#Giveaway – #FalseWitness by Michelle Davies @m_davieswrites @panmacmillan #RandomThingsTours

False Witness (DC Maggie Neville Book 3) by [Davies, Michelle]

Today I have the chance for you to win a paperback copy of False Witness, the latest in the DC Maggie Neville series from Michelle Davies (UK only). To enter, click on the link below. You have until midnight UK time on Tuesday 25th September to enter and I’ll select a random winner through Rafflecopter on Wednesday The book was published by Pan on 20 September and you can order a copy online here. It will also be available from all good book retailers.

Click here to enter the giveaway

What’s the book about?

7.15am: Two children are seen on top of a wall in a school. 
Shortly later one of them lies fatally injured at the bottom. 
Did the boy fall or was he pushed?

As a family liaison offer, DC Maggie Neville has seen parents crumble under the weight of their child’s death. Imogen Tyler is no different. Her son’s fall was witnessed by the school caretaker, a pupil is under suspicion, and Imogen is paralysed by grief and questions.

For Maggie, finding the truth is paramount if she is to help the mother. But as she investigates, further doubts emerge and the truth suddenly seems far from certain. Could the witness be mistaken about what happened, and if he is, then who is responsible? And how far will they go to cover up the boy’s death?

False Witness by Michelle Davies is the gripping third novel in the critically acclaimed Maggie Neville series, following Gone Astray and Wrong Place.

 

About the author

Michelle Davies Author Picture

Michelle Davies was born in Middlesex in 1972, raised in Buckinghamshire and now lives in north London.

Her debut crime novel, Gone Astray, was published in Hardback in March 2016 and features Family Liaison Officer DC Maggie Neville as its central police character. The paperback version is due for publication on 20th October 2016. Gone Astray was part of a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan and the follow-up, Wrong Place, also featuring DC Neville, is due for release on 27th February 2017.

When she’s not turning her hand to crime, Michelle writes as a freelance journalist for women’s magazines including Marie Claire, Essentials, YOU and Stylist. Her last staff job before going freelance was as Editor-at-Large at Grazia and she was previously Features Editor at heat. She began her career straight from school at 18, working as a trainee reporter on her home-town newspaper, the Bucks Free Press.

Twitter @M_Davieswrites

Author Page on Facebook

 

Don’t miss the rest of the tour with these great bloggers

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#Sweetbriars: Leaving the City by Hollie Anne Marsh @Hollieannem #lovebooksgrouptours

Sweetbriars, Leaving The City: British Equestrian Book Series by [Marsh, Hollie Anne]

I have a lovely guest post from Hollie Marsh today talking about her series of books Sweetbriars. They are books I would have loved as a young girl as I was horse mad!

Hi Hollie and thanks for joining me today. Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

I wrote the manuscript for Sweetbriars almost fifteen years ago in Australia.

My dream was to create a new Saddle Club series as I loved these types of books… books with fun, addictive characters that love horses, and evolve as the series progresses.

A year and a half ago I had a baby and I hadn’t forgotten my book dream… so I dug out the manuscript and worked on it a few hours each day, whilst I was at home with my baby.

My last professional job was not creative at all, so doing something creative was enjoyable and a welcome change.

As I’d lived in England for almost ten years I changed the book to be set in the stunning countryside of Devon – where my Oldenburg foal was bred. The book is based on the many experiences I had whilst enjoying horse life in the UK – competing in dressage competitions, exploring bridleways and spectating at big horse shows. Also growing up riding ponies, going to Pony Club and having many fun adventures with my friends.

What were you childhood/teenage favourite reads?

The Saddle Club followed by The Baby Sitters Club – I was addicted to these books… they were like T.V. in a book. I used to trade the books with my friends once we were finished and we would talk about the characters and stories for hours, finding common ground between our lives and theirs! We would use our pocket money to buy each new book released and take pride in owning the collection of these books ( :

I also adored more classics such as Flambards by K.M. Peyton and Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

Getting lovely reviews. That is an incredible feeling, especially as a debut author.

 

Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

Our family of four – my partner, baby boy and horse Frieda. I’ve taken time out from my professional career and a good part of it has been spent finishing this book. My partner has been supportive, believing in me and my baby boy inspires me with his pure love of life. As for Frieda, the best way for me to clear my head and feel ‘at home’ is by sitting on a horse. Feeling that partnership with such a special animal, in nature, has always been grounding for me

Thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroupTours for inviting me to be part of the tour. Sweetbriars book 1 is available now in paperback and as an ebook. You can order your copy here: Sweetbriars

From the back of the book

Welcome to the yard! Come and meet the girls… Cate, Tabby and Violet and their beautiful horses.

Cate is uprooted from life as she has known it. Along with her family and her gorgeous palomino show horse Odette, she moves to a charming farm deep in the English countryside.

Cate is torn. Upon moving to horse heaven, she had to leave behind her best friend Beth and her beloved horse-riding instructor Bridget. On the other hand, she has fallen in love with Sweetbriars, the farm her family has bought to make their dreams come true.

Setting up an equestrian centre at Sweetbriars is fun to Cate, but settling into a new school and having a stern Pony Club riding instructor that teaches dressage is less so. At school, Cate makes friends with Violet, who is confident and wacky, and through Pony Club she gets to know Tabby, who is sweet and popular, but hides a family secret. When the eccentric neighbour Sophia becomes a regular ‘drop in’ to the farm, Cate begins to learn about acceptance and what friendships really mean. The girls’ lives will be intertwined in ways they could never have imagined thanks to their shared passion for horses and Cate’s determination to make Sweetbriars a success.

Will Cate ever settle into living in the countryside?

Sweetbriars is a proud supporter of The Riding for The Disabled (RDA) and for every book sold, a percentage of the book sale will be donated to this wonderful charity.

About the author

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Hollie is an Australian author who lives in Barcelona, Spain with her partner, baby boy, and Oldenburg mare, Frieda. After having a professional career, including creating the equestrian online shop Equiporium (since sold), working for many large multinational companies, and having a baby, Hollie reconnected with her passion of writing and finished the manuscript she wrote many years ago.

Hollie has been riding since she was a little girl, enjoying activities such as Pony Club, showjumping, eventing, and trail-riding in the great Australian bush. Hollie lived in England for almost ten years where she had two horses and trained them for dressage.

The Sweetbriars series is inspired by all the special moments Hollie spent with horses… good, funny, and challenging moments!

In creating the new Sweetbriars series, Hollie hopes that readers will not only find the books fun to read, but they will also inspire readers to learn more about horses.

The Winter That Made Us by Kate Field #review @katehaswords @accentpress @rararesources

The Winter That Made Us by [Field, Kate]

I’m delighted to be one of the blogs kicking off the tour for The Winter That Made Us today, especially since it’s publication day. Congratulations Kate Field – I hope you have lots of lovely things planned to help you celebrate!

The Winter That Made Us is about Tess who has returned to Ribblemill, the village where she grew up. Much to her parents’ surprise she announces that her husband Tim is working in Dubai for a year while she takes a sabbatical from her high-flying law job in London. She is reluctant to stay with her parents though and ends up sharing Cobweb Cottage with housemate Noah. It seems clear that there’s something going on that she’s trying to escape from or hide. But is soon becomes equally clear that there is something in her past at Ribblemill which she has spent much of her life trying to hide, something which has profoundly affected her relationship with her over-protective mother in particular. With Noah also seeming to have something he is trying to put behind him, The Winter That Made Us is a book full of secrets and people not talking about things which are having a huge effect on their lives.

Kate Field has written beautifully about the vulnerabilities of her characters. Slowly the readers begins to guess at what has happened to Tess and her family and can see why The event which has affected Noah so badly is revealed to Tess quite early on though she feels she cannot talk about it with Noah unless he wants to talk about it. Despite his physical size there is a fragility about him. When Tess discovers a little boy hiding in bushes outside their cottage, he becomes a significant person in both their lives and through helping him, they help themselves.

I absolutely loved the setting of the village of Ribblemill. Although I haven’t read it, the author has written another story set in the village and featuring the big house The Magic of Ramblings. Ramblings plays such an important part in Tess’s experience in Ribblemill as it becomes the centre of village life with many clubs and groups meeting there. Kate inspires the villagers to help undertake the huge task of restoring the walled garden and develop it as a community asset. The sense of a real community was vividly portrayed throughout from Ramblings, to the No Name pub, the local post office and the local Church. As Tess does so much to try to forget her past, she throws herself into many village projects and in doing so, helps not just the village but also herself. She finds a renewed sense of purpose and self-worth to help her move forward into he future. I must just mention the New Year Purge. Without going into details, I thought this was such a wonderful tradition where the whole community came together moving forward into a new year.

