Chance Of A Lifetime by Kendra Smith #BlogTour #Extract (@KendraAuthor) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #NetGalley #ChanceOfALifetime

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A new life down under? It’s not as perfect as you’d think.

Katie and Tom’s marriage is in trouble. As is their bank account. So, when Tom tells Katie that they need to talk, she knows it must be about one of two things, and neither are good. But when he blind-sides her saying that his boss is sending him to Australia – permanently – Katie realises it might just be what they need to save their marriage.

Trouble is, she doesn’t like the heat, can’t swim and hates spiders. Not to mention the bouts of homesickness – and Tom’s endless business trips. Katie is finding the hope of saving their marriage slowly slipping through her fingers. But Katie is determined to take the bull by the horns – and her Speedos by the strap – and tackles her new life.

When all is said and done which side of the globe will she decide to call home?

I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour today for Chance of a Lifetime by Kendra Smith, a feelgood romance with an exotic setting. My thanks to Victoria Joss at Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in the tour and providing me with an extract from the book to share with you today.

Extract

Katie’s eyes roamed round the pantry as her mind processed its own inventory. Rice? Yes. Adulterer? That’s a bit harsh, your honour. Filter coffee? Half a packet. Unfaithful? You could call it that. French stick? Might have that for supper. Marriage vows? Need to review. Feeling sick about what you did? Definitely. Great sexual thrill. You bet.

‘Sweetie?’ Katie jumped. Her husband Tom was standing by the pantry door, peering at her.

‘You’re home early!’

‘We need to talk.’ He stared right at her. Oh God, not a ‘need to talk’ moment. Did he suspect? She didn’t actually do very much… She forced a cheery smile. But it soon slipped right off her face.

‘What’s wrong, Tom?’

‘Been repositioned.’ He looked about five-years-old. He was adorable. ‘Like I said might happen.’

‘Repositioned?’ The voice didn’t sound like hers. ‘Where?’

‘Australia,’ he said, as if in a dream. ‘Sydney.’ She stared at him, felt shivery, then walked past him and went upstairs and threw up in their brand-new Villeroy & Boch toilet. She’d never liked heat or spiders.

‘Why Australia?’ she asked quietly, downstairs again, staring into his intense grey eyes. Sitting white-faced in their farmhouse kitchen, clutching her paper napkin and looking round at their beautifully painted duck-egg blue walls, the black and white photos, the blown glass ornaments on the shelf from Italy, shining with a multi-coloured halo from the spotlight below, noticing the dust, the mundane things while the rest of her head was in a spin.

Like when my father died, she thought, all I could do was keep loading the dishwasher and watch baked beans slide off the plates – as if I could keep the stabbing pain away by worrying about how to clean the filter.

Tom paced up and down the wooden floors, his suede brogues making loud clipping noises.

‘Do you mean the E word…’ Her world was crashing around her. ‘Emigrate…’ Katie whispered, slightly hysterical by then, the napkin pink paper shreds. ‘We’ve just had all this done…’ Her voice trailed off, her hand gesturing to the granite work surfaces, the wooden floor, the gleaming glass extension that had robbed the garden of at least six metres. But in fact who cared what they’d had done to the kitchen? She wasn’t really terrified about leaving granite work surfaces; what she was terrified about was leaving her house, her home, England, Britain

‘K-A-T-I-E.’ Tom said her name in a very slow, deliberate way. ‘Martin has just offered me a job as head of New Asian Markets for Trent Financial – he says it’s exactly up my street, says my CV is perfect. He told me, Katie, that at forty-seven, I don’t have many options.’ He closed his eyes, leant his head back, clutched the grey granite work surface. Suddenly, his eyes snapped open again. He stared at her. ‘It’s a great salary and they’ll pay all our moving costs. It’s not emigration, it’s…’ he hesitated ‘…for a few years, a contract. An opportunity, that’s what it is.’ He smiled shakily at her. He’s trying to be his usual self, his alpha male, mused Katie. An opportunity for him maybe, but it might as well have been a job offer to Pluto; she felt like she couldn’t breathe.

‘But shouldn’t we—’

‘What? Wait for me to get another job? The country’s in a total recession.’ He folded his arms. ‘Bankers are getting fired everywhere, Katie, don’t you see?’ He sighed. ‘We are mortgaged up to the neck – especially with the bloody extra borrowing on the extension—’ She scraped her chair back, guiltily, remembering the cost.

