#BlogTour | #BookReview | UTRECHT RAIN (UTRECHT MURDERS #2) by Jonathan Wilkins @WriterJWilkins (March 6th 2020) #UtrechtRain #UtrechtMurders @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Hello and welcome to our spot on the Utrecht Murders blog tour! Please scroll down for [K]’s review of Utrecht Rain:

Blurb:

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.

Publishing Information:

Published by lulu.com in paperback format on 17th March 2020

Review:

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!

[K]

Author Bio:

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.

Social Media:

Twitter | Website | Instagram

You can buy Utrecht Rain from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

Book Depository

Stay tuned for [K]’s review of Utrecht Snow, posted this morning, please click here

#BlogTour | #BookReview | UTRECHT SNOW (UTRECHT MURDERS #1) by Jonathan Wilkins @WriterJWilkins (March 6th 2020) #UtrechtSnow #UtrechtMurders @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Hello and welcome to our spot on the Utrecht Murders blog tour! Please scroll down for [K]’s review of Utrecht Snow:

Blurb:

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.

Publishing Information:

Published by lulu.com in paperback format on 6th March 2020

Review:

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!

[K]

Author Bio:

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.

Social Media:

Twitter | Website | Instagram

You can buy Utrecht Snow from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

Book Depository

Stay tuned for [K]’s review of Utrecht Rain which will appear this afternoon!

#Review | #BookReview | THOROUGHLY WHIPPED by Tillie Cole @tillie_cole (June 7th 2020) @ArdentPRose

Thank you very much to Ardent Prose and Tillie Cole for providing a copy of the book to *M*

The review below is 100% honest and all of her own views.

Summary:

I, Faith Parisi, love my life. I have the best job—resident sex-advice diva for Visage magazine—I have the best friends, and I live in the best city in the world. Things are pretty damn fabulous. That is, until Henry “Harry” Sinclair III comes crashing back into my world like a bad case of herpes.

I hate the way Harry’s lip curls in contempt whenever he sees me. I hate his bright blue eyes and those inexplicably offensive dimples. I hate his stuffy English accent and the stick that’s permanently jammed up his aristocratic ass. More than anything, I hate that he’s now my boss.

But my professional prospects start to look up when a chance at writing Visage’s big summer feature falls into my lap. Success won’t be easy. I’ll need to let go of all my inhibitions—not that I have that many of those—and jump, stiletto heels first, into a hedonistic new world. An exclusive, secretive world, filled with leather, latex, and Manhattan’s elite.

Pulling this off will take every ounce of daring I have, and every ounce of focus. I can’t afford to get distracted by anything, least of all my new boss, his arrogant mouth, or the way the ice between us seems to be slowly melting away…

Review:

This is my first venture into the work of Tillie Cole, after hearing rave reviews from *S* for Cole’s other work. 

And let me tell you, what a joy this was to read. From the start Cole creates characters that are completely real, intriguing and utterly beautiful in their flaws. 

Here we have two lead characters whose chemistry is undeniable and unique. A female lead who is every bit the independent, smart, sassy and beautiful heroine we didn’t know we wanted. Juxtaposed perfectly against the aristocratic, handsome, untouchable hero, who keeps our female lead on her toes. 

The clever storytelling and excellent character development mean that we instantly connect to this story and the characters. Cole has blended cultures, intertwined this with humour and sexual chemistry to create a very enjoyable read. 

Thoroughly Whipped lives up to the title, keeping the reader hooked, whipped into a reading frenzy, so that we cannot stop reading until the very satisfying end. 

Safe to safe, I loved every minute reading this story and cannot wait to read more work by this truly amazing author. 

*M*

You can buy Thoroughly Whipped from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

#BlogTour | #BookReview | THE PLACE WE CALL HOME by Faith Hogan @GerHogan (January 9th 2020) @BOTBSPublicity @Aria_Fiction

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.

Summary:

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.

Review:

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

[K]

Author Bio:

Author Faith Hogan with her dog Penny at her home in Ballina, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan

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!

You can find out more about Faith on her website

Social Media: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

You can buy The Place We Call Home from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

#Review | #BookReview | ROYAL PLAYER (ALL-STARS #1) by Katie McCoy (April 24th 2017)

Blurb:

Charlie Davenport is the bad boy of British sports – and third in line to the throne. 

He’s a beast on the courts, and a wild animal in bed (according to all the tabloids). Girls are lining up for chance at his crown jewels, and when I stumble into the wrong Wimbledon dressing room and catch a glimpse of his game, set, AND match, I can see why.

So what’s a little good luck kiss between f̶r̶i̶e̶n̶d̶s̶ strangers?

I know better than to get involved with a bad boy like Charlie. But now he’s on a winning streak, he thinks I’m his lucky charm – and you know what’s luckier than a kiss?

Everything.

Suddenly, I’ve got paparazzi on my trail, exes coming out of the woodwork — and you don’t know ‘cutthroat’ until you’ve seen a pack of hungry socialites set loose near the Royal Family.

