Bookish · Life · Uncategorized

One? Writing the book and tips for aspiring authors – A guest post by Jennifer L Cahill

Hello, hello! Happy Monday! Today I have a guest post from Jennifer L Cahill about writing her book, One?. It’s out now in Paperback and Kindle formats.

Why I wrote ‘One?’.


I had a very interesting experience when writing my first book. I didn’t ‘want to write a book’, I literally just sat down and started writing and the book flowed from there. A confluence of events set up the circumstances for me to start to write. From the minute I started the first sentence, the writing process was almost addictive. The story came tumbling out onto the pages.  It felt like life went from black and white to technicolour, as everything and anything could spark inspiration or add depth to the characters or the plot. It was also very much one of those ‘aha’ moments when you realise what you are supposed to be when you grow up. 

How I picked the title

I had another title for the book but as the story developed, and it rapidly turned into a trilogy, the title(s) changed. One night while I was just about to fall asleep, inspiration struck and I knew that the book needed to be called ‘One?’. It’s a very bold title, it’s a sentence, a question, a word and a number. I doubt I would have had the courage to call it that if it wasn’t for the dramatic way in which the title came to me. When inspiration strikes like that, you know that it’s going to stick. 

My writing process

I’ve outlined my writing process for my first book, the book almost wrote itself. The trilogy is trickling along in the same manner, and the second book ‘Two?’ will be out in 2020. I talk a lot about my writing process on my YouTube channel, but I can’t stress enough the importance of the magic combination of space and time to write. When you are writing you can’t do anything else so it’s important to plan and to structure your life so that you can write. Space is also very important, as books are big and messy. My writing room looked like a paper volcano had erupted by the time I had finished the final edit. It’s also really important to have a physical desk, there is only so much you can do on a laptop. When writing a book it gets to the point where you need a lot of space and you don’t want to be confined to a laptop in a coffee shop. 

My more recent projects are more planned out. I’ve been through the process once, so I know what to expect, and how much time I need for the subsequent books. 

Advice for aspiring authors

I have a writer’s tips playlist on my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvrlsV9Ru8qEWuRp5UQUHh8lShQvsiHDv) with advice for aspiring authors, but my main advice is to simply write. It’s not a spectator’s sport. I don’t understand the concept of ‘I want to write a book’ if someone isn’t actually writing anything. It’s good to start off writing shorter things. A book can be a little overwhelming so my advice would be to start with short stories, poems or even non-fiction.

Julia Cameron’s book – the artist’s way (https://amzn.to/2X2XESL) is a must-read for any aspiring author or creative of any kind. We all get blocked sometimes, often without realising it, and this book will definitely unblock you. 

What’s next

Two?’ will be out in 2020, and ‘Three’ will follow in 2021. I’m also working on a book about where I’m living at the moment, the story is extraordinary, I’m very excited about. As a contemporary fiction writer, my aim is to capture the essence of a place and time, and I’m living in a very exciting place, at a very exciting time. 


About Jennifer L Cahill

I write contemporary fiction and try to capture the essence of a place and time in my books. Above all, my aim is to make you laugh, and hopefully learn a little, as you recognise yourself, your friends and your exes in my books. I love hearing from my readers, and you can contact me via my website, or @JLCAuthor on Twitter.

My first book ‘One?’ is about Life, Love and London, and most importantly about finding the one in the most innovative period in living history. It’s set in London with a sprinkling of Paris and New York for good measure :). It is the first book in a trilogy.

About One?

It’s London in the mid-noughties before Facebook, iPhones and ubiquitous wifi, and One? follows the highs and lows of a group of twenty-somethings living in leafy SW4.

Zara has just moved to London for her first real job and struggles to find her feet in a big city with no instruction manual.

Penelope works night and day in an investment bank with little or no time for love. At 28 she is positively ancient as far as her mother is concerned and the pressure is on for her to settle down as the big 3-0 is looming.

Charlie spends night and day with his band who are constantly teetering on the verge of greatness.

