The Biggest Idea in the World by David Joland | Extract

Available in ebook and paperback

257 pages



 

I’m very pleased to share an extract from a new comedy novel from debut author David Joland, The Biggest Idea in the World. In it, we meet Barry Goodman, the world’s funniest, most loveable loser, and go on a hilarious ride as he attempts to take on the corporate giants of the world…and beat them at their own game!

 

An extract from The Biggest Idea in the World:

My thoughts return to the premiere.

The biggest names in the valley are going to be there, and I may have the chance to challenge Mark Zuckerburg on why he pinched my Facebook idea. Whilst I’m at it, I’ll probably see the bastards behind Uber, Instagram and the countless other ideas stolen from me, as well as a few faces I met at the Oat House.

I decide the best plan of action is to keep a low profile, watch Mickey do his thing, and leave surreptitiously before anyone has a chance to see me.

The film starts at 8pm, but the reception and pre-movie party starts at 6pm.

The Premiere Special is being broadcast live on Fox from 7pm for an hour, so the biggest names will want to arrive as soon after that as possible to ensure they get enough time to swan down the red carpet, mixing with the film’s stars and making out they’re all old mates, despite having never met before.

Mickey will probably arrive at 7:30pm and he’ll want to talk about how fantastic his movie is, and thank everyone who helped him bring it together.

I, of course, arrive bang on six, and am amongst the first.

There’s a great deal of fuss going on as the TV cameras and boom microphones take their positions along the red carpet. The few others who have arrived early are watching the cameras, watching them. They’re being used for positioning shots only. There’s less than zero interest in who they are. It’s only ever those that have done odd-jobs on the set, or are related to the major players, that turn up at this time.

Behind the barriers, there’s already a crowd assembling. I walk past them, and as I step onto the red carpet I can’t help feeling slightly superior, and perhaps a little sweaty.

I notice my chest puff up, and my pace slow. From the corner of my eye, I see people hanging over the barriers watching me, and I sense their envy.

I slow further and develop a slight swagger to my walk. About half way along the carpet I hear someone shouting, and almost immediately, a security guard appears next to me ordering me stop. He points to behind the barriers, where he wants me to go.

I tell him smugly, I’m invited and watch the look of disbelief on his face, as he demands to see my invitation, which I suddenly realise I don’t have. There are a few jeers from those behind the barriers as people are quick to remind me I’m no one special, and I’m escorted towards a make-shift hospitality tent, behind a truck buzzing with generators.

Both the security guard and the lady in the tent seem genuinely disappointed to find my name on Mickey Roughton’s personal guest list, albeit misspelt.

When I’m handed a brown package, inscribed  ‘to my good mate Barry, enjoy the show’ with a smiley face and Mickey scrawled across it, they become apologetic. I milk it for all it’s worth and explain I’m actually Mickey’s partner but I keep a low profile. It backfires somewhat as they offer me an access through the rear entrance, which I politely refuse.

As I stuff the package into my inside jacket pocket I’m escorted back to the beginning of the red carpet. I speed up. Making an entrance is one thing, but re-entering in front of the same crowd is nothing short of humiliating.

I’ve only watched Fox TV once before, but I instantly recognise the tanned face and white teeth of Chuck Jenkins, the over-enthusiastic host who interviewed Mickey on his last trip. He’s caked in make-up and standing at the entrance to greet the VIPS and celebrities who will follow my footsteps in the next hour. He waves me on, shouting for me to walk quicker as I’m going to ruin his shot if anyone important comes along.

Aside from him, I recognise no one, so I spend time walking around on my own looking like an extra in a crowd scene, which I conclude I am.

As I wander, I see the long lines of seating, extended by the additional seats brought in for tonight’s performance. There’s a large marquee to one side through which I see a bar.

I decide that’s where I’ll spend my time.

After plucking two rather pleasant cocktails – the names of which I don’t know – from the bar, I find myself relaxing. Not being a drinker, I have no idea what else to order. Apart from lager and coke, I only know the names of drinks from what I’ve seen on TV or in the cinema. The barman tells me there’s no such thing as Duff beer so I order a tequila slammer, and then an extra-dry martini, shaken, not stirred, and with an olive. Both drinks are disgusting.

