Thursday 28 February 2019

The Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood @NualaWrites @PenguinUKBooks #TheDayOfTheAccident






They say you killed...But What If They're Wrong?

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie's world is torn apart

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter's funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie's husband?
And why can't she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?







The Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood was published in paperback by Penguin Books on 21 February 2019, and is the author's second novel. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I read and loved Nuala Ellwood's first novel; My Sister's Bones back in 2016, and have been looking forward to her next novel for a long time.

I do love a book that has me scratching my head in wonderment. A book that teases and twists around until you begin to feel a little bit dizzy. That's what happened when I was reading The Day Of The Accident. I found myself thinking about the story; trying to figure out just what was about to happen and sneaking in another chapter or two when I really should have been doing other things.

The book opens with a real banger of a prologue; set in Lewes Crown Court in August 2017. It's just a couple of pages long but those pages will grip the reader immediately, especially as the narrator pleads for forgiveness.

Part one of the story takes the reader back five weeks, to Lewes Victoria Hospital as Maggie is regaining consciousness after an accident.  Her world then shatters as everything she was, and everything she loved is snatched away when she's told that her young daughter Elspeth is dead, and her husband Sean has disappeared.

I really enjoyed how the author has structured this story. The reader gradually gets to know Maggie, but do we know everything? Her memory is patchy and as she slowly remembers vital things, we can't help but begin to pass judgement on her, and her actions. 

Woven in between Maggie's story are letters. The reader may be led to believe that these letter are written by one character, but who knows. The content of the letters is heartbreaking to read; the words of a desperate child, begging her mother to love her, and to save her. As the story progresses, the tone of the letter change; becoming angrier and darker as time moves on.

The Day of the Accident is a compelling story with an intriguing premise. It's a clever, chilling tale of suspicion, with surprises and twists that will knock the reader for six. It is tense, extremely well written and memorable. I couldn't put it down.




Nuala Ellwood was chosen as one of the Observer's 'New Faces of Fiction 2017' for her first thriller, the bestselling My Sister's Bones. 

Nuala teaches Creative Writing at York St John University and lives in the city with her young son. 

Day of the Accident is her latest novel.


Twitter : @NualaWrites














Get In Character -Ebay Auction from @CLIC_Sargent #BookAuction #GetInCharacter #YoungLivesvCancer






Popular authors and famous faces are offering bookworms signed books and an exclusive opportunity to have a character named after them in their next book, to raise money for children and young people with cancer.

A wide selection of the UK’s most well-known authors are getting behind the Get in Character campaign from CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people.
Get in Character is a unique 7-day eBay auction from Monday 4 March to Sunday 10 March which gives readers the chance to become immortalised in their favourite authors’ next book, win signed books or even a signed illustration.
Over 50 authors are taking part this year in the campaign which has raised over £35,000 for the charity since it began in 2014. Character names up for grabs include from hugely popular TV personality and fan-favourite Alesha Dixon, internationally acclaimed thriller writer Stephen Leather, best-selling author Lisa Jewell and British comedy novelist Nick Spalding.

Alesha Dixon, said: “Get in Character is a fantastic way to help a vital charity to support young lives in their fight against cancer. I’m thrilled to be able to offer the name of a character in my next book Superpower Showdown to help CLIC Sargent in its mission to stop cancer destroying young lives.”’
Other items that will be auctioned during the event include signed books from internationally acclaimed thriller writer Lee Child and Horrid-Henry author Francesca Simon.
There is also a signed illustration to be won, by award-winning designer Coralie Bickford-Smith.

For the chance to have your name in one of your favourite books visit: www.ebaystores.co.uk/clic-sargent on Monday 4 March to place your bid.



Tuesday 26 February 2019

The Suspect by Fiona Barton @figbarton @TransworldBooks @ThomasssHill #TheSuspect








‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . .
.






The Suspect by Fiona Barton was published by Bantam Press / Transworld on 24 January 2019, and is the author's third novel.


