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November 2018

**COVER REVEAL** Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend

Today, it is my pleasure to be one of the blogs taking part in the cover reveal for Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend which will be published by Wild Pressed Books in 2019. Tracey is the author of The Last Time We Saw Marion, Of His Bones, The Eliza Doll and Another Rebecca.

The Blurb

Lauren Wilson is travelling by ferry to the Outer Hebrides, about to begin a new job as a social worker with the Island’s youth. She’s also struggling to come to terms with a catastrophic event. When somebody sits opposite her at the cafeteria table, she refuses
to look up, annoyed at having her privacy disturbed. But a hand is pushing a mug of tea towards her, and a livid scar on the back of the hand releases a flood of memories…

Some people believe in the existence of a parallel universe. Does Lauren have a retrospective choice about the outcome of her terrible recent accident, or is it the bearer of that much older scar who has the power to decide what happens to her life now?

Set mainly in the Outer Hebrides and Edinburgh from the 1980s to the present, Sea Babies is a potent, emotional psychological drama that explores the harder aspects of relationships, as well as the idea of choice, responsibility and the refugee in all of us.

The Cover

What an evocative cover it is! I love the sleeping baby amidst the waves – very intriguing!

With thanks to Kelly from Love Books Group for organising the cover reveal and to Wild Pressed Books for providing the content.


The Prodigal Sister by David Field

When the body of a woman is found on the railway tracks, the police initially think it is a case of suicide. When Detective Jack Enright and his uncle Percy discover the true identity of the women, however, they soon realise that all is not what they first assume. Suspecting murder, they need to get close to her family in order to find out the truth, so Jack’s wife, Esther, is tasked to go undercover, putting herself in danger in the process…

The Prodigal Sister is the third book in the Esther & Jack Enright mystery series, and we see the home circumstances of our heroes have changed dramatically. Now married with a young child, Esther isn’t really used to staying at home and so is not completely against the idea of going undercover, even if it could prove to be dangerous. Esther’s role does, indeed, prove to be pivotal in smoking out the killer, even if it is as a result of some rather unorthodox police tactics!

We discover quite early on who the killer is, as they are identified quickly by Jack and his superior officer uncle, Percy. The fun in this book then isn’t ‘whodunnit’, but in seeing the lengths the police (and Esther) will go to in order to secure a confession.    The methods they used place this book very definitely in the Victorian era and helped to provide a snapshot of the psyche of a lot of people of that time.

This is a great series, ideal for anyone who enjoys historical crime fiction, and I’m already looking forward to reading the next one.

Previous books in the series:

The Gaslight Stalker

The Night Caller


**BLOG TOUR** Who I Am by Sarah Simpson

I am really pleased to be the latest stop on the tour for the new book from Sarah Simpson, Who I Am. Described as ‘gripping, unputdownable and packed with twists and turns’, it was published by Aria on November 6th. I have an extract to share with you today.

Andi met Camilla at university. Instantly best friends, they shared everything together. Until their long-planned graduation celebration ends in tragedy…

Years later, Andi is living a seemingly perfect life on the rugged Cornish Coast with her loving husband, happy children and dream home. Yet Andi is haunted by a secret she thought only she knew.

Someone out there is bringing Andi’s deepest fears to life. And she knows there’s no escaping the past that has come back to haunt her…

You trusted me with your secrets, you told me everything, you thought I was your best friend… but you have no idea WHO I AM.

Edinburgh, December 1999


One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, steps to my proposed life. I pause, poised at the top, absorbing the moment. Breathing deeply through my nose, drowning in pure grandeur.

Finally, I have arrived. Do you see me now? Do you?

Six ridged Corinthian columns stand to attention beside me to mark the occasion. Listen to me, will you. These columns are swathed in Christmas foliage, supporting the ancient Greek style roof. So this is how they live, not bad, not bad at all. And no longer do I peer in through the window from outside, in the cold, I’m as good as inside, where I belong. Such stunning decadence, I hear myself think – impressed I am, a mere footstep separating us. Gathering my poise, clutching it tight, I sashay through the reflective entrance. Appreciating the expression of upmost respect from the suited and booted doormen. I feel so good, no not good, more – worthy, so right, so me.