The area’s filling up and although I don’t recognise anyone, I know these are the most powerful people in the Valley. Some of them are probably aware of Project Ronald by now. Some of them are probably ripping me off at this very moment. I’m looking out for Mark Zuckerburg when suddenly music starts blaring from a speaker on the tall post I’ve been leaning against for balance. There follows a buzz in the room as it fills with a wave of celebrities. They’re all waving and blowing kisses. The guys are shaking hands with everyone they pass, cupping their victims hand with their other hand as if to add sincerity to their shake.

There are cameramen walking backwards as they lead familiar faces across the room. I’ve seen some of them before on TV. I think one was in Mash and another was in a film about a shipping disaster I saw last year.

Then I see Mickey. He’s flanked by Boogie Trent and another star – who’s name I don’t know, but I think she was in a film about a rock band – and he’s holding their hands like they’re best friends. There’s a camera in front of him and one each side.

His hair looks immaculate and I think he’s also wearing makeup. He’s grinning and as he walks past me our eyes catch and he winks.

I have no idea what time it is, and as I drink my Singapore Sling, I realise we’re live on air…

 

David Joland is a novelist and businessman. His debut novel, The Biggest Idea in the World, is available from Amazon, priced at £8.99 in paperback and £3.99 as an e-book. For more information see thebiggestideaintheworld.com

 

My thanks to Emma of The Book Publicist for providing the extract

 

|   About the Book   |

 

Meet Barry, a deluded Uber driver, saddled with debt and a wife who hates him.

Convinced he’s a genius, and that Facebook, Tripadvisor – and just about every other internet giant – were all his ideas, he’s determined not to lose out with his latest brainwave by taking it to Silicon Valley himself.

Leaving London with a suitcase full of Non-Disclosure Agreements and a head full of dreams, Barry’s confident he’s done everything possible to protect his idea and make his billions.

He pitches to deal-crazed bankers, greedy funders, geek-techies – and a shop assistant whose partner’s a conman.

All of them want Barry’s idea. All of them want to cut him out.

His one savior could be Mickey Roughton, the world famous movie producer who’s in town to promote his latest blockbuster.

What starts off as a helping-hand turns to disaster when Barry’s idea is broadcast on national TV allowing anyone to steal it – and everyone does. It looks like his unblemished record of disasters remains intact, until slowly the details of his master plan unfold revealing what could be the greatest scam to hit the Valley.

 

|   Author Bio   |

 

David Joland is an experienced entrepreneur based in Hertfordshire. Starting his first business at 17, he’s gone on to start, build and sell several businesses in a range of sectors from advertising to tech, packaging to mail order. Now, as an investor in business, David gets to meet the aspiring techies hoping to make their fortune with a fantastic idea – but no idea how to implement it. This group of wannabee Zuckerbergs were the inspiration for this novel.

The Hidden Bones (Clare Hills #1) by Nicola Ford | Blog Tour Guest Post | Living With the Dead:A Double Life

 

Published by Allison & Busby

ebook, hardback and paperback (21 June 2018)

352 pages



My thanks to Ailsa of Allison & Busby for the invitation to take part in the tour and to Nicola for providing such an interesting guest post.

 

|   About the Book   |

 

The dead rarely leave matters tidy, widow Clare Hills knows that all too well. In search of a new start, Clare reconnects with university friend Dr David Barbrook and is pleased when he asks for her help sifting through the effects of recently deceased archaeologist Gerald Hart. Together they stumble the lost finds from Gerald’s most glittering dig. Hidden from view for decades, and supposedly destroyed in an arson attack, the discovery of the Hungerbourne Barrows archive is every archaeologist’s dream. However, the dream soon turns to a nightmare which puts Clare at the centre of a murder inquiry.

