Counterplay by Dennis Norman #BlogTour #Extract

Blurb

Karl has been stealing money from Tesanee. When he realises that she has uncovered his deceit, he flees.

Tesanee’s son Ashley, furious about the betrayal, approaches a close friend of his late father, Alain, and asks him to find Karl and retrieve Tes’s money.

Alain has nothing much to do and is happy to honour his dead friend’s memory by helping his wife.

Alain and his brother set off together to track down Karl and confront him. Each time they close in, Karl manages to outsmart them, and disappears.

A game of cat and mouse is set in play. Alain has no idea what he’s let himself in for.

Today, on my stop I am sharing an extract with you all. My thanks to Faye Roger’s for my spot on the tour.

Extract

“What’s this mum?”
Ashley was visiting his mother, Tesanee. He was in the kitchen pinching one of her freshly made spring rolls when he noticed a pile of magazines on the worktop. The top one was open, she had folded back the corner of the page.
“What’s that darling?”
“This page you’ve earmarked in one of your magazines.”
“Oh, that’s something to remind me of your dad,” she called from the lounge.
He picked up the magazine and joined her in the lounge, reading as he went.
“You’re not seriously going to buy this, are you? Don’t waste your money.”
“Consider it as an investment towards our future.”
“You don’t need this investment. Does Karl know? It’s something he would be involved in.”
Tesanee took the magazine, closed the page and laid it on the coffee table.
“No, I haven’t mentioned this to him yet.”
“Think about it, mum. It’s unbelievably expensive.”
She gave him a stern look.
“I do nothing without thinking about it first Ashley, you know that. I can afford it, and I can always sell if needs be.”
“Just be careful with your money mum, it won’t last forever.”
“Stop worrying Ashley I’ve been managing for a long time now.”
“I know; you are good at it too. Okay if you’re sure.”
“I am sure now go back to work, and I’ll see you for Christmas, and get something for Karl, he’s not that bad.”
He gave her a big hug and left.
“I will okay, bye mum.”

****

Karl came home late that evening with Christmas presents. He hung his overcoat in the hall then went into the lounge to put them under the tree. He needed to warm up, so he sat in his favourite armchair to rest for a minute. The magazine was on the coffee table so he picked it up and flicked through the pages. When he saw the earmarked page he took the book into the kitchen to ask Tesanee about it.
“Hi Hun, what’s this you’ve been looking at. Have you seen the cost of this stuff? They cost a fortune.”
“I like it. It reminds me of Alex. Here, look at the website. They have quite a few valuable items.”
She showed him the webpage on their laptop, which showed more details.
“I am buying something for myself as a new year present, to mark ten years since he passed. You don’t mind do you, darling?”
When she told him, he thought about the cost and knew he was in trouble. She didn’t have the money, but she didn’t know. With the amount he’d taken from her she could, but if she tried to buy it, she would suspect him. He needed to change her mind but how could he do it?
Tesanee had known Karl for a long time. She noticed a change come over him but made light of it. Saying she was waiting until next year because she wanted to enjoy Christmas together. Ashely was coming for dinner on Christmas day.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47468075-counterplay

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Counterplay-Dennis-Norman/dp/1913136159

About Dennis:

I was born and raised in South London where my parents, both avid readers, made a habit of ringing home crime, thriller and suspense novels, instilling in me a love of reading from a very early age. My father used to pass any book they read to me and vice versa.
I spent many years as an Engineering designer particularly the oil and gas industry, hence the few years in the oil-rich Arabian Gulf where my first story is set, before deciding what I really wanted to do was write.
I realised the most satisfying way to achieve this would be by starting with my own story. So, for the next eighteen months, I spent my days working at my regular job and my lunchtimes, evenings and weekends writing my first book. Prisoner in Al-Khobar was the result.
Counterplay is my second book unlike the first it is a novel.
I live in Surrey with my wife Sharon I am currently hard at work on my next novel.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bartezden

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The Retreat by Sherri Smith #BlogTour #Review #Extract @TitanBooks

Blurb

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends – one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship – Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.

