Friday, 12 August 2022

Miles and the Soldier by G J Kemp BLOG TOUR #MilesandtheSoldier @TB5Publishing @RandomTTours #BookExtract

 


The front door swung open. The icy blast of air hit Miles full in the face.

For the first time in months, a smile played across his lips.

Freedom.

Miles knows his life changed when the Lady’s sword cut deep into his back. He knows he’ll never achieve his lifelong dream.

Then a stab of joyous pain slices down his leg. With renewed hope, Miles leaves behind the shackles of Dr Viktor’s house and travels east, to the training grounds of the Queen’s Guard.

Will Miles get the chance to compete for a place? And will they accept him in the warrior’s holy ground of Battleacre?

The Acre Story follows Miles’s journey through the eastern lands as our epic fantasy continues.



Miles and the Soldier by G J Kemp was published on 13 June 2022. As part of this #RandomThingsTours blog I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 



Extract from Miles and the Soldier by G J Kemp 

Through the icy wind, Miles felt the pins and needles crawl across his lower back. With each step, they turned into jolts of painful electricity down his legs. His right foot facing inwards grew more tired as it dragged a long groove through the snow. The knuckles on his right hand turned white as he leant more heavily on his cane.

A howl broke through the gusting wind.

Miles froze.

From behind a tree, a wolf’s snout appeared.

The end of Miles’s cane dug deep into the snow as he threw his full weight against it.

With a snort, the snout disappeared behind the tree.

Miles scanned the darkness, squinting at each tree, searching for any movement.
With the cold starting to work through his clothes, Miles tightened his cloak around his body and continued walking down the southern path. After another hour, he reached the fork in the road and, without stopping, he turned left and walked towards the eastern land.

A flash of fur caught his eye. Miles stopped and crouched. He scanned the forest, and stopping at the base of each tree, he searched for movement.

A long, menacing growl spun his head back along the eastern path. The black-haired alpha wolf, standing in the path, lowered his head and snarled at Miles.

‘Whoa there, big boy,’ Miles said, holding out his hand while getting back to his feet.

The wolf lowered his head and took a step towards Miles.

Miles reached behind his back and, with one practised fluid movement, he drew his greatsword.

Growls from both his left and right broke through the gusting wind.

Miles kept his focus on the alpha wolf in front of him.

The black wolf raised his snout, sniffed the air, then lowering his head, he let out a deep, gurgling growl. With his lips sliding across his thick white teeth, he advanced on Miles.

A sudden jolt sent a new powerful set of pins and needles across Miles’s back. His hands trembled as the nerve endings in his lower back knit together. He watched his right foot turn outwards until it faced the way it always had. The cane dropped out of his hand and fell softly into the snow. Miles adjusted his stance, shifting some of his weight onto his right leg. His foot held steady and strong.

The alpha wolf, his muscles rippling across his shoulders, broke into a trot.
Black snow puffed up into the air as a barking wolf pup bounded through the trees and jumped onto the path in front of the alpha wolf. The alpha skidded to a halt and snapped his jaws at the pup. The pup dodged the sharp white teeth and, lowering her front legs until her chin touched the snow, she let out small ear-piercing barks.

‘Get out of here,’ Miles said under his breath.

With her eyes trained on the alpha wolf, the pup shuffled back towards Miles.

‘We don’t want any trouble,’ Miles said, pointing the greatsword at the wolf. ‘Leave us alone.’

The alpha wolf’s muscles rippled across his shoulders as he continued stalking forward.

Miles spread his legs as the pup backed in between his feet.

The pup spun in between Miles’s legs, growling and yapping.

Miles reached behind his back and rubbed the muscles running along his spine. The nerve endings felt like fire coursing through his back and down his legs.
The pup stopped her ear-splitting yapping and looked up at Miles.

‘Have you got something to do with this, little one?’ Miles said.

Big brown eyes gazed up at Miles.

Paws padded on the black snow as the alpha wolf again picked up speed.

Miles placed the greatsword across his chest to protect himself.

Bits of snow sprung up from between Miles’s legs as the pup, her small limbs scrambling, darted towards the alpha wolf.

