Published by Corsair

Ebook & Hardback: 7 April 2016   | Paperback: 19 January 2017

 

Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy.

His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.

Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.

Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

 

Twelve year old Ethan lives with his mother Claire, in a Sydney suburb. His father, Mark, went away when Ethan was a baby and has never seen his son since. Claire has done a superb job bringing Ethan up single handedly – he is a thoughtful, bright and intelligent child with an enquiring mind and loves science and physics, especially astronomy. In fact he is so clever, he is bullied and taunted by other children at school who call him ‘Stephen Hawking’. His best friend Will has turned against him and joined with the bullies and Ethan spends his days lonely and friendless.

Claire is an ex-ballerina. She gave up a promising career to look after Ethan and loves him with every fibre of her body. He can be exhausting in his questions but she has encouraged and nurtured him all the way. Claire knows why Mark went away but she has kept secrets for so long they have now become part of her and she doesn’t know how to let them out.

Her husband Mark left when Ethan was 4 months old. We’re not sure why until later in the book when the whole story is recounted. Ethan misses having a dad – he writes Father’s Day cards but has no address to send them to. Until one day, he finds a letter sent by Mark to Claire and Pandora’s box is opened.

This is such a beautiful story that will tug at your heartstrings. At first I couldn’t understand why Claire would keep so much hidden from Ethan but its only when you know the full story that you understand. As a result of trauma suffered as a baby, Ethan has brain damage but not the conventional damage that we might think of. It is believed that his brain has re-wired itself – unlike most people he sees light and sound waves. It is only as Ethan gets older that the true extent of this damage is realised and it would seem that Ethan is a very special child indeed.

There is an awful lot of science in this book – and I must admit that a lot of the technical narrative I didn’t understand but it’s written from the view of a 12 year old and so doesn’t feel like a science text book. It didn’t really matter that I didn’t understand it, but the important thing was that Ethan did. When he finally does find a friend – someone who gets him – I was so happy for him.

There is a sadness to the story but there are also uplifting and humorous moments and the author does a really good job of keeping the balance. It’s a story of love between a parent and child and coming to terms with consequences of actions. The characters are so well defined – flaws and all and nobody is perfect; perhaps like me, you will even feel frustrated with them at times but the characters are what makes this book such a joy to read.

Relativity is the author’s debut novel and the beautiful writing drew me in from the beginning. It really is an emotional and thought provoking read and one which I am so glad didn’t pass me by.

 

My thanks to the publisher for the paperback copy to review.

 

About the author:

 

Antonia Hayes, who grew up in Sydney and spent her twenties in Paris, lives in San Francisco with her husband and son. Relativity is her first novel.

 

Author Website   |    Twitter    |    Amazon UK    |   Goodreads

beneath-the-ashes

 

Published by Legend Press

Ebook and Paperback : 1 November 2016

 

The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.

When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.

Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house has been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.

Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

A gripping thriller perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson, B A Paris and Sophie Hannah

 

Last year I reviewed another of Jane’s books (An Unfamiliar Murder – reviewed here) featuring a female detective, Helen Lavery. This time we meet a different detective, DI Will Jackman (whose first outing was in Before It’s Too Late and which I do have on my bookshelf waiting patiently!)

I was immediately hooked by the teasing prologue of a woman seemingly about to end her life in a graveyard. We then move on to the main story with a young woman waking up on a kitchen floor, covered in blood and her boyfriend missing. At around the same time, an unidentified body is discovered in a burning barn nearby. Is there a connection between the two events? Is the girlfriend involved or is it merely a case of wrong place, wrong time?  However, there is a whole lot more to this story than just a body in a barn and DI Jackman and his team have their work cut out in tying up the different strands. Every time they think they have found a solution, they are led off in a whole different direction.