Today, I’m beyond excited to be opening the blog tour for The Retreat. Many thanks to Sarah at Titan books for my gifted copy of the book and my spot on the tour. But, today, I have an extra treat for you all, I am sharing an extract as well as my review! YAY!!

Extract – The Opening

This place had made a killer out of her.
How about that for a testimonial! The retreat really did deliver on its promise of a complete transformation. She’d arrived a fail- ure and was leaving a total success.
Everything she’d hoped to accomplish here had been checked off. Her core was stronger than ever, her joints looser, and she’d achieved a level of mindfulness that made her certain she could manifest any reality she wanted, simply by thinking about it really hard.
Most important, her head was finally quiet and that sad stinging in her chest was gone. The disguise she’d been hiding behind had been shed, and her true nature was now out in the open. She was awake, balanced. The sky should be ablaze with fireworks because she fucking loved herself.
A wheeze, a gurgle, then a sudden gulp of air and kicking feet.
She rolled her eyes and pressed harder on the tree branch, hoping she’d hear the conclusive snap of a windpipe and she’d finally get to move on. “Just die already,” she said in a tired voice, then at last, it was quiet. No more movement. She waited a beat to be sure she’d really finished the job this time. Even took a moment to appreciate the inky beauty of moonlit blood as it oozed and pooled on the rocks. The peaceful silence after death. Finally, she was living in the moment.
She climbed out of the ravine, and as she started back toward the retreat she blissfully sang: “One, two, three, four bodies are left on the forest floor. Oh wait, make that five. Five, six, seven, eight, I feel pretty great. One, two, three, four, I am a perfect warrior.”
She always knew she could do it. All she had to do was believe in herself.
When people fail, it’s their own fault. It comes down to laziness and a lack of self-discipline. You have to be willing to suffer to achieve your goals. You need to accept a certain level of agony if you want to become your best self. It’s as simple as that.
There were no witnesses either. Or at least, no credible ones. No cameras or nearby neighbors to report when the screaming started. Just the black sky.
What would she say? About the trail of bodies in the woods? Anything. She could say anything at all.
She was the last girl standing.

My review

My goodness, this was an absolute belter and I’m gutted to have finished it so soon!

The Retreat has one of the best openings I’ve read in a very long time and from that moment on, I knew I was going to enjoy this thrill ride.

This book centres around 4 girls who are headed to a retreat for the weekend. They all have secrets that they want to remain secrets, but in the retreat, will they stay secrets?

I think Katie is the one that struck a chord with me most, possibly because she seemed to really try. Try to overcome her fears and get to the bottom of why these things are happening to her and try to get along with her brothers perfect fiancee.

Carmen, despite her troubles seemed the more daring. Her troubles have put her in a predicament which means she will do absolutely anything to keep herself and her family afloat.

Ariel, I felt was a bit defiant. More so because she comes across as unknowing. Unknowing in the sense of not knowing what she’s done.

Ellie came across as the most unpredictable. I never knew where I stood with her and certainly couldn’t see where Katie stood with her either.

The twist is one I did not see coming and knocked me for six. Very well thought out but just who is leaving the retreat and who is left behind?

This book alongside Sherri’s previous novel Follow me down is one of the BEST books I’ve read in a very long time and comes as no surprise when I say, I can highly recommend this book to everyone.

Purchase link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retreat-Sherri-Smith/dp/1785654063/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?keywords=the+retreat+sherri+smith&qid=1565600373&s=gateway&sprefix=the+retreat+&sr=8-3

There’s a giraffe in my bath by Lousie Andrews #BlogTour #Review @authoright @fayerogersuk #GiraffeInMyBath

Blurb

When four toy animals come to life, they become unlikely friends. The toys try to help each other out in a fun bath time adventure. But they might just need some extra help..! There’s A Giraffe In My Bath! is the first story for children between the ages of 3 and 6 by Louise Andrews. Illustrations are by Nick Roberts.