A sickening yelp reverberated through the trees as the alpha wolf clamped his jaws around the pup’s tiny neck and threw her into the black snow.

Billy’s cloak slipped from Miles and fluttered to the path. The muscles rippled across his shoulders as he looked at the pup’s lifeless body. His head jerked back to the alpha wolf, and with a yell, he charged.

The wolf, in one fluid movement, squatted, then sprang, sending his enormous body to the height of Miles’s head. Miles sidestepped and slammed the flat side of his greatsword into the wolf’s side. The wolf slashed out its front claw and narrowly missed the tip of Miles’s nose before he crashed into the snow on the side of the path. Miles moved his feet through the snow, searching for a solid footing. The wolf, his teeth bared, scrambled to his feet, and sprang again. Miles turned his greatsword and rammed the hilt into the side of the wolf’s head. The wolf yelped and crashed to the ground.

‘I didn’t want to hurt you,’ Miles said. ‘I told you to leave us alone.’





A nomad at heart, GJ has lived in nine countries across Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His career has included working as a Divemaster in The Red Sea, a zookeeper in Israel, and a proofreader in Sweden.

Born with cerebral palsy, GJ has spent a lifetime trying to tie his shoelaces while standing up in the hope of not falling over. It is a constant challenge, but sometimes he occasionally succeeds.

Finding the love for writing later in life, GJ spends most of his free time going for walks and dreaming of story ideas. 









Thursday, 11 August 2022

All In by Kathia BLOG TOUR #AllIn @kathiaherself @RandomTTours #winnersinc #BookExtract

 


Get all the feels in this steamy, feel-good standalone romantic comedy about falling in love and finding happily ever after despite the odds.

The goal… Find Erik Nilsen, young star of England’s hottest football club, a nice girl.

The coach… International football superstar Jamie MacNiven. Over thirteen years with women using his money and his fame have left him more than jaded—it’s left him numb. But Jamie knows he can train Erik to win in his personal life as much as he wins on the field.

The drive… For Jamie it’s simple: Erik still believes in love. Na├»ve? Maybe, but the thought of the kid losing that faith twists a part of his heart he thought was long dead.

The playing field… Well, it certainly isn’t Europe, where everyone knows their faces and the amount of money in their bank accounts. No—there’s one obvious choice where to find a nice girl for the kid: Chicago.


All In by Kathia was published on 8 August 2022. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 



Extract from All In by Kathia

His mum claimed a photo was worth more than a thousand words, but as Jamie watched the Chicago streets out the taxi’s window, he only heard one word: FREEDOM.

He took out his mobile and snapped a few shots. It was midmorning, and the best light would be around seven o’clock, he figured, but his mum always said the best photos were ones that were spontaneous rather than planned. These would be especially great because they captured this moment of liberty.

In Chicago, he wouldn’t be Jamie MacNiven, star forward of Italy’s number one football club and one of Europe’s most eligible bachelors. He wouldn’t be son of legendary football player Ian MacNiven and heir to one of Scotland’s nest boutique whiskey brands. He wouldn’t be the son of Titania Summerhill, one of the world’s most renowned photographers. For the next three weeks, he’d be some anonymous bloke in town with his two mates.

Three weeks of anonymity, of being able to stroll without being stopped every few feet by paparazzi or to take a selfie with a fan. Three weeks to be behind the camera instead of in front of it. Three weeks without women throwing themselves at him because of his fame and fortune.

Three weeks of peace.

It was also three weeks to figure out what he was going to do about his life because his current trajectory wasn’t working for him.

The car jolted over a rough patch of road. Lowering his mobile, he held on to the handle on his side of the door. Didier, his friend and former teammate who sat next to him, muttered a curse in his native French. “Les anglais conduisent mieux que ce mec.”

Jamie smiled despite the slur against his countrymen. “Nous arriverons.”

“Encore vivant, j’éspère.” Shaking his head, Didier went back to his own silent contemplation of the passing scenery, the practice ball he traveled with settled loosely on his lap.

