Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Debut, Love, Review, Summer Reads

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls and even better than that it publishes TODAY!

Synopsis

Owen Nicholls’ Love, Unscripted is an uplifting love story, following film projectionist
Nick as he tries to understand the difference between love on the silver screen and love
in real life. Perfect for fans of David Nicholls, Nick Hornby and Laura Barnett.

For Nick, love should look like it does on the big screen. And when he meets Ellie on the
eve of the 2008 presidential election, it finally does. For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job as a film projectionist in his local cinema. Life seemed picture-
perfect. But now it’s 2012, Ellie has moved out and Nick’s trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

With Ellie gone and his life falling part, Nick wonders if their romance could ever be as perfect as the night they met.

Can love really be as it is in the movies?

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My thoughts…

Oh but this novel is a complete joy to read. A delicious love story that has sufficient angst and ‘will they won’t they’ moments that swept me away. As a film lover I adored the references scattered throughout and I loved the sections featuring Nick’s job as a film projectionist, especially at a time that covered the inevitable move from 35mm to digital. This novel is not only about Nick’s love for Ellie and his journey of discovery as to where it all went wrong but also a nod to historical changes happening in the world at this time (beginning with Obama becoming President of the United States). Can such changes mean an inevitable death or simply a chance for new beginnings?

Ellie and Nick are quite obviously made for each other but as we join there story she has moved out. The beginning if the end. We have Nick’s viewpoint on things and so often events aren’t quite as they seem but gradually he comes to realise what actually went wrong and where the fault lies. Relationships are never straightforward and Nick does at times seem hellbent on self destruction and had me shouting at the book ‘You Idiot!’ on more than one occasion. I have to say that it was only because I am a total believer in true love and I so wanted these too characters work it out and fall back into each other’s lives. Owen’s writing is a joy to read. His plot was faultless, funny and moving. My favourite moment is a toss up between the visit to the Cannes Film Festival or the bathroom window incident – both made me laugh out loud. I can so see this being adapted into a screenplay or film. Love, Unscripted is deserving of a permanent place on my bookshelf for a reread on many occasions and I wholeheartedly recommend inviting this wonderfully uplifting read into your lives.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to the lovely people at Headline Review for sending me a copy. It was an absolute joy.

 

About the author

Owen Nicholls

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Owen Nicholls is a screenwriter with a Masters in Scriptwriting from the UEA. His work has appeared in Empire and NME, and earlier this year Love, Unscripted was selected for the Escalator Scheme run by Writers’ Centre in Norwich.

You can follow One on Twitter at @OwenNicholls

 

 

Love, Unscripted is published in hardback on August the 22nd by Headline Review.

It is also available on eBook and Audiobook.  the paperback is scheduled for publication in February 2020 but believe me you don’t want to have to wait until then to read this.

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2+, 3+, 5+, 7+, Poetry, Review, Summer Reads

Dinosaur Poems: A selection of verses and rhymes with real bite! By John Foster and Korky Paul

If you thought dinosaurs were extinct, then think again! They live on in the stomping, chomping, growling, howling poem collection. So if you’re looking for poetry with a prehistoric twist, look no further than this sensational selection.

Poet John Foster was an English Teacher for twenty years but has been compiling poetry anthologies since 1979 and has written twelve of his own. He has a website crammed with poetry and inspiration and well worth a visit. Dinosaur Poems is an anthology of poems entirely about dinosaurs. It’s a fantastically funny and informative collection of rhyming poems that are perfect for reading aloud. I particularly loved ‘Ten Dancing Dinosaurs’ and ‘The Bookoceros or Ancient Thesaurus’.

The illustrations to accompany this fine collection of dino poems are provided by the rather wonderful Korky Paul (you may have enjoyed his work on the Winnie & Wilbur series). I adore his illustrations. They are filled with humour and interesting details that bring the words alive and adds another dimension to reading the poetry (I particularly love the bunny slippers for ‘Dinosaur Stomp’). There is always plenty to point at with Korky’s illustrations!

This is a brilliant little book of poetry. It is paperback and size wise is about the size of an A5 notebook. There are 21 poems to share and once you’ve finished reading them why not have a go at writing your own. 🙂

Dinosaur Poems is published by Oxford University Press Children’s Books. It was originally published in Hardback back in 1993 but is now available in paperback with Korky’s fabulous illustrations.