Smarting feet in frivolously high sandals, guide each wincing tread. So imperative to gain the extra inches to grace my dress, a bargain from TK Maxx, last year’s – yes, but stinking of affluence. Filthy dirty expense, only what I should have had, if I hadn’t been born to two losers. I mean, other than my bank balance, what do these people hold over me? Nothing I can’t learn. Pinning back my shoulders, I shimmer through a reception dressed in golds, reds and bronzes – towards the hum of people. A slight flutter in my belly. An adrenaline high, mind. Control. Focus. Belong.

These people don’t hang out like they do down at The Malt Shovel, there’s no sticky floor to wince over, a dripping counter of spilled pints. Not here, only highly polished wood flooring, leading to the crowds decorating the bar. Halting in the doorway, I take another deep breath, savouring the moment. Devouring with every sense. My eyes darting between perimeters, hungrily feasting on unadulterated glitz. A circular bar graces the centre of the room and from it, rise enormous pillars, Graeco-Roman stilts to the summit, entwined in lavish wreaths and twinkling lights. Exactly as their website promised, but better. The ceiling is a glass dome, where a mass of crystal droplets hang loose with no shame. I’ve been here before in my dreams, so many times, I’ve tasted this air of expensive perfumes and pungent cocktails before.

So this is Christmas.

So removed from the dark versions I’ve endured year on year, Mam and Dad passing out in front of the obligatory soaps, following something resembling lunch. Not that this was unusual, they passed out most days, reeking of alcohol. But Christmas was special, the drinking began much earlier in the morning. The meal, even worse than usual, more dry and unpalatable, the hum of a microwave, plastic dressed roast dinner. Ping, it’s Christmas! When I was younger, there were gifts too, colouring pads with used crayons, second hand books, drawn on, with crucial pages ripped out. Pages stuck together with God knows what. Snot probably or worse. All stolen from our local doctor’s reception, I’m sure of it. Bubble bath more analogous with washing up liquid. I hadn’t used to mind then. Without the context of how it could be any better, why would I? It was ignorantly normal.

We all survived pretty much the same on our street. Even the standard street brawls were not spared at Christmas. With the dead skin grey and nicotine yellow stained net curtain twitching, we couldn’t so much as pick our nose without someone having an opinion. Dad used to say, it was their lifeblood, to gossip, to bicker, to mock and accuse. But then, Mam was as bad, in fact she usually started it. Now look at me. I’ve worked damn hard to get to this, watched my step, filtered my tongue, swallowed a dictionary, consumed a thesaurus. Learned so much. I can be who I want to be, no one need ever believe any different. No one knows me here; I am who I choose to be. Who should I be?

I unfreeze as I spot them over the opposite side of the room, hugging a circular table between them and there she is, Andi, on cue, waving, beckoning me to their table. What a perfect coincidence. I look away. I’ve picked well, it was worth my while eavesdropping on her phone call yesterday in the student union. Look at her, positively oozing class. So tangible I can touch it from here, sniff her out a mile off. She also happens to be lovely, how lucky am I? And it would seem she likes me and why not, I’m a nice person. Perhaps she feels sorry for me, but that doesn’t matter, I would too, if I was her, or would I? Yesterday, finally, I managed to bag some time with her, followed her as she made her way through the campus to the student union café. I could tell it’s in her nature, being kind. Nice. The word Samaritan scribed across her forehead.

I’d scuffled in behind her all flustered, running hands through my hair and with pink cheeks from my harried rubbing. ‘Hi,’ I said, ‘sorry, this is a bit of an odd one, but could you possibly call my mobile for me, if I give you my number, I mean?’ She opened her mouth to reply, I dropped the handle of my heavy suitcase, lumped my laden rucksack off my shoulder, sighing. ‘Thing is, I’m hoping and praying it’s in one of my bags, that I haven’t left it behind on the blinking bus.’ She looked perplexed but not in a bad way, the gap between her lips wondering. I glanced over at the other students, embarrassed. ‘I don’t fancy emptying my dirty laundry in here, if you see what I mean.’ I stretched my lips to indicate my dilemma. ‘So, as long as I hear it ring, it’s good, I know it’s there somewhere, then I needn’t empty out my stuff looking for it.’ I grin at her, ‘Is that okay? Do you mind?’

She threw me a warm smile. ‘Got you,’ she said. ‘Sure, no problem at all, what’s your number?’

That was it, as easy as that. I had her number. Of course, I texted her to thank her later in the evening, I didn’t want to appear rude. Then, I explained my situation, why I probably seemed – a tad troubled. What with my landlord letting me down, then the fact that I may be forced to drop out of my course, what with no accommodation. I was so upset and befuddled, I mislaid my mobile, et cetera. To be fair, it wasn’t far from the truth. I am kind of homeless and was kicked out from my last digs. Couldn’t keep up with my share of the rent, so they insisted on finding an alternative lodger. The university couldn’t help either, or wouldn’t, something about my track record not helping my case. But the fact is, I’ve spent my allowance reserved for rental, which means I’m heading back to the dump, to Mam and Dad’s, it’s not a home. I wasn’t frivolous with the rent money either, the new wardrobe, the matching accessories, the odd initiating drink, were all essential for my new life. I tend to view this recent expenditure more as investment. Either way, I’m homeless, but then – I always have been.

My eyes roam back towards the table where Andi is now standing, waving more vigorously in case I didn’t notice her the first time, which of course, I didn’t. It’s that thing – when you see someone out of context, you don’t recognise people, do you. The girls she’s sitting with, follow her line of eye to me, they need to like me too, they could make or break my plans. I sense her friend’s opinions are important to her. People like Andi, need to be liked. We both do, we all do, don’t we? Just for different reasons, different gains. Like my clothes, people for me are investments, a passport to my future. Here we go, shaking off my self-reliant cloak, I give a little wave then begin to meander through the crowds surrounding the arched bar. Adding a flinch or two, as oblivious bar huggers bump in to me.

Look at you, Camilla Stewart, you’re going to be just fine.

With thanks to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour. Take a look at the other great bloggers who have been participating:

***BLOG TOUR*** Her Last Move by John Marrs

DS Becca Vincent is struggling to juggle her work and personal life but has just landed the biggest case of her career. A serial killer is stalking the streets of London, each kill becoming more hideous than the last. Working alongside facial recognition expert, Joe Russell, the killer always seems to be one step ahead of them. Could he have someone on the inside working for him? Will Becca and Joe manage to catch him before he completes his mission and eliminates each of the people on his list?

I am going to start by saying how much I enjoyed this book and the way it was written. By having two protagonists instead of the usual one main character, we get to see the investigation from different branches of the police force. Becca, a no-nonsense detective was a complete contrast to Joe who, in the course of his work, was thorough and methodical due to his role as a facial recognition expert. I enjoyed how the relationship between Becca and Joe changed and how, although she was originally sceptical of his work, she began to see its value as the case progressed.

The case itself is a fascinating one and is more of a ‘whydunit’ than a ‘whodunit’. The first murder seems almost casual when we see how the killer escalates his crimes, each killing being more grisly than the last. It is apparent quite early on that the victims are connected in some way but we do not know how. This culminates in a huge twist that I definitely did not see coming! It’s not often that an author completely wrong foots me but John Marrs certainly did in Her Last Move. I was so taken aback that I had to go back and re-read a whole section to make sure that I had read it correctly!

In addition to the main storyline, there are subplots featuring the two main characters. I particularly enjoyed Joe’s backstory and, yet again, was thrown by how this ended. Joe was probably my favourite character and I felt great sympathy towards him as he battled with his past but also as he tried to come to terms with what was inevitably going to happen in his professional life.

Her Last Move is a thoroughly entertaining read that kept my attention right until the final page. This is the first book by John Marrs that I have read but it will definitely not be the last.

With thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley for my ARC and also to Emma Welton for organising the blog tour.

Amazon Author Page:




**BLOG TOUR** The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley

Today, I am pleased to be the final stop on the blog tour for the latest book by Rebecca Bradley, The Twisted Web.

