#GuestPost IF I EVER DOUBT YOU by JAN BRIGDEN #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @JanBrigden

Happy Tuesday to you all! And Happy Publication Day to Jan Brigden for the release of IF I EVER DOUBT YOU!!  Hopefully you’ll all be downloading this later to enjoy!

Jan has been kind enough to write a guest post for me to share with you all today  to give you a bit more of an insight into the book and the characters within the story!! Over to you Jan….

Challenging the celebrity footballer stereotype: If I Ever Doubt You by Jan Brigden

My main characters Rebecca and Alex first encountered one another in my debut As Weekends Go. Family-oriented small-town woman meets big league professional footballer. We saw the huge impact on their lives during and after that eventful summer weekend.

If I Ever Doubt You continues their story, charting each cheer, dip, drama and dilemma their relationship throws up: how Rebecca adapts to and copes with the reality of living with a high-profile footballer, the pressures of online gossip and outside influences, unexpected reactions from nearest and dearest, plus an unpredictable ex-husband.

Alex, well he’s used to the football bubble, the scandals and scrapes, the scrutiny, and is fully aware of how it could affect Rebecca, turn her away from him, especially given the image his profession often conjures up.

I knew it was risky making a footballer my leading man, but being a person who tries not to judge people until I’ve met them, I wanted to challenge the stereotype and hopefully endear Alex to the reader. I’ve met one or two footballers over the years, at both ends of the personality spectrum, and it intrigued me how the man who loved his family, trained hard and simply wanted to play football without all the razzmatazz attached to it, felt about being lumped into the same bracket as the other man, the flash, champagne-swilling womaniser we sometimes hear about in the media.

Portraying the flip side of the stereotype made me look at things from a different perspective. As writers that’s what we try to achieve – multi-dimensional characters; in Alex’s case, his private versus public persona, the pitfalls and pressures versus the benefits and perks of his job. How he views his fellow professionals, the grafters versus the bad boys. How being in the spotlight affects him, his relationships, his lifestyle.

Nobody would expect the stereotype to be entirely banished as myth, but there will always be exceptions to the rule.

I hope readers enjoy Alex and Rebecca’s story as much as I enjoyed creating their characters.

About the Author

Jan lives in South East London with her husband and motley crew of cuddly toys. Jan’s written for pleasure from a young age; short stories for classmates, odes for workmates, fun quizzes for family and friends, progressing to the contemporary uplifting dramas she writes today.

The idea for her debut novel, As Weekends Go, sprang from a script she composed as part of a creative writing course assignment via The Writers Bureau. The novel went on to be published by award-winning UK independent publishers Choc Lit after winning their Search for a Star competition.

Jan’s latest novel, If I Ever Doubt You is the sequel to her debut.

An avid reader, reviewer and all-round book devotee, Jan is also one eighth of online writing blog The Romaniacs.

Jan can be contacted via Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanBrigden

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Jan.Brigden.44

Jan blogs at https://janbrigden.wordpress.com/

About the Book

She might have scored a celebrity footballer, but the game isn’t over yet …

Rebecca Dunning should be blissfully happy – after a whirlwind weekend, she and top footballer Alex Heath are still going strong. But as the murkier side of the celebrity lifestyle reveals itself, so does the creeping doubt.

Rebecca finds herself isolated in the fake, flashy world of toxic WAG cliques and ruthless reporters, and when a mysterious online admirer follows Alex’s every move, she struggles to cope. Can she keep playing the media game for the man she loves, or will she have to admit defeat?

Sequel to As Weekends Go.

Buying Links

 Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2ScspEU

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3574coU 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2SdN7US

#BlogTour THE BOOK OF KOLI by M.R.CAREY #BookReview @orbitbooks @michaelcarey191

Delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour for the exciting release of THE BOOK OF KOLI by M.R.CAREY. My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy of Compulsive Readers for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

published by ORBIT BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

What an introduction to a trilogy!!  The Book of Koli is the perfect start  and will have you eager to read more of the adventures ahead! This is book one, with books two and three to follow over the next year, and it’s brilliant story of nature turning against humanity!

Koli lives his life in fear, especially of trees and nature. The world they live in has severely changed over the years, the population has decreased and humans are kept in smaller groups for their own safety and survival.  It’s a scary world outside the safety of their own communities and for Koli growing up it’s a confusing place to be.  It’s a brutal and sparse way of life where you have to fight to survive and work together to thrive.

At the age of 15 he has to leave home to await his future – think an extreme ‘sorting hat’ kind of process! You discover your job and name for life. Living in a world constantly surveyed by drones for monitoring breaches and bad behaviour – we could do with these now in these ‘stay at home’ days!!

The more people Koli meets, the more his eyes are opened to the outside world and I loved seeing his character process things he learns – no more so than when a Japanese AI enters his life to teach him about the ‘old world’ and leads him on a path of discovery and figuring out why the world changed – very relevant to now it seems!! Be afraid!!

I found the story to be told at quite a pace and was often quite bleak (quite rightly!), but did really appreciate the touches of humour thrown in that did lift the mood. I am already itching to read more from Koli and the others to see where their journey takes them next!!

★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 25th April 2020

Hello all! Happy Saturday to you! And Happy Birthday to me!! A very weird birthday in lockdown, so I’m just going to be 21 yet again and urge you all to eat cake and buy books for yourself guilt free – my birthday gift to you all!!!

And it’s another been another week of lovely weather, so that has meant lots of time out in the garden for reading and another 5 books have been finished.. so only another billion to go before I have an empty TBR pile! Yay!!   But there has been no newbies, either digitally or real, so that’s good right?! I’m hoping to make up for it next week if the birthday gods have been kind to me!!!

Here’s my look back..

BOOKS FINISHED

These Silent Mansions by Jean Sprackland – 4 stars

Her Mother’s Secret by Jan Baynham – 5 stars

The Murder Game by Rachel Abbot –  4 stars

The Glass Hotel by Emily St.John Mandel – 3.5 stars

Q by Christina Dalcher – 4 stars

BOOKHAUL

A big fat NOTHING!!!!!!

CURRENTLY READING

THE SECRET OF THE CHATEAU by KATHLEEN MCGURL

out 15th May 2020

Everything is about to change…

1789. Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the palace of Versailles for their château, deep in the French Alps. But as revolution spreads through the country, even hidden away the Auberts will not be safe forever. Soon they must make a terrible decision in order to protect themselves, and their children, from harm.

Present day. When Lu’s mother dies leaving her heartbroken, the chance to move to a château in the south of France with her husband and best friends seems an opportunity for a new beginning. But Lu can’t resist digging into their new home’s history, and when she stumbles across the unexplained disappearance of Catherine Aubert, the château begins to reveal its secrets – and a mystery unsolved for centuries is uncovered…

Unlock the secret of the château today. Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Fiona Valpy and The Forgotten Village!

HAPPY READING!!

#BookReview THE ISLAND GIRLS by NOELLE HARRISON #TheIslandGirls

ABOUT THE BOOK

I guess our life on the island was one which never fit you right. I like to imagine you some days when I look out the window across the harbour, all those miles of sea and land between us. But, sister, we are always connected.


When young nurse Emer loses her beloved sister, she is haunted by grief and desperate to escape her memories. Taking a job in Vinalhaven, a rocky outpost in the wild Atlantic, feels like the refuge she so badly needs.
Her patient, 

Susannah, has lived in isolation for many years, since the tragic death of her sister Kate caused her to withdraw from island life. However, when Emer discovers a bundle of letters in a rainbow quilt in her bedroom and shares the story of her own loss, Susannah opens up. She begins to tell the story of Kate’s brutal and secret past, and her marriage to a man with a heart as cold as the ocean.


But when Emer starts asking locals about Kate, the island air sizzles with hostility. There are people who would rather that Susannah kept quiet, who have no qualms about threatening Emer. But despite the warnings to stay away, Emer is determined to find out what really happened the night Kate died – and the final secret that is keeping Susannah a prisoner to the past.


An unputdownable and unforgettable story of impossible choices and two sisters who would do anything for one another. Set on a bewitching sea-scented island, The Island Girls will burrow into your heart. Perfect for fans of Lisa Wingate, Anita Shreve and The Light Between Oceans.


PUBLISHED BY BOOKOUTURE


PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW

So much love for this book!! I adored the story of Emer and the prickly Susannah, as they both face up to extremely difficult pasts and find ways of moving forward.

Emer is on a boat and running away. Grieving for her sister Orla, she wants to right some wrongs and needs to do that away from memories of the past. So she gets a job nursing the terminally ill Susannah, a stubborn old woman who is convinced she doesn’t need any help and resents the intrusion of this new person in her life. Emer has time to explore the local surroundings with her nursing duties, and makes an impression on some of the locals immediately.

And then we have the story of Susannah, and we look back on her childhood in the 1950’s as she grows up with her sister Kate, who is the apple of her mothers eye. Whatever Susannah does is never good enough, and when she wants to take a different path that what her mother, and society, expects then she’s even more of a black sheep of the family. It was so fascinating to see Susannah and her struggles to live her own life. Imagine being discouraged from wanting to better yourself and be more than just a housewife and mother!

The more time Susannah and Emer spend together then the more the similarities about their pasts and their relationships with their sisters are explored and I loved the different storylines as they both played out. The stories take quite a dark twist at times and I enjoyed the suspense and drama that added to the mix!

It’s a story about the bond between sisters, about grief, about regret, not following the path others plan for you and I highly recommend it!


★★★★★

#BookReview THESE SILENT MANSIONS by JEAN SPRACKLAND #TheseSilentMansions

ABOUT THE BOOK

Graveyards are oases: places of escape, of peace and reflection. Each is a garden or nature reserve, but also a site of commemoration, where the past is close enough to touch: a liminal place, at the border of the living world.


Jean Sprackland’s prize-winning book, Strands, brought to life the histories of objects found on a beach. These Silent Mansions is also an uncovering of individual stories: vivid, touching and intimately told. Sprackland travels back through her own life, revisiting graveyards in the ordinary towns and cities she has called home, seeking out others who lived, died and are remembered or forgotten there. With her poet’s eye, she makes chance discoveries among the stones and inscriptions: a notorious smuggler tucked up in a sleepy churchyard; ancient coins unearthed on a secret burial ground; a slow-worm basking in the sun.
These Silent Mansions is an elegant, exhilarating meditation on the relationship between the living and the dead, the nature of time and loss, and how – in this restless, accelerated world – we can connect the here with the elsewhere, the present with the past. 


PUBLISHED BY JONATHAN CAPE


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon
hive.co.uk

Blackwell’s 


MY REVIEW

This was a beautifully written and fascinating insight into the world of the graveyards. From the broken tombstones, to the wildlife inhabiting the grounds late at night, I found myself totally absorbed in the journey of the author as she revisits graveyards near to where she has lived and the memories it brought back for her, alongside the history she uncovers about ‘residents’ and the stories and times they lived through.

I’ve always been fascinated by graveyards and find myself drawn to them wherever I go, and the same goes for Jean Sprackland so as she looks back over her life she decides to go on a little adventure to revisit old houses she has lived in. It gives a lovely insight into her life and as she has a wonderful way with words, it was just a pleasure to read! I found comfort in her prose, as I find comfort and peace in graveyards.

There’s plenty about the wildlife and nature that is often found at these sites,the changes to the churches and the areas they are in but what was most fascinating was the names that caught her eye on some tombstones, and as she delved further into their history it was their stories coming to life that were so illuminating and made them ‘real’! They weren’t just names to be forgotten and covered over by moss and lychen.

She also looks at how different generations dealt with death, along with the perceptions and way funerals are held, with the prominence of cremations and now the surge in natural funerals being more eco-friendly. I learnt so much throughout this book as she has such an accessible manner and each chapter was well crafted and a delight to read.


★★★★

#BlogTour #BookExtract THE THUNDER GIRLS by MELANIE BLAKE @MelanieBlakeUK @MidasPR @panmacmillan #ThunderGirls

A huge delight to be able to share an extract today for THE THUNDER GIRLS by MELANIE BLAKE, as part of the Blog Tour. My thanks to the author, publisher and Martina at Midas PR for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Jackie Collins for a new generation. The Thunder Girls is a blockbuster novel, filled with obsession, addiction, betrayal and revenge, that charts the rise and fall of an 80s girl band from Melanie Blake, a true insider of the music business.

Perfect for fans of Tasmina Perry and Daisy Jones and The SixSoon to be a nationwide play with an all star cast.

THE

Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.

THUNDER

Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.

In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as members of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce have been a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.

GIRLS

Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible . . .

 PUBLISHED BY PAN

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

Blackwell’s

Author Website

EXTRACT

Prologue 

November 1989 

Carly Hughes stepped from the back of the limousine at the entrance to Shine Records. She was wearing a short kilt and leather jacket. Lacy tights with biker boots; big hair, kooky-looking shades and an oversized designer bag worth thousands.

 Every inch the pop star.

 Her driver, Dale, threw a protective arm around her as he steered her past thousands of screaming Thunder Girls fans, Carly stopping to scribble her name on the autograph books and tour programmes being thrust at her. Some of the fans were hysterical. A young girl clung to her, sobbing, burying her tear-streaked face in her idol’s new jacket. 

Without taking his eyes off her, a handsome lad was snapping endless pictures on a battered Instamatic whilst staring at Carly intently. Dale let Carly know it was time to move. She detached herself from the crying girl and escaped into the building. 

 As they waited for the lift she inspected her jacket. ‘I think I’ve got snot on my sleeve. First time I’ve worn this, as well.’ 

Dale frowned and handed her a crisp white hanky. She dabbed at the damp leather.

 ‘I keep telling you not to be so touchy-feely,’ he said. ‘You don’t know where they’ve been.’

 ‘Harsh, Dale. They’re just kids—’ 

‘Bunking off school, most of them,’ he grumbled. ‘

—hanging about in the cold for hours, hoping for a word.’ ‘You’re way too trusting. They could pull a knife, anything.’

