Friday Night Drinks with….Graeme Cumming @GraemeCumming63 @MatadorBooks @Williams13Anne #FridayNightDrinks

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Tonight I am delighted to welcome to the blog for Friday Night Drinks, author and all-round lovely chap, Graeme Cumming. Something tells me this is going to be an interesting evening!

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Good evening, Graeme, thanks for joining me for drinks this evening. So tell me, what are we drinking?

If you’re going to ask me difficult questions like that, I’ll need to keep a clear head, so I’m contemplating a sparkling water. As you’ll see, I like living life on the edge…

Seriously, for a quiet night with easy conversation, I’ll go for a Scotch – and don’t go putting anything in it!.   

I’m not quite sure what you are implying, but I can assure you my intentions, and the Scotch, are pure. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’m not much of a pub-goer unless it’s for a meal or to go and watch a live band. It’s tempting to suggest any pub with a band playing classic rock, but we wouldn’t get much chance for a chat. For that, although it may be a little out of our way, I’d suggest heading down to Waterstones in Piccadilly and stopping off at the 5th View Bar. A great, relaxing place to have a drink and unwind – as long as you can drag yourself past the books!

How did I not know this place existed, it sounds exactly like my kind of bar, although I’m not sure I could drag myself past the books, I have notoriously low will power in this area. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

I’m going to plump for Roger Moore. He’ll never be classed as a great actor, but I’ve yet to watch something he was in and not be entertained, and his heyday in TV and film does tend to coincide with my formative years. Plus, he’d have stories to tell, and I’d love to hear all that behind the scenes stuff. I never met him, but always got the impression he’d be good for a laugh and wouldn’t take things too seriously – and I’m sure he’d appreciate you using this picture of him above all others.

And, on the subject of not taking things too seriously, I reckon Dawn French would be great company. Again, I’m sure she’d have stories to tell, and she may have a serious side to her, but I suspect we’d have a good laugh. 

I love Dawn French so much. 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?

After a bit of a break from it, I’m currently working on (yet) another draft of a novel called Carrion. It’s one I originally started nearly fifteen years ago after writing nothing for several years. I started it because I realized it had been a long time since I’d last written anything, and I chose this particular story because I’d told a version of it to my kids at bedtimes. I say a version because it’s evolved into something you wouldn’t dare tell your children. The first draft took around six years to complete. Since then, I’ve rewritten it a few times, but never been quite happy with the result. The essential story hasn’t changed, but there are different ways to tell the same story. I think I may have cracked it this time, but I’ll let you know.If I have, it should be released by the end of the year.

Given how creepy your last book was, I can imagine that it isn’t really going to be a children’s bedtime story but I will look forward to reading it. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

For a lot of writers, the proudest moment comes when they see their book in print. Funnily enough, it didn’t really excite me. The eBook had been out for a while, and the release of a paperback was just another part of the process. I’ve never been particularly attached to books as objects – or any other objects for that matter. Forgive me for thinking aloud on this, but it has helped to get the cogs turning. I think it was the point when I realised my market was bigger than I expected, and that came about when Anne Williams at Being Anne reviewed it.

My biggest challenge is a recurring one. Whenever I start a new story, I struggle to motivate myself, and I procrastinate and look for distractions – isn’t the Internet great for that? Once I’m up and running with it, though, I tend to feel less inclined to be distracted.

I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to my writing. I’m actually doing it right now by typing up this blog post! 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.

Like a lot of people, I’d love books of mine to be turned into movies or TV series, though it says something about the state of literature that to be considered a success it needs converting to a different form. At a more down-to-earth level, I’ll be very happy if I can earn enough from my writing to live on – and I don’t need much.

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

Carrion. Even when I’ve got frustrated with it because I can’t find the right way to tell the story, I’ve always been convinced it’s a story that needs to be told. And I’m excited because I feel I’m on the right track with it now. 

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 used to have great ambitions to go to lots of places but, as I’m getting older, I find I’m not so bothered, even though I’ve not managed to get to lots of the places I should have done. I’m more interested in the things I can do when I get there, particularly if there’s an opportunity to sail. My preference is to sail dinghies, but my favourite holiday was taking a sailing course in the Canaries, where we lived on the boat for a week. 

