The Barn of Buried Dreams by Chrissie Bradshaw #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@ChrissieBeee) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #The BarnOfBuriedDreams

The Barn of Buried Dreams

I am so excited today to be taking part in the blog tour for The Barn of Buried Dreams by my fellow RNA member, Chrissie Bradshaw. My huge thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for asking me to be on the tour and to Chrissie for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly. Make sure you check out the giveaway further down the page.

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“Erin and Heather Douglas are struggling. Their mother’s death has left a void in their family and everyday life has side-lined their dreams. 

Erin has buried herself away in the family home and left her stage career. By hiding away, she is evading the pain of returning to London and the acting world where her ex-fiancé is enjoying success and a new relationship. When she meets charismatic Texan Jackson McGee, she wrestles with her feelings for him. Should she trust another man?

Heather is juggling babies, work, a rocky marriage and running on wine. An overheard conversation makes her ask, would Mark cheat on her?

Can the sisters help one another to face their fears, dust off and revive those dreams and find joy in life?”

After reading the blurb, I was really eager to get in to this new book by the delightful Chrissie Bradshaw to see if she is as friendly and approachable on the page as she is in real life. I am fascinated by the dynamics within families, particularly between sisters as I have three myself, so I was sure this book would be right up my street.

Now I have finished the book, I can confirm that I was not at all disappointed following my high expectations. This is a very readable, warm and enticing novel which was engrossing and satisfying to the end.

The characters of Erin and Heather were well-drawn and their relationship recognisable to me as an accurate dynamic between female siblings. I felt particularly for Erin. The book starts showing the close and loving relationship between Erin and her mother and I felt her loss and despair keenly when her mother passes, particularly as she is already reeling from rejection by her boyfriend and further personal trauma. No wonder she finds it almost impossible to cope and move on.

Heather was harder to like, as she comes across as very selfish and self-centred at the beginning, but the author does a wonderful job of gradually revealing what is driving her behaviour and by the end I was much more sympathetic towards her and happy with the way everything is finally resolved at the end of the book.

I particularly loved the setting of the book in the border country between Scotland and Northumberland, an area I know very well from many childhood holidays and a beautiful part of the country which is filled with warm and friendly people, and I feel like Chrissie brought this to life perfectly and got it across in her writing, so that I really believed in the setting and the characters in the book and became invested in their stories.

Chrissie has quite a formal writing style which is unusual in a book of this type in current times, but I actually really liked it and found it gave her a very distinctive voice. Her writing and the story flows very smoothly and is very easy to read and I am sure that anyone wise enough to pick up this lovely book will be carried along with it and close the last cover with the satisfaction that follows a pleasing read. Highly recommended.

The Barn of Buried Dreams is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

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To win a Paperback copy of ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’, limited edition mug featuring both of Chrissie Bradshaw’s  novels and  a box of fresh macarons delivered from ‘Urban Cakehouse’, click on the Rafflecopter link below.  (Open to UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Make sure you check out the rest of the posts on Chrissie’s Blog Blitz below:

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About the Author

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Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. She has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking Oscar on the beach, trying to avoid the gym and spending time with her family and friends.

Her new release, THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS – when will they see daylight?, is a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. It starts in Dunleith, the same Northumbrian setting as her debut novel ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, and some characters cross both books. Readers can enjoy either book as a stand alone

Connect with Chrissie:

Website: http://www.newhenontheblog.com

Facebook: Chrissie Bradshaw Author

Twitter: @ChrissieBeee

Instagram: @chrissie_bradshaw_author

 

Friday Night Drinks with….Veronica Henry @veronica_henry @orionbooks #GuestPost #FridayNightDrinks #ChristmasAtTheBeachHut

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It’s Friday again and tonight I am beyond excited to welcome to my blog for Friday Night Drinks, one of my favourite authors and someone I hope I can now call a friend, the lovely Veronica Henry. Veronica’s new book, Christmas at the Beach Hut was published yesterday and she has agreed to join me for a celebratory tipple.

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Veronica, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. Now, I know you mix a mean gin and tonic but what are you drinking this evening?

An Americano, which is Campari and Vermouth topped up with soda with lashings of ice and a twist of orange. Basically a slightly less ferocious Negroni!

If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Oooh. How about the Canary Gin Bar in Bath? You can’t not have fun in there. I have a tale or two!

