in this series so I will be going back to the beginning so I can start the Trewton Royd series and meet all the characters properly.
Rhoda Baxter writes romantic comedies about strong heroines and nice-guy heroes. Having studied microbiology at university, Rhoda likes all things science geeky. She also loves cake, crochet and playing with Lego. She lives in Yorkshire with her young family and wishes she had more time to bake.
You can find out more about her (and get a free book by signing up to her newsletter) on her website www.rhodabaxter.com
Hello and welcome to our stop on the blog tour for Lost In Plain Sight by Alan Camrose! Please scroll down for our excerpt.
A Magic Circle wizard has been brutally killed on the English south coast.
Sam Franklin, Pagoda and Meyra are on the case; as a cat, Pagoda would rather get into the case and have a nap.
Sam’s a senior wizard who doesn’t want to follow in the dead man’s footsteps; Meyra’s still struggling to fit into our world.
They walk on and under the mean streets of Brighton, hunting the killer (and the missing body). They find a whole lot more: a murderous dark magic conspiracy preying on the poor and vulnerable in our society, a werewolf with exquisite dentistry, a goblin fatale and a sat-nav with serious personality issues.
This fur-raising adventure will introduce you to the dark corners of our world where magic works and the monsters often wear nicely tailored suits.
PAGODA CAT [allowing Sam the privilege of sharing her mind to experience her burglary]
The Commune begins.
The alleyway running behind the target. Sweep along it. Take in the oozing bin smells and the acrid spilt beer and ammonia.
A Dog. Careers from behind a rubbish bag, comes to a halt, teeth bared, low growl. Jack Russel? Terrier? More like a Pickandmix. Only one ear. Seriously? Do you want to keep that one? Thought so. Yes, that’s it: run away, little boy. A hiss. Just to make sure.
Back of the target building. No sound.
Switch into the embrace of Cat-time, each moment luxurious and plush.
Risk assessment. Tail setting: Cautious.
Squirm through a tight hole to get in. Take care not to ruffle any fur. The human cage…office…is cramped for humans, cavernous for me, the main shop visible through the connecting door. No humans in this room. No guard dogs. Perfect.
And close by?
The black-haired one with the orange split ends: Derek. In the front of the shop talking to an adult human devoid of fur. Humans all look the same, the only way to tell them apart is usually their fur. And how they smell. Derek now exudes spilled korma, adding to his earlier sandalwood; the other human a mixture of sweat and golden retriever. Nothing sinister about him, apart from the Reek of Dog.
No immediate danger. Ignore both.
Look around. Prioritise.
In the corner: there’s something. Food or potential food? Everything is one or the other. Tuna…skipjack…“Seriously Special” brand…Sniff. No more than six hours and seventeen minutes on the floor. Stored between two brown triangles. Must be a clue. Yum. It’s food. Not a clue. Glad that’s resolved. No need for fingerprint evidence.
Video camera mounted on the ceiling. Slowly whirring from side to side covering the front of the shop. Sit and watch it. Side to side, side to side, side to side, side to side…
No sign of a burglar alarm.
Something on the desk. A screen. Alert! There’s another smaller Derek. Here! Trapped in the screen! Talking to another furless human! Tail to Medium since they are only small. Why are there two Dereks and two furless humans? Why is one pair smaller? Is there no end to human trickery? The small ones copy the big ones. Better keep watch on all four. Tail back down to Cautious.
A dull grey tower against the wall with evenly spaced bars for humans to grip and pull so they will slide out. Intriguing, but human thumbs are required. Ignore.
A human litterbox in a small separate room. Marking their territory: a faint trace of something trying to be lemon, but mostly pure human den. Enough layers to keep feline historians busy for a loooong time. Fascinating but distracting: my pedigree etiquette would demand way too much self-grooming afterwards. I don’t have enough tongues…
Oooh! A roll of tape. All shiny and pretty. Potential food? Better chase it around, and – there you go – toss it up and attack it. Hah! Now, leave it alone. Leave it. Leave it. Wait for it. Wait…Re-trace steps up to it From A Completely Different Direction and then: Hah again! Victory!
Hold on, the front door is closing. The big and small shinyhead humans have both gone. Two Dereks left. Where’s that tape gone?
Uh-oh. Big Derek is coming. Getting bigger with every step. And the little one, also getting bigger. Seems to be climbing out of that screen.
Be even cuter, in case either notices. Prepare to widen eyes to Very Big Indeed. That usually works. And, as a precaution, set tail to Bushy and Menacing. Maybe leave the tape alone for now.
Time to go. Can’t fight both Dereks. Sidle away in orderly retreat. Out through that gap in the back wall. Into the alleyway. Stop and catch breath. Reset. Time to look unruffled and immaculate…Outstanding.
Has the Pickandmix come back for more? No? Splendid. (And slightly disappointing.)
Hungry now. Sleepy, too. So: all systems normal.
But must wait until back with Him. Us? It’s the deal.