#PublicationDay #BlogTour No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

It’s Publication Day for No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley. A funny and loving story about a young woman who rediscovers her love of Christmas and finds someone to share this love with.

About the Author

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, I wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when I grew up. After many years, and many different jobs, my dream of writing a bestseller came true.

I write about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hope that my tales make you cry a little, laugh a lot, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

I now live in a Cheshire village with my family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Follow @ZaraStoneley @HarperImpulse on Twitter, on Facebook on Instagram

Visit zarastoneley.com

Buy No One Cancels Christmas

About the book

It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!

With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….

But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.

With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…

Review

Sarah runs a travel agency with her aunt and has to deal with dissatisfied customers and holiday resorts who refuse to uphold their end of the bargain. The owner of The Shooting Star is snarky, unhelpful and completely unwilling to tow the line or Sarah’s line.

Returning to The Shooting Star Mountain resort isn’t an easy feat for Sarah. It’s where she lost her parents or rather the place she remembers being the end of one life and the beginning of another. It isn’t the warm, cosy place she has in her head. Instead she finds the resort lacking a caring hand and a loving touch.

The owners are two handsome brothers, one of them a carefree playboy and the other is competing to win the title of Scrooge of the century. Bah Humbug doesn’t even come close to Will’s attitude towards Christmas.

It’s a funny and loving story about a young woman who rediscovers her love of Christmas and finds someone to share this love with. It’s about moving on from a traumatic past and finding comfort and peace in the future.

Stoneley reminds me of Sarah Morgan. She has a great sense of humour, which she combines with emotional scenarios and memorable characters. The result is the kind of romcom everyone talks about and recommends to their friends. Sassy chat and impulsive passionate encounters is what makes this an addictive read. Add a little joy to the world and Xmas cheer and you have the perfect Christmas read.

Buy No One Cancels Christmas at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy No One Cancels Christmas at Amazon com

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#BlogTour Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid

This is week three of the BlogTour Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid. I was due to post at the end of the second week, but couldn’t due to personal circumstances. So… I am just going to sneak my blog post into the third week instead.

About the Author

Rebecca is a freelance journalist. She is a columnist for the Telegraph Women’s section, works for Metro Online and has written for Marie Claire, the Guardian, the Saturday Telegraph, the Independent, Stylist, Glamour, the iPaper, the Guardian, Indy100, LOOK and the New Statesmen amongst others.

Rebecca is a regular contributor to Sky News and ITV’s This Morning as well as appearing on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, LBC, BBC News 24 and the BBC World Service to discuss her work.

She graduated from Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing MA in 2015 and Perfect Liars is her debut novel. Rebecca Lives in North London with her husband.

Follow @RebeccaCNReid @TransworldBooks on Twitter

Buy Perfect Liars

About the book

Sixteen years ago, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila did something unspeakable whilst attending an exclusive British boarding school. Their crime forged an unbreakable bond between them, a bond a bond of silence. But now, one of them wants to talk.

One wrong word and everything could be ruined; their covetable lives, careers and relationships. It’s up to Georgia to call a crisis dinner. But things do not go as planned.

Three women walk in to the dinner, but only two will leave. Murder isn’t so difficult the second time around…

Review

Georgia, Lila and Nancy share memories, experiences at boarding school, friendship and they also share a very tragic secret. The kind of secret that changes and influences lives. The kind of secret that may make you question whether your friends stay in touch because they care about you or keep in touch to make sure their secret stays hidden.

The relationships between the three of them are driven by their upbringing, their new socio-economic statuses and their dominant personalities. Their interactions are often hesitant and only take place after plenty of thought and self-doubt, which makes the reader wonder why they meet up at all. The answer – to make sure each one of them keeps stumm about what they did when they were young girls.

Reid has a knack of presenting the kind of plot you need to follow as a reader just so you can find out where she is taking the story, and believe you me, it isn’t where you expect it to go. Not only does she make it a necessity when it comes to finding out their secret, but also how the three of them are going to keep sitting on said secret.

I especially enjoyed the fact the author didn’t feel the need to tie all the ends together and present the perfect package or solution at the end. Crime is dirty, impulsive and muddied by emotions, and so is this plot.

