Friday Night Drinks with…. Sarah from Lost in the Land of Books Blog @lostinthelando1 @RedDogTweets @PantherPubs @hkist @TSHunter5 #bookbloggers #bookblogging #amreading #FridayNightDrinks

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Delighted to welcome to the blog for Friday Night Drinks tonight, fellow book blogger….Sarah from Lost in the Land of Books blog.

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Sarah, welcome and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Well I have recently developed a taste for pink gin and lemonade. Hangover free mornings 🙌

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Precisely why gin is my favourite tipple! If we werent here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out? 

I would be taking you to Planet, it’s a local gay bar and somewhere me and my partner go to on any night out. It’s a lovely little place with great DJs and on some nights you can sit back and watch some of some amazing drag queens. Then once the acts have finished you can dance the night away. 

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?

 Oh, now that’s a hard one, for my female I would definitely bring Pink along, she is just amazing and I had an epic time at her concert in the summer. She would also be a really good laugh. Now for a male it’s really difficult but I think it would be Robbie Williams. He is funny and who knows we could maybe have a good sing song.

Sarah, you have set us up for a raucous evening! So, now were 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?

Well I recently celebrated the blog’s first birthday which kinda just sprung out of nowhere but it’s been such a lovely year. I have a very busy December as I have a couple of blog tours to kick the month off and then I have a week of celebrating all things Panther Publishing and then two weeks with the amazing Red Dog Press. The first week we will be taking a look at their books and having a chat, a giveaway and an exclusive. For the second week we will be chatting all things Soho Noir with T.S Hunter’s books which have just blown me away this year. I decided I was going to do this in Dec to shout about the indie publishers. I am just a small town blogger, but I want to do what I can to shout about not only the books I love but the publishers too.

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This is one of my favourite things about blogging, being able to shine a spotlight on those smaller, indie presses. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has ​​​been your biggest challenge?

 My proudest moment came just recently when I was quoted on the back of a book for the first time ever. Red Dog have quoted me on the back of the book I believe everyone should read this year Heleen Kist’s Stay Mad, Sweetheart. I am also pretty damn proud I took the leap to start up the blog, I am a mum to two children and one of which has epilepsy and Aspergher’s and worried I wouldn’t have the time or the energy, mum guilt kicks in but I finally done something for me.  My biggest challenge has been saying no, I get some amazing emails and I want to say yes to everything but I have to remember as well as the blog I am also a partner, mum and I work so I can only juggle so many plates at a time.

What is the one big thing youd like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as ​​you like, its just us talking after all!

 I am writing away very very slowly on a book of my own so I would love to be published and failing that then I would like to win a blogging award.

Great ambitions. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

The Indie Christmas that I talked about and also my own writing, it started off full of self doubt and the whole oh this is rubbish etc but I had some lovely feedback about it, so I’m now hoping in the New Year to take the time to actual write a book and see where it goes. It’s about saying no a little more to tours and limiting them each month so I have time to read, review and write. Even if I don’t get it published I will still be happy that I actually finished it and wrote something and who knows where I will go from there.

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

Well apart from trips to London to visit my mum, I’ve only ever been to Tenerife, and the Canary Islands. Which is just beautiful. I would love to go to New York and Disneyland, two places I hope to get to in my lifetime. We are planning a trip to Turkey hopefully next year child free as it’s my partner’s favourite place to go so she would like to show me around.

Well, I’ve travelled widely in the States, am a Disney fanatic and used to be a travel consultant so, if you need any advice, give me a shout! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know ​​​about you.

Oh, I think I’m pretty much open book so people know quite a lot about me, but I’m actually quite quiet and withdrawn. however they are usually surprised to see the tattoos, I have 9 so far and plan on adding more next year.

Tattoos seem to be addictive once you start! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and Im always looking for ​​​​recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a must-read?

I would say Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist if you haven’t already and I know you said one but just in case you have read it then T.S Hunter’s Soho Noir series.

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THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.
Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.

But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?

So, weve 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?

 My new failsafe plan is to stick to the Pink Gin all night, however when I do end up falling off the band wagon then I try to drink a pint of water when I get home. A nice cold can of Irn Bru And a nice bacon roll or  full fry up sorts me right out.

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

Well after such an amazing night out I would need some downtime to recover. Wrapped up in my blanket with some good books by my side and cake and coffee on hand would be lovely. 