I really enjoyed this police procedural with its twists and turns and have to admit to now adding Will Jackman to my list of book crushes. What I particularly like about Jane’s detectives is that they are just normal people – so many fictional detectives are curmudgeonly, angst ridden individuals with marital difficulties and alcohol problems. That’s not to say that Will doesn’t have personal issues to deal with (he has a particularly sad backstory which is alluded to in this story) but he comes across as a straightforward and dedicated detective that you can trust to be on the side of the victim. He is clearly a family man (when the job allows) and the relationship with his grown up daughter was nicely managed. The scenes with his daughter’s new boyfriend and the dog particularly made me smile (and I did wonder whether the inspiration came from the author’s own canine companion!)

There are a lot of threads and characters to follow with Beneath the Ashes but rather than being a confusing muddle, the author has cleverly pulled them together to make a first rate and suspenseful crime story with an exciting and dramatic conclusion. Set around Northamptonshire, there is an excellent sense of place and it is clear that the author has first-hand knowledge of the locations.

I haven’t yet read the first book in the series, Before It’s Too Late, and I didn’t feel disadvantaged at all. There is enough information given here to enable me to engage with the central characters and to understand the dynamics of the investigating team.

Jane Isaac is now firmly on my list of ‘must read’ crime authors and I shall definitely be reading the third book in the Jackman series ‘The Lies Within’ due to be published in May 2017.

 

 

About the author:

jane-isaacJane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014’.

In 2015 Jane embarked on a new series, featuring DI Will Jackman and set in Stratford upon Avon, with Before It’s Too Late. The second in the series, Beneath The Ashes, will be published by Legend Press on 1st November 2016 with the 3rd, The Lies Within, to follow on 2nd May 2017.

Both DI Jackman and DCI Lavery will return again in the near future. Sign up to Jane’s newsletter on her website at www.janeisaac.co.uk for details of new releases, events and giveaways.

 

 Author Website  | Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Amazon UK  | Goodreads

 

 

Published by Bloodhound Books

ebook & paperback:  13 April 2017

With thanks to Sarah Hardy for including me on the tour, and together with the fabulous Noelle from Crime Book Junkie, I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Kill or Die on publication day. I had this on pre-order as I really like the look of it.   For my turn, I have a guest post from Ann.

The things kids say!

by Ann Evans

Thank you for hosting me on your blog. It’s very much appreciated.

Kill or Die is my first venture into the adult crime scene. It’s my 29th book and apart from four books, the rest have been for children aged 8-11 and young adults. As such I often get asked into schools to talk about books and writing, with the aim of inspiring youngsters to read more and write better stories themselves.

It’s enjoyable, but hard work and very challenging. You always get lots of questions thrown at you and you have to be quick off the mark with your answers. One question they tend to ask – much to the teacher’s horror, is: “How much money do you earn?”

Before the teacher can tell little Johnny not to be so rude, I’ll get them with a math’s question, pointing out that the author only gets a percentage – or a fraction of the book price, the publisher gets a share, the book shop gets a share, the delivery man gets a share etc etc. So, maybe the author only gets 50p… you should see their little faces drop! All ambition of being an author flies through the window. But then you get them to work out how much they get if they sell 10 books, then 100, and then 1,000 etc., so teacher is relieved, and the kids want to be authors again. Phew!

“How old are you?” Is another question they like to ask – again to the horror of the teacher. So I tell them that I first started writing when I was expecting my first baby. And that baby is now grown up – I raise my hand a foot above my head to indicate he’s now over 6 ft, and add – “with babies of his own!” Thirty pairs of eyes widen! Teacher is smiling again.

One story I love to tell them, and which teachers enjoy, as it reiterates everything they’re trying to drum into them, is how hard it was to get published in the first place. Whether I tell this (true) tale at an assembly for the whole school or to an individual class, I always get the same great response which has the kids whooping and cheering at the end.

Firstly, I’ll describe how hard it is to write a book, with all the re-writing, polishing, editing, checking of spelling, punctuation, grammar etc., after which you send it off, and wait – fingers crossed. I ask for a show of hands as to whether they think I got an acceptance letter back – most of them have their hands straight up. Surely that’s all there is to it. One or two nervously put their hands up to say they think it was rejected. I then tell them – back it came with a rejection letter saying, “Thanks but no thanks.”

