Book Blog, Guest ~ Reviews, Midas PR

Broken Branches By M Jonathan Lee @MJonathanLee @HideawayFall @MidasPR #BrokenBranches #Guest #Review

Copy of To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Hello Lovelies,

 

Today J A Warnock is here with a review of Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee.
We are very excited to be part of this tour and also part of @HideawayFall’s first publication. Enjoy.

Kelly xoxo

Jacket

Book Jacket 

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Broken Branches ~ Review By J A Warnock 

I picked up ‘Broken Branches’ by M. Jonathan Lee with no preconceptions.  There was no editorial brief, theme or genre to guide me just a paperback utterly dominated by a sinister looking tree. There is something strangely compelling about this book; my curiosity, at first piqued by this illustration, was sustained until the final page.  ‘Broken Branches’ has an almost eerie feel throughout although a better word may be disconcerting.  There is a tangible sense that everything is not what it seems but it is not entirely clear what is out of kilter.  The rational part of my mind fought with the notion of a family curse or evil presence but my guessing and theorising as to a rational explanation was only partially correct.  I love any book that keeps me perplexed and guessing so ‘Broken Branches’ gets a big gold star for that.

This is a cleverly written book which leads the reader through conflicting emotions and uncertainty at a nice pace and with an element of care.  Cobweb Cottage is a setting that should be idyllic but feels isolated.  The family feels burdensome and conflicted where it should be comforting.  Time is a catalyst rather than a healer.  The main characters compulsion to solve a mystery may be understandable but his paranoia, selfishness and insecurities taint the reader’s perceptions and draw their sympathies.  It is not an easy book to live with but it is an easy book to read and that is a fantastic achievement.  Well worth a read.

To order your copy and to read a sneak preview, please use these handy links.

Thanks to @MJonathanLee, @HideawayFall  and @MidasPR for the opportunity to review.

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Before you go, check out our blog for The Choir On Hope Street ~ Click to read.

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Book Blog, Guest ~ Reviews

Hell Hath No Fury By @AnnabellReadLuv #HellHathNoFury #AnnabelleAnders @loveaffairwfict

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Hello Lovelies,

Today you are in for a treat, we have a guest review from Kimberly our USA voice. Today, Kimberly has reviewed Hell Hath No Fury by Annabelle Anders. Enjoy.

Kelly xoxo

HHTF Review

“It says ‘historical, romantic comedy’.” Hmmmm, an interesting mix, I wondered what that meant. What it means is delicious, guilty pleasure fun! Think Cinderella devising ways to off her husband because he isn’t quite the Prince Charming he was set out to be. Mix in another hottie in the wings, some best friends that any girl would kill for, and just the right amount of spice and that pretty much sums up Hell Hath No Fury by Annabelle Anders.

A courtly romp during the height of British high society, Cecily learns that no title or amount of money can make her accepted by the ton, and that those of that society certainly aren’t guaranteed the good manners that the word is supposed to represent. Moderate on the heat level, I thought the “steamy” scenes did not override the plot. The story moves along at a great pace, and while there is some fine tuning that I would suggest (Ms. Anders repeats details and descriptives at times), these did not detract from my enjoyment whatsoever. Hell Hath No Fury is listed as book one in the Devilish Debutantes series, so I am excited to see what is in store for Rhoda, Emily, and Sophia in future instalments.

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To keep the money, he has to keep her as well…

Cecily Nottingham has made a huge mistake.

The marriage bed was still warm when the earl she thought she loved crawled out of it and announced that he loved someone else.

Loves. Someone else.

All he saw in Cecily was her dowry.

But he’s in for the shock of his life because, in order to keep the money, he has to keep her.

With nothing to lose, in an attempt to goad the earl into divorcing her, Cecily sets out to seduce her husband’s cousin, Stephen Nottingham.

Little does she realise that Stephen would turn out to be everything her husband was not: Honourable, loyal, trustworthy…

Handsome as sin.

Stephen returned to England for one reason. Save his cousin’s estate from financial ruin. Instead, he finds himself tempted by his cousins beautiful and scorned wife.  

He isn’t sure what to do first, strangle his cousin, or kiss his wife. His honour is put to the test, right along with his self-control.