Richard has relocated to London from his castle in Scotland in search of the one, and Alyx is barely in one place long enough to hold down a relationship let alone think about the future. 

Jennifer’s social media links:

Twitter @JLCAuthor
Instagram @jlcauthor
www.JenniferLCahill.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18085530.Jennifer_L_Cahill
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMo65VpfqU4p1lFG68f2txA?view_as=subscriber

Book tube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvrlsV9Ru8qFLPawjOpaCPk_lAADbrFHE

Amazon links: 
https://amzn.to/2uZ9lOp
https://amzn.to/2VwKBJf

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Penny Black by Rob Parker (Review)

Happy weekend! Today, it’s my pleasure to bring you a review of The Penny Black by Rob Parker. This is the third installment in his Ben Bracken thriller series and is available now on Kindle and as part of Kindle Unlimited. Rob very kindly sent me an ARC of his book. Thanks, Rob!

The Penny Black is the third installment in the Ben Bracken thriller series, and while you can read it alone, I feel it may feel a little lacking if you’ve not read the previous books as it makes reference to past events without spending a whole lot of time going back over them. (I was actually on the tour for his previous book – Morte Point and hosted a fab guest post if you fancy a peek after you’re done here!)

Bracken is on the run and has bunkered down in the small town of Horning, with an unsavoury job at a boatyard and living a fairly minimalist lifestyle, under a new identity, going by the name of James, keeping his head down and cracking after his escape from prison during the riot and after the events of the previous book. All in all, he seems pretty contented – that is, until his past catches up to him.

Ben is a good guy whose done bad things, in my view. His ego gets him in to quite a few pickles, he could fill an entire jar. What seems like just deterring some youth’s from breaking in to someones boat, turns in to being a part of a much bigger situation – one Bracken hadn’t accounted for. Big things are happening in that little town, and Bracken just can’t help himself.

The Penny Black is the name of Bracken’s new local. It’s also the title of this well written, fast paced thriller, that just keeps you guessing. I figured his past would come back, but I had no idea what was in store. I was unable to put it down as the action unfolded. Bracken isn’t a clear cut “good guy” or “hero” or whatever you call him, he’s a murky sort and to date, is one of my favourite characters in a thriller.

The book ends in action and pretty abruptly. There’s no frilly ending, just a resolution to the conflict/obstacle and it’s over. Some people might not like that sort of ending, but for me, it just feels like it’s an invitation to read the next installment (Til morning is nigh) coming later this year. I’m very much looking forward to it. I am a fan of series where one book runs in to the next and I find myself most invested in their protaganists. Rob has me as a fan for life.

About the Book

I’m dead, for all intents and purposes. Nobody knows I’m alive…

Ben Bracken is on the run for his life. Keeping a low profile from the agencies seeking to silence him, he finds refuge in the quiet town of Horning. Working in a boat yard and lodging with an older couple, Eric and Dot, Ben uses this time to plan. He needs to escape, and realising his only chance will reveal his whereabouts to some unsavoury characters, he plans every detail. Little does he know, even that won’t be enough…

Just before he walks away, murder strikes the quiet town. Ben cannot leave until he is sure that he has not brought any further trouble to the townsfolk. Will he be able to exact revenge? One thing is certain, there is a lot more going on in the town of Horning than meets the eye…

The Penny Black is action packed from beginning to end, keeping you guessing right the way through.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland and I am bringing you a review! This book is out on July 11th 2019 and will be available in paperback and kindle editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Finella, better known as Ellie, couldn’t wait to leave home. She was half way across the world when she received a phone call. Her mother is missing, presumed dead. Out walking with her Ellie’s brother, River, nearby a local waterfall, their mother suddenly vanished. They believed her to have fallen in and died, but with no body and no real answers, Ellie is not satisfied, however, her dad wants to plod on like normal and brushes over the entire thing.

It turns out, Finella is named after a huntress from folklore, and her mothers disappearance bears striking resemblance. Nobody seems to really know the truth about what happened.

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is a tense and dramatic story with parallels to folklore, the like of which inspired Finella’s name and had a significant presence in her life growing up. There’s a significant theme of water throughout the book which I really liked. Water represents the life cycle, if I recall correctly, and so it seemed quite relevant. There is some wonderful imagery in this book! Nothing is completely clear cut and laid out, it’s like real life. It’s complex. The author really builds up the tension so beautifully right up to it’s crescendo, and I couldn’t put it down.

I wasn’t prepared for the truth about what happened to Ellie’s mum, it had me on tenterhooks wanting to see how things would play out. It’s kind of hard to explain it without spoilers, so I’ll just say this – it was incredible. The ending? It was not at all what I was expecting. It was fast and dramatic and I was loving it! Incredibly well written, this shorter read (200-ish pages) is perfect for this summer.

About the Book

A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . . ‘Ellie, something bad has happened.’

Desperate to escape her ‘kid from the scrapyard’ reputation, Ellie Rook has forged a new life for herself abroad, but tragedy strikes when her mother, Imelda, falls from a notorious waterfall. Here, according to local legend, the warrior queen Finella jumped to her death after killing a king. In the wake of her mother’s disappearance, Ellie is forced to confront some disturbing truths about the family she left behind and the woman she has become. Can a long-dead queen hold the key to Ellie’s survival? And how far will she go to right a wrong?

book reviews · Bookish

A Patient Man by S. Lynn Scott (Review)

It’s almost the weekend! How about something to cosy up with? (Darn you, sunshine, come back!) A Patient Man by S. Lynn Scott is out now in Kindle and Paperback editions. I’m pleased to be on the Random Things tour, bring you a review! I received a copy of this book as part of the tour.

Mikey is 8 years old and lives on Canvey Island, which isn’t really an island, according to him. What was meant to be just another summer was quite eventful for little Mikey when he decided to be nosey and stumbled across something entirely unexpected. The book is written from the perspective of Mikey in the future, looking back on the events of that summer.

The local neighbours won the lottery. Mikey was sure he saw them leave in the early hours of the morning and went to their house with his friend to see if they had left anything good behind. Instead of an empty house, they discovered their neighbour, Mr Freeman, tied up and his wife, Peggy had been kidnapped. Keen to play junior detective, Mikey had taken items from the crime scene and pocketed them.

From a problematic family and an area full of nosey curtain-twitchers, typical toerag Mikey enjoys all the attention that came from his discovery, until his mums friend, Vi decides to try and squeeze information out of him. He knows she’s bad news and he avoids her; even his mum has started to avoid her, so what is Vi’s agenda? Who kidnapped Peggy and tied up Mr Freeman? Eyes are all on Mikey’s father and troublesome brother, Gary but are they to blame?

It’s a well paced, tense and suspenseful coming of age story, knitted with a crime and a “whodunnit” with engaging writing and brilliantly written characters. I would definitely recommend “A Patient Man”.

About the Book

It is 1976 and Mikey, eight-years-old and street-wise beyond his years, is looking forward to a summer of freedom, roaming the creeks and the mud-flats of Canvey Island. But violent emotions are rumbling beneath the surface, about to destroy all that he thought he knew.

When Mikey’s neighbours, the Freemans, win a great deal of money, the old couple become the targets of a criminal act that leaves Peggy Freeman dead and her husband, Bert thirsting for revenge. Believing that young Mikey’s family is responsible, Bert devises a highly unusual but devastatingly effective form of reprisal. But where does the guilt really lie, and will there be punishment or redemption?

Told from Mikey’s viewpoint with light touches of humour, A Patient Man is a gripping crime novel peopled with believable characters who are drawn inexorably in to a story that explores the effects of greed, money and the human need for retribution.

Told from Mikey’s viewpoint with light touches of humour, A Patient Man is a gripping crime novel peopled with believable characters who are drawn inexorably in to a story that explores the effects of greed, money and the human need for retribution.

