Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Sleep by C L Taylor @callytaylor BLOG TOUR @AvonBooksUK #daretosleep @Sabah_K

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…
To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.
Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they're on the island. There's a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they've set their sights on Anna.
Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Sleep by C L Taylor was published in hardback by Avon Books on 4 April 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my proof copy for review and invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

It feels as though I've been reading CL Taylor's books for a very long time, it's actually only five years though; since she released her first book The Accident, in 2014.

It's now a yearly event; the anticipation of looking forward to her next book and knowing that you are in for a damn good read. Sleep doesn't disappoint; it's a pretty meaty book at almost 400 pages in the hardback, but it returns the reader to this authors trademark twisty, dark writing with a bang.

I do love a good prologue, and who could fail to be hooked by a prologue letter? Especially when it begins with 'if you are reading this, I am dead' ..... OK, so it's been done before, but nevertheless, it's a fabulous hook.

Lead character Anna is a complex individual. The story begins as she's driving home from a work event, with three male colleagues in her car. In a matter of seconds, two of the men are dead and one crippled for life. Whilst the accident was clearly not Anna's fault, and the lorry driver who hit them is prosecuted; Anna'a life begins to crumble as soon as she wakes in the hospital.

She's convinced that she's being followed and finds various terrifying messages, telling her to 'sleep'. The strain of dealing with this impacts heavily on an already fractured relationship with her boyfriend, and before long Anna has decided that she needs to leave everything behind and make a new start.

She really couldn't get much further away! She takes a job in the only hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, working for the owner, David.
When a group of guests on a walking party arrive, and then a storm, Anna quickly begins to realise that maybe she hasn't left her past behind her at all. Those 'sleep' messages were not confined to home and it's clear that she's been followed.

Littered with red herrings and twists galore, this is a great take on the locked-house mystery style of story with a cast of characters headed by the enigmatic and sometimes a little odd, Anna.
The author excels in creating a claustrophobic and chilling atmosphere within the house, although I would have loved a little more of a Scottish feel to the environment.

Sleep is gripping and although it's a large book, it's a quick read as it's difficult to stop yourself from racing through it, greedily turning the pages to see if you've guessed correctly. I invariably hadn't!

Chilling and deliciously creepy. Recommended by me!

C.L. Taylor is the Sunday Times bestselling author of six gripping psychological thrillers. They are not a series and can be read in any order:

2015 - THE LIE

2018 - THE FEAR
2019 - SLEEP

She has also written a Young Adult thriller, THE TREATMENT, which was published by HarperCollins HQ and is currently writing her second, which will be published in June 2020.

C.L. Taylor's books have sold in excess of a million copies, been number one on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play and have been translated into over 25 languages and optioned for TV. THE ESCAPE won the Dead Good Books 'Hidden Depths' award for the Most Unreliable Narrator. THE FEAR was shortlisted in the Hearst Big Book Awards in the 'Pageturner' category.

Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014. She lives in Bristol with her partner and young son.

Sign up to join the CL Taylor Book Club for access to news, updates and information that isn't available on the web, as well as exclusive newsletter-only competitions and giveaways and the books that CL Taylor thinks will be the next big thing. You will also receive THE LODGER for free when you sign up:

Because Of You by Helene Fermont @helenefermont BLOG TOUR @BOTBSPublicity #BecauseOfYou

When Hannah and Ben meet at a friend's party, he knows she's The One. But Hannah's in an intense relationship with Mark and planning to return to her native Sweden to embark on a teaching career.

Desperate to make Ben fall in love with her, rich spoilt heiress Vanessa sets in motion a devious string of events that ultimately changes the course of four people's lives indefinitely.

Hannah is the love of Ben's life, yet Vanessa will stop at nothing to claim the man she is convinced is her destiny.

Because of You is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny.

I'm delighted to join the Blog Tour for Because Of You by Helene Fermont today which was organised by Sarah from  Book On The Bright Side Publicity.

I'm sharing an extract from the book for you all to enjoy

Arriving at the Primrose Hill venue at 8:00pm on the last Saturday in September, Hannah arranged with the cab driver to pick her up at midnight. Wearing a blue sequinned dress accentuating her figure and small waist, she stepped out of the car, carrying a bouquet of flowers and Belgian truffles. As she entered the foyer of the large premises to be surrounded by strangers, she heard someone call her name.
“You must be Hannah, Mel’s friend?”
Turning to see who it was, she found herself gazing into the friendliest pair of blue eyes.
“My name’s Matthew Jacobs – Mel’s fiancé and associate – I’m pleased we finally get to meet.” With his tall, athletic build, short brown hair and big smile, it was easy to understand why Melanie had fallen in love with him.
“Mel’s instructed I take extra good care of you! She’s busy with all the guests.” Taking her arm, he proceeded to introduce her to groups of people, all curious to know what it was like to live in Sweden. A passing waiter offering sparkling champagne. Discreetly watching her take a sip, Matthew agreed with his fiancée.
She was completely oblivious of her own beauty and of everyone staring at her, the red hair reminiscent of a rich burgundy wine.
Engaging in small talk, Hannah asked if he minded Melanie having a career.
“Not at all. I want her to be happy, she’s the woman I love.”
Just then, they were interrupted.
“Hannah! Just look at you. That dress is simply divine.”
Embracing one another, Melanie exclaimed, “I’m so happy you’re here!”
“Your fiancé’s been very nice to me. Congratulations on turning twenty-five and getting engaged!” Hannah handed her the flowers and chocolates.
“How wonderfully decadent! Sweets aren’t good for the figure . . . What the heck, it’s not every day one gets the opportunity to celebrate!”
“You’ve nothing to worry about – I’ve never seen you as gorgeous as you look tonight.” Radiant in a red gown, with matching lips and nails, Melanie wore her hair in a sleek pageboy cut, emphasising her dark blue eyes.
Steering Hannah towards the back, she put an arm around her.
“What do you think?”
“Wow! I never saw anything like it!” Hannah gasped at the sight of pink tablecloths on the buffet, candles and roses.
“There’s someone I want you to meet . . .” Walking arm in arm in the direction of a small group of people talking amongst themselves, Melanie made a formal introduction. “This is the girl I’ve been
telling you about. Hannah Stein – Benjamin Isaacs. Ben’s my oldest friend, Hannah’s over on a gap year, staying with an adorable lady in Golders Green.”
His eyes glued on the pretty woman in front of him, Ben replied, “Mel’s been singing your praises, Miss Stein. Now I know the reason.”
Eyes locking, both felt an instant chemistry, quite unlike anything they’d experienced before. Tall, dark and handsome, Ben bore an uncanny resemblance to Sean Connery, each muscular with dimples in their cheeks. What attracted her most was his impeccable accent, deep voice and big brown eyes, seemingly looking behind the exterior into her soul.
From a distance Hannah heard Melanie say, “I’ll leave you to it, you’re bound to have plenty to talk about. . .”
“I’m honoured to sit next to you, Miss Stein.” Flattered that he’d pulled out a chair for her to sit, Hannah felt his eyes on her.
Overwhelmed by her presence, beauty and charm, Ben was acutely conscious of the fact he’d never met anyone like her; the fiery red hair, delicate features and emerald green eyes.
Dinner consisted of melon with port, rack of lamb and sorbet with almond biscuits; everything tasting delicious. Ben entertained Hannah with stories of the time he and Melanie were enrolled at nursery, while Hannah told him about her country, silently comparing his interest in everything she told him to Mark, who rarely listened to anything she had to say.
After dinner there were birthday speeches, including one from Ben, who told everyone how fortunate he was to have such a caring, loyal friend in Melanie.
“She’s a lousy loser, though. I lost track of all the times I let her beat me at a game,” he teased, raising his glass in a toast to her and Matthew, before returning to his seat.
Touched by his words, Melanie blew him a kiss across the table. They’d celebrated her and Matthew’s engagement at her parents’ house the previous weekend. At twenty-seven, Ben was the brother she had never had.
Turning his attention to Hannah, Ben asked, “Are you planning on leaving in the near future?”

Hélene Fermont writes character-driven psychological crime fiction with a Scandi Noir flavour. 

Known for her explosive, pacy narrative and storylines, she has published three novels - Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret - and two short story collections - The Love of Her Life and Who's Sorry Now? Her fourth novel is due for release in the summer of 2019. 

After 20 years in London, Hélene recently returned to her native Sweden where she finds the unspoiled scenery and tranquillity a therapeutic boost for creativity. 

Enjoying a successful career as a Psychologist, when she's not working her 'day job', Hélene spends her time writing, with friends and family, or playing with her beloved cat, Teddy.

Author Page on Facebook

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Turbulent Wake by Paul E Hardisty @Hardisty_Paul BLOG TOUR @OrendaBooks #TurbulentWake

Ethan Scofield returns to the place of his birth to bury his father. Hidden in one of the upstairs rooms of the old man’s house he finds a strange manuscript, a collection of stories that seems to cover the whole of his father’s turbulent life.
As his own life starts to unravel, Ethan works his way through the manuscript, trying to find answers to the mysteries that have plagued him since he was a child. What happened to his little brother? Why was his mother taken from him? And why, in the end, when there was no one else left, did his own father push him away?
Swinging from the coral cays of the Caribbean to the dangerous deserts of Yemen and the wild rivers of Africa, Turbulent Wake is a bewitching, powerful and deeply moving story of love and loss … of the indelible damage we do to those closest to us and, ultimately, of the power of redemption in a time of change.

Turbulent Wake by Paul E Hardisty was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 16 May 2019.

As part of the Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today on Random Things