It’s gripping, intense and ruthless. Possibly because it is based on a situation that could happen to anyone. Making a self-serving and selfish decision to protect yourself might be cruel and thoughtless, but it doesn’t necessarily make you a sociopath. Even accidental killers will try and save themselves., right?

Buy Perfect Liars at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

#BlogTour Under My Skin by Lisa Unger

Today It’s my turn on the BlogTour Under My Skin by Lisa Unger. I have an extract of this fantastic book and a Giveaway to win a copy of Under My Skin.

Leave a comment under this post between the 18th – 25th October to enter the Giveaway to win a copy of Under My Skin!

About the Author

Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling, award-winning author of 15 novels, including the latest psychological thriller The Red Hunter.

Her books are published in 26 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Lisa Unger lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with her husband, daughter and labradoodle.

Follow @lisaunger @HQStories on Twitter, Visit lisaunger.com

Buy Under My Skin

About the book

Her husband’s killer may she closer than she thinks…

It’s been a year since Poppy’s husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run. She’s trying to move on but what happened that morning is still haunting her. And now she’s sure she is being followed…

Sleep deprived and secretly self-medicating, Poppy is unable to separate her dreams from reality. She feels like she’s losing her mind. But what if she’s not? What if she’s actually remembering what really happened? What if her husband wasn’t who he said he was? And what if his killer is still watching her…

Review

Poppy is still suffering from the loss of her husband, the loss of her time and the ability to separate reality from dream. There is something in the back of her mind, some element of suspicion that is trying to wriggle its way to the front of her consciousness. A secret perhaps or a wisp of a conversation, possibly even a clue she has been looking for.

In her own convoluted way she starts investigating the mysterious death with little regard to the home truths she may encounter. She discovers a less than comfortable image of herself in the course of her investigation. A woman who thinks little of her own safety and constantly puts her own life on the line. Is she playing with fire because of the grief or is this the real Poppy?

Unger keeps her readers in the dark until the very end, which is a feat in itself, because keeping a certain amount of tension throughout the entire book is no easy task. Readers are never quite sure whether Poppy has a secret to hide or whether she is just a victim of grief and shock after the murder of her husband.

The author sits on the secrets like a mother hen warming her chick and lets the story wind around a woman filled with grief, doubt and intuition. It becomes an interesting one woman show, a dialogue of self-doubt, fragmented memories and fear.

It is a tension filled riveting read, a slow-burning psychological thriller with a surprising end. The plot really does try to get under your skin like a worm of doubt.

Buy Under My Skin at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read an extract of Under My Skin:
Prologue
I like him. I do.
But.
There’s always a but, isn’t there?
He’s talking and I should be listening. I’m not. Does he see it, that I’m scattered, distracted? Doubtful. He doesn’t seem especially observant, has that way about him that people do now. As if they are putting on a show of themselves, as if the moment is being watched rather than lived. He glances about as he talks. Up at the television screens over the bar, all on mute, all tuned
it, that I’m scattered, distracted? Doubtful. He doesn’t seem especially observant, has that way about him that people do now. As if in to different sporting events. Down at the phone that sits dark beside him. Back to me, off again to the rowdy table across from us – a postwork gathering I’m guessing from the rumpled suits and tired eyes. I soak in the details of him: his shock of ink black hair, thick – any girl would kill for it; dark stubble on his jaw, just enough – sexy, not unkempt, style, not neglect; his gym-toned body. Beneath the folds of his lavender oxford, the dip of cut abs, the round of a well-worked shoulder. If I had a camera in my hand – not a smartphone but a real camera – say a mirrorless Hasselblad X1D ergonomic, light – old-school style with high tech innards – I’d watch him through the lens and try to find the moment when he revealed himself, when the muscles in the face relaxed and the mask dropped, even for just a millisecond. Then I’d see him. The man he really is when he steps off the stage he imagines himself on.
To read more click this link…

