Review of #MustRead – Before I Say I Do by Vicki Bradley @vbradleywriter @simonschusterUK #RandomThingsTours #CrimeFiction #Thriller #MustRead #Reviews

Before I Say I Do
By Vikki Bradley
Rated: 5 Stars *****

I am so delighted and happy to be on this blog tour for Before I Say I Do. I am so thrilled to be able to share this treat of a book with you. You’re in for a book that is addictive to read, a book that twists one way and then another, a book where the bride is far from your average woman about to be married and has dark, dark secrets. They are the darkest secrets and just who is the bride really and where is her groom? This is a psychological thriller that you will see time runaway from you as you read and you may well just have a need to discover the answers. It’s a great book for your tbr pile (to be read pile)  Read on to discover the blurb and my full review…

It is also with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to the publisher Simon Schuster for supplying me with a print/physical copy of the book.

About the Author

Before I Say I Do Vicki Bradley Author PicVicki Bradley is a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police Service. She
has had a varied career, as a uniformed response driver in Brent and then as a detective Constable in Southwark CID. She has managed High Risk Sex Offenders and worked on the Serious Organised Crime Command. She is currently on a 5-year career break to focus on her writing. Vicki completed a Creative Writing MA at City University in 2016. Before I Say I Do won the Write Here, Right Now competition, came 3rd in the First Novel Prize and has been shortlisted for the Virago New Crime Writer 2017 and Peters Fraser and Dunlop Prize 2016. She enjoys travelling the world and climbing
mountains. Vicki lives in London with her husband.

Before I Say I Do Cover

Blurb

Winner of the inaugural Write here, Right Now Prize 2018, in partnership with the
Bradford Literature Festival.

Her dream wedding is about to become her worst nightmare Julia is nervous and it’s not just because she’s about to get married. There’s a lot that her soonto-be husband, Mark, doesn’t know – and she is determined to keep it that way.
As she walks down the aisle, spotting Mark is his tailored suit, she knows she is taking her first steps to happiness- her past can’t catch her now. He turns to face her…
But it isn’t Mark in the beautiful suit – it’s his best man. Because Mark is missing.
And Julia’s past is closer than she thinks.

Before I Say I Do Cover

Review

Firstly the by-line To Have, To Hold, To Hurt, sets this thriller up so well, as does the stunning cover. Like a bride with her groom, I am in the clutches of the book from the first page. The book joins readers up with Julie Talbot on her wedding day to Mark along with best friend and bridesmaid – Lucy Webb. From as early as the first chapter the intrigue heightens and you know there’s something in Julie’s past and there is one sentence, about wondering if the registrar knows something, that hooks you in even more. It is by far a normal wedding day, not with a missing groom, who Alana Loxton, recently demoted MIT officer to CID officer, is on the case to discover what happened, along with DC Dominik Kowalski. This is a fast-paced book that goes wonderfully between the bride and her feelings and  the investigation into Mark’s mysterious disappearance as CID search for clues as to what may have happened, until the two collide and her past catches up with her. The writing is excellent, from the emotions to the detailing of what is going on. Before you know it, you’ve reached page 100 and just keep reading as someone from the past turns up.
The book also goes a bit into forensics, which is good. It all gives a full picture to the investigation.

The tension ramps up as the story progresses, as does the murkiness of Julia’s past and who she used to be associated with. I won’t spoil it for you as to what her past actually entails as it is part of the crux of this story, which twists one way and then another. The bride – Julia Talbot, as readers will discover is not exactly your average bride as more dark, dark secrets come into the forefront as you will discover as you read it and also discover more about Johnathon Cane and where he fits into her past as it all get more and more sinister. The senetence structure to build the tension works so well. To put the book down is like when something is so hot, it sticks to your skin and hard to release. This book is hard to put down. The climax is quite something to behold and will leave you sighing with relief from the tension when you’re done.

This is such a great book, a must read book even, from this debut novelist, that will have you clutching onto it, tight, until it finishes, like an ordinary bride would with her groom.