 

Living with the Dead: a Double Life

by Nicola Ford

I inhabit a world full of dead people. Of course in one way we all do. We’re all surrounded by the traces of the people who’ve gone before us and shaped the world we live in. But for crime writers exploring and untangling the threads left behind by acts of violence lies at the heart of our craft. And in my day job too, as the National Trust’s Archaeologist for the Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site, I spend my days literally sifting through the physical traces that people have left behind to try to bring their stories back into the light. Sometimes that’s sites and artefacts and sometimes it’s their mortal remains.

For me the two halves of what I do and who I am, archaeologist and crime writer, are a natural fit. In my experience both crime writers and archaeologists are people people. We’re nosey, we want to understand what makes (or made) people tick. The difference is as Dr David Barbrook puts it in The Hidden Bones that, ‘Archaeologists normally wait until people have been dead for a few hundred years before they start poking round in their lives.’ Although, if truth be known, we do enjoy a good gossip too.

In The Hidden Bones I’ve invited you (dear reader) into the world of archaeology; a world where I spend my days trying to get inside the heads of people who died, in some cases, many thousands of years ago. My head is, to borrow another phrase from David in The Hidden Bones, ‘Populated with long-dead voices and images.’ And of course as a writer too I spend much of my life – possibly more of it than might be considered healthy – inside other people’s heads. Trying to understand what it’s like to walk in the shoes of others and to help you do that too is a big part of what I do. In The Hidden Bones I want to take you on that roller coaster of discovery with me, because archaeology and crime fiction are both in their own way an attempt to get to understand the human condition. But they’re also, just as importantly, brilliant forms of escapism. And who doesn’t need that in our 21st century world?

Many of the techniques I call upon as an archaeologist to resurrect the dead are the same forensic techniques employed in modern day policing. We can unlock the secrets of someone’s ancestry from their DNA, discover where they were born or brought up from the isotope signatures in their teeth and find out both how they spent their lives and how they died from indications that are, ‘written into the bone.’

And these are also the building blocks that many a modern day crime writer’s protagonists use to get to the heart of a murder investigation. Often you can only understand someone’s death if you can understand their life. And that shared quest, unlocking the secrets of life and death, is at the heart of the world of Clare Hills, David Barbrook and their team of archaeologists in The Hidden Bones.

 

|   Author Bio   |

 

Nicola Ford is the pen-name for archaeologist Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. Through her day-job and now her writing, she’s spent more time than most people thinking about the dead.

 

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Big Sister ((Varg Veum series) by Gunnar Staalesen | Blog Tour #Giveaway (@OrendaBooks) #BigSister #VargVeum

 

Published by Orenda

Available in ebook and paperback (20 June 2018)

276 pages



Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Big Sister. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite.  I have a super giveaway for you today, open internationally. Entry details are at the end of this post but first here’s a bit about the book.

 

|    About the Book   |

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

 

 

|   Author Bio   |

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is being filmed now. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.

 

 Amazon UK    |   Goodreads 

 

If you can’t wait until the end of the competition to find if you’re a winner then Big Sister is currently available to download from Amazon UK for 99p

 

 

*** GIVEAWAY ***

 

*Terms and Conditions – On behalf of the publisher Orenda Books, I’m delighted to offer one paperback copy of Big Sister, open Internationally.  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 I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to 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 winner’s information. This will passed to the publisher (Orenda Books) for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data I hold. My Reading Corner is not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.  The giveaway will end at midnight on 23 June.

Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Summer of Love by Caro Fraser | Blog Tour Extract

Published by Head of Zeus

Available to buy in book (31 May) and in hardback (12 July 2018)

512 pages



My thanks to Melanie of Head of Zeus for inviting me onto the tour for Summer of Love. I have an extract to share.  This is a book that I wished I could have found the time to read but it wasn’t to be,  I will be getting a copy to read later though as it looks like one I would really enjoy.

EXTRACT

1
1949

The air was full of the fresh, damp scents of early spring as Meg and Dan Ranscombe turned off the road and walked up the narrow path that led to the back of Woodbourne House. They made a handsome couple

Meg, in her early thirties, was vividly pretty, with dark eyes and chestnut hair curling to her shoulders; Dan, a few years older, was by contrast fair-haired and blue-eyed, his clean-cut features marked by a faint arrogance, a remnant of youthful vanity. They walked in thoughtful silence. It was four years since they had last been to Woodbourne House, the home of Sonia Haddon, Meg’s aunt and Dan’s godmother.

