Crime, Debut, Mystery, Thriller

Murder At Macbeth by Samantha Goodwin

Whose deadly secret has taken centre stage?

When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates. But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady? As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit. Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…

INTERNATIONAL FLASH 500 NOVEL AWARD LONGLIST

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I do read a great deal of crime and thriller novels and so I was delighted to receive a copy of Samantha’s debut to review.

A young leading lady is killed on stage during the opening night of Macbeth, a play already shrouded in ill-fated superstition.  Soon the police are wading through a cast of characters each hiding secrets of their own but which one holds the key to the murder?

This is a good, old fashioned murder mystery.  Clues are drip fed along the way as each suspect is interviewed by the police.  Detective Robson and Detective Sergeant Zahra make a great team and there was an echo of Death in Paradise (without the paradise) to the tale. Flashbacks to events leading up to the night of the murder give us a greater insight into what is going on behind the scenes and each member of the cast could have been the culprit.  The end was a surprise that I didn’t see coming.

An interesting debut and I feel that we will see more from Samantha.

About the author

Samantha Goodwin

Samantha Goodwin has written professionally for her business career as a Chartered Marketing Manager for over a decade before turning her hand to fiction. As an avid crime fiction fan, she regularly participates in the renowned Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate and relishes attending literature festivals across the country as well as engaging in numerous online writing communities. Keen to support new and upcoming authors, Samantha recently launched the #IndieWritingWisdom initiative on Instagram to collate and share inspiring, original writing quotes from a wide range of different writers to encourage others. When not writing, Samantha enjoys reading, movies, musicals, countryside walks and almost all chocolate (but controversially not Oreos). She lives in Leeds, England with her husband, Chris, and young son, Jack. Murder at Macbeth is her first novel.

Murder at Macbeth is available in both eBook and paperback from Amazon.

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Blog Tour, Poetry

Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand

Today I’m delighted to return to poetry for today’s stop on the blog tour for Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand.

FIVE WORDS IS ALL IT TAKES TO PROVOKE A CHAIN OF CREATION.

That is what Katya Boirand discovered the first time she asked a friend for five words and then turned them into a poem, using the words and the subject as her inspiration. This spark started a movement, and soon Katya was asking friends and strangers alike for their five words of choice.

Take Me to the Edge is a selection of these poems, sitting alongside a portrait of each subject, in this stunning and joyous celebration of language, connection and art.

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The more poetry I read the more I love it.  There are so many different ways to be creative with it and with Take Me to the Edge Katya Boirand is taking an exciting and inspiring approach.  A idea awakened by rediscovered words in her travel diaries, Katya decided to begin the project of ‘Poetry by Me, Inspired by You’. The premise being to take five words given by ‘inspirers’ – these are people from all over the world who have touched Katya’s life in some way – from which she then creates a poem from.  Each poem is then beautifully displayed in the book alongside a photograph illustrating the giver of words and ‘the poetic world’.

The photographs have been taken by Swedish photographer, Eli Sverlander.  They alone are absolutely stunning and when you sit them alongside Katya’s beautiful poetry a kind of magic happens.  It brings a whole new dimension to reading poetry.  The photographs show you a glimmer of the person who gifted the five words and this along with the poem made me wonder about them and their lives.  This tiny snapshot of their lives was incredibly inspiring.

Poetry is such an exciting art form, as is photography.  Each has the ability to tell a story just as complex and deep as the greatest tome of literature.  By combining both mediums in Take Me to the Edge, Katya and Eli have created a fascinating collection.  I loved dipping in and out of this book.  At the end there is a section on the subjects and their chosen five words and this adds a little extra insight into the creation.  Read the poems through first and then once again after discovering more about the people behind them. See if you then read the poems differently.

I really enjoyed the poems themselves.  They are quick shots of energy, each one stanza long but each creating powerful images like tiny starbursts within your mind. My personal favourites were those inspired by Ian Cameron and Hazel Thompson.  This book will make a wonderful addition to any bookshelf but I shall definitely be adding a copy to the School Library – it will be a great source of inspiration for our students in not only reading poetry but also creating their own.