That sounds fantastic. Sarah, thanks for joining me, it’s been great and I wish you great success with your promotions and the writing.

Sarah has a fabulous blog over at Lost in the Land of Books and you can also catch up with her on Twitter.

Next week I am having Friday Night Drinks with author, Rachel Sargeant, so please come back then.

In The Dark by Loreth Anne White #GuestPost #BlogTour (@Loreth) @AmazonPub #InTheDark

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I’m so excited to be taking part in the blog tour today for In The Dark by Loreth Anne White and I have not one, but two, exciting features for you with a Q & A with the author and an extract from the novel. Huge thanks to Morgan Doremus of Montlake for inviting me on to the tour and allowing me to publish the extract. And watch out for a review of the book, which I am currently reading, coming soon on the blog.

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The promise of a luxury vacation at a secluded wilderness spa has brought together eight lucky guests. But nothing is what they were led to believe. As a fierce storm barrels down and all contact with the outside is cut off, the guests fear that it’s not a getaway. It’s a trap.
Each one has a secret. Each one has something to hide. And now, as darkness closes in, they all have something to fear—including one another.

Alerted to the vanished party of strangers, homicide cop Mason Deniaud and search and rescue expert Callie Sutton must brave the brutal elements of the mountains to find them. But even Mason and Callie have no idea how precious time is. Because the clock is ticking, and one by one, the guests of Forest Shadow Lodge are being hunted. For them, surviving becomes part of a diabolical game.
Q&A with Author Loreth Anne White
 
1. You are very well known for your romantic suspense tales, but your new title, IN THE DARK, is all about mystery — a real whodunit! Tell us a bit about the story. 

I like to think there is still a strong echo of my earlier romantic suspense books that ripples through IN THE DARK. Yes, it’s a locked-room mystery/thriller —  wilderness style, but the mystery narrative is wrapped inside a romantic suspense-style narrative that follows a budding friendship between Detective Mason Deniaud and Search & Rescue manager Callie Sutton who must not only piece together what happened as they hunt for survivors, but also must race against time to save who might be left. The story leaves off with a promise of more ahead in the relationship between Callie and Mason, so my roots are still showing, I hope.

2. Your story definitely has shades of Agatha Christie as well as a nod or two to Stephen King. Did these authors act as inspirations for this book?

IN THE DARK is not only a homage to Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, but Christie’s story becomes a plot device, a psychological tool that the villain uses to instill fear in the victims trapped in the lodge because the victims know what transpired in the book, and they anticipate the same will happen to them. 

And yes, a teensy nod to master of atmosphere and horror, Stephen King’s THE SHINING where characters are trapped in a remote and snowbound hotel and become mercy to the psychological horror that descends on them.

3. A rural, isolated lodge is always a great place to start a suspenseful novel. How exactly did your characters all come to be at Forest Shadow Lodge?

The characters are invited for an all-expenses stay at the brand new, high-end, fly-in wilderness lodge and spa. They are lured by an offer to enjoy a ‘soft opening’, so to speak, where they can assess the accommodation and potentially negotiate lucrative contracts with the new lodge owners. Each guest runs a business that would be suitable for such an establishment. Each is excited by a possible lucrative contract. But not all is quite what meets the eye, of course.

4. Your story is told from multiple points-of-view as you take deep dives into the characters’ lives and histories. Does everyone have something to hide?

Don’t we all have something to hide? My characters in this book certainly do. Some of their secrets are more powerful than others.

5. Mason and Callie are two of the law enforcement responders that are trying to piece together exactly what happened at The Lodge. Tell us more about these characters and what makes them so good at what they do. 

Mason Deniaud was a top homicide detective before relocating to the remote north for personal reasons. He lost a young son and a wife and he’s searching for a way to live, or exist, if not heal. Callie Sutton is a young mother who is single, but also isn’t because her husband lies in hospital and is brain dead. Her husband is there, but he also isn’t there for Callie and her young son. Like Mason, she’s in limbo, a place where she can’t move forward, or back. It’s through this they find a bond. And the search for the missing lodge party pushes them together.

6. IN THE DARK is a pivotal novel in your career. What does it have in common with your previous writing and how is it different? How does this inform your next steps as a writer?