Before I Say I Do BT Poster

Olympia’s Dream by Milton Johanides #MiltonJohanides #Cyprus #Greece #Fiction #HistoricalFiction #LiteraryFiction

Olympias Dream
by Milton Johanides
Rated: 3.5 stars 3.5 stars

I would like to thank both Milton Johanides and his wife for asking me to review this book. I first met them in the small community library I currently lead and happened to mention I had a blog. After a conversation with them both, I have happily agreed to write a review. Please note, my review is not biased. I always take books on their own merit, but whilst always remembering the authors, whether I’ve met them or not, are real people too. Opinions are always my own. Although I have rated this book 3 1/2 stars, it isn’t far away from being 4, in my opinion.

About the Author

Milton Johanides was born in the UK and now lives in Scotland. After earning a Classics degree at Bristol University he pursued a commercial career before settling down to become a full-time writer and artist in 2012.

The Cypriot’s Treasure Trilogy is based on his own experiences growing up in London and Cyprus. It is a pulsating tale of bigotry and betrayal set against the turbulent backdrop of Greek, Turkish and Cypriot history.

Links to social media and where to buy the book:
Author Website
Barnes & Noble 
Amazon      

Olympias Dream cover

Blurb

Artie’s beautiful daughter who one day meets the Hollywood star Claudette Taylor and is fired with dreams of fame. World War Two and Germany’s occupation of Greece intervenes and Olympia must adapt to the nightmare scenario which unfolds.

“My mother’s name was Olympia, named after the mountain on which the god’s reside. Her name alone is enough to summon images of immortality, and in her youth she certainly looks like a goddess, or so say those who knew her”

Review

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into this book in terms of quality, but I have to say that it was better than what I was expecting. This is a book of emotion that encompasses psychological states, relationships between characters and of Cyprus and the history it holds.

I was intrigued to know what people are saying about Olympia from the start. The book is set in Cyprus, which in itself, is an interesting island. People who have read Victoria Hislop’s books or visited the island will be very familiar with it.
Olympia’s Dream questions life and becomes rather thought-provoking quite early on. Readers get to see the inner soul and psychological thoughts, almost of the main character – Artie, who is pretty insecure with his wife – Efthimia. Milton Johanides is skillful in immediately letting readers know the mood and temperament of his characters.

Artie is a character, despite perhaps, many flaws is one that can still be empathised with. He shows life isn’t easy and there is heartache. He seems to drive the plot forward, which helps move the story onwards and to create a focus and is certainly, in my opinion one of the more interesting characters.  Where this book is at its strongest is in the emotions and the mental state of Artie. There is quite a bit of inner depth to the characters portrayed. This is perhaps where the strengths of the book really lies, is in the complexities of this character and when the attention turns to the ensuing war.

The book moves onto being a bit about war times and other historical times. Readers can get a glimpse into what Cyprus was like as there as Cyprus does indeed have a fascinating history. There is some interest to be had within those chapters. There’s clearly been a lot of research done to intertwine the factual with the plot lines.

The plot feels like it did lack a certain pace at times, although does pick up in a number of places, which was pleasing, to move the plot onwards and to keep interest going. This book is fairly good and is worth a read and will certainly be of interest to those who also enjoy Victoria Hislop’s books and it is always exciting to discover new authors who are beginning to come into the fore too. It is worth taking some time to read and to discover the characters and Cyprus itself.

 

#Review of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery by Lin Anderson and Donald McKay @Lin_Anderson @Blazespage #BlazeDogDetective #Childrensbook #kidslit #mystery #adventure #cozymystery #kindle #ReadingforPleasure #Easter

Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery
By Lin Anderson and Donald McKay,
Rated 5 stars *****

Today on Good Friday, to wish you all a good Easter weekend (even if it will be different), I am pleased and delighted to be sharing my review of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery. This is the first in the series, available now as an e-book on Amazon and will be available in physical form when normality resumes. 

Twitter page links:
For Blaze – Oor Blaze Fae Skye – Blazes Page
For Lin Anderson – Lin Anderson

I thank Lin Anderson for contacting me with the opportunity to review this book and for providing a PDF copy of the book, and the various photos of Blaze, which you will see as you scroll further down my blog post. 

About the Author

Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels and is now also writing the children’s books – Blaze Dog Detective series. She is also known for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival. 

Blurb

When the famous fairy flag of the Clan MacLeod disappears from a locked room at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, the police immediately call in Blaze Dog Detective.
After all his scenting skills on the island are legendary.
With his team of Rosa, Rory and wee brother Laoch, Blaze leads the chase to rescue this magical flag before it can be spirited away from the island forever.

Blaze Cover

Review

A map, a castle, a secret passage, adventure, cute dogs, robbers, police, a mystery to be solved, this children’s book has it all. There is wonderful mix of mild trepidation and humour and a terrific energy throughout. With all that and excellent characterisation and plot, I am highly recommending this book for children. Read on to find out more…

blaze fae Skye
Blaze from Skye

This is the first in a brand new detective series for children. Blaze happens to be a real dog in Skye who lives with his wee brother Laoch and their human dad and these are the main characters within this book, in fictional form.

The approach of writing about the dogs is excellent as they are not cartoon-like, they are written much more realistically than that. The instincts and observations of the dogs is cleverly written as they take on this quality that readers will want to get to know more of. There’s a warmth and wisdom in the characterisation that makes them endearing.

I enjoy the fact that readers will get to know the Isle of Skye, Scotland  and then the dogs and then the story pulls you in even deeper into the mystery of the stolen and valuable Fairy Flag.

I love that there is a map of Skye that children can have fun with. I love maps in children’s books. It always, immediately helps to give them a sense of place as the story is set, whether readers have been to the setting, in this case the Isle of Skye, Scotland or not. The writing throughout also gives a beautiful sense of Skye and its magical landmarks.

Blaze and naughty on beach
Blaze and Laoch on beach

Readers quickly find out how Blaze became a detective dog and also meet Granny Beaton (Granny B). She is no ordinary granny at all, riding a motorbike and possessing a crystal ball and has a 10-year-old granddaughter – Rosa from Glasgow.

There is a bit of danger within this story when news unfolds that the Fairy Flag at Dunvegan Castle, where the Chief of Clan McLeod lives,  has been stolen, meaning that the school trip for a summer castle party may be cancelled. There’s a terrific illustration of the castle and its grounds, plotted like a map to explore, that is a brilliantly conceived idea.

Fang is easy to sympathise with as his story unfolds and readers will find out if he knows anything about the Fairy flag or not and about the mysteriously clever crows that appear.

The hunt is on and there is a determination to find the Fairy Flag and who stole it, with secret passageways, a cave, a mysterious boat called The Darkness, there’s excitement, adventure and mild trepidation and team work to try and get the flag back, before it is gone forever. There’s also the distraction of rabbits to chase along the way and a hope that PC Munroe will be able to help. 

blaze and ferry          blaze figures it out

There’s some red herrings here and there, that creates for a great story for keeping readers guessing and gives scope to feel really involved in solving the mystery.

So this book is very much worth transporting yourselves to Skye and joining Blaze with his mischievous, fun brother in Skye, as he tries to solve this mystery.

The book is available now on Amazon and later on there will be physical copies available, when restrictions are lifted, so I highly recommend you watch out for all the different ways to purchase this book as they materialise. Just now, it is in E-book form and will make for perfect Easter weekend reading.

Click the link to purchase: Amazon

Blaze knows all the best walks in Skye and even sometimes comes to the mainland. 
Lin Anderson kindly shared a few. Hover your curser over the photos to find a little more about where Blaze is in each of the locations. 

 

Blaze 'n Trails
Walks on Skye

An event with Multiple Bestselling Author Carole Matthews @carolematthews @KimtheBookworm #RomanceFiction #uplit #ContemporaryFiction #FreeEvent #OnlineEvent

On Tuesday night (31st March), I joined an online chat with bestselling author Carole Matthews, hosted by Kim who has written 2 books and is head of publicity at digital publishing company – Bookouture. You will find a bit about Carole Matthews books, including new books to come, how she became an author and writing tips and more…

Carole Matthews is a multiple Sunday Times Bestseller. She recently won a Romance Novel Award (RNA) for outstanding achievement for her light-hearted fiction.

Some of her Bestsellers are:
Let’s Meet on Platform 8, A Whiff of Scandal, For Better, For Worse, A Minor Indiscretion, With or Without You, The Cake Shop in the Garden, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses, A Cottage by the Sea, The Chocolate Lovers’ Club, The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas, The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding, Million Love Songs, Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights, Happiness for Beginners.

Just a few of the covers to entice you.

 

 

How she became an author –
Carole Matthews was a beauty therapist and decided to write about aromatherapy, but that all changed as she wrote fiction. She gave up the beauty therapy practice around book 5 to concentrate on her writing.


She entered a fictional short story competition and won £1000. She spent on a writing course.

