Blog Tour: The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin

Cover_The Last CollectionTitle: The Last Collection

Author: Jeanne Mackin

Genre: Historical Romance

BLURB: An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this captivating novel from the acclaimed author of The Beautiful American.

Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel’s are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli’s bold, experimental, and surreal.

When Lily Sutter, a recently widowed young American teacher, visits her brother, Charlie, in Paris, he insists on buying her a couture dress—a Chanel. Lily, however, prefers a Schiaparelli. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend soon begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and much of Paris follows in her footsteps.

Schiaparelli offers budding artist Lily a job at her store, and Lily finds herself increasingly involved with Schiaparelli and Chanel’s personal war. Their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights as the Nazis and the looming threat of World War II bear down on Paris.


Review:
fivestars
A vivid exploration of fashion at the cusp of WWII, The Last Collection is exquisitely written, focusing around the three primary colors: blue, red, and yellow. I was captivated from the first page, and completely drawn in to Lily’s unusual experiences with Schiap and Coco.

This book is not rushed, exploring the theme beautifully, each color evolving as Lily does. Some other reviews say the story is unbelievable, but that’s why it’s fiction based around a historical context. The Last Collection is a prime example of how historical fiction should be written, with care. The slow burn and an amazing story that is definitely worth the read.


Interview with the Author:

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

Time travel, definitely!  I love historical fiction because it has that quality of transportation, taking us to a different time and place.  I’d love to have dinner with Ben Franklin (he was quite the ladies’ man), talk with Eleanor of Aquitaine about courtly love, be there on the opening night of The Cotton Club in Harlem, hear Jenny Lind sing. When I was writing The Last Collection, sitting down at my desk was like fastening my seat belt and going to Paris of the 1930’s.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I study belly dancing.  I was really active as a child and need to move. A lot. But after a certain age the knees don’t enjoy ballet classes as much as they used to, right?  One day I needed to do something light-hearted and even a little silly and decided to try belly dancing. And I fell in love with it. The music is wonderful, there’s a wide variety of styles (I prefer Turkish) and the chink-chink of the sequined hip scarves is absolutely enthralling.  It’s an art form by women, for women.

When writing descriptions of your heroine, what feature do you start with?

Psychologically, I start with her current frame of mind. Is she happy?  Anxious?  Something must happen immediately to challenge that frame of mind. A letter arrives. A phone rings. A train pulls out of a station.  And the story begins. Physically, I first imagine the eyes. Eyes say so much, their color, the shape, if they look rested or not.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I hate having to develop outlines.  Usually, I’ll start with a single paragraph with a beginning and ending date for the story line (which usually changes several times during the drafting of the book) and a few sentences about the situation of the protagonist, who the antagonist is, the main action…and go from there.  The first page of every novel is always one of the most exciting moments of my life, because I never know what exactly is going to show up. I love being surprised.

Did you learn anything from this book? If so, what?

Germans prisoners of war were housed in this country, after the English camps got too full.  And as it turned out, the first home my mother and father had after the war was in a camp built for German prisoners. It had been repurposed as an apartment complex.  It was an awful place and my mother was miserable, but there were few other housing options at the time. What also surprised me during the research was finding out how many of the rich and powerful, in England, France and the United States as well, were admirers of Hitler. Like many wars, World War II was about class and wealth as well as ideology.  I think it’s important to know, and to remember, that borders were quite blurred in the 1930’s and 1940’s; it wasn’t as clear as we may think. And we need to remember that once we give people in power permission to imprison and eradicate one group of people, we give them permission to do that to everybody. Justice and compassion must rule.


About the Author:

Jeanne Mackin’s latest novel, The Last Collection, A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel takes the reader to Paris, just before world war II, and the intense, dangerous rivalry between the two queens of fashion. Her previous novels include A Lady of Good Family, the award winning The Beautiful American, The Sweet By and By, Dreams of Empire, The Queen’s War, and The Frenchwoman.        

