The Law Of Attraction By Roxie Cooper #giveaway #BlogTour #Review

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Synopsis

Amanda Bentley has always dreamed of being a barrister…

But as a platinum blonde bombshell from the wrong side of town, with a perfect tan and sleek high heels, she doesn’t exactly look the part – or fit in with the brash public school boys and cold posh girls of Newcastle Crown Court’s robing room. Amanda’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and so when she wins a prestigious pupillage following law school, she’s determined to make the most of her chance – and make all her dreams come true.

Only three things stand in her way: Sid Ryder – the sexy, irresistible barrister who she absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with. At all. Marty Gregg – her smarmy law school nemesis, who she’s in direct competition with for the top job. And her big, dark secret that could jeopardise everything she’s worked so hard for.

Who said that following the laws of attraction was going to be easy…?

Perfects for fans of Legally Blonde, Lindsey Kelk and Joanna Bolouri

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My review

I absolutely adored this beautifully written book. I was intrigued to enter the world of a barrister and all the pomp and ceremony that goes hand in hand with it.

The main character Amanda is a breath of fresh air. She is feisty, sassy and gorgeous. The fact that she is not a stereo typical barrister makes the story even more endearing. There is such a girl power element that made me want to punch the air a fair few times!

From the moment Amanda starts her pupillage at Athena Chambers you join her on a roller coast of a ride. The law of attraction is a real winning recipe of wit, intrigue & sheer determination, with a pinch of love and passion thrown in to spice things up. It has a complete feel good factor and for me ticked all the boxes of a top read.

There is a secret  that Amanda is hiding that could ruin her career before it has even begun, Roxie manages to entice you with this through out the book, you find out snippets here and there, it definitely intrigued me and led to many a late night as i just read ”one more chapter”

The characters have been so well created that they jump out of the pages and come alive. A delicious read that has left me wanting more! 5* review from me!

Thank you to Roxie, Neverland blog tours & HQ Digital for allowing me to review The law of attraction.

 

All about Roxie Cooper

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Roxie was born and bred in Middlesbrough.  After studying Classics at University, she became a dancer in a nightclub for a few years, before going travelling and living in Australia.  When she returned, she swapped dancing on a bar, to practising at the Bar, and became a barrister for 7 years.

It was after being constantly told “Ooh! You don’t look like a barrister!” by absolutely everyone she met, that the idea for her debut novel was born.

Roxie lives in Yarm, a pretty little market town in the North-East.  She’s a bit (lot) obsessed with Prince and spends far too much time watching him on YouTube.  Her hobbies include watching musicals, making her hair as big (and blonde) as possible, and wishing she was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Where to find Roxie

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Goodreads

Links to buy The Law Of Attraction

Amazon

Giveaway

Win a copy of The law of attraction, a legally blonde DVD and a £10 MAC gift card (UK only) Click here to enter

 

 

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Let Her Go by Dawn Barker #Q&A #extract

Let Her Go Blog Tour (3)

Today  I’m so excited to welcome Dawn Barker to my blog.

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Hi Dawn, thank you so much for joining me on your blog tour for Let her go. Could you tell me a bit about Let her go?

Thank you for having me! It’s great to be here.

Let Her Go is my second novel, but my first to be published with Canelo. It tells the story of two step-sisters, Nadia and Zoe, one of whom acts as a surrogate for the other. It weaves between the perspectives of both sisters, as well as the child who is born out of the surrogacy, Louise, and explores each character’s own psychological journey as they come to realise that the arrangement has not worked out as they had planned.

I first thought about writing Let Her Go after watching a documentary about a woman with a medical illness who used a surrogate mother to have a child. In the show, when the surrogate mother attended the child’s birthday party, she seemed very attached to the child she had carried. There was something in the body language of both women that made me wonder how they both really felt, behind their smiles.

I then heard more and more about the advances in fertility treatment, and read stories in magazines about people buying eggs and embryos overseas, then paying women to carry the children for them. Around the same time, I re-read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and saw that the world she imagined in a speculative fiction novel is not that far removed from the one we live in now.

I personally felt conflicted: being a mother myself, I would never deny anyone the right to experience the joy of being a parent, but I was aware that there are ethical issues to consider. I wrote Let Her Go to explore my own feelings about this complex issue.

 

Your books are so beautifully written and about really emotive subjects. How does a story first start to form in your mind?

Thank you! Both of my novels have started from my own ethical conflicts about contemporary issues. My first novel, Fractured, dealt with the issue of postnatal mental illness, and Let Her Go deals with surrogacy. I like to take real life issues and explore my own uncertainty about them through characters and writing. Our society is changing so rapidly that there are no shortage of ideas in the newspapers, in documentaries, and in real life stories. I try to explore those issues from various points of views through my characters because there is no ‘right’ answer in my books; life is not like that.

Of all the characters you have created which is your favourite and why?

In Let Her Go, I enjoyed writing Louise the most. Zoe and Nadia both had elements of myself in them, but Louise was a character that seemed to spring from the page. She wasn’t even in the first couple of drafts of the book, but as I redrafted, I felt that her story was missing and needed to be told. She was easy to write, and it didn’t feel like hard work at all.

Where is your happy place? The place where you find it the easiest to write.

I used to always write in my local library. It’s a lovely, modern library where they encourage you to chat and even have a coffee shop! When my children were younger I’d leave them with a babysitter and head to the library, and write amongst the books with the sounds of baby rhyme time in the background! Now, with my children at school, I try to write at home in my study. I don’t find anywhere easy to write at the moment with all the distractions of my day job and a busy family – I do dream of going to a writing retreat somewhere quiet, but I think I’d miss my kids too much to concentrate!

What is your all time favourite read?

It’s so hard to pick just one! I loved Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin for inspiring me to write about difficult subjects and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving for creating such a wonderful and complex character. I also loved The Secret History by Donna Tartt (although when I re-read it for a second time it lost some magic!) and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Who is your favourite author?

Again, it’s hard to pick one but if I have to, I’d say that David Vann is one of my favourites; I always rush out to buy his books. While writing Let Her Go I re-read his brilliant Caribou Island. While this is set in Alaska, a long way from Western Australia, Vann is an expert at using landscape – in this case an island – to increase the intensity between characters. I loved the idea of an island being both an escape, and a prison, and tried to use that idea in Let Her Go.

What book is on the top of your ‘’To be read’’ pile?

At the moment, it’s The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. My to-read pile is very large and ever-evolving!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I hope that I’m pretty much doing what I’m doing now – finding a balance between my family, my day job as a psychiatrist, and writing. Most of all, I’ll be grateful to have health and happiness!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t have much spare time – I work three to four days a week and have three children, and also try to fit in writing, but my big passion (apart from reading of course!) is running. I run most mornings – it’s my time to de-stress and prepare myself for a busy day, and I can fit in some more reading by listening to audiobooks.

Finally, do you have a third book in the pipeline?

I do! I’m writing it at the moment and the plan is for it to be out next year with Canelo. It’s not finished enough to talk about yet, but I look forward to sharing it in the near future!

Thanks again for having me on your blog today, and if any of your readers have any questions I’d love to hear from them through my website http://www.authordawnbarker.com, Facebook http://www.facebook.com/authordawnbarker, or Twitter @drdawnbarker. Thanks again!

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Synopsis

Could you share your child with someone else?

Zoe wanted a baby more than anything. But her dreams will come at a price…

After years of struggling to conceive, Zoe and her husband face the prospect of never having a family. When Zoe’s stepsister, Nadia, offers to be a surrogate it presents the perfect solution. A healthy girl, Louise, is born.

But no one imagined just how hard it would be to know someone else was also mother to your child. As the pressure on Zoe and Nadia mounts, they make choices that there is no going back from.

Years later, Louise is in desperate need of her family’s help. Can they put their painful history aside to save the child they love so much?

Let Her Go Blog Tour

Extract

Chapter one

Zoe stood on the front step of her parents’ house, staring at the two floating helium-filled balloons tied to the door handle. Inside, she could hear the rhythmic beating of music pierced by laughter and the clinking of glasses. They were late.

‘You OK?’ Standing beside her, Lachlan squeezed her hand slightly.

She clutched him tighter, but didn’t move. ‘I don’t think I can do this.’

‘We don’t need to stay long, we’ll just show our faces, then we’ll go home again. I promise.’ He let go of her hand and put his arm around her.

Zoe nodded, then closed her eyes for a moment. If she didn’t go in, there would be too many questions later. She opened her eyes again, looked up into Lachlan’s face, then tried to smile. He smiled back, then pushed open the door. Inside, the narrow hallway was lined with even more balloons, distorted 60s stretched on the taut blue metallic skin, each string weighed down by a book. Her mother must have gotten the idea from a magazine. Zoe stepped in, swatting at the balloons as they drifted towards her face. Lachlan followed her and closed the door behind them.

The music was Paul Simon, of course, her stepfather’s favourite. With each thump of the deep bass, her body vibrated. The noise seemed to rattle through the hollow of her pelvis, as if it was something more solid than sound. She wanted to turn around and run, but instead she shuffled down the hallway towards the party.

When they emerged into the kitchen, Zoe forced herself to smile and wave at her mum. Rosemary had been to the hairdresser: her ash-blonde hair barely moved as she put a tray of sausage rolls down on the kitchen bench. She spotted Zoe and Lachlan, and raised her hand and smiled back. Zoe had an urge to run to her and tell her what had happened, but her mother had already turned away and was gesticulating to the two teenage waitresses. Besides, this wasn’t the right time.

Lachlan’s hand was in the small of her back; she kept walking through the open-plan kitchen to the lounge room. All the furniture had been pushed to the edges of the room, and the patio doors were open onto the timber deck, which was thick with people.

Lachlan leaned down towards her ear. ‘Do you want a drink?’

Zoe nodded, then stood still as he went to find one, not trusting herself to be able to walk without Lachlan by her side. One drink wouldn’t hurt, not tonight.

People pushed past her, a few saying hello. She heard herself responding, as instinctual as breathing. Lachlan came back, a beer in one hand, a glass of champagne – of all things – in the other. She took a sip, then a gulp, grimacing at the bubbles popping in her mouth. She drank another mouthful, then followed Lachlan out onto the deck.

Her stepfather, Martin, stood by the barbecue, holding long tongs. His nose was red and shiny in the glare of the deck lights, and his cheeks were flushed. Someone spoke to him and he threw back his head and roared with laughter. Zoe smiled, genuinely this time. He was wearing the apron with the image of a bodybuilder’s torso on it that she and Nadia had given him one Father’s Day. He was sixty now. Zoe couldn’t imagine herself at sixty. She mightn’t make it that long; if she did, who would come to her party? Her parents would be dead, probably, in another twenty-four years. She would have no children. No grandchildren.

Shaking off her maudlin thoughts, she gulped down her drink. Tonight was about Martin. She put down her empty glass, laced her fingers through Lachlan’s, walked towards Martin and touched his arm.

‘Happy birthday.’ She stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheek, then took the shiny silver parcel from her handbag and handed it to him.

‘Hi!’ Martin cried. ‘How long have you been here? Thanks!’ He put down the tongs and started to open the parcel.

‘We just got here. I hope they’re OK, I didn’t know . . .’ Martin grinned and moved the open box from side to side so that the cufflinks caught the light. ‘Zoe, they’re great!’

She smiled. ‘Are you sure, I —’

He put his arm around her and kissed her forehead. ‘They’re perfect.’ He looked at Lachlan, then clasped his shoulder. ‘Lachie! Great to see you! When did you get back from Kalgoorlie?’

‘Happy birthday, mate,’ Lachlan said. ‘I just got in last night, I’m back for a couple of weeks.’

‘That’s good timing! I’m glad you could make it. You got a beer?’

Lachlan held his up. ‘Got one here!’ He looked around the garden. ‘Good turnout.’

As Martin and Lachlan chatted, Zoe let the noise around her fade out. Lachlan didn’t have great timing at all. Yes, he’d made it back in time for the appointment with Dr Patel this morning, but he’d been away so many other times in the past few years when she had needed him. What about the times she’d woken up barely able to move because of her joints burning, her face swollen, a livid rash scalding her cheeks, and knowing that it meant the lupus had flared up again? Or the times when an ache in her abdomen had sent her running to the bathroom, praying that she wouldn’t see streaks of blood on the toilet paper, but knowing that she would? While grief had torn through her body, he hadn’t been there. Yes, he’d offered to come back early, but in the next breath told her that he didn’t want to tell the guys on the mines what was going on, and that someone else would have to cut short their own time with their wife and kids to take his place. So, the last time, Zoe had told him not to come back; after all, it wasn’t like she hadn’t been through it before, she’d be OK.

But she hadn’t meant it.

 

Click here to buy Let her go

All about Dawn Barker

Dawn Barker

Dr Dawn Barker is a psychiatrist and author. She studied Medicine in the UK before moving to Australia in 2001 where she completed her psychiatric training – winning the RANZCP’s  Maddison Medallion in 2009 – and began writing.

In 2010, Dawn’s first novel, Fractured, was selected for the Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre’s manuscript development competition and it was published in 2013 in Australia. It was one of Australia’s bestselling debut fiction titles, and was shortlisted for 2014 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. It has also been published in Turkey and Poland.

Her second novel, Let Her Go, was published in July 2014 in Australia, and has now been published in Turkey, Poland, and the UK in May 2017.

Dawn has written non-fiction for various magazines and websites, including Good Weekend, Mamamia, Essential Baby, Quartz, Artlink and the Medical Journal of Australia.

She is an experienced public speaker and has spoken on writing, mental health and parenting at conferences, writers festivals, television and radio.

Dawn lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband and three young children. When not working as a psychiatrist or writing, you might see her running and listening to audiobooks.

Where to find Dawn

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

I’d like to thank Dawn Barker & Canelo for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

The Collective by R.S Williams #blogtour #giveaway

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Synopsis

Matilda Gregson never knew a world outside hers existed, that is until Harvey comes along and shows her something beyond her imagination. All that is on Tilly’s mind is finishing her dissertation, getting her degree, and spending time with her friends before the end of the school year.

But everything changes when she meets Jenny, an agent of a secret society, and nothing prepared either of them for the adventure they are about to endure. Under the pressures of surviving, their friendship grows and they find friends in the most unlikely of places, and betrayal just around the corner.

Will they both be able to stop him before he tears Jenny’s society to the ground?

My review

Welcome to a magical story that transports you to bygone days. The collective is a fantastic story and has a great fantasy element.

The Collective takes you back to the 1700’s amongst pirates and privateers, hold on tight as you find yourself aboard The Solitaire amongst the most fierce and fearless pirates that sail the seas.

If like me you love Harry Potter, time travel and anything that pushes your imagination back to childhood, this is the book for you!

The collective is a secret society of agents who check that the history recorded in history books and other media match the version of events that the Regents, the experienced members of the society, know to be true. If there is a difference one of the collectors will travel back in time to rectify it.

In the collective,  there is a rogue collector on the loose, one who is entering time portals without permission and trying to change history.

 

The story alternates between Jenny, a novice collector and Tilly a uni student who’s life up to now has been very much normal! Both characters are gutsy, strong and have the real likeability factor. Jenny is on a mission to find out who the rogue collector is and Tilly gets swept up and taken along for the ride!

This is a story that draws you in from the first few pages and delivers you back to reality as you read the last word!

The ending is left open for the next installment which I for one can’t wait for!

 

 

 

 

All about the author

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Rhianne Williams, formally known as RS Williams, writes Fantasy, Adventure and Romance novels. As an avid reader Rhianne has always been in love with the written word and the emotions a good story can create.

Discovering she had a knack for creating stories as a teenager, she started work on her first story. However, at 16 the mundane adult world called her back to an admin job and Rhianne put writing on the back burner until she turned 20. Rediscovering her fascination with writing and creating Rhianne then threw herself back into her writing in 2014.

When she isn’t catching plot bunnies, typing up her creations or writing on her blog, you’ll find her in front of the television watching her favourite shows, spending time with her family and getting lost in others fictional worlds.

Where to find R.S Williams

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

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Click here to buy The Collective

Giveaway

To win a signed copy of The Collective click here  – UK ONLY

 

 

 

 

37 Hours By J F Kirwan

37 hours

Synopsis

After two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

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My review

This is the second book in the Nadia Laksheva spy thriller series. It can be read as a stand alone book, although I’m sure if like me and characters in a book really draw you in, you’ll soon be reading the first book to find out the history of the characters.

37 hours is a gutsy story of espionage and deceit.  Where no one can be trusted and just as you think you know the direction the story is taking you,  J F Kirwan manages to give you virtual whiplash as he changes direction without warning!

Nadia, the main character is ballsy,  courageous and has nerves of steel. She is a mixture of Lara Croft and a female James Bond. There is a softer side to her and the romance between her and jake that runs throughout the story,  makes her very human and 37 hours a real winning read.

Not for the faint hearted, there is plenty of blood and guts, J F Kirwan doesn’t take prisoners and often characters meet an early end when you least expect it.

This is a great read and one I challenge you to not read in one sitting!

Thank you to J F Kirwan and Neverland blog tours for allowing me to review 37 hours.

 

 

All about the author

J F Kirwan

 J.F. Kirwan is a writer for Harper Collins, under their HQ digital imprint. By day he works in aviation and nuclear safety, but at night, during bouts of insomnia, he writes thrillers with significant body counts. He’s an ex-diving instructor, so there is an underwater element in each of his two novels, 66 Metres and 37 Hours. Most readers find his writing has a cinematic feel, as if you are there with the characters. The original inspiration for the protagonist, Nadia, came from Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the dragon tattoo, though David Baldacci and Lee Child have had significant impact on the writing style, plotting and pace. He is currently writing the third book in the series.

Where to find J F Kirwan

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Buy 37 hours here…

Goodreads

Amazon

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Giveaway

You could win a £20 Amazon giftcard!!

