#BlogTour Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

Today it’s also a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin.

About the Author

arol Lovekin is the author of three novels published by Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press. She writes about mother/daughter relationships, family dynamics & her stories are rooted in the Welsh landscape. They touch on the Welsh Gothic & its most powerful motif: the ghost.

Her first novel, Ghostbird (2016) was a Waterstones Wales and Welsh Independent Bookshops Book of the Month, a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2016 & in the same year was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize. Snow Sisters (2017), her second novel, was chosen by the Welsh Books Council as their October Book of the Month (for independent shops.) Her third novel, Wild Spinning Girls is published today.

Follow @carollovekin on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit carollovekinauthor.comBuy Wild Spinning Girls

About the book

If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.

And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left..

It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.

Review

Inheriting a house in an isolated area in Wales is one thing, inheriting a house that comes with a built-in ghost and a slightly crazy young girl with a key for every door, is quite another. At first Ida thinks it is amusing and swipes the constant presence of Heather away like she is swatting a fly, but when Heather appears determined to frighten and threaten her – Ida’s resolution to stay and make the place her home starts to waver.

Ida is torn between being annoyed at the constant intrusion into her life and worrying about the young girl who at this point is worse than a squatter. Heather insists Ida can’t move or change anything let alone touch anything that belonged to her mother. Her sense of loss and grief is palpable. It makes her erratic and often volatile.

Where Heather is comfortable with the quirkyness of the house and surrounding countryside, Ida feels threatened and is often scared by the odd things that happen in the house. Pretty sure the birds have been watching Hitchcock. Just saying.

It’s magical realism and literary fiction with a pinch of women’s empowerment. Lovekin, who tells a great tale by the way, reminds us how important it is to support instead of judge and ignore. To listen instead of assume, because sometimes the hardest exterior hides the most frightened of hearts.

It’s a lovely read. A breath of the unknown – witchcraft, energy and an aura of something watching and controlling the fate of others.

Buy Wild Spinning Girls at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Honno Welsh Women’S Press: pub date 20 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. 

 

#BlogTour Monkey Arkwright by Rob Campbell

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Monkey Arkwright, Wardens of the Black Heart book 1 by Rob Campbell.About the Author

Rob Campbell was born in the blue half of Manchester. He studied Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Manchester Polytechnic, gaining an honours degree, but the fact that he got a U in his Chemistry O-Level helps to keep him grounded.

Having had a belly full of capacitors and banana plugs, on graduation he transferred his skills to software engineering. He still writes code by day, but now he writes novels by night. Listing his pastimes in no particular order, he loves music, reading and holidays, but he is partial to the words and music of Bruce Springsteen.

His favourite authors are David Morrell, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch & Carlos Ruiz Zafón. He lives in Manchester with his wife and two daughters.

About the book

Budding writer Lorna Bryson is struggling to come to terms with the recent death of her father when she meets Monkey Arkwright, the boy who loves to climb. The two strike up an immediate rapport, and Monkey challenges her to write about him, claiming that he can show her things that are worth writing about.

True to his word, Lorna is catapulted into Monkey’s world of climbing and other adventures in the churches, woodlands and abandoned places in and around their home town of Culverton Beck.

When the two teenagers find an ancient coin in the woods, claims from potential owners soon flood in, including the mysterious Charles Gooch, who is adamant that the coin is his. But this is only the opening act in a much larger mystery that has its roots in some dark deeds that took place more than a century earlier.

Combining their talents, Lorna and Monkey set about fitting the pieces together in a tale of budding friendship, train-obsessed simpletons, the shadow of Napoleon and falling pianos.

Review

Although this is YA I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it both younger and older readers. It has the strange appealing kind of charm associated with stories of such ilk as Stand by Me, perhaps because it has an aura of nostalgia, especially at the beginning of the book.

Lorna and Monkey meet whilst Lorna is visiting the grave of a loved one, and Monkey just happens to be climbing and hanging about in the same place. The teenagers strike up an unusual friendship. One that throws them into an exciting adventure, after Monkey finds an unusual coin, that has them questioning everything they know and believe.

The question of whom the coin belongs to draws the two of them into a bizarre adventure of powerful objects and the men who would like to control or use said power.

It’s interesting how Campbell lets the reader wonder and debate the validity of the premise along with the characters. Is it luck or bad luck? Is there any such thing as luck or just happenchance and the right circumstances. Is there any connection to something more substantial, such as the events these objects determine or sway being influenced by faith, illusion, magic or supernatural forces?

It’s an adventurous story of fate, faith, power, magical realism and ultimately one of friendship.

I think this has the potential to be a really good series, especially the combination of Monkey and Lorna, their friendship, the secret societies battling against each other to acquire the strange powerful objects. There is just so much to be drawn from the characters, their relationships and the mystical mystery connected with an abundance of everyday items and the occasional oddity.

Buy Monkey Arkwright at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#PublicationDayPush Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade

Today it’s the Publication Day Push for Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT)About the Author

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.

She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

Follow @nicolasladeuk on Twitter, on Facebookon Pintereston Goodreadson Amazonnicolaslade.comnicolaslade.wordpress.comBuy Christmas at LadywellAbout the book

A time for spilling secrets…

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child –  has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…

In the past old uncertainties are resolved when an elderly woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.

Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

Review

This is a novella length read. If you want to find out how the main character in the present, Freya, found her way to Lady’s Well then I suggest reading The House at Ladywell by Slade. Both can absolutely be read as standalone books though.

Perhaps it is wrong to say Freya is the main character, because that isn’t really correct. The main character will always be Ladywell or the Lady’s Well. The stories take place here – just in different periods of time and history. They are told mainly by the women who are empowered by the strength and earthly magic of Lady’s Well.

Each one of them, and often also the men of the Wellman family, have a story to tell about survival and belief. How their resilience and determination to keep their family and Ladywell safe is the main factor throughout time.

It’s magical realism and historical fiction combined with the story in the present. What’s really intriguing is the way each snippet of the past constitutes its own story and all within the same setting. Then each tale and the characters are strengthened by the essence of faith or belief in the power of an almost ritualistic pagan magic. Be kind to the earth and creatures and that kindness will returned to you and yours tenfold. It’s an important message in our day and age.

Slade takes an interesting element of earth or natural magic and the power of women, which is cemented in the soul and base of Mother Earth. It gives the story an aura of magic, but without wandering into the realm of magic.

Buy Christmas at Ladywell at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Crooked Cat Books; pub date 4 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT)

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize*

The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

I’ll admit it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. In fact I thought it was going to be an homage to Hitchcock, because of the title. Instead I was surprised to find an intricate story, actually a Russian doll like story. It was a story based on a classic story, which in turn had a story inside it. Very much a Faberge egg of literary surprises, and most certainly an homage to the legacy of Emily Brontë.

What flows throughout the book is the love, adoration and admiration Coleman has for the Brontë sisters, in particular Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and of course Ponden Hall. Historical facts are woven into the fictional story seamlessly to the point where the reader is absolutely on board with the possibility that it could be true. And I also admit to googling pics of Ponden Hall, the bed and the window, after reading this.

One of points the author builds into the plot is the question about whether antique and first edition books should be kept secluded from the public in private collections or should the public be allowed to enjoy the magical pleasure of such precious items. There is something mystical about seeing (touching is not allowed) and being around antique books.

This is a ghost story, a thriller, and it’s historical fiction. It is also very much a love story – love for Emily Brontë. There are parallels between the story Emily finds and the one she writes. The destructive power of obsessive love, which readers often read with a romantic pair of spectacles on instead of seeing things in the cold light of day. It’s certainly a captivating read.

Buy The Girl at the Window at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ebury Press – Paperback pub date 8 Aug. 2019. Ebury Digital pub date 27 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow on @rowancoleman on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit rowancoleman.co.uk

#BlogTour Children of Sinai by Shelley Clarke

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Children of Sinai by Shelley Clarke. It’s an interesting combination of history, theology and biblical tales, genetics and magical realism.

About the Author

Shelley Clarke was born into a naval family in Kent in 1958, and consequently moved house a lot as a child. She had ambitions to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Royal Navy, and to become a carpenter, but these were not female occupations at that time. So she learned to type… which has come in jolly handy for putting her stories first onto paper, and now onto screen.

Shelley is a keen painter, poet, and karaoke enthusiast; she loves mad family get-togethers, hates olives, ironing and gardening, and currently lives in Devon with her husband Kev, and their two Tibetan Terriers Nena and Pepi, who make them smile every day.

Shelley often forgets she is a grown-up.

Children of Sinai is Shelley’s debut novel. The story had been bouncing around her head for many years, and putting it down on paper has been the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She certainly could not have got through this experience without a lot of cursing and chocolate!

Follow @Shelley62628484 on Twitter, on Facebookon GoodreadsBuy Children of Sinai

About the book

How would you feel if you got caught up in a secret so vast it threatened everything the world had come to believe?

That’s what happened to John Milburn, computer science lecturer, orphan, husband and father, who lived an ordinary life in Haverhill, Suffolk, England.

That is, until the dreams started…

From the idyllic calm of Cambridge, John Milburn is drawn to the dust and the heat of Jericho. Thrown into danger and intrigue, he discovers more than he’d bargained for.

‘A wowser of a tale that is exciting and thought-provoking with a cast of characters you’ll fall in love with. Inspired by Biblical events, historical finds, theories and the author’s own strange imagination.’Review

John is plagued by recurrent nightmares. In the dream he is climbing a mountain towards a cave. He sees no connection between his life and the dreams. No Freudian connection or repressed desires or fears. There is simply no reason he can think of to explain the dreams. Then something happens to make him realise that the dream is something powerful enough to change life as he knows it.

He is reluctant to admit fate is holding the winning hand in his game of cards, despite the fact the events that unfold suggest exactly the opposite. Was it always meant to be? Written in the stars, the sand and in the dreams of many?

Clarke lets each element meld perfectly into one story, and by not letting one overshadow the other, it becomes a read you can enjoy regardless of which genre you prefer as a reader. The biblical elements don’t veer off into a question of religion or faith, they are merely used as historical references in relation to the storyline.

I liked the way Clarke drew parallels to biblical figures and stories without pointing a big arrow at them. They are self-explanatory and well-known enough for readers to get the reference even if you only have basic knowledge and aren’t a bible-thumping zealot.

It’s an interesting combination of history, theology and biblical tales, genetics and magical realism. It has a wee bit of a Dan Brown meets genetics and encounters the fantastical vibe. To counter the parts that stretch the imagination the author gives us scenarios that are and could be a reality. The balancing act really sets the tone of the piece.

Buy Children of Sinai at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogBlitz The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows by Jenni Keer

Today it’s my turn on the BlogBlitz The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows by Jenni Keer. It’s magical realism with poignant storylines, vibrant characters and a romance that brews like nice cup of tea.

About the Author

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker was published in January 2019. The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows is out in July 2019.

Follow @JenniKeer on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit jennikeer.co.uk

Buy The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows

About the book

When Maisie Meadows finds herself single and jobless on New Year’s Day, she resolves that this will be the year she focuses on bringing her scattered family back together. Romance is all very well, but it’s the people you grew up with that matter the most.

But a new job working at an auction house puts her in the path of Theo, a gorgeous but unattainable man who she can’t help but be distracted by. As their bond begins to grow, Maisie finds herself struggling to fulfil the promise she made to herself – but the universe has other ideas, and it’s not long before the Meadows family are thrown back together in the most unlikely of circumstances…

Can dealing with other people’s treasures help Maisie to let go of the past, and teach her who she ought to treasure the most?

Review

I loved the idea of the inanimate object having an underlying magic. Nothing tangible or written in ceramic, just something special out there in the universe. I also thought it was beautiful how the tea set became a synonym for family. The compelling premise of the tea set being incomplete also equating to a family being broken or torn apart.

Maisie Meadows love a planned life, an organised life and everything has a place. After an unfortunate break-up she finds a new job, new friends and an item from her past. An old teapot of an elderly neighbour turns up in the auction house. It causes flashbacks and she spends a lot of time reminiscing about her family and childhood.

In her mind they were the perfect family with the perfect sound-bite memories, but perhaps that is just the way the little girl Maisie wants to remember it. The truth is her family split in so many directions and has been for many years.

Maisie feels a pull to reunite the pieces of the tea set. She isn’t quite sure why it is so important, but she is determined to figure out the secret. Maybe she will find more than she ever hoped, perhaps it will help her to reconcile with some unacknowledged subconscious inner pain.

It’s a story that will resonate with many readers, because family is something the majority of us share, and unfortunately a lot also have broken ones. Broken can also mean far apart or growing apart.

It’s magical realism with poignant storylines, vibrant characters and a romance that brews like a nice cup of tea. I have to admit it made me laugh out loud quite a few times. Stickergate, that’s all I’m saying. It also made me thoughtful and sad sometimes, but overall it is a brilliantly loving read. It’s refreshingly perky and thought-provoking.

Buy The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway below to win a signed copy of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker,  pack of Scratbag notelets,  pretty purple pen and a Maisie bookmark (Open to UK Only)

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#BlogTour The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott. It’s a psychological thriller mixed with magical realism.About the Author

Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was The French Girl, which will be published by Berkley in February 2018 – available to pre-order on Amazon now!

When she’s not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won’t be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won’t be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn’t out of the question.

Buy The Missing Years

About the book

She thought she would never go back…

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago. Her father.

Leaving London behind to settle her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by the half-sister she’s never taken the time to get to know.

With the past threatening to swallow her whole, she can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her. And when Ailsa confronts the first nighttime intruder, she sees that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything…

Review

Ailsa returns to the home of her childhood. The one her mother ran from when Ailsa’s father disappeared with a bunch of diamonds. Now her mother is dead and Ailsa owns half a house she is unable to sell.

She returns to the Scottish Highlands with her half-sister Carrie, which sounds like an opportunity to bond. The two of them have a fractious and fragile relationship, which leads to mistrust, disagreements and misunderstandings. The hope is that the two of them will reconnect and instead of searching for the old bond, perhaps they can build a new relationship. On top of that Ailsa feels as if she has fallen into some kind of bizarre mystery that is the story of her life.

The Manse deserves character status in its own right. It lives, it moves, it breathes and it haunts. Ailsa isn’t sure at first, and to be fair it’s hard to differentiate between outside influences, human hand and something more sinister and inexplicable, but eventually she realises there is something more to the building she lived in as a child.

Between each chapter is a page, which sometimes reads as if Ailsa’s father has written or spoken it himself. He is in this country or that continent. He is married, single or gay. He is so many things except with Ailsa. After a while it becomes clear that these are the scenarios she has imagined during the time he has been gone. Reasons to explain why he isn’t with her. Why she isn’t and was never important enough for him to come home again.

I loved this element of the book. Partly because it isn’t clear where the info stems from and because it interjects so abruptly in the midst of the reality of her life. It’s a little bit like her dreams, her subconscious and then her conscious self competing against each other simultaneously.

The same goes for the magical realism aspect of the read. It gives the story a haunting gothic vibe, a house as fortune-teller and the bodyguard, whilst emanating the pain of the past throughout its rooms and halls.

It’s gripping, it pulls the reader in slowly with a captivating plot. It’s a psychological thriller mixed with magical realism.

Buy The Missing Years at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Corvus; pub date 6 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.