Her historical fictions explore the lives of strong women who change their worlds…because we know the world always needs a lot of change! She has worked all the traditional ‘writers’ jobs’ from waitressing to hotel maid, anything that would leave her a few hours each morning for writing. Most recently, she taught creative writing at the graduate level.  She has traveled widely, in Europe and the Middle East and can think of no happier moment than sitting in a Paris café, drinking coffee or a Pernod, and simply watching, while scribbling in a notebook.

JeanneMackin.com

Facebook.com/JeanneMackinauthor

Twitter.com/JeanneMackin1

Penguin Random House – https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/531859/the-last-collection-by-jeanne-mackin/

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H71Q5FQ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect

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Oh, What a Bloody War: Amputations and the Advent of the Prosthesis Industry during the American Civil War.

“At an age when appearances are reality, it becomes important to provide the cripple with a limb which shall be presentable in polite society, where misfortunes of a certain obtrusiveness may be pitied, but are never tolerated under the chandeliers.” Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1863.

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Veterans John J. Long, Walter H. French, E. P. Robinson, and an unidentified companion, 1860s Courtesy Library of Congress

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest engagements in American history, with approximately 620,000 soldiers dying from combat, accident, starvation, and disease. Some studies even put the number as high as 850,000. Nearly 500,000 men were injured in the conflict, many later dying from medical procedures that were meant to save their lives. One such procedure undertaken with shocking frequency was the amputation of limbs, which accounted for approximately three-quarters of the surgeries performed during the war.

One of the key reasons for the upsurge in amputations was the advancements in military weaponry at the time. Prior this period in history, the rifles used in fighting were predominantly smoothbore. It wasn’t until the 1830s that a man named Captain John Norton observed how a certain tribe in India used a softer wood for the lower part of their blowguns, allowing greater range of fire because the wood compacted around the projectile. Based on this concept, he designed a cylindrical bullet with a flat base, that trapped the gasses behind it. The idea was later improved upon by a man named William Greener. However, the true bane of Civil War soldiers was created by Claude-Étienne Minié and Henri-Gustave Delvigne in 1849.

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Minie Ball

Commonly known as the minié (min-YAY or Minnie) ball, this conical projectile was smaller, longer, and easier to load. When coupled with the new grooved barrels of the rifles Minié and Delvigne designed, it was deadly. It made its way to the United States after being observed in use by several American officers in the Crimean War from 1853 to 1855, most notably by General George B. McClellan. James Burton, an armorer in Harpersferry, Virginia improved upon the design (again), and a form of the minié ball was adopted by both sides of the American Civil War—Union and Confederate.

To begin with, smoothbore muskets were still the weapon of choice for battle, but as the war raged on, rifled muskets soon replaced smoothbore, with the industrialized North being able to produce these weapons at an alarming rate. They outshot their earlier cousins by approximately 200 yards, and with deadly accuracy.

What made the minié ball so devastating was how it compacted and then expanded upon hitting a target. Where a round ball would break bone and damage tissue, a minié ball tore violently through arteries and skin, shattering bone underneath, often leading to the injured soldier requiring amputation of the affected limb. If the soldier was shot in the main part of his body or his head, he wasn’t expected to survive.

A medical textbook published a decade after the Civil War, A System of Surgery by William Todd Helmuth, went into detail about the damage caused by the minié ball:

“The effects are truly terrible; bones are ground almost to powder, muscles, ligaments, and tendons torn away, and the parts otherwise so mutilated, that loss of life, certainly of limb, is almost an inevitable consequence.

None but those who have had occasion to witness the effects produced upon the body by these missiles, projected from the appropriate gun, can have any idea of the horrible laceration that ensues. The wound is often from four to eight times as large as the diameter of the base of the ball, and the laceration so terrible that mortification [gangrene] almost inevitably results.”

civil-war-kit

A surgeon’s kit from the American Civil War

Amputations often took place in battlefield tents, fear of infection prompting the procedure. The doctors on either side were ill-prepared for such surgeries, however medical texts at the time do document how to perform amputations. The conditions were far from ideal for such a drastic medical procedure. The patients would lay on planks or removed doors, given chloroform or whiskey. Hollywood has been known to exaggerate these procedures, showing men screaming in agony, but the use of pain medication was widespread. Limbs, hands, and feet were removed by cutting in a circular motion, surprisingly resulting in little blood loss. Some surgeons even cut flaps of skin to create a covering for the wound, stitching them together after the injured limb was removed. A good surgeon could amputate a limb in ten minutes. Surgical tools were often unwashed between patients, leading to the spread of infection and subsequent death of many soldiers after the amputation. Many soldiers begged not to have the doctors remove limbs, leading to the nickname of ‘Butcher’ for many of the surgeons at the time.