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I’ve got a feeling that The Irishman and I might have spent an evening in there once, although it’s a bit of a hazy memory! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Lovely lovely lovely Anthony Bourdain. I could listen to him forever, and I would have loved to have met him. Maybe we could have Nigella along, as they were friends. I’m a big admirer of their writing, so it would be fun to chat and get up to no good.

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I am writing my 20th novel, which is a bit scary!! I’ve written two books this year so I had to plunge straight in. No time for wafting about cogitating! But pressure focusses the mind rather, I find. Everything has clarified more quickly than usual.

Twenty novels! That’s an amazing achievement. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Recently, I was very proud to write an introduction to the re-issue of This Year it Will Be Different, by Maeve Binchy. She is a hero of mine, and to be asked was a huge honour. My biggest challenge was to keep writing after my father died, and still be uplifting. I just wanted to curl up in a ball but I couldn’t.

I love Maeve Binchy, her writing is such an inspiration to me. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all! 

I’d love to dramatise one of my books for TV, but I suspect there aren’t enough murderers or stalkers in my novels. 

Oooh, that would be great! Which would you pick? The Honeycote books would make a great serial for a Sunday evening, wouldn’t they? What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m really enjoying writing my current novel – there’s something about the dynamics between the characters that keeps driving it forward so it’s got real momentum, but it’s also set somewhere beautiful. I love description. It’s one of the reasons I found scriptwriting frustrating and turned to novels. Just one word can convey so much.  

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

The best fun I’ve ever had is a weekend at Soho House Berlin. I seemed to cram in so much – literally and metaphorically! Food, history, culture and cocktails – it’s such a great city.

Bucket list wise, I’ve got my eye on Turin. Just a gut feeling. Or a cycling trip around the Piedmont. I am not by nature energetic but I feel the cycling might offset the gourmandising.

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

Hmmm. I’m going to have to go and have an intimate piercing just so I can answer this!

Ha, ha, neatly dodged! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, going back to question 3! It’s shocking and exciting and inspiring and coruscating. It’s one of my all time favourite books.

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Interesting choice! I’ve not read that so I’ll have to add it to the increasing TBR. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Oh my, I could write a book.  Don’t drink on an empty stomach, don’t mix grape and grain, alternate with water, if the room starts spinning it’s too late . . . Basically, if you don’t want a hangover, don’t start drinking. Once you’ve tasted blood it’s all out the window. Cure wise: water before bed; Berocca and painkillers on rising, then egg sandwich, crisps and fat Coke. But time is the only real cure.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

I do love an art gallery, especially if it has a cool shop to browse in afterwards. I find art really inspiring. I recently went to the Colombe d’Or in St Paul de Vence and just looking at all those paintings made me tingle. Artists take more risks than writers, I think, and sometimes that energy is really apparent. I can remember the first time I saw a Jackson Pollock and thought ‘Oh, I get it now.’ Sometimes I find reading books inhibiting or dispiriting, but never looking at paintings.

Veronica, thank you so much for coming and chatting to me this evening, it has been really lovely and I look forward to catching up with you in person soon.

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Veronica’s new book, Christmas at the Beach Hut is out now and you can buy a copy here or pick up a copy in any supermarket. It can be read as a standalone but you should really check out the other Beach Hut novels too. Watch out for a review of the book on the blog soon.

If you would like to connect further with Veronica, here are her social media links:

Website: www.veronicahenry.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/veronicahenryauthor/

Twitter: @veronica_henry

Instagram: @veronicahenryauthor

Next week I will be having drinks with my great friend, fellow blogger, aspiring writer and partner-in-crime, Kate Baker.

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes #BookReview (@MarianKeyes) @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks @PenguinRHUK @BleuViola #RachelsHoliday

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“They said I was a drug addict. But my occasional drug use was strictly recreational. And, hey, surely drug addicts are skinny?’

Rachel is living it up in New York City, spending her nights talking her way into glamorous parties before heading home in the early hours to her hot boyfriend Luke.

Then her sensible older sister shows up and even though it seems like a bad joke, she finds herself in actual rehab.

It’s there that she’s supposed to kick her non-existent drug habit – and to get over losing Luke. Luke’s a fox; he’s also strong and kind, but he has had more than he can take of Rachel.

None of this was part of her plan and saying goodbye to fun will be hard.

But not as hard as losing the man that, too late, she believes might be the love of her life.”