Hopefully this will be the first of many collections from Katya.  She invites readers to submit their own five words to her via Instagram and it would be lovely to see more of these books including more subjects of all ages and backgrounds.  There is so much beauty in life and this is a wonderful way to capture it.

Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

Take Me to the Edge is published by Unbound on May 16th 2019.

About the author

Katya Boirand

Katya Boirand Author Pic

Katya Boirand is an actress, dancer, writer and poet. She has travelled the world but now has roots in London. Take Me to the Edge is her first poetry collection.

You can follow Katya on Instagram at @poetrybymeinspiredbyyou

You can follow Katya on Twitter at @Katyahazel

 

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Debut, Thriller

Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman

Today I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for Something In The Water  by Catherine Steadman.

The perfect couple. The perfect crime?

“Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?  Wonder no longer. It takes an age. However long you think it takes, double it…”

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough; Mark is a handsome investment banker with a bright future. They seem to have it all, until Mark loses his job and cracks start to appear in their perfect life. But they’re determined to make it work. They book their dream honeymoon and trust that things will work out – after all, they have each other. On the tropical island of Bora Bora, Mark takes Erin scuba diving. Mark is with her – she knows he’ll keep her safe. Everything will be fine. Until they find something in the water…

Erin and Mark decide to keep their discovery a secret – after all, if no one else knows,
who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events which will endanger everything they hold dear.

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I read this book pretty much in one day.  I am not normally a book a day reader but this was completely unputdownable.

We begin near the end.  Something has happened.  Someone has died and it looks pretty darn bad for our protagonist Erin.  Told in first person we see events unfold as she takes us back .  ‘I’m not a bad person. Or maybe I am.  Maybe you should decide.’ she tells us and so it begins.

Erin and Mark are the golden couple.  He a successful banker, she an up and coming documentary film maker, beautiful house and their whole future ahead of them.  A few months before their wedding Mark loses his job.  They’re not worried though, he was looking for a change and he has contacts, there are doors that will open for him.  Aren’t there?  Soon the wedding is done and they are flying to Bora Bora and their dream honeymoon.  They couldn’t be happier.

Everything is blissful but storm clouds are gathering.  They decide to take a diving trip, just the two of them with nothing but blue skies and water that goes on forever. But something lies waiting in the water, something that they decide to keep secret. No-one knows, so surely no harm can come of it and somethings are best left hidden… aren’t they?  Except the secret becomes a dark cloud, unsettling the calm, tranquillity of their new marriage.  Someone knows.

This is a strong, accomplished debut and a thrilling read.  The story arc is wonderful and keeps you guessing right until the last few chapters.  I enjoyed reading through Erin’s eyes. It kept the tension high and she is a fascinating character.  Her current documentary project adds another level of tension as she delves into the lives of three criminals just as they are coming to the end of prison sentences.  It certainly makes you question if a person is truly bad just because they have been convicted of a crime.  The convicts are all fascinating characters, all with very different crimes and with very different ideas for their rehabilitation.  I was constantly questioning where things were going, who knew more than they were letting on and if Erin was or wasn’t herself a bad person.  Things are rarely black and white and for this aspect I think this would make a fantastic book club choice.  There are plenty of ‘what would you do?’ moments that I’m sure could raise some lively debates.

There is already lots of hype surrounding this book.  It was published in hardback last summer and was selected for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club.  It has also been optioned for adaptation by Twentieth Century Fox with Reece Witherspoon producing.  I think this will adapt brilliantly.  I just hope they keep the home location here in the UK rather than moving to America as was done in the movie adaptation of Girl On a Train.

In a nutshell this is a fantastic debut, a thrilling read and one I thoroughly recommend.  Absolute perfect escapism. 

Something In The Water will be published in paperback by Simon & Schuster on May 16th.  It is currently also available on eBook, audiobook and in hardback.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater of RandomThingsTours for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and thanks to her and the lovely people at Simon & Schuster for my review copy.

About the author

Catherine Steadman

0Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End, most recently in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution in 2018. In 2016 she was nominated for Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. She grew up in the New Forest and lives with a small dog and average sized man. Something in the Water is her first novel and her second is due for release in early 2020.