‘You wanted it as much as me. Wanted to show off to all your clients…’ she whispered.

‘Katie, sweetheart – I’ve had a hell of a day,’ he said sweeping his fringe from his forehead and looking across at her. The look said don’t challenge me; don’t knock me when I’ve been kicked in the balls today and have managed to come up for air already. It said don’t try me when we are up to our necks in debt and I feel like I’m drowning.

She supposed that was the beauty of working for such a massive financial player as Trent Financial, and that was the beauty of having an ego the size of Tom’s – you could get redeployed anywhere. She remembered when she’d first met him; he was the Financial Director of the publishing house she was working for and several years older than her. She’d noticed him straight away. Tom with his long lashes, with his sandy-blond hair and schoolboy fringe, his oddly dark eyebrows, freckled nose and square jaw. He was rather like an older Prince Harry.

She’d been working there for two years, slowly inching her way up from Sales Assistant, (‘Can you photocopy this whole book before lunch? There’s a love’), to Senior Staff Writer. It hadn’t been easy, but she’d loved the work and loved the industry. Born with printer ink running through her veins, she used to say.

Tom had tested her one day. ‘Katie?’

‘Yes?’

‘Get that proof from the colour printer, will you?’ She’d ventured into the room where the huge colour printers hummed away. Coming out of the machine before her proof (‘How to meet Justin Timberlake this weekend!’) had been a pink and flesh-coloured ensemble of places where the sun don’t shine in the female anatomy. Her face had taken on a similar hue of magenta.

‘All right?’ Tom had smiled, taking the proof from her hand and looking her straight in the eye. (This was his little test she later found out to see who’d sink, who’d swim in this particular publishing house that also churned out a number of distasteful top-shelf titles as well as her teen magazine.)

‘Fine. Want a cappuccino?’ she’d asked.

He’d given her a quick look and said with a faint smile, ‘Thanks. Latte. No froth.’ That was the first time she’d seen that look on his face, one that was a mixture of mirth and mischief.

She had learnt her trade there. An editor who would not give up until everything was perfect; a ‘small team’ (that’s three full-timers and three and a half days’ worth of Claire, the anorexic office assistant) so you were forced to learn each other’s roles. She’d learnt how to cheat so it didn’t show.

‘Katie?’ Tom was looking at her. He put his huge hand over hers. ‘Are you all right?’

God, where had all those days gone, she wondered and then shook herself, tried to smile at him and squeezed his fingers. They should eat. Yes, remember the beans. Eat in a crisis. She watched Tom pour himself his second single malt. She walked past him towards the fridge, then suddenly had to grip the side of the counter as hot blood flooded over her chest and rose, like crawling spiders legs up her neck and face: Australia?

If you enjoyed this short extract from Chance of a Lifetime, you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to read some reviews of the books and see other interesting content, make sure you visit the rest of the stops on the tour:

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About the Author

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Kendra Smith has been a journalist, wife, mother, aerobics teacher, qualified diver and very bad cake baker. She started her career in Sydney selling advertising space but quickly made the leap to editorial and went on to work on several women’s magazines in both Sydney and London. With dual Australian-British nationality, she currently lives in Surrey with her husband and three children.

Connect with Kendra:

Website: http://kendrasmith.co.uk

Facebook: Kendra Smith Author

Twitter: @KendraAuthor

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer #BookReview #BlogTour (@JenniKeer) @AvonBooksUK @RaRaResources @RNATweets #Giveaway #RachelsRandomResources #NetGalley #TheHopesAndDreamsOfLucyBaker

the hopes and dreams of lucy baker

I am delighted that it is finally my turn on the blog tour for this debut novel by my fellow RNA member, the lovely Jenni Keer. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker and to Avon Books for my copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Make sure you read down to the end of the post for details of a fabulous giveaway.

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Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours and unlikely friends.

Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.

79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.

Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker will be the most charming, heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year, perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan and Gail Honeyman.

2019 has got off to a stellar start with the quality of the books I have read so far, and I guess it is a streak that has to end some time… but not with this book because this is a novel which has maintained the very high standard of reads with which I’ve started the year. It is a book which has wrapped me in a cashmere blanket of happiness and given me a long, warm hug, leaving me feeling tingly, moved and with a big smile on my face and a small tear in my eye. Quite a feat.