The top of my bucket list would be to go sailing again, though there are a range of places I can go for that, and it all looks the same once you’ve slipped your moorings and headed out to sea. 

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

I have two children. Apparently that came as a surprise to someone recently. Not sure what that says about me…

That might be the funniest answer to this question I’ve had so far and I’m now wondering what they know about you that we don’t! 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’?

Shibumi by Trevanian. I don’t tend to read books more than once, but there are a handful I go back to occasionally. This is one of them. It’s probably a bit dated now – it was written in the 1970s – but it’s brilliant in my view. It tells the story of an assassin – his life and a specific situation he finds himself in when he’s dragged out of retirement. Some aspects of it are tongue-in-cheek, but it still stands up as a terrific thriller. If you like the idea of kicking dints in Volvos, you’ll love it! 

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Half German, half Russian, Hel was raised by a Japanese general and survived Hiroshima to become a mystic, a master of the senses, and the most deadly assassin in the world.

Nicholai has left his past behind him to live a life of isolation in a remote mountain fortress, determined to attain a state of effortless perfection known as shibumi. Then Hannah Stern arrives at his door.

Hannah needs protection from a sinister organization known as the Mother Company. But, as Hel knows all too well, they are not easy to escape. And now they’re coming after him too. The battle lines are drawn: ruthless power and corruption on one side, and on the other…shibumi.

Since I drive a Volvo, I’d rather we didn’t encourage that type of behaviour but this sounds like a different book to my usual fare so I’ll add it to the pile. 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?

For me, the best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink all evening. But if I’m going to drink, I tend to pace it and have the occasional glass of water to break things up a bit.

And if I do get a hangover, there isn’t really a cure that works. I just spend all the next day moaning about how bad I feel.

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

Assuming I haven’t got a hangover, then my preference is for an active weekend. I often sail at weekends between March and October, and getting out on the water and feeling the wind is a great way to remind yourself you’re alive. If time permits, going for a good walk or bike ride helps to blow the cobwebs away, though I’m quite happy to have some quiet time reading, and maybe a catch a movie at the cinema. (Though I might be being a little ambitious trying to do all of those things!)

Busy weekend, I hope it stays dry! Graeme, this has been a blast, thank you so much for joining me and best of luck with the writing.

Graeme’s novel, Raven’s Gathering is out now and you can get a copy here. If you would like to read my review of this excellent book, you can find it here.

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As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.
“You know what they are, don’t you?”

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family, in particular, it’s more than a coincidence, but unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences.

And only a select few know why the ravens are gathering.

Graeme Cumming has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV and movies – turning to writing his own stories during his early teens.

He first realised he genuinely had some talent when he submitted a story to his English teacher, Christine Tubb, who raved about it.  The same story was published in the school magazine and spawned a series that was met with enthusiasm by readers.  Christine was subsequently overheard saying that if Graeme wasn’t a published author by the time he was 25, she’d eat her hat.  Sadly, she probably spent the next 25 years buying her groceries exclusively from milliners.  (Even more sadly, having left school with no clear direction in life, Graeme made no effort to keep in touch with any teachers, so has lost track of this source of great support and encouragement.)

Having allowed himself to be distracted (in no particular order) by girls, alcohol and rock concerts, Graeme spent little of his late teens and twenties writing.  A year-long burst of activity produced a first draft of a futuristic thriller, Beyond Salvage, which has since lain dormant, waiting for a significant edit.

With the onset of family life, opportunities to write became more limited (though it could be argued that he got his priorities wrong), until he reached his early forties, when he realised he hadn’t written anything for several years.  Deciding to become more focused, since then he has written regularly.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied.  Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with reading books and his discovery of the magical world of cinema.  As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but are always written as thrillers.

Graeme’s first novel, Ravens Gathering, was published in 2012, and has been warmly received.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club, although he lives in Robin Hood country.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and still loves the cinema.

If you would like to find out more about Graeme and his books, connect with him on social media:

Facebook: Graeme Cumming
Next week, I will be joined for drinks by author Stephanie Bretherton so I hope you will pop back then.

