Saturday, 23 June 2018

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough @SarahPinborough @fictionpubteam #CrossHerHeart #Giveaway #Win

WARNING: This book may cause severe sleep deprivation
‘A pacy, twisty thriller that will hook you with its first few pages’ Stylist
Lisa. Ava. Marilyn.
Three women, three secrets and a hidden past that could destroy them all.
‘Once the first reveal hits you in the face, you’ll be lucky if you can put the book down’ Independent
One of these women is living a lie…but who?
‘A dark and compulsive read’ Woman & Home
‘Brilliantly clever and compelling, I loved it!’ B. A. Paris
‘The author’s storytelling is as sure-footed as ever’ Guardian

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough was published in hardback by Harper Collins on 17 May 2018. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I have one hardback copy of Cross Her Heart to give away. Entry is simple,  just fill out the competition widget at the end of this post. UK entries only.  GOOD LUCK

I have a confession to make; I still haven't read Sarah Pinborough's last book; Behind Her Eyes. I know, I know - the horror, the shame! I have no idea why I haven't got to it yet, but I will, I promise.

So, I went into Cross Her Heart with no expectations really. I couldn't compare it to Behind Her Eyes, and yes I've heard about that WTF ending!

I read this in one day, whilst on holiday and I honestly had trouble putting it down. It's a couple of weeks ago now and I read a lot whilst I was away, but I do remember being glued to this one.

Whilst this is a psychological thriller through and through, it's also an in depth look at relationships; mainly female relationships and focusses heavily on the mother/daughter bond.

What I admired most about the structure of this story was the narrative from three perspectives. The author allows her reader to get into the mindset of Lisa; her daughter Ava; and her friend Marilyn, but who can we trust? These women each have their own demons, their own secrets; their outward appearances may be pretty normal, but there's a lot going on behind the scenes.

Sarah Pinborough is a very clever author, she throws in some reveals that totally bemused me, I'd thought I knew exactly what was going on. Oh, how wrong I was!

This is a difficult book to say lots about without spoiling the plot for other readers. However, there are some pretty serious and disturbing issues within the plot, but the author deals with them elegantly; despite the horrific subject matter, there's nothing there that shouldn't be. There's nothing written just for shock; every single paragraph is essential to the plot.

A chilling, yet compelling story, excellently executed. Recommended by me.

One Hardback Copy of Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough is the number one Sunday Times Bestselling and New York Times Bestselling author of the psychological thriller Behind Her Eyes (Jan, 2017). During her career she has published more than 20 novels and several novellas, and has written for the BBC. Her recent novels include the dystopian love story, The Death House, and a teenage thriller, 13 Minutes which has been bought by Netflix with Josh Schwartz adapting. 
Behind Her Eyes has sold to nearly twenty territories so far and was sold at auction to the US in a significant deal to Flatiron, Macmillan. There are discussions on going with several movies studios about the film adaptation. 

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahpinborough.
Check out her website
Find her Author page on Facebook

Friday, 22 June 2018

Tilting: A Memoir by Nicole Harkin @harkinna #BirthdayBlitz #BlogBlitz @rararesources #Tilting

We only learned about our father's girlfriend after he became deathly ill and lay in a coma 120 miles from our home.
Overhearing the nurse tell Linda--since I was nine I had called my mom by her first name--about the girlfriend who came in almost every day to visit him when we weren't there confirmed that the last moment of normal had passed us by without our realizing it. Up to then our family had unhappily coexisted with Dad flying jumbo jets to Asia while we lived in Montana. We finally came together to see Dad through his illness, but he was once again absent from a major family event--unable to join us from his comatose state. This is the moment when our normal existence tilted. 
Dad recovered, but the marriage ailed, as did Linda, with cancer. Our family began to move down an entirely different path with silver linings we wouldn't see for many years. 
In this candid and compassionate memoir which recently won a Gold Award in The Wishing Shelf Book Award, Nicole Harkin describes with an Impressionist's fine eye the evolution of a family that is quirky, independent, uniquely supportive, peculiarly loving and, most of all, marvelously human.

Tilting: A Memoir by Nicole Harkin  was published in June 2017. I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today, as part of the Blog Blitz, organised by Rachel from Rachel's Random Resources.

The author is sharing with us the books that are special to her in My Life In Books.

My Life in Books - Nicole Harkin

Clara Barton’s autobiography, The Story of My Childhood, and then Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life
I remember my school librarian when I was in 3rd Grade handing me these books and devouring them. I could not get enough of these strong women who could over come any obstacle.

Looking for more, the librarian handed me Exiled, Story of An Armenian Girl, written by Serpouhi Tavoukdjian. Again, I raced through the book and started telling everyone about the Armenian’s and everything they went through. When Serpouhi survived the Armenian genocide the word genocide had not yet been invented. Eventually, I realized that this was the first piece of knowledge about the world that I held but my parent’s didn’t know. I could know something more/other than my parents. (As an aside I have sought to republish Serpouhi’s book but it is a copyright orphan.)