Her writing was good enough to send to an agent and a contract was done just when chic-lit adn light-hearted stories were just beginning to really be on the rise, around 23 years ago and to date she has written just over 30 books. 

New Book –

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes is currently due out 25th June. Set on Isle of Wight, Sunny Days and Sea Breezes are boats. Something tragic happens to a woman and she tries to leave London on the Isle of Wight and gets more than she bargains for.  The Isle of Wight (on my bucket list), sounds idyllic and she did go there and researched to create a fictional area of the island. It’s written in the first person and sounds like it could be another absorbing book.

Sounds like she has ideas in the pipeline and some of the inspiration and authenticity sometimes comes from actual events and sometimes right from her imagination, but either way, she really gets to know her characters and sometimes they “write themselves”. She writes out everything about her characters in such an organised way.

Carole Matthews Summer Days and Light Breezes

Writing tips

  • Try and write everyday. Keep writing and you will get your style and write what is in your heart and find the story you really want to write.
  • If you chase the trends, publishers might already be done with that.
  • Take your time and enjoy it.
  • Make the effort to sit (she tied her leg to the desk to keep her there).
  • Try writing some short stories.

She also eludes to the fact that her writing has changed over the years, with the more she has written.

The types of books she likes to read are historical, dark crime, gothic stories and has always been an avid reader.

View on Social Media and Reviews –

The only negative is it is very time-consuming. There’s a lot of social media marketing, but she enjoys doing this and the interactions with her fans/readers and that she can reach more people and can chat to readers across the world.

She says the balance for people reading and taking notice of reviews has shifted more towards book bloggers and disproportionately perhaps to Amazon (could be true as most authors like it if bloggers also post onto Amazon), compared to newspaper reviews for recommendations and about how blogs are more accessible. (a good thing for us who are quite partial to writing blogs).

She talked, which was really lovely, about bloggers and the effort it takes to read and then blog about it. It is true, after all is said and done, we get a book out of it. We also may get a nice chat and a wider community out of it too.

An interesting fact is that she has taught herself to crochet.

Coming Soon:

She is currently writing a sequel to Happiness to Beginners called Christmas for Beginners – published around autumn. Do also look out for Summer Days and Light Breezes around June.

Feasible Planet by Ken Kroes @ken_kroes #Lovebookstour @Lovebooksgoup #Environment #EnvironmentalBook #Climate #BookBlitz #NonFiction #BlogTour

Feasible Planet
By Ken Kroes

Today I am on a quick blog tour for a book blitz. The quickest blog yet, to inform you of a new book – Feasible Planet. Check out about the author and then head on further down to the page to the blurb to find out what it’s all about. If you like Non-Fiction and are also concerned about the planet, this just could be the book for you. So, go ahead and check it out!

About The Author

Pic of ken_kroes (1)Ken Kroes is the author of the Percipience Eco-Fiction Series and the non-fiction books, Feasible Planet and Feasible Living. He is passionate about our relationship with our planet and applies his diverse background which includes agriculture, mechanical engineering and information systems into his writing. Born in Calgary, Canada he has bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and has had the pleasure of living in many locations in North America and has travelled extensively.

He can be reached on Ken@feasibleplanet.com 

Pic of Feasible Planet (1)

Blurb

Are we doing enough?

Are you concerned about the state of our planet and hope that governments and corporations will find a sustainable way for us to live? If you do not think about it too hard, that may work, but will it? Left on their own, with drivers of popularity and profits, I am not too convinced that it will.

The missing part of this equation is you and me. Individuals who believe that corporations and governments can do better. Individuals who believe that through action, we can buy a bit more time to develop and implement solutions to our critical issues.

Did I hear a groan out there when you read the word ‘actions’? Do not worry! Most of the actions that I am referring to will not only help save the planet, but will benefit you right away through saving money, time, better health, and having a happier life in general.

Sustainability goes beyond controlling our consumption and pollution. There are key social, political, and economic areas that need to be addressed as well, and there are several steps that individuals can take to help in these areas.

For those of you who feel we could do more, this book is for you and is loaded with actionable activities, the reasons for doing them, and explores why we are not doing them already.

Every journey starts with a first step. Hopefully, this book will lead to those first sustainable steps and that will change the world.

*Thanks to Kelly for inviting me to show you what this book has to offer and I hope that all my readers are well. Take care.

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