Tempted by….Novel Deelights: The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware @noveldeelights @RuthWareWriter @HarvillSecker #TheDeathOfMrsWestaway #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.

There’s just one problem – Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger’s funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her.

Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…

Another Monday means it is time for one of my favourite features on the blog, Tempted by…, where I get to celebrate great books and great book bloggers at the same time. Genius, n’est-ce pas?

Today I have a book that had a lot of positive attention at the time of publication, The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware and one of my favourite reviews was published on one of my favourite blogs, Novel Delights, which is run by the fabulous Eva. It was one of Eva’s #20BooksOfSummer in 2018, which might be reason enough to add it to my TBR as we tend to have very similar opinions on the books we have both read. However, if this wasn’t the case, reading the review would definitely have made me want to pick it up. Eva is very enthusiastic from the get go about this book, and then she goes on to describe what she loves about it, including the unreliable narrator, the slow-building tension, the gripping mystery and the gothic atmosphere. It enticed me enough to pick up this copy soon afterwards on holiday in Dublin, so Eva’s sales pitch must be persuasive as books in Ireland are expensive! On the plus side….I got it in trade paperback, yay!

I haven’t met Eva personally but I have a picture of her in my mind as friendly, sweet and pretty, because this is how her blog comes across. She is a huge supporter and cheerleader for other bloggers, honest, fair and descriptive in her reviews and has a lovely Bookstagram feed to boot. If it sounds like I have a bit of a blogger crush on her, that’s because I do! Pop over to her blog and see if you agree, I’m sure you will.

If you would like to get your own copy of this fabulous-sounding book, you can buy it here. Currently out in hardback and as an ebook and in paperback from 4 April.

She Saw What He Did by Lynda Renham #Extract #PublicationDay (@lyndarenham) @RaucousPublishi #bookbloggers

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Abby Miller thought she had the perfect family; a good looking, loving husband and a beautiful daughter.  Her life was complete. The shock discovery that her husband, Jared had been having an affair rocked her world. So when Jared suggested a short break to the Cannard Islands, to heal their fractured marriage, Abby agreed. An idyllic holiday turns into a nightmare when Abby witnesses something terrible. Suddenly her life and the life of her daughter are in serious danger and no one seems able to help them.

Happy publication day, today, for Lynda Renham and her new novel, She Saw What He Did. My thanks to Lynda and her publisher for inviting me to join the publication day celebrations by sharing an extract from the book with you and for providing me with a copy of the book.

Unfortunately, due to other pressures this month, I haven’t had chance to read the book yet but I look forward to doing so soon and sharing my review with you then. In the meantime, please enjoy this short extract from the book.

Extract

Sparrow

He looked down at his phone and smiled. A withheld number meant only one thing.

‘Yeah,’ he said roughly.

‘Sparrow?’ questioned the gravelly voice at the other end of the line.

‘Yeah it’s me.’

‘I’ve got a job for you. It’s a bit different from the usual. These are new clients. It’s a big one. Do you think you can handle it?’

Sparrow’s jaw twitched.

‘Sure. Don’t I always?’

‘This is different. You can’t make any mistakes,’ snapped the voice.

Sparrow bristled.

‘When have I ever made a mistake?’

‘Just as long as you understand. I don’t want any problems. There’s fifty thousand in this for you, but these people aren’t amateurs and they don’t take prisoners. This is a big contract. I don’t want it fucked up.’

Sparrow’s eyes gleamed. He’d misheard, surely.

‘How much?’ he questioned. It had always been a few thousand and he’d been more than happy with that.

‘Fifty thousand,’ repeated the voice.

Sparrow whistled. His insides quivered with excitement. That was a hell of a lot of money.

‘No mistakes. You do a good job, you’ll be well rewarded. You mess it up and you’re fucked. Well and truly.’

‘What do I have to do?’ Sparrow asked breathlessly.

‘The same as usual, get the package in safely, except this time you have to caretake for a while longer. This is highly sensitive. We want the heat off before any collection. There’ll be others wanting this cargo and …’

‘What is it?’ he interrupted, pulling a stale sausage roll from a brown paper bag and biting into it. There were a few seconds of silence.

