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Why it’s important to step outside of your comforts…

Writers, do you read what you write?

Readers, do you read the same genres?

As a writer, I tend to read books to help inspire my own writing. I write historical and Gothic fiction, with the classic being a major source of love and inspirations…the likes of the Brontë’s, Shelley, Poe, and my dear Mr Bram Stoker, of course. But lately I’ve done a fair bit of beta reading for fellow authors and received a few ARC copies for reviewing before official release dates, too. This is where I now read for the love of reading, not for research but to either help my fellow authors or step into another world. I love reading, of course, and I seem to be finding it increasingly harder to say no to these. I get a little tingle, a tiny buzz at the thought of a new book to read… I need more hours in the day! But I digress…

So, let me introduce you to Ailey. Here she is, set against a beautiful backdrop of the stunning Isle of Skye. I was drawn to Ailey of Skye initially by the premise of being set in Scotland, and with a particular love of Skye after a visit there two years ago, I was hooked at the thought. Now, I have to fully admit, I had no real idea of the truly hard-hitting story line I was going to be delving into, no idea how raw or gritty it would be.

You see, I don’t tend to read a lot of crime thrillers, and when I do the author needs to capture my attention very quickly or I will stray. But within a few lines, not even pages of this authentic, gripping thriller, I was done for. There wasn’t even a chance of me coming up to air (only to grab another coffee). And the author of this, Wendy Hewlett.

The reason that this book, above a lot of other’s I’ve read of late, stands out so much is that I do not read contemporary crime. It just isn’t my thing…usually! I have to say, there is only one other modern author of crime thrillers that can hook me like Wendy has and that is Peter James. So, I salute you Wendy Hewlett for converting me to the realms of contemporary crime thrillers… now to go download the rest of Wendy’s novels.

Ailey of Skye is available now from all good online retailers, including Amazon. Please go visit Wendy Hewlett’s website for more details and stalk Wendy on the following links. Website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

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blog, Review

Book Review – Chaining Daisy by Julia Blake

Congratulations to my dear friend and fellow author Julia Blake on the release of her new novel, Chaining Daisy, that was released yesterday. It’s available now worldwide on Kindle, Paperback or free to read on Kindle Unlimited. Just remember to add a box of tissues to the order.

You buy the book now at Amazon.

Chaining Daisy, the second book in The Perennials picks up where the first book Becoming Lili ends, pulling you straight into the story. In the first, we are introduced to the main cast of characters, a gang of friends whose lives are based in the late 90s. With Chaining Daisy, the years have moved on a little to the early 2000s, concentrating this time on Daisy who’s struggling with her not-so-perfect marriage, despite appearances, and Kevin, one of Lili’s oldest friends.

Julia Blake as always delivers a riveting story with eloquence and style. Her cast—and I’d always call her characters a cast as they’re so visual, so full and multidimensional, they live and breathe from the page—all have their supporting roles in this, all bringing something to the story. With scene-setting locations going from rural Suffolk to London to Cornwall, she manages to bring so much colour and atmosphere too.

I hate giving the plot away, I think the book blurb gives you enough. But what I will say is this is one hell of a ride. Although the book itself is a huge (well worth its money) read of over 400 pages, the author’s writing talent takes you by the hand, enticing you in; before you know it, you’re halfway through and you’ve not been up for air. It certainly takes your breath away, dealing with difficult topics and situations, and although the author has dealt with these so realistically, so true to life, she has been careful to handle them with a sense of integrity—graphic descriptions where needed and others left to the imagination.

This is one book that stays with you. I read it in a few sittings, needing to close the pages and recover once in a while, reaching for the box of tissues, yet the characters stayed with me, calling me until I picked it up again.

Though I urge every reader to have tissues to hand, this is in no way a mushy love story, though love and life in all its wonder and horror feature strongly, Chaining Daisy is hard-hitting, gripping, incredibly heart wrenching read with soft, tender, beautiful moments. A well-earned 5 stars!

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Absolute Proof by Peter James

absolute-proof-by-peter-james1.jpgWell, this knocked my socks off, as my Nan used to say. I have to add here, before I go any further, that this was my first step into the literary world of Peter James. And, it has to be said, I’m a little ashamed of that fact. *hangs head*

International bestselling author, Mr Peter James’ books are clearly something that’s been missing from my bookshelves. But no more, I rectified this dilemma without delay as I finished the last page of Absolute Proof, I purchased another – more about that in the near future.

So, here’s your coffee, snuggle in your favourite chair *sips her caramel latte* this is my spoiler-free review of Absolute Proof.

I’d just like to assure you I’m not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve recently been given absolute proof of God’s existence – and I’ve been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously.

Absolute Proof by Peter James

Investigative journalist, Ross Hunter, famous (or infamous depending on your viewpoint) is renowned for tackling, uncovering, controversial issues in his career, from political corruption to corporate scandals. He’s also no stranger to dangerous threats, always willing to stand up for what’s right not what’s easy. But when he receives a phone call from an old man declaring he has absolute proof of God’s existence, and that he and Ross have been chosen to save the world… well, you can imagine his scepticism, and that too of his expectant wife, Imogen.

With his well-honed curious nature, and look out for the next ‘big story’, Ross agrees to meet Dr Harry Cook, where he produces a manuscript he’d scribed from a direct message from God himself, through a medium. Reluctantly, against his better judgement, opinion that Dr Cook is probably no more than a crazy old man, Ross agrees to read the manuscript. Alas, upon finding the body of murdered Dr Cook a matter of days later, Ross is compelled to take up the staff, beginning his treacherous adventure.

With such a claim, the ‘absolute proof of God’s existence’, it’s no surprise that such momentous news travels fast. Enter here, a spanner in the works; a global household-name pharmaceutical company, a billionaire evangelist, a whoever-pays-the-big-bucks hitman – and the Vatican. Along with a number of other dubious encounters, Ross is on a perilous mission, sending him over the globe to unravel this claim.

There is no doubt that Peter James has done some serious research for this book; by his own admission, ‘a book 30 years in the making.’ Absolute Proof is one hell (excuse the pun) of a rollercoaster ride. It’s fast-paced, with some short concise chapters, from multi-character viewpoints, giving the story a multidimensional feel, with hard-hitting moments that literally take your breath away one minute to making you sit up and think the next. With just the right amount of detail that absorbs you into the page making you one with the plot – there is no escape till that last page.

About two-thirds in I sat and really pondered on the plot, the twists and turns (there are many) on where I really thought the storyline was going, what the outcome would be. After all, what would you do if you were handed the gauntlet to prove to the world of God’s existence, and what would you do faced with perilous hurdles at every turn? Ross Hunter is no way an enviable character, rather an admirable, sometimes foolhardy one, with his tenacious nature, he brings this story to a climactic and extremely clever ending. One I could not have foretold.