So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for So Lucky today and I am thrilled to be sharing my thoughts with you!

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Synopsis

Fearless, frank and for anyone who’s ever doubted themselves, So Lucky is the straight-talking new novel from the Sunday Timesbestseller.

IS ANYONE’S LIFE . . .

Beth shows that women really can have it all.
Ruby lives life by her own rules.
And then there’s Lauren, living the dream.

AS PERFECT AS IT LOOKS?

Beth hasn’t had sex in a year.
Ruby feels like she’s failing.
Lauren’s happiness is fake news.

And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out…

The bold and brilliant new novel from Dawn O’Porter, the bestselling author of The Cows.

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My Thoughts

What a book! I’ve been looking forward to reading So Lucky for a while and I haven’t been disappointed; I lost count of the number of times I snorted out loud with laughter whilst turning the pages!

Accurate to a tee; So Lucky is a searingly relevant read.  I found myself continually nodding in agreement as I read about Beth, Ruby and Lauren.  It’s fiendishly funny yet thought provoking in terms of the perception we have of ourselves, and SO full of sass!

This book oozes power with its cast of three fantastic women, and their stories were both honest and touching, producing a compelling tale which is absolutely made for binge reading.

I found So Lucky to be hilariously addictive and scintillatingly smutty! Bravely bearing filth on almost every page  – this book is not for the prudish!

So Lucky is wickedly witty, side-splittingly funny and deliciously dirty; a joyous romp of a book which will be enjoyed by many.

So Lucky is out now in hardcover and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Elizabeth Dawson of Harper Collins UK for my stunning finished copy and also for the invitation to the tour.  If you enjoyed my post, please do check out my others and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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Haverscroft by S.A. Harris

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for Haverscroft by S.A. Harris today, and I am thrilled to be sharing an original piece of writing from the author with you!

Whilst I wont be reviewing Haverscroft for this tour, I am currently reading itand let me tell you – it is spooktacular!  Harris has a real knack for ramping up the tension and as I was furiously turning the pages late into last night, my nerves were wound up so tightly I almost felt as if I I could snap!  This book is brilliantly jumpy and I cant wait to get back to it!

Sally has very kindly written an original piece for my blog, talking about the first three month after the publication of Haverscroft, but before we get to that, here’s the synopsis.

Synopsis

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

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Author Post

Haverscroft – The First Three Months.

Theres a hell of a lot they dont tell you about being published. The learning curve for me, in the three months following Haverscrofts publication, was a steep one.

I knew about book launches and signings so I happily arranged one. In Norwich where I live, we are lucky to have an independent department store called Jarrolds. It has a fabulous book section in the cosy basement and they kindly agreed to host Haverscrofts launch on the day after publication. The evening went with a swing. Friends and family came, as did Jen and Chris Hamilton-Emery from Salt Publishing. Books got sold, in fact, the store sold out.

After that, I had a couple of events on the horizon. And I had been quietly ignoring the scary business of reviews. The first week went by without too much excitement; flowers arrived from Salt, work colleagues expressed surprise that I wrote fiction, and friends were astonished I had a book out there. Then the blog tour got underway.

I confess I had never heard of such a thing until about ten days before publication. Google told me all I needed to know after I read the email from Salts publicist, Emma saying the tour would last just over a week. No need to go anywhere it turns out, a great relief as our youngest was smack in the middle of GCSEs. I dusted off the Twitter account Id had for three to four years, rather a dormant thing I eyed with suspicion and wondered what the point of it was. Now, suddenly, I needed to follow this blog tour, respond to posts, and, if I could manage it, tweet a bit myself. My three teenage children couldnt disguise their sniggers – mum, on social media – really?

The tour kicked off on a Monday morning. I was working that day and was stuck in a meeting without any internet connection. Why is it things always turn out this way? I snuck off to the ladies halfway through the session only to find no signal there either. Tweets were not loading. So it was well past 1pm before I finally escaped to get some lunch and got to look at my phone. I found a quiet bench and checked my Twitter feed. The book blogger had posted a lengthy review a few hours before, a string of responses and retweets tailed off it. Word was out, my novel was trash.