From there I jumped off into reading what ever my father was reading. Lee Iacocca’s autobiography, Iacocca—weighing more than I did—went back and forth to school with me on the bus for some months.

From there I moved into Science Fiction/Fantasy. And I stayed there for years. The Hobbit lead to Alice in Wonderland and then Alice Though the Looking Glass.

This led me to more of the books of my father, Dune and 2001 A Space Odyssey. Piers Anthony books were picked up in the airport gift shops, teaching me about the fun of puns inside an adventure. (As explained in my memoir, my parents worked in the airline industry and I was lucky enough to get to fly often from an early age.) In college I continued reading Ender’s Game, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Last Unicorn, and other’s in my elective English class.

I didn’t come out of my SF fugue until a friend of my grandmother’s handed me Red Azalea by Anchee Min. This world could be just as complex as a world created out of whole cloth. Since then my reading has skewed to non-fiction.

The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard and Jeanette Wall’s The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses are the books I aspire to have my work compared to. We all need goals.

Looking back at my books, I can see a thread of a theme emerging: reading about strong women who have overcome great difficulties. I like to think my book, Tilting, A Memoir, is similar, if on a much smaller scale. Linda, my mother, suffered greatly but gave me and my siblings the tools necessary to overcome adversity.

Nicole Harkin - June 2018 

Nicole Harkin currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two small children. 
She works as a writer and family photographer. 
As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism. 
Her work can be found in Thought Collection and you are here: The Journal of Creative Geography. 
She is currently working on mystery set in Berlin. 

Her photography can be seen at

Find her on Facebook: 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Proof Positive by Lucy V Hay #BlogTour @LucyVHayAuthor @rararesources #ProofPositive

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Lizzie finds herself pregnant: she’s literally days away from her exam results and university beckons around the corner. 
The bright Lizzie has big plans, but can she have the life she wanted, with a baby in tow? What will her family and friends say? And what will the baby’s father choose to do: stay out of it, or stand by her? 
An exciting "What if..." journey in the style of "Run Lola Run" and "Sliding Doors".

Proof Positive by Lucy V Hay was published in May 2018 and is Book One of the Intersection Series.

I'm delighted to host the Blog Tour for Proof Positive and send thanks to Rachel from Rachel's Random Resources who invited me to take part. I'd also like to thank the author who sent my copy for review. Due to recent eye surgery, work, and falling behind with reviews, I've not yet had a chance to read it, but intend to post a review very soon. I've read and reviewed the author's novel The Other Twin (published by Orenda Books)  here on Random Things and enjoy her writing very much.

I'm really happy to welcome Lucy to Random Things today, she's sharing her 'Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me';

So, I’m delighted to be here on Anne’s amazing blog – thank you for having me! Here’s ten things you may not know about me … enjoy! 

1) I am a cat person
Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you may know this already of course – I have LOTS of pics of my beautiful cats on there. What you may not know is I have FIVE and they all have really stupid names: Crampon-Fred, Richard/Ringo, Sissy, Ginger-Pete and Megatron. 

2) I have had many life-death experiences

I’m a cancer survivor and have battled with severe depression, anxiety, paranoia, suicidal thoughts and psychosis for twenty years. Despite these problems, I’m actually a very optimistic person and am VERY glad to still be here … Especially as I may never have got of childhood! When I was a kid, I was nearly killed in a grain silo. Don’t know what this is? Remember that old movie, WITNESS starring Harrison Ford, where the bad guys get killed when a load of grain gets dumped on them? Well that happened to me when some friends and I were larking about on an old farm. I honestly don’t know how I survived. Possibly because I was a child … I went home and had tea afterwards, like nothing had happened! I didn’t tell my parents for donkey’s years! 

3) I met my husband dressed as a giant bear

I was 14, he was 18. We worked together at a tourist attraction in Devon. I played ‘Bubbles the Bear’ and used to dance and hug kids; he worked on the Carousel and tube slide. He told me I was too young for him, but luckily he changed his mind eventually … I only had to wait eight years! 

4) I’m actually pretty quiet / chilled – really!
If you follow me online as Bang2write, you’ll know I am renowned for my ‘shouty writing tips’ and general irreverency and rowdiness. I will also rant about various things, too because it’s fun. But this means some people are quite surprised when they meet me that I’m NOT automatically like that! I like to chat and I am quite sociable, but you are just as likely to find me wandering about, taking it all in. 

5) I am a homebody

Travel is fun and I love seeing new places but in all honesty, I love being at home the most. Which is just as well since I am self-employed and I’m there so much, but you know what I mean. 

