Thursday, 30 June 2016

New Release ~Hampstead Fever @DrCarolCooper

Hampstead Fever
Carol Cooper

It is high summer in London and trouble is brewing.

Chef Dan should be blissfully happy. He has the woman of his dreams and a job in a trendy Hampstead bistro. But his over-anxious partner, engrossed in their baby, has no time for him.

Stressed doctor Geoff finds solace in the arms of a mercurial actress. Journalist Harriet’s long-term relationship with Sanjay hits the buffers, leaving each of them with serious questions to answer. Meanwhile single mother of four Karen lacks the appetite for a suitable relationship.

Passion and panic rise in the heatwave, but who will spot the danger signs?



"Likely to be late, is he?" asked Dan as he shuffled dishes in front of the oven.
“I doubt it,” said Laure.
The dinner party was all Dan’s fault. "You know what your trouble is?" he'd told Laure one morning when she was feeding Jack. "You don't see enough people."
"I see lots of people."
That was arrant nonsense. Good word, arrant. "I'm not counting the health visitor and the mums at toddler group. Which you hardly ever go to."
"That's because I don't want Jack to catch all those viruses." By which she meant every single virus in existence, and then some.
"Let's have people to dinner. Soon. I'll cook." He wouldn't just cook. He'd take care of the menu, the shopping, the lot. Didn’t often cook at home. This would be great. There were dishes that could be served on a big wooden board. Maybe something topped with thinly sliced roast beef. Or carpaccio of salmon. People would help themselves. With fingers if necessary.  Helped break the ice.
“What about the cost?” Laure had asked.
“Don’t worry. I know where to shop.”
"Who would we invite?" she asked.
"All your ex-boyfriends of course. Have we got enough chairs?" It was a joke. Not a very good one, granted. "Sorry. We could invite the neighbours."
"Oh, God, not the Freemans. They're odious."
"Not the Freemans. I was thinking of Eliot, and that flatmate of his, what's her name."  Eliot was gay, so no threat there. And the lodger was well fit.
Laure said she wanted to ask Sanjay as well, along with his partner Harriet.
"Who's Sanjay?"
Laure explained over a nappy change. Turned out she and Sanjay had been an item years and years ago. Long before she and Dan had even met, but still. Wasn't a good thing.
"Why?" Dan asked.
"Why what?"
"Why would you want to invite him?"
She picked up Jack and plopped the nappy sack and contents into the bin before answering. "Sanjay's a nice guy. And he's funny. You'd like him."
That sounded pretty unlikely to Dan. The whole idea began to stink like a nappy.
"He was at speed-dating the night we met, two years ago. And he's only got one testicle," Laure added. As if that was supposed to make him harmless.
Dan couldn’t remember him from the Jacaranda bar, and didn't even want to know why he'd only got one ball. Not his circus, not his monkeys. But Laure told him anyway. Long story about a misdiagnosis. He’d been treated for cancer with surgery and everything. Then the doctors figured he’d had TB all along, not cancer.
Sounded a bit unlikely. Perhaps she just wanted to make him feel sorry for the guy.
Well, not going to happen. Arrantly.
While Dan got dressed for work, she jawed on about Sanjay and his fundraising job with some wonderful charity for kids, and his girlfriend Harriet who was a freelance journalist, and how they had meet speed-dating too, and had been an item about the same length of time he and Laure had been together, and they were totally loved-up and everything.
It irritated the crap out of him. It also reminded him that Laure had been a hot-shot international lawyer, while he, Dan, was an uneducated fella who'd been in jail and now had a job in a kitchen. A kitchen in Lolo’s Restaurant in Hampstead Village, no less. But a kitchen all the same.
They ended up inviting Sanjay to their first dinner since the baby was born.  Dan could see that would lead to trouble. He just didn't know what kind.

Where can I purchase this fabulous book? 

About the author

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and novelist. She graduated from Cambridge University where she studied medicine. To support her studies, she worked at supermarket checkouts, walked dogs, typed manuscripts in Russian, and made men’s trousers to measure.

