#Review of Letters From the Past by Erica James @TheEricaJames @orionbooks #LettersFromThePast #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

Letters From the Past
By Erica James
Rated: 5 stars *****

Thud!!! The book hit my doorstep in quite a fashion, life no other. It is incredibly welcome post, rather than the anonymous letters the characters within this book recieve. It is a book I am so excited at being invited by Anne Cater for the blog tour. Today I present my review of Letters From the Past, which is a glorious read from start to finish and is highly addictive. I also thank the publisher – Orion Books for sending me a delightful advance review copy (ARC) of the book.
Here you will find out a bit about the author, the blurb and my review.

 

About the Author

Erica James Author PicErica James is the number one international bestselling author of twenty-two including the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers Summer at the Lake, The Dandelion Years and Song of the Skylark. She has sold over 5 million books worldwide and her work has been translated into thirteen languages.
Erica won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award for her novel Gardens of Delight, set in the beautiful Lake Como, Italy, which has become a second home to her. Her authentic characters are thanks to the fondness of striking up conversations with complete strangers.

Blurb

A compelling story of family, love and betrayal.

Autumn 1962, in the idyllic Suffolk village of Melstead St Mary, four women recieve anonymous letters which threaten to turn their lives upside down – and to unravel a secret that has been kept hidden for years.

Meanwhile, in the sunbaked desert of Palm Springs, Romily Devereux-Temple is homesick for her beloved Island House. But on her return, shocked by events in her absence, she finds herself reluctantly confronting her own long-held secret. Can Romily save the day, and seize some happiness for herself at the same time?

 

Letters From the Past cover

Review

Focussing on the late 30’s/ early 40s, but predominantly the early 1960’s, this is one totally fascinating story of secrets, posion-pen letters and relationships, history. This book has it all I loved it all. This is wonderful book that shows so much life and yet can be read with consummate ease as it has a magic of drawing you into everyone’s lives without a second thought. This is a book that spans across many generations and would appeal to many generations.

The book starts with the scars of the war. The book fascinates me because it mentions about the RAF (my step-great-grandfather was part of the RAF in both world wars). The book also takes readers to Bletchley Park, which has just always interested me.
Then there’s the 1960’s, such an interesting period of time. From beginning to end I just loved this book, it swept me up instantly and carried me away. Time didn’t matter, I was hooked and kept wanting to know more about the people within Melstad St Mary in Sussex and in Palm, Springs and the secrets that mount up.

Poisoned pen letters appear on people’s doorsteps. Every so often you get to see what the accusatory content of these letters are. There are twists and turns and abuses of power to be discovered in this book. It may be set in between the 40’s and the 60’s, but some of the themes feel very current.

Hope is an author and she and Romily helped get a small library off the ground. Again, this makes me smile because I know myself what it takes to do that, as I’ve done that in recent times. Funny how books can resonate with people, and that’s the thing with this book, there is plenty to capture people’s imaginations and plenty that people who did live through certain periods of time, will have memories of.

There are many characters to meet, but they are  nicely split up into short chapters of mostly the main characters, with others being weaved in. The book is just over 500 pages, but it really does not feel it because the chapters are so short, the story so absorbing from beginning to end. There is also the fact that the characters are divinely interesting and the more the book delves into them, the more I wanted to know about them, their lives and why they were getting the poisoned pen letters.

The book begins with Evelyn, such an interesting character with immense secrets from having worked in Bletchley Park. It is interesting seeing Evelyn’s life in the 1940’s and in 1962. There is Isabella, an actress who had finally made it and wasn’t only starring in films, but being recognised. Meanwhile there is Romily, who has impressively hidden a secret for a long time. There’s a love story going on with Stanley and Annelise (He is illiterate and insecure and yet reinvented his life, but still nervous around women. His scars from war and the way his own mother treated him are telling as his life story opens up more, revealing darker beginnings. Red is a Hollywood scriptwriter, but all isn’t well.
There’s also a glimpse into abusive relationships, abuses of power. There are twists and turns in all of the characters lives, no one’s life is straight forward.

This is a glorious book sweeping over history of the world war and 1962. Lots of the events are all mentioned from the storm, to Australia doing a £10 deal to attract UK citizens to set up residency there. It is fun reading about the dance moves to pop songs that were becoming trendy. The book glides along beautifully in its mix of fiction and historical facts and always at the centre of it all are the characters and their lives. I love that Erica James isn’t too heavy-handed on getting every fact down. The balance between fact and fiction is perfect. The story is perfect. This book has made me want to read many more books by Erica James. Of course I’d heard of her and I’d read a couple of years ago and enjoyed them, but this book has compelled me into wanting to read more.