This is a beautiful story of two damaged souls finding themselves and helping to heal each other. More than once I had a lump in my throat reading about the desperate sadness in both Tess and Noah’s pasts. But this is far from a sad book. It’s a tender love story and an uplifting read about finding purpose in your life.

My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my copy of the book. The Winter That Made Us is available from today in paperback and as e-book. You can order a copy online here: The Winter That Made Us

From the back of the book

When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?

Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…

As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.

About the author

Kate Field Photo

Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers in 2017.

Don’t miss the rest of the tour for this lovely book

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Elementum Journal edition 4: Shape @elementumjournl #review

Having very much enjoyed the third edition of Elementum Journal (see my review here), I was delighted to receive edition four recently. The focus for this issue is ‘Shape’ looking at shapes in nature and the way our landscapes, and indeed our stories, are shaped by the natural environment.

What can you expect from the fourth  edition of Elementum?

Elementum is a biannual journal that explores our place in the natural world through new writing. In this Edition we join women responding to a shifting environment in lace, cyanotype and stone. We follow colourful trails of fish with marine biologist Helen Scales and trace an alphabet of otters with Jackie Morris. We track down fossilised sea urchins impressed in burial mounds and church windows, and learn how observing birds can help us to pin memories to places. Wyl Menmuir finds that working with wood helps to continually reshape his writing practice, while Jane Lovell shares her path through a poem, where words glimmer with hope in a dark landscape. 

There is new writing from Whitney Brown, Will Burns and Alex Preston and striking imagery, newly commissioned, from Tor Falcon, Neil Gower and Catherine Hyde. Other articles explore the long-forgotten but now recently recovered work of Anna Atkins and Emma L. Turner. More than a hundred years ago, these pioneering natural historians were harnessing technology to frame the future of nature photography while breaking the mould of who might tell the story of Britain’s algae, ferns and birds. 

We travel from the chalk of the English South Downs to the reedbeds of Norfolk, and from a Welsh valley sculpted by ice and dynamite to the foot of a cliff in Northwest England, where Annie Worsley uncovers the imprints of our prehistoric coastal ancestors, a mother’s straight path along the sand encircled again and again by the small footprints of her children. 

 

Elementum Journal really is full of treasures. The illustrations are beautiful and it is full of stunning photography to complement the writing within.

A particular favourite for me this time was the piece by Jackie Morris ‘Catching the Soul of Otters’. The writing really captured the fluid movement of otters for me and something about the magic of spotting them in the wild – something I think I’ve only been lucky enough to do once.

 

 

I also loved the piece ‘A Friendship Built of Birds’ from Alex Preston and Neil Gower accompanied by Neil Gower’s stunning illustrations. This talks about how their book As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds and Books came about. In it, we learn about some of the places they visited and which inspired them. The picture of waxwings is particularly impressive. I have been lucky enough to see these winter visitors a few times, especially earlier this year during the snowy weather when quite a few posed happily for photographs on my next-door neighbours tree!

 

Another article I particularly enjoyed was that about guillemots’ eggs by Tom Burkhead with illustrations by Georgie Bennett ‘Pinnacle of Pefection’.  It talks about how egg collecting was popular during Victorian times with many books choosing to show the guillemot’s egg as the egg collector’s ‘pinnacle of perfection’. They are a remarkable shape seemingly perfect to balance on the precarious cliff ledges where the birds nests. Even more remarkably, I learned that each female lays an egg whose colour and pattern is unique to her. This is one of life’s mysteries as no-one really knows why.

If you would like to check out this beautiful publication, you can order a copy direct from the Elementum website. Elementum is published twice a year and costs £18 per edition with an annual subscription available for £32. I’d like to thank the publishers for sending me this copy.

#TenThings about Graeme Cumming #author of Ravens Gathering @graemecumming63 #lovebooksgrouptours

#TenThings

I met Graeme Cumming at a recent bookish gathering in York so it is a pleasure to welcome him today as part of the blogtour for his novel Ravens Gathering. He is sharing TenThings he would like his readers to know about him.

