Review: The Woman in Black by Kerry Wilkinson @bookouture 


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: November 24, 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb: 

A severed hand is discovered in the centre of Manchester and the only clue Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel has to go on is CCTV footage of a woman in a long black robe placing it carefully on the ground. 


With a growing missing persons list and frantic families wondering if the body part could belong to their absent loved ones, Jessica must solve the case fast. 


When a second hand is found and a local politician’s wife goes missing, Jessica is left struggling to find out who the appendages belong to. The mother of missing Lewis Barnes, is convinced his girlfriend, twenty-six year-old January Forrester is responsible, but something doesn’t add up. Who is the mysterious woman in black and how is she connected to the abandoned body parts? 


Then, unnervingly, a detached finger arrives in the post for Jessica – and it’s clear that someone knows exactly who she is. 

Review: 

This is book three in Wilkinson’s Jessica Daniel series and though I struggled a bit with book two, I’m happy to report that I was more happily satisfied with this one! Book two left me feeling underwhelmed, mostly because things seemed a bit too far fetched to be entirely believable. The Woman in Black restored my hope in the series and has me waiting impatiently for the release of book four.

Jess is assigned to a whopper of a case this time. A severed hand is found in the middle of the city and it’s clear that whoever left it there wanted it to be found. Before long, another hand is found and then Jess receives a finger in the mail. Why is it that body parts being found instead of a entire body is so much creepier?!  I think for me it’s because I was constantly wondering if the victims were just maimed or were they murdered? What do these random hands have in common? A link seems to be non existent (forget about a motive!)which makes answering the sobering question, who will be next, all the more difficult to answer.

Jess is still the same woman I’ve grown to really like, but she is starting to show some maturity and growth. She still doesn’t always think before she speaks and tends to put her foot in her mouth at the most inopportune moments. I can’t help but love her for it, I like when characters are flawed and raw. The banter between her and Dave is fantastic and their rapport just keeps getting better. A new detective joins the team, Izzy, and I really warmed to her right off. It was nice to see Jess making a female friend and their budding relationship is one I’ll be looking forward to seeing develop further.

This was a wildly entertaining and compulsive read that I finished within a few hours. The plot was unpredictable with plenty of false starts and dead ends to keep the reader and Jess and team on their toes. If this series continues to get better with each book then I’m in for a real treat. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Bookouture for my review copy. 

Review: Home by Harlan Coben @DuttonBooks


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: September 20, 2016

Publisher: Dutton Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb: 

Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s next gripping thriller, to be published in September 2016.


A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home. 

Review: 

The gang is back and I couldn’t be more thrilled! After waiting for what feels like forever book eleven in the Myron Bolitar series is finally here and despite the agonizing wait, it was well worth it. When I say the gang is back, I do mean the entire game; Myron, Win, Esperanza, Big Cyndi and even Mickey and crew. This should not be read as a standalone. There is just way too much history and backstory that you would be missing out on. Besides the ten books in the series before this one, Coben also wrote a three book YA series introducing Mickey Bolitar (Myron’s nephew) and his friends. Having read all of these books, I was completely caught up and really able to appreciate the deep characterization and overall growth and I would highly recommend the entire series. It is one of my favorite series out there, if not my favorite, and Home is the best book in the series hands down. 

One of my go to mystery plot lines, a missing persons case, is the basis here so if I already wasn’t hooked enough, this just upped my interest. Win receives an anonymous email with information about his cousins missing son. Ten years ago Rhys and Patrick vanished without a trace and after an initial ransom demand, there were virtually no leads. The addition of a personal connection to the case amped up the tension and I was both intrigued and anticipating how such a close connection would impact Win’s involvement. He’s already…unpredictable so how would he handle things now? Classic Win is all I’m saying.

To my absolute delight we heard things from Myron’s point of view, but we also heard from Win! What a bonus, and Coben was able to craft such unique and distinct voices for both men that I immediately noticed a change in narration. Per usual, the banter between the two is unparalleled full of razor sharp wit and finely crafted dialogue. Win is still his sardonic self and Myron is a big old softy which always makes me melt. His struggles with morality have always been a big factor in this series and continued to surface here.