‘Fifty thousand means you don’t ask questions,’ said the voice. ‘The less you know the better.’

Sparrow wrinkled his nose. He wasn’t so sure he agreed with that, but, fifty thousand …

‘Suits me,’ he said, throwing the remainder of the sausage roll into the sea.

‘There won’t be a collection straight after the drop. It’s up to you to keep the cargo safe for a while. A few days, that’s all. ‘

‘Sure,’ he said casually, although he would have been happier knowing just what he’d be caretaker of. Perhaps it was heroin this time. It was drugs, no doubt about that. It must be a big shipment. Still, what did he care?

‘We have to deliver. I’m making myself clear, aren’t I?’

‘How dangerous is this?’ he asked, combing his fingers through his brown curly hair.

‘Fifty thousand dangerous. Take it or leave it. I can find someone else.’

Sparrow doubted there was anyone else on the island that would be able to get the goods in as well as he did.

‘I’ve just got to keep it safe, right?’

‘That’s it. As soon as things are clear it will be collected.’

‘That’s all I’ve got to do?’ asked Sparrow, suspiciously. It seemed too good to be true.

‘You don’t have to take the job. There are others who …’

‘No, I’ll take it,’ interrupted Sparrow.

‘Think of this cargo as your baby,’ laughed the voice.

Sparrow didn’t laugh with him. The sound of the waves breaking on the rocks roared in his ears. The thought of fifty grand had heightened his senses. He’d be set up for life. He could move to South America, maybe even get his own bar. He could buy one of those open- top convertibles. He’s always fancied himself in one of those.

‘So, you’re in?’ asked the voice.

‘I’m in,’ said Sparrow.

‘I’ll be in touch,’ said the voice. There was a crackle and then the line went dead.

If you enjoyed this extract and would like to get a copy of Lynda’s book for yourself, you can buy it here.

Please watch to for my review of the book later this month.

About the Author

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Lynda Renham is author to many popular romantic comedy and gripping psychological thriller novels. She lives in Oxford, UK. She has appeared on BBC radio discussion programs and is a prolific blogger, Twitter and when not writing can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook. Lynda lives in Oxfordshire with her second husband and two cats.

Connect with Lynda:

Website: http://www.renham.co.uk

Facebook: Lynda Renham

Twitter: @Lyndarenham

Winner Announcement! My Big Blog Birthday Bonanza Bookish Giveaway @Jo_Furniss #Giveaway #BookBloggers #BookBlog #Birthday #Winner

So, it’s finally my birthday (Happy Birthday To Me!) and the winner of my birthday giveaway has been chosen by the discerning panel of my daughters. I am delighted to announce that the winner is (drum roll, please)…

CATHERINE SHIELDS!!!!!!

Congratulations, Catherine. I will be in touch to get the details of where to send your prize. Thank you to everyone who commented for your congratulations and kind wishes and comments on my blog, I’m feeling the love. Here is to another great two years.

Friday Night Drinks with….Lynda Stacey @LyndaStacey @RNATweets @ChocLituk #FridayNightDrinks

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Tonight on Friday Night Drinks, I am thrilled to be joined by author, fellow member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and my IRL friend, Lynda Stacey.

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Hi, Lynda, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Well, I’m on a serious diet so I’m drinking tonic water (with a splash of gin) lol..!

I’m still on Dry January so I’ll just have to have the tonic. 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?

Well, we normally go to the pub that’s next door to your house. But, if you fancied somewhere different I’d probably take you through to The Percy Arms in Airmyn, they do fabulous fish and chips…. As well as the alcohol, of course.

Sounds ideal, let’s go there next time we meet. 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 my gosh. This is hard because I’d love to have my mum there, but then I’d have to speak to her (no disrespect)… but for a good night out I’d probably say Dawn French and Eddie Murphy. Love them both so much.

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

I’m currently writing Book 5, which is surprisingly Doncaster-based. My choice of my home town might come across as odd until you learn about its history. Back in the 1800’s there was an area in Doncaster that the locals called the sand pit. This was a sand quarry. The owners literally carved a whole house out of the sandstone. But not being satisfied at that they continued to carve out the most amazing catacombs that ran beneath the ground and held the most intricate carvings. All of this area has been lost. The council filled it all in with concrete to make way for high rise flats, which I still find unbelievable. 