Graeme Cumming

  1. For some reason, as a child, the idea of living on my own in the middle of nowhere really appealed. Where the idea of being a hermit came from, I don’t remember but, as I’ve got older and found partners, children, clients and colleagues all demanding my time, the idea of cutting myself off from the rest of the world has become increasingly attractive… And I might get more writing done.
  1. I don’t jump out of airplanes, or throw myself off bridges with bits of elastic attached to me. But I try not to live life the way society expects me to. That doesn’t mean I’m a beatnik, or I’ve found my hermit’s cave. But, when my main financial responsibilities were gone (AKA my children), I decided to sell my business and take the risk that I might earn money from my writing before the sale proceeds ran out. I’ve got another four years and the clock is ticking…
  1. One reason I take risks is because I nearly died at birth. I’m lucky to be here, so I need to make the most of it (though I’m still not jumping out of an airplane). A side-effect of my difficult birth is that I am deaf in one ear. There may be occasions when we meet, so bear in mind that, if I ask you to repeat yourself, it’s because I’m interested in what you have to say.
  1. If we want to achieve anything significant in life, we need to be able to communicate effectively. That not only means writing clearly, but having the ability to put something across orally too. For that reason, public speaking is an important skill, but it’s still a big fear for most people. I’m currently Education Director at a Speakers Club, where it’s possible to practice in a supportive environment, and I’d recommend it to anyone.
  1. I used to love reading to my children when they were younger, but I also made stories up for them. A few years ago, in a rare fit of pride in something I’d just written, I read my teenage son a section of a story I was writing. Half way through, he suddenly said: “Isn’t that the story you used to tell us when we were little?” I didn’t think he’d have remembered it. It’s surprising what sticks in their minds.
  1. That story is called Carrion. It will be somewhat darker than the story I told the children, but they can judge it for themselves when it’s released next year.
  1. Like most authors, I’ve always read a lot but, when it came to sparking my imagination, the biggest influence on me as a child was watching TV. Our television was little more than 20 inches, black and white and had a a dial to change channels. Yet it provided me with some of my most magical memories, from Gerry Anderson shows like Thunderbirds, to Irwin Allen shows like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and ITC series like The Champions. There was action and adventure, but horror, fantasy and science fiction too. As a result, when I write, I find it hard to settle into a particular genre.
  1. I do find influences from the past affect me more than current trends. So I love listening to music from the ’70s and ‘80s and I’m just as keen to watch old TV shows and movies from that time. Admittedly, some are lacking in a few things, but there were some very creative writers, and producers prepared to take risks on new concepts instead of rehashing old ideas. I’ve written about some of these in my Gogglebox and Gigging Years blog posts in the nostalgia section: https://www.graemecumming.co.uk/blog/

  

  1. I like a story to keep the reader on edge and surprise them. To do that effectively, you need to plot, otherwise the “surprise twist” might seem a little convoluted. Before I wrote Ravens Gathering, I spent a week writing out the story in chronological order, then took the elements of it to create a chapter plan revealing what was needed at the best time for the biggest impact. From the responses so far, I think that worked.
  1. The six degrees of separation theory states that everyone is no more than six steps away from knowing any other person. The people who are significant in our lives may only be bit-players in other people’s. So we all might have a tenuous connection to a hero, a villain, a romantic, a womaniser, a bent cop, a cancer sufferer or a time-traveller. For that reason, the stories we hear can touch all the genres and still affect us. My stories will cross genres, but they’ll also connect characters. It’ll be interesting to see how the connections pan out.

 

My thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroupTours for inviting me to take part. Ravens Gathering is available now as an ebook and in paperback. You can order a copy online here: Ravens Gathering

 

About the book

Ravens Gathering by [Cumming, Graeme]

As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security. 
“You know what they are, don’t you?” 

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a coincidence, but unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences. 

And only a select few know why the ravens are gathering.

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ravens-gathering

Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott #review @DerekPhilpott @unbounders

Dear Mr Pop Star is such a fun book to read! Derek Philpott and his son Dave took to writing tongue in cheek letters to pop stars taking them to take them to task over some of their lyrics or indeed the band name. (Doctor and the Medics – surely a doctor is a medic?) As you might expect, some were ignored but surprisingly, some of the recipients wrote back! This book is a collection of the letters and replies.