The central story in this book is the unlikely friendship between Lucy and Brenda, which spans easily the decades that divide them age-wise. In most ways, age doesn’t matter because Lucy is mature and wise beyond her years and Brenda is young at heart, but in other ways the age difference is telling, because of the effect it is having on Brenda’s body and mind. Jenni displays the closeness between the two, but also this physical deterioration of the human body with such tenderness and pathos that the book can’t fail to grab hold of the stoniest of hearts and squeeze it until it feels something (a bit too much in my case, since I’m a big softy and blub at the slightest provocation).

I was totally in love with both Brenda and Lucy. They felt very real and alive to me and their friendship was completely believable and genuine and just a delight to behold. They both really care about the other and want what is best for them, and they bring out the best in each other. They really understand each other and have so much in common, despite the age difference, which is the basis for a true and enduring friendship and it is just gorgeous.

I really enjoyed watching Lucy come to life and blossom and expose more of her personality throughout the book. I felt like a proud parent watching her grow in confidence and stature across the pages. There were times when I wanted to reach into the pages and shake her, or warn her not to trust someone, that they were not what they seemed to be, and that it is the hallmark of a truly enthralling book, where the people are so real to you that you are completely engrossed in the story as if you are another character yourself involved in their lives. I was rooting for her all the way through, sharing her joys and triumphs and sadness and, when the book ended, I felt like I was leaving behind a good friend. Luckily, she will still be waiting there between the pages of the book next time I want to meet up with her.

The other story arc is a fairly simple boy meets girl, but is elevated beyond the mundane by the charm of the characters, a good dose of humour and a touch of magical realism. It is a winning recipe for a memorable story that you will be sorry ends and you will definitely want to return to. Added to this is the warmth and ease of Jenni’s writing, which I just loved. One of my favourite lines popped up early on in the book:

But the night-black cat had vanished completely into the cat-black night.’

This is one of those lines that, as a writer, you mentally high-five yourself for writing and I gave the author a little cheer of congratulation as I read. It is also one of those ‘kill your darlings’ lines that you are always told you should cut (although the premise that you should cut any line you think is great always baffles me – you should just leave yourself with all the lines you aren’t happy with? Odd idea!) and I am SO glad that Jenni’s editor didn’t make her cut this one! From here on, I knew I was going to enjoy every word and there were numerous other bits I highlighted to go back to.

What more do I need to say? I absolutely loved every word of this book and can’t wait to grab the paperback for my collection so I can come back to it next time I want a book that will just make me happy. Go and buy it and give yourself a treat.

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is out now as an ebook and the paperback, which will be released on 21 March, is available for pre-order. You can get them both here.

Giveaway

the hopes and dreams giveaway prize

Please enter the giveaway to win The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker goodies (UK Only) by clicking the Rafflecopter link below. Prize contains – Thornton’s fudge, a Nu notebook, a Hopes and Dreams bookmark and a set of five “Scratbag” blank greetings cards designed by Jenni Keer.

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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.

To follow the rest of the tour for this book and get some comparable reviews, check the details of the other blogs taking part on the poster below:

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About the Author

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Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.

She is very tall and also carries around a knitted version of Poldark, so is easy to identify in a crowd!

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Connect with Jenni:

Website: https://jennikeer.co.uk

Facebook: Jenni Keer

Twitter: @JenniKeer

Instagram: @jennikeer

Summer In The Orchard by Fay Keenan #BookReview #BlogTour (@faykeenan) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #NetGalley #SummerInTheOrchard

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Sophie Henderson loves her job at Carter’s Cider in the picturesque Somerset village of Little Somerby, but with summer dawning before yet another picking and pressing season, and her boss David showing no signs of wanting to hang up his cider jug, perhaps it is time to move on.

She’s all set to hand in her notice when Alex Fraser, an intern from Vancouver, comes to Little Somerby to learn everything he can about the cider business. With Sophie as his mentor, attraction between them starts to grow alongside the apples.

For Alex, however, being in Little Somerby is about more than cider, and as the summer grows warmer, and his relationship with Sophie blossoms, can he find the courage to tell her the truth before it’s too late?

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for Summer In The Orchard by Fay Keenan, the third book in the Little Somerby series. My thanks to Victoria Joss at Aria Fiction for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley. which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the first book I have read by Fay Keenan and, although it is the third book set in Little Somerby and based around Carter’s Cider, it works completely as a standalone novel and I did not feel I was missing any detail from the first two books which would have helped me enjoy this book more.

This book is primarily the story of Sophie, a cider taster and blender at Carter’s Cider in the small village of Little Somerby and how her seemingly ordered life is disrupted by the arrival of a handsome stranger from Canada in the form of Alex Fraser. But is he all that he seems? The book is also told from Alex’s perspective, so the reader is privy to information about him that Sophie is not, and we can see how things are moving towards a collision course before the characters can, which adds a pleasing frisson of tension to the reading experience.

The characters of both Sophie and Alex are sympathetic enough to carry the story and make you care about what happens to them and I became deeply involved in the development of their relationship, to the point where I ended up with a lump in my throat and a pricking behind my eyes towards the end, which I was not expecting to be honest. I had anticipated a light and frothy book that would not move me with that level of emotion, so I was very pleasantly surprised. The supporting cast of characters are also extremely appealing (with one or two exceptions!), to the point where I know I definitely need to go back and get better acquainted with them via the first two books in the series.

I particularly enjoyed the setting of the novel. One of the very great pleasures for me of reading is to learn new things and, as I have never read a book set around cider production before, I really enjoyed reading more about it. Despite this being primarily a book of romantic fiction, the author has obviously done meticulous research into the background business against which the book is set and included just enough detail about it to make it interesting and informative without bogging the prose down with too much. I found it perfectly pitched and it added an additional layer of depth and interest to the story.

The book is set throughout the sunny, summer days of a Somerset apple growing and pressing season, and includes a county fair, al fresco parties and lazy evenings in country beer gardens. The scent of the apples and flowers leaches out of the pages and I could hear the lazy buzzing of bees and feel the fizz of the cider on my tongue; a delightful and sensual read.

All in all, this book turned out to be a wonderful surprise, combining a delicious reminder of a warm English summer, a moving love story, with hidden depths that I wasn’t expecting. A very rewarding investment of a few hours reading.

Summer in the Orchard is out now and you can get a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tours, please check the poster below:

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About the Author

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Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling back in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.

Connect with Fay:

Website: https://faykeenan.com

Facebook: Fay Keenan Author

Twitter: @faykeenan

A Greek Affair by Linn B. Halton #BookReview #BlogTour (@LinnBHalton) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #Giveaway #NetGalley #AGreekAffair #bookblogger #feelgood

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Delighted to be taking part on the blog tour today for A Greek Affair  by Linn B. Halton, bringing a little summer sunshine to these chilly January days. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly.

Make sure you scroll down below the review to enter a great prize giveaway.

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More than just a holiday romance?

Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations. Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it! What could be better?

Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…

So, in these grey, dreary, post-Christmas days of January, when the glitter and sparkle of the Christmas decorations are a dim memory and we are waiting for the plop of the credit card bills on the mat, our thoughts inevitably turn with longing to the hot, sunny days and relaxed, scented evenings of our summer holidays. Or is that just me?

This is the first year for the last five when January holiday planning hasn’t meant organising and selling them to other people, so instead I am indulging my daydreams through reading and my first book set in in warmer climes has been A Greek Affair by Linn B. Halton, and it has been the perfect one to cheer up these early days of the new year which can often feel a little flat and depressing.

Linn is whisking us off, firstly on a cruise in the Med, and then to the ancient and imposing city of Athens with the heroine of her new book, Leah, a struggling single mother still dealing with the fallout of being abandoned by her husband and trying her best to make a good life for her daughter, Rosie. She is single-minded and focused on her goals until fate (or is it the Greek gods) throw not one, but two, handsome men in to her path!

This book was everything you would expect from a novel with travel as a central theme and I really enjoyed the blogger angle, which I am surprised has not featured in more recent books (maybe I’m just reading the wrong books) but actually, the book goes far beyond a superficial, holiday romance story.

As a single parent myself, this book tackles some real emotional truths about the hardships of that condition in an honest but sensitive way and I was totally in tune and sympathetic with what Leah was going through in this book. Trying to balance the needs of young children with the emotional demands of your own life is a very tricky path to navigate, and one which more and more women will be able to relate to in modern times, and Linn has dealt with it with a real depth of understanding and sensitivity which was a pleasure to read.

There is a lot to enjoy in this book. The characters are all wonderfully drawn – I particularly loved Leah’s parents and Harrison, and the exotic settings are brought to life in such a way to satisfy the pickiest armchair traveller. Beware though, her descriptions will give you a serious craving for Greek food! I am still thinking about the saganaki as I type this. However, the real standout aspect of this book for me is the personal struggle of Leah in balancing her own needs with that of her child and the honest portrayal of this dilemma raises this book above the level of simple beach read.

Highly recommended for those needing a little sunshine in their lives, coupled with an involving, emotional story.

A Greek Affair is out now in ebook format and in paperback on 9 March. Order your copy here.

Giveaway

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To enter a prize draw to win a bottle of rose wine and some chocolates, click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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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.

To read some more reviews of the book, make sure you check out the rest of the marvellous bloggers taking part in the tour as detailed on the poster below:

a greek affair full tour banner

About the Author

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From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk

Facebook: Linn B Halton Author

Twitter: @LucyColemanAuth and @linnbhalton

The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker #BookReview #BlogTour (@Bookwalter) @Bookouture #NetGalley #TheSongbirdGirls

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Her eyes were closed. From a distance the blood around her neck might have looked like a necklace, but up close her body told a different tale. She had been murdered. A tiny songbird lay beside her, its neck broken… 

Detective Tom Fabian‘s past is catching up with him. It has been years since the most high-profile case of his career – when his evidence put infamous serial killer Christopher Wisher behind bars forever. But when Wisher summons a reluctant Fabian to his prison cell to hand over a diary, he realises that Wisher’s twisted games are far from over.

Shortly after Fabian’s visit, Wisher is found dead in his cell. And a few days later, the police find a woman’s body bearing Wisher’s signature, a dead songbird. But the police never released this detail to the public… so who has Wisher been talking to?

Fabian is desperate to find the killer before another innocent life is taken. But as more bodies turn up, Fabian begins to realise that Wisher may have handed him the clues before he died. Is the twisted serial killer still pulling the strings from beyond the grave…?

Welcome to my final blog tour review of 2018 and I am delighted to be rounding off the blog tour for The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker with this review. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for my place on the tour and my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is my first book by Richard Parker, although it is the second Tom Fabian thriller. Some of my fellow bloggers have alluded to the fact that certain aspects of the storylines from book one flow in to this book, I can honestly say that this book works extremely well as a standalone novel and I did not feel at all disadvantaged by not having read the first one so, go ahead, dive right in.

The book opens with a chilling prologue that you know is not going to lead to anything good then, just as you are on the edge of your nerves, bam, we switch to what seems to be fairly mundane visit by a police officer to a prison inmate he was responsible for putting away and we are left on tenterhooks as to what happened in the first story thread. This is just the first example of how Richard Parker ramps up the tension and then keeps you on the edge of your seat as you race through the pages to find out what is happening. The book is completely gripping and I really could not put it down.

The plotting is very devious. with echoes of the crimes committed by the man Fabian is famous for catching, so that there is suspicion of a copycat murderer and a race to track them down. At the same time aS the police are investigating these crimes, the reader, but not the police, are privy to another storyline where an innocent and unaware victim is being stalked by a predator and things are about to get very close home for Tom Fabian. it is very skilfully done and very compelling for the reader. I honestly wished I could shout in to the book and warn the characters what was coming, a bit like being at the pantomime – ‘he’s behind you!’

I really liked the character of Tom Fabian and his sidekick, Banner, who are both very down to earth and real people dealing with complicated personal issues as well as trying to solve a complex puzzle that has been left for them by a twisted killer. There are a lot of suspicious characters in the book to provide plenty of red herrings. The murders are gruesome in execution but are not described in too gory detail so this is a good thriller for those of a more delicate disposition who don’t like their crimes too bloody but still enjoy a good murder mystery.