Chub Cay
The plane banked low over the water. The boy could see the white arc of the beach and the green of the palms and, further out, the many different colours and patterns of the sea. It was his first time in a small plane and he clutched the arm of his seat hard, his face pressed up against the window. The plane righted and he could hear the sound of the engines change, see the flap along the back edge of the wing starting to come down and feel the hole in his stomach as the plane started to lose altitude. They were coming in to land.
The boy looked through to the cockpit and watched the pilots. He liked the way they reached up to the overhead panel to work the switches, the way they flew the plane with small movements of the wheel and the throttle levers. He liked the light-green headphones they wore, the way they spoke calmly into their headset microphones as they guided the plane down. Outside, the island was gone and there was only the deep-blue colour of the sea and the puffy white clouds in the distance and the line where the sky met the sea. Soon they were low enough that he could make out individual waves on the surface of the sea, the little white crests where they curled over and the dark furrows between them. And then the sky-coloured shallow water appeared beneath them, and it was so clear the boy could see down through to the sandy bottom and the darker patches scattered there, the brown of rocks or perhaps the corals that he had read about and looked at pictures of, but never seen. And then quickly the shallows were gone and there was a white beach and a flash of green and then the rocky grey of the centre of the island rushing up towards them.
The plane landed with a thump and rolled to a stop.                             
The boy looked over at his mother. Her hair was up in a colourful scarf, her eyes hidden behind a pair of oversized sunglasses. She was wearing a short dress made of some light material that left her arms and her legs bare. He thought she looked cold. But he could tell that she was happy and excited. They had arrived. They were in what she called one of their ‘times of feast’. To him, these times meant presents at Christmas and on birthdays, parties, holidays in warm places. But he knew they meant other things to his mother.
The chief pilot, the one with four yellow stripes on his epaulettes, unclipped his seat belt, got out of his seat and walked back into the cabin. He wore a white short-sleeved shirt with a pair of wings sewn above the left pocket and green-tinted sunglasses. He looked very young for a pilot, the boy thought, much younger than the ones he’d seen flying the jets that took off and landed at the big airports.
‘Welcome to Chub Cay,’ said the young pilot. He pronounced it key, like the thing you put in a lock. He had fair hair and the hair on his forearms looked almost white against his tanned skin. ‘We’ll be back here in a month to take you out,’ he said, smiling at the boy’s mother. ‘Have a great Christmas.’
‘Say thank you to the captain, boys,’ his mother said. She was smiling at the young pilot, and the pilot was looking back at her through his sunglasses.
The boy and his brother chimed up with overlapping thank you sirs, and the young pilot reached out and tousled their hair, all the while looking at their mother.
‘Where is your dad, young fella?’ said the pilot to the younger boy, who was only nine and a half.
‘He has important business to do,’ the boy said, before his brother could answer.
‘I’m sure he does,’ said the pilot.‘His company owns this island,’ said the boy.‘Well, that’s what I’ve heard,’ said the pilot. ‘And that’s why we’re
taking very good care of you and your pretty mama here.’ The young pilot smiled and reached out to tousle the boy’s hair as he had done with his brother’s, but the boy pulled away. He didn’t like this young pilot anymore.
‘My father will be here for Christmas,’ said the boy.
‘Then I’ll see you all then. I’ll be flying him in.’ The young pilot started towards the back of the plane, then threw open the rear door and let down the stairs. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, if you will please disembark by the rear stairs,’ he said with a bow.
The boy’s mother laughed and stood and smoothed her dress. She was tall for a lady and had to stoop to avoid hitting her head on the cabin roof. ‘Come on, boys,’ she said. ‘You heard the nice captain.’
The boy unbuckled his seat belt and followed his mother and brother down the stairs. The pilot started to unload their suitcases and line them up on the crushed coral. A strange-looking car was waiting at the edge of the runway. It was open and low to the ground and had very small wheels. A man in a big white hat was in the driver’s seat. He waved to them and the car started out towards them.
‘That’ll be the colonel,’ said the young pilot as he unloaded the last of the bags. ‘Better watch out for that one,’ he said, smiling and wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. ‘If you know what I mean.’
‘Thanks for the warning,’ said the boy’s mother. She was smiling as she said it.
‘You bet,’ said the young pilot, handing her a card. ‘Well if you need us, just call. No job too small, no ask too tall.’
The boy’s mother laughed, and taking the young pilot’s hand in hers, she leaned her head towards his and said something that the boy could not make out. The young pilot looked back at her for a moment with his mouth slightly open, and then he smiled at her, clambered back into the plane and pulled the door closed. The boy decided that he did not want to be a pilot, after all.
The strange car pulled to a stop and the man in the white hat – the one the young pilot had called the colonel – jumped out. He was a big man, with square shoulders and thick legs. ‘Mrs Clifton,’ he said, taking her hand in his big bear’s paw. ‘I’m Colonel Rafferty. Everyone calls me Raff. Welcome. Welcome to the island. We’re so glad you could make it.’ He kissed the boy’s mother on the cheek and, as he did it, he put his big hand on the small of her back.
‘Boys,’ she said, pushing herself away from the colonel with one hand and holding her scarf in place against the breeze with the other, ‘say hello to the colonel. He works for your father’s company. He runs the island. Isn’t that right, Colonel?’
‘I certainly do,’ he said.
The boys shook hands with the man. They all got into the car and drove to the far end of the runway. The colonel stopped the car and they sat with the sea breeze flowing over them, the smell of the sea strong now, as they watched the twin-engine plane taxi to the far end of the gravel strip and turn to face them. Then the engines roared and the plane started down the runway. As it gained speed, the boy saw the front wheel come off the ground and the rudder on the tail moving. Then one wing dipped slightly towards where the wind was coming from and it was up and crabbing sideways as it climbed. When the plane flashed over them with a roar the boy heard his mother let out a little ‘oh’ as her headscarf flew away.

Canadian by birth, Paul has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. 
He has rough-necked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, and rehabilitated village water wells in the wilds of Africa. 
He survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana'a in 1993 and was one of the last westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. 
The Abrupt Physics of Dying, his first novel, received great critical acclaim, and was short-listed for the CWA Creasy New Blood Dagger award.