He’d been surprised when Didier had unexpectedly shown up and said he was tagging along on this trip. Didier Pascal wasn’t the baddest boy in football, but he was up there. A talented and disciplined player, he was one of Manchester United’s stars, but being half French, half Moroccan, Didier had exotic good looks that the media gushed over as much as they did about his skill.

Meaning he scored a lot—both on the field and off.

Quite frankly, they all did. Being an international football superstar meant you had plenty of money and plenty of women who had their eyes on that money.

Hence this trip to Chicago. 


With over 6 million books sold (and counting), Kathia’s novels have been #1 bestsellers around the world. They’ve received starred reviews from Booklist, have consistently earned Editor’s Picks for Best Romance, and have been featured by O, The Oprah Magazine. Kathia has written over 40 books so far, some translated into several languages, all about hope and dreams and the bonds of friendship and family. She’s also written a couple screenplays and various poems (her ode to the color orange is particularly moving). 

Don't forget to sign up for her newsletter ----> https://www.kathiaherself.com/newsletter
What do you get? The latest news, backstory on her and her stories, and general hijinks.







Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Cold Fish Soup by Adam Farrer BLOG TOUR #ColdFishSoup @AdamJFarrer @SarabandBooks @RandomTTours #BookExtract

 


Before Adam Farrer’s family relocated to Withernsea in 1992, he’d never heard of the Holderness coast. The move represented one thing to Adam: a chance to leave the insecurities of early adolescence behind. And he could do that anywhere. What he didn’t know was how much he’d grow to love the quirks and people of this faded Yorkshire resort, in spite of its dilapidated attractions and retreating clifftops.

While Adam documents the minutiae of small-town life, he lays bare experiences that are universal. His insights on family, friendship, male mental health and suicide are revealed in stories of reinvention, rapacious seagulls, interdimensional werewolves, burlesque dancing pensioners, and his compulsion towards the sea.

Cold Fish Soup is an affectionate look at a place and its inhabitants, and the ways in which they can shape and influence someone, especially of an impressionable age. Adam’s account explores what it means to love and be shaped by a place that is under threat, and the hope – and hilarity – that can be found in community.

WINNER OF THE 2021 NORTHBOUND BOOK AWARD



Cold Fish Soup by Adam Farrer was published on 4 August 2022 by Saraband Books. I'm delighted to share an extract from the book today, as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 



Extract from Cold Fish Soup by Adam Farrer

My phone rang, cutting out the music on my headphones. It was my mother.

‘Are you okay?’ she asked. ‘You’ve been gone for hours.’

She sounded concerned, as if she was preparing to grab her coat and perform an intervention. This would have been an overreaction had it not been Christmas. If someone disappears at Christmas time it’s never for a good reason. At best, they’ve left the house in a panic to source a last minute, terrible gift. At worst, or close to it, they are standing on the edge of a cliff and contemplating their next move, like I was.

The coastline in my hometown of Withernsea is fragile and perilous, built of soft, vulnerable clay. Each day the waves collide with the cliff face and drag a little more of it into the sea. Several feet of these cliffs are lost in this way each year, making them the perfect suicide spot for the idle. I knew that if I stood there for long enough, I wouldn’t have even needed to summon the energy to throw myself off them. Just give it enough time and the ground would have made the decision for me, disappearing beneath my feet like a supervillain’s trapdoor.

‘I’m fine,’ I told her. ‘I’m heading back now. Millie just wanted a long walk.’

Millie is my aged dog, who strained at her lead while I spoke, desperate to peer over the edge and sniff at the unknown below. When I’d adopted her a few months earlier, it had been pre- dicted that she wouldn’t make it to Christmas. Yet here she still was, wobbling onward. The image of me with Millie seemed to calm my mother down. Because really, who kills themselves with their dog? Especially a tragic one. But I found myself pic- turing it all the same. Toying with the image of me hopping off the cliff, my body descending, my hand raised above my head as I gripped Millie’s lead. A Victorian aeronaut attempting to take flight by holding on to a dog-shaped balloon. I shuddered. From the thought, the cold weather and the tiny compulsion in me that was telling me to do it. 

Jump!


Adam Farrer is a writer and editor who has performed at festivals and events including Manchester Literature Festival and the Northern Lights Writers Conference. 