I read the review, then read it again and again. A man sitting on an adjacent bench probably thought Id suffered some tragedy or disaster I was crying so hard. My mobile shook badly in my hand, it was near impossible to follow the words on the screen. I could hardly believe it, she hadnt just enjoyed my novel, she loved it.

Reviews came in thick and fast, some from the tour, others from readers quick off the mark with a new title on the loose. I was, and still am, in awe of the love and support Haverscroft has enjoyed. The inevitable poor review or two crept in but generally got washed away on the wave of positivity. So I got to grips with Twitter and enjoyed the banter online. I even opened an Instagram account.

Next came requests to write articles, answer Q&As, take calls from local Radio stations in my lunch hour. Much to my relief, there have been no TV appearances, they would have been good a decade or two ago, but perhaps, not now.

Some of the highlights have been; attending a panel event with other Salt Writers to celebrate 20 years of Salt, being invited to read at a fellow writers book launch on a floating bookshop, and having my very first short story published in the Norfolk Magazine – Im a novelist so that was potential for disaster! Currently my walk to work each day is a joy, gazing into Norwich Waterstones window for the last month at my novel there beside so many other amazing titles never fails to lift my mood.

So whats next? An event later this month with Sarah Perry in conversation about The Art of  the Gothic and visits to local libraries and bookshops in the run-up to Christmas. And few bookish things are creeping into the diary for 2020.

Above all though, I need to deal with the BIG question – when is book two coming out? And that is a very good question. So Ill sign off here and get writing as no book ever wrote itself.

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Haverscroft is out now in paperback and ebook format and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Emma Dowson and Salt Publishing for the invitation to the tour and my gorgeous finished copy and not forgetting Sally Harris for not only writing this wonderful piece but goading me on Twitter whilst I scare myself reading Haverscroft – it is much appreciated, I think (!).

If you enjoyed my post, please do check out my others and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox today, and I am thrilled to be sharing an extract with you!

 

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Synopsis

A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of murder. Who can save Pale Harbour from itself?

1846. Desperate to escape the ghosts of his past, Gabriel Stone takes a position as a minister in the remote Pale Harbour, but not all is as it seems in the sleepy town.

As soon as Gabriel steps foot in town, he can’t escape the rumours about the mysterious Sophy Carver, a young widow who lives in the eerie Castle Carver: whispers that she killed her husband, mutterings that she might even be a witch.

But as strange, unsettling events escalate into murder, Gabriel finds himself falling under Sophy’s spell. As clues start to point to Sophy as the next victim, Gabriel realises he must find answers before anyone else turns up dead.

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Extract

This was the fourth dead raven to appear on Sophronia Carver’s front path in as many weeks, and there was no explaining it away as coincidence this time.
Except that this one wasn’t dead, not quite.
Sophronia had never killed a living creature before, but as she stared down at the raven and its crooked, twitching wings on her front path, she got the queasy feeling that the most hu- mane course of action might be to snap the poor thing’s neck.  

Tugging her shawl tighter against the chill, salty air, she crouched down to peer at the bird. Its feathers were blue and black—darker even than her own inky hair—and as irides- cent as the ocean on a moonless night. The bird stared back at her, unmoving except for the slow blink of its glassy eye. She wanted very much to reach out a finger and stroke its slick feathers, but that somehow felt like a breach of confidence, like telling a secret that did not belong to her.

“Helen?” she called, without tearing her gaze away from the bird.

“Helen, come quickly.”

Slowly rising to her feet, she gazed about the estate grounds and craned her neck to squint at the roof of the great old house, silhouetted against the heavy clouds. Perhaps the bird had fallen from the eaves. Or perhaps Duchess had felled it, though the old cat could barely bring down a mouse. That at least would explain how it had come to be lain so carefully across the center of the front path, as if it were some sort of pagan offering.