Extract – Under My Skin by Lisa Unger

I already knew he was handsome, stylish, in shape, before we agreed to meet. His profile told me as much. He works in finance. (Of course he does.) His favorite book is the Steve Jobs autobiography. (What else?) But what’s under his skin, that carefully manicured outer layer? Beneath the mask he puts on in the morning—what’s there? The camera always sees it.
He runs his fingertips along the varnished edge of the table between us, then steeples them. I read somewhere that this is the gesture of someone very sure of himself and his opinions. It tracks. He seems very sure of himself, as people who know very little often are.
He laughs, faux self-deprecating, at something he’s just said about himself. His words still hang in the air, something about his being a workaholic. What a relief that it’s just drinks, not dinner. No point in wasting time, if it’s not there, he wrote. Who could disagree? So adult. So reasonable.
I never thought it would be. It can’t be. Because it has nothing to do with the way he looks. It isn’t about his eyes, black, heavily lashed and half-lidded. Or the bow of his mouth, full, kissable. (Though I might kiss him anyway. Maybe more. Depends.) Attraction, desire is nothing to do with the physical; it’s chemical, a head trip. And my head—well, let’s just say it’s not on straight.
A woman laughs too loud—a cackle really, harsh and jarring. It startles me, sends a pulse of adrenaline through me. I scan the crowd. I really shouldn’t be here.
“Time for another?” he asks. His teeth. They’re so white. Perfectly aligned. Nothing in nature is so flawless. Braces. Whitening.
The rim of the glass is ice-cold beneath my fingertip. The
drink went down fast, too fast. I promised myself I wouldn’t drink, not with everything that’s been going on. It’s been a long day, a long week. A long year. The weight of it all is tugging at me, pulling me under.
I take too long to answer and he frowns, just slightly, looks at his phone. I should just leave. This is crazy.
“Sure,” I say instead. “One more.”
He smiles again, thinks it’s a good sign.
Really, I just want to go home, pull up my hair, put on my sweats, get into bed. Even that’s not an option. Once we walk out of here, it’s back to the jigsaw puzzle of my life.
“Grey Goose and soda,” he tells the waitress when he’s flagged her down. He remembers what I’m drinking. A small thing, but so few people pay attention to the details these days. “And Blanton’s on the rocks.”
Straight bourbon, very manly.
“Am I talking too much?” he says. He looks sweetly sheepish. Is it put on? “I’ve heard that before. My last girlfriend, Kim—she said I ramble when I get nervous.”
It’s the second time he’s mentioned her, his “last girlfriend, Kim.” Why, I wonder? Carrying a torch? Or just trying to market himself as someone who’s been in a relationship? Also, “last girlfriend.” It begs the question: How many others? Maybe I’m reading too much into it. I do that.
“Not at all.”
I am a seeker. I want to explore the world. Don’t you? I love to learn, to cook, to travel. I get lost in a good book.
That’s what his profile said. In his picture, he smiled, nearly laughing, hair wind-tossed. It was a good photo, could have come from a magazine—which is always suspicious. Photographers know all the tricks to capturing beauty, the right angles, the proper lighting, the magic of filters. The truth is that most people aren’t that hot in person. Even beautiful people, real ones, are flawed in some way—not airbrushed, or prettily
windblown, eyes glittering. Lines around the eyes and mouth, an almost imperceptibly crooked nose, a faint scar—chicken pox or a childhood fall from a bike. People, real people, have a little stain from lunch on their tie, maybe something hanging from their nose or in their teeth, patches of dry skin, shoes that need replacing. These imperfections make us who we are, tell the truth of our lives.
But to his credit, he is close to as good-looking as his profile picture. But something’s off. What is it?
There’s nothing special about my profile picture, nothing misleading, just a photo snapped by my friend Layla, who set the whole thing up. Of course, she’s a talented photographer, my oldest friend and knows how to shoot me. No filter, though, no Photoshop tricks. What you see is what you get. Sort of.
“What about you?” he says.
The waitress delivers the drinks to our high-top. Her ears are lined with silver hoops; another in her lip. She is fleshy but pretty with startling green eyes that give her an otherworldly look. I bet she reads a lot of teen fantasy novels. Twilight. Harry Potter. Hunger Games.
“Thank you, darlin’,” he says to her. He drops the g and inflects the word with a twang, though I know he was born and raised in New Jersey. She beams at him, flushes a little. He’s a charmer in a sea of snakes.
I notice that he has a way of looking at women, a warm gaze, a wide smile. It seems like a choice. A technique. He knows that women like to be gazed upon, attended to with male eyes. It makes them feel pretty, special in a world where we too rarely feel like either of those things. She smiles at him, does this quick bat of her eyelashes. She likes him. I can tell; she glances at him from time to time as she shuttles back and forth along the bar, between the other high-tops she’s also serving. Even if I walk out of here, I’m sure someone will go home with him.
9780778369783_
Good-looking, charming guys emanating the scent of money rarely go lonely.
“What do you want to know?” I ask when he turns back to me.
He takes a sip of his bourbon, gazes over his glass, mischievous. “In your profile, you said you were a runner.”
Did Layla put that in my profile? Layla—this dating thing? All her idea. Time to get back out there, girlfriend. I honestly don’t remember what we put in the profile.
“I run,” I say. The truth is that I used to run. “I don’t know if I’d call myself a runner.”
“What’s the difference?”
“I run—for exercise, because I like it, because it calms me. But it doesn’t define me. I don’t have a group, or register for races, travel to do marathons or whatever.”
Am I rambling?
Finally, “I run. I am not a runner. Anyway, I’m more indoors lately, at the gym.”
He nods slowly, a pantomime of the careful listener, looks down at his glass.
I almost tell him about Jack then; it’s always right on the tip of my tongue.
My husband was killed last year, I want to say. He was attacked while he was running in Riverside Park at 5:00 a.m. Whoever it was—they beat him to death. His murder is still unsolved. I should have been with him. Maybe if I had been… Anyway. I don’t find running as enjoyable as I used to.
But then he’s talking about how he started running in high school, ran in college, still runs, travels for marathons, is thinking about a triathlon in New Mexico next year, but his work in finance—the hours are so crazy.
Kim’s right, I think. He talks too much. And not just when he’s nervous. Because he’s not nervous, not at all.
It’s his nails. They’re perfect. They are, in fact, professionally manicured.
Expertly shaped and buffed squares at the ends of thick fingers. He steeples them again on the table between us. That’s the but. Vanity. He’s vain, spends a lot of time on himself. The gym, his clothes, his skin, hair, nails. Which is fine for tonight. But in the long game, when it’s time to stop worrying about yourself and start thinking about someone else, he’s not going to be able to do it. The lens would have seen it right away.
Should I mention my nervous breakdown, the one I had after Jack died, how days of my life just—disappeared? Probably not, right?
The space grows more crowded, louder. It’s one of those Upper East Side sports bars with big screens mounted at every angle, games from all over the country, all over the world playing. It’s filling up with the after-work crowd, men who are really still babies with their first jobs, fresh out of school, girls—tight-bodied, hair dyed, waxed and threaded, tits high—who have no idea what the next ten years will hold, how many disappointments small and large.
It’s Thursday, tomorrow the end of the workweek, so the energy is high, exuberant voices booming. Our waitress drifts back and forth, deftly balancing trays of clinking highballs, frothy pilsners of beer, shot glasses of amber liquid. Shots? Really? Do people still do that?
There’s a buzz of anxiety in the back of my head as I scan the crowd, turn to look through the big windows to the street. Someone’s been following me, I almost say, but don’t. I’ve been suffering from some sleep disturbances, some unsettling dreams that might be memories, and to be truthful my life is a bit of a mess. But I don’t say those things. He’s still talking, this time about work, a boss he doesn’t like.