Bit of a retro review today which might make a nice change! I’ve not signed up for many blog tours this month, as I wanted to take the pressure off during NaNoWriMo, so I was planning on using the break to make a dent in my TBR. Then my friend, Kate, over at Ideas Become Words mentioned that she had started reading the copy of Rachel’s Holiday I had given her (she’d never read a Marian Keyes book, can you believe it?) and I was suddenly overcome with the urge to re-read it myself. It is my favourite of her books and it has been a few years since I read it. Then I felt guilty, because I have loads of new books languishing unread on my TBR. Then I thought how ridiculous that was, I read for pleasure so, if I want to re-read an old favourite, why not? Book blogging can warp your mind sometimes!

This is no small book. At 625 pages, it takes a commitment of time, but it is oh so worth it. As I went through, I remembered exactly why Marian Keyes is one of my favourite authors, and why I am not alone in adoring her. I think it also came along at an auspicious time in my own writing journey, to give me some insights into writing that I need to be able to move my own project forward.

This book is an exploration of addiction through the eyes of Rachel, who can’t see that she has a drug problem until her friends and family stage an intervention and force her into a treatment facility. We follow her progress through all the steps of her recovery, and it is an eye-opening, painful and emotional experience.

And this is the genius of Marian’s writing. It is completely truthful. She doesn’t shy away from showing things exactly the way they are. She writes with complete emotional honesty, without pulling any punches or shying away from things that are painful and laying everything bare. her writing isn’t sugar-coated or glittery, but it is real and her readers respond to this. They can see truths about the human experience, their experience, reflected back at them.

Rachel is not a very likeable character for most of the book. She is monstrously selfish and self-involved, refusing to see her issues and blaming everyone but herself, but Marian manages to make us care what happens to her by giving us glimpses of why she is the way she is and hints that maybe she is capable of redemption and worth rooting for and we can see it is important that we are shown the truth of what addiction does to a person. She is also not the stereotype of a drug addict, so we are left thinking, ‘there but by the grace of God,’ which draws us in to the story even more. It is a masterclass in hooking the reader and exactly the kind of thing I wish I could do with my own writing. Well, we can all dream!

Anyone who had read any of Marian’s non-fiction writing or follows her on Twitter will know that this is how she is in real life too. She is very honest about the struggles she has had herself with alcohol dependency and depression and is a vocal advocate of the things that she believes in. Plus, she is absolutely hilarious. All of this spills through and is very evident in her writing, which is a clear reflection of who she is. If you gave me an anonymously bound book written by Marian Keyes, I would know who the author was immediately, her voice is so strong and distinctive. I have been through a phase recently of not making much progress on my book for various reasons, one of which is that I am afraid my author voice is too light to do justice to the serious subject matter it covers, and that my prose style is too bare. Reading this book has reminded me of the value of being honest and open and authentic in your writing. Of just letting your voice speak out and putting the passion for your story and the truth of your experience into your book. This is what we, as readers, respond to. It shines from the pages and lights up the work, drawing the reader to it.

Re-reading this book has been one of the most useful experiences I have had this year and I feel motivated to crack on and be more Marian in my own writing – except the Yorkshire version, of course!

You can get a copy of Rachel’s Holiday here.

About the Author

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Marian Keyes’ international bestselling novels include Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There?, This Charming Man,The Brightest Star in the Sky, The Mystery of Mercy Close and The Woman Who Stole My Life. Two collections of her journalism, Under the Duvet and Further Under the Duvet, are also available from Penguin. Marian lives in Dublin with her husband.

Connect with Marian:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarianKeyes

Twitter: @MarianKeyes 

Instagram: @marian_keyes

Website: www.mariankeyes.com

Tempted by….Rachel’s Random Reads: Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by Karen King @karen_king @bookouture @gilbster1000 #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #SnowyNights

“Snowy rooftops, mulled wine, and a hot single dad. Not the Christmas Saffy wished for… but maybe the one she needs?

Twenty-nine year old Saffron Baxter knew her holiday plans didn’t stand a chance the moment her sister called to say she was stuck abroad with no hope of being home before Christmas. Saffy would just have to abandon thoughts of wild festive parties in the city and head down to remote Cornwall.


Because every year her sister hosts a huge Christmas meal for all the single parents in her village. And Saffy knows it’d break her heart to let them down.


