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Alex Brown Reveals New Book – The Wish

The WishAlex Brown has revealed her new book for 2018 called ‘The Wish’.

What the back cover says –

Sam Morgan knows he messed up with his wife Chrissie and daughter Holly – he wasn’t there when they needed him most, but now he’ll do anything to put his family back together again. Until then, he’s back living in the picture-postcard village of Tindledale.

Jude Darling is coming home for good this time. She’s taking over the antique shop in Tindledale, the place where she grew up and she’s going to make sure she’s there for her friend, Chrissie, and Goddaughter, Holly. They certainly need her right now.

As for Holly, there’s only one thing she wants and it’s not the sort of thing you can buy in a shop. She might be thirteen years old, but Holly still believes in wishes, and perhaps if she wishes hard enough, this one might come true…

Sounds like a lovely story to look forward to this Summer.

You can pre-order The Wish from Amazon and will be available from good bookshops from 17th May 2018.

My Top Five Leading Ladies By Jaime Raven

The RebelToday on the book tour for Jaime Raven’s new book called ‘The Rebel’, Jaime talks about his top five leading ladies.

There are five very special women in my life – but they only exist on paper.

They’re the leading ladies in the four books I’ve written for Avon/Harper Collins, the latest of which, The Rebel, is published this month.

These women mean a lot to me because I created them and then spent months getting to know them. I decided what they looked like, how they behaved, what they said, and whether they were single or in a relationship. And I’m really pleased with the way they turned out.

They have their faults, of course, but then nobody’s perfect – not even those people who are figments of our imaginations.

My leading ladies all have distinctive personalities and characteristics. Four of them are ‘goodies’ and one of them is very, very bad. Her name is Rosa Lopez and she features in ‘The Rebel’. But more on her later.

First let me introduce you to the leading ladies in order of appearance and tell you a bit about them.

‘The Madam’ was my first book for Avon and the main protagonist is a prostitute named Lizzie Wells who is jailed for a crime she didn’t commit. Tragically her son died while she was in prison so on her release she seeks revenge against the people who framed her. Here’s what I like about Lizzie. She’s tough, tenacious and down-to-earth. I also think that as a character she’s original, engaging and plausible.

Beth is a crime reporter and single mother who risks her life by going up against one of London’s most ruthless gangsters. This particular character is very close to my heart because I loosely based her on myself. Before becoming a full time writer I was a journalist and spent much of my career reporting crime stories across London for national newspapers. Fortunately I didn’t get into as much trouble as Beth does.

Sarah is a detective inspector with the Met police. She’s divorced and has a 15-month-old daughter named Molly. But Molly is abducted and the kidnapper sends Sarah sick text messages and video clips that pile on the agony. What I admire about Sarah is the way she overcomes her fear and panic to go in search of Molly by herself. A true heroine.

Laura Jefferson is another Met detective and she’s married to a teacher. She’s one of two leading ladies in ‘The Rebel’. The other is 28-year-old Rosa Lopez, a contract killer from Mexico who flies into London to murder police officers on behalf of a notorious criminal.

The two come up against each other in a momentous battle between good and evil. At the same time they each have to deal with their own personal demons.

I like to think I’ve created two memorable characters in Laura and Rosa. Laura is smart, pragmatic and honourable. Rosa, on the other hand, is brutal, wicked and sly. But she also becomes vulnerable when she suddenly finds herself on an emotional roller coaster.

There was a time when women in crime fiction novels seemed to feature only as victims or damsels-in-distress. But not anymore.

They’re now among the best fictional crime-fighters and most outrageous villains. And I firmly believe that’s exactly how it should be.

You can buy The Rebel from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Things Bright And Beautiful By Anbara Salam

Things Bright And Beautiful‘Things Bright And Beautiful’ is Anbara Salam’s debut novel.

Advent Island is a place beyond the reaches of Bea’s most fitful imaginings. It’s not just the rats and the hordes of mosquitos and the weevils in the powdered milk. Past the confines of their stuffy little house, amidst the damp and the dust and the sweltering heat, rumours are spreading of devil chasers who roam the island on the hunt for evil spirits. And then there are the noises from the church at night. Yet, to the amusement of the locals and the bafflement of her husband, Bea gradually adapts to life on the island. But with the dreadful events heralded by the arrival of an unexpected, wildly irritating and always-humming house guest, Advent Island becomes a hostile place once again. And before long, trapped in the jungle and in the growing fever of her husband’s insanity, Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom, and for her life.

As a debut, this book was certainly a strong and interesting one, but it was also a book that I sometimes struggled with. I initially found it difficult to get into, only because I wasn’t sure of the location or the time era that the book was set in but once I did, I found it to a compellingly claustrophobic and eerie story where nothing is what it seems.