You can follow Catherine on Twitter at @catsteadman

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Thriller

Worst Case Scenario

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the Blog Tour for Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald.

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line. Imprisoned for murdering his wife, Liam Macdowall has published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that has made him an unlikely hero – a poster boy for Men’s Rights Activists. Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences. A heart pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour, Worst Case Scenario is also a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

Oh. My. God. This book is an absolute whirlwind. I can honestly say that I have never read ANYTHING like it. I love it. I hated it. It sent me on a roller-coaster of emotions so I felt every hot sweat and every moment of despair, hatred and triumph that Mary went through. My god this woman is strong and yet she’s hurtling through a major breakdown as she comes to the end of what I imagine to be one of the most stressful careers going whilst also going through the menopause. There are absolutely no punches pulled in this story and in many ways it’s absolutely magnificent but in some I think I’m scarred for life. Well perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration but it did leave me rather shell-shocked. I’m a great believer that a story should awaken the emotions and my god this one does. There are so many ‘wtf’ moments. It’ll make you laugh too. The ending especially had me in equal parts laughter and shock and I think leaves plenty of options for a return to Mary, the most unique protagonist I have read for a long time.

Worst Case Scenario is available in eBook now and will also be published in paperback on the 16th of May. Believe me, the title is very apt and fits this story perfectly. Absolutely unforgettable.

Thank you to Anne Cater of RandomThingsTours and Orenda Books for inviting me to be a part of this Blog Tour.

Orenda Books – Wow you guys never stop surprising and enthralling me with your publications

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About the author

Helen Fitzgerald

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Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Fiction

Come Back To Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the Blog Tour for Come back To Me by Daniela Sacerdoti.

This third enchanting novel set on the windswept Seal Island is about finding love for a second time when hope seems lost.

Three separate lives. Three broken hearts.

Haunted by his wife’s death, Matt arrives on Seal Island determined to be alone and unable to escape his grief.

In the island’s hospital, a young woman named Rose lies in a coma, trapped by the memories of events leading up to her accident.

Grace, the island’s doctor, is at the heart of the community. Only she knows how much she regrets turning down the chance of love and a family years ago.

For these three people hope seems gone.
But life is about to offer an unexpected new beginning…

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This is a wonderfully atmospheric tale about three very different people, each facing events that have left them broken and filled with grief.

Consumed with guilt over the death of his wife, Matthew Shearer moves to Seal Island to heal and rebuild something that resembles living.  He soon begins to find a place for himself within the small group of welcoming locals and escape from his life in London.  Yet as much as he craves the isolation the Island offers he feels alone and desperately misses his wife Mia who was killed there years earlier in a car accident.  When a young woman appears at his door in the middle of the night, disorientated and soaking wet, saying she has a message from Mia, Matthew begins to question his sanity and the depths to which he has sunk into despair.

This is my first visit to Seal Island and indeed my first encounter with Daniela Sacerdoti but I have to say I felt like I was returning to an old friend.  She writes beautifully and has built up an incredibly memorable set of characters and I will definitely look back at her two previous novels set in this harsh but beautifully landscape.  In this, her latest, he weaves the stories of these three characters, each dealing with their own heartbreak and challenges, and brings them together in a haunting tale that is expertly crafted.  I love the imagery and the hint of magic that simmers beneath the surface for you to find.  The Island and it’s small community are a major part of the story and add so much intrigue and atmosphere to events.   I couldn’t help but be enchanted by them.

I enjoyed reading this moving tale ever so much and now that I have fallen in love with Daniela’s writing I very much look forward to reading more of her novels.  Oh, how I love discovering a new author!

Come Back To Me is published by Headline Review and is available now in eBook and a paperback edition will be published in July.

Thank you to the wonderful Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.  I love how diverse the books she offers me are and this is one that I will be thinking of for some time yet.

About the author

Daniela Sacerdoti

1-7Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel WATCH OVER ME was the 8th bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the 11th top-selling Kindle author. Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages.

Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school. Daniela’s children’s book Really Weird Removals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC. Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps.

To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit www.danielasacerdoti.com.