 Dale was ex-military. Special Forces. Decorated for bravery. Secretly hoping someone would step out of line one day so he could show what he was made of.

 ‘They’re our fans, they’d never hurt us.’ Carly gave him a dazzling smile.

 ‘Anyway, that’s why you’re here.’ He shook his head. ‘That weird one taking pictures . . . I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him – his eyes don’t look right.’ 

She giggled. ‘Don’t be mean. He’s the Mad Fan – goes everywhere we do, just likes to look at us and take his pics, bless him.’

 ‘Yeah, well that’s odd as well, the quiet ones are always the worst.’ 

🎵🎵🎵

#GuestPost HER MOTHER’S SECRET by JAN BAYNHAM @RubyFiction @JanBaynham #PublicationDay

Delighted to be sharing this guest post written by JAN BAYNHAM today to celebrate publication day for HER MOTHER’S SECRET!! She has written background to the setting and the novel itself, and how it feels having your debut novel published!!  Happy Publication Day Jan!

A sixties’ saga set on a Greek island: Her Mother’s Secret by Jan Baynham

Her Mother’s Secret with its sub-heading of ‘the Summer of ‘69’ is my debut novel. It mainly takes place on a fictional island in southern Greece. In 1969, Elin Morgan leaves Wales after finishing art college to spend the summer months studying at a painting school in Greece. She records everything in her diary but, while there, something happens that causes her to never paint again. The secrets of that summer remain with her until her untimely death twenty-two years later. Always fascinated by family secrets, I wanted to explore the reasons why someone would keep a part of her life so deeply hidden from those closest to her. But maybe Elin had a conscience after all when she bequeaths her diary to her daughter, Alexandra. Through reading the diary, Alexandra discovers she didn’t fully know her mother as she thought and is shocked as the secrets from her past are revealed. I tried to put myself in Alexandra’s shoes. Having had a very close relationship with her mother, how must she have felt finding out that her mother had kept such secrets from her? Alexandra travels to Greece to find out the truth and what really happened in that summer of 1969. Will she understand why her mother closed down that part of her life?

Why did I set the story in Greece? Having had several holidays there now, I first visited the country in the seventies when we stayed with my aunt and Greek uncle. I fell in love with the climate, the vibrancy of the colours of the sea and flowers and the warmth of its people. It seemed to be an ideal place for a young artist to spend her summer. In 1991, Alexandra thought so, too, when she first arrived in the picturesque harbour of Péfka: ‘No wonder you loved it here, Mam. The colours alone make it an artist’s heaven.’

I enjoyed getting to know my Greek characters, some named after or based on people I’ve met and observed on visits over the years. Dimitra, the host at the taverna where Elin stays, is named after a lovely waitress from the hotel we go to in Crete. On a trip to a Cretan village, I watched a woodturner working at his lathe on pieces of olive wood and he became the inspiration for Yiannis who figures largely in Alexandra’s story. Vassilis is named after an elderly Greek man who led me onto a taverna dance floor and tried to teach me traditional dancing with little success! He appears in both Elin’s and Alexandra’s story. I hope I’ve done justice to the country and its people by giving the reader a glimpse of life on the island.

Having my first novel published is both exciting and slightly nerve wracking. I’ve loved writing Elin’s and Alexandra’s stories and hope that readers will enjoy them too.

About the Author

After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction. From then on, she was hooked! She soon went on to take a writing class at the local university and began to submit short stories for publication to a wider audience. Her stories and flash fiction pieces have been longlisted and shortlisted in competitions and several appear in anthologies both online and in print. In October 2019, her first collection of stories was published. Her stories started getting longer and longer so that, following a novel writing course, she began to write her first full-length novel. She loves being able to explore her characters in further depth and delve into their stories.

Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband. Having joined the Romantic Novelists Association in 2016, she values the friendship and support from other members and

regularly attends conferences, workshops, talks and get togethers. She is co-organiser of her local RNA Chapter.

You may find out more about Jan here:

Twitter: @JanBaynham (https://twitter.com/JanBaynham)

Facebook: Jan Baynham Writer(https://www.facebook.com/JanBayLit/)

Blog: http://www.janbaynham.blogspot.co.uk

About the Book

It’s 1969 and free-spirited artist Elin Morgan has left Wales for a sun-drenched Greek island. As she makes new friends and enjoys the laidback lifestyle, she writes all about it in her diary. But Elin’s carefree summer of love doesn’t last long, and her island experience ultimately leaves her with a shocking secret …

Twenty-two years later, Elin’s daughter Alexandra has inherited the diary and is reeling from its revelations. The discovery compels Alexandra to make her own journey to the same island, following in her mother’s footsteps. Once there, she sets about uncovering what really happened to Elin in that summer of ’69.

Buying Links 

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2XUmdVN

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/34PhfLu 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3eBH7it