Plot wise, this was classic Coben;  pacey, action packed, and nail biting. In his true fashion, the ending had the big twist followed by several other turns that left me breathless. The ending left me stunned but it was utterly perfect. Coben is an absolute master. His books have everything a good mystery/thriller should, he nails every single element. Can I rate this one higher than a five?! 

Overall rating: 5/5

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

What I Read Last Week: 


I really enjoyed this crime thriller.


This one kept me on my toes!

I participated in the blog tour for this one and LOVED it! 


Another blog tour for this one.


This was such an exciting read.

I finished listening to this one, really good.

Currently reading: 


Up Next: 





How was your week? What are you currently reading? 

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this week! Let the madness of the holiday season begin. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday ❤️

Review: His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James @mjamesfiction


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK|Author Website
Release date: November 15, 2016

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Psychological Suspense 

Blurb: 

Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.


On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.


But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.


For twenty-six-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not who he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. Daniel is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?


And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura?

Review: 

This was an emotional and heartbreaking read! At the age of twenty six, Daniel finds out that his mother isn’t actually his biological mother. He’s always felt like something was off and wondered why he felt a lack of a connection between his mother, Laura and himself. So it all makes sense in a way, but then there is so much that doesn’t make sense to him and probably never will. This book is the story of a completely broken pair of people who have experienced pain and hurt that is unfathomable. 

The story starts from Laura’s perspective right after she’s been detained after the truth about what she’s done comes to light. She’s very adamant that she never did anything wrong and that no matter what DNA tests say, he is her son. She comes off as delusional and ill, with no grasp on reality. Over the course of the book, she details her own life and the hardships she’s endured, and she has dealt with some truly terrible things. Though kidnapping Daniel is completely awful, after hearing her motivations I could at least understand what drove her to do it. I didn’t agree with her, but I could empathize with her. 

In between Laura’s chapters you hear from Daniel and man did he completely shatter my heart. I cannot imagine how it would feel to learn your entire life was a lie and that you can’t even trust your own mother. Terrible. His story is just so very sad and I really felt for him as he struggled with his emotions throughout his journey. I wanted him to find peace so badly and felt he deserved a chance at a happy life. 

I do want to say that there is some very heavy subject matter here and many references and descriptions of abuse. If that is at all a trigger for you, you may want to steer clear. Though much of the story is difficult to read, it was also very necessary to the characters background and present life. There is nothing gratuitous or added for shock value, only added for relevance and understanding. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Lake Union for my review copy. 

Audiobook Review: Sting by Sandra Brown @hachetteaudio


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Release date: August 16, 2016

Publisher: Hachette Audio

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Mystery

Narrator: Stephen Lane 

Blurb: 

When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her. 


As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive. 


Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie’s only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn’t entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother’s scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.


With nonstop plot twists and the tantalizing sexual tension that has made Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors, STING will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final pages.

Review: 

I’ve only read one other book by Brown before and I enjoyed it, so when I had an opportunity to listen to her newest, Sting I jumped at the chance. She’s a widely popular author, deservedly so, and though I tend to read more thriller type books, I do like to add romantic suspense to my TBR from time to time. I think even with the addition of romance in this one, most thriller fans would find this an excellent read. 

Lang is an unbelievably talented narrator and as anyone who listens to books can attest to, a good or bad narrator can make or break things. He has a very gravelly, gruff voice that added so much to the story. I especially liked his portrayal and characterization of Shaw, he sounded exactly perfect and just how I imagined. He really was phenomenal and I would listen to anything he voiced, no matter the author.

Jordie meets Shaw one night when she visits a seedy bar that she has no business entering. Shaw is a hit man hired to take her out, but when things take an unexpected turn, they’re forced to work together. Jordie knows that her brother Josh has hidden over thirty million dollars somewhere, and the hit must be directly related to Josh’s schemes. And that’s all I’m going to reveal about the plot, trust me, the less you know the better.