Information about the Book
Title: There’s a Giraffe in my Bath
Author: Louise Andrews
Release Date: 9th July 2019
Genre: Picture Book
Page Count: 20
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47315093-there-s-a-giraffe-in-my-bath
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Theres-Giraffe-Bath-Louise-Andrews-ebook/dp/B07RZ5B3BH/

Our review

Firstly, our thanks go to Faye for our spot on the tour and to Clink Street Publishers for our gifted copy of the book. Apologies for the delay in getting the post up but we’ve had internet issues for the past few days.

My sister, Nicola and my daughter read this book together, here are their thoughts.

We thought this book was fun, more in the way of the characters and what they got up to.

We liked the way the author has used rhymes, it made it all the more fun!

We also liked all the colours and the illustrations, this really bought the characters and their adventures to life.

Author Information
Louise Andrews is a mum to two young boys, whose love for taking all manner of toys in to the bath inspired this story. This is the first book written by the author, who particularly enjoys creating rhyming stories for her children. What started as simple stories to entertain her children has become a passion for creating exciting stories for children everywhere.

The great news is that there’s more to come from Louise. There’s a Giraffe in my Bath has sparked the imagination and led to another children’s book which is currently being written, with more ideas for future books too.

Louise has always had a love of books and still finds time to read all types of fiction. Her favourite authors include; Jodi Taylor, JK Rowling, Maeve Binchy, Katherine Arden, Ben Arronovitch, Jill Mansell and Daphne Du Maurier. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is Louise’s favourite book.

With two boys to look after (3 if you include the husband!), spare time is at a premium. But when she finds time, Louise enjoys exercise classes, discovering new box sets to binge on, music, cooking (and eating!) and, of course, reading and writing books.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/author_andrews
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/louise.andrews.58152559

Big Boys Cry by Charlotte Moncrieff #BlogTour #GuestPost @authoright @fayerogersuk #BigBoysCryBook

Blurb

It’s Billy’s seventh birthday and no one is more excited than he is to finally be a big boy! At the park later that day, Billy finds himself in tears after getting hurt in a small accident. When a passing stranger scolds him, telling him that ‘Big Boys don’t cry – only silly ones do’, Billy questions what it means to be a big boy. Thankfully, Mum and Dad and some new friends help Billy understand that crying is normal and that everyone does it, including some of Billy’s favourite and most admired members of his family.

For many boys today, there is a fear that expressing emotion is seen as a sign of weakness. This only becomes more evident as they move from boyhood into adolescence.

This book helps parents frame emotions in a positive light, normalising the idea that all boys cry, whether they are seven years old, in the armed forces, a fireman or a father – all big boys cry, it does not make them silly!

Information about the Book
Title: Big Boys Cry
Author: Charlotte Moncrieff
Release Date: 30th July 2019
Genre: Children’s
Page Count: 32 pages
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47465940-big-boys-cry
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Big-Boys-Cry-Charlotte-Moncrieff/dp/1913136116

My thanks go to Faye Rogers for my spot on this tour and to Clink Street publishers for my gifted copy of the book. Apologies for the delay in getting this post up, I’ve had trouble with my internet for the past few days.

Guest post – Five Reasons you think people should read this book
1. The book seeks to break down the ideologies of what it means to be a ‘big boy’. Boys are often confronted with stereotypical visions of what boys and men should be like. Whether that be tough, strong or showing ‘no signs of weakness’. This book is an exploration of emotion and why it’s OK for boys to express emotion such as crying. The point is it doesn’t make you any less of what you thought you were.

2. It is a book that is focussing on prevention over cure in mental health. Over half of teenage boys can’t talk to their fathers about their mental health and that can mean long term problems later down the line. Therefore, the book acts as a tool for children to understand why talking about your problems is a good thing and that you shouldn’t bottle them up. One of the key lines in the book is that when you’re feeling sad ‘the most important thing is to tell someone’.