Arriving as snow starts to fall over the thatched cottages of the little harbour town of Port Breok, she meets Logan – the tall, fair-haired, blue-eyed, devoted single dad who lives next door, with his adorable daughter Chloe. At first she thinks he might help her make Christmas Day extra-memorable, but he just seems convinced she’ll never manage – that she’s just a party girl who doesn’t care about Christmas, or anyone’s feelings.


Maybe he’s right. After all – she doesn’t want to settle down, she’s only there for a few days… But she’s still determined to do her sister proud with gorgeous decorations, the most beautiful real tree – complete with extra twinkly lights, and delicious mince pies. To make it a Christmas everyone will remember, especially little Chloe. Even if, when the mistletoe comes down, she knows she’ll probably never see Logan again…”

I haven’t included a book on this feature so soon after the blog post that tempted me to buy it was published before but as soon as I read Rachel’s post on Friday, I had to immediately order Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by Karen King. Aside from the cover, and the first line of the blurb which would probably have inspired me to buy this book on their own, Rachel’s glowing review led me to believe I would love the book as much as she did. Any book that can get the well-read Rachel Gilbey to forget where she is on a Tube journey must be good.

Rachel needs no introduction to anyone remotely connected to the book blogging world. As well as being a fabulous and prolific book blogger herself, winning many awards and being extremely highly thought of by all, she is also an amazing blog tour organiser who I have really enjoyed working with this year and hopefully long into the future. I should finally get to meet Rachel in the flesh on Wednesday at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Winter Party where she is up for another award and I am very much looking forward to that. Make sure you visit Rachel’s wonderful blog to see what she is reviewing today.

And if you would like to get your hands on your own copy of Karen’s lovely new Christmas book, hot of the press, you can order a copy here.

Isle of Man: Half Term Trip, 31 October to 4 November 2018 @visitisleofman #travel #holidays #halfterm #familytime #IOMStory

Travel is the most neglected area of my blog since I revised the layout and categories a couple of months ago so I thought I would rectify that by posting a few pictures of our recent family trip to the Isle of Man, where my parents keep a little holiday home. We were only there a few days but we packed a lot in! The weather was kind to us in the most part, except for the last day.

We went Pony Trekking in the hills at Ballahimmin Pony Trekking Centre, the kids did the rope courses at ApeMann and, on the day it rained, we solved the Wonderland Escape Room at Exit Strategy. In between we visited Port Erin for a walk on the beach, took a tour round Castletown and visited Douglas Harbour and ate fish and chips in a gale.

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Pony Trekking at Ballahimmin under blue, but cold, skies

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Castletown

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Port Erin Beach and Harbour

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One of my favourite independent book shops, right on Port Erin seafront

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Winners! (I think I’m standing in a hole, surely the kids can’t nearly all be taller than me!)

I love to visit the Isle of Man at any time of year, it is a great place for a traditional family holiday, plus the island has such a fascinating history and a unique place in the modern world. I’ve also been lucky enough to be there for the TT Road Races a couple of times, which is a real bucket list trip, even if you aren’t usually a fan of motorbike racing! It’s also a great place for wildlife spotting, including seals, whales and dolphins at certain times of year, and for walkers.

For more information, visit https://www.visitisleofman.com

Have you ever been to the Isle of Man? Is it somewhere you’d like to visit? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Friday Night Drinks with….Emma Cooper @ItsEmmacooper @headlinepg @BleuViola @RNATweets #GuestPost #FridayNightDrinks #FictionCafeWriters

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I’m really excited tonight because I am having virtual drinks with a fabulous author and all-round lovely lady, who I am lucky enough to have met IRL and who has become a personal friend…Emma Cooper. Her debut novel, The Songs of Us, was published earlier this year.

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Welcome to my blog, Emma and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

I’ll start with a pink gin and tonic I think … I’ll move onto red wine in a bit.

Gin and tonic is my tipple of choice so I will join you in that. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’d take you to the Woodbridge Inn in Coalport, it’s a gorgeous pub on the bank of the River Severn by Ironbridge. You can often find me working there in the day with a pot of coffee and my laptop … plus it serves the best steak sandwich in the whole of Shropshire.

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That looks like a fab place to write! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

I love David Bowie’s music; Life on Mars is one of my favourite songs so if I asked him nicely, maybe he would play it for me and then I could quiz him about his early years in show business … I bet he would have some tales to tell!!