6) I am one of five kids

I have three sisters and a brother. It was like the Waltons in my house, super-powered to the max. I was the eldest and the bossiest. Can you tell? 

7) Pink is my favourite colour
When I am at events like London Screenwriters Festival, people sometimes come over and say, ‘Why are you wearing pink? I thought you were a feminist!’ Erm, seriously? Since when is the colour of my shirt going to stop me smashing the patriarchy? Besides, it’s my fave colour and I look awesome in it! 

8) ALL chocolate is my favourite

I just love chocolate. If it was banned, I would probably have a whole speakeasy thing going on, so I could eat it with my friends under the legal radar. In fact, I’d be the Al Capone of the chocolate world. I’d be prepared to go to jail for it. Yes, it is like drugs to me. 

9) I once drank a huge swig of black fountain pen ink for a bet

When I was eight, someone bet me I couldn’t drink fountain pen ink. Well I did and I won a quid. In your face! 

10) I was a teen mum!
I had my son, Alf, when I was a teenager, which is what inspired me to write PROOF POSITIVE. I got sick of seeing stereotypical portrayals of us in books, movies and TV. I especially hate hearing about how pregnant teens and young parents have ‘ruined their lives’ – this has NEVER been my experience, nor any of my friends’ who had kids young. Lots of REAL things have made it into PROOF POSITIVE, but it’s not an autobiography and those experiences aren’t all mine … See if you can spot the real ones!
Please do follow the rest of the Blog Tour, there are some amazing bloggers to check out;

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. 
Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. 
Lucy's also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books' "Creative Essentials" range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS. 

Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN, is now out with Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine. Check out all her books, HERE.

Social Media Links – 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone #FaultLines @OrendaBooks

A little lie… a seismic secret… and the cracks are beginning to show…
In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery.
On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she'll be exposed, Surtsey's life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact - someone who claims to know what she's done...

Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 22 May 2018, my thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

The Inch, a volcanic island just off the coast of Edinburgh, and Surtsey McKenzie were born on the same day. As Surtsey's mother gave birth,  a tectonic fault opened up and a volcano erupted, leaving behind The Inch.

For Surtsey, the Inch has always been a magical place. Following in the footsteps of her own mother, she became a volcanologist and the Inch is the place that she has honed her studies. Just like the Inch, Surtsey's life has been full of shifts and changes. Always unpredictable, they both have an air of mystery, and defiance that defines them.

The novel opens as Surtsey lands on the Inch to meet her lover. Although it's something of a cliche, and Surtsey is well aware of that, her relationship with Tom, her professor on the PhD course at Edinburgh University is an exciting secret. Although she's betraying her boyfriend Brendon and Tom's wife Alice is in the dark, for Surtsey, this is fun and as far as she is concerned, nobody will get hurt.

But, Tom is dead. Laying on the beach with gulls pecking at his face. There's no sign of his boat moored nearby, and just his mobile phone laying beside him. Surtsey panics, takes the phone and rows back to the mainland. However when a text arrives on Tom's secret phone; the one that he used only to communicate with Surtsey, and it says 'I know you where there', it becomes clear to Surtsey that someone, somewhere has been watching her, and knows exactly what she's been doing.

So, that's the blurb, more or less, and what follows is an explosive, well structured and absolutely compelling story. Doug Johnstone's writing is both beautiful and searingly honest. Surtsey is a girl who, as an adult I guess I should dislike, but she creeps her way into the heart of the reader. She makes some dreadful decisions, she drinks like a fish and smokes far too much hash, but there's a vulnerability about her that is so endearing, and I had her back, all the way through.

This is not just a crime story, Tom's death, and that of another character later on, are a mystery to be solved. However, it's the intricate and detailed look at the nature of family relationships and the ever present tremors and aftershocks that ripple out from the Inch and echo what is happening in Surtsey's life that make Fault Lines so brilliant.

Just over 200 pages, but so beguiling, so original and so very gripping. Not a single word is wasted, it is wonderfully atmospheric, often unsettling and always thought provoking. The story and its characters have lingered in my head constantly since I turned the final page.  Absolutely exceptional and one of the best books of 2018 so far.

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His seventh novel, The Jump, was published by Faber & Faber in August 2015. Gone Again (2013) was an Amazon bestseller and Hit & Run (2012) and was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. Smokeheads (2011) was nominated for the Crimefest Last Laugh Award. Before that Doug published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008). His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

In September 2014 Doug took up the position of Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Doug was writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. Doug is currently also working on a number of screenplays for film and television. He is also a mentor and manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released two solo EPs, Keep it Afloat and I Did It Deliberately.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars.