All in all, I highly recommend this brilliant book, which was published just a few days ago.

*Please note, all views are my own and unbiased.

Erica James Letters From The Past BT Poster

 

#Review of Murder at the Music Factory by Lesley Kelly @lkauthor @sandstonepress #BookReview #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour

Murder at the Music Factory
By Lesley Kelly
Rated: 4 stars ****

Murder at the Music Factory is the latest Health of Strangers book by Lesley Kelly and I am just so pleased to have been asked to join the blog tour by Scottish publishers Sandstone Press, whom I also thank for sending my a physical print copy of the book to review. With its music, a gun man and all the intrigue, it makes for a great read. I can see why Ian Rankin rates Lesley Kelly.

About the Author

Lesley KellyLesley Kelly has worked in the public and voluntary sectors for the past 20 years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way. She has won several writing competitions, including the Scotsman’s Short Story Award in 2008. Her debut novel: A Fine House in Trinity, was long listed for the William McIlvanney award in 2016. She can be followed on Twitter @lkauthor where she tweets about writing, Edinburgh and whatever else takes her fancy.

Click for Social Media Link: 
Twitter Link

Blurb

The body of Paul Shore toppled onto him, a stream of blood pooling around them on the concrete. Bernard lay back and waited to see if he too was going to die.

An under cover agent gone rogue is threatening to shoot a civil servant a day. As panic reigns, the Health Enforcement Team race against time to track him down – before someone turns the gun on them.

Leley Kelly Murder at the music factory

Review

A pandemic, music and a gunman in Edinburgh, Scotland , well, this book certainly is a thriller to behold.

It’s quite something to read a book with a pandemic and live through one in real life and I am glad to say that there are bits of a normality to be found here and there and some wit in some of dialogue, that lifts it. Murder in the Music Factory is book 4 in The Health of Strangers series. It works as part of the series and as a standalone, so you can jump straight in.

The North Edinburgh Health Enforcement Team (HET) are back in this brand new book – Murder at the Music Factory, part of the Health of Strangers series, that once you’ve started, you see what a great series it is. It is worth joining a week in the life of this team (the book is split into days of the week).
The books were an alternative Edinburgh, where a virus is rampant, but now fiction and fact have somewhat collided (the books began way before this current virus pandemic). Foresight is perhaps a wonderful thing, or maybe it isn’t, who knows in this instance, but one thing I do know, is it is there and this is a very good book.
I know people are worried at this time, but this is still an excellent thriller of a book to read. It isn’t just about a virus. There’s a gunman at large who Mona and Bernard need to track down and a vulnerable witness needs to be protected.

More foresight, but perhaps not quite as it is in our new reality for this time. In the book, schools are closed, the NHS carries on, but electives are cancelled. A lot like now, except in the book it’s because of the gunman, all the same, it is in-escapable that this (minus the gunman thank goodness), has become a reality and thank goodness for the NHS.

There is some entertainment to be found in this book and I do like that Bernard has a need for chocolate. I’ve read that quite a bit around social media, that chocolate is a must for people right now too.

There’s a bit of familiar music mentioned within the book, that is carefully placed and works really well. This book, although was, at time of writing, like all of this series, set some time in the near future, and now sees a bit of fiction and realiy weaving together, actually has some lightness in parts of it. There’s life away from work, which gives the book a bit of humanity about it and a bit more insight into the characters.

To read a book about, not just a thriller, but one that has a global pandemic going through is surreal, no doubt about it and I’ve used a lot of my resilence to complete the book, so I could review for you. These are unusual and worrying times and I will say that I do hope that everyone is staying safe and are well. That being said, it is still a very well-written book and one that is still worth reading, whether it is your book of choice for now or later, because one day, whenever that may be, things will return to normal. Who knows if they will in this series of books or not, but they will in the real world.
Take care and keep safe and thank you in advance for reading my blog post on this blog tour.

Partners In Crime 100th Episode @adamcroft @RobertDaws @CrimeFicPodcast #Podcast #VirtualEvent

Tonight I watched the Facebook Live of Partners In Crime Podcast. It is the 100th episode, so congratulations to Adam Croft and Robert Daws on such an achievement. They host and broadcast the podcast about once a week.

It consists mainly of chat, guests and book recommendations.

 It is listened to 180 countries and territories across the world. It is worth a listen to. It seems to be ever-growing and it is as entertaining as it is informative. It’s something good for the weekends to relax to. I think it is broadcast around Fridays, I personally listen to it on Saturdays after a long working week and just before leaving the house for the volunteer work that I do. I do highly recommend this podcast. There are lots to choose from and I must say that this really is a particularly good one for just chilling out to for about 30 mins or so.

Authors highly rate them – Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Elly Griffiths, Gillian McAllister, Lynda La Plante Kate Rhodes and many more who have been guests on the podcast.

The live version is clips of some of the fun that goes on and a bit behind the scenes, so rather different from the regular episodes. You will find it on Adam Croft’s Facebook Page.

A bit about the founders and hosts of the podcast

Adam Croft, is one of the most successful independently published author as he is an international bestselling crime and thriller author with almost 2 million books sold in over 120 countries. Adam has been featured on BBC television, BBC Radio and other media.
In March 2018, Adam has an Honorary Doctor of Arts, by the University of Bedfordshire in recognition of his services to literature.

Robert Daws is an actor and author. He has appeared in several tv series and films, such as The Royal, Roger Roger, Jeeves and WoosterOutside EdgeNew Tricks, Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, Death in Paradise, The Unfolding, Swimming with Men and many more
He has also appeared in theatre in many plays such as How the Other Half Loves, Blackbird. He has recently appeared in Ten Times Table.
Robert has written 3 books to date of the Broderick and Sullivan series and 1 stand-alone book.

A small selection of their books, each of them, I can highly recommend.

Adam Croft’s Books      

Robert Daws Books

#Review of Betrayal by Adam Croft and Steven Moore @AdamCroft #StevenMooreAuthor #CrimeFiction #PoliticalThriller #Thriller #ReadingCommunity #WritingCommunity #NewBook

Betrayal
By Adam Croft and Steven Moore
Rated: 4.5 stars

I am delighted to be reviewing again for Adam Croft, after receiving an email from his wife Joanne Croft. This time I return to the writings of Adam Croft and Steven Moore in their political thriller series, featuring the detective Sam Barker (the first being Absolution, which is a gripping read). They do act as stand-alone too. I thank Adam and Joanne Croft for inviting me to review again and for providing me with a book.

Adam Croft Betrayal

 

Blurb

In Edinburgh, the British Prime Minister prepares to launch a worldwide project to tackle climate change. But there’s a far more sinister motivation behind her plans.
After successfully thwarting a terrorist attack in London a few months earlier, Sam Barker is tasked with investigating a scheme which will turn his life — and the world — upside down.
As he delves deeper into the network of players, Sam uncovers a conspiracy which leads to the one person he loves the most — his son.
But in revealing the facts, Sam risks flushing out a far more sinister, unknown enemy — a rogue agent inside The Firm who will stop at nothing to stop Sam from exposing the truth.

Review

Sell your land! Promise of a better life! Promise of an exciting job! Hidden Secrets, Betrayed!
That’s what Obefemi’s family is confronted with.  Obafemi is  promised – a new life in Dubai, with a job to build a geothermal plant with Mr Riley. Not all is as it should have been. There lies a secret within the company.

The setting is between  Sub-Saharan Africa and Edinburgh, Scotland, which is wanting greener energy and to do deals with the company EcoHope and have the treaty, which would include them, all signed off at the climate change summit. This is incredibly current as this is what is happening in Scotland. Locations, names and groups have been changed, but the fact that is cleverly weaved through the fiction is all there and is recognisable. There are a few real people mentioned, such a Greta Thunberg, Emma Thompson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, all in context of climate change activism on the grander scale and the good that they had been doing, sort of a bit of a nod to them.

Sam Barker is then invited to re-locate from London to Edinburgh, which he is delighted about as his son Benji lives there. Early on I also get the feeling Sam Barker is in for an education about Scotland to debunk the myths he believes about the country. It really doesn’t always rain in Scotland and as I write this, it is dry, although the week before, there were hailstones and that’s a whole other thing. I’m expecting glorious sunshine this weekend, just like last. Back to the book…

Bridget Hazelwood is the new PM fronting the summit at Edinburgh Castle and all eyes or on it and climate change activist group Eyes on Extinction as well as green energy group EcoHope. They have a darker streak, threading its way through all the eco-friendly mantra that’s got them to the summit and to be the company that’s the player in the treaty. Professor Mctavish also seems to know more than he is letting on. It’s the curiosity and the entire plausibility of companies that may be unscrupulous that keeps the need to read further, going. There is also a death and the killer could be one of the climate change activists or someone connected to EcoHope. The further and deeper Sam Barker investigates, the more the book picks up pace, the more gripping it becomes.
As the investigation takes Sam around Edinburgh, readers will get a good sense of the city and some of the geography of it. I found myself being just a bit impressed by what was included. For readers of my blog, who don’t know, I do actually live in Scotland and under normal circumstances, I visit this city.