Amid snakes, duels and a good catfight, Cecily realises the game she’s playing has high stakes indeed.

There are only a few ways for a marriage to end in Regency England and none of them come without a high price. Is she willing to pay it? Is Stephen?

A ‘Happily Ever After’ hangs in the balance, because, yes, love can conquer all, but sometimes it needs a little bit of help.

Author Links

Website   Facebook   Instagram   E-mail

Order Links 

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2tC9RPg
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2v03Hh8
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2uFcmoZ
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2veqUZX
iBooks: http://apple.co/2toEbNP
B&N: http://bit.ly/2rAcyjn
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2rjnfHI
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2s35v6s

For a sneak peek use the easy link below.

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Book Blog, Book Event News, Crime Authors, Detective Series, Guest ~ Reviews, Noir At The Bar Dundee

Noir At The Bar #Dundee #Author @ChrisLongmuir #Authors #Scottish 26th July 2017 #Guestpost

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Hello Lovelies,

On the lead up to the big event on Wednesday, I have author Chris Longmuir here with an exclusive guest post for you. Enjoy.

Kelly xoxo

Chris Longmuir

Chris is an award-winning novelist and has published three novels in her Dundee Crime Series. Night Watcher, the first book in the series, won the Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award. Missing Believed Dead is the third book in the series.

Chris has recently published the first book in a new series set just after the Great War. This series features Kirsty Campbell, Dundee’s first policewoman. Her next book, to be published soon, is another Kirsty Campbell mystery set during the First World War.

She has also published a non-fiction book entitled Crime Fiction and the Indie Contribution. This is an examination of crime fiction as well as an evaluation of independently published books in this genre.

Her crime novels are set in Dundee, Scotland, and have been described as scary, atmospheric, page turners. Chris also writes historical sagas, short stories and historical articles which have been published in America and Britain. However, A Salt Splashed Cradle is the only historical saga currently published. Writing is like an addiction to me, Chris says, I go into withdrawals without it. She is currently working on a new Kirsty Campbell novel.

Chris is a member of the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers Association and the Scottish Association of Writers. She designed her own website and confesses to being a techno-geek who builds computers in her spare time.

 

Life and Times of a Writer By Chris Longmuir 

Even when I was a child I wanted to write but never thought that was possible. I read voraciously but at that time the writer was invisible. A name on a book. There were no author tours, book signings, or promotional events. The writer was allowed to remain in his or her writer’s cave and concentrate solely on the next book.

How times have changed. We creep out of our caves into the full glare of publicity. Demands are made, and we become dizzy in the spotlight. For someone brought up in the Scottish ethic of hiding your light under a bushel, this is not very comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong. I love meeting readers. We have something in common. A love of books. I could quite happily spend the rest of my life reading if it wasn’t for that damned writing itch.

You don’t know about the itch? Let me enlighten you. Writing is like an addiction and many writers, myself included, suffer withdrawals if we are prevented from lifting our pen or pencil, or tapping on our keyboard trying to create the next blockbuster. Of course, blockbusters are difficult to achieve but that doesn’t matter because most of us are happy if readers enjoy our stories.

I used to suffer dreadfully before I gave up work to concentrate solely on writing. I was a social worker in quite a senior position so there were no 37 hour weeks for me. It was more likely to be 50 hours or over. So you can imagine the torment I went through when I was prevented from writing.

I’ve been writing now for over thirty years and before I became a full-time writer it was mainly articles and short stories which were published here and in America. Becoming a full-time writer allowed me to develop into a novel writer. Initially, it was a bit of a shock to the system because, as anyone who has ever tried to get a book published will tell you, the road is rocky and littered with rejections.

The first book I wrote was a romantic historical saga. I bet you didn’t expect that because I’m better known for my crime fiction. Anyway, the saga, A Salt Splashed Cradle, was considered by a publisher but that was the year sagas went out of fashion. It’s called ‘Sod’s Law’. So, although I had started the sequel I decided there was no point in continuing if no publisher would be interested. That was the reason I turned to a life of crime.

I’m quite interested in social history. How ordinary people lived in the past and I had researched the origins of women police for one of my articles. Did you know the first women police services were set up by the suffragette organisations? This fascinated me. And in the course of my research, I discovered that there was a policewoman in Dundee in 1919. That was enough to set the creative juices flowing and my Kirsty Campbell was born, fully formed, and in a police uniform.

Kirsty first came to life in The Death Game set in a bleak Dundee just after the First World War. In this book, Kirsty becomes involved in ritualistic murder, missing children, and a deadly game of sacrifice and death. I acquired a publisher for this book after it won an international competition for the best unpublished crime novel. It was one of twenty winners and we were all given a contract with the promise of publication within a year. But at the end of the year, only five of those books were published. My guess is that the publisher, who was a new kid on the block, overestimated what they would be able to do. It was Sod’s Law again.

I’m never one to give up without a fight so I thought to myself, ‘Well, the saga didn’t work, the historical crime hasn’t worked out, I’d better try contemporary crime fiction’, and that resulted in the first book of what was to become my Dundee Crime Series.

Since then my Dundee Crime Series has become really popular but that didn’t happen overnight. Night Watcher the first book went the rounds of the publishers with the usual round of rejections even though it won the Scottish Association of Writers Pitlochry Award for best crime novel. So I wrote Dead Wood. It suffered the same fate, rejection after rejection. But it too won the Pitlochry Award and then it went on to win the Dundee International Book Prize, and that was my breakthrough to publication because the prize came with a publishing deal. I’ve never looked back since that day.

Following the publication of Dead Wood, I published Night Watcher, as well as the third book in the series Missing Believed Dead. Then The Death Game was published and following that Devil’s Porridge.

So, you could say that when Dead Wood was published I became an overnight success. Such a pity it took me thirty years!

I’m off to scratch my itch again. You’ll find me in my writer’s cave.

Chris Longmuir

Connect with Chris ~

https://www.chrislongmuir.co.uk/

http://chrislongmuir.blogspot.co.uk/

Amazon Author page

Check out Chris’s books ~ Amazon UK

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Book Jacket 

Murder, Mystery, and Munitions

East London, January 1917:
“He pulled her into his arms and kissed her long and hard before he strangled her. With a last glance at the fire, he turned and ran for the door to escape the inevitable explosion.”

Sixteen-year-old Munitionette, Sally, witnesses the saboteur escaping from the explosion at Silvertown Munitions Factory. When their paths cross again at Gretna Munitions Factory, he knows she can identify him, and that he dare not hesitate to kill again.

The explosion has set off a lethal chain of events, and when Policewoman Kirsty Campbell, and MI6 agent Beatrice, join forces to protect Sally, they find themselves following a murderous trail that entangles them with saboteurs, Irish revolutionaries, a German spy, and a plot to assassinate the King.

The body count is rising. The clock is ticking. And the stakes are higher than Kirsty could ever have imagined.

To order your copy and have sneak peek, click below ~

DundeeCrimeSeriesPromo-WEB

Before you go please check out an interview we did with Claire MacLearly last month, Click to read.

If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook.  It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.

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Book Blog, Borough Press, Guest ~ Reviews

The Chilbury Ladies Choir By Jennifer Ryan ~ #GuestReview By Kimberly Livingston @JenniferiRyan @BoroughPress

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Hello Lovelies,
Today, Kimberly is here with a review of The Chilbury Ladies Choir, find out her thoughts and which cover Kimberly liked more.

Which do you like more? Tell us in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by, please help us by liking and sharing the post.

Kelly xoxo

 

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USA COVER

 

Review By Kimberly Livingston 

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And so begins The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan. Luckily for the village of Chilbury and the surrounding area, the women tolerated no such thing. With the encouragement of the new choirmaster, Prim, the women found themselves able to pull together both in music and strength during the impending Nazi invasion. The story of wartime England is told through each of the main characters’ letters and journal entries, a diary of sorts for the reader to glimpse into their private worlds. In the acknowledgements by Ms. Ryan, it was noted that “At the beginning of the war, an organisation known as Mass Observation began, encouraging ordinary individuals to keep diaries and journals and send them into the headquarters, where some would be published in a newsletter.”

While each chapter is in the writing of a different character, the book still reads as the wonderful novel that it is. Mrs. Tilling and Kitty Winthrop’s diary entries, as well as Edwina Paltry and Venetia Winthrop’s personal letters, each add their own voice to the horrors, victories, and celebrations of the time. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir captures what it was like to be a woman in the 1940’s; having to suddenly work outside the home to help with the wartime effort as all the men had gone to the front and the realisation that they could be independent without those same men.

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When I read I rarely visualise a story in my mind, but this one played like a movie, and what a beautiful movie it would make! (Hint Hint to producers!) This novel is one for my bookshelf!

I admit, I prefer the US cover to the UK one, and will be buying that copy. They both show the village with the warplanes and the music, but the US version, with its sunset colours and sketches of women, captures the story more. I believe this cover speaks to the heart of the book: the women of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. These women are rich of character and varied as can be; humorous, romantic, demanding, heartbroken. In the end, each and everyone proves the power of song and love.

 

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UK COVER

 

Book Jacket 

Kent, 1940.

In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot. Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and when the Vicar decides to close the choir until the men return, all seems lost.

But coming together in song is just what the women of Chilbury need in these dark hours, and they are ready to sing. With a little fighting spirit and the arrival of a new musical resident, the charismatic Miss Primrose Trent, the choir is reborn.

Some see the choir as a chance to forget their troubles, others the chance to shine. Though for one villager, the choir is the perfect cover to destroy Chilbury’s new-found harmony.

Uplifting and profoundly moving, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR explores how a village can endure the onslaught of war, how monumental history affects small lives and how survival is as much about friendship as it is about courage

To order your copy and have a sneak peek read ~ use the links below.

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Before you go please check out our review ~ The Other Us By Fiona Harper #HQ Stories
Click to read.

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Book Blog, Guest ~ Reviews, Penguin Books

After You By Jojo Moyes @jojomoyes @PenguinUKBooks #GuestReview By Kimberly Livingston

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

After You By Jojo Moyes ~ Review 

People always say that the book is better than the movie. While generally, this is the case, it isn’t always so, in my opinion.  Me Before You is one of the movies that I preferred over the book. The book has a slightly darker side that they leave out of the movie, one I would rather not have known. The movie also has Sam Claflin, need I say more. Actually, I truly loved Emilia Clarke in the role as Lou as well. She made the character real for me and I’m not sure I could ever have conjured her as well. Even if you have seen the movie, you are going to want to read the novel prior to picking up the sequel, After You. If you have looked at the title you will know, no spoiler necessary, that this book is about Louisa Clark moving on. Jojo Moyes does an excellent job writing a new story with a new set of characters while leaving you still attached to the old one. This doesn’t feel like a sequel for sequel sake. We needed closure, not that (as you learn) there ever truly is such a thing. I miss Will. I think I will always miss Will. And I miss the Lou that blossomed because of Will. If there is one thing I truly disliked about this book, it is that Lou feels like a much smaller character than she was in Me Before You. I felt, in that book, as unconfident and clumsy as she was, she was a larger than life clumsy. In After You, perhaps on purpose from the author, Lou has been made into a shell of her former self. It never felt like that bit resolved.

Hence, there is a third book coming out. Jojo Moyes recently announced a third book will be released. Speaking about the upcoming book, she said, “I always knew that once I committed to write the sequel to Me Before You I would also write a third book; I saw it quite clearly as a trilogy.” There is definitely room for a trilogy here and so, Ms Moyes, get writing. If you don’t feel you can commit to a third in the series, no worries. After You stands by itself, and at least one of the characters, Lily, is one that is worth getting to know.

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Book Jacket 

When one story ends, another begins.

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living? Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started. Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . . For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await. After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.

For a sneak peek and to order, click the links below.

 

Check out our Twitter page this week for an awesome international giveaway from author David Videcette.  Head over to ~ Twitter and check out the pinned post!
INTERNATIONAL Giveaway!

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Book Blog, Guest ~ Reviews, Zaffre

Every Secret Thing By Rachel Crowther @Bookollective @BonnierZaffre #GuestReview ~ Kimberly Livingston

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Every Secret Thing By Rachel Crowther ~ Review By Kimberly Livingston

I love books. Hardly a revolutionary statement on a book blog. However, in a world full of media (television, movies, magazines) that seem to be recycled, it is a blessing that novels are still, well, novel. The range of talented stories and authors out there is awe inspiring. Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther stands out as one example of a book well worth being loved.

Every Secret Thing follows the lives of Bill, Marmion, Stephen, Cressida, and Judith; five close Cambridge friends and the fateful summer weekend that changed or defined them all. The novel’s chapters seamlessly switch between the different characters’ points of view and it covers a twenty-year span, leading the reader ever more closely to the answers that even the characters themselves don’t fully learn by the end.

Because I read Every Secret Thing on my Kindle, I will admit that I didn’t pay much attention to the cover, as compared to a book that sits on my bedside table which I will gaze at often. After reading the novel, I am in love with the cover art, as it brings me back to the place that was so integral to the story. Another impact of reading on my Kindle is that I never was quite sure how much further I had to read. Every time I thought I had the book figured out, one answer would give rise to even more questions. Ms. Crowther did a skilful job tying up the story in the end. If I had any criticism at all, it is that I felt she could have taken it just a little bit further, a complete resolution for each of the characters in the book. That, however, I think was part of the author’s point. That nothing is ever completely resolved and not all answers are given. The door was left open for a person to envision what might come after, which I did with great flourish. This is a book that I will buy in print, one well worth putting on the shelf and reading again and again.

Published by Bonnier Zaffre on 29th June 2017. To order your copy and read a sneak peek extract see below~

Thank you to Rachel Crowther, Bookollective and BonnierZaffre for the ARC copy to review.

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Book Blog, Book~Reviews, Guest ~ Reviews, Legend Press

Skylarking By Kate Mildenhall @katemildenhall @Legend_Press #GuestReview J.A. Warnock

Today is our turn on the Skylarking blog tour. The book is written by Kate Mildenhall and is published by Legend Press.

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Book Jacket 

Kate and Harriet are best friends growing up together on an isolated Australian cape. As the daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community.

When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. An innocent moment in McPhail’s hut then occurs that threatens to tear their peaceful community apart.

Inspired by a true story, Skylarking is a spellbinding tale of friendship and desire, memory and truth, which questions what it is to remember and how tempting it can be to forget.

Guest Review By J.A. Warnock

The outline sketch of the lighthouse and cape that greets readers of Kate Mildenhall’s debut novel Skylarking is both enigmatic and enticing. It serves to both set the scene and preface the idea that it is a remembered setting, that we are revisiting the past.

There is a simplicity to the book which makes it an easy and enjoyable read. There is a single narrator, also called Kate, who manages to capture a quality of mature, thoughtful reflection as well as the childish certainties of her remembered youth. There is a confessional feel at times when she reveals secret shame and innermost thoughts. At other moments a broad brush sweeps great swathes of personal and social history into a few concise lines.
I hesitate to use the word nice in reviews in case it is taken as a criticism or perceived as unimaginative but this is a genuinely nice book. It does not try too hard to be clever or confusing. It presents a personal history with a nice balance of truth and subjectivity. It captures the human condition and a recognisable range of experiences and emotions.
There isn’t much to this book and, if anything, I would have liked a little more but if that is the worst thing I can say about a novel, it must be doing pretty well. I had not heard of the true story on which Skylarking is based so cannot really comment on its accuracy but it is certainly worth a read.

 

Check out this free sample and use the link to purchase.

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Thank you to Kate Mildenhall and Legend Press for the opportunity to be on the blog tour and for the ARC to review. 

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Accent Press, Book~Reviews, Guest ~ Reviews

Skin Deep @ScorpioScribble @AccentPress #QA #GuestReview Kimberly Livingston

Skin Deep ~ Laura Wilkinson 
Accent Press ~ 15/06/2017

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Laura Wilkinson ~ Q&A 

 

If you can tell us a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey.

Liverpool-born, I’m a taff at heart. I’ve published four novels and many short stories. Some have made the shortlists of major competitions. Competitions have been good to me. My debut won one and a teeny tiny press published it. Sales weren’t great but the reviews were and I was signed to award winning Welsh press, Accent. My novel, Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. My latest, Skin Deep is published on 15 June.  Alongside writing, I work as an editor and run workshops on the art of fiction.   

Describe yourself using three words?

Passionate, kind, quiet.

What inspired you to write your first novel?

A newspaper article about a sixty-three-year-old Sussex woman who was having another baby. This was back in 2007 and since there have been older women still who have given birth in the UK. And as for other countries…  

What time of day do you like to write?  

I’m most productive and creative in the mornings, though I wrote my debut at night once my children were in bed.

How did you pick the title of your book?  

Oh, titles are hard. At least for me! I had four, maybe five, titles for the novel that is now known as Skin Deep. My editor and I came to it via the themes of the book: outward appearance versus inner reality; beauty and ugliness, and what this even means; from the saying ‘beauty is only skin deep’.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?  

No. I never base characters on anyone I know in case I offend. Of course, like all authors, I draw on my experience of life, my observations of human nature, of those close to me and strangers, but alongside this, there is a heavy dollop of imagination

What’s your favourite word?

Love.

If you were a colour what would it be?  

Blue.

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?  

These days I’m more of a planner. At the start of my writing life, I was a pantser but I have learned that if I plan, I have to redraft less. I always know where the story starts, what the high and low points will be and where I feel it should end. My process isn’t rigid, however. Flexibility is essential to me and every book is different. Process alters depending on the book.

Who is your favourite Author?  

Way too many to mention here. I am constantly awed by the talent out there.

Are you working on a new project?

I am indeed but I rarely talk about my WIP. At least until the first draft is down and I’m not quite there yet.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

I’m appearing at a few events over the spring and summer, in Brighton, Frome, and North Wales. I’d advise members to check out the ‘Out and About’ section of my website.  

Author Links

Twitter – @ScorpioScribble

Facebook Author Page –  Laura Wilkinson Author

Instagram: laura_wilkinsonwriter

 Author Website – www.laura-wilkinson.co.uk

SKIN DEEP FINAL COVER

Jacket Cover

Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty, but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything and Cal becomes Diana s muse. But as Diana s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

 Review Of Skin Deep By Guest Blogger Kimberly Livingston

I recently received a rejection letter from a publisher that read, “Although I like the concept, the sample wasn’t resonating with me”. As a writer, I, of course, wanted to know what I could do to make it resonate. After beginning the novel Skin Deep I now understand the publisher’s point. Not everyone’s writing will resonate with every reader, and thank goodness for that! There are so many different books out there, and, luckily, so many different readers. For me, Skin Deep was similar to going to see the much acclaimed movie Her directed by Spike Jonz. The critics loved the movie, whilst on the other hand, I had to leave only part way in. Admittedly, I’m more Pollyana than most. If you liked the movie Her and tend to love books that Oprah Winfrey recommends (The Glass Castle comes to mind), then Skin Deep is likely a book you will love. It received a 4.3 on Goodreads for being an intelligent, thought provoking novel, and with that reasoning, I agree.

The description of Skin Deep reads:

It’s what’s inside that counts…

Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty, but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything and Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within. Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

For me, the challenge with reading Skin Deep was not the concept. I immediately felt a connection to the story. The cover pulled me in. The writing is smooth, honest, and gritty. For me, a bit too gritty. There are mature themes here, deeper than just an ex model looking for respect beyond her beauty. These include drug use, child neglect, promiscuity, urban struggle, suicide, and the like. Not to say there isn’t a redeeming message. But a reader needs to be prepared that Skin Deep is not a surface novel.

You can buy your copy today here ~ Amazon UK

skin deep blog tour

Thanks to Accent Press and Laura Wilkinson for my ARC copy and being on my blog today. 

 

 

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Accent Press, Book Blog, Guest ~ Reviews

The Dangers Of Family Secrets By @debbyholtauthor @AccentPress #GuestReview Kimberly Livingston

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I look back at our married life and I wonder if there was anything real about it at all…

Genealogist Freya Cameron has the perfect life. A devoted husband of nearly thirty years and career driven, successful twin daughters.

But what if it s all a lie?

So skilled at excavating her clients family histories, Freya has no idea why her family are so cold towards her. They know something she doesn t and are determined to make her pay for it.

But sometimes secrets are better not left untold.

The Dangers of Family Secrets is a gripping story about trust, love and the destructive effects secrets have on a family.

The Review By Kimberly Livingston 

There are books that you open and love, start to finish. Those are the best kind.  Then there are the books that instantly pull you in, but leave you cursing the ending and the time wasted for the disappointment. Then there are the books that you don’t think you will like, the ones that sneak into your heart and slowly captivate you with plot, leaving you satisfyingly teary eyed at the end, grateful for going along on the characters’ journeys. This is what The Dangers of Family Secrets by Debby Holt was for me. The beautiful cover of blue flowers and golden moths give nothing away, but the title does. The Dangers of Family Secrets is full of them. Ms. Holt is a master at weaving together a whole cast of characters in an entangled web, and then just as skillfully setting it all right in the end. If you have difficulty keeping relationships straight have a notepad handy, but Ms. Holt develops her characters so well that they soon work themselves out while reading. You will find a character you love, ones you will hate, and ones you will love to hate. In the end,there wasn’t a single one that disappointed me.

You can order your copy here ~

The Dangers Of Family Secrets
Accent Press Ltd ~ Published 29/06/2017
Goodreads Page

Thank you to Debby Holt and Accent Press for our ARC copy and the opportunity to review.

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Book Blog, Guest ~ Reviews, Red Door Books

Dear You By Tessa Broad @TessaBroad ‏ @RedDoorBooks #GuestReview Kimberly Livingston

Dear You By Tessa Broad
Red Door Books Publishing ~ 26/06/2017
ISBN-10: 1910453404
Goodreads
Guest Review ~ Kimberly Livingston

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Tess Broad wanted children. She longed for them. It wasn’t to be. In this candid and moving memoir, Tess writes to the children that never were. She writes to them as their adult selves with openness and honesty and tells them of the childhood she envisaged for them and the mother she believed she would be. She describes her reluctant transformation from the woebegone, wannabe mummy that she once was, to the woman she is now; childless but chilled, sailing through Mother’s Day with a smile on her face. Happy. From the ‘trying for a family’ stage to the relentless treadmill of infertility treatment, Tess recounts her story with humour and pathos, taking the reader on her journey with her, sharing her experiences, the roller-coaster ride of IVF, the sudden departure of the husband whose children she wanted to have and ultimately to acceptance that the life she wanted and expected was not hers for the taking. This is a breathtaking memoir that offers a shoulder to lean on for everyone experiencing the uncertainties and pain of infertility.

Guest Review By Kimberly Livingston 

Dear You: A Letter to my Unborn Children is a memoir/novel length letter by Tessa Broad to her never conceived adult children. She imagines having had a daughter, Lily, and one or possibly two sons. The book is full of raw emotion and painful, honest experiences, but it also has humour and hope for anyone who is childless (versus child-free, a distinction she makes very clear). Tessa describes her move away from a “life pining for a baby”  as a “very gradual process….not just like stepping over a line.” Tessa passes down her history and advice the same way parents naturally do to their children. It just so happens that Tessa’s life stories and lessons are for the reader’s benefit instead. As I began to read, I wish that I had thought of her idea as I struggled with my own childlessness in my younger days. Tessa writes on the very first page, “I’m writing to you simply because I feel that I know you, that I love you; and I’d like you to get to know me. I want this letter to feel like you have spent time with me and me with you.”

The beginning of the book focuses on Tessa’s fertility treatments. I didn’t need as detailed a description of the process as the author gives, but I can see other readers being fascinated with the information. I am glad that I kept reading because the next section addresses the emotional and public side of what a childless woman deals with on a constant basis. From enduring mothers’ day year after year to jealously listening to groups of moms sit around describing their pregnancies. The painful reality of both I have myself experienced. Ironically, the same day I finished reading Dear You a female friend of my husband’s said to me, “I hope this isn’t too personal, but did you ever want your own children?” Both Tess and I have tolerated being asked this question for years. I loved her humour of how she answered at times, and I wish I had the grit to have come up with similar answers. She also describes how she has overcompensated when enjoying time with other people’s children to “somehow prove my ability to mother”, another concept I fully comprehend. The final section of the book Tess describes herself and gives titbits of advice. Think Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen but in paragraph form.

This book has been described as offering a “shoulder to lean on for everyone experiencing the uncertainties and pain of infertility”, but it isn’t only for women who are trying for children. I believe women and men, those with children, who are childless, or those who are happily child free will connect with Dear You.

You can order your copy here ~

Thank you to Tessa Broad  and Red Door Publishing for the opportunity to be on the tour!

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