The paperback ISBN no is: 9780192767486 and should be available from all good book shops. For more information why not check out the publisher website.

Thank you so much to the lovely team at OUP for sending me a review copy. I absolutely loved it.

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Review, Summer Reads, Suspense, Thriller

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Closer I Get by Paul Burston. I’ve been so excited to read this! It’s been calling me from my tbr list for some time now. I urge you not to delay though and go grab yourself a copy today. It’s brilliant!

Tom is a successful author, but for the first time in his life, he has writer ’s block. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone. Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her sick father and her social media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has. When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world collapses, whilst Tom is free to live his life again, and to
concentrate on writing. But things aren’t adding up. For Tom is also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he’s powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk on the other side of a screen…

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There is a real buzz around this novel and oh my does it deserve it. This is surely one of THE psychological thrillers of 2019. The book that everyone would have (SHOULD HAVE) read. It is absolutely gripping and each and every narrative we have is totally unreliable. Even now, my mind is still racing, I’m not quite sure what I think of these characters and their side of the story.
Tom is a bestselling author, his second novel bombed and he’s feeling the pressure to come up with something spectacular for book three. Yet something sinister is brewing on social media, a place that feeds insecurities, egos and yet encourages relationships with complete strangers; allowing them into your life, into your home. Who can you really trust? Tom is, unfortunately, someone who is rather wrapped up in himself and tends to use and disregard those he allows briefly into his life. He soon learns that this careless attitude will soon come back to bite him.

I’m actually not sure who I felt sorry for at the end of this novel. It really hits on how social media can feed on mental health issues and how easy it is to invade someone’s life with devastating consequences. No longer is a figure lurking in the shadows required to fill us with dread and a feeling of intense unease. The internet has provided a whole new playground for those wanting to mess with our minds and even at times force us to question our own sanity. I found it an incredibly compulsive read, not knowing what was going to happen next but I could feel the atmosphere gradually increasing, as I watched Tom falling to pieces at the hands of Evie. There is definitely a touch of ‘Misery’ about this novel. Paul’s writing is smart and eloquent and his knowledge of music and literature seeps into the story. His characterisation is superb, to the point where I was obsessed with discovering what becomes of this group of characters.

Paul has captured a snapshot of our modern world perfectly with the issues of online trolls and witch hunts, as well as making us question freedom of speech and if there are actually any lines left to cross – it seems to be getting harder to distinguish the truth from a lie. The Closer I Get also highlights the danger we can place ourselves in when we engage with strangers who we know very little about. I’ve always found social media a very tricky space and try to be mindful that a comment once left is very difficult to remove, even after it’s been deleted. The damage is done in a nanosecond and what previously would have been only a drunken memory to cringe over has suddenly become something that snowballs and imprinted forever in our browser history.

This was a wonderfully intense and thrilling read. It’s left me with questions and a desire to read again right from the start to see the clues and try and distinguish what was real and what wasn’t. This is a fabulous summer read that will suck you in and keep you turning ‘just one more chapter’. A book to fall into and you won’t be able to climb out until you reach the final twist sitting quietly right at the brilliant, unforgettable end.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy. Yet another scorcher from Orenda!

About the author

Paul Burston

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Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller. His first novel, Shameless, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, Lovers & Losers was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television. He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications including Guardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”. He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing and the newly announced Polari Prize.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Debut, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou – blog tour 14th June

Today I am delighted to host the blog tour for Laurie Petrou’s debut novel, Sister of Mine.

TWO SISTERS.  ONE FIRE. A SECRET THAT WON’T BURN OUT.

The Grayson sisters are trouble.  Everyone in their small town. knows it.  But no-one can know of the secret that binds them together.  Hattie is the light.  Penny is the darkness.  Together they have balance.

But one night the balance is toppled.  A match struck.  A fire is started.  A cruel husband is killed. The potential for a new life flickers in the fire’s embers but resentment, guilt and jealousy suffocate like smoke.

Their lives have been engulfed in flames – will they ever be able to put them out?

Stepped in intrigue and suspense, Sister of Mine  is a powerhouse debut; a sharp, disquieting thriller written in stunning, elegant prose with a devastating twist.  And of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies  and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door will be utterly absorbed by this compulsive novel.