If a patient managed to survive the operation—mortality rate for a primary amputation was around forty-eight percent—he would be left with questions about his future: how would make a living, continue his hobbies, or even marry? To many people in the late nineteenth century, amputation was also sign of character, where the general populous would assume the subject had been morally degenerate or involved in a physical altercation. Approximately 30,000 Union soldiers lost limbs during the war, with just about 21,000 surviving the procedure. Confederate records are unknown, as when the government fled Richmond at Grant’s Army advancing, they burned all paperwork, but it is estimated the number of amputees was approximately 40,000.

A demand was launched for ways to help the returning soldiers regain some normality—and comfort—and the great race was on to design the best prosthesis. Prosthetic limbs have been around since the Egyptians and Romans, with the earliest example of a prosthesis being a big toe, found in the tomb of a noblewoman. As with most things, though, the need for prosthetics usually circled around war. Between the 1500s and 1800s, there were not many advances in the area, with many of the limbs similar to things that were used during Roman times. In the early sixteenth century, Ambroise Paré, a doctor in France, came up with a locking knee joint and a hinged prosthetic hand. However, his ways of attaching these limbs are still commonly used to this day. Needless to say, there wasn’t much going on in the way of technological advancements when it came to prosthetics for nearly 300 years.

With the vast number of amputees, the government made a vow to provide assistance, unveiling ‘the Great Civil War benefaction,’ a commitment to provide prosthetics to all disabled war veterans. With the lure of government aid, many entrepreneurs took to the challenge of creating something physically appealing and functional. However, with the most common supplies being wood and steel, comfort—despite the claims of the manufacturers—was a great issue, and many soldiers preferred continuing to use crutches, or pin up the sleeves of their coats.

hanger-patent-e1449965144649

James Edward Hanger

Interestingly, it was a Confederate amputee, James Edward Hanger, who made the greatest stride in developing a prosthesis. Fed up with the peg given to him by Union surgeons after the amputation of his leg, Hanger developed a substitute leg with a flexible knee and ankle joint, allowing for greater range of movement. He was awarded several patents by the Confederate government at the time, and later, in 1891, awarded a US patent for his design. The company he founded is still active today, providing prosthetics and orthotics to many disabled peoples and veterans.

Unfortunately, prosthetics were not the solution for all amputees. Soldiers who had their arms removed often were faced with clunky appliances that did not lend themselves well to daily life. Often, they opted to learn to use their non-amputated arm, or in the case of double amputees, learn other ways to get on with their day-to-day living. Some struggled with learning to walk with their new legs, thinking they would be able to jump up straight away. One soldier described it as if he was a baby, walking for the first time.

The United States government created a stipend programs to make sure all veterans could afford to buy a prosthetic limb. In 1862, the Federal government allotted Union veterans $75 to buy an artificial leg and $50 to buy an artificial arm. By 1864, the Confederacy was also allocating funds for their injured veterans. However, some of the soldiers refused to take the charity, believing their amputated limbs were marks of bravery in a hard-fought battle.

In addition to funding for artificial limbs, the government looked for ways to employ injured soldiers, creating the invalid corps where the men could work as cooks, nurses, and prison guards. Those with less grievous injuries were sent back to the front. Unfortunately, these men were the subject of much mockery, being dubbed the ‘cripple brigade’ and unable to claim the reenlistment bonus given to men serving their second time with the military forces or the bonus afforded to new recruits. Eventually, the unit was renamed to the Veteran Reserve Corps to avoid further mockery.