When Sophronia had come across the first dead raven, she had assumed it had been the victim of some sort of sickness, or perhaps weakened by storm winds. The next two she had likewise justified, but with a growing sense of uneasiness.

A prickle of cold blossomed down her spine as she realized that she could no longer dismiss the dead and injured birds. Someone—or something—was leaving them for her to find.

She stiffened, with a darting glance about her, as if someone might be lurking just beyond the broad lawn or out past the gate, watching her. But there was no one—the only movement the breeze through the flaming autumn trees, the only sound the faraway cry of a gull.

The path was supposed to be Safe. The entire grounds of the estate were supposed to be Safe. It was only out past the wrought-iron gate and into the town beyond that chaos and uncertainty reigned. Better to stay inside the grounds, where she had control. Sophronia had long ago learned to push all the bad memories and specters out of the house and into the world beyond, firmly shutting her heart and mind against them. So to see a creature in distress, so close to death—well, that was not Safe.

“Helen?” Sophronia called, louder this time, her voice car- rying up the path to where the front door stood open. A mo- ment later, a pale woman of about forty, her dark hair pulled severely back from her face, appeared in the doorway. She frowned at the sight of her mistress standing over the bird.

“Duchess must have caught it,” Sophronia said with a shake of her head as the woman stepped briskly over to where she was standing.

Helen gave her a skeptical look, and then leaned down to examine the bird for herself. “Duchess couldn’t catch her own tail,” she said, scorn edging her husky voice. “It’s the town brats making trouble again, I’d wager.”

Sophronia pressed her lips together tightly. They’d certainly had their share of children from the town coming up to the house, peeking through the windows and knocking at the door, all so that they could earn the distinction among their friends for glimpsing the infamous widow.

Suddenly, it was too unbearable to look at the exposed and broken bird a moment longer. Sophronia might have called for Garrett, the groundskeeper, but he was out on the far end of the property, cutting back the grass. Helen was capable and strong, though, and had a way with animals. “You’ll try to save it, won’t you? And if you can’t, you’ll make it…” Her words trailed off, but her meaning was unmistakable. Quick.

Carefully, Helen positioned her hands under the motionless bird, holding it slightly away from her as she lifted it. She ran a practiced hand along its wings, her dark brows furrowing in a mixture of concern and anger, as if the cruelty of human- kind never ceased to surprise her. “Wings are both broken. And there’s something wrong with its foot.” But then she caught Sophronia’s anxious look and softened. “I’ll see what I can do, Sophy.”

Sophronia gave her a warm smile and watched Helen whisk the raven off to the carriage house, her movements brisk and efficient, her posture as neat as a pin. She had taken Helen on as a servant and companion during her early days as a lonely young bride, but over the years, the older woman had proved herself to be a true friend in every sense. Now it was just the two of them against the world, as Helen was so often wont to remind her.

The first raindrops were starting to fall when Sophronia fi- nally allowed herself to stop thinking of the crooked bird and what it might mean and return indoors. Before the thump of the raven landing on the path had startled her from her rev- erie, Sophronia had been watching the storm roll in upstairs. Her late husband had always pompously referred to the large room lined with bay windows as the “upper piazza,” taking the big old house’s name, Castle Carver, to heart. Sophronia liked to watch storms approach from there; it was a sort of en- tertainment, drawing back the curtains like those in a theater, the harbor and endless gray sky a stage on which the rowdy gulls acted their plays.

She wandered through the house, unsettled. There were submissions to her late husband’s magazine piling up, submis- sions for which she was now responsible. Usually she enjoyed curling up in the parlor, tucked under a warm quilt with a cup of tea as she read through the stories and essays, curat- ing which ones she would send along to the board for publi- cation. But the raven had rattled her, and Sophronia was too anxious to read.

