Saturday, 10 November 2018

Book blog tour: Where The Truth Lies by M.J. Lee

Hey all! Todays lovely post comes as part of the blog tour for the gripping thriller "Where The Truth Lies" By M.J. Lee. As part of the tour I've been lucky to nab an extract for you lovely lot! Before that, I've included some info about the book, read on and find out...

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Book blog tour: Dead End by Rachel Lynch

Hi alllll! So it's been a hot minute a post over here. Today we've brought you a lovely guest post from author Rachel Lynch following the release of her latest novel "Dead End", explaining her some of her research process.

Guest post: Rachel Lynch

In the Kelly Porter novels, I’m always looking for new angles to explore pathology and police procedure. The research never stops, and it’s vitally important for me to learn new procedures and technologies, and incorporate them in my books.

For example, in Dead End, Kelly makes an aerial search of a mountainous area, looking for two missing girls. I loved researching this! I’ve been in helicopters and I’m a bit like Kelly: they shouldn’t work but they do! I know the police use them all the time now, but resources are tight in Cumbria, and sometimes they use the mountain rescue helicopters, or borrow from neighbouring constabularies, such as Lancaster. It has to be plausible to me, and Kelly is used to having technology on tap in London, but this is very different and she’d got to use her resourcefulness.

Police dive teams appeared in Dark Game and they make a reappearance here in Dead End. I trained to be a Sports Diver in Cyprus, when I lived there for almost three years. It meant I could dive to fifty metres in open water, and it involved a lot of exams and technical knowledge. I love the atmosphere that’s made possible in the confine space of a wetsuit and a tank of air- it’s adrenaline pumping and then some! There’s also a commercial dive scene in Dead End, and I do like to throw in the odd curve ball here and there, and that dive instructor was fun to create. 

I also like to have the coroner use different techniques and face new challenges in his work, and so this time, for Dead End, I did a lot of research into brain pathology, without giving too much away. Ted Wallis is obviously a very experienced pathologist and I always like to give him slightly different angles to work with. This is a good source of tension for Kelly, too, because results take time, and sometimes, dead bodies throw up real surprises.

Nowadays, it’s quite easy to research topics on the internet, but my joy is gained from taking that research, and turning what I find into a proper job for my developing characters. Also, things don’t always go to plan in the real world and mistakes are made and opportunities lost. I also have to keep in mind that a lot of police work, and pathology, is fairly dull: crunching data and looking for detail. It can take weeks to follow a lead on one carpet strand, as it can take months to wait to see if DNA can be replicated and harvested. Obviously this would make a pretty flat plot, and so I take liberties with time and space, but always make sure the investigative detail is plausible.

One example of this is the Lake District terrain. Accuracy is important to me, however, sometimes, Kelly has to cover distances and altitudes quickly, to keep the story moving forward. For example, it’s possible to get up to Martindale as quickly as she does, but, in summer, stuck behind a mini-bus, on narrow lanes choked with tourists, it’s probably a long shot. The same is true about the geography of Place Fell- the location that first inspired Dead End, and if ever you get chance to visit, it’s a cracking walk to start with. From the summit, the whole of Ullswater spreads out before you, majestic and vast. It’s truly breath taking. There are several ways up to the summit, and Kelly and Johnny could easily jog up it, given their level of fitness. It is deserted most of the time, it’s wind swept, and these features are what planted the seed of a major plot thread for me in Dead End. I remember sitting up there one day, looking down on Ullswater, Dead End beginning to form in my head. 

Having said all that, research has to be handled with care. Like William Faulkner said, the novelist has to kill their darlings, and it’s true. For every paragraph on technical detail, I’ve probably researched a book load of facts. In the final edit, they all have to be culled, to leave just enough nuggets to thrill the reader!

Book Spotlight:

Title: Dead End

Author Name: Rachel Lynch

Previous Books (if applicable): Dark Game and Deep Fear

Genre: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural

Release Date: 8th October 2018

Publisher: Canelo

Book Blurb:
When the seventh Earl of Lowesdale is found hanging from the rafters at Wasdale Hall, everyone assumes the aging, hard-partying aristocrat had finally had enough of chasing the glory of his youth. But when the coroner finds signs of foul play, DI Kelly Porter is swept into a luxurious world where secrets and lies dominate.
At the same time, two young hikers go missing and it’s up to Kelly to lead the search. But digging deeper reveals ties to two other unsolved disappearances and Kelly and her team find themselves in a race against time.
Now, as all roads of both investigations and Kelly’s own family secrets lead to Wasdale Hall it becomes more important than ever for Kelly to discover the devious truths hidden behind the walls of the Lake District’s most exclusive estate...
Don't miss this gripping crime thriller featuring an unforgettable detective. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Patricia Gibney and Robert Bryndza.

Links to Book:  Amazon (UK) Kobo (UK) Google Books (UK) Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio: Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

Twitter: @r_lynchcrime

I can't wait to read this one!!

Abi x

Monday, 27 August 2018

Review: Baltic market

Hello my lovely lot! I recently surpassed my 24th Birthday. I know, the lady lord above only knows how I made it this far! I debated writing a 24 at 24 post but my love of lists couldn’t stretch me that far(soz).
Instead I want talk about where we went! It’s someowhere close to where I live that I’ve been wanting to go for ages now! 