About the Author

S. Lynn Scott is the author of Elizabeth, William… and Me, described by reviewers as `hugely entertaining’ (Books Monthly). A Patient Man is her second novel and she is now working on her third, a modern-day fantasy. She has been involved in theatre all her life and lives in Leicestershire.

book reviews · Bookish

The Revenge Trail by A.A Abbott (Review)

Hi! Today I am on the blog tour for The Revenge Trail by A.A Abbott. This is the fourth installment to the series and it is available now in both Paperback and Kindle editions – it’s also available as part of Kindle Unlimited!

The Revenge Trail is the fourth and most recent installment in the Trail series. One thing I love is that the author offers this series in large print and dyslexia-friendly versions for those who don’t have e-readers.

The Revenge Trail brings together characters met previously in the series in another vodka-fuelled tale. Returning to the stage is our main lady! Kat White and vodka salesman/business partner, Marty Bridges. Kat is an excellent distiller of vodka and Marty wants to monetize that alongside his sales of Snow Mountain vodka which comes from a distillery now owned by Kat’s mum. However, disaster strikes when Marty gets a tainted delivery and a lot of the book for Marty is all about damage control for the the situation and his financial losses.

Kat wants to just make her Starshine vodka, leave her criminal past behind and focus on her dreams. Unfortunately for her, Shaun Halloran, who we met in the first book, decides to show his face. I won’t go in to the details in case you’ve not read previous installments (you should fix that!) and because I don’t want to spoil later content in the book.

I really enjoy how Kat has developed as a character, she’s far better person than she was when she was first introduced – she seems to have grown a lot and includes others in her equations now.

The chapters are short and not filled with fluff; I really enjoy that about this series and it makes it really easy to just consume a chapter when on the go or waiting for a bus or something, but without feeling like things are lacking or that things have been cut short. Just like the previous books in the series, this was well paced and enjoyable from start to finish.

While I feel you could read this book as a stand-alone, you’d get far more enjoyment out of it if you have read the other parts of the series as this really rounds out some characters stories and plot lines and brings them to an end, so while I recommend this book, I would definitely suggest you go read the other installments first! If you’re interested and didn’t see it before, you can read my review of the first book here.

About the Book

VODKA TO DIE FOR…

Kat’s craft vodka brand makes it big, but a crazed murderer’s on her trail.

Glamorous blonde Kat White makes the best vodka in the world. At last, her craft vodka from Birmingham is going places, while the mother who abandoned her faces financial ruin.

So does vodka salesman Marty Bridges. Kat doesn’t trust him, but she has to save his business or hers will go under too.

That’s not her biggest problem. Crazed murderer Shaun Halloran wants to kill her, even if it means breaking out of jail to take his revenge.

Kat dreams of love, riches and success in her life – but shouldn’t she just focus on staying alive?

With twists, tension, secrets and suspense – “The Revenge Trail” is a gripping crime thriller that will draw you into Kat’s exciting world.  

About the Author

English thriller writer AA Abbott’s real name is Helen Blenkinsop. She loves city life, having lived and worked in London, Birmingham and Bristol. Her crime thrillers, set in Birmingham and London, sizzle with suspense, twists and the evils of office politics.

Helen’s books are available in a dyslexia-friendly large print as well as standard paperback and Kindle editions.

Her Trail Series follows the fortunes of glamorous blonde Kat White, a party girl who finds her purpose making vodka, shrewd businessman Marty Bridges, and manipulative East End crime lord Shaun Halloran


Bookish · Uncategorized

Wants of the Silent by Moira McPartlin (Excerpt)

How’s it going everyone! Today, I’m taking part in a blog tour the next book from Moira McPartlin’s Sun Song Trilogy! It’s out now in Kindle and Paperback versions. If you missed the previous book in the series, you can read about Ways of the Doomed here.

Excerpt

It was pitch black inside the van, the windows had been tarred out.  My chest was glued to the door and crate corners spiked my shoulder blades. Travelling in style.  I heard the cab door slam then we were off. I set my breathing to shallow and waited for the short trip to the tower to be over.