He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

For more info:

Twitter @doug_johnstone

All The Little Children by Jo Furniss #BlogTour @Jo_Furniss #MyLifeInBooks #RandomThingsTours #AllTheLittleChildren

When a family camping trip takes a dark turn, how far will one mother go to keep her family safe?
Struggling with working-mother guilt, Marlene Greene hopes a camping trip in the forest will provide quality time with her three young children—until they see fires in the distance, columns of smoke distorting the sweeping view. Overnight, all communication with the outside world is lost.
Knowing something terrible has happened, Marlene suspects that the isolation of the remote campsite is all that’s protecting her family. But the arrival of a lost boy reveals they are not alone in the woods, and as the unfolding disaster ravages the land, more youngsters seek refuge under her wing. The lives of her own children aren’t the only ones at stake.
When their sanctuary is threatened, Marlene faces the mother of all dilemmas: Should she save her own kids or try to save them all?

All The Little Children by Jo Furniss is published by Lake Union Publishing. As part of the Blog Tour, I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books.

My Life in Books - Jo Furniss

As an only child, books played a vital role in my upbringing. Not only were fictional friends good company, but they also taught me social skills that might otherwise have come from siblings; conflict, jealousy, forgiveness: intriguing glimpses inside another person’s head.

Not surprisingly, many of my special books are from childhood.

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh – Robert C. O’Brien   I credit this book with turning me into a life-long veggie. Mrs Frisby is one of the finest mothers in literature – a tiger mum in the body of a mouse – and she’s not unlike the main character of my novel, ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN, in that she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to survive. Meanwhile, the rats of Nimh are an oppressed minority who simply want freedom. Feminism, tolerance, animal rights: it’s all wrapped up in a race for survival.

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame    I love books that work on many levels, so Ratty and Mole’s anthropomorphised journey around the class structure of Edwardian England makes this as much fun to read as an adult as it was as a kid. But it is their deep connection to the land that sings to me. When I came to write my novel set in rural England, so many lines floated up from my subconscious that I even included some in the book.

Winnie the Pooh – A A Milne   I still think it’s funny how bears like honey, and sometimes I hum a little hum. These tales were a security blanket to me and I read them repeatedly, never seeming to tire of the simple but profound tales. I’m not surprised that modern philosophers share my passion for Pooh.

The Clan of the Cave Bear – Jean M. Auel    The Earth’s Children series sold 45m copies! It’s a phenomenon. I’m itching for my daughter to be old enough to read it and marvel. It’s got everything – romance, adventure, a family saga, cultural in/tolerance, stone age survival skills, a pet lion, a surprising amount of sex (no TV in the Ice Age, I suppose)… and a ton of research: my goodness, I learnt so much from these books. Read the series and you’re practically a trained archaeologist.

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte    Is this novel on every female writer’s list? It should be because it’s fierce. Fierce at a time when women were supposed to be placid. Bonnets off to fierceness.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood     I could list a bunch of her novels, but this is the mamma of them all. I discovered Atwood at university alongside other feminists writing with intoxicating freedom in genres such as speculative, fantasy or sci-fi: Marge Piercy, Angela Carter, Joanna Russ. It marked the opening of my consciousness, and ever since I’ve embraced literary dystopias that offer space for women to tear down the walls.

The Singapore Grip – JG Farrell    I spent seven years living in Singapore and my next novel – THE TRAILING SPOUSE – is set there. The wartime history of the Fall of Singapore is extraordinary and Farrell captures it perfectly in his quintessential portrayal of the end of empire.

The Heart of the Matter – Graham Greene   Rain hammering on a corrugated iron roof. A moral crisis that leads a good man on a path to ruin. Years after reading Graham Greene’s masterpiece, set in Sierra Leone, I went to live in West Africa and found the landscape of his novel coming to life - it really does rain that hard.

The Time Machine – H G Wells   Another favourite dystopia, in which Wells sends his traveller into a future of brutally segregated people. A committed socialist, Wells’ thought experiment pushed class division to the extreme – or maybe what he thought was extreme, prior to the holocaust or apartheid. The light pace of the novel belies the heavyweight ideas to come.

Tales from the Forest – Sarah Maitland    While writing ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN, I wanted to immerse myself in the sights, sounds and lore of the English forest – but, unfortunately, I didn’t live there! This book proved to be a gem. Maitland entwines the sensory details of personal woodland walks with reflections on fairy tales and folklore. When I felt far from my roots, this book took me home.

Jo Furniss - June 2018 

After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the UK, she lived in Switzerland and Cameroon, and currently resides with her family in Singapore.

As a journalist, Jo has worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle, The Economist, Business Traveller, Expat Living (Singapore) and Swiss News. Jo has also edited books for a Nobel Laureate and the Palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University. In 2015 she founded—an online literary magazine for writers in Singapore.

All the Little Children is Jo’s debut novel and she is working on a second domestic thriller to be released in 2018.

Connect with her via Facebook
(/JoFurnissAuthor) and Twitter (@Jo_Furniss) or through her website: