Murder at the Book Club by Betsy Reavley #review @BetsyReavley @BloodhoundBook

Murder at the Book Club: a gripping crime mystery that will keep you guessing by [Reavley, Betsy]

“Honestly, you’d think there was nothing more harmless than a book club.”

So says Marion Bolton, hostess of a book club meeting which goes disastrously wrong. Rather than a pleasant chat over a glass of wine or a cup of tea and some cake, many of the members end up arguing with each other and it all ends acrimoniously. Worse is to follow when the day after the meeting, a body is found on the local common and it is revealed to be the body of one of the group members. As the police begin their investigation, they discover there may be many potential reasons why the book club members may have wanted this woman dead… I did think the police came over as quite inept and I’m not sure they were following correct police procedures. However, this all added to mystery of whodunnit.

Murder at The Book Club is a quick and entertaining read very much in the cosy crime style of writing. I really enjoyed getting to know the ladies of the book club and discovering what little secrets they all had. I kept changing my mind about who I liked and who I didn’t as we learned more about them. I certainly didn’t know who to trust. I did have a theory about who the culprit might be but as usual I was wrong! Betsy Reavley definitely kept me guessing with this book. With all the potential motives for murder and so many red herrings along the way, this had the feel of a classic murder mystery and I feel it would lend itself well to a tv adaptation.

This book may have you taking another look at the members of your own book club, though I’m sure nobody is murderous in mine! You never know who might be hiding dark secrets…

Murder at the Book Club was published by Bloodhound Books in paperback and as an ebook. My copy was purchased from Amazon where at the time of writing a Kindle copy costs only £1.99 (but please check before ordering). You can order your copy here: Murder at the Book Club

From the back of the book

Imagine nine women meeting. Tea and cake are on the coffee table. They’ve come together to share their love of books. They are friends. They trust each other. It’s a happy gathering. What could be more harmless?

Then scratch the surface and look closer.

One is lonely. One is desperate and one of them is a killer.

When the body of a woman is discovered on a Cambridge common, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called in to investigate. But the motive behind the crime isn’t clear… And it all leads back to a book club.

As the lies, volatile friendships and tension among the group rise to the surface, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer must work out the motive and track down a cold-blooded killer. But just when they think they are on the right track, a twist in the case throws them off course…

About the author

Betsy Reavley

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*Exclusive* #CoverReveal Breakers by Doug Johnstone @OrendaBooks @doug_johnstone

Cover Reveal

I am mega excited today to be bringing you news of a new novel by Doug Johnstone and and to be EXCLUSIVELY revealing the cover of the book. Huge thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for asking me to do this. I am a big fan of Doug Johnstone’s writing, as you may well know if you follow my blog, so I’m really looking forward to reading this new book.

First of all, what’s the book about?

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation … unless he drags her down too.

A pulsatingly tense psychological thriller, Breakers is also a breathtakingly brutal, beautiful and deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family, from one of Scotland’s finest crime writers.

Sounds exciting stuff doesn’t it? If you like the sound of the book, it’s available to pre-order now on Amazon. The Kindle edition will be published in March with the paperback to follow in May. You can pre-order here: Breakers

And now for the all important cover reveal!

Breakers

 

About the author

Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released two solo EPs, Keep it Afloat and I Did It Deliberately.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars.

He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

For more info:  dougjohnstone.wordpress.com 

A Little Christmas Charm by Kathryn Freeman #review #giveaway @kathrynfreeman1 @ChocLitUK @rararesources

A Little Christmas Charm (Choc Lit): The perfect feel good Christmas romance for 2018 (Christmas Wishes Book 2) by [Freeman, Kathryn]

A Little Christmas Charm is more than a little charming! It features Gabby and Owen who work for the same company. From the outset it is clear that they both are hugely attracted to each other. Despite her initial reservations about getting involved with someone at work, Gabby agrees to go out with the charming and very good looking Owen. Their relationship quickly becomes quite intense and rather steamy! Yet, Gabby is holding back on committing properly or even calling Owen her boyfriend. With Christmas on the horizon, she is planning to head off for a week of sunshine as she has often been let down in the past, particularly at Christmas.

I felt A Little Christmas Charm gave an unusual slant on relationships as it was Gabby who didn’t seem to want to get to committed and had trust issues, where often in romance novels, it’s the man. As we get to know Gabby more, it becomes clear why she feels this way and why she is very reluctant to trust anyone. It was really quite sad to read about her childhood where she experienced very little emotional support, leading to her fear of being let down. Her rather brittle exterior was a facade she had built up to protect herself from disappointment.

Owen was a fabulous character and I really enjoyed reading about him. Quite apart from his obvious good looks and charm, we see through his care for his father that he is a very compassionate and committed person too. It was so frustrating for him and Gabby – and for me as a reader – when events kept conspiring to thwart their plans. Owen kept having to let Gabby down and although for totally understandable reasons, I could see why this was so disheartening for Gabby. Owen felt awful too but he was put in some impossible situations throughout the book. I began to despair that they would get a happy-ever-after.

I was so happy to meet up with Faith and Adam from last year’s Christmas novel by Kathryn Freeman, A Little Christmas Faith, near the end of the book. I won’t tell you how the stories connect but it was lovely to find out what had been happening for them in between books. And I loved the way that Adam in particular could see that Owen was one of life’s good guys. The lesser characters in the book all fitted in so well to A Little Christmas Charm from Owen’s ex Stella, to his grumpy Dad, lovely little Zoe and his PA Hilda – even Gabby’s mum showed her better side in the end.

A Little Christmas Charm is another winning story from Kathryn Freeman and is a perfect book to curl up with on a chilly winter’s evening. There is romance and charm aplenty to warm your heart. A book to fill you with Christmas spirit and leave you with a smile on your face.

My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of the book and inviting me to take part in the blogtour. A Little Christmas Charm is available now as an ebook and at the time of writing is only 99p for the Kindle version (but please check before buying. You can order your copy online here: A Little Christmas Charm

Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman (Open Internationally)

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

Click here to enter

 

 From the back of the book

Would you swap sea and sunshine for tinsel and turkey?
Gabby Sanderson is used to being let down – even at Christmas. Which is why she’s happy to skip the festive season completely in favour of a plane ticket and sunnier climes.

But this Christmas could be different, because this time she might not be spending it alone. Can Owen Cooper charm Gabby into loving Christmas in the same way he’s charmed his way into her life, or is he just another person who’ll end up disappointing her?

About the author

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A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links –

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

Don’t miss the rest of the blogtour

A Little Christmas Charm Full Tour Banner

Snowday by B R Maycock #review and #extract @BRMaycock

Snowday: A festive feel good romantic comedy (The Riverside Series Book 1) by [Maycock, Bernadette]

I have to admit that I always love when my kids get a snowday off school or, as is now the case, Uni. It happens so rarely here beside the sea that we always have fun out making snowmen or going for walks in the snow and then there is all that lovely hot chocolate to enjoy when we get back home again. So this novella from B R Maycock definitely appealed to me, while I wonder whether we will get snow again this year. At around 180 pages, you have plenty of time to squeeze this festive read in before the big day.

The story begins when rather frazzled mum, Eloise, wakens to a snowy day and discovers that while one of her three children has a ‘snowday’ from school, the other two don’t and neither does she! What follows is a rather madcap journey through the next few weeks towards Christmas as Eloise finds she has rather lot of romantic possibilities all of a sudden, one of which is her ex-husband Gary! She has been single for a while and used to coping, even if only just coping sometimes, with the demands of work and childcare with little input from Gary who is in a new relationship. All of a sudden, he seems to want to have a lot more to do with the children and Eloise isn’t sure she is happy with that. However, not one, not two but three other men all seem to be interested in Eloise at the same time so she really is spoiled for choice and completely confused!

Snowday is a fun-filled fast-paced rom-com with plenty of laugh-out loud moments and parts where you will be cringing on behalf of Eloise and wondering what on earth she is thinking about! But there are more serious parts too, looking at the reality of life as a working parent, the compromises needed at Christmas time when a marriage has split up but above all, the importance of being with those you love. Eloise is a character that I really warmed to and I hope we find out more about what happens to her and her lovely family in future books from BR Maycock.

Now read on for an extract from the book where the main character Eloise gets a phone call which does not fill her with festive joy!

‘Hello?’

‘I hope you don’t mind but we’ve decided we’d like a family Christmas this year,’ her mother said somewhat tentatively. Eloise’s heart stopped. Her mother never wanted a family Christmas. Like clockwork, her family disappeared off to Florida each year, mentioning it in passing but very obviously hoping she wouldn’t come.

‘Is everything okay? Why aren’t you going to Florida? Is Dad okay?’

‘Why can’t you speak louder, Eloise? I can barely hear you!’

‘I’m in work, Mum. And everyone is listening in on my conversation.’ There was giggling around the office, including David, who was sitting on Martin’s desk, chatting to him. Their camaraderie would have been nice to see any other time but Eloise was too worried.

‘Why did you ask is Dad okay and not me? For all you know I might have found out some bad news but I may have been braving telling you myself.’

Eloise cocked her head to one side. ‘Is that what’s happened? Are you okay, Mum?’

People in the office promptly moved, looking embarrassed. There were a few mouthed ‘sorry’s.

Her mother went quiet for a minute. All Eloise wanted was to hear her dad speaking in the background. She had the most terrible feeling that it was him and not her strong hardy mum.

‘Well, no. It seems I never booked the flights,’ her mother said. ‘But before you say anything or talk about putting me into a home, I did book them. I did them with your brother on that stupid computer but the internet went and then he rushed off without finishing it and so I kept on clicking but it turns out I didn’t book anything.’

Eloise sighed with relief. ‘Did you not have a confirmation email? Did you not check your bank account?’

‘Well no, Aunt Rose rang and told me that her daughter…’

‘My cousin Sally,’ Eloise interrupted, unable to stop herself grinning. Her mother always pretended that their family were somehow not actually related to them.

‘Yes, anyway, she’s pregnant.’ Her voice lowered. ‘From this top computer engineer who’s saying it’s not his. Sally is devastated. Apparently she did it to trap him.’

‘Mum!’

‘She actually said the words “this will make him marry me”.’

Put that way, it did sound a bit like entrapment. ‘And how are they all? What are they doing for Christmas?’

There was silence on the other end of the phone. Eloise laughed. ‘Mum. Are they going to Florida?’

‘Your aunt is such a copy cat!’ her mother cried. ‘The second she heard we were going again this year she said we’d reminded them that they needed a holiday too, you know, because she’s so busy with work.’ A huge source of contention in their house. Eloise’s mother was the only stay-at-home mum and had regularly been laughed out of the place for declaring that people who raised children at home should be paid as they were raising the workforce of the future. It didn’t go down well in a house made up of mostly females who did the working mum thing with gusto.

‘So now they’re going and you’re not? Look, maybe it’s good you have the break this year.’ But not with me, she thought, shuddering at the idea of being ordered about and complained at. ‘Do you want to put me on to Dad?’

‘Eloise, I was in the middle of telling you something important.’

‘Mum, I can’t hear you. I’ll call around to you and we can discuss this Christmas thing.’

‘We don’t need to discuss anything except where the Christmas thing, as you so nicely put it, is being hosted. Who’s cooking? Me or you? Will Gary be there? Will the kids be there?’

Eloise felt the room spin. Why hadn’t her mother assumed that Eloise would automatically have the kids? And then she remembered, Gary and Disneyland Paris. She felt her gut twist even more.

‘There’s no reason the kids wouldn’t be with me. I look after them. I’m the primary caregiver.’ She felt the strength that seemed to amplify her voice and she caught people around the office looking over. ‘Can I say hi to Dad and then I have to get back to work. And you need to stop ringing me here, Mum. It’s unprofessional.’

‘Yes, I’m sure the head of the cardboard company is going to get bent out of shape because of you being on the phone.’ She laughed. ‘Do you get it? Bent out of shape?’

‘Can I speak to Dad?’

Her mother made some grumbling noises and there was a moment of muffled speaking before Eloise’s dad spoke.

‘So, Lou, what you up to?’ Her dad always thought that was hilarious. The difference was, she laughed at her dad’s jokes and not her mum’s. She felt guilty about it, but it was engrained, and wasn’t likely to change anytime soon.

‘Nothing much, just selling boxes,’ she said, as always.

‘Company hasn’t folded yet, then?’ her dad asked, his glee audible.

‘Still in good shape,’ Eloise said, smiling too. It only ever took a few minutes of speaking to him to calm her down.

Thanks to the author for my copy of the book. Snowday is available now as an e-book and you can order a copy from Amazon UK here or from Amazon.com here.
From the back of the book

Sometimes hot cocoa just isn’t enough to keep you warm in the snow…

Eloise is too busy juggling the chaos of three kids, an ever present ex-husband and a demanding boss to even remember the last time dating crossed her mind.

But as soft snow falls silently all around, romance twinkles with the flakes.

After being single for so long, Eloise suddenly has a lot of choices. Too many choices. Will anyone be worthy of melting the guard around her heart to let love in?

A fun-filled, festive read for fans of Christie Barlow, Fiona Gibson and Colleen Coleman.

About the author

Brmaycock

When Bernadette Maycock isn’t dreaming up vibrant leads for romantic comedies, she’s ingesting books for her blog (https://brmaycock.wordpress.com/), in particular chick lit (her first love!) books, romantic comedies and thrillers. She can also be found playing footie or watching Marvel, DC or Star Wars movies and cartoons in Co. Westmeath, Ireland with her brilliantly out there husband, Keith, and their four epic little men.

Her debut ‘It Started With A Snub’ and Christmas romantic comedy ‘Snowday’ are available now on Amazon, and Bernadette is currently working on a three part series about AbbeyGlen Village, whose luck is about to change …

She has one goal and that’s simply to make readers smile and/ or laugh (a splutter rates highest;)).

#AuthorInTheSpotlight Mark Fleming @fleming584

Mark Fleming

I’m always pleased to feature local talent and, Mark Fleming, my author in the spotlight today certainly counts. In fact, our daughters are at school together! Mark’s latest book, a collection of short stories called Big Bang Over the Western General, has recently been published and he tells us more about that below.

Thanks for joining me today Mark. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?

I’ve lived in Edinburgh all my life; Portobello for nearly 14 years. I work as a freelance writer, a varied activity covering everything from articles for websites to ‘ghosting’ biographies (clients have included a chairman of a top English football club and a member of the Kray Twins gang.) I also run creative writing workshops, via the Scottish Book Trust, working with community groups, schools and, earlier this year, HMP Barlinnie. Currently I’m Writer-in-Residence at Kirkcaldy High School. I also write fiction, both contemporary Scottish stories and horror/fantasy. These have been published in numerous outlets, including The Big Issue in Scotland, the Picador Book of Contemporary Fiction and The Leither.

What inspired you to start writing?

In a word, ‘punk.’ I’m of a vintage where my mid-teens coincided with the punk scene of the late 70s. I fully embraced those heady times, buying my first guitar from Woolies and starting a band, 4 Minute Warning, with former schoolmates. I started writing lyrics, which tended to be cheery ditties about the Cold War and imminent nuclear armageddon.

I came across a book review in the NME, circa 1983, which raved about a short story collection by a Glasgow writer, James Kelman, entitled ‘Not Not While the Giro.’ I bought the book and found it totally inspirational. It was written in a hard-hitting, pared-down style, shorn of adverbs and other unnecessary embellishments. The central characters were defiantly working-class, and although the setting was Glasgow, I was drawn in by these poignant vignettes. I started writing my own versions, early examples of which were published in my then local newspaper, the ‘Gorgie/Dalry Gazette.’ One of my own attempts I was particularly proud of was called ‘Legless in Gatsby’s,’ alluding to the Aldous Huxley novel, although the subject matter was based on an incident when I ended up getting barred from a long-vanished Edinburgh nightspot!

Tell me about your journey to publication

As with the vast majority of writers, the journey to publication is less an amble through the Figgate Park and more a trudge across several Munros. There have always been far more writers with excellent stories than outlets willing to publish these. I have a folder crammed with rejection slips. But because publishing is such a competitive market, prospective writers appreciate they have to constantly strive to improve. 25 years ago I submitted material to ‘Rebel Inc’ in the early days of that fantastic underground litzine (where Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’ was first serialised.) Although it was rejected, the editor, Kevin Williamson, sent me a hand-written critique. That he’d taken the trouble to do this, advising me the stories were 90% publishable, and pointing out areas I needed to work on (especially the crucial one – characterisation) was so inspiring. I took his advice on-board, and saw a series of my stories getting published in various magazines, anthologies and websites over the next decade, including making the final longlist of the ‘Macallan/Scotland on Sunday short story collection’ in 1998. Ten years or so later, my debut novel, ‘BrainBomb,’ was published.

In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?

Big Bang over the Western General is an anthology of short stories, mostly set in Edinburgh; a couple in Portobello. The subject matter is eclectic, to say the least. If I was to sift through the stories and find topics to hashtag, they would include gang initiations, Nazi war criminals, medieval war criminals, post-club casual sex, deadly house fires, animal cruelty, Spanish Civil War veterans, and an astronomer in Joppa facing a life or death situation. Looking back at that, none of it seems like a barrel of laughs, but the dark stories are definitely underscored with humanity and humour.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

Stargazing is the backdrop to the collection’s penultimate story. The central character is an astronomer, whose life has been spent marvelling at space. But he is confronted with much more poignant events nearer home when a loved one’s life hangs in the balance.

How did you celebrate publication day?

The collection was self-published, so publication day wasn’t marked with any fanfare or launch. The title is currently available via Amazon in paperback and Kindle format, although in the past I’ve also sold my books through the Dalriada, the Espy, the Jaffle Joint and Cove. Eventually I’d like to approach the respective managers of those esteemed Portobello establishments to see if they’d be into doing the same with ‘Bang Bang!’. 

Do you have a work in progress just now?

Two. I’m working on a horror novel, Wolf Slaves (synopsis: druids v werewolves v vikings in Celtic Britain.) This is published online, on Inkitt.com, and is a sequel to my first fantasy novel, Wolf Warriors. I’m adding chapters on an ongoing basis. But my main focus is a revamped version of ‘BrainBomb,’ a semi-autobiographical novel about bipolar disorder and Edinburgh’s post-punk scene of the 1980s. I’m aiming to have this ready for publication in the next few weeks. (It’s at the final draft stage.)

What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!

Fault Lines by [Johnstone, Doug]

‘Fault Lines’ by Doug Johnstone. I don’t read really enough crime fiction, but this one is a belter (his ninth novel.) It’s set in a parallel Portobello where seismic activity has created a volcanic island offshore. When a young geology student comes across a body on the island – her lover – she makes the fatal decision of keeping the discovery quiet for fear or exposing their affair. There was a new twist at every chapter, and so many aspects of the Portobello setting also chimed with me.

What are you reading just now? 

‘How to Build a Girl,’ by Caitlin Moran (as of November 2018.)

How to Build a Girl by [Moran, Caitlin]

If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?

‘Not Not While The Giro,’ by James Kelman. Up until I read it (aged 20) my head was mostly full of escapism and science fiction. This book brought me back to Scotland. In much the same way as hearing the Sex Pistols for the first time inspired my younger self anyone with enough enthusiasm could try playing guitar and start a band, this showed me a way of writing that was raw but exciting. It also introduced me to using profanity in my fiction, although my Mum always gave me a row for that!

Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?

I read the fantastic ‘His Bloody Project,’ by Graeme Macrae Burnet, last year. A  Booker-nominated novel, it pictures a Highland community in the Victorian era, on the fringes of the British Empire, where the lives of tenant crofters seem scarcely more liberated than their livestock. The 17 year-old lead? Ten years ago, maybe James McAvoy; nowadays, Kevin Guthrie?

His Bloody Project: Documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae by [Burnet, Graeme Macrae]

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjfleming.writer/  Twitter: @@fleming584

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

Arya Stark (‘Game of Thrones,’ by George R R Martin.) I know she’s female, but this is fiction, where anything goes, and I do sometime write 1st person stories from a female POV, such as ‘Kola’ in ‘Big Bang…’ I always love characters who are bullied and oppressed but who succeed in turning the tables – in this case, by brutally violent methods!

Image result for arya stark

 

Buying link

Big Bang Over The Western General

Big Bang Over The Western General is an anthology, containing 19 Scottish short stories, covering diverse themes. A teenage gang initiation goes horribly wrong. A man self-medicates to cope with destroying his family through stag night infidelity. A soldier discovers the fine line between hero and war criminal. Despite the violence and dark twists, the core theme is the humanity of these often marginalised characters. Driven to express themselves as best they can against events which can spiral out of control, their reactions might often be desperate. But they are all too recognisable. This is a compelling slice of life in 21st century Scotland.

Mark’s website:

http://www.markjfleming.net/

 

Settlement by Anne Stormont #review @writeanne

Settlement Cover MEDIUM WEB (3)

I was joined by Anne Stormont recently as part of the blogtour for her latest novel, Settlement. The book is a sequel to Displacement but can be read as a standalone. At the time, I hadn’t finished the book but had a great guest post from Anne which you can read here. The book opens with arresting opening scenes where ex-policeman Jack is in a perilous situation, it is far from clear whether he will survive or not and his thoughts are for the woman he loves – Rachel. The story moves back four months where we meet Rachel, on the morning of her daughter’s wedding to an ex-serviceman on Skye.

I haven’t read the first book, Displacement, but enough is explained in the first few chapters to give the gist of the main things which happened and explain why the characters are where they are emotionally.

I very much enjoyed the exploration of the complex relationship between Jack and Rachel. Anne Stormont is very perceptive in her understanding of the challenges faced in relationships where people bring their past experiences, thoughts and expectations. And it’s great to read about a relationship between slighter older characters than are often encountered in fiction. I loved the Skye setting and Anne’s descriptions of the beautiful, rugged landscapes there. But there was another very interesting setting in the book when Rachel went to Israel, to work on what sounded like a fascinating peacemaking project. Although Rachel wasn’t sure what impact her work would have, if any, she was assured by one of the characters that “you cannot know what conversations or actions will come from a person reading your book or engaging with a wider project.” Wise and encouraging words for any author.

I found the parts of the book set in Israel particularly fascinating. Like many people, all I really know about the situation there is that it is extremely complicated and not something which will be easily resolved. Through the story, rather than the politics of the situation, the humanitarian aspect of life for people in Palestine and Israel is clear to see. When the boundary wall is mentioned it is evident that the wall separates and divides as all barriers do. The book gave me an eye-opening insight into what life is truly like for people on both sides of the divide in the occupied territories.

The book also explores the impact conflict has on people both for those directly involved and those who love and care for them. It shows how the effects have reverberations throughout the years and touch many people’s lives.

I feel I have made this book sound rather dark and gloomy but it isn’t. It is also a moving look at love between two main characters, Jack and Rachel, who clearly love each other very much but have many issues to contend with before they can think about committing to a relationship again. A very insightful look at the challenges of falling in love at an older age, perhaps for a second time and with so many other people and personal circumstances to consider.

Settlement is such a clever title as it could refer to settling down in a relationship, the settlements in Israel and Palestine or coming to an agreement or understanding – all of which are explored in this compelling, thought-provoking novel. I am pleased to hear there will be another book to feature these characters, which will have the title Fulfilment. I do hope that whatever happens for Jack and Rachel, they will indeed be fulfilled.

 

From the back of the book

Can the past ever be put peacefully to rest? Can love truly heal old wounds?

Settlement is the sequel to literary romance novel, Displacement, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Falling in love is the easy bit. Happy ever after requires work, commitment and honesty.

She wants him to be her friend and lover. He wants her as his wife. Can a compromise be reached? Or are things truly over between them?

When former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter met crofter and author Rachel Campbell at her home on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for them both.

But after Jack proposes marriage, it becomes clear they want different things.

Then, as Rachel prepares to return to the Middle East to work on a peacemaking project that’s close to her heart, and as Jack’s past catches up with him, it seems their relationship is doomed.

Can Rachel compromise on her need to maintain her hard-won independence?

Can Jack survive the life-threatening situation in which he finds himself?

Will they get the chance to put things right between them?

If you like a complex, contemporary, grown-up romance with lots of raw emotion, dramatic and exotic settings, all mixed in with some international politics and laced with elements of a crime thriller, then this is the book for you.

Settlement is available as a paperback and as an ebook. You can order a copy here.

About the author

20180827_164446 - Copy

Anne Stormont writes contemporary, women’s fiction that is probably best described as literary romance. Her writing is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Her stories are for readers who enjoy a good romantic story, but who also like romance that is laced with realism and real world issues – and where the main characters may be older but not necessarily wiser.

Anne was born and grew up in Scotland where she still lives. She has travelled extensively having visited every continent except Antarctica – where she really must go considering her fondness for penguins. She has friends and family all over the world including in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and the Middle East.

Anne was a primary school teacher for over thirty years before taking early retirement in order to concentrate on her writing.

She describes herself as a subversive old bat – but she also tries to maintain a kind heart. She hopes that both aspects come through in her writing.

Anne loves to hear from and keep in touch with her readers.

She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and you can also find out more about her, her writing, and her latest book news on her blog and on her website.

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Website: https://anne-stormont.com

The Most Instagrammed Writers of All Time #guestpost from Rebecca Armstrong @digitranscript

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I have to admit to being a bit of novice when it comes to Instagram. I share the occasional photo of the beach close to where I live, or a sunset, or maybe a book photo if I’ve been lucky enough to receive some #bookpost.  (I’m @portybelle on Instagram if you want to follow me.) I was really intrigued when Rebecca Armstrong from McGowan Transcriptions contacted me to see if I’d be interested in sharing a post about the most Instagrammed Writers of all time. we’re not talking about selfies here – we’re talking about authors who are no longer with us. What is it that makes certain authors trend on Instagram and what can cause a sudden increase in the number of searches or hashtags? Well, read on to find out more and have a look at the fascinating infographic at the end. I was certainly surprised by some of the top ten in particular.

The Most Instagrammed Writers of All Time

Although it’s better known for fashion and selfies, it turns out that Instagram is also a veritable hub for literature! Hashtags like #bookstagram and #bookaddict are incredibly popular, with Instagrammers using them to tag everything from gorgeous photos of book covers, to inspiring literary quotes, and envy-inducing shots of their bookshelves.

However, the team at McGowan Transcriptions wanted to look a bit deeper than this and have carried out their own research to definitively establish who the most Instagrammed writers of all time are.

They’ve focused solely on writers who are no longer with us, from the legendary bard himself William Shakespeare through to more modern literary figures like Maya Angelou and Roald Dahl. Altogether, they’ve looked at 27 writing superstars, and ranked them according to how many times the author’s name was tagged on Instagram. They’ve also included some fascinating data about each author’s most Instagrammed literary work.

Google Trends data also reveals some very interesting patterns – who knew how much a simple Google doodle could send a particular author’s search volumes skyrocketing? And perhaps unsurprisingly, film releases of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies correlated with a huge spike in interest for J.R.R Tolkien.

This study shows the extent to which authors can stand the test of time, and can still make an impact in today’s social media driven world, even if they died decades or centuries ago. Although we might be technology obsessed, it’s clear that brilliant books still capture our imaginations and resonate with us emotionally – why else post about them?

To see all the full data from the study, take a look at the complete infographic below. Do the top five surprise you, or were the results exactly what you expected?

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