I became interested in this site a number of years ago and really want to bring some attention to this amazing archaeological site that’s buried 9 metres below the pavement.  

My novel is set in present day and follows the life of Cassandra Hunt, a young archaeologist that was brought up by her aunt after the murder of her father and subsequent death of her mother. As always, my novels are romantic suspense and in this book I really crank up the tension when after opening the tunnels, Cassie comes face to face with the man who murdered her father.

You can see more about the Sand House here.

Below are just a few pictures of how amazing these tunnels were.!!

Wow, I’ve lived in Doncaster on and off all my life and I had no idea about any of this! I’ll look forward to reading the book. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment was winning the Choc Lit Search for a Star competition which put me on the route to becoming a published author. Something I’d dreamed of for most of my life.

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!

I’d like to be a household name. I’d like my books to be talked about and yes… I’d love to see them all as films.

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

I’m working on The Sand House as described above. I’m really hoping that with all the publicity that the Sand House project is getting this year, I’ll get some extra publicity for the book.

Fingers crossed, it sounds like a fantastic project. 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 the favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I’ve pretty much completed my bucket list. I’ve travelled the world as a Scuba Diving Instructor, I’ve dived the deepest accessible wrecks and I’ve free dived with sharks. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

But my favourite place in the world would have to be The Maldives. It’s the most perfect place in the world and all I can say is it’s like being Robinson Crusoe with a bar and a chef.

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The Maldives is definitely on my bucket list. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I was a Scuba Diving Instructor. I taught people to dive from their first breaths right to becoming instructors themselves.

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 loved Vanessa Savage’s new book, The Woman in the Dark. Also, I love everything that Jane Lovering, Milly Johnson and Mandy James are writing at the moment. But if I had to insist on one book that you should read it would just have to be my very own The Fake Date. Xx (I had to say that, didn’t I?)

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I admire your chutzpah! I know you’ve recommended Vanessa Savage’s book to me before so I must get it. 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?

I never normally get hangovers, but having had a few in the past I always found that fresh air helps…. Unless of course you have an oxygen cylinder handy (which I always did when teaching scuba), then pure O2 cures a hangover in minutes.

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

I’d definitely be in my pj’s for the weekend. I’m very much a home girl and love curling up in front of the log burner wrapped in a blanket, especially on nights like tonight.

A woman after my own heart there! Lynda, thank you so much for joining me on the blog this evening, it’s been a blast as always.

Lynda’s latest book, The Fake Date is out now and has received amazing reviews from some of my favourite fellow bloggers. If you would like to get your own copy, you can purchase it here.

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Nine hours and eleven minutes …
That’s how long it’s been since Ella Hope was beaten to within an inch of life and left for dead.
She lies, unable to move and praying for somebody to find her, as she counts down the minutes and wonders who could have hated her so much to have hurt her so badly.
Was it the man she went on a date with the previous evening, the man linked to the deaths of two other women? Or somebody else, somebody who wants her out of the picture so much they’re willing to kill?
Whoever it is, they will pay. All Ella has to do first is survive …

If you would like to find out more about Lynda and her books, you can find her on her website and Facebook and Twitter.

Next week i will be joined for drinks by my fabulous fellow book blogger and great supporter of authors, Anne Williams, so make sure you don’t miss that.

The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@nicolasladeuk) @crookedcatbooks @rararesources @RNATweets #Giveaway #RachelsRandomResources #TheConvalescentCorpse

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A delightful blog blitz to be taking part in today for an original and quirky book, The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of 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, which I have reviewed honestly.

Please scroll down beneath the review to enter a lovely giveaway.

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A story of Family, Rationing and Inconvenient Corpses.

Life in 1918 has brought loss and grief and hardship to the three Fyttleton sisters. Helped only by their grandmother (a failed society belle and expert poacher) and hindered by a difficult suffragette mother, as well as an unruly chicken-stealing dog and a house full of paying-guests, they now have to deal with the worrying news that their late – and unlamented – father may not be dead after all. And on top of that, there’s a body in the ha-ha.

The blurb of this book gives you a truly delicious taste of what is in store in this cosy crime novel with a difference. Set during World War I, it centres around the lives of the three Fyttleton sisters who are doing their best to cope with life on the home front after the disappearance of their father who went down with the Lusitania, and the recent loss of their brother on the Western Front. Their mother is a famous, reclusive author who is neither use nor ornament as a parent, so they can only rely on each other and their ageing but sprightly grandmother, who is a minor aristocrat.

The narrator is the middle sister, Christabel, who is the stalwart holding the family together whilst scribbling stories on the side to make a few pennies. Christabel is a girl after my own heart and I identified with her immediately. There was a particular line in the book which really touched me as she talks about feeling old beyond her years because she always has to be the sensible one, which exactly describes my role in our family of four girls. Anyway, the girls become heavily involved when a convalescent home for wounded soldiers opens nearby as they take in their families as lodgers whilst they visit their wounded relatives and find themselves in the middle of a mystery linked to the home.

The mystery aspect of the story is interesting, if not a little confusing at times, but it was not the main draw of this book for me. What I really loved was the insight into what life was like for the families left behind in England to make ends meet while all the menfolk went off to war in Europe, many to never come back. This is not a period of history I usually choose to read about, as I find it harrowing and immensely depressing, but this is a book that covers it in a light but still truthful and meaningful way which I found very appealing and illuminating. A wartime novel for people who don’t like to read about war.

The other attractive thing about this book are the characters. The three sisters are all individual and different, with their own motivations and desires, but present a tight knit unit which, as one of four girls, I found realistic and heartwarming. The remainder of the family are charmingly eccentric and riveting. Add in a range of pets with personality and it is a household full of appeal. The surrounding village, the lodgers and the servicemen up at the home add further layers of interest and intrigue. For a gentle mystery, there is a lot going on in this book!

This book was a charming and pleasing surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed the gentle hours I spent between its pages and, once I was finished, I found the characters and story had wormed their way into my heart. The book leaves the door open for more stories featuring these fascinating folk and I sincerely hope that I will be able to find out what happens next to Christabel, Henry and the rest of the Fyttleton family.

The Convalescent Corpse is out now and you can get your copy here.

Giveaway

the convalescent corpse - giveaway prize

To win a paperback copy of Nicola’s book, The House At Ladywell, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

Rafflecopter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 see some alternative reviews from my fellow bloggers on the tour, please see the details of the stops below:

the convalescent corpse full tour banner

About the Author

the convalescent corpse nickydiamondphotocropped

Nicola Slade lives in Hampshire where she writes historical and contemporary mysteries and women’s fiction. While her three children were growing up she wrote stories for children and for women’s magazines before her first novel, Scuba Dancing, was published in 2005. Among other jobs, Nicola has been an antiques dealer and a Brown Owl! She loves travelling and at one time, lived in Egypt for a year. The Convalescent Corpse is Nicola’s 9th novel. Nicola is also a member of a crime writers’ panel, The Deadly Dames 

Connect with Nicola:

Website: http://www.nicolaslade.com

Blog: https://nicolaslade.wordpress.com

Facebook: Nicola Slade

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

Pinterest: Nicola Slade

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Julie @ A Little Book Problem

Today the gorgeous Deborah from The Reading Chick has interviewed me on her wonderful blog about what, where and why I blog. It would be lovely if you wanted to take a look at the post, and at Deborah’s own fantastic blog.

The Reading Chick

Julie’s blog A Little Book Problem is about more than just book reviews. She talks about life, writing, travel, and yes, she also talks about the books she’s read. Aesthetically her blog is beautiful and her voice is crystal clear. If you haven’t bee to A Little Book Problem please click the link below, but come back and read the answers to the 10 questions Julie answered!

Julie @ A Little Book Problem

Let’s get to those 10 questions shall we?

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in the UK, in a tiny hamlet seven miles north of Doncaster in South Yorkshire. Our village has only 120 residents, a pub and a post box!

What is the view outside your front door? 

Mostly just fields and a few…

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