It’s closing in, all the laughter, cheering, bodies starting to press, ties loosening, hair coming down. I let him pick the meeting place. I’d have chosen a quiet spot downtown—in the West
Village or Tribeca, someplace soothing and serene, dark, where you speak in low tones, lean in, get to know someone.
Note to self: don’t let them choose—even though the choice speaks volumes. In fact, this dating thing, maybe it’s not for me at all.
“I’ve got an early day tomorrow,” I say, in the next lull between things he’s saying about himself. He’s been practically yelling, to be heard above the din. I should get out of here. Huge mistake.
I see it then. A flinty look of angry disappointment. It’s gone in a millisecond, replaced by a practiced smile.
“Oh,” he says. He looks at his watch—a Fitbit, wouldn’t you know it. “Yeah, me, too.”
“This has been great,” I say. He picks up the check, which the bartender must have laid in front of him at some point.
I take my wallet out.
“Let’s split it,” I say. I prefer to pay or split in these circumstances; I like the feel of equal ground beneath my feet.
“No,” he says. His tone has gone a little flat. “I’ve got it.”
It’s not just the nails. There’s a sniff of arrogance, something cold beneath the flirting. I can see the glint of it, now that he knows he’s not going to get what he came for. Or maybe it’s not any of those things. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with him at all. Very likely it’s that something is wrong with me.
Or most likely of all, it’s just that he’s not Jack.
Until you let your husband go, no one else will measure up. That’s what my shrink said.
I’m trying. I’m dating.
Setting them up to knock them down isn’t dating.
Is that what I’m doing? Just killing time with men who can’t help but to ultimately reveal themselves as not-Jack. They won’t be as funny as he was, or know just where to rub my shoulders. They won’t run out at any hour for anything I need, without being asked. I’ll go grab it for you. They won’t have his laugh, orthat serious set to his face when he’s concentrating. They won’t bite on the inside of their cheeks when annoyed. They won’t feel like him, or smell like him. Not-Jack.
Until one day, says Dr. Nash, there’s someone else who you love for all new reasons. You’ll build a new life. I don’t bother telling her that it’s not going to happen. In fact, there are a lot of things I don’t bother telling Dr. Nash.
On the street, though I reach out for his hand, he tries for a kiss. I let his lips touch mine, but then I pull back a little, something repelling me. He jerks back, too. It’s awkward. No heat. Nothing. I shouldn’t be disappointed, should have long ago lost the capacity for disappointment. I suspected (knew) that it wouldn’t be there. But I thought maybe if there was heat, some physical spark, I wouldn’t need the sleeping pills tonight. Maybe we’d go back to his place and I’d have a reprieve from putting back the pieces of my fractured life.