Instead, she continued back upstairs and threw the win- dows open. The rain was picking up now, the clouds building into something even heavier and more expectant. There was no moment so promising, so exciting, as the moment be- fore a storm broke. Living on the Maine harbor, with naught but a finger of land to separate her home from the gray At- lantic, she had the opportunity to witness many storms, all from the safety of her window. On clear days, she could see the old lighthouse jutting out on the rocky promontory outside of town, winking back at her from its empty windows, an ally in her solitude. In the other direction lay a lonesome expanse of trees, dark and wild. It was a deceptively beautiful landscape, the sheer scale of woods and ocean promising end- less possibilities, but in reality, it only swallowed up the hopes and dreams of young brides. At least on stormy days, the mist softened the harsh realities of the world, cloaked its darkness.

But today’s storm was different; she could feel it reverberating in her bones. Perhaps the raven had been a harbinger of things to come, an omen. Or perhaps it was just as Helen said—children from the town playing their cruel tricks on her, just like they had for years since her husband had died so violently and suddenly.

Sophronia sighed, drumming her fingers against the windowsill. God, she was so weary of it all. Weary of the solitude, weary of the little town, its people and their narrow minds, weary of the shell she had become. Tonight, she and Helen would eat a small supper in silence—they had few words left to say that weren’t old and stale, used up over the years—and then they would sit in the parlor, play a game of cards, and perhaps Sophronia would read a book or philosophical pamphlet while Helen plucked away at the old pianoforte. Tomor- row the laundry girl, Fanny, would come, and hopefully bring some gossip or news with her. They would chat for a little, and then Fanny would leave, and stillness would settle back over the house. It would be the same as every other day, but monotony was the price of safety. If the grand old house was indeed a castle, then Sophronia was its ghost, forever trapped, restless and roaming the halls.

She leaned out to close the window, but paused, letting the wind sweep up around her in an invigorating embrace. The building energy of the storm electrified her bones and caused tears to prick her eyes. Yes, there was something different about this storm. Change was sweeping toward Pale Harbor, and God knew, she needed it.

Sounds like a whole lot of gothic goodness to me!  The Widow of Pale Harbour is out now in paperback and ebook format and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Jessica Lee and HQ Stories for the invitation to the tour and my gorgeous finished copy.  If you enjoyed my post, please do check out my others and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

Welcome to my stop on the #blogtour for The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey.  This fabulous book has been on my radar for an age and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to read and review it.

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Synopsis

1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them.

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself.  When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last.

But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules.  By the end of that summer everything has changed.

A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.

My Thoughts

First of all can we just take a moment to appreciate this stunning front cover!  I’d be lying if I said the eye-catching artwork adorning the sleeve wasn’t one of the reasons I was initially drawn to this book!  It is simply gorgeous!

I was truly lost for words when I finished it because his book is quite simply: magnificent.  I became very quickly immersed in this shimmering show of a story, with it’s beautifully written, deep, meaningful and elegantly flowing prose.  I was dazzled by Grey’s spectacular story telling and floored by how magical this book is.

It was hard not to be spellbound by the sparkling Selina (the main protagonist) and I was taken by both her and her heart-achingly beautiful story.  Her surrounding cast were equally as vivid and all were lustrously illuminated by Grey’s sumptuous style of writing.

The Glittering Hour is one of those rare books that left me feeling utterly bereft when it ended.  It is one to be savoured and indulged in and I didn’t want to end.  It is an epic tale, and the pages ooze pure, unadulterated joy.

Delicious, dazzling and truly spectacular; this book is everything and everyone should read it.

The Glittering Hour is out now in paperback and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for my invitation to the #blogtour and also to Rebecca McCarthy of Simon & Schuster for my beautiful hardcover in exchange for my honest review.  If you enjoyed my post, please do check out my others, and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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The Family by Louise Jensen

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for The Family by Louise Jenson today, and I am thrilled to be sharing an extract with you!

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Synopsis

ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

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Extract

Part One: The Cause

Chapter One
Before LAURA
Fears. We all have them. That creeping unease. An aversion to something. For me it’s spiders. It stemmed from a nature documentary years before about the black weaver, a matriphagous breed that switches on her babies’ cannibalistic instinct by encouraging her spiderlings to devour her. Unable to tear myself away, I had watched through splayed fingers as the mother circled her lair, tapping and vibrating the web, stimulating her young’s primal instinct until they attacked her in a frenzied swarm. Hundreds of scuttling legs. Sinking fangs. The sound of the adult being consumed after venom had dissolved her from the inside out had stayed with me. What possessed a mother to sacrifice herself like that? How could her children turn on her? Of course that was long before I was a parent.