Set against the backdrop of Advent Island, a remote island in the Pacific, the story is seen from the perspective from different characters, but primarily seen from Max and Bea, two newcomers to the island, where Max has taken up the position of Pastor and Bea, is his wife as they adjust to their new lives.

I really liked Bea, she was a strong woman, who gave up her life in America to follow her husband, she adapted to her new life with no complaint, living in dirt, little food and spent most of her time alone whilst Max was delivering his religious messages. Max, I found less interesting, as he struggled to fit into the small village and be respected, especially with Marietta, a woman who was always questioning his beliefs and thoughts.

The story is beautifully written and written in such descriptive detail, that you almost felt you were in the forests with the characters. Riddled with mystery and intrigue throughout, this story deals with the complexities of relationships, religion and culture, ‘Things Bright And Beautiful’ is an atmospheric story that transports the reader into another world.

You can buy Things Bright and Beautiful from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Joys Of Research By Bella Osborne

Raising The BarToday on the book tour for ‘Raising The Bar’, the third book in Bella Osborne’s ‘Ottercombe Bay’ book series, Bella talks about the joy of research.

As I writer it’s important that I do my research. Sometimes this takes me to odd places and has parental warnings flashing up on my PC but sometimes it is pure bliss. My research for Ottercombe Bay gave me a mix of all three! It is set in a fictional Devon seaside town so obviously I had to spend some time in the area and it really is a beautiful part of the country. We stayed on the Devon/Dorset border not far from Lyme Regis and got to explore the coast in both directions.

We visited the beautiful village of Beer, Devon, and I loved how the river was channelled through the streets to the sea. The beach at Beer is divided: one half filled with small fishing boats and the other side littered with tourists, but everyone seems to get along just fine. Near Budleigh Salterton, Devon, the river Otter meets the sea but unlike Beer there is no village as it’s an area of outstanding natural beauty, which got me thinking. What if there was a village here? Combe means a valley on a hillside or coastline so the town of Ottercombe Bay was born.

I spent some time talking to the lovely people at the RNLI, both their central office and volunteers from various Lifeboat stations who were so generous in sharing stories and answering my questions. As I was brought up in a seaside town I have also witnessed the lifeboat going out in the most awful storms and am in awe of the crew members who regularly risk their lives to save others.

My favourite research for Ottercombe Bay was the very serious subject of gin. Gin features in the story so I felt I needed to know more about this drink – a lot more! A YouGov poll found that gin is now the most popular spirit in the UK, with 29% of drinkers voting it their favourite and 47m bottles of it were sold in 2017, setting a new record! Gin has become very popular over the last few years since 2009 when Sipsmith, a London based distiller, won a legal battle with HMRC for the right to produce gin in small quantities via smaller stills rather than on an industrial scale. This gave rise to craft distilleries that sprung up all over the country producing their own variations of gin. I was very lucky to be able to attend a special Burleigh’s gin tasting evening at the Seven Stars pub in Rugby, Warwickshire where I learned so much about the history of gin and gin production as well as getting to try out quite a few too!

To ensure I was sufficiently qualified to write about gin I also attended a gin festival in Coventry Cathedral, a very beautiful but unusual venue for such an event, and did my own research on gin cocktails. I must say my friends have been amazingly supportive of the gin research, offering to accompany me and test out my creations over and over again – well, what are friends for?

You can buy Ottercombe Bay – Part Three: Raising the Bar (Ottercombe Bay Series) from Amazon.

The Fear Book Tour – Extract

The FearToday I’m hosting the book tour for C.L Taylor’s brand new book, ‘The Fear’ and I’ve an extract from the exciting book.

We are sitting so close that, when he just changed gear, I had to lean to my left to avoid his forearm brushing mine. A wave of panic courses through me. The last time I was in a car with this man we were driving through France. But Mike doesn’t recognise me. He did a quick sweep of my body as I rounded the van, a casual appraisal any man might do to a woman he’s never met before, but there was no spark of interest when I opened the passenger door and got in. Why would there be? I’m a grown woman, not a child.

As he navigates his way back down to the road and up the muddy track to the barn he chatters away about nothing in particular – the weather, the flooding, the news. I nod and shrug but I’m not really listening. I can’t stop staring at his face.

He’s forty-nine now and his hair is more grey than black, but it’s still thick and wavy, cut short above the ears and at the nape of his neck. Deep lines stripe across his brow and fan out at the corner of his eyes. He looks old and tired.

I was afraid that all the feelings I’d had as a teenager would come flooding back and overwhelm me, but I don’t feel love or desire. Not even hate or fear. What I feel, as I look at his long, thick fingers curved over the steering wheel, is revulsion.
‘Here we are then.’ He pulls on the handbrake and turns off the engine. We’re in the yard. Parked up outside the barn.

This is just a small taster from an exciting book that was unsettling and exciting in equal parts.

You can pre-order The Fear from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 22nd March 2018.