I’m going to break the rules here a bit. There are lots of famous women I would love to talk to but, as you have a little bit of magic up your sleeve, I would love to see my teenage friend Eve again.  She was beautiful, clever and died far too young: Me, Eve and David Bowie, now that would be a night to remember!

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I have got a lot going on! I’m just waiting for my first round of structural edits for book number two and I’m just heading towards the halfway mark with book number three. I’m also desperately trying to get my Christmas shopping done; every year I long to become this organised woman who has everything bought and wrapped up by the end of November but always seem to be still rushing out grabbing last minute things and wrapping presents on Christmas Eve!

I’d take it as a good sign that you don’t have time to be that organised! What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

There have been some amazing moments in my life since becoming published … I think my Bookseller announcement was one of my proudest moments (https://www.thebookseller.com/tags-bookseller/emma-cooper); seeing my success there for all to see was quite an emotional experience! But also, one of my proudest moments was signing my UK publishing contract.  It was my first trip to London to meet my agent and we were sitting inside a restaurant which has a huge tree in the centre of it. Any of you have read The Songs of Us will know that an oak tree plays an integral part of the story.  I could see that other diners were looking over at me signing the contact … I’ve lived most if my life on the sidelines watching the success of others so that moment was very, very special to me.

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My biggest challenge has been embarking on book three.  It started off as a short story which I was writing for a magazine article.  At the time, I was 10k into another book (which I will be writing next!) but my agent and I loved the voice in the short story so much that I had to make the tough decision to stop writing and working on my current project, and instead invest my time expanding the short story.  I’m so glad I did but making the decision to postpone writing a novel that I had planned and started is quite a tough thing to do.

I remember well talking to you about this just after your agent has suggested you expand the short story, so I’m really interested to hear that you went with it and excited to see what it turned in to. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!

Ok, but I’ve finished my drink … I’ll just pop to the bar, what are you having? I’m getting a bottle of Merlot.

Right where were we? The one big thing I’d like to happen … I would love to see The Songs of Us on the big screen.  Melody’s story deserves to be shared with as many people as possible and I think it would make an incredible film.  Gosh that makes me sound a bit cocky; I’m blaming the wine.

I think you can be as cocky as you like amongst friends. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I can’t wait to start the serious editing of book two! I love it when the book really begins to take shape. I’m so excited about this one, I’m hoping to be able to share more about it very soon, but for now I’m under strict orders to keep it secret.  Although, my glass of red is already half-way down so… 

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I’m not very well travelled myself, I’m a bit of a home bird and tend to flit between home and my caravan in Ynyslas in Wales … it’s an old cranky caravan but it is my favourite place.  The beach is only a five-minute walk away and it’s breath-takingly beautiful. I would love to go to Venice though.

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Your glass is empty, do you want a refill?

The top of my bucket list used to be to be a published writer, I can’t tell you how many birthday-candle wishes that one took! I would love to walk in Melody’s shoes and fly in a hot-air balloon or walk the red carpet at the Oscars, or arrive at the Oscars in a hot-air balloon!!!

I love Wales too, I think there is something very peaceful and relaxing about the north Wales coast, where we also have a holiday lodge. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I have Omphalophobia which is – wait for it – the fear of belly buttons.  Honestly, I can’t stand them … my family will try to catch me off guard and stick their finger inside theirs and wiggle it about. Ugh.  It honestly makes me want to heave and makes my whole-body tense up; it’s a great source of amusement to them.

That’s made me slightly queasy, to be honest! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Considering how much of an avid reader I am, I have only got a few books that I can remember being completely blown away by, I’m quite a tough critic so it takes a lot to really knock my socks off!  One of those is The Time Traveller’s Wife but I guess you’ve heard a lot about that one so I’m going to go with a slightly lesser known one: Wideacre by Phillipa Gregory.  I read it years ago and some of the scenes are still so vivid in my mind that it’s like I’ve watched a film of it several times.  Beatrice Lacey is one of my favourite characters of all time.

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So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

The best preventative I’ve found for a hangover is a glass of Barocca and two ibuprofen before bed. Apparently, the vitamins help your kidneys process the alcohol more effectively.  But obviously I’m not a doctor so the best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink.

Stop laughing at me, Julie! I do, on occasion, drive to Friday night drinks and abstain.  OK, you’re right, I’ve only done that once. *refills both glasses and opens packet of dry roasted peanuts*

Tomorrow, if I forget the vitamins I will have hot and spicy Huevos Rancheros …  that normally sorts me out. 

That’s a new one on me, I’ll have to try it. After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

If I’m not too rough *empties rest of the bottle into glasses* I would love to stay in bed with a good book and a cup of tea, followed by a walk on the beach with my family, a pub lunch, a board game with said family (if we haven’t had an argument during the beach walk and pub lunch) and then an afternoon snooze before X Factor and Strictly.

Thank you for a great Friday night Julie …  do you fancy a shot?

Go on then, I’ll have tequila please. Emma, thank you so much for coming along tonight and chatting with me, I’ve had a great time and really enjoyed finding out more about you and your current projects. One day soon I’ll get you to an RNA event and you, Kate Baker and I will have these drinks for real!

Anyone who reads the blog regularly will know that Emma’s debut novel, The Songs of Us, is one of my favourite books of the year and I have been pretty much insisting that everyone I meet read it. If you would like to see why, you can read my review of the book  here. If you would like to get your own copy of The Songs of Us, you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to connect further with Emma, please follow her social media links:

Website: https://emmacooperauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook: Emma Cooper

Twitter:  @ItsEmmacooper

Instagram: @itsemmacooper

Next week I am beyond thrilled to have the one and only Veronica Henry joining me for drinks, so you won’t want to miss that.

Her Last Move by John Marrs #BookReview #BlogTour (@johnmarrs1) @AmazonPub @EmmaFinnigan @damppebbles #HerLastMove #damppebblesblogtours

Her Last Move cover

“She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?”

This is my first book by John Marrs, I am embarrassed to admit. I know, I know, I should have read The One by now, everyone I know has raved about it, and I do have a copy sat on my shelf but I’ve just not got round to it yet. Having read this book and given the standard of the writing, I’ll have to move it up the TBR pronto.

This book is a breath-taking rollercoaster of a police procedural that kept me on my toes the whole way through. Honestly, every few pages there was a new plot twist that had me exclaiming ‘What?” and ‘No, that can’t happen!’, sometimes out loud. Lucky I’m on my own a lot otherwise people might have thought I was going a bit mad. (Actually, maybe that’s why I’m on my own a lot, constantly muttering to myself over books, I’ll have to watch it).

The book starts with a bang as we are launched straight into the mind of the killer, which is not the most relaxing place to be as the author has managed to create an extremely twisted mind to perpetrate the crimes in the book and he doesn’t pull any punches with the gruesome action right from the beginning. A seemingly random set of murders in quick succession leave the police, and the reader, scratching their heads as to what is the connection between and the motive for the murders. As we get alternate chapters from inside the mind of the killer, we have a better insight and a few more clues than the police but it is still baffling and kept me guessing all the way through.

The police woman at the forefront of the investigation is a young DS who is a single parent struggling to juggle home life and work and trying to make her mark in her job. Fortuitous timing leads to a toe hold in the investigation which she believes could be the big break she is looking for, but how can she square this with meeting the needs of her family? I thought Becca was a wonderful character that I could relate to very easily and this made the book all the more compelling as I was willing things to go well for her.

My favourite aspect of the book, though, was the involvement of DS Joe Russell, who is one of the Met’s ‘super recognisers’ – police men who have a photographic memory for faces and can be seconded to an investigation to help track down a perpetrator. I found the whole process behind his involvement absolutely fascinating, and he was another complex and well-drawn character that made the story even richer and more engaging.

This book was so well plotted, I was carried along with the story with ease and the author is not afraid to make some tough decisions with the story and the characters that really took the book in unexpected directions and left me shaken and affected. The last third of the book was so exciting that I had to read it straight through without even stopping to make a cuppa (unheard of!).

This book was a fast-paced, gripping read that kept me guessing right to the end. What more could you ask for?

Her Last Move is out now and you can buy your copy here.

To get a range of reviews for this book, follow the blog tour below:

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About the Author

John Marrs

John Marrs is the author of #1 bestsellers The One (soon to be made into a film with Urban Myth Films), The Good Samaritan (shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards 2018), When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer. 

Her Last Move is dedicated to John’s late father, Charlie, who was a police officer for 25 years.

Connect with John:

Website: https://www.johnmarrsauthor.co.uk

Facebook: John Marrs Author

Twitter: @johnmarrs1

Instagram: @johnmarrs.author

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