The instant I saw Tilly, tiny hands fisted, eyes squinting in the unaccustomed light, I plunged headfirst into a love that was absolute. A fierce desire as her mother to shield her from the world however I could. And she needed shielding. I knew how damaging it could be out there.
I had been damaged.

That morning though I had no idea how I was going to shelter her from the contents of the letter. As I drove towards school, I tightened my grip on the steering wheel as if it might somehow stop the sense of everything spinning out of my control. It didn’t.

What was I going to do?

I slotted my rusting Volvo between two shiny 4x4s. Hordes of kids traipsed past the car, spines curved under the weight of the books they carried, dragging their feet towards the black wrought-iron gates. I rubbed my temples, trying to dispel the pounding behind my eyes.

‘Do I have to go back to school, Mum?’

I heard the sadness in her voice. I heard it in my own as I said, ‘It’s been six weeks, Tilly.’ As though that was long enough to make everything right.
It wasn’t.

She wasn’t coping well. Neither was I but, for her, I pretended we’d get through it. We’d be okay. Even if I didn’t know how. ‘We talked about this,’ I said, but not unkindly. ‘It was your idea to come back on a Friday. Ease yourself into it. It’s one day, Tilly.’

She tucked her unruly dark hair behind her ears as she looked
anxiously out of the window. Her face looked smaller, skin ashen, black bags nestled beneath bloodshot eyes. She’d refused the offer of counselling, spending so much of her time shut away in her room that now, being outside was overwhelming.

‘You’ve already so much to catch up on but if you really can’t face it I won’t make you. You can come and help me in the shop instead. It’s time to try to re-join the world.’ I spoke slowly, deliberately, although each word was rough, grazing my tongue. Our Family Liaison Officer had said it was best to forge a routine, a semblance of normality, but was it? Sometimes being a parent was torturous. Spinning in circles like a bird with a broken wing. But Tilly was studying for A Levels. It was such an important year. Besides, at school she’d be with Rhianon and, although I knew the cousins were no longer inseparable, I hoped that away from the family drama they could begin to heal.

God knows, we all needed to heal.

Fine.’

It was dizzying how quickly she pinballed between sadness and anger, but I knew it was all part of the hard ball of grief that ricocheted inside her.

She flung open the car door. A lengthy sigh escaping the mouth that no longer smiled.

‘Wait,’ I called, snatching her lunch from the backseat. ‘If it becomes too much you can always ring me.’ She snatched the Tupperware from my hands, her expression as hardened as the plastic.

‘Try to have a good—’ The slam of the car door sliced my sentence in two. ‘Day.’ A constriction in my throat prevented me calling her back. What could I have said to make things right? She stalked away without a backwards glance, swamped by her black winter coat, which snapped at her ankles as she walked. Weight had fallen off her. Again, I had found her half-eaten breakfast dumped in the bin. On top of the browning banana skin, a smattering of Rice Krispies ground to dust where she had crushed them with her spoon. She never could stand milk.

She stooped as she crossed the road without waiting for the green man, the weight of both her rucksack and the world on her shoulders. I contemplated calling her back but I knew she couldn’t hide away forever. If she rang me I could be back there within fifteen minutes, no time at all, but I knew sometimes even sixty seconds could feel like an eternity. The desire to protect her, in the way I hadn’t been protected at her age, to whisk her away for a fresh start, was fierce and stabbing, but after that morning’s post, it seemed more out of reach than ever.

Tilly merged with the throng of children crunching over the autumn orange leaves that carpeted the pavement. I was reminded of the times Gavan and I would tramp though the forest searching for gleaming conkers, a wellington-booted Tilly nestled between us, her small gloved hands in ours. The smell of moss and earth. It was still so clear to me, the joy of it.

One, two, three, lift! We’d swing her back and forth as she clung on like a baby monkey, her infectious giggles making Gavan and I laugh. Even when she grew too tall, too heavy, she’d raise her knees to her chest to prevent her feet dragging on the floor, as if she couldn’t quite accept how big she’d grown. I watched her as she stamped up the drab grey steps, finding it hard to equate the carefree, smiling child of seemingly five minutes ago with this solemn seventeen-year-old. She was a young woman now, lost to me, almost. The days of being able to make everything in her world right again with a mug of hot chocolate and a cuddle were long gone, and I longed to have them back.

The Special Constable with the patchy beard and straggly ponytail, who patrolled the secondary school at 8.45 and 3.15 every day with a ferocity that would put a lioness guarding cubs to shame, half-ran towards me. My rational self knew that he was going to tell me off for parking in the wrong place, but still, my hands were shaking as I released the handbrake. Each time I saw a police uniform it evoked such a physical response, sickness rising like a serpent. I zoomed off the yellow lines before he reached the car, and it wasn’t until he disappeared from sight in my rear-view mirror that my breathing began to slow.

I would always associate the police with bad news.

With endless, endless questions.

Sometimes it all blended into a swirling, solid mass. The
past. The present. Impossible to separate.

The fear has never really left me. Recurrently concealing
itself in the layer between skin and flesh, waiting patiently for another trigger. The chance to attack.

I can’t remember.

And sometimes, consciously, I couldn’t remember. The lie became my truth. The pressure in my head insufferable.

Then, shadowed by night, the bony fingers of the past would drag me back and I would kick and scream before I’d wake. Duvet crumpled on the floor. Pyjamas drenched in sweat. And alone.

Always alone.

The scar on my forehead throbbed a reminder of my helplessness.
Thoughts of the letter filled my mind once more as I drove towards work.

What was I going to do?

Well I don’t know about you but that piece of writing has certainly sent a shiver down my spine!  The Family is out now in paperback and ebook format and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Jessica Lee and HQ Stories for the invitation to the tour and my gorgeous finished copy.  If you enjoyed my post, please do check out my others and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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Overdrawn by NJ Crosskey

Welcome to my stop on the #blogtour for Overdrawn by NJ Crosskey!  This is slightly later than anticipated because I have been prepping for a #giveaway on my bookstagram account (@mrscookesbooks) in conjunction with my post.  Head on over there after reading my review for a chance to win a finished copy of the book!

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Synopsis

Henry Morris is watching his wife slip away from him. In an ageist society, where euthanasia is encouraged as a patriotic act, dementia is no longer tolerated.

Kaitlyn, a young waitress, is desperate for the funds to keep her brother’s life support machine switched on.

When a chance encounter brings the two together, they embark on an unconventional business arrangement that will force them to confront their prejudices, as well as their deepest, darkest secrets.

Crosskey combines the social commentary of classic dystopian works such as 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale with the contemporary style of unreliable narration found in recent hits Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train.

My Thoughts

I was so excited to be invited on the blogtour for Overdrawn as I LOVE dystopian fiction, and this little gem of a book did not disappoint!  Overdrawn is punchy and pacy, yet packed with heart and tender relationships;  I became emotionally invested from the very beginning.

On the face of it, the whole premise of Overdrawn seems completely bonkers; yet the terrifying fact is that it is totally believable and utterly plausible.  I yo-yo’d through a range of emotions as I turned the pages of Overdrawn; but the one that struck me most was the horror at the macabre “Moving-On” parties (arranged for when people thought that they had become too much of a burden to society).  The forced gaiety was almost too much to bear!

I was enraptured by Overdrawn; totally sucked in and consumed by the story of Henry and Kaitlyn, yet simultaneously stupefied and gobsmacked by Crosskey’s clever and captivating tale.

