Friday, 13 December 2019

Bad Magic - Blog Tour



BLOG TOUR


Bad Magic by A.M. Stirling
#BadMagicBook @AMStirling1 @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours


Book Blurb:
When Richard meets his cousin Amanda for the first time in twenty years, he’s still afraid of her; she bullied him throughout his childhood and sexually abused him when they were teenagers. He owns a struggling art gallery that only survives because his wealthy grandmother pays for it. But now Amanda’s back in his life, things look set to change. She’s out to make trouble, drugging Richard with Rohypnol, faking a burglary and trying to persuade their grandmother to change her will. Richard’s heard a rumour she murdered her mother. Fearing for his grandmother’s life and his inheritance, he decides to give Amanda a dose of her own medicine.

MY REVIEW

Bad Magic is an interesting and different kinda read. 

From the start I didn’t like Amanda. Richard was an ok character to me. Amanda bullied her cousin Richard twenty years ago. Now she is back in his life and he doesn’t know what to make of it. He’s definitely right to be wary of her. 

It did take me a few chapters to get into it but once I did I really enjoyed it. 
It’s unusual that I read a book that there isn’t at least one character I can rave about but that’s not a negative. I like when a book can make me feel something different.



About A.M. Stirling:
A. M. Stirling has had a varied career as a freelance photographer, an artist with several national and international exhibitions to his name, and an academic. After harbouring an ambition to write fiction for far too long, he completed an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2012.

Bad Magic is his first published novel. He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.


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Purchase Links:


Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and ebook formats by Wombach Press on 30th September 2019.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Review: Bad Magic

Bad Magic Bad Magic by A. M. Stirling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bad Magic is an interesting and different kinda read.

From the start I didn’t like Amanda. Richard was an ok character to me. Amanda bullied her cousin Richard twenty years ago. Now she is back in his life and he doesn’t know what to make of it. He’s definitely right to be wary of her.

It did take me a few chapters to get into it but once I did I really enjoyed it.
It’s unusual that I read a book that there isn’t at least one character I can rave about but that’s not a negative. I like when a book can make me feel something different.

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Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Review: Altered by Fire

Altered by Fire Altered by Fire by Kate Morgan
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Yikes what a read. I seriously couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved it.

Natalia is on the run from her mob father. She finds herself taking refuge in a church where she gets more than she bargained for. Can she trust them??

This was a hot and intense read. I didn’t want it to end. I’m so looking forward to reading more from this author and I can’t wait to read book two (hopefully soon). Be warned this may be taboo for some though not for me lol

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Five French Hens - blog tour



BLOG TOUR

THE BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE MIGHT BE STILL TO COME…
When 73 year old Jen announces that she is going to marry Eddie, a man she met just a few months previously on a beach on Boxing Day, her four best friends from aqua aerobics are flabbergasted.
The wedding is booked and, when the groom decides to have a stag trip to Las Vegas, the ladies arrange a hen party to beat all others -a week in the city of love, Paris.
From misadventures at the Louvre, outrageous Parisian cabarets, to drinking champagne with a dashing millionaire at the casino, Paris lives up to all their hopes and dreams. But a week can change everything, and the women that come home have very different dreams from the ones who got on the plane just days ago.
Funny, fearless and with a joie de vivre that reminds you to live every day like it’s your last. Judy Leigh has once again written the perfect feel-good novel for all fans of Cathy Hopkins, Dawn French and Fiona Gibson.
Praise for Judy Leigh’s books:
‘Brilliantly funny, emotional and uplifting’ Miranda Dickinson
‘Lovely . . . a book that assures that life is far from over at seventy’ Cathy Hopkins bestselling author of The Kicking the Bucket List
‘Brimming with warmth, humour and a love of life… a wonderful escapade’ Fiona Gibson, bestselling author of The Woman Who Upped and Left

LINKS

Judy’s Twitter: @judyleighwriter
Judy’s Facebook: judy leigh
Judy’s Instagram: judy leigh
Judy’s website: http://judyrleigh.com
Amazon link to Five French Hens: https://amzn.to/31jDwgW


EXTRACT


Chapter One
Jen held the umbrella over her head and listened to the rain drumming on the canvas. It would be cosy inside the pub. The wind blew hard through the material of her jacket. She’d thought she’d be warm enough, but there was ice in the February gusts that sifted around the corner and lifted her hair, rearranging it across her face. She’d spent the afternoon in the hairdresser’s and had been pleased with the glossy style, silver strands streaked through the chestnut locks. In the grey suit and neat heels, she’d thought she’d look smart, but the cold weather and the sharp breeze had taken the edge off her preparations and she was sure her nose would glow red beneath the light dusting of powder. But Eddie wouldn’t mind – the first thing he always said was how nice it was to see her and how lovely she looked.
There were posters in the windows of the Olive Grove, huge red hearts and cute Cupids with arrows, proclaiming the evening’s special Valentine dinner. Jen could hear the hushing of the waves breaking against the sea walls in the distance and, from down the road, the crisp sound of approaching footfall. It was Eddie, in his pale mackintosh, the collar up, looking debonair, just like Inspector Morse. It was seven thirty, sharp.
***
Half seven, thought Rose. The torture must end soon. Little Amelia’s nimble fingers pressed the pristine ivory keys on the piano: the discordant jangle made a pulse in Rose’s head throb.
‘Try again from the beginning, dear,’ she murmured, watching the second hand twitch on the wall clock. It would soon be over and Amelia would leave her in peace. Rose sighed and spoke through clenched teeth. ‘Shall we call it a night, dear? I think Mummy’s here – someone just rang the doorbell, I’m sure.’
Amelia slammed the piano lid down without turning round and stood up, still in her school uniform, tidy in the crisp white blouse and tartan skirt, her blonde plaits neatly secured with bows. Rose held up the child’s coat and led her to the door where a tall, slim woman with dark hair in a no-nonsense cut and a smart coat was standing in
the porch, the rain teeming behind her. Amelia went straight to her and took her hand, a dutiful six year old. But Rose was sure that the child wrinkled her nose and stuck out the edge of a pink tongue at her. Amelia’s mother smiled, although her eyes remained cold.
‘How was Amelia’s lesson, Mrs Grant? She’s been practising all week. Is it time for her to be put forward for a grading?’ She held out two notes, a ten and a five.
Rose noticed Amelia scowling. She was unsure what to say, her hand fluttering in front of her face. ‘She’s making progress, Mrs Bassett. Soon, I hope.’
Amelia’s mother frowned. ‘My friend, Sally, tells me that Joni Yates puts all her pupils in for grading early. They all seem to pass with distinctions too.’
Rose sighed. She wished she could tell the woman to take her child to Joni Yates, then, and see how she coped with Amelia, who clearly didn’t practise anything from one week to another. But her pupils were becoming scarcer: she had no idea why she didn’t just retire. After all, it wasn’t as if she needed the money. Bernard had left her comfortably off and piano teaching was a routine that left her feeling unfulfilled, flat, without energy. ‘Keep practising Für Elise, Amelia, and maybe we’ll discuss grade entry next week.’
Amelia gazed up at her mother, her tiny brows meeting in a knot. ‘Furry Liza is boring, Mummy. Can I learn the violin instead? Elsa in my class goes to violin. She says the teacher is really cool.’
Amelia’s mother met Rose’s eyes, as if her daughter had just made up her mind for her, and turned on her heel, tugging the child towards the pouring rain and a dark car parked by the kerb. Rose closed the door, locked it securely with the bolt and chain and muttered, ‘Minx.’ As an afterthought, she mumbled, ‘What a blessing that Beethoven was deaf. If he’d heard Amelia slaughtering his Für Elise for the last forty-five minutes, it would raise him from the grave.’
She stood in the hallway, thinking. Half past seven. She hadn’t eaten since lunch, and then just a slice of toast. She wasn’t really hungry, but she ought to look after herself better. Her skirt was hanging off her, the waist baggy, and her legs felt weak. She would find something in the freezer, something with calories. There was a box of macaroni cheese for one. She could heat it up in the microwave. Rose sighed again. She didn’t like February. Spring was too far away and the house was too cold. Besides, Bernard had died in February two years ago and each year she felt the cold, haunting loneliness grasp her by the shoulders and whisper in her ear that she was by herself and companionless and that was how it would always be now.
Of course, she had her new friends, the four women she’d met at aqua aerobics last October when the club first started. They were nice women, but they only met for coffee once a week and then she came home alone and it was back to the silence again. She shuffled into the lounge and picked up a yellow duster, rubbing it over the piano. It had been hers and Bernard’s. He had been a wonderful musician, a church organist too. She replaced their wedding photo lovingly on top, over the circle left by a wine glass years ago. Not hers, of course – it might have been made by their son, Paul, one Christmas when he’d visited with the children. His visits were a rare thing nowadays – he was a busy man, of course, he had an important job.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Review: Treacherous

Treacherous Treacherous by Alex Grayson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this story. As soon as I started I couldn’t put it down. I kept saying just one more chapter until I realised I’m not gonna put my kindle down until I’d finished.

Rylee is a fabulously strong character. I was totally in her corner. Surprisingly I liked Zayden as well but I do like a bad boy lol

These two authors are amazing together. This was a well written intense enemies to lovers story that I highly recommend.

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Review: Wrecked

Wrecked Wrecked by Cassie Kay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first but definitely not my last read by this author. Shay is fighting for survival and ends up back in her home town. Things don’t go as expected. I thought Shay was a likeable character and I liked her sassiness. At the start I didn’t like Jasper but he sure changed my mind. This is a well written raw and gritty read that I inhaled in one sitting. So so good.

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Monday, 9 December 2019

Snakes and Ladders - blog tour



Here is an extract of Snakes and Ladders. 

EXTRACT


CHAPTER 1
   Dr Vernon Sange, killer of twelve, lies on his bunk. His hands are interlaced behind his head, his film-star face white as butcher’s paper from being inside so long. On his chest, a portable CD player moves up and down in time with his measured breaths. The ‘Queen of the Night’ aria plays through his earbuds.
   His eyes move around the room but his head stays still on its stalk. Every so often he flicks the tip of his tongue over his teeth, tapping the sharp point of his canine then drawing it back into his mouth.
   He glances at the small table bolted to the floor. On it, a stack of Penguin Classics and fat history paperbacks are arranged alphabetically, each annotated with comments, quotes and corrections in Crayola felt-tip pen.
   Dr Sange isn’t allowed ballpoints or pencils. He’s not allowed anything with a hard cover either.
   The Daily Telegraph is on the table beside the books. It’s been quartered precisely. Seven pages in, a man’s name has been circled. The ink has bled through seven sheets.
   There is no noise in here apart from Dr Sange’s slow, rhythmic breathing. His cell is the only one in the corridor. Six by nine by twelve feet. Windowless. The walls grey up to head height.
As Dr Sange’s thoughts coalesce, his pupils contract into pinhole points of black. His thumbs cruise his occipital bone.
   ‘The husband!’ he whispers, his voice hoarse from lack of use.
   His lips curl into a smile. He’ll make the call tomorrow.
   ‘My move,’ he says.

CHAPTER 2
FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia
   ‘What makes a person murder someone they’ve never met? What makes them kill stranger after stranger until they’re stopped? What makes a monster?’
   I surveyed the packed auditorium. Hundreds of NATs, New Agent Trainees, all wearing blue polo shirts and khakis. All with the same bright-faced focus.
   I’d been scheduled to give this lecture series two years ago, right after Duncan was shot.
   We’d been approaching our first wedding anniversary. He’d been invited to run a set of FBI National Academy Associates classes at the same time as I’d be giving my talks. The plan was to travel up to Shenandoah afterwards, take some time out together. We’d been drooling over national park brochures for weeks: waterfalls, wooded hollows, mountain vistas. So damn beautiful you could hardly believe the place was real.
   ‘I can’t wait. Just you and me, hen,’ he’d said, pulling me in for a kiss. ‘A break from our lives.’
   Though it turned out we didn’t need a holiday for that. Not with an assassin aiming his rifle at my husband’s head.
   This was the first time I’d been back to Quantico since the shooting. And despite the intervening period, standing at the podium now, where I should have been then, I felt the familiar squeeze in my throat and tightening in my chest.
   There’s always a trigger involved before a serial killer hunts for the first time. My black dog, the spectre that haunts my days and nights, is a killer too. It doesn’t take much to draw him out of the dark.
   I swallowed hard and ploughed on. No way was I going to get all dewy-eyed in front of these guys.
   ‘Why does it matter?’ I said, looking at their expectant faces. ‘Why do we care what makes murderers?’
   A beefy bloke who looked like he’d have done well on the Yellow Brick Road run, the final part of the Academy’s gruelling fitness challenge, raised an arm as thick as my thigh.
   ‘The more we understand them, the more likely we are to catch them, ma’am.’
   I smiled, and not just because of the military-style ‘ma’am’, which always reminds me of my army days.
   No one appreciates the benefits of criminal profiling better than the FBI. Quantico’s the birthplace of behavioural analysis. It’s where the magic started.
   I was just about to quote Robert Ressler at them – that line about how understanding one killer gives us the ammo we need to track the next one – when the door opened. An agent I recognised from Behavioral Analysis ushered in a man in a wrinkled suit, slept in by the looks of it.
   I could tell the guy was a Brit before he even opened his mouth. Something about the way he carried himself.
   ‘Mrs MacKenzie,’ he said, his voice, all boarding-school plum, carrying across the lecture hall as he walked up the centre aisle. ‘I’m sorry to interrupt. I’ve been sent by Scotland Yard. We need your help.’

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Review: Deranged

Deranged Deranged by Bella J.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is book three in the American Street Kings. Depraved and Defiant must be read before reading this one. Crikey what is this author doing to me. I feel like she’s pulling me through the wringer with this angsty and gritty read. Fantastic addition to this series. I’m so looking forward to reading more.

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Review: Defiant

Defiant Defiant by Bella J.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is book two in the American Street Kings series. Read Depraved before reading this book. Granite and Alyxs story continues and it had me on the edge of my seat. Fabulously written intense story with plenty of angst. I absolutely loved it. Can’t wait to jump into the next book.

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Review: Depraved

Depraved Depraved by Bella J.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I seriously can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read these books. They were oh so good. This is one of my favourite reads this year. I inhaled it from start to finish. The characters, the storyline, everything... the whole story messed with my head. Oh so good. I’m jumping into book two now.

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