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Well this is certainly an engrossing read and a gripping debut from Laurie Petrou who sets the scene with unwavering tension that continues throughout the entire novel.  You are constantly just waiting for the truth to be spilled, for some further tragedy to occur and everything to come tumbling down.  Our narrator is Penny, abused by her husband and one day she snaps and he dies in a fire.  She shares her secret with younger sister Hattie and it’s only through the course of the novel that we find out what really happened that night.  Their secret begins to eat a whole in their quiet life. Of course secrets always have a way of being found out and this one might just tear them apart.

To be honest I can’t say I liked either sister very much but I was compelled to follow their story, I knew there was more to the fire that killed Buddy, the abusive husband, and of course there was.  The relationship between the sisters is intense, toxic and seems to burn all those who come within reach.  Sister of Mine is a well written debut that has a sense of menace running throughout, an eerie tension that pulls you into the story right until the very end.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

Sister of Mine is published by No Exit Press.

About the author

Laurie Petrou

1-5LAURIE PETROU has a PhD in Communication and Culture, and is an Associate
Professor at Ryerson’s RTA School of Media in Toronto, where she is also the Director
of the Masters of Media Production program. She has given several TEDx talks on
subjects including gender and rejection. Laurie was the inaugural winner of the Half
the World Global Literati Award in 2016, a prize that honours unpublished work
featuring female protagonists, for her novel Sister of Mine. She now lives in a small
town in Ontario wine country with her husband, a wine maker, and their two sons.

You can follow Laurie on Twitter at @lauriepetrou

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Adult Fiction, Crime, Nordic Noir, Thriller

His Sweet by Hildur Sif Thorarensen

When small town sheriff Yolanda Demetriou comes to work that day, she has no idea what to expect from her new case – or the horrors that lie ahead.

What are the diary entries about? And who wrote them? When Sheriff Yolanda Demetrioy receives boxes of notebooks, she has no idea of the horrors that lie ahead.  Will she be able to piece together the information and locate the house where childhood dreams become nightmares? Or will she be too late to save an abducted girl?

In this dark psychological thriller, Yolanda and her team embark on a hunt for a monster, following maddeningly sparse clues in a race to solve a heartless crime.

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Hildur very Kindly sent me a copy of My Sweet to read and review.  It was a pleasure to receive such an intriguing package form Norway.  I do love Nordic Noir and so I was happy to dive in.  So did I enjoy?  Absolutely, I read it in one sitting.  Hildur is an interesting writer and I felt the technique of the using the victims diary entries along with the realtime investigation by Yolanda and her team to tell the story worked really well.

Yolanda is sheriff of Crowswood, Alabama, a small town with small crime.  So when a box of disturbing diaries are handed in that hint at a young child being held captive locally they all pull together to try and find her.  The content of the diaries lead them to believe that time is running out and it’s not long before the big guns from Washington arrive to give a helping hand in the hunt for the girl before its too late.  For Yolanda the case has become personal and she’s so eager to find and save the girl that she may just have put both herself and the victim in even greater danger.

An exciting and interesting new voice in Nordic Noir and one that I look forward to watching grow.

Thank you so much Hildur for sending me a copy.  I really enjoyed reading My Sweet.

My Sweet is now available on Amazon in both paperback and eBook.

About the author

81VyknWQgBL._US230_Hildur Sif Thorarensen was born in Iceland but is currently living in Norway. Although, spending most of her adult years at the University, she’s been writing ever since she was a little girl and alongside Medical studies and a Master’s in Engineering, has also taken a year in Creative Writing.

At the age of eight she started a neighborhood paper with her friend which was filled with short stories about the neighborhood, written by Hildur Sif. The girls sold the paper to the people living in their street and used the profits to buy candy, much to their parents chagrin.

Hildur’s way with words later led her into working as a journalist for a newspaper in the Westman Islands. There she was known as the optimistic girl because of her exuberant, cheerful spirit which always seemed to find its way into her work.

Her first novel was published in Icelandic at the end of 2016 and in English in 2018. Her second novel, My Sweet was published in November 2018.

You can follow Hildur on Facebook at hildursifthorarensen

You can follow Hildur on Instagram at hildursifthorarensen

You can follow Hildur on Twitter at hildur84

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Relationship Stories

The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick

Today I’m delighted to hop on the blog tour for Liz Fenwick’s wonderful The Path to the Sea.

Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.

For Jean, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.

Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even though the family she adored was shattered here.

And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.

As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed for ever.

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So, about a year ago I heard a little about this novel at the HQ Stories Summer Showcase. I had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting to Liz about her writing and Cornwall.

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Liz Fenwick, author of The Path To The Sea

Not only was I intrigued by her forthcoming novel but it was such a pleasure to meet such a warm and friendly author (who just also happened to have a giant jar of Cornish fudge to share).  So, when the opportunity came up to take part in the blog tour I absolutely jumped at the chance to read and review the finished novel.

I’m so pleased I did, it’s absolutely wonderful.  What did I love about it?  Well location, location, location.  Beautiful Cornwall.  Liz conjured it up so fabulously, I could literally smell the salt coming off the sea.   Add to that a big imposing house filled with memories and hidden secrets, an estranged family coming together as one lies dying – all these elements are the recipe for an engrossing and scintillating read.

The story unfolds through the eyes of the three women.  Three generations each with their own secrets.  Joan we revisit back in the 60’s on the fateful weekend when her husband dies tragically young.  All through the story we are not quite sure if she implemented in his death.  They were an ideal family and we know she loved him but something happened on that weekend  that would change life forever.  Every family have their secrets.

Diana is Joan’s daughter.  She has very little memory of the weekend her father died but her relationship with her mother has been deeply troubled ever since and she’s determined to get to the bottom of things.   For her there is a dark shadow over Boskenna and she’s not happy to be back.

Lottie has returned to Boskenna to be near her grandmother as she lies dying.  For her memories there are mostly filled with love and warmth but a tragedy still haunts her own thoughts as she returns to the family home.  Her relationship with her grandmother has always been excellent although not so much with her mother, Diana.  But Lottie also has her own distractions; complications bought about by an ex love and also the problems of a soon to be ex husband.  Complications she’s determined to put to one side whilst she tends to her grandmother but life has a habit of getting in the way.

There are so many secrets bubbling beneath the surface that threaten to come to light.  Yet it is almost a relief when all was revealed.  The Path to the Sea is a bittersweet tale but I throughly enjoyed my time at Boskenna.  If I close my eyes I too can hear the waves crashing and the feint sound of music playing in the past as laughter fills the house, before tragedy struck.  But at the end I was left with a sense of hope and a feeling of joy at having been in the company of these three women.

The Path to the Sea is the perfect summer (or winter) read and I thoroughly recommend it.  I shall definitely be seeking out Liz’s previous titles.  Oh the joy of discovering an author’s backlist!  I can’t wait.

Thank you so much to HQ Stories for my inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

About the author

Liz Fenwick

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Liz Fenwick was born Massachusetts and after ten international moves she’s back in the United Kingdom with her husband and two mad cats.  She made her first trip to Cornwall in 1989 and bought her home there seven years later.  She’s a bit of a global nomad but her heart forever remains in Cornwall.

 

 

You can follow Liz on Twitter at liz_fenwick

You can follow HQ Stories on Twitter at HQstories

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Suspense, Thriller

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

She thought she would never go back… 

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago. Her father. Leaving London behind to settle her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by the half-sister she’s never taken the time to get to know.
With the past threatening to swallow her whole, she can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her. And when Ailsa confronts the first nighttime intruder, she sees that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything…

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Ooh this was a gripping novel.  Creepy house, strange goings on and an absent father make up for an interesting, and at times unnerving read.  It’s wonderfully plotted and paced, keeping you riveted until the very end.  There is a sense of the paranormal going on and at times I wondered why the hell Ailsa was hanging around there, she’s made of tougher stuff than me that’s for sure.  This is one of those reviews where I really don’t want to give much away as it’s a a joy to see the story unfold before you.  However I will admit I am a bit of a sucker of story where a house is almost a character in itself and Lexie builds up the atmosphere brilliantly here.  I absolutely love a few shocks along the way and The Missing Years certainly saved the best for last.  Lexie had written a fabulous novel that I couldn’t put down.  It’s still making me smile.  A deliciously creepy, thrilling read that will make the perfect pool side companion this summer.

Thanks so much to Anne Carter for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

The Missing Years is published on June 6th by Corvus Books.

About the author

Lexie Elliott

1-4Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was The French Girl, which was published by Berkley in February 2018.

When she’s not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won’t be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won’t be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn’t out of the question.

Find out more about Lexie on her website: www.lexieelliott.com

You can find Lexie on Face book at http://www.facebook.com/lexieelliottwrites
You can follow Lexie on Twitter at @elliott_lexie

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