I enjoyed both of this author's previous novels, but really think she's raised her own bar very high with The Suspect. It reads like a dream; the ultimate in twisting, engrossing, compelling story telling with characters who are realistically flawed and incredibly realistic.


Journalist Kate Waters takes a special interest in the case of missing teenage girls Alex O'Connor and Rosie Shaw. They travelled together to Thailand for a gap year that was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime, but seems to have turned into something sinister and heart breaking for their families. Whilst Kate wants to look at what's happened from a journalist's point of view, she also has a personal interest. Her own son Jake has been in Thailand for a couple of years now and she constantly worries about him as he rarely calls home or lets her know what he's up to.


DI Bob Sparks is the investigating officer on the case, and he and Kate know and respect each other as they've both been around for a while. One of Fiona Barton's greatest skills  is her creation of character and relationships and for me; Bob is the star of The Suspect. His own personal life affects him, and the reader and the author shows an incredible insight and perception when creating him and his family.

Recently there's been lots of talk and debate about how Social Media can affect the mental health of young people; especially girls, and the author touches on this within her story. Whilst young Alex continues to post 'awesome' and 'amazing' photos on her Facebook profile, depicting the holiday of a lifetime; the reader is aware that things really are not so great. Through email correspondence with her best friend Alex tells the truth; she's increasingly unhappy; Rosie is running wild and Alex just wants to see the sights of Thailand.


The Suspect is a fascinating and well thought out story. The structure of the novel is refreshing; told in the voices of 'The Reporter', 'The Detective', 'The Mother', which adds a depth to the story through different points of view.


Wonderfully engaging characters populating a tangled, twisty story that kept me on tenterhooks throughout.  Excellent, and highly recommended










Fiona Barton's debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in 36 countries and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Born in Cambridge, Fiona currently lives in Sussex and south-west France.

Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.

While working as a journalist, Fiona reported on many high-profile criminal cases and she developed a fascination with watching those involved, their body language and verbal tics. Fiona interviewed people at the heart of these crimes, from the guilty to their families, as well as those on the periphery, and found it was those just outside the spotlight who interested her most . . .


Twitter: @figbarton
Author Page on Facebook









Thursday 21 February 2019

A Guardian Of Slaves by Naomi Finley @FinleyAuthor BLOG TOUR @hfvbt #AGuardianofSlaves #Giveaway #Win





Willow Hendricks is now the Lady of Livingston. She manages this plantation with her father and best friend Whitney Barry. The two women continue her parents’ secret abolitionist mission. They use the family’s ships and estates to transport escaped slaves along the channels to freedom. Willow’s love for Bowden Armstrong is as strong as ever, but she is not ready to marry and have a family because of her attention to these noble pursuits. Torn by her love for him, can their bond survive his reluctance to support her efforts with the Underground Railroad?
Meanwhile, whispers among the quarters sing praises of a mysterious man in the swamps helping slaves escape. He is called the Guardian. They believe he will save them from brutal slave catchers and deliver them to the promised land. Masked bandits roam the countryside, but the Guardian and the criminals evade capture. A series of accidents and mysterious disappearances raise alarm throughout the region. Who can Willow and Whitney trust? One false move or slip could endanger the lives of everyone they love and bring ruin to the Livingston Plantation.




AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | ITUNES



A Guardian of Slaves by Naomi Finlay was published by Huntson Press Inc. on 30 January 2019.

As part of the Blog Tour, organised by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I'm delighted to share an extract from the novel with you here today on Random Things.
There's also a chance to win a paperback copy. Entry is simple; just fill out the competition widget at the end of this post.
GOOD LUCK! 