Pivotal sounds cool. I’ll take it! Thank you. But yes IN THE DARK is a bit of a departure from my previous romantic suspense books. If readers enjoy it, however, and if my publisher remains happy, I’d like to keep growing in this direction. But I do think my crime stories will always revolve around strong women, or women who might be victims to start with, but who find agency and take back their lives and become strong and survive through the arc of a story. (As with my forthcoming work IN THE DEEP). I do love to include a relationship element in my crime novels, but bonding with a potential love interest comes out of the personal growth of the protagonist. I like to tell—and read—stories of women who find ways to rescue themselves.

 
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Thank you for giving us a peek into the inspiration and writing of the novel, Loreth. Now for an extract from the novel to whet your appetite!
In The Dark Excerpt
 

“The gas stove and the gas water heaters work,” Nathan said. “And there’s plumbing.” He turned his back on them and busied himself taking mugs out of the cupboard in an exaggerated fashion. His heart hammered in his chest. Sweat prickled across his lip.

“And there’s tea, coffee, tins of tuna, and soup,” Steven said as he hurriedly opened more cupboards.

Bart frowned. “Well, at least we won’t go hungry.” He made for the living area, paused. “I found a path. It looks like it leads around to the other bay, but it was getting too dark to follow without a flashlight.”

“Do you think it might lead to the real lodge?” Steven asked.

Nathan blinked. It was like the doctor was reaching for straws by asking—as if hoping, still, that their pilot had just made some terrible screwup with the GPS coordinates.

Bart said, “We can check again in the morning to see if—”

“There is no real lodge.” Jackie appeared in the doorway that led from the great room into the kitchen.

They all turned to look at the solid woman with intense eyes.

“This is no mistake,” she said curtly. “This is a con, some sick game.”

“What do you mean?” Bart asked.

“Did you guys not see the plaque outside, next to the front door? This place is called Forest Shadow Lodge. As in Forest Shadow Wilderness Resort & Spa. Here, look at this.” She pulled a brochure from her pocket and smoothed it out on the kitchen island.

“I printed it off the website before I left home.” She jabbed a photo of the luxury lodge. “It’s fake. It’s photoshopped, because it’s using the same location. See this bay here? And the shape of this one here? This mountain? This is how the terrain looked from the air. It’s this spot, but someone has photoshopped the spa into the location. They’ve erased parts of the forest, added cabins and trails, plus interior shots from some other spa and lodges.” She met their gazes. “This whole thing was faked from the get-go. We were lured here. All of us. And now we’re trapped.”

A sinister cold seemed to enter the kitchen. A shutter banged upstairs, and wind whistled. Mist, cloying and wet, pressed up against the windows. It grew darker inside.

“Why?” Bart asked, still holding his wood.

“God knows.” Jackie dragged her hand over her hair. “But right now, we’re stuck. We’ve been baited and lured into some weird kind of wilderness prison.”

“We are not trapped.” Stella entered the kitchen. “We have a plane. And you guys have a pilot—me. We have fuel. We—”

“We have no bloody radio!” Jackie snapped, whirling round to face Stella, her eyes furious.

“What?” said Steven.

“That’s right,” Jackie said. “Go on, tell them, Stella.”

Stella’s gray eyes flashed, shooting daggers at Jackie.

“Go on. Tell them. The radio is broken. Sabotaged, wires cut.”

“But I heard you speaking to your dispatch on the radio,” Nathan said.

“But it wasn’t working, was it, Stella?” Jackie said. “Your dispatch couldn’t hear you, could they? No one even knows where we are, do they?”

Stella’s features went tight.

“So when were you going to tell us this, Stella?” Steven asked.

“I didn’t want to say right away. Fear, worry, is not a good thing when—”

“When what? Jesus. Who are you to decide what’s right and wrong for us to know?” Steven barked. “You’re just the pilot, not the boss of our lives, for Chrissakes.”

“There’s a chance I could fix it in the morning. If I can—if it’s an easy fix—you’d never have to have known about it.”

“So you thought you’d play God?” Steven snapped. “Because we would all panic.” He wagged jazz hands at the sides of his face.

“And you’re not panicking?” she said.

Silence swelled in the kitchen. It felt for a bizarre moment as though the house was listening. Alive. Hostile. Nathan felt hairs rise along his arms. He was sensitive to these things. He could feel trees in the forest watching and listening to him.