Click here to enter

Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath  #blogtour #giveaway ~Read chapter one here~

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Synopsis

An unexpected visitor.

Dr Cat Lupo aches for another child, despite the psychosis which marked her first pregnancy. So when Ruby Winter, a small girl in need of help, arrives in the middle of the night, it seems like fate.

A devastating secret.

But as the events behind Ruby’s arrival emerge – her mother’s death, her connection to Cat – Cat questions whether her decision to help Ruby has put her own daughter at risk.

Do we get the children we deserve?

Cat’s research tells her there’s no such thing as evil. Her history tells her she’s paranoid. But her instincts tell her different. And as the police fight to control a sudden spate of riots raging across the capital, Cat faces a race against time of her own…

Compulsive, dark and devastating, Give Me the Child is a uniquely skillful thriller with an unforgettable twist.

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Give me the child extract

CHAPTER ONE

My first thought when the doorbell woke me was that someone had died. Most likely Michael Walsh. I turned onto my side, pulled at the outer corners of my eyes to rid them of the residue of sleep and blinked myself awake. It was impossible to tell if it was late or early, though the bedroom was as hot and muggy as it had been when Tom and I had gone to bed. Tom was no longer beside me. Now I was alone. We’d started drinking not long after Freya had gone upstairs. The remains of a bottle of Pinot Grigio for me, a glass or two of red for Tom. (He always said white wine was for women.) Just before nine I called The Mandarin Hut. When the crispy duck arrived I laid out two trays in the living room, opened another bottle and called Tom in from the study. I hadn’t pulled the curtains and through the pink light of the London night sky a cat’s claw of moon appeared. The two of us ate, mostly in silence, in front of the TV. A ballroom dance show came on. Maybe it was just the booze but something about the tight-muscled men and the frou-frou’d women made me feel a little sad. The cosmic dance. The grand romantic gesture. At some point even the tight-muscled men and the frou-frou’d women would find themselves slumped together on a sofa with the remains of a takeaway and wine enough to sink their sorrows, wondering how they’d got there, wouldn’t they?

 

Not that Tom and I really had anything to complain about except, maybe, a little malaise, a kind of falling away. After all, weren’t we still able to laugh about stuff most of the time or, if we couldn’t laugh, at least have sex and change the mood?

‘Let’s go upstairs and I’ll show you my cha-cha,’ I said, rising and holding out a hand.

Tom chuckled and pretended I was joking, then, wiping his palms along his thighs as if he were ridding them of something unpleasant, he said, ‘It’s just if I don’t crack this bloody coding thing…’

I looked out at the moon for a moment. OK, so I knew how much making a success of Labyrinth meant to Tom, and I’d got used to him shutting himself away in the two or three hours either side of midnight. But this one time, with the men and women still twirling in our minds? Just this one time?

Stupidly, I said, ‘Won’t it wait till tomorrow?’ and in an instant I saw Tom stiffen. He paused for a beat and, slapping his hands on his thighs in a gesture of busyness, he slugged down the last of his wine, rose from the sofa and went to the door. And so we left it there with the question still hanging.

I spent the rest of the evening flipping through the case notes of patients I was due to see that week. When I turned in for the night, the light was still burning in Tom’s study. I murmured ‘goodnight’ and went upstairs to check on Freya. Our daughter was suspended somewhere between dreaming and deep sleep. All children look miraculous when they’re asleep, even the frighten- ing, otherworldly ones I encounter every day. Their bodies soften, their small fists unfurl and dreams play behind their eyelids. But Freya looked miraculous all the time to me. Because she was. A miracle made at the boundary where human desire meets science. I stood and watched her for a while, then, retrieving her beloved Pippi Longstocking book from the floor and straightening her duvet, I crept from the room and went to bed.

Sometime later I felt Tom’s chest pressing against me and his breath on the nape of my neck. He was already aroused and for a minute I wondered what else he’d been doing on screen besides coding, then shrugged off the thought. A drowsy, half-hearted bout of lovemaking followed before we drifted into our respective oblivions. Next thing I knew the doorbell was ringing and I was alone.

Under the bathroom door a beam of light blazed. I threw off the sheet and swung from the bed.

‘Tom?’

No response. My mind was scrambled with sleep and an anxious pulse was rising to the surface. I called out again.

There was a crumpling sound followed by some noisy vomiting but it was identifiably my husband. The knot in my throat loosened. I went over to the bathroom door, knocked and let myself in. Tom was hunched over the toilet and there was a violent smell in the room.