Livingston Plantation, 1851

On schedule, Charles Hendricks’s private carriage rolled down the lane and through the gates of Livingston Plantation a few hours after sunset.
The man on the ridge leaned forward, arms resting on the neck of his mount, awaiting the outcome of his earlier sabotage of the carriage. If all played out as planned, Hendricks would take his last breath tonight.
He’d cleanse the earth of the Hendricks and Shaw bloodlines once and for all, breaking the curse Olivia Shaw had placed on his family all those years ago. Even the hangman’s noose hadn’t snuffed out her witchery.
He inhaled deeply of the cigar clutched between his teeth, the hot, sweet smoke slithering down his throat to circle in his lungs. Removing the cigar with a gloved hand, he puffed out billowy gray rings of smoke. The rings floated into the starless darkness above, shifting form before vanishing into the autumn night.
Below, the carriage began to sway violently from side to side. A warmth radiated through his chest as he watched Hendricks fight to regain control. Before his hungry eyes, the moment he’d waited for played out. The watcher lurched forward as the carriage rolled over, eager to see its demise.
The piercing squeals of the horse shattered the quiet of the night as it went down thrashing. In the wreckage, the carriage lantern set fire to the surrounding grass and brushwood. The man sat mesmerized by the beauty of the flames as the fire took life, the drumming in his chest elevating to a roar in his ears. Squinting past the glow of the blaze, he located the form of Hendricks, pinned beneath the carriage.
The watcher released a long, slow breath of satisfaction. He’d put his plan in motion; he would become master of everything the Hendrickses owned, and he’d incinerate anything or anyone standing in the way.
His brother would delight in his achievement. Revenge would be theirs.
With a jerk of the reins and a kick of his heels, he dug his spurs into the sides of the horse, and it leaped forward, bound for home.

* * *

Sometime later, the man veered his mount off the main road and bent low under the hanging vines of the cypress trees. He guided the horse onto the serpentine path on the other side.
The trail ended at an untamed, moon-drenched meadow. The gray, weather-beaten barn’s shadow devoured the smaller building next to it—a windowless, one-room cabin suffocating in the entanglement of evergreen vines. Dismounting at the barn, he lifted the board barring the doors. Groaning in protest, the doors swung open. He lit the lantern hanging on a beam near the entrance, the jagged yellow glow the lantern cast elongating his dark silhouette across the barn floor.
Whimpering to the right made him spin on his worn heels to face the handful of slaves he’d taken from the freed Negro’s plantation a few miles over. A sinister smile crept over his unshaven face. The man reveled in the sight of the slaves’ bulging eyes as they sat huddled together with their hands chained above their heads.
Filthy animals! Damn Negroes, going around thinking they can sow the same ground as the white men. The rich Negro got what he deserved.
The drunken singing of his father floated in from outside.
Grumbling to himself, the man urged the horse into a stall. He shoved at the horse’s hindquarters to get by the animal and removed the saddle. The horse nudged him from behind as he slung the saddle over the side of the stall. Cursing, he drove a fist against the side of the creature’s head, then kicked the gate to the stall closed and left the barn, barring the doors shut behind him.
He found his half-naked father riding his horse up to the cabin. A bottle of whiskey swung in his hand as he continued to belt out a tune. “Useless bastard,” the man said, storming toward him.
He pulled his father off the horse and slung him over his shoulder, grimacing at the overpowering stench of body odor, whiskey, and jasmine. Women and gambling were his religion. Kicking the cabin door open, he carried the unconscious man to the far corner of the room and deposited him in a heap on the bed there. Straightening, he peered down at his pathetic excuse of a father.
One quick slash of his throat and the burden of him would be gone, the constant gibbering in his head slowed to say. End his life. Make him pay for what they did to you.
“Silence!” He cuffed his own ears with his hands as he moved away. He slammed the door, and it shook on its rusted hinges. His father’s weakness for women sickened him. Had his mother taught him nothing? Women were the demise of all men.
He lowered himself into a chair in front of the fireplace. Pulling off his boots, he stretched his legs out in front of him. The throbbing in his right foot grew worse with each passing year. Damn Virginia and that blizzard! It had claimed three of his toes.
Turning to the warmth of the crackling fire, he slid his hat down over his eyes and tried to shut out the grating of his father’s drunken snores.