War in any context is a horrific event. Eventually, the call for the minié ball along with other soft lead bullets to be banned was made in 1870s, stating that it was comparable to an exploding bullet. Still, the technology advanced, rendering muzzle loading weapons obsolete as manufacturers progressed to breach loading weapons, which could be reloaded much faster than their earlier cousins. However, the rifled barrel and conical bullet changed the face of warfare forever. Yet, today, we can grateful to men like Hanger for his advances made in artificial legs, as his initial designs were the model for many prosthetics to follow.

As Harvard historian Catherine Drew Gilpin Faust said, “The American Civil War produced carnage that has often been thought reserved for the combination of technological proficiency and inhumanity characteristic of a later time.” And still, the advances made during the time, thanks to the need to help disabled soldiers, could almost be described as monumental.

Still, it is a fair question to ask if the minié ball, with its unique shape and ability to maim and kill from a greater distance and with greater accuracy than its predecessors, had not been invented, would there have been the need for the prosthesis industry to advance as it did during after the American Civil War? With more powerful weapons comes the need for new medical technology to keep up with the level of destruction and harm inflicted on the bodies of those fighting the battles. With this in mind, it is no wonder the American Civil War has been known as the deadliest conflict in the country’s history.

Consulted Sources:

After the Amputation: National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.civilwarmed.org/prosthetics/

A History of Wartime Advancements in the Prosthetic Industry. Retrieved from https://history.libraries.wsu.edu/fall2016-unangst/2016/12/16/a-history-of-wartime-advancements-in-the-prosthetic-industry/

Minié Ball: HistoryNet. Retrieved from http://www.historynet.com/minie-ball

Statistics on the Civil War and Medicine. Retrieved from https://ehistory.osu.edu/exhibitions/cwsurgeon/cwsurgeon/statistics

The History of Prosthetics. Retrieved from http://unyq.com/the-history-of-prosthetics/

Wegner, Ansley Herring. Amputations in the Civil War. Tar Heel Junior Historian. Fall 2008. Retrieved from https://www.ncpedia.org/history/cw-1900/amputations

Check out Simple Blessings, the short story prequel to The Soldier’s Secret, available on Amazon via my books section!

Blog Tour: The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kat Martin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Review: 

fourstars
A fast-paced, action packed romantic suspense, The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin is everything I would come to expect from a novel of this genre, along with some steamy sex scenes! I found myself more drawn to Jessie as a character than Bran, who I felt lacked some depth. I wish he would have given a bit more to his past with Jessie’s brother, and why he hardened his heart so much. It would have been interesting to read why Danny thought Bran was a man who would never be tied down. The plot surrounding the chemical weapons and the framing of Jessie’s father made for a fascinating read as the pieces began to fall into place.


To prove her father’s innocent of treason, she’ll have to face a killer–and risk everything …

When journalist Jessie Kegan’s father is accused of espionage and treason, Jessie has no doubt the man she looked up to her entire life is innocent. Worse yet, before Colonel Kegan can stand trial, he’s found dead of a heart attack…but Jessie knows it was murder. Forcing down her grief, she’s determined to use her investigative skills and resources to clear her father’s name. But going after the truth means Jessie soon finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who wants that truth to stay buried with her father,

Protecting Jessie Kegan is a job bodyguard Brandon Garrett can’t refuse. Jessie isn’t just a client at Maximum Security—she’s the sister of his best friend, Danny, killed in Afghanistan. With dangerous forces gunning for Jessie from every angle, keeping her safe will mean keeping her close and Bran finds their mutual attraction growing, though being Danny’s sister puts Jessie out of bounds.

With their backs against the wall, Jessie and Bran will have to risk everything to expose her father’s killer—before his legacy dies with his daughter.

Read an Excerpt

Bran leaned back in his chair, his gaze fixed on her face. “So…no husband. No serious boyfriend, either?”

“No. Listen, if you’re finished with the third degree, I’m going to bed. It’s been a rough day.”

His gaze sharpened. “Sorry,” he said, not looking sorry at all and even more curious than before–unfortunately. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“What time?” she managed to ask calmly.

“We leave at six.”

“I’ll be ready. Good night, Bran. And thanks again. I really appreciate your help.”