When the body of a man is left in a very public place, the area staged to look like a police crime scene, D. I. Hannah Robbins and her team know that they are dealing with a particularly twisted individual. As images of the crime are shared by users of various social media platforms, Hannah and her team begin to feel the pressure. In a case with limited leads, however, can they stop the killer before he finds another victim?

In recent years, social media has provided authors with a new plot device, whether it be through the use of streaming websites for the killer to showcase their crime or through assuming a fake online identity to catch their prey. The Twisted Web takes the Internet and uses it in a different way entirely. We are probably all aware of the saying, ‘the camera never lies’, and Rebecca Bradley has used this to explain the motives behind the killings. Drew, a teacher, sees his life shattered when he saves a homeless man from being knocked down by a car. What seems like the act of a Good Samaritan takes on a completely different path, however, when the event is filmed and uploaded to the web. The problem is, however, that the clip only captures Drew pushing the man, and does not show the reason why he did it. After the video goes viral, Drew loses his family, home and job and he begins to develop a hatred for the way people use social media. I found I had much sympathy for Drew at this point, but this soon disappeared once his crime spree began.

One of the things I liked most about the book was, although the murders are quite macabre, the descriptions are not overly graphic. More emphasis was placed on how they were staged and the reason for them being posed as they were. This, I felt, helped to build a better picture of Drew and why he felt he was justified in doing what he was doing.

I found it difficult to create a bond with D. I. Hannah Robbins, but feel that this is because I had not read the previous books in the series. I did admire her support of a colleague whose job appears to be under threat, however, and saw this as a huge contrast to the bloody-mindedness of her boss, Baxter.

The Twisted Web is a topical police-procedural which definitely serves as a reminder to always check the authenticity of online sources before accepting them as fact.

With thanks to the author and also to Emma Welton from Damp Pebbles for organising the blog tour.

**COVER REVEAL** She’s Mine by Claire S Lewis

Today, I’m really pleased to be taking part in the cover reveal for She’s Mine‘, the first novel by Claire S Lewis. Born in Paris, Claire studied philosophy, French literature and international relations at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge before starting her career in aviation law with a City law firm and later as an in-house lawyer at Virgin Atlantic Airways.  More recently, she turned to writing psychological suspense, taking courses at the Faber Academy.

About the Book

She was never mine to lose…

When Scarlett falls asleep on a Caribbean beach she awakes to her worst nightmare – Katie is gone. With all fingers pointed to her Scarlett must risk everything to clear her name.

As Scarlett begins to unravel the complicated past of Katie’s mother she begins to think there’s more to Katie’s disappearance than meets the eye. But who would want to steal a child? And how did no-one see anything on the small island?

Time is running out and Scarlett is certain of only one thing – she didn’t kill Katie. Did she?

So now, the cover, and what a brilliant cover it is! Idyllic but with a hint of a threat, it sums up the blurb perfectly!


Follow Claire:

Twitter: @CSLewisWrites

Follow Aria


Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

With thanks to Vicky Joss.


Teacher, Teacher! by Jack Sheffield

The year is 1977 and Jack Sheffield has just started a new job as head teacher at Ragley Primary School in North Yorkshire. Teacher, Teacher! is the story of his first year in the post, showing how the young, inexperienced teacher deals with the staff, parents and pupils along with the numerous colourful characters of the local village.

Although I mainly read crime and thriller books, occasionally I like to venture into something a little more light-hearted so when I saw Teacher, Teacher! on The Works website, it looked right up my street. As someone who grew up after the time the book is set but remembers primary school with fondness, I looked forward to the book taking me right back to simpler times. As someone who works in education, I was also intrigued to see how schools today compared to Ragley in the 1970s.

Teacher, Teacher! is filled with laugh out loud moments from a cast of larger than life characters. A vivid picture has been painted of life in the school and it was easy to imagine people such as Ruby, the caretaker, and Mrs. Brown, the parent nobody wants to speak to at parents’ evening. There were numerous amusing tales of events such as the school camping trip and sports day – all before the days of health and safety and risk assessments!