So, with a group of friends in tow we descended upon the highly recommended Baltic Market.

Now, if you’re not local to Liverpool, or likely to pop by any time soon then don’t turn away just yet. 

The Baltic Markets are an all in one package for a good time. Set in Liverpool’s up and coming Baltic triangle on the edges of the city centre lies an old brewery turned edible hotspot. 

Inside, there’s rows of benches, bustling people, a bright stage and tons of food and drinks vendors. For me, the food I most wanted to try was the Halloumi fries! I treated myself to a salt and pepper version, and then later shared some mac’ncheese bites and pulled pork fries with the group!

Drinks wise there’s a main bar and separate vendors. I couldn’t help but be drawn to “Gin Lane” and their fantastic cocktails! 

The only down side was that it was so busy by the time we were ready to follow up with some dessert (either bubble waffles or doughnuts!) they’d all sold out. Still,  just an excuse to go back again! 

If you want some serious food porn then check out their Instagram here.
All round, I had a lovely birthday evening with my friends!

Abi x

P.s. sadly this is just my honest review of my experience at the Baltic market, but if anyone fancies paying me in halloumi fries hit me up.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Book blog tour: Blood of the Red Rose by P.J. Gray

Hello fellow bibliophiles and assorted other readers of this blog! Todays post is taking part in a book tour for the recently released Blood of the Red Rose! I've been trying to branch out a little more with my book reviews, as I feel that although I read a variety of styles, I don't often write about them. So when this novel landed on my doorstep (literally) I was happy to take part in the blog tour.
Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, finds himself exiled in France when Warwick the Kingmaker puts Edward IV on the throne of England. Desperate to return the throne to the rightful King Henry VI, Beaufort finds himself caught between Henry's bitter wife Marguerite of Anjou and the French 'Spider' King Louis until Edward and Warwick fall out in spectacular style and, at Louis' urging, Warwick becomes their unlikely ally. Set on the rich stage of the Wars of the Roses, this is a tale of intrigue, love and war that can only end in tragedy.
About the author:
Philippa was born in Chichester and developed a passion for history whilst growing up in Cyprus and then North Yorkshire. She began writing when she was at junior school, winning the school prize for English, and wrote and illustrated her own stories which she read to her long-suffering friends. She started her first novel, Blood of the Red Rose, when her elder daughter was a baby and finally completed it twenty-eight years later. Philippa has two daughters, four grandchildren and a grand-cat and now lives in Cyprus with Paul, her husband of twenty-five years, three dogs and four cats.
I actually quite enjoy historical dramas, its just not often I think to grab one. I liked the viewpoint we had on the War of the Roses in this piece, it just seemed like a new story of a well known historical event.
It took me a little while to get into the book, particularly to get the story arcs clear in my mind. I'll hold my hands up, it was truthfully the second time I read that everything really fell into place for me. This might not necessarily be a reflection of the book but myself, as I always seem to need to do that with period work. By the second read though I was fully invested, and I could see all the nuances I'd mostly missed on my first run through.
For me I 'd give this book 6/10. Its well worth a read and even a second if you're someone like me who likes to understand everything that's going on plot wise!
About the Book
Title: Blood of the Red Rose
Author: P. J. Gray
Release Date: 14th August 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Find it on Amazon or Goodreads.
Facebook page.
Abi x
p.s.: I received a copy of the book for free in exchange for my review and participation on the blog tour.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Portugal photo diary

The end of June saw me jet off to the lovely Porto in Portugal for 5 days! It was a desperately needed break, I've been working crazy hours saving for a car. Even a work horse needs a break now and then!

Now, unfortunately the trip wasn't quite how I expected. Anyone living in the UK wil know we re having an unprecedentedly hot summer. We were away for the first week of the heatwave, but the weather in Portugal was "okay" at best. A bit sunny, a bit warm but not the glorious sun ridden haven everyone back home experienced.

The other wee surprise was that we weren't actually in Porto as I'd thought. Instead we were about an hour or so outside of Porto in the gorgeously quiet Douro wine region. It was filed with stunning hills and veinerys stemming from the steep banks of the Douro river. It was dead AF though. So one day was spent exploring (and exhausting) our hotel and the rest of the holiday we got the hour and a half train into Porto.

The city itself was brilliant. Full of gorgeous old tiled buildings, cute winding streets and a stunning river. I really loved exploring the city with my boyfriend.

Overall, I'd visit Porto again, but try and stay within the city itself. Maybe an Air BnB job and a chance to enjoy the nightlife we missed out on.
I was a bit nervous about going away for five days with my boyfriend as it was the longest amount of time we've spent together in one go. Should have known better cos I had a wale of a time and was sad to see him off at the end of the week...even if it was only for a day or so! Soppy idiot me haha.

Have you ever been Portugal?

Abi x

Monday, 23 July 2018

Book blog tour: At The Dark Hour by John Wilson

Heyoo, welcome back! Or just plain welcome if you've somehow found this page and aren't too sure how that has occurred exactly.
Either way, you've made it to today's book blog tour review of At the Dark Hour by John Wilson.