Sam and colleagues also have a real need to keep Benji (Sam’s son) safe as there’s a real threat something could happen to him. It just adds to the twists within this story even more.

Adam Croft and Steven Moore have brought a very-well observed, current climate situation to life in this book with flair and shows all the murky sides, as well as the good.

About the Author

With almost two million books sold to date, Adam Croft is one of the most successful independently published authors in the world, and one of the biggest selling authors of the past few years, having sold books in over 120 different countries.


Adam Corft and Hobart
His 2015 worldwide bestseller Her Last Tomorrow became one of the bestselling books of the year, reaching the top 10 in the overall Amazon Kindle chart and peaking at number 12 in the combined paperback fiction and non-fiction chart.

His Knight & Culverhouse crime thriller series has seen huge popularity worldwide, with his Kempston Hardwick mystery books being adapted as audio plays starring some of the biggest names in British TV.

In 2016, the Knight & Culverhouse Box Set reached storewide number 1 in Canada, knocking J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child off the top spot only weeks after Her Last Tomorrow was also number 1 in Canada. The new edition of Her Last Tomorrow also reached storewide number 1 in Australia over Christmas 2016.

During the summer of 2016, two of Adam’s books hit the USA Today bestseller list only weeks apart, making them two of the most-purchased books in the United States over the summer.

In February 2017, Only The Truth became a worldwide bestseller, reaching storewide number 1 at both Amazon US and Amazon UK, making it the bestselling book in the world at that moment in time. The same day, Amazon’s overall Author Rankings placed Adam as the most widely read author in the world, with J.K. Rowling in second place.

In January 2018, Adam’s bestselling book to date, Tell Me I’m Wrong became a worldwide bestseller and quickly went on to outsell Her Last Tomorrow.

Adam has been featured on BBC television, BBC Radio 4BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC World ServiceThe GuardianThe Huffington PostThe Bookseller and a number of other news and media outlets.

In March 2018, Adam was conferred as an Honorary Doctor of Arts, the highest academic qualification in the UK, by the University of Bedfordshire in recognition of his services to literature.

Adam presents the regular crime fiction podcast Partners in Crime with fellow bestselling author Robert Daws.

Click below for links to websites:
Adam Croft Website

Partners in Crime

Steven Moore Website

Steven Moore

Steven hails from the south east of England, where he grew up (the jury’s still out) surrounded by the North Sea on one side and the Norfolk broads on the other.

As well as writing fction, Steven is an amateur painter and photographer, though his frst love is the great outdoors.
Restless and unfulflled by his late teens, the travel bug bit early, and to date Steven has lived and worked on fve continents and has visited close to sixty countries, combining that age-old writing adage with his own mantra: ‘Write not onlywhat you know, but where you know.’

A late entry into further education yielded a degree in Anthropology, Archaeology and Art History, and those disciplines, as well as the travelling and the endless adventures, all feature prominently in Steven’s bestselling action thriller series featuring Hiram Kane.

When not on the road with his travel-writer wife Leslie,
they call San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, home, where they live
with their two cats, Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald
(Ernie & Fitz).

You can find more of Steven’s books at: stevenmooreauthor.com

 

A talk with Anne Cleeves and a Librarian. Interviewed by william1shaw @WilliamShaw #AnneCleeves @rosie_vietch #Vera #Shetland #librarians #Event #FreeEvent

I watched later on online an event hosted by William Shaw featuring renowned and popular author of Vera and Shetland – Anne Cleeves and a librarian from Cambridgeshire libraries. For Anne Cleeves fans, you may be delighted to know that she has new books for you to get your teeth into.

Anne Cleeves is working on the follow up to The Long Call (a Matthew Venn book). The Darkest Evening is the latest Vera book. She talks of Matthew Venn being gay, not to be political or anything and a gay couple whom she knows and how she is just had them on her mind at the time of creating this character.

Anne talks about growing up in North Devon and the strong community. It sounds a happy time, growing up there in her teens and talks of friendships and special times, so feels she can write about there. It’s always interesting to hear snippets like this.

Anne Cleeves and William Shaw talked about tv. It’s interesting to hear how close to the books Brenda Blethyn is to the books and how Anne Cleeves is invited on set, which I think sounds really nice.

Readers may find interesting that Anne Cleeves alternates between the series of books when writing and doesn’t plot so far in advance.