After a string of parenting books and an award-winning medical textbook, she turned to fiction with her debut One Night at the Jacaranda. Her novels are all about Londoners looking for love, and they’re laced with inside medical knowledge.




Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Book Spotlight ~ Book One Of The Hurst Chronicles @HurstChronicles

✮ Book One Of The Hurst Chronicles
Robin Crumby  

Hurst Castle is the setting for a recently released dystopian thriller written by local author Robin Crumby.

The story focuses on a group of survivors living at Hurst, on the South Coast of England, following the outbreak of a pandemic virus.

In an all-too realistic vision of the near future, law and order on the mainland has collapsed. Those that survive scrape a living in remote outposts. Hiding behind high walls, far away from the smoking ruins of the cities, waiting and hoping. When the arrival of outsiders threatens to tip the balance of power, Hurst is faced with a desperate choice: set aside their differences and join an alliance that promises new hope or unite against the newcomers and their plans for reconstruction. Who can be trusted? Only time will tell. The battle for Hurst has begun.

Author Robin Crumby hopes that the book will generate "international interest in Hurst Castle and provide an additional boost for visitor numbers."

Book Extract

Chapter One 

This was an ancient place, remote and desolate. Peaceful, yet witness to centuries of war mongering, standing ready to do its duty. A never-ending vigil set to the rhythmic rise and fall of the ocean.

It was only a matter of time before all this would be swept away. The castle’s resolute defences were imperceptibly weakened by every breaking wave, sweeping in from the channel, sent crashing against the groynes and stones.

A pale sun rose silently and unnoticed over Hurst Castle. Shadows stretching over the rippled tidal waters that all but surrounded it, bar a narrow finger of shingle linking the fortifications to the mainland. Hurst’s seventy-four occupants were slumbering in their quarters. The more recent arrivals camping out in the East Wing, tents pitched where grass and space allowed. In the dorm room in the main building, a shaft of sunlight pierced the makeshift curtains. Two grey blankets strung across the large stone window aperture prolonged the darkness. The shaft of light fell across the pillow of one of the iron-framed beds, bathing the unshaven face of a man in white light as he began to wake.

Zed stretched and yawned, looking around at his companions. Packed tightly together, a sleeping mass of washed-up humanity snored gently. There was a low snuffle of someone stirring in the corner, heavy breathing and the universal stench of unwashed bodies and morning breath. From outside came the low sound of waves breaking gently over the rocks and shingle spit, seagulls soaring above the castle that spoke of a new morning, bringing with it new hope. For many, the sounds reminded them of former lives, holidays by the seaside, long forgotten memories.

A base need to breathe fresh air and enjoy the peace of the castle in the early dawn compelled Zed to take his morning constitutional walk. He was fond of rising before anyone else was up and having the place to himself.

Stepping outside, he squinted, shading his eyes, taking a moment to bathe his face in the sunshine, inhaling deeply the sea air. His hair was unkempt and unwashed, long sideburns grew down his cheeks and a tuft of hair stuck upright. He wore a grubby t-shirt with ‘Weyland Corporation’ on the front. Chest high salt stains from wading in seawater to unload stores from a visiting fishing boat. He had the air of someone who looked after himself, a loner, a survivor with the scars to prove it. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy the company of others, he did. But when push came to shove, he had no time for the weak. Survive or die. Get in his way and face the consequences.

Leaving the castle keep and its cold grey stone walls, he meandered sleepily, still yawning, through the Tudor archway. Beyond the gate was a narrow strip of grass that stretched for one hundred meters or so to the western walls of the fort, extended in Victorian times.  A large marquee dominated the interior. Half a dozen smaller tents were pitched haphazardly around it. Passing the canteen he took the stairs two at a time. Up on to the raised walkway and ramparts, he looked southwest across the narrow channel towards the Isle of Wight and the Needles rocks. There was still a faint haze that shrouded the rocks in a light mist, slowly evaporating as the shadows shortened on the water.

He unzipped his fly to pee over the battlements. Urine rained down on to some weeds that grew against the base of the crumbling brick wall, some thirty feet below. He scanned the horizon across the saltmarshes towards Keyhaven. A pair of swans glided gracefully against the incoming tide within the sheltered estuary that lay behind a narrow shingle spit. As he turned to look back up the finger of land and the raised roadway on top of the shingle, the movement of a dark shape in the distance interrupted his gaze. 

The figure was limping awkwardly. A long heavy coat several sizes too big was draped around his shoulders. On the castle walls Zed reached for the pair of binoculars that lived in a large blue plastic Ikea storage box under the bench seat. He took a couple of seconds to find and focus on the figure in the distance. There was no question. What had first appeared as a limp was more severe in focus, the left leg dragging heavily on the shingle, scrapping at each step. His progress was laboured, but he showed no sign of discomfort or pain as he approached.

Zed lowered the binoculars and squinted back at the shape with his bare eyes. The hint of a smile appeared on his lips. He reached back into the blue container and brought up a hunting rifle. Loading a single bullet into the breach, he took careful aim at the figure in the distance. Adjusting his position a couple of times, he relaxed into a wide stance, the rifle resting on the edge of the brick wall. The cross hairs of the telescopic sight danced around the head of the approaching figure. It was still perhaps two hundred meters away now, making steady progress. He regulated his breathing before exhaling deeply.

The rifle shot rang out across Christchurch Bay, echoing around the battlements, shattering the silence of the early morning.

A flock of birds rose startled from the salt marshes. In the fenced off field next to the lighthouse, a herd of dairy cows started and bumped into each other wild eyed. The two horses bolted, one jumping over the low wire fence and charging away from the noise. Its hooves clattered on the pebbles as it galloped along the beach.

Where can I purchase this fabulous book? 

 About the author

Robin Crumby is an author and writer living in London with his wife and two children. Since reading John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids as a child, he became fascinated by end of the world dystopian literature. More recently, re-reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven inspired him to start writing. Why? Because post-apocalyptic fiction fires the imagination like nothing else. Pondering what comes next, who would survive, what would life look like? Much of the best fiction in this popular genre focuses on brain-eating zombies or events unfolding in the USA so Robin determined to write a story set in the UK. His Eureka moment came wandering the shingle beach at Milford-on-sea, inspired by the beauty and rich history of the Solent. Where better to survive the end of the world than a medieval castle surrounded by water? Robin spent much of his childhood messing about in boats, exploring the many waterways, ports and military forts of the Isle of Wight, where The Hurst Chronicles are set. 

Useful Links
Book series website:
Author bio:


Monday, 27 June 2016

Book Review ~ Sitting Dead Red #baseball @JDDudycha

This is what I came here for. This is why I play the game.

Sitting Dead Red
J.D. Dudycha

This is his chance.

Recruited by a collegiate summer baseball team, Royce Thorne can finally break free from his dysfunctional past. Every swing of the bat becomes an opportunity to strike at the terrors that lurk beneath the surface. When he steps into the light of the baseball diamond, the shadows of his shame disappear—until the game is over. Then they swirl around him like thick rain clouds before a doubleheader, threatening to ruin everything. The ghost of his mother, the death of a teammate, the abuse of his father, and the impending outcome of an alleged cheating scandal bring him to a critical juncture in his young life.Will he continue to spiral, or will he discover the power of forgiveness?

 Sitting Dead Red is more than a baseball story.
It’s a story of a redemptive life.

Second? What? Second’s for guys with good gloves but a weak arm. No. I don’t want to play second.

What did I think of the book?

There is only one place in the world where Royce Throne can forget about his personal loss, his alcoholic father and the threat of expulsion from school - the baseball pitch.

But what would happen if baseball was also taken away from him?

Sitting Dead Red is a real heart-wrenching story. Royce struggles with his emotions throughout this book. Dudycha has created, not only a very believable character but also someone who I think many young adults would be able to relate to. Royce has so much flesh on him that he actually bleeds ~ there is no other way I can describe it. His story is not an easy read, but it so needs telling. They say the darkest day is before the dawn, and Royce certainly finds himself in the deepest darkness. It is here that he has to face one of the most important questions in his life. Should he give up or find the will to carry on?

The plot was so engaging that I hardly noticed the pages turning. A great deal happens in this story and it was certainly a compelling read that kept me on my toes. I loved the portrayal of Royce, but also of Ryan O’Sullivan ~ the one man who not only saw the potential of Royce, but who also believed in him. If it wasn’t for Sully and his daughter Emma, then Royce's story would have been very different.

I loved this book. I could not put it down, and I read it in on sitting. I recommend this book without any hesitation. This is a book that needs to be read.
Where can I purchase this fabulous book?

About the author 
J.D. Dudycha is a former college baseball player and coach. He has over ten years of experience in baseball at the collegiate level. After the birth of his son in 2012, J.D. retired from coaching to be a stay-at-home dad. Since his retirement, he redeveloped his love for writing, an outlet he so desperately needed in the absence of baseball. Though his stories are fictional, he has drawn from his personal life as well as his expertise and knowledge of the game to craft his novel. J.D. lives with his wife and son in Denver, Colorado, where he also enjoys golf and fly fishing.
Useful Links 

Sign up for a free novella ~

Sign up for a free novella ~

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Blog Tour and Giveaway ~ GENESIS GIRL @chapterxchapter

Hello Readers. Welcome to the blog tour of
Genisis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley.
Be sure to check out the awesome giveaway found below. 

Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders. Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeal’s are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

Purchase Links:

Link to Goodreads:

The Inspiration Behind “Genesis Girl”
I love all types of young adult books, but my favorites are ones that have twists, turns, virgins and bad boys. In fact, that’s the tagline for my Facebook page, The YA Gal. “Twists, turns, virgins and bad boys. I love a good YA read, do you?”
When I was writing “Genesis Girl” my goal was to craft a book that I would be excited about reading. High school locker drama was out. High speed motorcycle chases were in.
I wanted my main character, Blanca, to be an understated badass. Nobody really knows what Blanca is capable of—not even her, but anyone who underestimates her is an idiot. 
I gave Blanca an iconic look, because I thought that was cool. She has an all-white wardrobe and a platinum cuff. But she’s not drop-dead gorgeous. Blanca is more of your “girl next door type,” because that seemed more relatable.
Once I had my main character, my next step was creating a concept. In “Genesis Girl” Blanca is a teenage girl who has never been on the Internet. Her lack of a digital footprint makes her so valuable that she gets auctioned off to the highest bidder.
The futurist world of “Genesis Girl” is similar to our lives today, but cranked up a notch. Instead of cell phones, people have finger chips implanted in their hands. Everyone that is, but Blanca. She’s my digital virgin.
After that, the only thing left was to add the bad boy, Seth, and enough twists and turns along the way to keep readers guessing. I love a book with big reveals, and “Genesis Girl” is packed with them.

About the author

Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her debut YA novel, “Genesis Girl” will be published by Month9Books on June 14, 2016, with the sequel releasing in 2017. “Genesis Girl” is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 20,000 followers on Facebook, and 15,000 followers on Instagram. On Facebook, she hosts the weekly instant book club called #TakeALookTuesday where YA Gal friends geek out, share pictures of what they are reading, and chat about books. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle, WA where she enjoys spending time with her family and her poodle, Merlin.

Author Links: Website ● Twitter ● Instagram ● Facebook ● Goodreads

#BookReview — The Potential For Love by Catherine Kullmann #RegencyRomance

The Potential For Love By Catherine Kullmann When Arabella Malvin sees the figure of an officer silhouetted against the sun, for ...