When I finished Overdrawn I could hear my heart hammering in my chest and reverberating in my ears: What. A. Ride.  This politically charged, dystopian drama was both thought-provoking and heart-breaking and left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth.  I look forward to whatever stroke of genius Crosskey offers up next, but in the meantime I’ll be buying her first book; Poster Boy.

Overdrawn is out now in paperback and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Lucy Chamberlain of Legend Press for my invitation to the #blogtour and also for my eye-catching, proof copy in exchange for my honest review (together with a finished copy which will be the prize on my bookstagram giveaway running all of this week!).  If you enjoyed my post, please do check out my others, and also the other stops on this mammoth #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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Deadly Dance by Hilary Bonner

It’s my stop on the #blogtour for Deadly Dance by Hilary Bonner today, and I am thrilled to be sharing a blogpost written by the author herself, with you!

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Synopsis

This compelling novel of psychological suspense is the first in an intriguing new series featuring Bristol detective, DI David Vogel.

DI David Vogel is first on the scene when Melanie Cooke’s bruised and strangled body is discovered in Bristol’s red-light district. The evidence points to Melanie’s father being the killer, but Vogel’s on edge. The quick arrest is too easy, too straightforward.

When two new murders are reported, Vogel’s team broaden the search: new evidence suggests that there are three different, disturbed criminals. Any one of them could have killed Melanie, but which one did? Vogel’s team inch towards the answer, never suspecting that the killer is watching them too, waiting for his moment to strike.

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Written by Hilary Bonner

Ideas – and where they come from

I was given the idea for Deadly Dance by my chum Chris, over dinner in our favourite restaurant. As he spoke the hairs on the back of my neck began to stand up. I just knew this was a book I had to write, and I started later that night.

The story begins like many other crime novels. But, after being called to the scene of a diabolical murder, my new series detective, DI David Vogel, finds himself tracking an invisible man. In this book nothing is as it seems..

I reckon the concept of Deadly Dance is the most chilling, the most original, and certainly the most complex, I have ever attempted. I have chum Chris to thank for it entirely. And this is the only time I have ever been given an idea in this way by a third party.

More usually my books are inspired by real life events, sometimes just a news item I have encountered, and sometimes a first-hand experience.

Most disturbingly of all, in the 1980s I lived by the river in West London next door to a real life murderer. I didn’t know it at the time, but John Allen, then my friend as well as my neighbour, was in 2003 found guilty of the murder of his wife and two children 27 years previously. And his story became the inspiration behind my novel When The Dead Cry Out

No Reason to Die, probably the most controversial of my books, wasinspired by the notorious series of unexplained deaths at Deepcut Barracks and elsewhere within the British Army. The families of several of the dead soldiers kindly placed their trust in me and worked with me in order to produce a complex conspiracy theory which, while presented as fiction, some of them believed might have come uncannily close to the truth. The Times described me as ‘keeping on the public agenda the stories our masters would prefer buried.’ As a former Fleet Street journalist I was deeply flattered.

Death Comes First was inspired by a the tragic death of my nephew Adam Broadbent at the age of 43. In the book the central character receives a letter from her dead husband, written just a few days before he was lost at sea. This throws her entire life into disarray, and sets in motion a catastrophic sequence of events. My partner Amanda and I received a letter from Adam after his death, written just before he died and posted on to us by his wife. It was addressed ‘to my two dotty aunts.’ There were no catastrophic consequences, but neither of us will ever forget that letter and the impact it had on us.

One way and another, I never really find ideas a problem. They seem to present themselves. After all, they are all around us. Within our families, our friendships, our day to day encounters with strangers, and all over the media, in newspapers, on TV, and, of course, on line.

It’s making ideas work throughout the long winding course of a novel that is difficult – and it never gets any easier!

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What a fascinating insight into the mind of an author! Deadly Dance is out now in paperback and you can buy it here

My thanks go to Jamie Norman and Blackthorn Books for the invitation to the tour and my gorgeous finished copy.  Thank you also to Hilary for writing a piece for my blog!! If you enjoyed my post, please do check out my others and also the other stops on the #blogtour (see below).

Until next time!

@mrscookesbooks

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