The plot here was so twisty and tense, the big twist blew me away, I didn’t see it coming at all! There were also quite a few smaller, but still powerful turns that caught me off guard. The characters were interesting and because of all of the turns Brown took plot wise, I went from hating to loving them several different times. The secondary characters were also great, I always love seeing inside the minds of police personnel and with the FBI involved, there was plenty of interesting perspectives from them. Don’t let the romantic aspect put you off either, it’s important to the story but it doesn’t overpower it. And if you’re a fan of romance, all the better as it adds something unique to the story.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Hachette Audio for my review copy.

Saturday Shoutout: Q & A with Amanda Laneley @amandalaneley

Hey everyone! I’m pleased to bring you an interview with author Amanda Laneley today. Amanda recently release a romance novel called What I Love About Dublin


Blurb:

Let’s suppose you are a heartbroken woman trying to get over the pain of a failed relationship. You’ve always wanted to see the world. What do you do? Perhaps you would do what Sarah does: travel alone to Dublin and leave your worries behind. She wants to start from scratch, to forget about it all; to enjoy the lush green countryside, the Celtic music, the famous pubs. However, her life turns upside down when she finds herself living under the same roof as Daniel, a handsome yet stubborn Irishman.

Both Daniel and Sarah have their reasons for not falling in love, but love has other plans.


Things become more complicated because love affairs are prohibited between housemates. This is an unbreakable rule that also applies to the three other residents: a shameless womanizer, an absent-minded musician and a new female best friend, intrusive and meddling. It’s a fun and exciting intercultural household for Sarah to adapt to! And as if that wasn’t enough, she also has to deal with Daniel’s heated misunderstandings, with an insistent ex-boyfriend and some compromising situations with a very sexy Frenchman.


This is a new life in Dublin and there is certainly a lot to love!

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Q & A

1. What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment.

I usually write during mornings. I turn off mobiles, internet and everything. I go to my office and I sit down on the most comfortable couch you could imagine next to a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. Silence and solitude are my best friends at that moment.

2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved?

I always loved reading and I used to write when I was a child, but then I stopped. Almost 20 years later I started to write again, because I dreamt a wonderful and romantic story that I liked so much I wanted to share it with the world. At that time, I didn’t know I was going to publish it, so now I’m thrilled!

3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?

Romantic movies of Meg Ryan are great inspiration. I loved them because they are sweet, funny and charming. I also adore Jane Austen with “Pride and Prejudice” and Jane Webster with “Daddy long-legs”. I’m absolutely dazzled by their writing. Besides I listen music, I try to choose one song per scene.
4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?

I’m working in a romantic comedy. This is the preview:
Lucy is a brilliant engineer who is in love with Gabriel, a handsome personal trainer. She lacks confidence because she is a little chubby and considers herself a nerd.
Max is a personal trainer who works with Gabriel. He dreams about having his own business. He´s funny and attractive, but not very skilled as an entrepreneur.
The deal is simple: Lucy will advise Max with his business and, in exchange, he will help her win Gabriel’s love. But what happens when the deal becomes friendship and friendship becomes love?

5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process.

Once I tried to create a separate file containing the information of each character, but it was a disaster. Now I just write and I discover them while the story goes forward.
6. Favorite character from one of your own novels?

Sara the protagonist of “What I love about Dublin”. She’s a passionate woman who dreams about travelling the world. She is brave and follows her heart, but she is far from perfect. She makes mistakes but tries to improve.

7. Preferred method for readers to contact you?

I love Twitter and I check my account every time I can, so if you send me a message I’ll try to respond as soon as possible. My account is @amandalaneley

8. On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

At the moment, one or two years. I’m crossing my fingers to reduce that amount of time, because I have so many ideas that I can’t wait to write them all!

9. If writing wasn’t your career what would you be doing?

I’m hypnotic therapist and a meditation instructor. (I know, not very common). I also love languages and I worked as a teacher of Spanish.

10.. What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work?
Kathryn Simmil, writer and blogger, told me my book was “brilliant”. I was so happy when I read her review I almost cried! I also enjoy when my readers recommend “What I love about Dublin” in Twitter or Facebook. It always makes my day a better one!

Thanks so much to Amanda for spending some time with me today. 