I’m in way over my head, and even worse – I’m falling in love. Can this American girl win her Prince Charming? Or will we both crash out of the championships in flames?

Wimbledon-meets-The Prince and Me in this hilarious, sexy new rom-com from Katie McCoy!

Review:

As a new reader of this author I went into the novel Royal Player without any expectations and was pleasantly surprised.

Here we have a story of an unlikely couple, however one that holds a residency for readers in a time when an English royal falls in love with an American actress is in fact a reality. The roles of our leading characters aren’t too different from real life and we quickly establish a strong bond between the couple. 

The story flows smoothly, quick to get us from A to B. There is the standard rollercoaster that their positions in society hold, the ups and downs of new love, the belief that love really does conquer all. 

Overall this was a pleasant read, one that you can follow easy and forget about reality for a time. You like the characters, eager to see if they can work it all out for a happy ending. I’d recommend Royal Player to anyone who enjoys cocky, athletic men and sassy, independent women. Also, if you have a thing for Tennis players, this is will be a pleasure. 

*M*

You can buy Royal Player from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

Have you read Royal Player? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

#BlogTour | #BookReview | THE RISE OF THE CHEMIST (GRANVILLE SERIES #2) by Nathan Parker @parker_book (June 1st 2020) @BOTBSPublicity

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.

Blurb:

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. 

Review:

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!

[K]

Author Bio:

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.

Social Media:

Instagram | Twitter

You can buy The Rise Of The Chemist from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

To read [K]’s review of book 1 The Disappearance Of Timothy Dawson please click here

Don’t forget to visit the other bloggers on this tour for more fun stuff and reviews!

#Review | #BookReview | THE DISAPPEARANCE OF TIMOTHY DAWSON by Nathan Parker @parker_book (May 1st 2018) @BOTBSPublicity

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.

Blurb:

If you were searching for answers about the mysterious disappearance of your father, but were warned that pulling at that thread would put you in grave danger… would you pull at it anyway?

A turbulent seaside town holds a dark secret. Terror reigns in the form of drug king pin, Smiler, whose core business is to exploit the vulnerable. Hope is all but non existent.

Tommy Dawson has believed for most of his life that his dad, Timothy, ran out on him when he was just two years old, leaving him to grow up in survival mode with his mum and brother, who had become more focussed on their drug habits than his welfare.

That’s until information comes to light which suggests that his dad’s disappearance isn’t all it seems.

Tommy and his trusted sidekick, Kirsten, embark upon a quest to uncover the truth, taking them to the darkest corners of Granville and uncovering shocking secrets that will reveal the town’s disturbing underbelly.

The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson is a Young Adult fiction, with dark themes that expose sinister secrets. It takes place in a poor, forgotten seaside town in the north of England, called Granville-upon-sea, a place that was once glorious is now rife with drugs and poverty.

The story is a coming of age mystery, following the journey of Tommy, a likeable chap that’s been dealt an unfair hand in life. His mum and brother are addicts and he is left for the most part to fend for himself. The mystery of his father’s whereabouts hadn’t bothered him at all until, bit by bit, information surfaces suggesting maybe his dad didn’t just leave them after all. As the story unfurls, the plot takes a dark turn and Tommy, along with his friends, must face evil head on in order to expose the truth.

“A gritty mystery that’ll knock your socks off! Kept me guessing until the very end.”

“More twists and turns than a rollercoaster ride, the inherent danger keeps you wanting more!”

“Gripping, intense, sinister and mystifying!”

*Please note: story contains occasional explicit language and some adult themes with references to drugs and sexual abuse, but is without graphic detail.

Review:

Tommy hasn’t had the best upbringing, his father left the family when he was 2 years old and his mother and brother have devolved into drink and drug use to escape their reality. Despite his homelife he hasn’t followed the same path as either his father or mother, he makes sure he does well as school so he can have better opportunities growing up. But when information on his father appears Tommy cannot resist following up the information to find out why he left all those years ago.

When I received the offer to read and review this book I jumped at the chance as this sounded like a different read to my usual books and I was not disappointed.

I do always enjoy an YA book, but unlike other YA books this is not angsty teens, this is quite dark and gritty, which was a brilliantly different read. Just as I thought I had the storyline worked out, a curveball was thrown and my theories were shattered. 

I loved Tommy’s character that despite his situation in life he still wants to better himself rather than join his mum and brother whiling away their days in a alcohol and drug fuelled haze. Kirsten is his best friend and is not afraid to voice her opinion and stand up for herself. I thought the setting of this book was very different as it is set in a run down seaside town, once filled with tourists now unfortunately run down and rife with drugs and crime where Smiler rules on high.

With the way this story ended I cannot wait to pick up book 2 to see what will happen next with Tommy and Kristen.

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good crime thriller, whether you read YA or not pick this book up!

[K]

Author Bio:

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.

Social Media:

Instagram | Twitter

You can buy The Disappearance Of Timothy Dawson from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

#Review | #BookReview | HIS TRUE QUEEN by Jodi Ellen Malpas @JODIELLENMALPAS (August 7th 2018) @EverAfterRom

Blurb:

The breathtaking conclusion of The Smoke & Mirrors Duology.

A beautiful, defiant princess. A renowned, sinfully gorgeous Hollywood actor.

A love affair that is sure to rock the British Monarchy…and the world.

Their love affair began intensely and passionately. Princess Adeline and Josh Jameson knew any future together was impossible—her status as a princess and his standing as a Hollywood heartthrob dictated that. But the heights of pleasure they could take each other to were wildly unanticipated by them both. Josh’s absolute disregard for Adeline’s status quickly drew her into his hedonistic world. And her perfectly worn mask and false façade captivated Josh to the point of obsession. The boundaries became blurred. The physical became emotional. Their hearts became entwined.

But a cruel turn of events rips their worlds apart and Adeline is more bound than ever by the protocol and expectations her title commands. The army of royal advisors who guard the secrets and scandals of the Monarchy will go to unthinkable lengths to keep the smoke and mirrors in place…and Josh away from Adeline. She knows the power she possesses comes with agonizing sacrifices. Walking away from Josh devastates her…but it keeps him safe from the corrupt institution that has ruled her life.

Yet Josh refuses to lose the woman who has consumed him so completely, distorted his boundaries, and stripped him of all sensibility.

Will the power of the British Monarchy triumph? Or will their fierce love for each other change the course of history?

Review:

The second novel in Jodi Ellen Malpas’ Smoke and Mirrors duology is everything we have come to expect from this amazing author. A tale of two lovers, who are fighting against all the odds to be together. 

In true romance style the path to being together for our lead characters isn’t plain sailing, with everything stacked against them it’s hard for the reader to see how things might work out. JEM keeps us guessing, keeps us reading, eager to see what will be become of these two beautiful people. 

Once again you become invested in these characters, eager for Adeline and Josh to figure out their differences, see the damage being inflicted from around them and stand together to face it. Sure, in our minds we believe they can do, that they can face and overcome the adversity but with each turn of the page it becomes harder to see. 

The novel is another foray into the JEM world, another set of characters that you take into your heart and come to cherish. It took me a long time to bring myself to read the second and last book in this duet, but I am glad I picked this back up, thoroughly enjoying the read, I could not put the book down. 

Another JEM treasure has been added to the bookshelves, a shelf that is shaping up to hold some of my all-time favourites novels and one that I cannot wait to add to in the future. 

Here’s hoping Jodi Ellen Malpas never stops writing, we need her work in the world, her characters to devour and cherish. 

*M* 

You can buy His True Queen from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

To read *M*’s review of book 1, The Controversial Princess please click here

Have you read His True Queen? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

#BlogTour | #BookReview | THAT HOLIDAY IN FRANCE by Rhoda Baxter @rhodabaxter @BOTBSPublicity #ThatHolidayInFrance

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.

Blurb:

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.

Review:

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.

[K]

Author Bio:

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 

Social Media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

You can buy That Holiday In France from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

#BlogTour | #BookReview | THE PRICE by Kerry Kaya @KerryKayaWriter (June 1st 2020) @BOTBSPublicity #ThePrice

Hello, welcome to our spot on The Price blog tour!

Thank you very much to Sarah @ Book On The Bright Side and Kerry Kaya for providing a copy of the book to [K].

The review below is 100% honest and all of her own views.

Blurb:

For most of his life Fletch has looked out for his younger brother Spencer and he will do anything and everything he can to protect him. Together they work for notorious East End gangster Billy King. Across the water in South London is Billy’s rival George Bannerman and the two firms are locked in a bitter turf war.

Amid murder, drug deals, and rival firms, Fletch is harbouring his own secrets and it’s only a matter of time until those secrets are revealed, and when you break the rules you have to pay the price.  

Review:

Fletch and his brother Spencer have abit of a rough upbringing as children, till they meet Billy King. An East End Gangster who’s reputation proceeds him, who finds these boys could be a valuable asset to his firm.

When I first started this book I did wonder where the story would lead, would Fletch get drawn into the gangster underworld or use it as a means to and end to eventually escape? As the book progressed I was pleasantly surprised to where the story took me. I grew attached to Fletch’s character, his care of his brother and family. I found the gangsters Billy King and George proper gritty and violent London crime lords who ruled their turfs with iron fists and do not suffer failure well.

This was my first book by Kerry but I found this to have a cleverly written storyline and will definitely be reading more of her work soon

In this book we learn everything has a price.

[K]

Author Bio:

Kerry Kaya is a British gangland crime Author, born and raised on the outskirts of East London.

She is an avid reader and has a passion for books. From an early age she began writing stories, and in her later years those stories went on to become full length novels and novellas. 

Kerry lives with her partner and Daughter.  

Social Media:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

You can buy The Price from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)