3. The age is targeting 7-10 year olds because this age group is pretty pivotal. When I did one particular reading in a school, it was amazing seeing how a lot of the kids in the class believed that boys crying was not a good thing or at least the ‘done thing’ and they were 10! The book seeks to reach children before these mind-sets have officially set in and are harder to reverse.

4. The book is for both sexes. Whilst the title is called Big Boys Cry, the book is for both boys and girls. Girls can be just as influential on why boys feel like they have to act a certain way. Children can be unkind growing up and may not realise how unhelpful some words are, such as ‘cry baby’ or ‘girly pants’, that is why educating everyone and normalising the idea around crying is such a driving force for the book.

5. It is really important for boys like our main character Billy who are confused about whether it really is OK for big boys to cry, to know that males that he looks up to have expressed emotion. That is why having Mum and Dad talking about key figures like his very cool cousin or his war veteran grandfather are really necessary for Billy to understand why crying isn’t as bad as he thinks he it is. Finally having his Dad talk about an ‘owie’ on his brain that he couldn’t see, which made him cry to the nice Doctor is a pretty crucial moment in the book. As for Billy, Dad is the apotheosis of what it means to be a man. This also touches the surface of physical and mental pain and not everything that we can see and that hurts, such as a broken leg will cause someone to seek help. Big Boys Cry can be seen as a story, but it is also a guide, and a comfort, also offering caregivers a way in to talking about mental health, or to starting a conversation about mental health, with children.

Author Information

Charlotte Moncrieff (27) is an ambassador for MQ Mental Health Research Charity and is based in Lon-don (Brixton). With a man taking his life every two hours in Britain, Charlotte is motivated to start the conversation about males and their emotions even earlier and is a big believer in prevention over cure. Charlotte is also the founder of the Twenty Mile Club, an online platform that seeks to inspire savvy twenty-something’s through entrepreneurship and passion projects.

Illustrator Information

Helena Maxwell (26) is an illustrator and artist who is passionate about spreading mental health aware-ness. Helena has worked with Charlotte to produce the visuals for Big Boys Cry and hopes to show the next generation of males and females that it is OK to express emotion regardless of gender. Helena has previously worked for clients such as The Sunday Times, Elbow Productions and Shortbook Publishers.

Instagram: http://instagram.com/bigboyscry

The girl I used to know by Faith Hogan #BlogTour #Review

Blurb

Two women. Two very different lives. One unexpected friendship.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have the perfect life. But the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

While Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

But if they can open up to one another, these two women may just learn that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

My review

Firstly, I’d like to thank Vicky Joss at Head of zeus for my spot on the tour and for my gifted copy of the book. My apologies for the lateness in this post but due to internet issues, I wasn’t able to get the post up on Monday 5th August.

This book is so bloody brilliant!

The girl I used to know is revolved around 2 strong women and how their lives have an impact on each other. These women, have the chance to rediscover themselves, and in doing so, they form a friendship which is so admirable and needed in a book of this nature.

Faith sure knows how to deliver emotional strength, I found myself wanting to cry one minute but happy the next. Her characters are those type of people you wnat to have in your life forever.

I feel like this book follows in the likes of JoJo Moyes, so if you like her work, you’re bound to enjoy Faith Hogan. This book comes highly recommended.

Deserve to die by Miranda Rijks #BlogTour #Review @damppebbles @MirandaRijks #damppebblesblogtours

Book Blurb

Dom and Stacey have the perfect life. Until they meet Tamara. Brilliant, beautiful, she hides a horrifying secret. One that may destroy them all.

Happily married with two beautiful children, Dom and Stacey have it all. He runs a successful design agency, she is finding fame as an author of children’s books.

Everything is perfect. Until they meet Tamara.

Because Tamara is a woman with a plan. She executes it step by step – patient, systematic, methodical.

And as her plan unfolds, Dom and Stacey find their lives slipping out of control. Taking them from heaven into the deepest, darkest hell.

My review

Firstly, my thanks go to Emma for my spot on the tour and my gifted ebook copy.

This book is most definitely a book that will send the shivers down your spine.