Review: Pendulum by Adam Hamdy @adamhamdy @headlinepg


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK|Author Website
Release date: November 3, 2016

Publisher: Headline Books

Genre: Thriller 

Blurb: 

You wake. Confused. Disorientated. A noose is round your neck. You are bound, standing on a chair. All you can focus on is the man in the mask tightening the rope. You are about to die.


John Wallace has no idea why he has been targeted. No idea who his attacker is. No idea how he will prevent the inevitable. 


Then the pendulum of fate swings in his favour. He has one chance to escape, find the truth and halt his destruction. The momentum is in his favour for now. But with a killer on his tail, everything can change with one swing of this deadly pendulum…


You have one chance. Run. 

Review: 

This one first came to my attention when I read Kate’s review at Bibliophile Book Club. Her wonderful review made me run to Netgalley and request it, then she was recently on a podcast where she discussed and recommended it again, so I knew I had to read it right now. I’m so glad that I did, it was quite an exciting and engaging read.

Hamdy wastes no time and jumps straight into the action. Wallace wakes up and realizes, with horror that there is a noose around his neck and he definitely didn’t place it there. Somehow, he manages to escape this madman, but he realizes swiftly that he is not out of danger just yet. No one believes his claim that he did not try to commit suicide and he finds himself trapped in a mental institution. Caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Wallace is quite literally, running for his life.

I’m going to be even more vague than usual when it comes to discussing plot details with this one. Mostly because I went into it only having read the synopsis and two reviews from trusted reviewers whom I know would never spoil things, and I’m confident that’s the absolute best way to approach this. 

What I will say is that most of Pendulum was completely unexpected and there were tons of shocking moments to get my blood pumping. It read like a high octane action movie and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this hits the big screen in the future. The pacing is relentless, never letting up and the story takes you from London to NYC and back again. On top of that, there is really great characterization and growth, especially with Wallace. Though the ending was satisfactory, there was a few things left open ended so I was pretty pleased to see that there will be a second book! 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Headline Books for my review copy. 

Blog Tour: The Mine by Antti Tuomainen @OrendaBooks @antti_tuomainen


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: February 1, 2017

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Crime Fiction

Blurb: 

In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life. A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results. 

Review: 

I’m excited to be a stop on the blog tour for The Mine today! This tour is part of Orenda’s Finnish Invasion takeover and the second book I’ve read for it. If you missed part one, my review for The Exiled can be found here

Once again Orenda has placed a book in my hands that is so different from what I normally read, yet so original and engaging. Janne is a newspaper reporter who is very dedicated to his career. When he receives an anonymous tip about possible corruption in a nearby mine, he is intrigued and begins to investigate, even though it puts a huge strain on his personal life. Is furthering his career and uncovering a potentially deadly environmental scandal worth the stress it puts on his partner and daughter? Can he somehow get to the bottom on what exactly is happening at the mine and keep himself out of danger?

What really captivated me about this book was not the plot, though that was interesting enough. Rather it was the outstanding writing and deep characterization that really drew me in. Tuomainen’s writing is simply remarkable and has an air of sophistication that enthralled me. This was such a vividly detailed atmosphere that I could feel the chill in the air and felt as if I looked out my own window I would see fat snowflakes falling from the sky. Janne is a man who finds himself at a crossroads. He knows, deep down that he shouldn’t be putting himself in harms way, he has a young daughter depending on him now. But he cannot help himself, he’s dedicated to his job, and besides that he knows the story about the mine needs to be told. 

I do want to mention that while there are times there is violence mentioned, there are no actual gory descriptions. I know some of you like to steer clear of graphic details, this would be a great book for you. While there are many crimes being committed, I would say this is an environmental thriller that focuses on some very topical and prevalent issues. Think conspiracy theories and corruption with a sense of noir. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy.

Check out the other stops on the tour!

Q & A/Giveaway: Frank Westworth 


I’m pleased to share a Q & A with Frank Wentworth who recently released a collection of short stories called The Stoner Stories AND and a giveaway with you guys today! 

About the Book: 

STONER STORIES anthology collects the first five JJ Stoner quick thrillers and includes an all-new, previously unpublished story, SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP.