You can follow Daniela on Facebook at OfficialDanielaSacerdoti

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Blog Tour, Books that adults should read, Fiction, YA, Young Adult Fiction

All We Could Have Been by T.E.Carter

Today I’m thrilled to be talking All We Could Have Been by T.E.Carter as part of the #BlogTour.  T.E.Carter will also be sharing her Top Five Books too… so read on dear reader, read on.

“I have one goal: Survive a full school year – 180 days – hiding behind a new name, new home and new persona.”

Every year, Lexi starts somewhere new and every year she has to leave. All she wants is to disappear, to go somewhere where no one knows about her brother.

But this time things are different. She is making friends and she might even be falling in love. But none of it is real. When they find out who she really is, she will lose everything. She can never run away from the truth and what her brother did.

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Lexi is running from her past.  She craves anonymity, unable to deal with sharing the real her and where she comes from.  With memories of an horrific event that left her both physically and mentally scared, Lexie finds it hard to cope and suffers extreme anxiety.  Starting yet another new school, she knows she is never safe and that once they find out about her they’ll all turn on her and she’ll end up running again.  Yet for the first time in five years she actually feels like she belongs and she begins to trust again.

It’s impossible to run away from a past that won’t stay buried but perhaps this time Lexie is tired of running.  Perhaps this time she has something worth fighting for. What comes next is a story of courage and a fight for survival and acceptance.  Beautiful, compelling and utterly heartbreaking, this is another amazing novel from T.E.Carter.  All We Could Have Been shows that we can’t always control what happens to us but we can learn to accept and cope with it and that I think is an important message.  This is a wonderfully thought-provoking YA novel that covers themes of trauma, self harm, anxiety and OCD.  But more importantly it speaks of survival and learning to live again.

‘But then I think about the good stuff…And it’s all reason to fight for myself, but then…then my brain does what it does, and the world becomes chaos and confusion, and I can’t do it anymore.  I just wish I was doing it right.’

Thank you so much to wonderful Eve at S&S for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and for sharing this amazing book with me.

About the author

T.E. Carter

Top Five Books –

A caveat here: This list could change on any given day, but here are five books I
enjoyed that are on my mind right now!
1. A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin: With Game of Thrones wrapping
up, this series is clearly on my mind. The reason I really love this book is
because it captures everything that the show lacks, and that’s the quiet in-
between moments. I love the show (although I’m saying this with no idea how
Season 8 will play out and I’m a bit wary of how I’ll feel when it’s done), but as
with any adaptation, there are those little character moments that get left off
the screen. There’s an intimacy to the narrative that would be impossible to
translate to screen lest the show be 30 episodes per season, and this book
seems to be the place where the road really split for the characters.

2. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger: I know. It’s about as generic and
cliché as you can get, and Holden’s a pretty divisive character. But when I
was growing up, there wasn’t much out there in terms of YA. You could keep
reading children’s books; you could move to adult writers like Stephen King;
or you could read teen horror like RL Stine and Christopher Pike. While I
actually loved those books, there was nothing in them that reflected back my
own experiences, but when I first read The Catcher in the Rye, I felt like the
world made a bit more sense. My small town felt just a bit bigger; my
experiences and perspectives felt just a bit more “normal;” and my fears felt
just a bit less scary.

3. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: I’m not sure why this book is on my mind, but
maybe it’s just the changes of the seasons in New England. What I love about
this story, though, is the absolute commitment Wharton has to truth. It’s a
short read, but it’s one of the most devastating stories I’ve ever read. I’m a
really big fan of novels that don’t try to stick a pretty bow on life, and this novel
does the opposite. It’s brutal.

4. Man-Eaters by Chelsea Cain: This comic series isn’t that far along right now,
but it’s amazing. It’s fearless, in-your-face, feminist satire, and I highly
recommend it if that’s your thing!

5. Life is Strange and Before the Storm: Not a book, but I’m cheating. Not only is
the narrative incredible across both games, but Chloe Price is one of my
favorite characters of all time from any medium. I also think it was genius to
put out Life is Strange first; all your actions come to a close only for you to get
Chloe’s story after the fact, and if you saved Arcadia Bay, playing through
Before the Storm is haunting.