His work has been published in the anthology Test Signal and he edits the creative non-fiction journal The Real Story, as well as teaching writing workshops. 

Cold Fish Soup is his first book. 

Adam Farrer has previously been a photo lab technician, a kitchen porter, the voice of an automated phone system, an illustrator, ceramicist, musician, music journalist, and he currently works at the University of Salford. 

Twitter @AdamJFarrer





Tuesday, 9 August 2022

The It Girl by Ruth Ware BLOG TOUR #TheItGirl @RuthWareWriter @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


Everyone wanted her life

Someone wanted her dead

It was Hannah who found April’s body ten years ago.

It was Hannah who didn’t question what she saw that day.

Did her testimony put an innocent man in prison?

 She needs to know the truth.

 Even if it means questioning her own friends.

Even if it means putting her own life at risk.

 Because if the killer wasn’t a stranger, it's someone she knows…



The It Girl by Ruth Ware was published on 4 August 2022 by Simon & Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour




The It Girl is one of the cleverest and most compelling crime thrillers that I've read for a long time. With a fairly slow beginning, as the reader gets to know the characters, it soon turns into a dark and utterly compelling page-turner that left me frantically reading faster and faster, not quite knowing what to expect. 

Cleverly structured throughout, with chapters from 'Before' and 'After', allowing the author to show many viewpoints to the plot. I really enjoyed this style, it keeps the story fresh and raises question after question.

'Before' - Hannah was a regular comprehensive school educated girl from a small town where nothing really happened. Raised by her single mother, she's the first person from her school to get into Oxford. She's in Pelham House and is sharing a 'set' with it-girl April Clarke-Cliveden, a girl who is beautiful, talented and very rich. Hannah and April become unlikely friends, sharing a living space, clothes and a bunch of friends. 

'After' - ten years later, and Hannah has never recovered from April's death. Hannah found her brutally murdered in their living quarters. She's now married happily to Will (April's ex boyfriend), they are expecting a baby. Hannah learns that John Neville has died in prison. Neville is the university porter that Hannah's testimony helped to put him away for life. Neville has always claimed to be innocent, and after speaking with a podcast journalist, Hannah herself begins to wonder if she put an innocent man in prison. 

The reader gets to know everything about Hannah, April and their eclectic assortment of friends. The author reveals the intricacies of their relationships, their closeness, and also the bitter rivalries that simmer under the surface.

The setting of Oxford University is wonderfully done, with the totally unique world of the rich, the entitled and the people who find themselves a little out of their depth so beautifully created. Each character is richly described, from charismatic Will, to sharp talking Emily .... and it seems, each one of them could have a motive for murder. 

The 'After' setting is equally as gripping, as Hannah delves deeper into her past, alienating Will as she does and starting to suspect every one of the people who've been part of her life for years. The final scenes made my heart pound, and are quite terrifying in parts and for me, totally unexpected. Ruth Ware drops enough red herrings along the way to make the sharpest of reader begin to doubt themselves. 

So very finely constructed, with characters that leap from the pages in a setting that is atmospheric and dark. I loved it. Highly recommended. 



 

Ruth Ware worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a
press officer before settling down as a full-time writer. 

She now lives with her family in Sussex, on the south coast of England. 

She is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail (Toronto) bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood; The Woman in Cabin 10; The Lying Game; The Death of Mrs. Westaway; The Turn of the Key; One by One; and The It Girl. 



Visit her at RuthWare.com or follow her on Twitter @RuthWareWriter.






Friday, 5 August 2022

The Hive by Scarlett Brade BLOG TOUR #TheHive @scarlettbrade @ZaffreBooks @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


Charlotte Goodwin looks directly at the camera and reveals a chilling truth to the thousands watching her Instagram Live broadcast. She has killed her ex-boyfriend's new partner in cold blood. But she is not finished yet. The viewers must now vote to decide whether he should live or die.

The public display sends shockwaves rippling through the online community and the numbers of viewers skyrockets. But as Lincoln's past is revealed, how will he be judged?

The Hive explores our darkest fears of the relationship between social media and mental health, but, most importantly, the strength of sisterhood against all the odds.