Bran casually nodded, but his beautiful blue eyes never strayed as she turned and walked away. She shouldn’t have let his questions get to her. It was a dead giveaway to a guy as smart as Brandon that there was more to the story than she was willing to tell.

Far more.

She thought of the man whose brutality had changed her life. Jordan Duran, Jordy, the man who was currently serving a ten-year prison sentence. She didn’t like to think about him. She refused to let him control any more of her life than he already had. As she had learned to do, she pushed his image from her mind and just thanked God she was still alive.

Yawning, she packed up the computer so she would be ready to travel in the morning and headed to bed. After the drama of the day–being followed from the airport, shot at, meeting Brandon Garrett and his friends, and escaping a possible tail, she should have been exhausted, and she was. Still, she couldn’t seem to fall asleep.

Every time she started to drift away, she saw Bran’s perceptive blue eyes and wondered what he thought of her. Wondered if he found her attractive. It had been months since she had been interested in a man. After Jordy, none of her attempts at a normal relationship had worked out and eventually she had just given up.

But Bran intrigued her. Both his physical beauty and his mind. She also knew that getting involved with Bran on a personal level was a terrible idea. He was exactly the heartbreaker Danny had warned her about. He was also ex-military, an adrenaline junkie who loved to be in the middle of the action. Guys like that never changed. Just as before, her judgment sucked.


About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Betrayal-Maximum-Security/dp/1335080600

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ultimate-betrayal-dwayne-t-martin/1125832346?ean=9781488056048

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-ultimate-betrayal-26

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kat_Martin_The_Ultimate_Betrayal?id=GqmqDwAAQBAJ

Itunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ultimate-betrayal/id1477473206

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatMartinAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katmartinauthor

Website: https://www.katmartin.com/

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Blog Tour: The Last on to See Her by Mark Tilbury

thelastonetoseeher-ebookTitle: The Last One to See Her

Author: Mark Tilbury

Blurb:

He says he is innocent. So why did he lie?

Mathew Hillock was the last person to see eleven-year-old Jodie Willis alive. When her dead body turns up four days later in his garden shed, the police think he’s guilty of her murder. So do most people in the town. But there’s no DNA evidence to link him to the crime.  

Battling the weight of public opinion and mental illness due to a childhood head trauma, he sinks into a deep depression. 

Can Mathew do what the police failed to do and find evidence linking the real killer to the crime?

The Last One to See Her is a terrifying story of what happens when you’re accused of a crime and no one believes you are innocent.


Review:
fivestarsMARK TILBURY IS BACK, BABY!
I have to say, I was blown out of the water by this one. Not since Abattoir of Dreams have I been so captivated by a Tilbury novel (not to say they weren’t good!). Raising it up a notch with a protagonist who has learning disabilities to a twist and turn plot that left me guessing, this is a must read for any crime thriller fan. Get it on your kindle, NOW!


Mark Tilbury Author PicAbout the Author:

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. 

After being widowed and raising his two daughters, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. 

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had seven novels published by Bloodhound Books. His latest novel, The Last One To See Her will be published 4th June 2020.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found playing guitar, reading and walking.

Follow Him at:

E-mail newsletter subscription: http://eepurl.com/bNSvJn
Twitter: @MTilburyAuthor

 

Blog Tour: Remember the Stars

Thank you for visiting my stop on the Remember the Stars by Marisa Oldham and Carraine Oldham Blog Tour. This heartbreakingly beautiful book is available now!

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In 1941, Estherly Krauss, a seventeen-year-old Jewish girl, documents her struggles during the Holocaust. With Hitler’s reign coming down on Estherly and her family, her days of being a typical teen are over. While fighting for a forbidden love, the atrocities and horrors Estherly endures force her to grow up in an uncertain and dangerous time.
Estherly’s voice echoes through time when Ferrin Frazier discovers her diaries. Without realizing the effect these small books will have, a door opens for Ferrin to explore her own life and love. Consumed by Estherly’s story of survival, the secrets she kept, and the desire to know what became of her, Ferrin embarks on an adventure of discovery. Will she find the answers she’s looking for? Or will it end up leading her down a path she never predicted?