T.E. Carter was born and raised in New England. Throughout her career, she has done a lot of things, she has always loved to read and still loves stories in any medium (books, movies, video games, etc.). When she’s not writing, she can generally be found reading classic literature, obsessing over Game of Thrones (100% Team Lannister), playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge-watching baking competitions. She continues to live in New England with her husband and two cats. All We Could Have Been is her second novel for young adults.

@hashtagereads #AllWeCouldHaveBeen

All We Could Have Been by T.E. Carter is out 2nd May (£7.99 Paperback, Simon & Schuster UK)

Author Letter:

Dear Reader,

Thank you for sharing in Lexi’s journey. ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN stems from several personal experiences and outside influences, but I mostly wanted to think about how much control we have (or should have) over our own narratives. I also thought about how this is even more significant when processing trauma or grief, and Lexi was created from that.

Our world moves so quickly, and while that has a lot of benefits, it also means we have been conditioned to think and react almost immediately. As a result, our personal narratives are often shaped outside of ourselves, crafted from one piece here and there, until a series of stories are united into a cohesive whole. Rarely, though, does that whole reflect the truth of the people we are, instead illustrating the perceptions of the circle of people around us.

Through this novel, I tried to talk about taking back your own narrative. While our pasts do define and shape us to some degree, we are also so much more than external factors that we can’t control. Traumatic experiences can change how we think, and they often limit our ability to believe in our own agency. We all deserve to find and reclaim our own truth, though.

Thank you for reading and for giving Lexi (and readers like Lexi) the power to regain her story.

Regards,

TE Carter

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Suspense, Thriller

We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla.

Think Contagion meets The Da Vinci Code in the next heart-stopping
thriller from the internationally bestselling author Daniel Kalla.

A critically ill patient lies dying in a remote town in Italy. Alana Vaughn, an infectious diseases expert with NATO, receives a desperate call – she must fly to Italy
immediately and confirm what everyone already suspects… that the dying woman has the plague, a merciless disease that kills in days.

When Alana arrives, her worst fears are confirmed. But the patient isn’t just dying of the plague – she has the strain of the plague known as the Black Death, one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, which eight hundred years ago killed more than a quarter of the world’s population. And if Alana and her counterpart at the World Health Organisation, Byron Menke, can’t track down the source of the disease…then it will be the end of them all.

We All Fall Down Cover

I thoroughly enjoyed both The Da Vinci Code and Contagion so this novel appealed to me straight away and I wasn’t disappointed!  We All Fall Down is as fast past and deadly as the plague that sweeps through Genoa and beyond.  We begin on the construction site where an old monastery has been pulled down to make way for a new development.  An old monk turns up on a daily vigil to the site with warnings of the consecrated ground they are working on.  The workers pay no heed and carry on with their work until one collapses, coughing up blood.   So begins a disease that spreads with unrelenting speed; children, adults, men, women and even animals are struck down.  The World Health Organisation begin to investigate alongside NATO. Dr Alana Vaughn comes to the conclusion that the victims are suffering from The Black Death.  The question is not only how to stop it but if they even can? They need to find out where and how a disease centuries buried came to be. It’s a race against time as the disease spreads further and further, killing without discrimination.

This is an absolute page turner that I couldn’t read fast enough.  It filled my sleep with dark shadows and even when awake my mind kept returning to the story as I eagerly awaited my next opportunity to read on.  Daniel also takes us back to the 14th-century as the Black Death tore the small town of Genoa apart.  Can it survive a second time?  Indeed, can the world?  Thoroughly recommended and I will definitely be seeking out more by Mr Kalla.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

We All Fall Down has been published by Simon & Schuster.

About the author

Daniel Kalla

Daniel Kall Author PictureDaniel Kalla is the international bestselling author of Pandemic, Resistance, Rage
Therapy, Blood Lies, Cold Plague, and Of Flesh and Blood. His books have been
translated into eleven languages, and two novels have been optioned for film. Kalla
practices emergency medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Visit Daniel at danielkalla.com and follow him on Twitter at @DanielKalla.

 

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