The Hive by Scarlett Brade was published on 21 July 2022 by Zaffre. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 



Well, where to begin? I could talk for hours about this book, my review could go on for pages and pages, but it won't. As much as I'd love to sit and debate this book for ever, I will just let you know some of my thoughts and then you read it, and you can decide. 

First and foremost. I don't think I'm the target audience for this novel. I don't relate to the character's way of life, their morals, their behaviours or their age. However, our lead group of characters are women, so am I. They have also endured hardships and tragedy throughout their lives and those problems are as old as the human race; abuse, addiction, violence, so despite their age, and their lifestyle, I certainly can empathise with their issues. 

The story begins with a shocking prologue that grips the reader and will ensure that they carry on reading. Using social media for the basis of the story makes it modern up-to-date and totally refreshing. Our world has changed in terms of reporting. No longer do we have to wait for the evening news bulletin, or the morning newspaper to find out what is happening in the world. Today it is there, in our face, immediately and occasionally, as in the case of The Hive, live from the actual scene. 

Charlotte Goodwin is famous for being famous, she's the ex of a well known boxer and their relationship; it's growth and it's grimy and difficult break down has been talk of The Hive for weeks. The Hive is an Instagram account devoted to celebrity news. Regularly posting gossip and hearsay and the perfect place for Charlotte to carry out her plan. 

Charlotte has murdered her ex boyfriend's new girlfriend and has Linc (he ex) held hostage in a hotel suite. She's asked The Hive's viewers to #VoteLive or to #VoteDie - they will decide Linc's fate. 

Scarlett Brade takes her readers back to the beginning of Charlotte and Linc's relationship and also introduces Charl's three best friends. These are a bunch of mixed-up women who between them, have enough issues to keep the chat show agony aunts going for years. It's really difficult to like any of the women, with the exception of Poppy, but oh my goodness, they are engrossing and compelling. It's like a car crash, you just want to look away, but you just can't help yourself. 

Made up almost entirely of dialogue and nipping between characters, this is a quick and frenzied read at time, with extracts from the comments section on The Hive to ensure that the reader knows exactly what the world is thinking about Charl, and about Linc. 

I can't say that it is great literature, but I can say that it's original and extremely addictive, I read it it just two sittings, totally enthralled and at times, a little bit disgusted by the extraordinary lives of these women and just what they'd do to protect each other. 

The ending is a bit bonkers, it's totally mad but it is also satisfying and I gave a little fist pump in the air when I turned the final page. Obsession, social media, the pull of the celebrity lifestyle and the strength of the female friendship takes centre stage in this novel. Try it and see what you think! 


Scarlett Brade is the daughter of parents who migrated from the Caribbean to England in the early 1970s. 

She was born and educated in London, though as a child she spent her summers in Canada, where she developed her love affair with reading. 

When not writing Scarlett spends most of her time cooking, drinking fine wines, and entertaining family and friends. The Hive is her first psychological thriller novel, and she is currently writing her second.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

The Choice by Penny Hancock BLOG TOUR #TheChoice @pennyhancock @MantleBooks @panmacmillan @RandomTTOurs #BookReview

 


An estranged daughter. A missing grandson. A mother faced with an impossible choice.

Renee Gulliver appears to have it all: a beautiful house overlooking a scenic estuary on England’s East Coast, a successful career as a relationship therapist, three grown-up children, and a beloved grandson, Xavier. But then Xavier vanishes after Renee fails to pick him up from school, and the repercussions are manifold.

Renee is wracked with remorse; the local community question her priorities, clients abandon her; and, as long-held grievances surface, her daughter Mia offers her a heartbreaking ultimatum. Amid recriminations, misunderstandings and lies, can Renee find a way to reunite her family?

The Choice by Penny Hancock was published on 21 July 2022 by Mantle Books / Pan Macmillan. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 




It's been a long time since I read a book by Penny Hancock, and have to admit that I have a couple of her books still on my shelf, waiting to be read. I really should rectify that soon. 