The book also has its more poignant moments, the standout ones for me being Jack’s visit to a local special school where he spent his time dancing with a severely disabled child who could only ‘dance with her eyes’. This was a truly beautiful scene. I also enjoyed reading about Ping, a Vietnamese refugee who spent a short time at Ragley school. Both of these stories showed how important a nurturing environment is to children – a stark contrast to the current trend of testing and reducing children to statistics.

Teacher, Teacher! is a heart-warming read and I have already purchased the next in the series.

**BLOG TOUR** Where the Truth Lies by M. J. Lee

I am really pleased to be the latest stop on the blog tour for the new book from M J Lee, Where the Truth Lies. This is the first of a brand  new series, set in Manchester and was published on 22nd October.

DI Thomas Ridpath, back at work after a life-threatening illness, finds himself seconded to the coroner’s office and is immediately thrown into a case that has echoes of something familiar. Ten years after being the officer to arrest the serial killer known as ‘The Beast of Manchester’, another body has been found bearing the hallmarks of the notorious murderer. The only problem is that he is still in prison. Is this a copycat or has an innocent man been wrongly convicted? When a body from the original case goes missing and paperwork appears to have been destroyed, Ridpath must try to overcome the conspiracy of silence before more women are found dead.

I am a big fan of the author’s genealogical mystery series and so I was really excited to read the first Thomas Ridpath book. I liked how Ridpath had a slightly different role to the main protagonists in most other police procedurals as it gave an insight into another aspect of the justice system. By having him as a detective on a three-month secondment, we get to see him in the infancy of his role, meaning that we get to learn alongside him.

Where the Truth Lies has a great plot which makes you ask many questions as you read. Was the original murder case handled correctly by the police and did they put an innocent man in prison? Are the latest set of killings by the same hand as the original deaths or is there a copycat killer? Just what has happened to the missing body? The questions came thick and fast but were all answered by the end of the book.

The story is told mainly from the perspective of Ridpath, an extremely likeable character, although we do get to hear from the perpetrator too. I can’t say too much without giving anything away, but the culprit is not your run-of-the-mill serial killer and the author provides us with a twist on the normal sort of murderer in books of the same genre.

I really enjoyed Where the Truth Lies and think that this could be the start of a brilliant new series. If you are a fan of police procedurals or enjoy a good serial killer story then this is definitely for you!

With thanks to Net Galley and Canelo and to Ellie Pilcher for organising the blog tour.




Monthly Round Up – October 2018

Due to work, I’ve been a bit slow with blog posts this month but I have managed to read some great books and I also reached my Goodreads challenge total too!

Books I Have Read

Her Last Move by John Marrs

A superb serial killer novel that definitely has a twist that I did not see coming. My review for this must-read book will form part of the blog tour later in the month. Highly recommended!


The Silent Christmas by M J Lee

This novella, part of the Jayne Sinclair genealogical mystery series, tells the story of one of the iconic moments of World War One. It can be read  as a standalone and is a good introduction to this great series.


A Better Me by Gary Barlow

The Take That singer’s autobiography is a very honest take on his life, dealing with his constant weight battle, depression and the traumatic loss of his baby daughter. A must for all Take That fans.


The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

As a big fan of all of Elly’s other books, I was really looking forward this one and was definitely not disappointed. When the body of a teacher is found, a link to a long-dead author provides a mysterious and, at times, spooky murder investigation.


The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley

The latest installment in the  D I Hannah Robbins series sees the detective investigating some horribly-staged murders which appear to have some sort of social media link. Can she catch the killer before more bodies are found? My review will form part of the blog tour.


Where the Truth Lies by M J Lee

The first in a new series sees coroner’s officer, Thomas Ridpath, investigating the disappearance of a body and the possibility of a copycat killer. This promises to be a great series. My review will form part of the blog tour.


Books I Have Acquired

BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?


One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.

Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie.

I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.



That’s it for another month! I’ve, again, limited the books that I’ve bought/got from Net Galley as I’m determined not to let my TBR list rise! I can’t wait to read the two I’ve acquired though – C J Tudor’s The Chalk Man was one of my favourites of the past year and I’m sure The Taking of Annie Thorne will be just as good.

Have you read any of these books?





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