‘I’m glad we took the train instead of driving’, said Dan, breaking the quiet. ‘I have fond memories of this walk’. They paused by a big, whitewashed stone barn standing at the foot of a sloping apple orchard.

‘Uncle Henry’s studio,’ murmured Meg. ‘I remember that summer, having to traipse down every morning with barley water and biscuits for him while he was painting.’

Sonia’s husband, Henry Haddon, had been an acclaimed artist in his day, and in pre-war times to have one’s portrait painted by him had had considerable cachet. In Britain’s post-war modernist world, his name had fallen out of fashion.

Dan stood gazing at the barn, lost in his own memories: that final day of the house party twelve years ago, when he had come down to the studio to say farewell to his host. Finding Henry Haddon, his trousers round his ankles, locked in an embrace with Madeleine, the nanny, against the wall of the studio had been absurd and shocking enough, but what had then transpired had been even worse. He could remember still the sound of the ladder crashing to the floor, and the sight of five-year-old Avril peeping over the edge of the hayloft. Presumably the shock of seeing his daughter had brought on Haddon’s heart attack. That, and unwonted sexual exertions. The moments afterwards were confused in his memory, although he recalled setting the ladder aright so that Avril could get down, then sending her running up to the house to get someone to fetch a doctor, while he uselessly attempted to revive Haddon. Madeleine, unsurprisingly, had made herself scarce.

And the painting – he remembered that.

A portrait of Madeleine in her yellow sundress, seated on a wicker chair, head half-turned as though listening to notes of unheard music, or the foot fall of some awaited lover. Haddon had been working on it in the days running up to his death, and no doubt the intimacy forged between painter and sitter had led to that brief and ludicrously tragic affair. The falling ladder had knocked it from the easel, and he had picked it up and placed it with its face to the wall next to the other canvases. He didn’t to this day know why he had done that. Perhaps as a way of closing off and keeping secret what he had witnessed. To this day nobody but he knew about Haddon’s affair with Madeleine. Had the painting ever been discovered? No one had ever mentioned it. Perhaps it was there still, just as he had left it.

Meg glanced at his face. ‘Penny for them’. ‘Oh, nothing,’ said Dan. ‘ Just thinking about that house party, when you and I first met.’

What a fateful chain of events had been set in motion in the summer of 1936. He had been a twenty-four-year-old penniless journalist, invited to spend several days at Woodbourne House with a handful of other guests. Meeting and falling in love with Meg had led to the clandestine affair they had conducted throughout the war years behind the back of her husband Paul. Its discovery had led to estrangement with much of the family. Paul, a bomber pilot, had been killed on the way back from a raid over Germany, and the possibility that his discovery of the affair might have contributed in some way, on some level, to his death, still haunted them both. They never spoke of it. Meg and Dan were married now, but the guilt of what they had done remained.

Meg’s mother Helen had been trying for some time to persuade her sister, Sonia, to forgive Meg and Dan, and today’s invitation to Woodbourne House was a signal that she had at last relented.

They walked up through the orchard, and when they reached the flagged courtyard at the back of the house Meg said, ‘I’m going to the kitchen to say hello to Effie. I don’t think I can face Aunt Sonia quite yet. I’ll let you go first. Cowardly of me, I know, but I can’t help it.’

She gave him a quick smile and a kiss, and turned in the direction of the kitchen.

 

|   About the Book   |

 

The dark days of the war are over, but the family secrets they held are only just dawning.

In the hot summer of 1949, a group of family and friends gather at Harry Denholm’s country house in Kent. Meg and Dan Ranscombe, emerging from a scandal of their own making; Dan’s godmother, Sonia; and her two young girls, Laura and Avril, only one of whom is Sonia’s biological daughter. Amongst the heat, memories, and infatuations, a secret is revealed to Meg’s son, Max, and soon a terrible tragedy unfolds that will have consequences for them all.