The best thing about this book though is the end. OMG! It is brilliant, I did not see it coming and I absolutely loved it and it really made me eager for the next book in the series. Richard has balanced brilliantly here the need for a satisfying conclusion to the mystery to reward the reading time invested in the book (nothing worse than a completely unresolved puzzle in a book that you have spent several hours reading) and also leaving the reader with the hankering for more and this book brilliantly sets up the character and the reader for more puzzles to come. I am not sure I have read anything which has so cleverly contrived an ongoing set up before, Kudos to the author for that!

This book was a very easy, flowing read with plenty of reward for the reader. I would highly recommend it and can’t wait for the next book. In the meantime, I need to go back to book one and catch up on the back story. A great book to end my blog tours for the year on. I want to thank you all for reading and supporting my blog this year and wish you a very Merry Christmas. I look forward to sharing lots more great reads with you in 2019.

The Songbird Girls is out now and you can get a copy here.

To read some comparative reviews by my excellent fellow bloggers, please check out the previous stops on the tour:

The Songbird Girls - Blog Tour

About the Author

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Richard Parker was formerly a TV script writer, script editor and producer before turning his hand to penning twisted stand-alone thrillers.

Connect with Richard:

Website: http://www.richardjayparker.com

Facebook: Richard Parker

Twitter: @Bookwalter

Instagram: @bemykiller

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The City of Second Chances by Jane Lacey-Crane #BookReview #BlogTour (@JaneLaceyCrane) @Aria_Fiction @RNATweets #PublicationDay #NetGalley #TheCityOfSecondChances

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She’s already met The One, it was just that Mr Right came along at the wrong time….

Evie Grant is forty-five years old, a widow, and single mum of two children about to leave the nest. Suddenly alone in the family home, Evie realizes she hates her job, hardly goes out and hasn’t had a date since who knows when…

So it feels like fate when the opportunity arises for a girls trip to New York City. Staying with her sister on the Upper East Side, Evie is enchanted by a snow-covered city consumed by preparing for Christmas. Bobble hat firmly on, Evie is walking through the city one day when she bumps into Daniel Roberts, Hollywood heartthrob and one-time boyfriend of hers.

It’s now or never for Evie – but she open her heart to the possibility of a new beginnings and true happiness once again….?

Funny, real and wonderfully romantic, this is the perfect feel-good read to keep you warm this winter!

Today is Publication Day for The City of Second Chances by my fellow RNA member, Jane Lacey-Crane so I want to say happy publication day to Jane. I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour on Publication Day and I want to thank Victoria Joss at Aria for inviting me to take part and for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. I apologise profusely for posting my review so late in the day, I have been tied up unavoidably, but I am hoping both Jane and Victoria will forgive me once they read it.

Where do I start? This book has made me feel so many things that my emotions are still swirling and I’m still sifting through them in my head but I’ll do my best to sort them in to some semblance of a coherent review. Suffice it to say, this book has absolutely blown me away by how much I love it. It has everything I love in a good book and, not only are all the elements there, they are delivered so perfectly; with so much warmth and charm and sincerity and sheer honesty that it has wriggled under my skin and settled there.

The book is the story of Evie, widowed mum of two who has lost the love of her life and is now facing an empty nest as her children reach adulthood and leave home. She has to face what she is going to do with the rest of her life, and that question currently has no clear answer. The main part of what I loved about this book was Evie and how much I could relate to her. From the very beginning, I felt like I knew her. she could be me, or one of my friends. She is my age, and I was totally on board with what she is going through. Her feelings leapt off the page in their authenticity and wrapped themselves around my heart. I was living the story with her from page one, and that doesn’t happen all that often in a book, where you are actually carried in to the story to live it with the main character, but when it does it is magical.

Aside from Evie, all of the other characters in this book were so well drawn and real that they just enhanced the feeling of being in a real person’s life. Evie’s sister and her friend, Rachel, were also people that I felt I recognised and I loved the dynamic between them. The storyline with Olivia was an interesting twist and, although it did not go the way I thought, I understood why the author did what she did with it and it was absolutely correct for the story. Daniel was a romantic lead that anyone would fall in love with, and the relationship between he and Evie was everything you could wish for. It put me through a whole wringer of emotions throughout the story and the plot was not at all predictable, I just loved it. The whole book is perfectly balanced with regard to the emotional rollercoaster.

This book has difficult elements included in it, and the author tackles them bravely and head on. Plots like this only work if you don’t shy away from the topic – if you are going to tackle them, you need to commit to it, and Jane really does that, I feel. This is not a light and fluffy romance, and I love that about it. The settings are also perfect. New York at Christmas, always appealing and the author really brings the city to life. It is festive enough to bring a pleasing warmth to your cockles, but not so twee that it makes your teeth ache, perfectly balanced – the salted caramel of Christmas novels.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with Jane at the RNA conference back in July and the thing that struck me most about this book was that I could very clearly hear her voice throughout. This is definitively her book, her voice, it couldn’t have been written by anyone else and I really felt that this was her putting herself honestly on the page. This is a massive leap forward from her first book, you can feel the confidence flowing through the pages. This is an author who has hit her stride and is powering forward. The honesty pulses off the page and pulls the reader in to experience the story with her. This is what confident writing looks like.

As you may have gathered, I adored this book. I’ve just ordered a paperback copy to add to my library. It is for the discovery stories like this that I read and I could not be happier for Jane at what she has achieved with this novel.

Please go and buy a copy, I promise you won’t regret it. You can get it here.

If you would like to get some other perspectives on the novel, please check out the rest of the tour:

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About the Author

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Born in London, Jane’s writing career began in cable TV, writing true crime documentaries. More recently, Jane has contributed to an anthology of short stories and written two weekly crime serials. When she’s not writing, Jane loves to read good books, binge watch TV boxsets and drink tea. And wine. 

Connect with Jane:

Facebook: Jane Lacey-Crane
Twitter: @JaneLaceyCrane

Keep Her Close by Erik Therme #BookReview #BlogTour (@ErikTherme) @Bookouture #NetGalley #KeepHerClose

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Someone took your daughter. And nobody believes you…


Then:
Three-year-old Ally was found alone in a parking lot.
She was barefoot and dressed only in a yellow sundress. In the middle of winter.
What kind of person would abandon their daughter?


Now:
Fifteen years later and Ally has a new family.
But her real father has sent her a letter.


And now Ally is missing. 

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for Keep Her Close by Erik Therme. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is my first book by Erik Therme but it definitely won’t be the last after reading this one. As soon as I read the deeply affecting and disturbing prologue, I was totally hooked and raced through the rest of the book faster than Shergar won the Grand National. I could not put the book down and, even once I had finished it, my head was still reeling with thoughts and questions. Only the best kind of thriller can get you that involved that you can’t forget it even once you’ve finished it.

The main protagonist is Ally, a young girl apparently abandoned as a small child and since adopted by Dan and Holly who have brought her up as their daughter. She is contacted by a man who claims to be her birth father and wanting to meet her before he dies, and this is where the trouble starts. Ally is at that metamorphic stage in life – on the cusp of adulthood and about to take her first tentative steps towards independence and eager to assert her autonomy but still retaining the innocence and naiveté of youth, which puts her in a dangerous and vulnerable position that unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of and she finds herself in the hands of someone very unpleasant indeed.

Ally’s adoptive parents obviously love her very much and are distraught by her disappearance. They have split up and it is obvious as we go through the book that they are different people and have very different ways of dealing with what has happened. Dan, her dad, in particular, is a volatile individual and he has quite extreme reactions to Ally’s disappearance which are sometimes hard to fathom and frustrate the reader, but as a parent most of us can imagine how we would react if we were put in the same position.

Most of the characters in this book are rather ambiguous and have very mixed motives for their behaviour, which are revealed over time. None of them are what they seem to be at the beginning, and are all multi-layered and this is the main thing which keeps the reader turning the pages and turning the pages to see where it is going. Nothing is what it seems and the answers to the puzzle are far from obvious. I thought I had worked out was happening, only to be proved completely wrong and totally taken by surprise at the end. The plot has more twists and turns than a Rubik’s cube and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

A fascinating, tightly-plotted, fast-paced psychological thriller with a cast of complex and diverse characters and a less-than-obvious ending. What’s not to love?

Keep Her Close is out now and you can get your copy here.

To follow the rest of the blog tour, check out the blog tour poster below:

Keep-Her-Close-Blog-Tour

About the Author

Erik Therme (author photo)

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his seventeen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

Connect with Erik:

Website: https://eriktherme.com

Facebook: Erik Therme

Twitter: @ErikTherme

Goodreads: Erik Therme