It’s talked about crime writing being in a golden age, especially for those who write prolifically. Reginald Hill (Dalziel and Pascoe series) is how Rosie Veitch started reading crime. I think that’s a good choice. He is a great writer and an author who really would appeal to any adult age group. It is also worth noting that authors such as Ian Rankin really rate him too. So, worth trying out, if you haven’t already.  It’s quite a big series, so enough to keep people going and always well-written.

Reginald Hill

Watch out for Anne Cleeves earwigging in your conversations, sounds like bits may end up in a book, so many writers get ideas from people and conversations and places round about them.

Rosie Vietch works in Cambridgeshire. Of course it is strange for her as we fight to keep libraries open (fight be the word) and librarians are now doing work online like virtual meetings, virtual coffee break (take it from me, library staff like their tea and coffee).
Rosie Vietch likes Anne Cleeves books and how every voice for each series is different. I’ve heard people say this before.

Rosie Veitch and William Shaw talked at the beginnng of their chat, about libraries and how libraries have lots of magazines, newspapers, audiobooks and e-books and catalogue searching to see what to choose. Although Rosie Veitch talks about extending things public libraries offer, don’t always expect it from community libraries for so many reasons, that I could go on about from experience working in both the public libraries (paid) and community libraries (unpaid), but it would take away from my piece here about the people within it, as Rosie also talks about lovely childhood books.

Rosie Vietch has gone back to reading Mallory Tower and The Chalet School. It seems in times of crisis, some people tend to go to a place they feel most comfortable with. I will say they are lovely books in my opinion and I remember reading them in my tweens and early teen years too.

Secrets-Book-11-Malory-Towers-by-Blyton-Enid-Book-The-Cheap-Fast-Free-Post                                                        The Coming of Age of the Chalet School by Brent-Dyer, Elinor M. Paperback Book

Coming up in next couple of days, if you were to tune in, is Adam Higgenbottom talking about a non-fiction book about Chernobyl. Rebecca Waite called Our Fathers’.

Click here for the link for the talk: The Whole Talk

You may also want to check out some books by William Shaw too. Here is just a few.

Talk with William Shaw and Jo Spain@william1shaw @SpainJoanne @sophieglorita #bookevent #TheLockdown #MondayMotivaton #CrimeFiction

Today author William Shaw was joined by Dublin based author and scriptwriter Jo Spain. Normally I take notes and then write it up like a day later or so, but I thought I would write as I watched and get it published as soon after as I could, so advance apologies if it all looks a bit rushed or doesn’t quite read as well in parts.

Crime writer and scriptwriter. Did an original show for RTE. She is doing a few author’s books for screen.

A book and screen are two different things in the way they are worked it would seem, Completely different in fact as it’s all about showing and also everyone in the tv production saying what is required. 

So far things have come quickly to screen for Jo Spain.

Sophie and First Monday Crime – going for about 5 years. They do book recommendations and Q&As. They talk about accessible films too and watch a film together. This is something everyone can join in with. Here is the link for First Monday Crime

They talked about having to be creative to connect and how work is still going on with how to publicise books and with some bookshops closing. I will add here that there are a number of independent bookshops now trading online.

Ssix-wicked-reasons-jo-spain-9781529400274ix Wicked Reasons is a new book by Jo Spain – locked room set on the east coast of Ireland in a grand country house. The head of the household has been killed. They are all coming home for a family celebration as someone disappeared years ago, but returns. The reasons for the murder emerges. It sounds like if you like Agatha Christie, you will enjoy this. There’s a psychological/sociological element and a sense of realism about it with characters you can care about, even though there is a narcissistic father who leaves damage within the family in different ways. The characters sound like people who you’re really going to get to know and why they are how they are and how they are individually marked.

After the Fire
After the fireTom Reynolds is a Chief Super Intendant – this is part of a series, so this is where he eventually becomes promoted to. He has a difference that there is still investigation work. 

 

 

 

 

Sophie talks about an area in London – rainy and quiet. Sadly some boy racers but nature seems lovely with wild garlic.

How Dublin is feeling is maybe strained with homeschooling and little time to write but in general liking daily exercise maybe and not too fazed and having interviews and online drink parties.

Publishing has got good at changing shape and adapting with different circumstances, still conservative in some ways with a flexible industry. More online launches have been pushed by some in marketing with online streaming given the circumstances. They talked about there being scope for different ways of accessing events. I myself love and much prefer to go to an actual book event/festival, but in the circumstance of this, I think it is fine and opens it up to others, who may then try some festivals or other more local events if the huge events aren’t local to you.

With our Blessing by Jo Spain is one to begin with, but can be read as stand-alone too. Dirty Little Secrets is published in May.

Check out William Shaw on FB for other events, if you would like to, (his profile pic is of his book Deadlands).