After about five minutes I heard another engine roar behind us. The driver swore, the van weaved, braked. The crate pressure released, then whammed me into the door with the velocity of a bullet. I felt a rib snap.  A shot fired outside, Vanora roared in anger or pain. More shots. Then silence. I shoved at the door, it didn’t budge. Was it Pirates, the Military, the same beings who shot Ridgeway from the sky? I checked my comms for a signal – dead. No, not dead, blocked, I could see the signal with the cross through it. It had been aeons since I heard Vanora roar.   My belly turned to water, I felt in my pocket for my knife. I pressed an ear to the window and heard scuffling. Putting my back against the door I pushed, I eased a hand free but didn’t want to punch in case they heard. I might be able to make a run for it. The door didn’t budge. If they wanted the cargo why didn’t they come? I heard a door slam, another engine rev then drive off, leaving the only sound, the thudding of my heart.

The door inner mechanism felt gritty, rusted.  I hooked my finger through it and pulled it up.  The force almost broke my finger and the door stayed firm.  I pushed it down. Nothing. I levered back into the crates, but there was no room to manoeuvre.  Sweat trickled my spine, I leaned into the door again, a panic fluttered on my belly. I couldn’t breathe, it was like the time the power failed in the prison and I nearly suffocated. I balled my fist to punch, then something stopped me. A sound from outside.  Giggling? Shouts, laughing. Doors closed, the van engine fired, filthy fumes filled my small space. The van shuddered forward, kangarooed, stalled, laughs, fired again, began to move. I yanked the door, a dread filled me. I kicked, breath short, my ribs ached. The van jounced from side to side, bounced. Somehow I managed to twist my foot up to the tarred window, I kicked, my knee locked.  The van bucked. Curdling screams rang from the cab. The crates fell, rumbled, the world rocked, my head under heels and a box on my chest, rolling, rolling and I knew I was done for.

About the Book

This second thrilling volume of the Sun Song trilogy takes Sorlie to the floodlands of southern Esperaneo to discover that family, love and resilience can triumph against even the harshest regime. Escaping from the penal colony on Black Rock, Sorlie joins his grandmother Vanora’s revolutionary army, expecting to find freedom. Instead he finds murder and mayhem. With her army in disarray and her network of supporters disappearing, Vanora chooses Sorlie to become her warrior. When Vanora is kidnapped, Sorlie becomes injured and marooned in the strange reservation of Steadie where old people and specials are hidden and protected from The State. But these outcasts are not the only secrets Steadie keeps. Why is Sorlie kept drugged for over a week? What are their links to The Blue Pearl Society? Why are they so wary of the Noiri black marketeers? And who is The Prince everyone is whispering about? The Sun Song trilogy explores life in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Britain where society’s norms have broken down and life has to be lived differently. 

Bookish

Ways of the Doomed by Moira McPartlin (Excerpt)

Today, I am pleased to be bringing you an extract from Ways of the Doomed by Moira McPartlin, out now in both Paperback and Kindle editions, published by Fledgling Press.

I smelled the fear. Not from the old man: this was his domain and his confidence shone brighter than the buttons on his coat. It could have been my stench, but more likely it was seeping from the abyss ahead.

‘We must pass some prisoners’ cells to reach my private quarters. This will be the only time. After today you will never be permitted access to the Penitentiary.’   

What about when I leave?   But the question stayed cradled in a pocket of worry at the back of my mouth.

‘Walk by my side,’ he said. ‘Don’t make a sound. Don’t even breathe.’

I nodded. It seemed my voice had packed up and left with Ishbel.

Emerging from the shadows at the other end of the corridor a Military style guard stood rigid. His uniform was flat black and he carried an old fashioned automatic rifle.  A riot baton hung on his belt. His eyes never wavered from some fixed point above our heads, even when he clicked his heels in salute. My grandfather ignored him and poked me in the back with a sharp finger.

‘Move!’