Afterwards, Avril, Laura and Max must come of age in a society still reeling from the war, haunted by the choices of that fateful summer. Cold, entitled Avril will go to any lengths to take what is hers. Beautiful, naive Laura finds refuge and love in the London jazz clubs, but Max, with wealth and unrequited love, has the capacity to undo it all.

 

 

|   Author Bio   |

Caro Fraser is the author of the bestselling Caper Court novels, based on her own experiences as a lawyer. She is the daughter of Flashman author George MacDonald Fraser and lives in London.

 

 

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Her Mother’s Secret by Rosanna Ley | Blog Tour Book Review

Published by Quercus

Available in ebook and paperback (14 June 2018)

464 pages

Source: ARC review copy



Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Her Mother’s Secret – and happy paperback publication day to Rosanna Ley.  My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things for the tour invitation.

 

|   About the Book   |

 

Escape to the heart of enchanting Brittany with the bestselling author of The Villa and The Little Theatre by the Sea. The perfect treat for fans of Santa Montefiore and Veronica Henry.

For many years Colette has avoided returning to her homeland – the magical island of Belle-Île-en-Mer in Southern Brittany – afraid to confront the painful memories she left behind. She is living on the Cornish coast when she hears about her mother Thea’s failing health and realises that the time has come for her to go home. But can Colette ever forgive Thea for what she has done?

Despite Colette’s wariness, romantic Belle-Île still fascinates her. She takes on the running of her mother’s flower shop and makes friends with Élodie from the Old Lighthouse where Thea once worked as a nanny and with the enigmatic Étienne who shares Colette’s mixed feelings about the island. As Thea opens up to her for the first time, Colette finds herself softening and being drawn back into the landscape of her past. But can Belle-Île also be a part of her future?

The ghosts of that past still linger. What happened all those years ago and how did it cause the rift between mother and daughter? It becomes clear that the beauty of Belle-Île hides a devastating family secret – one that Colette is determined to unravel at any cost.

 

|   My Thoughts   |

Colette has been estranged from her mother Thea for many years, the reason why becoming clearer as the story goes on. Moving away from Belle-Île-en-Mer some 15 years before, Colette has made a life for herself in Cornwall, she has a flat she loves, a job and a boyfriend. When she receives a letter from her mother’s neighbour in Belle-Île, letting her know that her mother was very ill, Colette feels she has no choice but to go to her.

The story has several narrators, including Colette. Each has their own part in the story, and most are connected in some way to Thea. Thea herself was from Cornwall initially and left home for a job as an au-pair working for Mathilde and her family in Belle-Île.

The main characters are engaging and have distinctive personalities, superbly drawn with each narrator gradually revealing their story and drawing the reader in. There is Colette, at first reluctant to return to her childhood home but rediscovering her love of flowers by taking over her mother’s neglected flower shop whilst trying to make her mother as comfortable as possible. Étienne – a thriller writer but having another story that he wants to tell.  He doesn’t want to be there but has to deal with the clearing and the sale of his late mother’s property and feels the weight of the past heavily on his shoulders. Mathilde’s daughter Élodie, who creates beautiful sculptures from driftwood but does not have the courage to follow her dreams and then finally Mathilde, who used to be Thea’s best friend and who has secrets of her own.

Rosanna Ley has written a beautifully descriptive and poignant story and the location is a character in its own right. As soon as I arrived at the setting of Belle-Île, an island in Southern Brittany, I was hooked and now, having Googled it and seen how gorgeous it looks, I want to go there!

Don’t expect a fast read, this is a book that needs to be savoured.   This is a very slow paced, character driven story of past secrets, deception and betrayal. There was one point when I thought I had worked out ‘Her Mother’s Secret’ but I was way off beam.

Her Mother’s Secret is a substantial book and one that you can immerse yourself in.  The gorgeous cover and setting would make it an ideal holiday read – or actually even an ideal read at any time.

 

 

|   Author Bio   |

Rosanna Ley has had six novels published by Quercus Books. She has worked as a creative writing tutor for many years and has written articles and stories for a number of national magazines. Her writing holidays and retreats take place in stunning locations in Spain and Italy. When she is not travelling, Rosanna lives in West Dorset by the sea.

 

 

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