A moving story about the nature of love and redemption set amidst the worst of the London Blitz and the destruction of London’s hallowed seat of law, the Temple

Adam Falling is a failing, sick barrister married to Catherine but conducting an affair with the glamorous Julia, who happens to be the wife of his Head of Chambers, Jeremy Pemberton.

Julia, fearful of losing her children, suddenly ends the affair. But it is too late. Pemberton discovers it and Adam is kicked out of his home and his chambers. Unable to work without a chambers and facing ruin, salvation comes in the unlikely form of the brilliant barrister, Roland (“Roly”) Blytheway. Blythway, held back in his career because of his sexuality, befriends him and invites him to join his chambers at Lamb Building.

It is there he finds himself defending a Czech refugee, Tomas Novak, who has been accused of treason and who is facing the gallows and becomes mired in another contested divorce case for one Arnold Bateman, where he, on the recommendation of Pemberton, represents the co-respondent whilst Pemberton represents the petitioner - a piece of cruel psychological torture on the part of Pemberton.

Whilst the Blitz rages on around, can Adam save Novak from the gallows? Can he get Bateman off? Will he ever discover why Julia suddenly broke off their affair? Can he succeed in resisting Jeremy’s claims against him personally? He has been told that only one man can possibly save him and that man is Roland Blytheway.

At the Dark Hour is the story of ordinary people caught in the horror of war whilst the city is destroyed around them. It features many of the most notable real life events of the Blitz such as the bombing of the Café de Paris.

Some books fall into your lap and they are simple to read. There's a start, a middle an end. With At The Dark Hour, there is those crucial components but also so much more. It has detail left, right and centre. From the plot twists to the characters actions, thoughts, pasts. This novel was a joy to read for someone like me that has such a deep love of detail. I won't lie, I've read it twice.

It seems that the majority of book blog tours I take part in are mostly crime thrillerish style pieces(which I love) so it was a welcome change to step into Wilson's blitz struck world.
Overall a solid 9/10 read for me.

Author Information
Originally from Wigan, John Wilson is a QC at 1, Hare Court, London who was called to the Bar in 1981. He has written or contributed to a number of academic text books, written very many articles and is a published poet.

Wilson drew on his many years of experience of family law (and in the early days criminal law) and upon the misogyny and homophobia which were characteristic of the law at the time the novel is set.

When not working in London, Wilson spends as much of his time as possible in the South of France, where the novel was written, and travels extensively.

Check out the fellow blog tour participants!
Abi x

ps: I was kindly sent a copy to read for free but all opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Book Blog Tour: More Than Us by Dawn Barker

HI guys! Long time no see! Bringing  this blog back to its roots  a good old book review, as part of the More Than Us book blog tour!

A little background about this book for y'all:

Title: More Than Us
Author Name: Dawn Barker
Previous Books (if applicable): Let Her Go
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Family Drama
Release Date: 21st May 2018
Publisher: Canelo

Now for the More important parts: (aka what's actually about?).

Book Blurb: When parents disagree on how to care for their child, is it justifiable to take extreme measures?
Emily and Paul have a glorious home, money in the bank and two beautiful children. Since leaving Scotland for Paul to play football for an Australian team they have been blessed. But sadness lies behind the picture-perfect family - sixteen-year-old Cameron has battled with health troubles his entire life. There's no name for what he has, but his disruptive behaviour, OCD and difficulty in social situations is a constant source of worry.
When Paul's career comes to a shuddering halt, he descends into a spiral of addiction, gambling away the family's future. By the time he seeks help, it's his new boss Damien who recommends and pays for a rehab facility.
While Paul is away, Emily has to make a tough decision about their son. She keeps it from Paul knowing he'll disapprove. And when a terrible accident reveals the truth, Paul takes his son and goes on the run, leaving Emily to care for fourteen-year-old Tilly, who unbeknown to her parents is fighting battles of her own.
Can the family join together for the sake of their loved ones, or will their troubles tear them apart?

Aaaaaaand my review:

The story wasn't massively grabbing me at first but persevering past the first few chapter  saw the characters begin to gain a lovely bit of depth.

The character that stood it to me by far was  Tilly, perhaps because she reminded me a lot of my youngest  and similarly aged sister. I often wonder how much is left under the surface and her story a  told very well throughout.

The character of Paul I found hard to grasp. The way in which he abandons Emily is hard to believe, but it is for Emily too so it fit well in the arch of the plot.

The book concludes in a really gripping way after all the build of the over arching plots....but don't expect any spoilers from me here!

Well worth a read, landing a solid 6/10 from me.

Abi x

Author Bio:
Dawn Barker is a psychiatrist and author. She grew up in Scotland, then in 2001 she moved to Australia, completed her psychiatric training and began writing. Her first novel, Fractured, was selected for the 2010 Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre manuscript development programme, was one of Australia's bestselling debut fiction titles for 2013, and was shortlisted for the 2014 WA Premier's Book Awards. Her second novel is Let Her Go. Dawn lives in Perth with her husband and three young children.