Review:

fourstars

A beautifully written and well researched piece of historical/modern fiction, Remember the Stars moves from present to past as Ferrin, having uncovered the diaries of a girl during the time of Nazi Occupation, works to unravel the mystery behind their author, Estherly, and what happened to her after the war.

Heart-breaking but hopeful, the resounding message that those who have been persecuted by great evil should not be forgotten resounds throughout the novel, very apt for these trying times today. The past should always be remembered and learned from, so as not to repeat it in the future. As a reader of many Holocaust memoirs and novels, I can say with certainty that the authors have done this time period justice and created an engaging novel for readers of historical/modern fiction.


About the Authors:

Marisa Oldham is an Amazon bestselling author of the popular The Falling Series – The Falling of Love, The Falling of Grace, and The Falling of Hope. A passionate writer with immense depth, Marisa published a highly emotional spinoff of the series, Learning to Breathe, that connected her readers with her by sharing her personal experiences in a fictional manner. In a short story collection, After We Fell, that follows Learning to Breathe, Marisa continued to dive into the trials and tribulations of her characters’ lives with Falling in Paris, Falling Apart, and Falling Forever. Marisa has also contributed to anthologies and has many works in progress.

Marisa lives in a small town in Tennessee with her sister Carraine and her adorable Yorkshire Terrier mix, Winnie. Outside of writing, Marisa enjoys photography, travel, reality TV, horror movies, and crafting. One of Marisa’s favorite aspects of being a writer is connecting with her
readers. You may reach Marisa via social media or email.

Carraine Oldham is a first-time author who discovered her talent and joy for writing as a teenager. While she kept her writing to herself, over the years she penned short stories in a journal that she only shared with Marisa. Carraine embarked on writing her first novel after pitching the idea for Remember the Stars to her sister and published author, Marisa Oldham. After thirteen-years of research, life-altering changes, and surviving tragedy, Carraine’s poetic writing has captured the hearts of her readers.
Carraine lives in a small Tennessee town with her sister Marisa and the love of her life, a six-pound Yorkshire Terrier mix, Winnie. When she’s not writing, Carraine enjoys travel, singing, crafting, and relaxing on the couch with Winnie and her favorite TV shows.

Visit Them Around the Web:

Facebook Reader’s Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/mogroupies
Instagram – https://Instagram.com /authormarisao

 

Blog Blitz: Torment by Mark Tilbury

 

torment final

Title: Torment

Author: Mark Tilbury

Blurb: Who can you really trust?

Beth couldn’t be happier. She is eight weeks pregnant and married to the man of her dreams. But after returning home from a celebratory meal, she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife embedded in her pillow. There are no signs of a
forced entry. Nothing is stolen. And no one other than the cleaner has a key to the house. Then a campaign of terror begins. Beth becomes increasingly paranoid as it becomes clear that someone close to the family is behind these disturbing events. But who would want Beth dead? Does the past hold the clue? And can Beth find the answer before it’s too late?

Torment is a story of misplaced loyalty, revenge and sacrifice.


Review:

fourstars

I have always enjoyed Mark’s books, and Torment does not disappoint. It kept me hooked from the first page and although I did guess who the stalker was, the suspense build up was worth the read. I am looking forward to Mark’s next book eagerly!


Mark Tilbury Author PicAbout the Author:

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set
in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.
After being widowed and raising his two daughters, Mark finally took the plunge and self-
published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.
He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had seven
novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, Torment.
When he's not writing, Mark can be found playing guitar, reading and walking.


Torment Blog Blitz

Blog Tour: Copycat

Copycat FinalTitle: Copycat

Author: C.S. Barnes

Blurb: When the body of a young woman, Jenni Grantham, is found abandoned in the
playing fields that sit at the centre of a small town, DI Melanie Watton and her
team are called to investigate. If the discovery alone wasn’t disturbing enough, it
soon becomes apparent that the murder, the method and the appearance of the
victim, is something they have seen before.
With the help of Medical Examiner George Waller, DI Watton uncovers the case
history of Michael Richards – a local murderer who put this small town on the
map when he killed five women before turning himself in.
Further investigations reveal that the most recent victim, Jenni, was recently
reported missing by her parents. And when Jenni’s personal effects are
introduced into the investigation, shocking discoveries are made about the
victim’s fascination with the original killings.
However, when the ME makes a surprise discovery, things appear even more
complicated than the team originally believed, and DI Watton realises that Jenni
was perhaps not the only local with a fixation on these infamous killings.
With a copycat killer on the loose, the team know it is only a matter of time
before another body is discovered. But when a second murder does take place,
the team find themselves questioning everything they thought they knew…


Review:

fourstars

I have to say I genuinely enjoyed Copycat. I was interested in the characters from the start and liked the variety that Barnes portrayed with them. The plot kept me hanging on and guessing. I would definitely read more from this author. 


C.S. Barnes Black and WhiteAbout the Author:

C.S. Barnes (Charley to her long-time pals) is a Worcestershire-based writer and poet who has recently achieved her Doctorate degree in Creative Writing, and now spends a lot of her time wondering what to do with it. She is a lecturer, content writer, tea-drinker and book-reader with a passion for psychological thrillers that shines through her own work.

Barnes is also one of three directors of Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe literary festival and, independently of this, she runs her own monthly open mic/spoken word event in Worcester City Centre, titled Dear Listener.

She published her debut short story collection in May 2017, titled The Women You Were Warned About (Black Pear Press), and her debut poetry pamphlet, A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache, will be published be in July 2018 (V. Press). Never Forget Your First will be Barnes’s debut novel, due for publication with Bloodhound Books in 2019.

For writerly updates you can follow Barnes on Twitter: @charleyblogs


Copycat Blog Blitz

Blog Tour: The Coop

After a much needed break, I’m happy to be blogging again! I’d like to introduced The Coop, a new release from independent publisher, Bloodhound Books.


coop revisedTitle: The Coop

Author: EC Deacon

Blurb: When a woman staggers, naked, from a river, she has no idea that she’s been
saved from a killer by a text message from a dead woman.
Laura Fell is horrified when she discovers of her friend Gina’s suicide. But when the
autopsy reveals Gina died before her arrival at the house, she is perplexed. Who then
answered her mobile phone?
Everton Bowe, a cop whose career is as dead as his marriage, insists there was no-one
else present. But he’s wrong.
Meanwhile, his ex-lover, DC Helen Lake, insists there are similarities between the
traumatized river woman and the cold case of three missing women; the victims, she
fears, of a serial killer.
So, when a strange Dove’s feather, matching one found on the river victim, is found
in Gina’s house, Everton and Helen are suspicious.
If there was someone inside Gina’s house could he also be the river attacker?
And could he also be responsible for the other missing women?
At the same time, Laura Fell uncovers a web of deceit that stains the relationships
around her and seems weirdly linked to Gina’s death, as well as the attacked woman.
Is there a serial killer on the loose?
If so, what is his motive, and the macabre significance of the feather?


Review:

There are several things that I have come to expect from any Bloodhound book — a well-presented story with an interesting serial killer and suspense or psychological twists. However, there were a few things that prevented me from enjoying the novel as much as I could. This one took some time to get into. I found it difficult to follow the story at times with the number of characters introduced right at the beginning and jumping around to them frequently. I could tell the author was used to writing screenplays as the novel often read better as a movie, when the scenes can change without much description.

Another bugbear of mine has to do with the description of women. We do not stand in front of mirrors inspecting our bodies and then rubbing lotion into our skin. Sorry, that just doesn’t happen!

However, in saying that, I did enjoy the quick read and the twist at the end, and would most likely read other novels by Deacon in the future.


About the Author:

ERIC COOPEric had a successful acting career, playing leading roles in TV and film
including, Penmarric and Kings Royal for the BBC. London’s Burning and Hard Cases for ITV. His films include the lead role in Peter Greenaway’s controversial A Zed and Two Noughts. He started writing screenplays after a family illness and found almost immediate success. His scripts include the Bafta nominated, Prime Suspect and the multi IFTA nominated Relative Strangers, starring another Oscar winner,
Brenda Fricker. His short film Engaged, which he wrote and directed, was short-listed for the Fuji Film and BBC awards. Whilst Orla’s Song won the Best
Horror UK Award.

Eric has four – yes, four – screenplays in development (hell). Which is probably
why he started writing novels. The Coop is his first and will form the basis of a
trilogy.

He has two sons, both working successfully in the television and film industry.
Eric is divorced and lives in Esher with his partner, in a house once occupied by
the Judge that jailed Oscar Wilde – which may or may not be a good omen for
his work.

Blog Tour: Bone Deep

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It is with great pleasure I am participating in this blog tour. I had the honor of helping Sandra with the pre-launch of this novel a few months ago at Hospitalfield House here in my hometown, reading the history of the “Twa” Sisters.

Congratulations on your release, Sandra!


BoneDeep finalTitle: Bone Deep

Author: Sandra Ireland

Blurb: What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person? The consequences threaten to be far-reaching and potentially deadly. Bone Deep is a contemporary novel of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal and murder. This is the story of two women: Mac, who is bent on keeping the secrets of the past from her only son, and the enigmatic Lucie, whose past is something of a closed book. Their story is underpinned by the creaking presence of an abandoned water mill, and haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, themselves rivals in love, and ready to point an accusing finger from the pages of history.


Review:
fivestars

I knew I could expect greatness from this novel, having been privileged enough to hear snippets of it through meetings at our writers’ group. What I did not expect was how completely sucked in I was to the worlds of Mac and Lucie.

The author expertly weaves together two personalities, so alike, yet so different. The backdrop of the mill adds an even more sinister element to the already dark plot. I felt like I was holding my breath (and actually was at times) waiting to see what would happen next. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending and didn’t guess what was going to happen until it happened! This is a rarity, to be able to guide the reader on such a journey that they are left, heart in throat, not knowing what’s around the corner.

A haunting and suspenseful tale, Bone Deep explores the fine line between myth and reality, and begs the question, do we really know what we are capable of, and for that matter, what others are capable of?


Sandra Ireland (1)About the Author: 

Sandra Ireland was born in Yorkshire, lived for many years in Limerick, and is now based in Carnoustie. She began her writing career as a correspondent on a local newspaper but quickly realised that fiction is much more intriguing than fact. In 2013 Sandra was awarded a Carnegie-Cameron scholarship to study for an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee, graduating with a distinction in 2014. Her work has appeared in various publications and women’s magazines. She is the author of Beneath the Skin (Polygon, 2016).

Website: https://sandrairelandauthor.com


Bone Deep

Blog Blitz: No Place Like Home

Rebecca Muddiman - No Place Like Home_coverTitle: No Place Like Home

Author: Rebecca Muddiman

Blurb:

What would you do if you came home to find someone in your house?
This is the predicament Polly Cooke faces when she returns to her new home.The first weeks in the house had been idyllic, but soon Jacob, a local man, is watching her.
What does he want and why is he so obsessed with Polly?
In a situation where nothing is what it seems, you might end up regretting letting some people in.

Review:

fivestars
I don’t give five star reviews lightly. However, this is one prime exception. No Place Like Home starts out with the reader going on a journey. Polly returns from her job to find that a man is watching her. However, as the story progresses, Muddiman introduces a number of twists and by the end, we’re wondering if we should have seen it coming all along. While the timeline does jump from past to present, I didn’t find the transitions jarring at all. She has an amazing gift for weaving together a believable, yet unbelievable plot line, leaving you thinking about the story long after the last sentence is written. In this case, can you really trust someone? I will definitely be looking for more novels by this author in the future.

rebecca+muddimanAbout the Author:

Rebecca Muddiman was born and raised in the North East and worked in the NHS for many years. She has published four crime novels – Stolen, Gone, Tell Me Lies, and Murder in Slow Motion. Stolen won a Northern Writers Award in 2010 and the Northern Crime Competition in 2012. She is also a screenwriter and was selected for the London Screenwriters Festival Talent Campus in 2016.
Most of her spare time is spent re-watching Game of Thrones, trying to learn Danish, and dealing with two unruly dogs. Sometimes all at the same time.