Blood thundered round my body and I put my hand to my chest to try to catch the pulse to quieten it. Could the prisoners hear it or did they have their own sounds?  I imagined huddled beings, behind doors, ears pressed to cold metal, listening for our footsteps. The temptation to flop to my belly and crawl the length of the corridor was so strong I hunched to keep low, afraid of disturbing the pregnant air. The sound of my heels clattered like rocks on a snare drum. The locked doors crowded me, the corridor stretched, narrowed and with each step the guard seemed to move farther away. A voice from somewhere sizzled and singed the hair on my nape, Grandfather’s step missed a beat, I lost my footing and tripped.  He grabbed my arm before I fell my length and jerked me forward like a naughty child to be punished and sent to bed early.

Sweat soaked my oxters and groin and by the time we reached the guard I wanted to pee, but to ask to pee at this stage would be impossible, I probably couldn’t do it anyway.

About The Book

Book 1 of The Sun Song Trilogy.

It’s the year 2089 and everything is altered. The revolutions of the early 21st century have created a world divided – between the Privileged few and the Native (Celtic) underclass. Sorlie is enjoying a typical carefree Privileged teenage life until it is smashed apart by the cruel death of his parents and he is spirited away to live with his ice-cold grandfather at a mysterious island penal colony. Sorlie’s discovery that the captives are being genetically altered to remove all trace of their Native origins triggers a chain of shocking events that reveal his grandfather’s terrible secrets and, ultimately, the truth about himself.  

book reviews · Bookish

Stitched by Cheryl Elaine (Review)

Today I am pleased to be bringing you a review as part of the Baker’s Blog Tour for Stitched by Cheryl Elaine, out now in both Paperback and Kindle editions and also available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

This book, holy moly. I had to really think about my review for this one. This book is brutal. I’m going to say that straight up. It has such horrendous things happen in it, yet it’s not police procedural type-of-book and I feel maybe that made it feel more raw and harder to swallow, you don’t know about a team that are fighting for the victims, not really. This book was excellent, the things that happen in it are absolutely awful. I don’t want my praise of the book to seem like I condone the occurrence of it’s content at all and I feel like it DOES need a content warning because it isn’t made clear just how much brutality is within its pages.

You can gather from the blurb that there is domestic violence and murder, what you don’t glean from that is that it also features a whole host of other horrific instances. My face when reading it was quite the contorted one, but I couldn’t put it down.

Emily lives with her husband, Andy. Andy is an alcoholic and a wife-beater, amongst other things. The book immediately opens on a scene of abuse. Emily can not escape his abuse – and neither can the reader. I thought that was a significant thing to do. It’s unpleasant but it feels realistic. It’s an unrelenting situation. There are certain things that are incredibly repetitive in the book, the language used by both Emily and Andy, however, this works in this case as it’s seems very realistic for a victim and her abuser. The feelings of being trapped, that she’ll die at his hands, how did she end up in that situation? And for Andy, that she belongs to him, she needs a “firm hand” and to be “kept in line” and that it’s just discipline.

Later on, it gets more out of control and we discover a whole host of even more messed up things which I didn’t think was possible and the reason for the title and a certain sort of language used in the blurb begins to become apparent. I don’t want to post spoilers, but I do want readers to be aware that this book contains substance abuse, kidnapping, serial rape, serial murder, incest, mutilation, domestic violence and yet only the smallest sliver of justice, but I suppose this is also fairly realistic too, bruises and other wounds take time to fade and those mental ones take a whole lot longer – the book itself has a similar effect. I feel like I need a good shower, to cuddle my cat and to do something positive. It’s going to linger with me for a while. The author really gets to you with this gruesome, brutally raw book and I am not bad about it. It’s a damn good read. It’s so well written, I can’t really think of other ways to convey just how great it was written. It feels wrong to say I loved it when it was so…yeah.

It’s engaging, it is riveting, I couldn’t put it down and I had to know what would happen and if Emily would get freedom, if Andy would be caught, if Emily’s new neighbor, Donovan would be her savior. I was not prepared for the plot twist later on in the book, I was incredibly surprised to read it and I didn’t see it coming though I could imagine there was something amiss, but what I really didn’t see coming was the ending. This book doesn’t really have a happy ending, and that final twist had me actually shout at the book. I swear, by the end, my face hurt from all the faces of disgust and shock I pulled throughout reading it.

It’s complicated, but I would recommend this book, but you also need to consider if you’re mentally equipped to handle so much brutality in one story. I’ve done my best to try and make you aware of it and now only you can decide whether you’ll pick it up or not and if you’ll go to that dark place with Emily. I’m glad I did. I feel in shock, but I also feel a host of appreciation for things in my life and so thankful that I have never been in such an awful abusive situation. It should be the norm, but there are many women AND men who suffer like this regularly. They’re missing in society because of people like Andy and that’s heart wrenching.

About The Book

A gruesome tale of control, fear and brutality.

Marriage is not the bed of roses story books describe. More like a bed of torturous thorns.

And, how Emily bled.

Escape seemed an illusion, a mirage of a rocky road between overgrown thickets of despair. Emily couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel; she wasn’t allowed to dream or think for herself and had no alternative other than submitting to his rage.

Andy was a narcissist. Emily could not, and would not, disregard his superiority. Her naivety often clouded her judgment; she was damaged both mentally and physically. Would putting her trust in another lead her to a happy ending?

About The Author

Cheryl Elaine is a British Author, and resides in Yorkshire.  Throughout her life she has been an avid reader and wrote many short stories, which lead her on a path to the world of publishing. She released her debut novel – No Ordinary Girl, followed by her latest release – Stitched.

I hope you enjoy my dark and disturbing crime books, and if you fancy reading something lighter, why not check out my fantasy novel – Dragged to the Depths.

You can find out more about me, at the following places

https://www.cherylelaine.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/cherylelaineauthor

https://www.instagram.com/cherylelaine15/

book reviews · Bookish

The Grass Trail by AA Abbott (Excerpt)

Today I am on the tour for The Grass Trail by AA Abbott, the third book in the Trail Series. It’s out now both in Paperback and Kindle Formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

The kettle hissed, rocked, and jolted to a halt. “Want a brew?” Shaun offered.

“Please. Milk, one sugar.” Jenner held out his plastic mug. “Thanks. Hot and wet; that’s how I like it. Are you married, by the way?”

“No,” Shaun replied. “My wife died a few years back.” He added brusquely, “Of natural causes. And don’t get any ideas. I’m strictly hetero.” He didn’t suppose Jenner had the nerve to make a pass at him, but it wasn’t impossible for the MP to feel some attraction. Shaun’s Irish heritage had blessed him with good looks; even pushing fifty, his now-grey hair was thick, his blue eyes large, his body trim and well-muscled. The paunch he’d developed on the outside was gone; he was back in shape at last, his muscles honed by the gym and judicious use of smuggled steroids.

“Of course,” Jenner said soothingly. He pointed to the gallery of photographs on the wall. Torn from magazines and haphazardly fixed with blobs of toothpaste, their ragged edges were curling. “Who’s that? Your girlfriend?”

Shaun sipped his tea. The sweetened breakfast cereal was beginning to boost his blood sugar. He felt less groggy. “No,” he said, unwilling to be drawn any further. He would never admit to Jenner how he’d been charmed by Kat’s looks and posh accent, had offered her a job in his unlicensed casino in the hope of knowing her better. It had all gone horribly wrong. She’d disappeared, and so had twenty thousand pounds from the gambling den. It had taken a wild goose chase to weird Cold War tunnels in Birmingham to establish the truth: Kat wasn’t a thief. She’d seen Shaun kill the culprit, though, and had held a gun to his head in the tussle that followed. No one, least of all a woman, should have had that power over him. As if that wasn’t enough, it had been her evidence that had sent him down. His lips tightened.

Jenner wouldn’t stop. “Who is she?” he persisted. “A model? I’m sure I’ve seen her in the news. You know, you must have one, two, three – my goodness, ten pictures, all of the same woman.”