The Choice is a emotional story featuring family drama and long held secrets. We meet Renee, a woman who appears, on the surface to have it all.  A long marriage to Tobias, a thriving career as a therapist, an amazing house and three adult children. The real love of her life is Xavier, her beloved grandson. She didn't really know love until Xavier appeared. 

One day, Renee forgets to collect Xavier from school, and it is this event that paves the way for the drama to follow. First, why did Renee forget her most treasured Xavier, what on earth could she have been thinking about? And then, she suddenly becomes the most hated person around. Friends, neighbours and even family become her enemies 

I was so impressed by the author's ability to get to the heart of the issues, creating a story that will leave the reader in tatters at times. Despite Renee's failing, it is very difficult not to empathise with her as issues come to the surface. It's a talented author who can show all sides of a character and get her readers on board so very well. 

A thought-provoking story that looks at how actions can have consequences for a very long time. It is enthralling and compelling. Complex issues dealt with tenderly and compassionately. A story to savour and to remember. 



Penny Hancock was born in London. She is the author of internationally bestselling novels and writes articles and short stories on family psychology for the national press. Penny divides her time between a village outside Cambridge and her children and grandchildren in London.

The Choice is her fifth novel.

www.pennyhancock.com

Twitter @pennyhancock

Instagram @pennyhancock1







Monday, 1 August 2022

The Retreat by Sarah Pearse BLOG TOUR #TheRetreat @SarahVPearse @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


This is a warning for all our guests at the wellness retreat.

A woman's body has been found at the bottom of the cliff beneath the yoga pavilion.

We believe her death was a tragic accident, though DS Elin Warner has arrived on the island to investigate.

A storm has been forecast, but do not panic. Stick together and please ignore any rumours you might have heard about the island and its history.

As soon as the weather clears, we will arrange boats to take you back to the mainland.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy your stay.


The Retreat by Sarah Pearse was published on 21 July 2022 by Bantam Press / Transworld. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 



Back in January 2021, I read and reviewed Sarah Pearse's debut novel, The Sanatorium. I really enjoyed that tense and creepy thriller story and have been looking forward to her follow up ever since. 

The Sanatorium was set in a high class hotel in the Swiss Alps, and in The Retreat this author again takes her readers to a world of luxury. This time we find protagonist Elin Warner deeply involved in the case of mysterious deaths, not in the Alps but at a newly opened spa and health retreat called Lumen that has opened on a small island just off the coast of England. 

The prologue of the story sets the scene for what is to come, and readers are aware that all is not well at Lumen. We know that someone is injured, probably dead. We know that someone saw it. We don't know who it is, or why it's happened. 

Guest are setting off on the short boat trip from the island, and among them are Hana, Jo, Maya, Seth and Caleb; an interesting mix of people, all connected and all with with their own issues to try to resolve during the trip. 

Meanwhile, Elin Warner is still trying to come to terms with tragedy in her past, and the impact of things that have happened to her. She's desperate to get back to her job in the Major Crimes Investigation Team, yet he's not quite ready emotionally and mentally to deal with it. However, events find her attending the island after one death and it's not long before she's caught up with the deaths and the guests. 

Although The Retreat opens fairly slowly, after the intriguing prologue, it is still a compelling read. Full of drama and suspense, mystery and action. 

This author creates such a sense of place, the reader is aware of the history of Lumen, and how locals call the setting Reaper's Rock. There are rumours of a curse, and stories of a previous serial killer that really adds to the depth of the story. 

Once again, I was totally pulled in by Elin, her own issues and the case that she was working on. Sarah Pearse excels at her own form of the locked-room mystery and whilst slower in parts than her debut, this one is a satisfying and entertaining read. 




Sarah Pearse lives by the sea in South Devon with her husband and two daughters. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and worked in Brand PR for a variety of households brands before following her passion for writing.

Her experiences living in the Swiss Alps in her early twenties inspired her acclaimed debut novel, 
The Sanatorium, which was an instant No.1 Sunday Times and New York Times Top Ten bestseller in hardback, and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

Her eagerly anticipated next thriller, 
The Retreat, will be published in Spring 2022.

You can find Sarah on Twitter @SarahVPearse and Instagram @sarahpearseauthor