I loved in particular the letters to bands I was a fan of in the 1980s. As I’m sure most of you know, the lyrics from songs you loved in your teenage years stick in the mind and you never really forget them. A song can come on that you’ve never heard for years and you can still happily sing along. So the letter to Spandau Ballet suggesting they were ripped off buying ‘a ticket to the world’ made me laugh. Sadly it was one which doesn’t seem to have received a reply. I also enjoyed a letter sent to both Eddy Grant and the Scissor Sisters simply saying “Well don’t then!” The response from Henry Priestman to the letter about The Christian’s Hooverville is sheer class, full of vacuum cleaning puns! The reply from EMF is also a cracker. As a huge Billy Joel fan, I also enjoyed the letter to him which took me a moment to figure out what song it was referring to (Tell Her About It). I was sorry to see it didn’t get a response. And you must watch out for the letter to The Waitresses about their hit Christmas Wrapping and the subsequent reply – absolutely brilliant!

It was great to see that many of the popstars clearly have a great sense of humour and got on board with the joke in their replies. Dear Mr Pop Star is such an entertaining book to dip in and out of. It would make a great gift for any music lover.

My thanks to the authors for my copy of the book and for inviting me to take part in the blogtour. Dear Mr Popstar will be published in hardcover on 20th September and you can order a copy online here: Dear Mr Popstar

From the back of the book

For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs.

But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back…

Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave’s greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.

Find out more about the book or the authors

Amazon link http://amzn.eu/93h4fYH

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One Day in December by Josie Silver #review @josiesilver_ @penguinUKbooks

One Day in December: 'Gorgeous' Marian Keyes (The Most Heart-Warming Debut of Autumn 2018) by [Silver, Josie]

One Day In December while sitting on a crowded, stuffy bus Laurie spots a man sitting at the bus stop. Their eyes meet and all of a sudden, Laurie believes in love at first sight. For the next year she and her best friend and flatmate Sarah try to find a way to meet ‘bus boy’ again. So imagine Laurie’s horror when Sarah introduces her to her new boyfriend Jack, the man she’s convinced is ‘the one’ and it is bus boy! She can’t say anything to Sarah and Jack doesn’t either. Over the next ten years, we follow the three of them through various life events, new jobs, house moves, relationships, marriages even, as Laurie tries to convince herself that she thinks of Jack as no more than a friend.

The friendship between Laurie and Sarah is brilliantly portrayed. They have such a  strong bond and are always there for each other no matter what. Until suddenly something comes between them and at such an important time in Laurie’s life. It was so sad to see how miserable this made Laurie especially when all she was ever trying to do was the right thing. It was almost like a bereavement. I was so desperate for them to get past this and make things right between them again. We all need that friend who is always there for us.

At the heart of the story was a love triangle which wasn’t the usual kind of love triangle since two of the people weren’t actual having a relationship. But as with all love triangles, it was an impossible situation. How could this possibly resolve in a positive way for all three? As Jack, Laurie and Sarah’s lives moved on, I honestly didn’t see how things could work out or even how I wanted them to work out. And that’s why I had to keep on reading this late into the night, to find out where Josie Silver would take these lovely characters. As to how it ends, well you’ll have to read for yourself. You may think it’s all going to be straightforward but you might just be surprised by the various twists and turns in the story. You’ll have a lump in the throat for sure at the final scenes.

One Day In December is a beautiful story for anyone who believes in true love. It’s a wonderfully uplifting read for any time of the year, not just December.

My thanks to the publishers Penguin for my copy via Netgalley. One Day in December is available now as an ebook and the paperback will be published in October. At the time of writing, the Kindle version is a mere 99p and it would be money well spent to get yourself a copy. You can order that here: One Day in December

From the back of the book

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist. After all, life isn’t a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Laurie thinks she’ll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.

Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?

Following Laurie, Sarah and Jack through ten years of love, heartbreak and friendship, ONE DAY IN DECEMBER is an uplifting, heart-warming and immensely moving love story that you’ll want to escape into forever, for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Diamond and Nicholas Sparks.

About the author

Josie Silver

JOSIE SILVER is an unashamed romantic who met her husband when she stepped on his foot on his twenty-first birthday. She lives with him, her two young sons, and their cats in a little town in England called Wolverhampton.