“Forget it, okay?” Shaun snapped. “She used to work for me. I’m looking forward to seeing her again.” His eyes lingered on the picture showing the most cleavage. There was no doubt he’d enjoy a reunion with Kat. Finally, she’d see who was boss. The pleasure would be his alone, and all the sweeter for it.

About the Book

Shaun knows who put him inside – and he wants to make her pay…

Shaun Halloran wouldn’t be in prison if glamorous Kat White hadn’t taken his gun. Pictures of the stunning blonde are plastered all over his cell. As soon as he can escape, she’s dead. But with his criminal empire crumbling, he can’t trust anyone.

Kat, panicked by poison pen letters, has nowhere to turn. Her parents are dead and her brother’s ill. Even her sexy new business partner may not be what he seems. When she receives life-changing news, vodka is the only answer…

A tense crime thriller with plenty of twists, “The Grass Trail” races through Birmingham, London and the former Soviet Union – tempting you to turn each page.

book reviews · Bookish

Runaway by Claire MacLeary (Review)

Today I am on the tour for Runaway by Claire Macleary and have a review for you! The book is available now in both Paperback and Kindle editions. I was provided a copy of the book for this review.

Runaway is the third book in a series by Claire MacLeary. This book was my introduction to the series as I haven’t read the previous installments, but I am pleased to say that it does perfectly well as a standalone.

The book is written from a few perspectives, but it’s mainly about Maggie and Wilma, a PI duo who have been brought in by Scott – his wife is missing and he has no idea why. Of course, he reported it to the police. It’s the first thing he did, they weren’t having any success, so he turns to the women to help him find his wife.

Maggie and Wilma have a bit of a strange relationship and they both have different ideas about their detective agency. None the less, after some convincing, they’re set on helping Scott to find his wife, but are wary of the police after previous involvements and complications with them in a previous case. We are given a vague overview of that situation, but I would imagine it’s detailed in the previous installments of the series. The police themselves are unhappy when they find out that the women are on the case, and their force seems tense after the aforementioned complications.

Maggie is my favourite character of the book, she seems strong willed and is trying really hard to balance her family life and her work. She has a lippy daughter and the patience of a saint as a result. She seems far more responsible than Wilma. Together, they are a weird duo, but it works!

I found this book to be pretty amusing, not so much that it detracted from the seriousness of the case, but enough to add a little more to it that made it all the more enjoyable. Though there is some of the book that is written in what I can only describe to be pure Scottish which someone who is unfamiliar with Scottish dialect or to whom English is a second language may have difficulties with. Personally, I had no issue with it and understood it just fine, but I feel like it’s an important point to mention, just in case this is something that would affect you personally and this after all, a review.

Maggie’s daughter clearly has some iffy acquaintances, one of whom decides a nap in a skip is a sterling idea, even with the stink and a urine soaked duvet.. until he discovers a human arm. It takes a little while before the story circles back to that, but from that point, I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what was happening. Was it going to be Scott’s wife?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and following both the pair of PI’s and the detective team investigating the case and the relationships between them both teams on the case were really interesting to me too. All in all, I really enjoyed this book, it was entertaining, well written and I’m sure the other books are no different; I’ll be adding the previous installments on to my ever growing TBR!

About the Book

The third book in the awards-listed Harcus & Laird series

When Aberdeen housewife Debbie Milne abruptly vanishes without trace, leaving behind her two young children, husband Scott is too distraught to sit out the police’s 72-hour window and await developments. He turns to local detective agency Harcus & Laird.

Put off by previous “domestic” cases, Maggie Laird isn’t keen, but is cajoled by partner Wilma Harcus into a covert operation. Together they comb through meagre scraps of information, eventually trawling the city’s women’s refuges and homeless squats, in spite of the deadly danger.

Then a woman’s body is discovered in a Dundee builder’s skip. With the clock ticking and the police struggling to make identification, the race is on. Claire MacLeary fashions a surprising, gritty, fast-paced tale with the warmth and wisdom of ‘women of a certain age’.