 


This collection reveals the shadowy secrets of covert operative JJ Stoner, who uses sharp blades, blunt instruments and his innate persuasiveness to discreetly resolve tricky situations for the British government in six action-packed episodes. And there’s more – an insight into the author’s inventive methods of dealing with death, and an intimate encounter with an ice cold killer…

Amazon UK|Amazon US|Goodreads

Sneak preview from SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP:
‘I’m here for the music. For the festival. And the only baggage I carry is that, which you are welcome to examine as you will. No weapons. None at all.’ His smile was a gentle smile of innocence.
‘You’re a musician as well as a murderer, Mister Stoner. We have no problem with either talent.’ Again she smiled, a radiance matching his own in its insincerity. ‘And we’re both of us – all of us – aware that in the same way you’ll be able to find an instrument should you decide to play something, so you’ll be able to find a weapon should you decide to kill someone.
‘We have no problem with the music. Just the other thing.’

About the Author: 

Frank Westworth shares several characteristics with his literary anti-hero, JJ Stoner: they both play mean blues guitar and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Unlike Stoner, Frank hasn’t deliberately killed anyone. Frank lives in Cornwall in the UK, with his guitars, motorcycles, partner and cat.

Facebook|Website|Blog

Amazon|Goodreads
Q & A: 

Frank Westworth’s new collection of quick thrillers, The Stoner Stories, has just been published. While he was waiting to unleash his murderous musician, JJ Stoner, on the world, Frank took time out to answer a few questions for us…


1. What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment.

 

Just to be awkward – as a chap should be – I have two types of ‘typical writing day’. The first is the typical writing night. When I can make the time, I load up the Harley with vitals and an ancient Dell netbook on which I write nothing but fiction, and head off to a cheap hotel. Park up, disconnect from the Net, fire up the netbook and write until my eyes are too tired to see the screen. Next day; ride further to another lodge and repeat. Repeat again until I run out of time. Coffee, lots, and alcohol occasionally, depending on what I’m trying to write.

The second kind is aboard ships – cruise ships. Every afternoon I pile back to the cabin after a suitable lunchtime intake of inspirational food and … ahem … drink, set up the same netbook and write until the Better Half comes back from the gym.

I carry around all the cues, small familiar items. My own brand of instant coffee. And a rubber Tasmanian Devil which is actually a USB stick on which I store all the copy. There’s nothing else on it and it lives separate from the netbook so I’m unlikely to lose both. I like to nest, if you like. Set things out in a familiar pattern wherever I am. Don’t go online. Switch off the phone. I almost never have any idea what’s going to happen so writing the book is just like reading someone else’s, if you can picture that. I’m always fired up after a decent haul on the motorcycle, and that energy carries the story along.


2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved?

 

I started writing non-fiction in 1984 or so, went full-time in 1988, and still write allegedly technical copy for a living. It pays for the rest and is fun. Fiction though? I’m a big reader, and wrote a novel in 1990 or so, just to see whether I could. I like inventing stories, and I love inventing characters. So…  

The first book was so bad that I binned it. Not bad in any serious sense, except … it was a typical End Of A Relationship thing and was far too personal.


3. Who are your favourite writers/inspirations?

 

Too many to list, really. Inspiration is easiest: everything out there. Every person and every situation have a tale to tell. The secret is in being interested in other people and learning from them.

Favourite writers? In no particular order: James Crumley, RJ Ellory, Haruki Murakami, Jack Grimwood, Fred Vargas, Barbara Nadel, Iain Banks, Quentin Bates, James Church, James Lee Burke, Karin Fossum, John Connolly, CJ Cherryh, Lee Child… the list is probably endless. I study how the guys on this list write their stories, though, to see how the good guys fly.


4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?

 

Yep. The third novel in a series of three is out in March 2017, and I’m writing the fourth at the moment. Every good trilogy has more than three parts! And the collection of six short stories is coming out any moment now. There’s another short story under way too. It’s fun to switch between the styles of writing required for short and long tales.


5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process.

 

The characters and the fictional world come first. I think about the characters a lot; who they are, where they are, how they got there; where are they going and why? Then, as soon as the character list is established and they all start interacting in my head, I look for a plot. It needs to be a conflict. Everything in fiction revolves around conflict, be it rivalries in love, in work, in aspiration, or maybe the result of an action – or a failure to act in some cases. Plots are the easy part. The characters are difficult.


6. Favourite character from one of your own novels?

 

Oh. Just one? That’s very hard. Pause for thought here.

OK. JJ Stoner is the central character in all my stories, and when the first full-length novel – A Last Act Of Charity – opens we find him with his regular girl, known mostly as the dirty blonde. She’s a hooker by trade, and their relationship is as unusual as you might expect for a hooker and a spook. I really like her, and wish there was more space to talk about her more – maybe in a short story sometime soon.

She’s black African, very tall, thin, dyed blonde stubble on her head and some small blue tears tattooed below one eye. I know why and how she got those, but… I’m not saying. Physically, she’s modelled on a waitress in a central London Pizza Hut. Really.


7. Preferred method for readers to contact you?

 

Email: frankswrite@gmail.com or on Facebook. I always reply, private Fb messages are fine.


8. On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

 

The first took maybe four years, because I re-wrote the front end so many times trying to get it right that I wasted ages. Then – writers being generally a very friendly bunch – top-bestselling author RJ Ellory read the manuscript and really beat me up about it. He gave me loads of suggestions, ideas, ways to work. Invaluable. It was fast after that.

The second took maybe eighteen months and the third a little longer, because the day job took up a lot more time than I’d expected.


10. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?

 

JJ Stoner. He is almost always confused by almost everything, but finds almost everything fascinating. I’m very like that – very analytical. He plays loud blues/rock guitar, as I do, and he rides a Harley, as I do. However, he’s an ex-soldier, which I’m not (though both my brother and sister are) and he’s very violent, which I’m not. Not at all. He also likes to drink and to run and…


11. If writing wasn’t your career what would you be doing?

 

My mother wanted me to be a Roman Catholic priest. I was a musician for a while. Somewhere between those, most likely.


12. What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work?

 

Two truly successful, accomplished and seriously high-sales authors told me that I really could write, and that I should carry on doing it. And then … they both said I should write more. That was brilliant.

Giveaway! 

WIN! A Gripping Crime-Thriller

 

To celebrate this week’s launch of THE STONER STORIES – a collection of six quick thrillers by Frank Westworth – we’re giving away a signed paperback copy of THE CORRUPTION OF CHASTITY by the same author; ‘a dark, gritty thriller full of contradictions.’

 

In ‘Chastity’ covert operative JJ Stoner is trying to keep a low profile, unaware that he’s being stalked by more than one killer woman. ‘The writing is stylish, clever, razor-sharp, and we are left in awe of the Killing Sisters, with all their murderous skills and their sexual savagery,’ said Crime Fiction Lover. What happens when our underworld investigator confronts an ice cold contract killer? One lucky winner will find out!

 

On top of that, ten runners-up will receive an ebook edition of FIRST CONTRACT, the short story which introduces JJ Stoner to an unsuspecting world. A decade ago, Stoner was a soldier. He killed people for a living and made no bones about it. On a scorching day in the Iraqi desert, when British blood stained the sand, he over-stepped the mark. Men died in compromising circumstances; too many men for an easy explanation. Faced with a dishonourable discharge and accusations of murder, Stoner accepted an offer from a stranger who represented an intelligence agency. Suddenly, Stoner found himself half a world away and about to execute his first private contract…

It’s easy to enter this giveaway, and stand a chance of winning either a signed paperback or an ebook quick thriller. All you need to do is:

-like the MurderMayhemandMore page on Facebook

-like, share or comment on the pinned ‘giveaway’ post at the top of the page

You’ll automatically be entered into the prize draw.

 

Folk who aren’t on Facebook can also enter – just drop an email to info@murdermayhemandmore.net and head it up ‘Stoner Stories Giveaway’.

 

Good luck!

 

The giveaway closes on 21 November 2016. The winners will be picked at random from all entrants. No alternative prizes are on offer.

Thanks to Frank Westworth for joining me today!  

Blog Tour/Q & A: A Composition in Murder by Larissa Reinhart @hellochicklit @larissareinhart

I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for A Composition in Murder today. Read on for more information on the book and hilarious Q & A with the author.

A Composition in Murder Book Tour
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Book 6

By author Larissa Reinhart
Tour Dates: November 15th – 21st, 2016


Blurb:

With a new art teaching gig at Halo House—Halo, Georgia’s posh independent living home—and Halo society scrutinizing her family and her love life, Cherry Tucker needs to stay out of trouble. However, her sleuthing skills are sought by Halo House’s most famous resident: Belvia Brakeman, the ninety-year-old, blind CEO and founder of Meemaw’s Tea. Belvia confides in Cherry that the family tea empire is in jeopardy. The CEO suspects her daughter, the COO, has been murdered and she might be next. Her offer is hard to refuse, but will have Cherry treading on Forks County Sheriff toes, namely her personal Deputy Heartache, Luke Harper.

Amid her town troubles, can Cherry put her reputation, romance, and life on the line for the final request of a sweet tea tycoon? While she juggles senior citizen shenanigans, small town politics, and corporate family scandals, Cherry finds the sweet tea business cutthroat in more ways than one.

Buy the Book:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

closeupLarissa Reinhart

Bio:

A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first in the series, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (2012), is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. The sixth mystery, A COMPOSITION IN MURDER, is expected to release November 15, 2016. Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, now live in Nagoya, Japan, but still calls Georgia home. Visit her website, LarissaReinhart.com, find her chatting on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads, or join her Facebook street team, The Mystery Minions.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

Q & A

Q&A: Larissa Reinhart

 

1. What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment.

 

My typical day never fits my perfect writing environment because I rarely have a typical day. I’m a mom. I live in Japan. My husband lives away from us during the week. So those three things mean I fit my writing day in the best I can. If I had a perfect writing environment, truthfully, I’d probably not get any writing done. The days I have that are uninterrupted by mom/wife/life-in-Japan duties tend to get frittered away because I think, “Hey, I have time to rinse-and-repeat in the shower,” or “Hey, it’s been a few months since I’ve changed the sheets, I’ve got time for that” and then somehow it’s four o’clock and the children are appearing again.

 

Here’s my real day when I don’t have to be at school or running errands or entertaining children:

 

I plan to begin writing at 7:30 am, ten minutes after the children leave for school, enough time to get dressed and grab a coffee. But first I make a “to-do” list.

At nine o’clock, I look at the clock, say, “Oh crap” and turn off my email and Facebook. I write until about eleven while drinking cold coffee, then think, “Where’s the dog?”

The dog and I walk. I say to him, “Dangit, I forgot about lunch.”

I make lunch, head back to my bedroom where I have a desk, but where I really sit in my faux Eames chair with the comfy footstool. I open my computer and fiddle around with emails and social media again. I look at my “to-do” list. I start one of my “to-dos” but I really want to get back to my manuscript. I go back to my manuscript.

My timer goes off. It’s four o’clock and the children are home. I read out loud, help with homework, take them to lessons, then open my computer. Stare at my undone “to-do.”

The children tell me how mothers are supposed to fix dinner. I fix dinner.

We eat and watch My Little Pony or Disney or play Uno Spin and I force them to bed around nine-ish o’clock.

I open my computer and look at my “to-do” but then switch over to Facebook. I post a funny picture and realize it’s eleven o’clock. Go to bed, read until twelve-thirty, and then suddenly it’s today again.

And I make another “to-do” list and spend another day feeling like I’ve got nothing done.

 

That’s my reality.

 

2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved?

 

I started with lists of words when I was four. I think the lists became stories around first grade. Stories with pictures. I won my first national writing award in elementary school and then it went downhill until about forty. I blame puberty and boys.

 

3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?

 

I have daily inspiration from my writing friends. I have more than I can list, so I’ll name the three I converse with most regularly now, Terri L. Austin, Gretchen Archer, and Ritter Ames. Amazing writers and lovely human beings. They give me emotional writing support and good advice.

 

Back home in Peachtree City, author Debby Giusti was the mentor who encouraged me to get published. I received a lot of encouragement from other Georgia writers, especially through RWA’s Georgia Romance Writers. And with other friends at Henery Press and the larger mystery writing community, like Sisters in Crime. Plus there are bloggers and reviewers like Dru Ann Love of dru’s book musing and Lynn Farris at Hot Mysteries. There are too many people to name, but I enjoy their company, especially on Facebook.

 

My favorite writers who are not my friends include Jennifer Crusie, Meg Cabot, Ira Levin, Elmore Leonard, Nick Hornby, Joshilyn Jackson, Keigo Higashino, Sharyn McCrumb, Agatha Christie, and Mary Stewart. There’s more but, again, too many to mention. But those are the writers who I’ll read anything they’ve published.

 

4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?

Very thrilled to have Cherry Tucker’s sixth mystery out now, A Composition in Murder. And I have a new series, Maizie Albright Star Detective with the first book, 15 Minutes, launching on January 24th. I’m writing the second book in that series now, 16 Millimeters.

 

Maizie Albright’s an ex-teen and reality star who returns to her hometown in Georgia to escape life in Hollywood (also by judge’s orders) to become a detective. She’s trying to emulate her favorite childhood role, Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective, but also learning how to become her own person after spending a life under the thumb of managers, directors, and producers, particularly her stage-monster mother-manager. It’s been a lot of fun and my experience doing House Hunters International has been great research for the series.

 

 

5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process.

 

Generally, characters come before plot and the story comes from a “what if” that has everything to do with the protagonist. The plot tends to work itself out while I write because the characters are reacting to the plot as it happens. I spend more time on character motivation, both the protagonist(s)’ and antagonist(s)’, than I do anything else. And I usually have to write two to three chapters to get to know the characters before I have an idea where the story is going to lead. Sometimes I don’t keep those chapters and usually, they have to be rewritten, but that’s how my brain works. I’m a “hands-on learner.”

 

6. Favorite character from one of your own novels?

 

Remi, short for Remington Marie Spayberry and named for her Daddy’s favorite hunting rifle. She’s the six-year-old stepsister to Maizie Albright in 15 Minutes. One of my favorite books is The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers. Frankie, the heroine in that book, inspired both Cherry Tucker and Remi.

 

7. Preferred method for readers to contact you?

 

Whatever’s easiest for them. They can email me (Larissa at larissareinhart.com), chat with me on Facebook or Instagram, or send me a message on Goodreads. Sometimes Facebook messenger hides my messages, so if you don’t hear back, that’s why. If readers want to keep up with my book news, I’d advise them to join my newsletter at http://smarturl.it/larissanewsletter because I also do giveaways that are only for newsletter subscribers. And if they really want to get to know me, I have a street team which is really just an excuse to chat on a private Facebook page, the Mystery Minions: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mysteryminions/.

 

8. On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

 

If I’m not in the middle of an international move, generally about three months.

 

10. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?

 

They’re all very different from me, so that’s difficult. Maybe the bartender, Red, from the Cherry Tucker Mystery series. We both like to give out bad advice.

 

11. If writing wasn’t your career what would you be doing?

 

I’d still be a mother. My children don’t pay well, but the hours are good.

 

12. What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work?

 

When a reader wrote to say that my books cheered her through a particularly trying time. She’d been sitting in the hospital with her dying father and the books helped her escape from that for a little while. I’ve got similar letters and they inspire and humble me. It’s what motivates me to keep writing. I like to entertain and provide a little escapism for my reading friends.

Check out all the Tour Stops:

November 15th

Steamy Book Momma – Book Promo Post
Imaginary Book Club – Book Review
Hello…Chick Lit – Book Excerpt Post

November 16th

EmmaTheLittleBookworm – Author Guest Post
Writing Pearls – Book Review
Judging More Than Just The Cover – Author Q&A

November 17th

Novelgossip – Author Q&A
The Belgian Reviewer – Author Guest Post

November 18th

Jena Books – Book Review/Excerpt

November 19th

Corinne’s Garden – Book Excerpt/Promo Post

November 20th

Live Laugh and Love Books – Book Review

November 21st

Book Lover in Florida – Book Excerpt Post
Turning Another Page – Book Review/Excerpt

Tour Arranged by:

hello-chick-lit-banner