In The Dark is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Loreth Anne White is a bestselling author of thrillers, mysteries, and romantic suspense. A three-time RITA finalist, she is also the recipient of the Overall 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Romantic Crown for Best Romantic Suspense and Best Book Overall. In addition, she’s a Booksellers’ Best finalist and a multiple CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award winner. 
A former journalist who has worked in both South Africa and Canada, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family. When Loreth isn’t writing, you will find her skiing, biking, or hiking the trails with her dog (a.k.a. the Black Beast) or open-water swimming. She calls this work, because that’s when the best ideas come. 
Connect with Loreth:
Twitter: @Loreth

The Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond #BookReview #BlogTour (@TheVenomousPen) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #NetGalley #TheWomanInTheWater

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I’m alive. But I can’t be saved . . .

When a woman’s body is found submerged in icy water, police are shocked to find she is alive. But she won’t disclose her name, or what happened to her – even when a second body is discovered. And then she disappears from her hospital bed.

Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey follow their only lead to the home of the Corrigans, looking for answers. But the more they dig into the couple’s lives, the less they understand about them.

What’s their connection to the body in the river?

Why have other people they know been hurt, or vanished?

And can they discover the dark truth of their marriage before it’s too late?

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for The Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond. My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me on to the tour and for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is a book that really made its mark on me this year and is a standout read in this genre. Honestly, I think the author has been so brave in this book in tackling the subjects she does, and does so so sensitively that I found it quite moving and affecting and I was left in awe at the skill and talent she exhibits.

It is going to be quite hard to write the review of this book that I’d like to without including any spoilers, so you’ll have to forgive me if I am a little vague, you really need to pick up the book and read it for yourselves.

The book is shocking and gripping from the opening as a woman is found, barely alive, in freezing water. DS Miles plucks her from the river and, immediately, he becomes closely involved in the investigation into who she is and how she got there. This is a case which stirs up issues from his past and causes tensions in his blossoming relationship with DS Grey, who is trying to understand the effect the case is having on him.

I really loved the closely woven storylines of the police investigation and the personal relationship between DS Miles and DS Grey. This book is as much about the police officers and the effect it has on them as it is about the crime, the victim and the perpetrator, and I think this is refreshing and important because it is very easy to forget that police officers are, first and foremost, human beings with the same problems, hangups and issues as the rest of us and that the things they see and the matters they have to deal with can have profound effects on them and their mental state and they deserve help, support and compassion.

This book is not always an easy read, and may be triggering for some because of its subject matter, but the author deals with the issues sensitively. There are some extremely shocking scenes in the book, even for someone who has not been directly affected by these issues, but they are never gratuitous and always necessary for the story and I applaud the way they are handled, but equally, she isn’t pulling any punches with this book and the reader needs to be ready to be shocked and appalled. This is how it should be, because some things in life are shocking and appalling.

This author is skilled at developing characters we acre about, and the relationship between the two main detectives is one in which her readers cannot help being invested, and I really can’t wait to see where this is going following the climax of this book. She has really upped the stakes for them here, and fans of the author’s books will not be at all disappointed with this latest instalment. If you haven’t read any of Katerina’s books before, what are you waiting for?

The Woman in the Water is out now as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 9 January 2020. You can get your copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour for more reviews:

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About the Author

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Katerina is the author of the Sunday Times Best Selling Exeter based crime thriller series – starting with ‘The Teacher’ and followed by The Secret, The Angel, The Promise and Truth or Die Katerina is currently working on her seventh novel which is a standalone.

Katerina also runs the facebook book group CRIME SUSPECT with several other crime authors.

Katerina currently lives in East Kent. Katerina was born in Weston-super-Mare and has lived in various places since including Greece, Cyprus, Derby, East London and Exeter. Katerina watches way too much TV.

Connect with Katerina:

Website: https://www.katerinadiamond.com

Facebook: Katerina Diamond Author

Twitter: @TheVenomousPen

Instagram: @katerinadiamondauthor

Friday Night Drinks with…. Lucy Keeling @Lucy_K_Author @ChocLituk @RNATweets #UKRomChat #FridayNightDrinks

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After a one week hiatus, I am back for Friday Night Drinks with debut author, member of Twitter’s #UKRomChat and RNA colleague……Lucy Keeling.

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Welcome to the blog, Lucy, it’s lovely to have you here. First things first, what are you drinking?