Miranda has cleverly peiced together a piece of writing that is not only chilling but holds a gripping, captivating plot and holds characters who just can’t be trusted.

I think though, the character I was more drawn to was Tamara and I just cant put my finger on it, maybe it’s because she was most unpredictable but she felt the most stable in what she was doing and how she was making Dom and Stacey feel, but also in how she makes Miranda’s readers feel.

Throughout my reading journey I found myself on the edge of my seat and deep in anxiety, I really felt the fear.

This book is definitely unique in its concept but more so in its build up and its eerily slow pace – to a) draw the reader in and b) build up on the fear and tension.

It also built up to a more satisfying end which also leads to the question ‘will there be a follow up book?’

Definitely a book to those who enjoy a slow-paced thriller that really messes with your head!

About Miranda Rijks

Miranda Rijks is a writer of suspense novels.

Miranda has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all of her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.

Miranda loves connecting with her readers, so you can reach out to her at http://www.mirandarijks.com

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MirandaRijks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MirandaRijksAuthor/
Website: http://www.mirandarijks.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mirandarijksauthor/

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?i=digital-text&rh=p_27%3AMiranda+Rijks&s=relevancerank&text=Miranda+Rijks&ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1

Purchase Links

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deserve-Die-psychological-thriller-heart-stopping-ebook/dp/B07VF9QP5Z/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=deserve+to+die&qid=1564568527&s=gateway&sr=8-1

US: https://www.amazon.com/Deserve-Die-psychological-thriller-heart-stopping-ebook/dp/B07VF9QP5Z/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=deserve+to+die&qid=

Publishing Information
Published in paperback and ebook formats by Inkubator Books on 31st July 2019.

Victory for the East End Angel’s by Rosie Hendry #BlogTour #Review @rararesources @hendry_rosie

Blurb

The war is almost over – and it’s up to the East End Angels to keep the home fires burning!
Frankie’s fiance, a doctor, is away looking after the troops in Europe – will he return safely home?
Winnie has a happy secret – but can she carry on at Station 75 when she’s going to have a baby?
Bella is intrigued by her new friend, a Polish airman.
As the war ends and victory is in sight, what next for the girls of Station 75?
A gorgeously uplifting saga for fans of Ellie Dean and Donna Douglas

My review

Firstly, my thanks go to Rachel Gilbey for my spot on the tour and for sorting out a gifted paperback copy.

Rosie Hendry was a new to me author and I’m fully aware this is the last installment to The East End Angels series.

I really enjoyed the book but I think for my satisfaction more than anything, I would’ve benefitted further by reading the books in order. That way I would’ve seen how much these characters have grown.

The way Rosie has portrayed these characters and their more challenging roles at station 75, especially during hard times, is to be admired.

I love books where I feel connected to the characters. Winnie, Frankie and Bella are no different. They really made me feel welcome and comfortable.

In this book, we see these three girls undergo some life changing differences but just knowing they’re friends and can get through anything together really is heartwarming, especially during wartime when things are tough.

A thoroughly enjoyable read that fans of Elaine Everest and Kate Thompson are sure to enjoy.

Purchase Links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victory-East-Angels-Rosie-Hendry-ebook/dp/B07N6DVRD4
US – https://www.amazon.com/Victory-East-Angels-Rosie-Hendry-ebook/dp/B07N6DVRD4

Author Bio

Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in Norfolk with her husband, two children, chickens and a
snake. She’s worked in a variety of jobs from fruit picking, waitressing, teaching and as a research
scientist but has always loving reading and writing. Starting off writing short stories for women’s
magazines, her stories have gradually become longer as her children have grown bigger.
Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked Rosie’s interest in this
period and she’s especially intrigued by how women’s lives changed during the war years. She loves
researching further, searching out gems of real-life events which inspire her writing.
When she’s not working, Rosie enjoys walking along the beach, reading and is grateful for the fact
that her husband is a much better cook than her.
Website: http://www.rosiehendry.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RosieHendrybooks/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/hendry_rosie