About the Author


Naomi lives in Northern Alberta. Her love for travel means her suitcase is always on standby while she awaits her next plane ticket and adventure. Her love for history and the Deep South is driven by the several years she spent as a child living in a Tennessee plantation house. She comes from a family of six sisters. She married her high school sweetheart and has two teenage children and two dogs named Ginger and Snaps.
Creativity and passion are the focus of her life. Apart from writing fiction, her interests include interior design, cooking new recipes, throwing lavish dinner parties, movies, health, and fitness.
For more information, please visit Naomi Finley’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, February 15


Tuesday, February 19
Feature at Maiden of the Pages


Wednesday, February 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie


Thursday, February 21


Friday, February 22


Monday, February 25
Review at Macsbooks


Tuesday, February 26
Excerpt at Among the Reads


Wednesday, February 27
Feature at Cover To Cover Cafe


Thursday, February 28


Monday, March 4


Wednesday, March 6
Feature at Old Timey Books


Thursday, March 7


Friday, March 8
Review at Coffee and Ink



Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving a paperback copy of A Guardian of Slaves! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 A Guardian of Slaves



If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman BLOG TOUR @hannahbeckerman #IfOnly @orionbooks



If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman is published by Orion Books today; 21 February 2019

I read and reviewed this book at the end of last year and have been shouting about it ever since. As part of the Blog Tour, I'm delighted to share my review again today.






A twist that will break your heart . . . An ending that will put it back together Audrey's family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected. As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other? Moving, thoughtful and surprising, If Only I Could Tell You is impossible to put down - and impossible to forget



To be honest, I'm struggling to find the words to describe just how much this book has affected me. With themes that have felt very personal to me at the moment, at times I found it quite difficult. However, the writing and the story line are just so very very beautiful that I found myself becoming comforted by it, despite the absolute tragedy within the story. it is incredibly powerful and so very moving.

This is the story of a family, and how long-held beliefs can affect relationships and feelings. The author takes two sisters; Lily and Jess and allows her readers to gain such an insight into their lives, yet there is one tragic event that both binds these women together, but also has broken them. Not only are they broken, but their whole family are shattered by it. The rippling effects of the waves made by what happened with Jess was ten-years-old and Lily was sixteen have informed every decision that they've made since.

Hannah Beckerman has structured this novel impeccably; the reader gets to know Jess and Lily as adults, along with their own two daughters, and their mother Audrey. We are also taken back to the events of June 1988, the time that this once close-knit, loving family was torn apart, never to recover.

Jess and Lily couldn't be more different. Lily is successful, wealthy and driven.  Jess is a single-mother, always watching the pennies and appears to be increasingly unhappy. It's difficult to warm to Jess, especially as the reader is unaware of her reasons for cutting her sister from her life, it's only as we learn the truth that we can empathise with her and understand that it was sorrow and the misunderstanding of a child that led her to take the steps that she did.

If Only I Could Tell You deals with some serious and life-affecting issues, and Audrey, Lily and Jess certainly have more than their fair share of dark times. However, the absolute perfection of this author's writing and plotting does not make the reader feel overwhelmed by this issues and each event fits perfectly into the plot.

I have no doubt that when this is published in February next year, it will be praised highly. There is absolutely nothing to criticise at all. It is tender and intelligent, with a perception of family issues that is startling at times.

Utterly wonderfully heartbreaking, yet precise and searingly honest too. The perfect read.





Hannah Beckerman studied English at King's College, London and for a Master's degree at Queen Mary and Westfield, London. She spent twelve years working in television, first as a Producer for the BBC and subsequently as a Commissioning Editor for Arts and Documentaries at Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel USA. She lived in Bangladesh for two years, working for the BBC World Service Trust.
Hannah is now a full-time author and journalist. She is a book critic and features writer for the Observer, the FT Weekend Magazine and the Sunday Express and a regular chair at literary festivals and events. She has been a judge for numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards.
If Only I Could Tell You is Hannah's second novel. She lives in London with her husband and daughter. 

Find out more at www.hannahbeckerman.com
Twitter @hannahbeckerman
Author Page on Facebook





Wednesday 20 February 2019

*** COVER REVEAL *** #WhoIsIt @PaulBurston #TheCloserIGet @OrendaBooks *** COVER REVEAL ***






Nobody does book covers quite like Orenda Books, and it's always really exciting to see what they will come up with next!

Today I'm honoured and delighted to share with you here on Random Things, the startling and utterly stunning cover for:



published on 11 June 2019



A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological, social-media thriller from the bestselling author of The Black Path



Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.
Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.
 
When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
 
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
 
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…




Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections.
His most recent novel 'The Black Path', was longlisted for the Guardian's Not The Booker Prize 2016 and was a bestseller at WHSmith.
His first novel 'Shameless', was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award.
His third novel, Lovers & Losers, was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award.
His fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television.
He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications including Guardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times.
In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council's #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating "33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world".
He is the founder and host of London's award-winning LGBT & Literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for New Writing.

Twitter : @PaulBurston


www.orendabooks.co.uk


East Of England by Eamonn Griffin @eamonngriffin BLOG TOUR @Unbound_Digital #EastOfEngland #RandomThingsTours






Dan Matlock is out of jail. He’s got a choice. Stay or leave. Go back to where it all went wrong, or just get out of the county. Disappear. Start again as someone else. But it’s not as simple as that. 
There’s the matter of the man he killed. It wasn’t murder, but even so. You tell that to the family. Especially when that family is the Mintons, who own half of what’s profitable and two-thirds of what’s crooked between the Wolds and the coast. Who could have got to Matlock as easy as you like in prison, but who haven’t touched him. Not yet.
Like Matlock found out in prison, there’s no getting away from yourself. So what’s the point in not facing up to other people?
It’s time to go home.









East of England by Eamonn Griffin was published by Unbound Digital on 24 January 2019

As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I'm delighted to share an extract from the book with you today.



In this short excerpt from East of England, the just-released Dan Matlock reflects on the two years in jail, and on having time to come up with a plan – if needed – for when he gets out:



Having two years to think about something was more of a curse than a boon. Two years of lying on the bottom bunk, staring up at the slats supporting the upper bed’s mattress. Two years of counting the bricks in the exercise yard walls. Two years of weak tea, indifferent carbohydrates three times a day and no visitors. Two years of not rising to the baiting of the screws, facing down thugs, not getting involved.
No visitors. That had been his choice. He’d been adamant.
That wasn’t to say it didn’t hurt.
The first week was important. Matlock let a big kid pick a fight just so he could beast him in public.
It wasn’t the kid’s fault. He didn’t know any better. A head full of lies about what it was to be a man inside. Set up to prove himself, so he could attach himself to some clique or other.
Pale skin, cropped hair on the ginger side of blond. Sunken cheeks. Six inches taller but three stone lighter than Matlock. He had reach but no power. And as it turned out, no heart.
Matlock took the first punch so the kid would have something to show. Maybe it would be enough for his lieutenant to take him on anyway. A hard blow, but nothing special. Deep under the ribs, intended to make him buckle.
A jab into the face broke the kid’s nose. A fast left, round onto the ear, took his knees away. Before he could buckle over, a right. Piledriver into the eye socket. There was no way that the bone didn’t break.
The kid went to his knees. Some idiot shouted something about finishing him off. Later, someone else tried to start a meal queue conversation about how he’d have grasped the kid by his ears and kneed him in the face until his jaw broke.
Two years. Prison was all talk. Big plans and schemes, lies about innocence.
Matlock was left alone after that.
Two years and one idea. Over time, that idea took form. Grit in an oyster slowly becoming a pearl.




Eamonn Griffin was born and raised in Lincolnshire, though these days he lives in north-east Wales. 

He's worked as a stonemason, a strawberry picker, in plastics factories (everything from packing those little bags for loose change you get from banks to production planning via transport manager via fork-lift driving), in agricultural and industrial laboratories, in a computer games shop, and latterly in further and higher education.

He doesn’t do any of that any more. Instead, he writes fulltime, either as a freelancer, or else on fiction. 

Eamonn has collected a PhD, an MA, an assortment of teaching qualifications, and a BSc along the way. He really likes biltong, and has recently returned to learning to play piano, something he abandoned when he was about seven and has regretted since.

Find out more at the website