‘Someone’s at the door.’ Tom’s head swung round.

I said, ‘You think it might be about Michael?’

Tom’s father, Michael Walsh, was a coronary waiting to happen, a lifelong bon vivant in the post-sixty-five-year-old death zone, who’d taken the recent demise of his appalling wife pretty badly.

Tom stood up, wiped his hand across his mouth and moved over to the sink. ‘Nah, probably just some pisshead.’ He turned on the tap and sucked at the water in his hand and, in an oddly casual tone, he added, ‘Ignore it.’

As I retreated into the bedroom, the bell rang again. Whoever it was, they weren’t about to go away. I went over to the window and eased open the curtain. The street was still and empty of people, and the first blank glimmer was in the sky. Directly below the house a patrol car was double parked, hazard lights still on but otherwise dark. For a second my mind filled with the terrible possibility that something had happened to Sally. Then I checked myself. More likely someone had reported a burglary or a prowler in the neighbourhood. Worst case it was Michael.

‘It’s the police,’ I said.

Tom appeared and, lifting the sash, craned out of the window. ‘I’ll go, you stay here.’

I watched him throw on his robe over his boxers and noticed his hands were trembling. Was that from having been sick or was he, too, thinking about Michael now? I listened to his footsteps disappearing down the stairs and took my summer cover-up from its hook. A moment later, the front door swung open and there came the low murmur of three voices, Tom’s and those of two women. I froze on the threshold of the landing and held my breath, waiting for Tom to call me down, and when, after a few minutes, he still hadn’t, I felt myself relax a little. My parents were dead. If this was about Sally, Tom would have fetched me by now. It was bound to be Michael. Poor Michael.

I went out onto the landing and tiptoed over to Freya’s room. Tom often said I was overprotective, and maybe I was, but I’d seen enough mayhem and weirdness at work to give me pause. I pushed open the door and peered in. A breeze stirred from the open window. The hamster Freya had brought back from school for the holidays was making the rounds on his wheel but in the aura cast by the Frozen-themed nightlight I could see my tender little girl’s face closed in sleep. Freya had been too young to remember my parents and Michael had always been sweet to her in a way that his wife, who called her ‘my little brown granddaughter’, never was, but it was better this happened now, in the summer holidays, so she’d have time to recover before the pressures of school started up again. We’d tell her in the morning once we’d had time to formulate the right words.

At the top of the landing I paused, leaning over the bannister. A woman in police uniform stood in the glare of the security light. Thirties, with fierce glasses and a military bearing. Beside her was another woman in jeans and a shapeless sweater, her features hidden from me. The policewoman’s face was brisk but unsmiling; the other woman was dishevelled, as though she had been called from her bed. Between them I glimpsed the auburn top of what I presumed was a child’s head – a girl, judging from the amount of hair. I held back, unsure what to do, hoping they’d realise they were at the wrong door and go away. I could see the police officer’s mouth moving without being able to hear what was being said. The conversation went on and after a few moments Tom stood to one side and the two women and the child stepped out of the shadows of the porch and into the light of the hallway.

The girl was about the same age as Freya, taller but small-boned, legs as spindly as a deer’s and with skin so white it gave her the look of some deep sea creature. She was wearing a grey trackie too big for her frame which bagged at the knees from wear and made her seem malnourished and unkempt. From the way she held herself, stiffly and at a distance from the dishevelled woman, it was obvious they didn’t know one another. A few ideas flipped through my mind. Had something happened in the street, a house fire perhaps, or a medical emergency, and a neighbour needed us to look after her for a few hours? Or was she a school friend of Freya’s who had run away and for some reason given our address to the police? Either way, the situation obviously didn’t have anything much to do with us. My heart went out to the kid but I can’t say I wasn’t relieved. Michael was safe, Sally was safe.

I moved down the stairs and into the hallway. The adults remained engrossed in their conversation but the girl looked up and stared. I tried to place the sharp features and the searching, amber eyes from among our neighbours or the children at Freya’s school but nothing came. She showed no sign of recognising me. I could see she was tired – though not so much from too little sleep as from a lifetime of watchfulness. It was an expression familiar to me from the kids I worked with at the clinic. I’d probably had it too, at her age. An angry, cornered look. She was clasping what looked like a white rabbit’s foot in her right hand. The cut end emerged from her fist, bound crudely with electrical wire which was attached to a key. It looked home-made and this lent it – and her – an air that was both outdated and macabre, as if she’d been beamed in from some other time and had found herself stranded here, in south London, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, in the middle of the night, with nothing but a rabbit’s foot and a key to remind her of her origins. ‘What’s up?’ I said, more out of curiosity than alarm. I smiled and waited for an answer.

The two women glanced awkwardly at Tom and from the way he was standing, stiffly with one hand slung on his hip in an attempt at relaxed cool, I understood they were waiting for him to respond and I instinctively knew that everything I’d been thinking was wrong. A dark firework burst inside my chest. The girl in the doorway was neither a neighbour’s kid nor a friend of our daughter.

She was trouble.

I took a step back. ‘Will someone tell me what’s going on?’ When no one spoke I crouched to the girl’s level and, summoning as much friendliness as I could, said, ‘What’s your name? Why are you here?’

The girl’s eyes flickered to Tom, then, giving a tiny, contemptuous shake of the head, as if by her presence all my questions had already been answered and I was being obstructive or just plain dumb, she said, ‘I’m Ruby Winter.’

I felt Tom’s hands on my shoulder. They were no longer trembling so much as hot and spasmic.

‘Cat, please go and make some tea. I’ll come in a second.’

There was turmoil in his eyes. ‘Please,’ he repeated. And so, not knowing what else to do, I turned on my heels and made for the kitchen.

While the kettle wheezed into life, I sat at the table in a kind of stupor; too shocked to gather my thoughts, I stared at the clock as the red second hand stuttered towards the upright. Tock, tock, tock. There were voices in the hallway, then I heard the living room door shut. Time trudged on. I began to feel agitated. What was taking all this time? Why hadn’t Tom come? Part of me felt I had left the room already but here I was still. Eventually, footsteps echoed in the hallway. The door moved and Tom appeared. I stood up and went over to the counter where, what now seemed like an age ago, I had laid out a tray with the teapot and some mugs.

‘Sit down, darling, we need to talk.’ Darling. When was the last time he’d called me that?

I heard myself saying, idiotically, ‘But I made tea!’ ‘It’ll wait.’ He pulled up a chair directly opposite me.

When he spoke, his voice came to me like the distant crackle of a broken radio in another room. ‘I’m so sorry, Cat, but however I say this it’s going to come as a terrible shock, so I’m just going to say what needs to be said, then we can talk. There’s no way round this. The girl, Ruby Winter, she’s my daughter.’

give me the child

 

My review

Give me the child is a fast reading, page turning every mother’s nightmare read.

Set against the backdrop of London in 2011 during the Tottenham riots, Give me the child touches on mental health, domestic abuse and the consequences of infidelity.

What would you do if your partner’s secret love child turned up on your doorstep accompanied by two police officers? Her Mother now dead, life is thrown into complete turmoil.

Cat, Tom and Freya seemingly have a normal family life, until the fateful night when Ruby Winters enters into their world.

Very quickly you are thrown into the unexpected arrival of Ruby Winters. At first it seems to be the story of a husbands betrayal, a child that has been kept a secret. The unfortunate and untimely death of Lily Winters, Ruby’s Mother.  It soon becomes apparent that the death of Lily winters is not all as it seems.

The slow realisation that Ruby is a very dark and calculating character, a child who is far beyond her years really makes this book a riveting read.

It’s hard to understand how Cat handles the situation in the beginning with such a calm head. There were times when I wanted to climb into the book and drag her and Freya out of the situation which you could see was spiraling out of control. It becomes frighteningly clear that Ruby is a danger to Freya.

The darkness of the story, the conniving secrets between father and daughter are chilling.  This is a fantastic read and one I promise will haunt you for a long time after you have turned the final page.

I’d like to thank Mel McGrath & HQ stories for allowing me to review Give me the child

 

About the Author

Melanie-McGrath

Mel McGrath is an Essex girl, the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling family memoir Silvertown. She won the John Llewellyn-Rhys/Mail on Sunday award for Best Writer Under 35 for her first book, Motel Nirvana. She has published three Arctic mysteries featuring the Inuit detective Edie Kiglatuk under the name MJ McGrath, the first of which, The Boy in the Snow, was shortlisted for a CWA Gold Dagger.

In the last year she has been one of the founders and moving lights of the website Killer Women, which has rapidly established itself as one of the key forums for crime writing in the UK. This new standalone marks a change in direction.

Where to find Mel McGrath

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Buy Give me the child here

Cocktails and Dreams by A L Michael #blogtour #giveaway

SCHEDULE C & D

Synopsis

A heart-warming novel with characters you’ll love, don’t miss this first in a new series for romance, laugh-out-loud comedy and a feel-good ending. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lindsey Kelk.

I was seven years old when I realized my mother was not a great person…

Since Savvy was abandoned by her rockstar mother, she has craved a normal life. But after years of financing her boyfriend’s lacklustre career, he leaves her when he hits the bigtime.

Savvy’s friends at the burlesque club where she serves elaborate cocktails encourage her to make bold changes in her life. She soon meets handsome bartender Milo, and begins to plan a future she can be excited about.

But when Savvy’s estranged mother crashes back into her life, her newfound happiness is under threat… will Savvy have the courage to pursue her dreams?

See inside for a delicious cocktail recipe and book club questions!

Cocktails and dreams

 

 

 

 

My review

The story begins as Savvy’s long term ‘Z list’ celeb boyfriend dumps her. Instead of crumbling and giving up Savvy moves back to her Auntie Jen’s. Auntie Jen’s straight talking, pulls no punches and say it how it is approach is enough for Savvy to reinvent herself.

A childhood tainted by the departure of her rock star Mother, this is not a story of self-pity and abandonment, but a story of survival and girl power.

I immediately loved Savvy. Down to earth, quiet and a loner, she has the complete likeability factor. An ordinary girl by day, but once in the bustling burlesque bar, the Martini Club,  Savvy is brought to life and is transformed into a confident, ambitious and sociable young woman.

As opportunities arise and doors open Savvy creates a life within a whole new world. Within the secrets and mysteries of her new life, Savvy meets Milo the cool, approachable and very sexy bar tender who captures her eye. An instant spark, passion and romance are the perfect ingredients for a new relationship.

Cocktails and dreams is the first in the Martini Club series and the desire for more leaves you shaken and stirred with excitement and wanting more!

A big thank you to A . L Michael & Neverland blogtours for allowing me to review Cocktails and dreams.

Cocktails and Dreams Banner (1)

All about the author

A.L. Michael is hurtling towards the end of her twenties a little too quickly. She is the author of nine novels. Her most recent collection of books, The Martini Club Series, will start with Cocktails and Dreams, released 24th July 2017. She likes to write about sassy females who follow their dreams, and don’t take no for an answer.

She is a Creative Therapeutic Facilitator, currently researching the power of creative writing to be helpful in recovering from eating disorders, and believes in the power of writing to heal.

Where to find A L Michael

Website

Twitter

Buy Cocktails and dreams here

Amazon

Kobo

Giveaway

C & D Giveaway Prize

win a cocktail making giftset and an eCopy of Cocktails and dreams (UK only)

Click here to enter

 

 

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb #loveaudio #teamorenda


Synopsis

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.
Breathtakingly fast-paced, both hard-boiled and heart-breaking, Deep Down Dead is a simply stunning debut from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

My review

I have just listened to the last chapter of Deep down dead and I have one word……..WOW! My heart has only just returned to a steady beat. I am now entering that stage after reading a fantastic book, or in this case, listening to a fantastic book, that I like to call ‘book mourning’. The moment when you actually don’t think you can live without a daily dose of the characters.

I haven’t listened to an audio book in such a long time but jumped at the chance when I received an email from Anne. I have a long journey to and from work so this was actually an ideal opportunity to rekindle my love of audio.

Jennifer Woodward the narrator brought the book to life, her Southern American drawl was perfect for the main characters and she managed amazingly to put a different spin on the male voices.

Now to the storyline and what a storyline it is! If you like cute, steady paced, predictable books, this is not the book for you, but if you like edgy, gutsy, fast moving, edge of your seat type of books then…..jackpot!

Meet Lori who has more guts than a lion tamer and just so happens to be a kick ass bounty hunter. Deep down dead throws you at high speed into the world of the bounty hunter. Lori has medical bills to pay for her daughter Dakota. Dakota is in recovery from cancer. Lori is struggling financially, so when this job comes up with a very healthy sum of money in return for the capture of a convicted criminal, she decides it’s a no brainer. The problem is, well there are a few problems. One being Lori has no one to look after Dakota and secondly the fugitive just happens to be JT, the man who taught Lori all there was to know about being a bounty hunter and the man who she has way too much personal history with.

And so begins a roller coaster ride, buckle up and sit tight as you are thrown into the midst of the lowest of the low criminals, drugs and a paedophile ring run by a trusted, high flying business man.

I can’t recommend Deep Down Dead highly enough, it has a twist of a romance thrown in too. The ending leaves the story open for a return of Lori Anderson, I just hope it’s sooner rather than later!

Thank you to Orenda books and Anne Cater for allowing me to take part in the Deep Down Dead audio blog tour.

About the Author

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Deep Down Dead is her debut novel.

Where to find Steph Broadribb