Groans all around the hall. So I ask them should I give up? Seeing as I have a table full of books behind me, there’s usually a resounding “No!” So I repeat the process, building up my efforts to write a brilliant story, only to be rejected time and again. Getting them to come up with great words to say how I’d be feeling – devastated, miserable, heart-broken etc. But mid way, I’ll point put that whatever you do, you have to persevere and no one is great at anything to begin with. Anyway by the time we reach book number seven, the children are resigned to hearing that also was rejected. When I tell them that was accepted – the cheers raise the roof! A lesson in perseverance.

I can’t imagine I’ll be taking my new book, Kill or Die into school, but possibly a talk with a book club or a group. But do you think I’ll be able to get them all sitting up straight on the carpet, waiting eagerly and quietly for me to begin? Well possibly….

Thank you so much for letting me write this guest post for your blog. And I hope you and any younger readers in the family will enjoy my books.

 

About the book:

A vicious burglary goes horribly wrong when an elderly victim is killed and
one of the burglars is injured.

In the detached house next door, Julia is preparing to leave her husband. He has let her down for the last time and her bags are packed. Taking their eight-year-old daughter, Lucy, from her bed they set off in the fog.

But on this cold, dark night, fate steps in and these strangers collide.

When Vincent and Nash abduct the mother and daughter, and take them to a derelict house, the situation takes a grave turn.

Meanwhile, Julia’s husband, Ian, is distraught that his wife and daughter have left, and when the murder and burglary are discovered, suspicion falls on him.

For Ian, Julia and Lucy, life is about to become a nightmare.

Can Julia and Lucy escape from the twisted criminals?

What will Julia decide when the choice is – kill or die?

 

About the author:

I’ve always loved writing. What started as a hobby has now become a way of life. My children’s and YA books have been published by Scholastic Children’s Books, Usborne Publishing, Penguin Australia, Hometown World, Badger Learning and Astraea Press (Clean Reads). Plus there are a number of adults books published under my pen name of Ann Carroll – and more in the pipeline. The Beast published by Usborne won the raring2read category in the Coventry Literary Book Festival 2013. 2017 sees three new books being published, another YA reluctant reader book for Badger Learning entitled Keeper. An historical romance called A Place to Belong, and a crime thriller – working title Kill or Die with Bloodhound Books.
When I’m not writing I do school visits, run workshops and give talks.
My non-fiction career spans the last 30 years which includes 13 years at the Coventry Telegraph as a staff feature writer plus a great many freelance articles on a wide range of topics.

 

Author Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |  Facebook   |   Amazon UK   |  Goodreads

 

Kill or Die is available to download from Amazon for just 99p

 

Published by Headline

Ebook & Hardback: 9 March 2017   |  Paperback 5 October 2017

 

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

Regular followers of my blog may have seen from previous posts that I am a huge fan of this series which has gone from strength to strength. All three previous books in the series have been reviewed here on the blog – Someone Else’s Skin (#1 – 2014), No Other Darkness (#2 – 2015), Tastes Like Fear (#3 – 2016).  As generally, one book is released each year, you can imagine my excitement at the prospect of a new Marnie Rome story.

In my humble opinion, book #4, Quieter than Killing, is the best yet. Over the series, the main characters have been evolving, each with their own back story being developed to show the person behind the police ID badge. With each book, we learn a little more about their home life, their families, and the problems and stresses they bring by association. Aside from Marnie’s complicated issues, Noah is again having problems with his younger brother Sol. It seems that Sol is again in a big pile of trouble and unwittingly brings it to Noah’s door.