Now I must decide where I will go tonight—back to an apartment I was supposed to share with my husband but where I now live alone and no longer feel safe, back to Layla’s penthouse, maybe to a hotel.
A police car whips up Lexington. Whoop. Whoop.
“Maybe we could run this weekend?” He’s still working it, though I can’t imagine why. “Ever try the trails up in Van Cortlandt Park? Short but pretty—you feel miles away from the city.”
“Nice,” I say.
Unless there’s someone lurking in the shadows, and no one can hear you call for help.
“Should I text you?”
He’ll never text me, of course.
“That sounds great.”
Even if he does text me, I won’t answer him. Or I’ll put him off until he gets the hint. It’s easy like that, this dating thing in the age of technology. You can dangle someone off the edge of
your life until they just float away, confused. Ghosting, I think the millennials call it.
“Can I see you home?” he asks.
“No,” I say. “I’m fine. Thanks.”
I feel wobbly, suddenly. It’s after nine, and those two vodka sodas are sloshing around in an empty stomach, not to mention the other chemicals floating in my bloodstream. I haven’t eaten anything since—when?
“You okay?” he asks. His concern seems exaggerated, his tone almost mocking. There are other people on the street, a couple laughing, intimate, close, a kid with his headphones on, a homeless guy sitting on the stoop.
“I’m fine,” I say again, feeling defensive. I didn’t have that much to drink.

But then he has his arm looped through mine, too tight, and I find myself tipping into him. I try to pull away from him. But he doesn’t allow it. He’s strong and I can’t free my arm.
“Hey,” I say.
“Hey,” he says, a nasty little mimic. “You’re okay.”
Of course I’m okay, I want to snap. But the words won’t come. There’s just this bone-crushing fatigue, this wobbly, foggy, vague feeling. Something’s not right. The world starts to brown around the edges. Oh, no. Not now.
“She’s okay,” he says, laughing. His voice sounds distant and strange. “Just one too many I guess.”
Who’s he talking to?
“Let go of me,” I manage, my voice an angry hiss.
He laughs; it’s echoing and strange. “Take it easy, sweetie.”
He’s moving me too fast up the street, his grip too tight. I stumble and he roughly keeps me from falling.
“What the hell are you doing?” I ask.
Fear claws at the back of my throat. I can’t wait to get away from this guy. He pulls me onto a side street; there’s no one around.
“Hey.” A voice behind us. He spins, taking me with him. There’s someone standing there. He looks distantly familiar as the world tips. Somewhere inside me there’s a jangle of alarm. He has a dark hood on, his face not visible.
It’s him.
He’s big, bigger than—what’s his name? Reg, or something. Rex? The big man blocks our path up the sidewalk.
“Hey, seriously, dude,” says Rick. Yes, Rick, that was it. “Step aside. I’ve got this.”
But the world is fading fast, going soft and blurry, tilting. There’s a flash, quick-fire movement. Then a girlish scream, a river of blood. Black red on lavender.
Then arms on me.
Falling.
Nothing.

#BlogTour The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr

I missed the Publication Day Push (12th October 2018) for The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr, so I am just going to sneak myself onto the end of the BlogTour instead.

About the Author

Deborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. She became interested in books set in WW1 when researching her great-grandfather’s time as a cavalryman in the 17th 21st Lancers.

She is part of ‘The Blonde Plotters’ writing group and was Deputy Editor on the online review site, Novelicious.com for seven years. Her debut historical romance, Broken Faces, is set in WW1 and was runner-up in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and given a ‘special commendation’ in the Harry Bowling Prize that year. The Poppy Field is her second historical novel.

Follow @DebsCarr @HarperImpulse on Twitter

About the book

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.

Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.

This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.

Review

This is a story about a woman finding herself via the medium of a voice from the past. A stranger’s love story helps Gemma to acknowledge that she needs to take what she wants with both hands and to live life with no regrets.

Gemma finds a metal box full of letters from Alice, a VAD during WW1, written to her paramour. My great-grandmother was a VAD in France in the Great War, and now and again she would speak of a Canadian love she met and lost there, so the read had sentimental value for me. The love letters become a path of discovery and make Gemma more aware of her own needs and desires.

The connection to the farmhouse, the area, and a very handsome contractor, make Gemma feel even more as if she has found a place to call home. Instead of seeing the content of the letters as Gemma reads them the reader is taken into the past to WW1 and the life of Alice Le Breton. There are parallels between the lives of the two women, which is what fascinates Gemma, despite the many years that separates them.

I have to give Carr her dues for combining fact with fiction, especially when it comes to the more harsh realities of WW1. Facts such as; the short life expectancy of a pilot, the flimsy material the planes were made out of and the fact the pilots couldn’t see where they were going or flying, and the vicious use of gas as a weapon. How frightened the soldiers were by the noise, the brutality and hopelessness of the situation, and how limited the medical professionals were when it came to saving lives.

Carr reminds us how brave both the volunteers and the enlisted were, and how many lives both in the UK and abroad were devastated by the Great War.

It’s an emotional combination of historical fact and fiction with romance and love at the very core of both tales.

Buy The Poppy Field at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: HarperImpulse  Pub. date 12 Oct. 2018

#BlogTour So Here It is by Dave Hill

I am delighted to take part in the BlogTour So Here It Is by Dave Hill. It’s a heartfelt and open memoir by iconic rock group Slade’s legendary guitarist.

About the Author

Dave Hill was born in a castle in Devon and moved with his parents to Wolverhampton when he was a year old. As a teenager he taught himself to play guitar and in 1966 formed the band Slade.

After the break-up of the original band, Dave eventually re-formed Slade, and twenty-five years later, they are still regularly touring the world, playing to hundreds of thousands of fans. Dave married his wife Jan in 1973, and they have three children and six grandchildren. They still live in Wolverhampton.

About the book

‘No Slade = No Oasis. It’s as devastating and as simple as that’ Noel Gallagher

With six consecutive number one singles and the smash hit ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, Slade were unstoppable. Now, the man whose outlandish costumes and unmistakable hairstyle made Slade one of the definitive acts of the Glam Rock era tells his story.

But there’s more to Dave’s life than rock ‘n’ roll and good times. So Here It Is also covers the band’s painful break-up, Dave’s subsequent battle with depression, and his recovery from the stroke that threatened to cut short his performing career.

If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be a working-class lad from the Midlands suddenly confronted by unimaginable fame, So Here It Is is the definitive account, told with heart and humour and filled with never-before-seen photos.

Review

My first record (vinyl) was Look Wot You Dun by Slade, which I played on my little suitcase record-player. Much foot-stomping and clenched-fisted singing was to be heard in our house in the early 70s.

When time and music styles pass so quickly I suppose it is easy to forget early influences in the music scene. I think Slade fits quite well into the category of being an influencer, albeit one that never achieved the levels of global fame they probably deserved.

Ironically their unique sound and fearless approach to their brand and fashion has been the inspiration for many other musicians, which allowed other groups to soar, whilst they plateaued in a way.

The story is an open and honest dialogue with the reader, although admittedly at times it appears as if Hill understands the significance of his early childhood trauma on his life and the possible genetic propensity for certain mental health issues, he seems reluctant to acknowledge the full scale of the impact on himself, his life and his family. On some level the instinct to protect his mother may weigh in higher than exposing her to the masses.

I admire his attempt to talk about his depression and the feeling of helplessness or lack of conviction when it comes to finding the right treatment and medication. I also admire the fact Hill lays all his cards on the table about his journey with Slade without slating anyone or rolling out both the petty and more serious disagreements that go hand in hand with being part of a successful iconic band.

It’s a walk along memory lane, a cleansing of sorts and it’s also an entirely new view on his career and how Slade became a household name, especially at Christmas. No Christmas Rock album is complete without Slade. No Brit Rock history is complete without mentioning Slade.

Buy So Here It Is at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound, Follow @unbounders on Twitter

#BlogTour The Black Prince by Adam Roberts and Anthony Burgess

Many days late and a dollar short it’s my turn on the BlogTour for The Black Prince, adapted from the original of Anthony Burgess, by Adam Roberts. It’s an interesting one, because taking on the task of finishing the work of an author such as Anthony Burgess is no small deed. The expectations are a lot higher than in comparison to someone just publishing their own work.

‘Adam Roberts has worked with the full cooperation of the Burgess Foundation to bring unpublished material from one of the twentieth century’s literary titans to light, author of A Clockwork Orange, Inside Mr Enderby and Earthly Powers.’

About the Author

Adam Roberts is a writer, critic and academic. He is the author of sixteen novels and many shorter works, including the prize-winning Jack Glass (2012). His most recent novel is The Real-Town Murders (2017). He is Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, and has published critically on a wide range of topics, including nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction and science fiction. He lives in the south-east of England.

Follow @arrroberts @unbounders on Twitter, Visit adamroberts.com

Buy The Black Prince

About the book

‘I’m working on a novel intended to express the feel of England in Edward III’s time … The fourteenth century of my novel will be mainly evoked in terms of smell and visceral feelings, and it will carry an undertone of general disgust rather than hey-nonny nostalgia’ – Anthony Burgess, Paris Review , 1973

The Black Prince is a brutal historical tale of chivalry, religious belief, obsession, siege and bloody warfare. From disorientating depictions of medieval battles to court intrigues and betrayals, the campaigns of Edward II, the Black Prince, are brought to vivid life by an author in complete control of the novel as a way of making us look at history with fresh eyes, all while staying true to the linguistic pyrotechnics and narrative verve of Burgess’s best work.

Review

This is based on unpublished material by Anthony Burgess, and the most important thing to remember whilst reading this is that Roberts has tried to stay true to the very distinctive style of Burgess. If you have every read or watched Clockwork Orange it will give you a sense of what to expect.

The focus of the novel is on the Black Prince and the revisiting of the battles he was involved in, starting at the tender age of sixteen when his encounter with a brave king becomes a lifelong symbol of perseverance and determination.

Instead of a narrative you have to imagine a type of a flashback experience, a searching of the soul and sometimes an attempt at a cleansing of conscience. Not just by the Black Prince but by people from all walks of life, from plague victims, clergymen, mercenaries to important historical figures.

Roberts has taken an interesting step by including modern moments like imagined press releases to break the momentum, perhaps in an attempt to make readers connect the past with the present.

It is a very visceral read. It’s an attempt to draw the reader inside the hearts and heads of the characters, and to try and let them experience the emotions and turmoil themselves.

I think one of the elements I enjoyed the most was the reality check when it comes to The Black Prince. Roberts gives us the more likely rendition of events, as opposed to the often romanticised view of certain figures in history.

It’s a very specific style which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Roberts does do the Burgess style justice and it is definitely worth the read.

Buy The Black Prince at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Unbound