Ohh, thank you for inviting me, I’d love an Ameretto and Diet Coke please if you don’t mind? Or we could share a bottle of Prosecco if you prefer?

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A bottle of Prosecco between us it is, to start with anyway! 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?

We would probably start earlier and go into Manchester, that way we can be nicely tipsy/drunk/steaming and get the last train home. I like to drink in places that are relaxed and chilled. If I can be wearing my Converse then I am beyond happy. I don’t think I ever really left my student drinking days behind me, except maybe the drinking of Snakebite.

I’m the same in my DMs! 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?

David Bowie and Emma Thompson. No hesitation.  

Ooh, good call. 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?

Well I am looking forward to this Friday night off to be honest. Most of my evenings are spent editing or writing. I work part-time and have two small humans to try and raise, so the evenings are when the words come (hopefully). My rom com debut Make It Up To You was released in September. I’ve just sent off the second one in that series, and now I’m really excited to be working on Book Three, which is Mya’s story. 

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Well, I have been writing since I was little. In fact I wrote my first ever book when I was maybe 8? It was about Ice Monsters and my school friend did the illustrations. But I would say coming Runner-Up in Choc-Lit’s ‘Search for a Star’ Competition and finding out that I would be getting a three book deal is certainly a HUGE deal for me, and honestly I’m still in shock. I kept expecting them to turn around and say, “So sorry we meant a different Lucy!”

My biggest challenge, as with most of us I guess, is getting into a routine and finding the time to write, as well as all the other stuff that comes with it, but I think I’m getting there. I think. Some weeks are easier or perhaps more productive than others that’s for sure. 

I can totally relate to the challenges of juggling everything. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

Ohhh, ok well if we’re dreaming big, then obviously I would like to see my rom com series made into TV or a film. I think it would be ace to watch it play out on Netflix. 

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

So Book One was all about Sophie, a social media influencer, and Marcus a gardener. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a pairing that should work but it really does. Like, really does, wink wink. Judging from the reviews and the feedback for Make It Up To You, it seems as though readers are desperately trying to suss out what Mya (one of the characters) does for a living. So it’s incredibly exciting to be writing Book Three now which is all about her. Honestly, I love knowing something that everyone else doesn’t haha. 

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 am not as well travelled as I would like. What have you got on yours? I’d love some inspiration. I would say that I really loved visiting Washington DC. We have friends that live over there and getting to see all the sites with them was amazing. Right now, I would just love to go somewhere warm and peaceful where I can read as much as I want before swimming up to a bar and drinking and then repeat. I don’t think that’s too much to ask? Is it?

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Sounds perfect. I was in Washington DC in 2018, great place. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

Oh erm… I actually don’t think I’m at all that interesting. I would say that I am terrible at small talk. It’s the small bit I struggle with and so I tend to just go straight into the over sharing detail that you absolutely wouldn’t have asked for, and certainly didn’t need to know.

I feel exactly the same, I think it’s a nervous tic shared by introverts. Next time we are at the same RNA event, we should meet up and overshare together! 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’?

I keep coming back to Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. I just love it. Having said that I am also loving Tessa Dare’s series at the moment too. She is a genius at writing hilarious stories with amazing romance. I’m just about to start Clare Lydon’s ‘You’re My Kind’ and I can’t wait. I could go on and on.

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Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. 2) A person’s undoing. 3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman sit across from each other every day . . . and they hate each other.

Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. HATE. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight approach to his job and refusal to smile. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and desire to be liked.

Now they’re up for the same promotion and Lucy, usually a determined people-pleaser, has had enough: it’s time to take him down. But as the tension between Lucy and Joshua reaches its boiling point, it’s clear that the real battle has only just begun . . .

I haven’t read that one, it sounds good. I will add it to the list. 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?

So I am renowned for making a brew. I am an absolute fiend when it comes to the hot beverage, and so no matter how drunk I might be, how many tipples I’ve had, I will always,and without fail make a brew when I get in. If I’m feeling really risky I might even make some toast. I’m so bad-ass I know. But I swear it will lessen your pain the next day.

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A cup of tea cures all! After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Once I get in and it’s likely to be late because I get the feeling that you may be a bad influence ☺, I would like to recover the next day in bed, watching things on Netflix that I promised my friends I would watch and never got round to. But if we’re talking truly ideal then at some point I would need a big ol’ greasy breakfast and a cold can of full fat coke. Then I will be ready to face absolutely anything. Unless it’s Soft Play Hell in which case, no. Absolutely not. Do not ever go to Soft Play Hell with a hangover. 

Thankfully, my girls are past the Soft Play stage, so I won’t have to suffer that with or without a hangover! Lucy, thank you so much for joining me, it has been an absolute joy. Here is a gif, just for you!

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Lucy’s debut novel, Make It Up To You, is out now as an ebook and you can buy a copy here.

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What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common?

Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure.

Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way …

Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters. When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking. Lucy is currently writing the third book in a Contemporary Romance series, the first of which was Runner-Up in ChocLit’s ‘Search for a Star’ competition. This story has become her romantic comedy debut Make It Up To You.

To discover more about Lucy and her writing, you can find her on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Please join me next week when I will be joined for Friday Night Drinks by Sarah from Lost in the Land of Books blog.

 

 

You Are Mine by Miranda Rijks #BookReview #BlogTour (@MirandaRijks) @inkubatorbooks @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs #YouAreMine #damppebblesblogtours

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Rupert has spent years searching for his perfect wife. Now he’s found her.  

Her name is Charlotte Aldridge and she’s wonderful. A talented artist, modest and beautiful, she’s everything he ever dreamed of. Her hair, her eyes, her mouth – every little detail is perfect.  

Rupert is confident that when they meet, she’ll fall in love with him just as he has with her. After all, he’s a wealthy British aristocrat. And he’s handsome – the relentless gym workouts and extensive plastic surgery have seen to that.  

But what if Charlotte can’t see that they fit perfectly, that they’re meant for each other? Well, Rupert can be very persuasive. His father taught him certain methods which are extremely effective. Methods that can turn the most determined, ‘I don’t’ into a meek and submissive, ‘I do’…. 

Today, it is my turn on the blog tour for You Are Mine by Miranda Rijks. My thanks to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Tours for my place on the tour and to the author for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is my first book by Miranda Rijks and I still haven’t decided whether I will be reading another or not yet because this one completely creeped me out and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the mind which managed to produce something so disturbing.

This book revolves around Rupert, a wealthy aristocrat who is on the look out for the perfect wife to complete his otherwise perfect life. He is convinced he has found her in the shape of artist, Charlotte, and he is sure she will fall in love with him if she just gets to know him properly. But is the real Rupert someone Charlotte could ever love? And is it really Charlotte he loves, or the memory of someone else….

This book has an interesting construction as it jumps between the present and the past, following Rupert’s story now as he pursues Charlotte, and events in his past that shaped his current behaviour. We also hear the story from several different perspectives, both in the past and in the present. However, despite the different time lines and the different voices, the story is very well laid out and easy to follow.

This book was extremely gripping and easy to read. I fairly flew through the pages as the pace of the book carries the reader along speedily. The tone is dark and troublesome, these are not easy topics to read about and the story line may prove triggering for some readers. The mood is dark and claustrophobic throughout, which is very fitting for the plot but makes for an oppressive reading experience. Not the book to pick if you are looking for something uplifting.

There are a few twists in the book, a couple of which I guessed and a couple I didn’t. Overall, a compelling read from a devious mind. One for fans of a psychological thriller with a bit of a different spin.

You Are Mine is out in paperback and ebook on 1st December and you can buy a copy here.

To find out more about the book and read some alternative reviews, please do check out the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

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Miranda Rijks is a writer of psychological thrillers and suspense novels, and YOU ARE MINE will be her sixth novel published with Inkubator Books. She has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all of her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.

Connect with Miranda:

Website: https://mirandarijks.com

Facebook: Miranda Rijks Author

Twitter: @MirandaRijks

Instagram: @mirandarijksauthor

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Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver #BookReview #BlogTour (@will_carver) @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #NothingImportantHappenedToday #9Suicides1CultNoLeader

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Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers.

The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader who does not seem to exist …

So excited to be on the blog tour for this hotly-anticipated book by Will Carver, Nothing Important Happened Today. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I’ve dreaded writing this review today because, although I finished the book on Sunday, I still haven’t figured out how to review it or exactly what I want to say. I haven’t even really figured out what I think about the book yet. But, hey, the review is due today so I’ll give it my best stab, knowing full well that it isn’t going to come anywhere near doing this book justice.

I seem to be saying this quite a lot recently, but I’ve really not read anything like this before and, now I’ve read this book, I realise that every other time I’ve said this, the sentiment has been defunct. This book is so unique, so ‘out there,’ so unlike anything else you’ll pick up that you can’t quite get your head around it while you are reading, but it absolutely impossible to put down once you start. I know that it seems odd, given the subject matter, but it’s true. This isn’t an easy book to read, the issues covered are on the darkest side of dark and may be triggering for some, the construction is so unusual that it may well twist your noodle, but you will possibly never read anything that gives you so much reward for the effort.

Because of the writing. Oh, the writing is so sublime that when I think about it, it makes me want to weep for the dark, twisted genius mind that produced it and how my own, pathetic efforts at writing something meaningful are thrown into sharp, unflattering relief by its beauty. Seriously, I have no idea how the author managed to piece this book together and still make the writing flow so perfectly. I mean, this book is written in both the first AND the third person. The narrators are a diverse bunch of voices, most of which we don’t get to know intimately, but only through the detached, dismissive opinion of someone who has given them dehumanising labels rather than names. The ‘main character’ doesn’t appear until a third of the way in. This is a book that should not work. It breaks every rule that authors are given on writing. We are told that we have to connect the reader to the main character at the beginning, snare in their empathy, make them care. This book does the exact opposite, and yet. And yet, I was caught from the first page and held until the last. How did he do it, I’m still trying to work it out.

This book really does cover some bleak subjects. Mass suicide, cults, mental health issues, psychological manipulation, and the descriptions of the violent scenes are graphic. You can hear the necks snapping, the screams, the splats. This is deliberate and necessary for the book but will not be easy reading for a lot of people. But there is a point to all of it and this book has me contemplating the issues raised ever since. Even though I have moved on to another book. As I’m washing my hair, drinking my tea, cooking the dinner. I actually had to pick up something completely mindless and superficial as a follow up, because my brain is still processing what is going on in this novel and what to make of it.

This is a book about modern society. About our craving for acceptance through social media, and the superficiality of those connections and approval. How, in reality, despite being more connected across the globe than ever, we are all really alone, isolated and insecure. How open we all are to manipulation in our quest for approval and acceptance. How people are willing to jump on any bandwagon in the search to belong, for fame and infamy, in order to FEEL. How, the more we all need to feel of consequence in a world where fame rests on the shoulders of people who have achieved nothing of relevance, the more we are becoming disillusioned for no reason. Dissatisfied by lives that are perfectly adequate, seeing problems where none really exist. Trying to find meaning in the meaningless and missing the things that really matter. Selfish, self-obssessed but totally lacking in real self-awareness.

I am aware that this review doesn’t entirely make sense, but that is because I am still processing the book and trying to sort through the labyrinth of thoughts and feelings it has aroused in me. It has turned my brain and emotions into a tangled ball of wool that it will take me hours to unravel. I know that this is a book that I will return to again soon so I can go through it in more detail, after the shock of the first read has worn off, and pick out more of the nuances. And I know that, on a second reading, I will have a different reaction, find different things to extract, and different thoughts to ponder. The book is so complex, so packed with ideas and meaning, that it will continue to reward on repeated reads.

What I have said here feels inadequate to sum up my feelings about the book. I am grasping for words to sum up thoughts and emotions for which I have no adequate vocabulary, but it’s the best I can do. This book is radical, risky, raw and utter genius. It won’t be for everyone, and for me to say I loved it seems wrong, given the topic, but I am so glad I read it, and will come back to it again and again when I want to be challenged. One of my books of the year, without a doubt.

Nothing Important Happened Today is out now in all formats and you can get a copy here.

This is a book that is sure to stir fierce opinions in people, so make sure you check out some of my fellow bloggers’ reactions to the book by following the tour.

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About the Author

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Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

Connect with Will:

Facebook: Will Carver Author

Twitter: @will_carver

Instagram: @will_carver

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Friday Night Drinks with… Emma Mitchell @emmamitchellfpr #bookbloggers #bookblogging #FridayNightDrinks #FictionCafeWriters #WhenStarsWillShine

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A very welcome guest for Friday Night Drinks tonight, it is blogger and editor….Emma Mitchell

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Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening, Emma. First things first, what are you drinking?

Well, I’ve recently taken a liking to larger and lime, so I have a nice, cold pint of Carling and lime … I’ll be moving on to the vino shortly though.

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?

There’s a lovely pub near me called The Swing Gate. We’d probably have a game of pool before either the karaoke or live band started 😊 either that or we’d be snuggled on my sofa in our PJs as I don’t tend to go out often!

I’m terrible at pool and karaoke, so the latter might be the better option! 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?

From the literary world it would have to be Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Both their books played a massive part in my reading addiction as a child and I would love to get inside their heads and pick their brains about where they got their ideas from.

Great choices. 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?

Well, in my day job I’m a freelance fiction editor and I adore it. I’m working with some amazing authors at the moment and there are some wonderful books on their way. I’ve just finished working on the debut by follow book blogger (Chapter in My Life) Sharon Bairden, it’s a gritty psychological thriller and it blew my mind! Sharon has a real talent with words, and I cannot wait to see this on the shelves!

Away from my day job, I have coordinated twenty-three authors to write twenty-four short stories for a charity anthology. We have a mix of genres, but each story is Christmas themed and all the money raised will be donated to Help For Heroes. It’s called When Stars Will Shine and is available now for e-book pre-order and will be released on 9 December with the paperback.

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When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

I have this on pr-order and am so excited to read it. I hope it does really well. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

I have two moments, if that’s OK? Conrad Jones has been a favourite author of mine for years, then two years ago, I became his editor! That was the most surreal thing ever. And I still get a thrill when another of his books lands in my inbox for me to work my magic on. 

The second was when author Angela Marsons sent me a cheeky screenshot of her then work in progress … with me as a character! I burst into tears and my hubby thought someone had died. I won’t say what I did next as it’s rather embarrassing … but it involved tears and snot for at least an hour! I have adored every single book in her DI Kim Stone series, and Silent Scream, the first one, was the first book I ever reviewed. In fact, I’ll tell you a secret, whenever there’s a new one out, I buy new bedding, have a long soak in the bath, get wine and munch ready, get into bed, and don’t leave until I’ve finished the book (whenever possible!). I also channel my inner Kim Stone when I have to go in the cellar! So to be named in the book, well … my mind was blown!

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 would LOVE to start my own publishing house.

I’m dipping my toe in the waters with the anthology … with help from three amazing #Queens in the industry. Kate Noble, from Noble Owl Proofreading, Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, and Shel Baker from Shell’s Not So Secret Book Blog have all been behind me from day one with this and I adore them for it. 

The whole process, although stressful at times, has been so exhilarating, I’m loving every second, so it may be something I look to do in an official capacity in the future.

Wow, that’s a massive ambition, good luck with it. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

When Stars Will Shine! 

Also, Sally Rigby, one of my amazing clients, is about to release the fifth book in her Cavendish and Walker series and it is BRILLIANT! A twisty police procedural that really leaves you guessing. She’s a fantastic author so if you’ve yet to read her books, go and check them out!

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

OK … here goes … I LOVE tomato soup, it’s the only soup I like, tomato sauce is the ONLY sauce I eat … but I HATE tomatoes! I cannot stand to eat actual tomatoes! 

Strangely, two of my sisters are the same! 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’?

Louise Jensen’s The Sister. I still have a book hangover from that one and am constantly asking Louise to revisit those characters.

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‘I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me . . .’

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear that there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie . . . Or was there?

That is a great book. 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?

So, I’ve already got my hangover PJs ready for the morning … the absolute failsafe is hair of the dog, but I can never seem to bring myself to have a drink until a few hours later, even though I know I’ll feel better for it! Food wise, it has to be Frazzles … bags and bags and bags of Frazzles, then pizza. Ham and pineapple washed down with orange Tango.

I love Frazzles, never tried them as a hangover cure before. Ham and pineapple pizza may prove controversial! After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Snuggled up reading, or, if the hangover’s that bad I can’t read, I’ll watch some serial killer documentaries on the TV and not move all day!

Sounds marvellous, especially in this appalling weather. Emma, thank you so much for joining me, it’s been a joy and I wish you great luck with the anthology.

Emma is a freelance fiction editor and you can find her business website here, which is full of useful information for authors. Emma also blogs about books over at Emma The Little Bookworm, and you can catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Next week on Friday Night Drinks, I will be joined by blogger Llainy Swanson so make sure you join us.