Brutal attacks have been taking place, seemingly at random, with one attack leading to a death. With suggestions that a vigilante may be responsible, Marnie and her team have their work cut out in finding who is behind them. Add into the mix a 10 year old missing boy who may or may not be connected to the attacks and at times events get a little too close to comfort for Marnie. Her back story is a tragic but also an intriguing one and now with book number 4, a little more is revealed as to the events of six years before. Her relationship with her foster brother Stephen Keele is under the spotlight again here as other people are manipulating her situation for their own ends. There is definitely more to come from the Marnie/Stephen angle and I’m intrigued to know what further revelations are afoot in the next book.

As usual the characterisations are spot on and totally believable. Marnie’s trusted superior Commander Welland is out of the picture for the time being and his place has been taken by DCS Rebecca Ferguson. There is clearly no love lost between the two women and although at times you could feel the hostility cutting through the atmosphere, there was also a grudging respect.  I can’t see those two ever being friends but you can guarantee that Noah has Marnie’s back.

The pace never lets up here – the race against time to find the missing boy; finding those responsible for the attacks and trying to keep one step ahead. When one of her team is taken down, Marnie comes under even more pressure to find the culprits.

I hope Sarah Hilary never decides to give Noah a promotion which would take him away from Marnie. I love the way these two work together – over the series they have bonded and formed a genuine friendship and not just a working partnership. As well as familiar faces in the investigation team, a new character has been introduced – Harry Kennedy. I enjoyed his interaction with Marnie and it would be good to see him appear in a future story.

This is another cracking read from Sarah Hilary and there is now an impatient wait until book 5! If you are new to this series, you could jump straight in with this one without any loss of enjoyment – but why would you want to when the previous books are so good too.

My thanks to Katie and the publisher Headline, for the paperback ARC to review.

 

About the author:

Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut novel, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015. It was the Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”), a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, and has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was published in 2015. The Marnie Rome series continued in 2016 with TASTES LIKE FEAR. Sarah lives in Bath. The Marnie Rome series is being developed for television.

 

 

Author Links:  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  | Amazon UK  |  Goodreads

 

 

 

It’s a pleasure to be taking part in a giveaway of Jennie Ensor’s debut psychological thriller, Blind Side. Details of how to enter are contained in the Rafflecopter box below but on offer is one signed paperback copy of Blind Side.  The giveaway is open to UK entrants only.

Let me tell you a little about the book.

Can you ever truly know someone? And what if you suspect the unthinkable?

London, five months before 7/7. Georgie, a young woman wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when Julian reveals he’s loved her for a long time.

But Georgie can’t resist her attraction to Nikolai, a Russian former soldier she meets in a pub. While Julian struggles to deal with her rejection, Georgie realises how deeply war-time incidents in Chechnya have affected Nikolai. She begins to suspect that the Russian is hiding something terrible from her.

Then London is attacked…

Blind Side explores love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession. An explosive, debate-provoking thriller that confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears.

 

About the author:

Jennie Ensor is a Londoner descended from a long line of Irish folk. During a long period overseas she worked for some years as a freelance journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to accidents in the mining industry. These days Ms E lives in London with her husband and their cuddle-loving, sofa-hogging terrier. When not chasing the dog through local woodland or dreaming of setting off on an unfeasibly long journey with a Kindleful of books, she writes novels, flash fiction and occasionally poetry (published under another name). Her second novel, due to be finished soon, is a dark and unsettling psychological drama.

 

 

Author Links:   Website    |  Twitter   |  Facebook  |  Amazon UK   | Goodreads

 

  • Blindside is published by Unbound
  • Paperback edition 28 February 2017  | ISBN: 978-1-911586-00-5
  • e-book edition July 22 2016
  • 336pp

 

Where to Buy Links:
The paperback edition is available (in stock/to order) from UK bookshops, including Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Foyles and independent booksellers.

 

GIVEAWAY

Entry to the giveaway is via the Rafflecopter box.  Please ensure that whichever entry method you choose is actually completed otherwise your entry won’t be registered by Rafflecopter.  One winner will be selected at random when the giveaway ends and their details passed to Jennie who will dispatch the book direct.  Thank you for reading – and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway