The Seagull’s Laughter – Holly Bidgood / #GuestPost #BlogTour #LoveBooksGroupTours @HollyBidgood @Wildpressed



1973. Malik has always been something of a misfit. Born to a Greenlandic mother and an English-Explorer father, he has one eye of black and one of watery-blue. As a child his mother’s people refused to touch him and now his own baby daughter’s family feel the same way.

Never having known his father and with his mother and uncle dead from alcoholism, Malik’s only companion is a guiding spirit no-one else can see.

One day a white man with a nose like a beak and a shadow like a seagull appears on his doorstep and invites him to England.

Martha has had enough, living with domestic abuse and expected to turn the other cheek for the sake of appearances. She compares bruises with her friend Neil, who regularly suffers homophobic attacks. With Martha’s baby, they go on the run to Shetland, where Martha has happy childhood memories of summers spent with her aunt.

On their way up north in a camper van, they come across a dejected Malik, alone again after a brief reconciliation with his father’s family.

The three of them find peace and safety in the Shetland Isles, but Malik still needs answers to the identity of the beak-nosed man who casts a shadow over his life. 



Guest Post

What music means to me

My dad used to make mixtapes, back in those recent but distant days before iPods and MP3 players, when you had to sit next to the CD player, listening to each song one by one from a pile of your favourite CDs, while the player recorded them onto a cassette tape in real-time. He has since been modernised, but for many years I held onto his cassette collection, packing it and unpacking it as we moved from house to house until eventually, in our most recent house move, both cassette player and collection seem not to have made it through with the rest of our possessions. There are other things that managed to get left behind, too: the bike trailer, my favourite bowl… But it is the cassette tapes-loss that saddens me the most.

Music was a big part of my childhood – or more specifically, my dad’s music collection was a big part of my childhood. We would listen to his mixtapes on the frequent long car journeys to visit grandparents or old friends. There is nothing to do when you are a car passenger on an endless journey, except listen to the music, every last note, and let your mind wander freely. I remember sitting in the car with Van Morrison, Robert Cray and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – me getting stroppy whenever my dad, in the driver’s seat, would refuse to rewind the tape back to the beginning of my favourite song just one more time.

Tom Waits’s Downtown Train reminds me of those car journeys without fail, every time I hear it. Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell II – the entire album – takes me back to being eight years old, worried and unable to sleep, listening to the album every evening while I lay awake in bed and let the music take me somewhere else. I cannot describe where it took me, but I can taste that nowhere-place within me as soon as I hear the opening notes of I Would Do Anything for Love (and I still remember all the words). Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited takes me to Iceland as a teenager, camping with my parents and sister – the beginning of a landscape love affair that would lead me to study Icelandic and Old Norse and develop a mild obsession with the music of Sigur Rós.

The connection between music and landscape has always been foremost in my imagination. Every year my dad, a headteacher, would give a slideshow presentation in the school‘s small lecture theatre: his most atmospheric photographs of Greenland or Iceland (which he would visit most years with a small school expedition) meticulously sequenced and arranged to music. And the results were magical. For a long five minutes you could lose yourself in the beauty of the landscape and the sense of otherwordliness, to the meandering melodies of King Crimson‘s guitars or the haunting notes of Jan Gabarek‘s saxophone. It amazes me to think that these connections that were forged in my mind over twenty years ago are still strong now: every time I hear the opening voices of O Salutaris Hostia by Jan Gabarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, I experience a sense of peace that I cannot put into words. And my mind takes me – without my willing it to – to Greenland‘s icy mountains, to endless skies and all that space.

These northern landscapes are, of course, my biggest source of writing inspiration. In my imagination, this sense-of-place feeling merges together with the music that has come to accompany it, to create a tangible world that I long to disappear into as often as I can, often through writing. My second novel, The Seagull‘s Laughter, is also strongly intertwined with the idea of music and the places that it can take you to. It is set in Greenland as well as 1970s Manchester – the time and place in which both my parents grew up. At first I thought this an odd combination of places and worlds; it was only after I finished the novel that I began to look back in search of the origin of these connections that my mind had forged. And I found myself in the lecture theatre as a child, mesmerised by my dad‘s slideshows – merging Greenland, Manchester and my parents‘ taste in music. I was born in 1990 – at least twenty

years too late, I‘ve always thought. But music allows me to travel through time, as well as across oceans, to the times and places in which my stories can take place.

Thank you, Holly Bidgood and Love Books Group Tours.


About the author

Holly grew up in Derbyshire but has always been drawn to the sea. She has written from a young age. Her love affair with island landscapes was kick-started on a brief visit to the Faroe Islands at the age of eighteen, en route to Iceland. She was immediately captivated by the landscape, weather, and way of life and it was here that she conceived the idea for her first novel, The Eagle and The Oystercatcher.

Holly studied Icelandic, Norwegian and Old Norse at University College London. She also studied as an exchange student at The University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) and spent a memorable summer working in a museum in South Greenland.

She decided to start a family young, and now has three small children. Holly helps run Life & Loom, a social and therapeutic weaving studio in Hull. She likes to escape from the busyness of her life by working on her novels and knitting Icelandic wool jumpers.

The Seagull’s Laughter will be published in November 2019.



Book Link

Amazon UK :

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide – James Essinger / #PromoPost #BlogBlitz @rararesources @JamesEssinger



‘Writing Fiction is a little pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd Field for film, Writing Fiction by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’

William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.

It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:

  • Anthony Burgess
  • Joseph Conrad
  • George Eliot
  • Ken Follett
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Dan Harmon
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • David Lodge
  • Norman Mailer
  • John Milton
  • Ben Parker
  • K. Rowling
  • William Shakespeare
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • R.R. Tolkien

The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.

Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.



Promo Post

Thank you, James Essinger and Rachel’s Random Resources.


About the author 

James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).


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The Vagabond Mother – Tracey Scott-Townsend / #CoverReveal #BlogTour #LoveBooksGroupTours @Wildpressed @AuthorTrace

Not every Vagabond is a Castaway…

Maya Galen’s oldest son, Jamie, left home eight years ago after a massive row with his parents and now Joe, her youngest child and apple of her eye, has cut off all contact with them too.

Called to Australia to identify the body of a young man, Maya is given her son’s journal. After a sleepless night she decides that the only thing she can do is follow in Joe’s footsteps and try to discover her most basic human self. Eschewing a monetary lifestyle, from now on she must rely on her physical and emotional strength to survive.

Following Joe’s hand-drawn maps and journal entries, she travels from Australia to Denmark and beyond, meeting many other travellers along the way and learning valuable lessons.

Eventually a crisis forces her to return home and confront the end of her marriage, but also a new understanding of what family, in the widest sense, really means.



Cover Reveal

Thank you, Tracey Scott-Townsend and Love Books Group Tours.


About the author

Hello! I’m Tracey Scott-Townsend, author, poet and artist. My novels are Sea Babies (Wild Pressed Books 2019) Another Rebecca (Wild Pressed Books 2018) The Eliza Doll (Wild Pressed Books 2016) Of His Bones (Inspired Quill Publishing 2017) and The Last Time We Saw Marion (Inspired Quill 2014).  My first poetry book So Fast was published by Wild Pressed Books in January 2018.

I spend some days in my shed-in-the-house writing, others in the Wild Pressed Books office, editing the work of our eight authors, yet more days no-dig-gardening on my allotment, and many more on the road in the bus-with-a-wood-stove with Phil and our dogs, Luna and Pixie.

I’m mother to four grown children, three boys and a girl. Three of my children now live in London: one works in the City, one works in sound and lighting, and my daughter is undertaking a BA in Drawing at Camberwell School of Arts. My youngest son lives in Stuttgart with his German wife, both of them working hard to save towards our future plans of the two of them — together with my husband, Phil and I — moving into the off-grid property with land that we’ve recently bought in Portugal. My son and his wife intend to plant a permaculture forest. I expect to be looking after the kitchen garden, currently practising for this on my allotment in Hull. I expect that idyllic Portuguese location to be where Phil and I will grow old together… (one day!)


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Bonfires & Hot Chocolate (at the Little Duck Pond Café) – Rosie Green / #Review #BlogTour @rararesources @Rosie_Green1988



Primrose Wilkins arrived in Sunnybrook with a burning desire to find the family she’s never known. But after a heart-breaking false start, she’s beginning to have second thoughts. Can she find the courage to battle on in her quest? And with her romantic life at an all-time low, will meeting the intriguing and attractive Callum Davy be just what she needs to renew her faith in love?

Meanwhile, Fen is also finding it hard to be brave. She’s made it through to the final of TV show ‘Battle of the Bakes’ (thanks to Ellie entering on her behalf), but she’s always shied away from being in the spotlight. How will Fen cope now that she’s a famous ‘celebrity’, recognised in the street everywhere she goes?



My review

Yes, finally back in Sunnybrook. As soon as I finish one of the stories, I start missing the characters straight away and wish I could read the next part already. 

The people in that little village are so warm, friendly and loving I would love to live there as well. There always seems so much going on. It’s as if they are all one big family in stead of a village. Of course they have their fair share of sadness as well, but everything always works out for the best. 

This is, yet again, a heartwarming book about family, friends and love. Who does not like that ? It’s autumn over here and in Sunnybrook as well. I enjoyed this lovely story snuggled under a warm blanket with my puppy dozing next to me. Pure bliss and that of course means another 5 star story by this author.

Thank you, Rosie Green and Rachel’s Random Resources.


About the author

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘Bonfires & Hot Chocolate at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, is out now.

Watch out for ‘A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, which will be published Christmas 2019.

Rosie is also writing a full-length, standalone book for Christmas 2019, entitled ‘Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage’.



Book Links

US –


The man in the dark – Jonathan Whitelaw / #Interview #BlogTour #LoveBooksGroupTours @urbanebooks @JDWhitelaw13


The Devil’s back – and he’s STILL not had a holiday.
There’s another mystery to solve – a woman kidnapped by terrorists and the world trying to find her. While he hates doing God’s bidding, The Devil can’t resist trying to put one over on Him. But nothing is EVER that simple.
While the Devil helps the London cops crack the case, there’s trouble in the Underworld. And two of humanity’s greatest backstabbers – Brutus and Cassius – are sharpening their knives with an eye on stealing his crown.
It’s a race against time to find the girl, be the bad guy and maybe stop the apocalypse.




  1. Which character would you like to be in this book?

Starting off with a toughie – that’s not fair! I’m not going to cop-out and give the usual politician answer of “I love all of them equally” – I am actually going to pick one.

But it is really hard. When you’re writing characters like The Devil, God, Brutus, Cassius and Laurie, you can’t help but fall in love with them that little bit. Especially those characters who featured in HellCorp. I always feel like I’ve been getting to know them that little bit better.

That said. I did promise an answer. So I’m going to go with Alice – The Devil’s omnipotent, all-knowing, all-sassy secretary. I was blown away by her popularity from HellCorp I just knew she was going to play a bigger role in The Man in the Dark. Alice is everything I WANT to be – organized, calm, collected and stylish. Three adjectives Jonathan Whitelaw has never had before his name.

  1. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?

I try to. I love to read, I always have done. Some of my fondest memories growing up are of packing away five or six books in my rucksack to read as we went on holiday. And then there was the adventure to actually go get books ahead of the vacation. I was very lucky in that I had an aunt who worked in the library in Saudi Arabia and latterly Dubai, where the royal family sent their kids. So she would always get her hands on new releases way ahead of schedule and I’d be the first port of call when she came back to the UK.

And that’s sort of followed me actually. I’m a journalist and a lot of work I do is for the arts and reviews. So I still have the great pleasure of getting early releases and special editions through. And it usually means wherever I’m going, whether commuting for work or traveling, I’ve got something to read. I say work but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s an honour and a real privilege.

  1. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?

Bad one – no question. Wow, that actually surprised me just how quickly I was able to decide that. No time at all. That can’t be good right?

I always remember reading an interview with Dave Prowse – the actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movies (I’m a huge fan). Apparently he was given the choice of which tall character he could play – he was over 7ft. Legend has it that Prowse said “give me the bad guy – everyone always remembers the bad guy”. And it’s TRUE!

For every great hero in literature, TV, movies, poetry etc, there’s always a wonderful villain. And because the villain is usually so dreadful, they stick withthe reader and viewer. I’ve found that, both as a writer and a reader. I’m always more interested in the baddie – because there’s normally a fascinating story as to how they got there. Not every villain is born that way (with a few exceptions – including my Devil). So why are they the way they are? I love unravelling that mystery.

So yes, if I’m given the pleasure of being in a book – bad guy, all the way.

  1. Do you prefer to read/write a standalone or series?

A good question. They both have very different styles and purposes.

What I’ve found with The Man in the Dark is that writing a series is a very different process. When you sit down with a completely blank slate, no characters, no setting, no world, just an idea, you’ve got carte blanch. But when you’re writing for and in a series, as Man in the Dark is, suddenly you’ve got a whole ready-made piece of kit that’s there to expand upon. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to create something new. But you have an advantage of a set of rules, regulations and concepts that already exist for you.

Some writer friends see this as constraining. I’ve had the debate with them before and it tends to be 50/50 over who likes and dislikes what. I guess it’s personal preference.

For me, it’s the same with what I read. I love sitting down with a story and meeting the characters for the first time and getting to know them. There’s also something really satisfying with completing a story by the end, all the loose ends tied up.

Then again, a series can offer so much more when it comes to character development, world-building and general scope. You can have a character you love become hated, and vice-versa. It really is a difficult choice. And I think it all depends on personal preference – along with what mood you’re in at the time.

  1. Where can I find you when you are reading?

I’ll read anywhere I can sit down really. whether that’s catching some quiet time on a train or bus or sprawled out on the sofa at home, I don’t mind reading anywhere and everywhere. I draw the line, however, to reading in the car – as a passenger of course, not behind the wheel. I do have a tendency to get a bit queasy when I’m reading, even briefly, in a moving car. But apart from that – wherever I can.

  1. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?

Ah, now that is the question. I’m a journalist so pretty much ALL of my time is spent reading and writing – whether that’s my fiction or my journalism.

However, I am trying to be a bit better and bit healthier as I get older. Long gone are the days of staying up and out all night, home for an hour’s sleep and back out to a uni lecture etc. Middle-age is creeping up on me very quickly (I’m 33) so I’m trying to be good.

I’ve recently taken up running and of course, turned it into a competition with myself. Seriously, if I could race myself to finishing a draft or re-write, I would. That copetition serves me well when I’m playing football though – something I really enjoy. I’ve been lucky enough to play for Scotland at football for the Scotland Writer’s Football Team – alongside some huge names like Chris Brookmyer, Ian Rankin and Doug Johnston.

I was given a record player as a birthday gift last year so I’m slowly recreating my music collection from my teens in vinyl form which has been a real revolution. Getting to enjoy all the brilliant bands and music I adored, in album and long-form again really has been brilliant. You don’t realise just how disposable music can become when you can select what you want, when you want it, with no real consequence. That said, digital stuff is a LOT cheaper.

And you can also find me on a pub quiz team too. This is a relatively new past-time but one I’m throwing myself in to. My wife and I go out with some friends, usually at least once a week, and flex our grey matter. If you’re ever in Glasgow on a Monday night I highly recommend the Sparkle Horse – it’s a hoot!

  1. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?

I can – but it’s incredibly difficult. Actually, let’s just say I can’t.

As I mentioned before, the digital age is really changing everything for everyone. And for the most part I think it’s a good thing. People’s lives are being helped on a day-to-day basis, from the everyday tasks to medical and social breakthroughs. It’s a welcome arrival.

And that stretches to the literary world too. I know we’ve all seen the stats of e-book sales against traditional print. More importantly, we’ve seen predictions for the future too – with a lot of them being ripped up and started again.

I enjoy going into bookshops – not just for the shopping, but for the atmosphere. And that can be a big high street chain or an independently owned store. Staff are always friendly, willing to help and cultivate a strong, welcoming community. Surely that’s as good a reason as any to always head in for a snoop around.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of HellCorp and the characters that inhabit that series’ world. And I’m proud to call myself a writer and to be able to carry on thelong-standing traditions that role affords to both me and society as a whole. Seriously, there are no days that pass where I don’t pinch myself and am grateful that I get to do what I do for a living.

What came as a surprise to me when HellCorp was released was the impact my work can have on people. Shortly after the book came out, a reader got in touch with me to tell me how my book had, quite literally, changed her life. She had fallen out of love with reading and, after picking up HellCorp, she said she had her appetite back. I was absolutely blown away – humbled of course –  but completely flabbergasted.

It’s a very special feeling to know that you’re helping others with your work and your creations. And for that I’ll forever be proud of HellCorp, TheDevil and everyone else who features in the novel and who helped make it possible. I can only hope that everyone feels the same about the latest installment!

  1. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?

Is this actually happening? Am I about to let this thing loose on the world? I hope I’m wearing those water-proof pants I keep for these occassions!

Any one if not all of the above. Except for the pants one – I’m only joking with that one!

It’s a really special feeling and sensation. When you open up the box and get your hands on the new book. I’ve been lucky enough to have that feeling more than once and every time it’s been just as wonderful. Different, each time, but no less special.

Other writer friends have told me that it’s something that never goes away. Which is a nice thought. I’d hate to ever be in a position where that moment isn’t special and isn’t marked with it’s own little tradition or celebration. And I love that we live in a time when unboxing and these moments can be shared on social media with the wider literature community. To be able to share something like that with other writers, readers and fans is as much part of the experience as any other element of writing. The old adage goes that writing is a lonely business – but that really isn’t the case. It’s a community of scribes, bloggers, influencers and readers who all celebrate each other’s successes. The world always needs a little more love and I’ve found nothing but that from this wonderful community.

  1. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write. It sounds simple and even a little flippant. But it’s the best advice I can give anybody who is serious about writing.

I know people are busy – it’s just a part of modern life. I always ask the same question to people who ask me for advice or are looking to get into writing for the first time: “How do you think your idea will become a reality if you don’t get it out of your head?”

Again, I know that can sound flippant. But it’s simple. If you want to be a writer then you’ve got to get down to the nuts and bolts of actually writing something. A journalism tutor of mine once said to me “You can’t edit a blank page” – and it’s so true. If you write something, even just a sentence or a character profile or something like a setting, it’s a start. You can go from there.

No writer comes up with a masterpiece on their first go. And if they do then they are very, very, VERY lucky and rare. Writing is a craft – it has to be honed and learned. I know that I’m a better writer than I was last year. But I also know that I’m not as good a writer as I will be next year. Theonly way you get to those points is to knuckle down and actually write, revise, edit and make it better. You can’t do that to a blank page.

If I had any other advice for aspiring writers – it’s embracing the active community and culture online. As I mentioned before, there are lots of great, established writers, bloggers and readers out there who are always happy to help. Whether that’s tips and hints to beta readers and sounding boards – use them, they want to help you, become a part of that community and pay it forward when you can.  Simples!

Thank you, Jonathan Whitelaw and Love Books Group Tours.


About the author

Jonathan Whitelaw is an author, journalist and broadcaster.

After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. Subjects he has covered have varied from breaking news, the arts, culture and sport to fashion, music and even radioactive waste – with everything in between.

He’s also a regular reviewer and talking head on shows for the BBC and STV.

HellCorp, from Urbane Publications, is his second novel following his debut, Morbid Relations.


Social Media links

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Loves Long Road – GD Harper / #PromoPost #BlogTour @rararesources @harper_author


Glasgow, 1975. How do you cope when your boyfriend kills himself because of you?

When Bobbie Sinclair’s boyfriend commits suicide and blames her, she vows never to love again. Instead she chooses to lead a double existence, kind-hearted by day and promiscuous by night. She increasingly struggles to maintain the balance between light and dark and soon finds herself sucked into the world of a controlling and ruthless crime lord from which she must escape.

Set against a vibrant but seedy 1970s Glasgow backdrop, Love’s Long Road plots Bobbie’s desperate plight. Starting a new life but constantly afraid of her past catching up with her, she battles danger, adversity and drug addiction on the long and perilous road back to love.

Love’s Long Road is about dealing with the guilt of terrible events in your past and the risk of being corrupted by the world around you; it is a story that captures to perfection what it was like to be young and single in the 1970s. 



Promo Post

Thank you, GD Harper and Rachel’s Random Resources.


About the author 

I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.

In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells’ Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.

I went to Glasgow University in 1975 and lived in the city’s West End, the time and place for the setting of the majority of Love’s Long Road.

Social Media Links

Facebook: @gdharperauthor

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Book Links

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US –

Hire Idiots – Prof. I.M. Nemo / #Extract #BlogTour @damppebbles @FoxSpiritBooks



‘This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to the living or the dead is purely coincidental and ought to make you ashamed at the comparison.’


Unfortunately, the murder may get lost in the confusion of new vice presidents, marketers, focus groups, assessors and protestors as the administration tries to make education profitable. There’s no time for mystery!

Professor Clarence Van Dyke finds himself bewildered by the changes, but determined to get to the bottom of the killing. He wants his friend to rest in peace – or perhaps he just wants to spend more time with the attractive Detective Riordan. But isn’t he the primary suspect?




The Detective

The police tape marked off all the floor where Ned’s office was, which meant that Van Dyke could not get to his office at the other end of the hall either. ‘Can I get something from my office?’ he asked the officer stationed at the steps to glare at anyone even thinking of passing through.

‘What do you need?’ she barked at him with unnecessary vigor.

‘I can’t recall precisely,’ Van Dyke admitted. ‘I know I have some papers to grade and there was a new book to review that just came yesterday—’

‘No one allowed through at present. This is an active crime scene, you know. We don’t need looky-loos.’

The combination of officiousness and homey slang jarred. ‘I’m not a looky-loo. That’s my colleague Ned who’s dead. I am distressed.’ As he said it he had begun to believe it.

That caught her attention. ‘Have you talked to the officer in charge? Can you supply information about the deceased’s movements in the past twenty-four hours?’

‘I haven’t talked to the detectives,’ Van Dyke said, trying to sound knowledgeable. It failed. Informed only by novels and films for the basics of procedure, he couldn’t muster much in the way of expertise. ‘I know some of his movements. We were both teaching yesterday.’

‘Wait here. Don’t cross the tape line.’

Van Dyke waited, absurdly excited to be interrogated by the police, though rather dreading that they might make him look on the body. The last body he’d had to see was his cousin Ruth who had looked comfortable enough in her coffin, emaciated as a bird but almost with a sort of smile or grimace. That doubtless had as much to do with stiffing all the relatives expecting minor fortunes by giving her legacy to the Royal Birdwatcher Society or whatever it was called. She had always been a spiteful old biddy.

The officer came back and lifted the tape to allow him to bend somewhat stiffly under it. She pointed him toward Ned’s office. In comparison to the shuffling crowds below there was a buzz of activity here. Van Dyke stood nonplussed until a middle-aged woman in a tweed jacket stepped over to introduce herself. ‘Detective Riordan. The officer says you knew the victim?’

‘He’s my colleague. Was my colleague,’ Van Dyke amended quickly, then coughed to hide the fact that he had suddenly come down with an urge to giggle. Maybe it was this rather attractive woman or the absurdity of the moment or just the relief that poor Ned had gone. Gone from the room that is, he added even though the words were only in his head.

That only made him want to giggle more and he made a series of grimaces that he hoped looked like some kind of emotion and not that he was about to give way to some kind of seizure. The police inspector or detective, whatever she was, looked at him with solemn attention which only made him feel more like letting loose with a wild guffaw.

‘Do you know what happened here?’

‘He died?’ Van Dyke felt confused. At least it made the giggles slip away for a moment.

‘Yes, but I mean how he died?’

‘Don’t you know?’ Perhaps they were waiting for some lab report or something. Isn’t that what they always said at times like these?

‘Well, we have a good idea, but we were wondering what information you could supply us with.’

‘Ah!’ Van Dyke felt a stab of unwarranted guilt. ‘I wasn’t here. I really don’t know. The security officer called me, Inspector.’

‘Detective. But when did you last see him?’

‘Oh, about half six I think. I asked if he wanted to go to the pub but he said he things to do.’

‘Was that normal?’

‘What? Going to the pub? Or not going to the pub?’

‘Either.’ Her expression had not changed so he didn’t think she was trying to be funny, it just struck him that way. He suppressed another giggle.

‘He would often go to the pub with me, but not always. It was a way to unwind after a day’s teaching.’

‘Do you know anyone who had a reason to want him dead?’

‘I suppose we could rule out Cromwell,’ Van Dyke joked and then wished he hadn’t.

The inspector looked interested. ‘Why do you want to rule out Cromwell?’

‘Well, he’s dead for one thing.’

‘When did he die?’

‘1658 I think. Or was it ’59?’ Van Dyke could never remember despite all the beatings in school. Dates were not a strong point.

The inspector did not look pleased. ‘Are you trying to obstruct an inquiry, Professor Van Dyke?’

‘Alas, I was just trying to make a joke.’

‘I don’t see the humor in joking about suspects.’

‘I guess you’re not a fan of Irish music or history despite your name? Young Ned of the Hill?’ A blank look assured him he was not hitting the mark with her and that’s when he realized that a big part of the giggles came from wanting to flirt with this rather nice lady who happened to be a police inspector—or rather detective, wasn’t it? He was both embarrassed and absurdly pleased that he still had it in him. ‘Forgive me. It must be the shock. Poor Ned.’

Her expression softened a little. ‘Tragedy can affect people in strange ways. We don’t always know how it will strike us.’

‘And we are put on earth a little space / That we may learn to bear the beams of love,’ Van Dyke intoned to try to flatten the giggle that started to rise again.

‘Poetry?’ the detective asked, as one might inquire whether a dog bit.

‘Blake, my specialty.’

‘Blake who?’

This was going to be an uphill battle, Van Dyke could tell. She looked like an intelligent woman but clearly the arts were not her forte. Or did he just say she looked intelligent because she conformed to his idea of what intelligent women should look like? Handsome in a quiet way, not a flashy sort of beauty, refined, reserved. ‘I’m sorry, what?’

Riordan smiled and in that moment he moved her from handsome to beautiful. ‘You’re living up to my idea of the absent-minded professor.’

‘Oh dear, that’s probably not a good thing.’ She probably thinks I’m dotty with age. Well done, Van Dyke. ‘It’s just this is all so strange to me. I’ve never knowingly talked to a police inspector before.’

‘Detective. Can you think of anyone who wanted him dead? Student with a complaint? Colleague who bore a grudge?’

‘Well, truth to be told there were very few people who wished him alive, but no one I can think of who would go to the trouble of making sure he was dead.’

‘There was someone who did.’

Thank you, Prof. I.M. Nemo and Damp Pebbles Blog Tours


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No Time to Say Goodbye – Kate Hewitt / #Review #BooksOnTour @bookouture @katehewitt1



It hit me, the reality of it, in a way it hadn’t before like a sledgehammer straight to the chest. Laura was gone. She was never coming back. I’d never see her again; she’d never hum in the kitchen, she’d never pull Ruby onto her lap and tickle her tummy as she buried her face in the sweet curve of our daughter’s shoulder.

Nathan West loved his wife Laura with all his heart. But now she’s gone, taaken from him in a seemingly random act of violence. Laura was the glue that held their family together. And for Nathan, life without her feels almost meaningless.

As he tries to find hope in the darkness, his three young daughters express their grief in different and challenging ways – with one set on a path of self-destruction that could devastate their family all over again. Desperate to understand his own heartbreak better, he reaches out to others who had known Laura. Including her new friend Maria, whose light and warmth are exactly what their grieving family needs, and who is soon helping out and providing emotional support for them all.

But the picture Maria paints of Laura is unfamiliar to Nathan – of a wife who felt ignored, a mother who felt she couldn’t do enough – and he struggles to reconcile it with his own memories of the woman he loved. Is it possible he didn’t know his wife after all? And can he trust Maria? He can’t escape the feeling that she’s keeping something from him.

Maria is hiding a secret with the power to rock Nathan’s family to its core. Because it is about what happened the day that Laura died…



My review

You live your everyday life and you take a lot, almost everything for granted. You focus on one thing and the rest is going on the backburner. Suddenly there is an incident and that’s when you get kicked in the butt. A period full of regrets and what ifs starts and you are feeling like you are falling in a bottomless pit. But life goes on and you have to follow even though you don’t know very well how you have to tackle everything. 

You thought life was good and everybody was happy, but the incident is also a big eye opener. Little by little you find a ladder to climb out of the darkness and the sun starts peeking through the clouds. Then, once again, the life of your family is turned upside down. 

This is a story abound getting up after being flung to the ground due to a tragedy, about healing and helping others to heal as well. 

There are a lot of emotions involved, happy ones as well as very sad ones and I loved it. I had just put away my tissue and then I read the epilogue … 5 stars.

Thank you, Kate Hewitt and Bookouture (via Netgalley)


About the author

Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of many books of women’s fiction. Her latest releases are A Vicarage Homecoming and Not My Daughter. Under the name Katharine Swartz, she is the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.

She likes to read women’s fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical novels. She particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and two Golden Retrievers.



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Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators – Steven J. Wolhandler / #Interview #Blogtour @iReadBookTours



Steven Wolhandler, JD, MA, LPC knows how abusive and manipulative people prey on the emotions of good people – and how good people can protect themselves. He offers a radically different view of these Emotional Predators and provides practical effective solutions. For Emotional Predators, life is a strategy game to dominate and control, and you are either a player to be defeated or a game piece to be used. Without empathy or remorse, they’ll ruin your life, and traditional approaches will make things worse. You’ll learn 5 essential steps for protecting yourself, valuable guidance for safe relationships and over 30 specific defensive tactics for:

  • Distinguishing romance from intimacy
  • Restoring your self-esteem
  • Removing your emotional triggers
  • Using gratitude and humor
  • Playing their games better than they do – without becoming like them
  • Screening professionals to be sure they can help
  • Regaining control in family court
  • Breaking an addiction to an Emotional Predator
  • Re-balancing power in your favor
  • Adjusting beliefs that keep you trapped
  • Responding strategically, instead of reacting emotionally


Book Trailer:




Q – Tell us about your book?

It’s called Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators” Neutralize the Users, Abusers and Manipulators Hidden Among Us. It’s a no-nonsense and radically new approach to understanding and dealing with abusive and manipulative people who fly under our radar and wreak havoc with our lives. It presents a new paradigm for understanding the True Nature of these Problem People – and practical effective steps and tactics for protecting yourself. It is a conceptual breakthrough and a practical tool.

Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators offers Serious Help for Dealing with Seriously Difficult People.

Q – Who did you write your book for – who should buy it?

I wrote it for every good-hearted, decent person of empathy who is dealing with an abusive, manipulative person, or recovering from dealing with an abusive, manipulative person – or who might need to deal with one in the future (which is everyone, because abusive, manipulative people are epidemic in our society). Unless you’re a hermit, you would benefit from the eye-opening insights in this book.

It’s a book that almost everyone I know should read, particularly anyone who’s been abused and manipulated by an Emotional Predator, or who is currently involved with one.

Some other folks who ought to have this book are: anyone dating or in a troublesome relationship; all good-hearted people in – or about to be in – divorce court; and all decent lawyers should also find the book invaluable for themselves and their clients.

Q – Is there a central message in the book?

There are two – one in Part 1, the other in Part 2.

The first one is that the current operative paradigm of our culture and the mental health (and other helping) professions is decades out of date and does not help us when we’re dealing with the epidemic of toxic narcissistic manipulators – Emotional Predators. In fact, the advice you are likely to get and your natural (culturally bound) instincts will make things worse! But a new paradigm is available and my book lays this out in simple, easy to read language.

The second one is that real practical and effective help is available. It is not hopeless if you find yourself in, or recovering from, a relationship with an Emotional Predator. There are ways to fortify yourself and effectively deal with them to protect yourself. The trauma of being mistreated, abused and manipulated by a horrible person can be avoided and healed. You can re-balance the power between you and an Emotional Predator. You can neutralize the threat they pose.

Q – Why do you call these toxic people “Emotional Predators” – what other names/labels have they been given?

This is explained in Part 1 of the book, but briefly, Merriam-Webster defines a predator as “a person who looks for other people in order to use, control, or harm them.” The Oxford dictionary defines a predator as “a person that ruthlessly exploits others.”

Emotional Predators have been called many things:, Personality Disordered, Narcissists, Sociopaths, Psychopaths, Borderlines, Hysterics, Character Disturbed, Narcissistic Sociopaths, Sociopathic Narcissists, Malignant Personalities, Malignant Narcissists, Toxic Personalities and Covert-Aggressive Manipulators. They’ve also been called jerks, hustlers and con-artists.

I call them Emotional Predators because they feed on the emotions of others – they’ll tune into your emotions to use as leverage for their manipulations.

Whatever label we use, a fundamental underlying attribute that distinguishes Emotional Predators is their lack of empathy, conscience and compassion.

And like all good predators, they are skilled at hiding their true nature and what they’re up to. Most of them appear charming, seductive and wonderful at first. The less they are seen for what they really are, the more dangerous they are.

Q – What is the most important idea you are sharing in your book that will add value to the reader’s life?

These people – the manipulators, sociopaths, narcissists, etc – are not like everyone else and to treat them like you would treat others and expect the same result is dangerous and unrealistic. Emotional Predators want what they want. They want it now. To get it, they will do whatever they think they can get away with. To them, life is a game and you are either an opponent to be defeated or a game piece to be used.

Most or all of your normal responses – and the advice you’ll get from most mental health and other professionals – will make things worse. The book is a guide and a resource tool on how to be effective and turn things around – it also educates you about how to spot and avoid these problem people in the future.

In Part 2 of the book, I explain how you can adjust your core stories about who you have to be with others in order to be a “good” person so your core beliefs don’t leave you vulnerable to emotional manipulation.

Q – What are the 5 steps of protecting yourself that you set out in the book?

Part 2 of the book provides specific tactics and techniques to insulate yourself from Emotional Predators’ abuse and manipulations and divides those tactics and techniques into five strategic steps:

Step 1, Identify Emotional Predators (Chapter 3)

Step 2, Know yourself better than they know you (Chapter 4)

Step 3, Be Flexible about how you define yourself (Chapter 5)

Step 4, Avoid and Disengage when possible (Chapter 6)

Step 5, Be Strategic when you do engage (Chapter 7).

One example of an important strategy in the book is to be aware, not naive. Know yourself and how you blind yourself to things you don’t want to see – because those blind spots are where Emotional Predators hide. “A problem understood is a problem that can be solved.” The most dangerous threats are the ones you don’t see coming – so expand your awareness of yourself and those around you.

Q – What is the “True Nature of the Problem”? – Explain the new paradigm for understanding and dealing with abusive and manipulative people – and the difference between it and what you say is the outdated but still largely operative mental health paradigm.

There are people who are not like the rest of us. They are skilled at presenting a facade that seems normal and being charming, appealing and winning. But they lack Empathy, Conscience and Compassion. And we make a fundamental mistake when we believe that – because we have empathy, conscience and compassion, everyone else does as well. Conscience and compassion require empathy the way a bicycle requires wheels.

The outdated paradigm that is still the way most people try to understand toxic people has roots in psychoanalysis and psycho dynamic theory – which came out of the Victorian era when the Zeitgeist was “Don’t even think about it”. This repressing (pushing away) natural desires created neurotic problems of guilt and shame for sensitive people who do have empathy and a conscience.

The problem people of today are not neurotic – they have disturbed personalities or character. They lack empathy and conscience. The Zeitgeist of our indulgent era, starting around the 1960s is “Just do it”. So the approaches of traditional therapy, rooted in post-Victorian times, don’t work with today’s epidemic of character-based, selfish, manipulative Emotional Predators and they make things worse.

Q – How does your book fit with other books in the area?

In Sheep’s Clothing by Dr. George Simon and The Sociopath Next Door by Dr. Martha Stout, and Without Conscience by Dr. Robert Hare – are the main foundations on which, Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators, is built. Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators expands on and explains in easy to understand language the messages of those books – and it adds extensive, user-friendly practical steps for real world protection. All these books are calls to pay attention to what Dr. Simon calls “the phenomenon of our age.”

Q – You say that even “experts” don’t know how to help and that Emotional Predators are drawn to enter “helping professions” like mental health and law. Why is that?

Emotional Predators crave the experience of controlling and dominating. This means they seek out professions that put them in positions of power over an emotionally vulnerable population, professions like: politics, law (lawyers, judges and law enforcement); education; spiritual leadership (priests, imams, rabbis, gurus and spiritual guides); medicine; corporate management; and (last but not least) mental health.

Emotional Predators are in other professions too – and being in the professions I just mentioned doesn’t mean someone is an Emotional Predator: many fine people are in all of those professions. But these professions attract Emotional Predators and have a higher percentage of Emotional Predators in them than are in the rest of the population.

So in addition to a mental health professional, attorney or spiritual guide not knowing the true nature of the problem you’re dealing with and operating from an outdated paradigm for understanding toxic, problem people – any one of these professionals is more likely to be one of those problem people than the rest of the population. So my book explains how to carefully screen professionals before hiring them.

Q – You say that common approaches like trying to change them and following the Golden Rule make things worse. Why is that?

When we try to change an Emotional Predator, we reveal information about what we value, what we want. An Emotional Predator uses that information to manipulate us. A core strategy of protection is to keep your feelings and values – your core beliefs – hidden from the Emotional Predator.

Following the Golden Rule – to treat others the way you would like to be treated – works great when you’re dealing with others who also follow that rule. But Emotional Predators do not follow it. The Golden Rule directs you to be generous to others because you’d like others to be generous to you. But the more you give an Predator, the more they take – and they only take. It’s a one-way street.

An Emotional Predator will never do a selfless act; they’re always after their own gain. They use everything you do and say for their own benefit and at your expense. Decent people don’t realize that Emotional Predators can’t reciprocate and will mistreat people who follow the Golden Rule with them.

It’s much more helpful to follow what I call The Golden Rule Turned Inward: and treat every aspect of yourself the way you would like to be treated – to treat yourself with forgiveness and compassion. Respect yourself enough to draw reality-based boundaries.

The book discusses other common approaches and beliefs that make things worse with an Emotional Predator, things like: sharing your feelings builds intimacy and improves relationships; understanding “unconscious” reasons why the other person is the way they are

(versus understanding their behaviors) will help; and explaining to another person how their actions negatively impact innocent people (appealing to their conscience)

Q – You say that playing a manipulator’s game better than they do does not make you one of them. For example, you recommend practicing deception and controlling information, and provoking them when possible, with things like passive aggression (that they use so often). If you do what they do, how can you be different?

Although it may sound shocking, repugnant or distasteful, it’s essential to learn to play an Emotional Predator’s games better than they do. As they say, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

Using Emotional Predator tactics against them doesn’t make you an Emotional Predator. They use tactics to get what they want for themselves, without regard for the negative impact on innocent people. They do this repeatedly and relentlessly as part of an enduring and pervasive pattern of behavior and perception. They’re not restrained by empathy or conscience.

In contrast, you use those tactics only to protect yourself and your loved ones, and you always consider the negative impact on innocent people. You use them temporarily and selectively, not pervasively. Your empathy and conscience always restrains you. An Emotional Predator lacks empathy, conscience and introspection. You have all three.

An Emotional Predator uses tactics offensively and relentlessly. You use them defensively and selectively.

Q – What positive practices can fortify your defenses and also enhance your life that reader will find explained in your book?

Some of the tactics for regaining control of these situations that the book explains in details include: respond strategically, don’t react emotionally; don’t show what you know; don’t be provoked (don’t take the bait); practice gratitude and humor (they are available even in the bleakest times); take the long term view (you really don’t know how events will turn out); and build a community of safe, screened people. There are many more, including an in depth look at Self-victimizing beliefs that leave you vulnerable and alternative beliefs that protect you.

Q – This is a bleak subject – what positive take-aways/information/messages does your book offer?

You can find joy, humor and peace, and be immune to the manipulative abusers who are hidden among us. You don’t have to put up with abuse and manipulation. Real effective protection is available, so don’t lose hope.

As my book explains, what looks like a disaster may be a blessing in disguise. For example if your children’s other parent is an Emotional Predator, consider that your children have the gift of learning first hand about selfish, emotionally manipulative people as they grow up – and entering adulthood able to recognize and avoid them (as you weren’t able to do). My book will help you

to educate yourself and your children about the true nature of Emotional Predators and how to protect yourself.

It’s obvious from the political and environment situation that it’s time to raise the standards for human behavior, particularly from government and business leaders, and demand decency, empathy, conscience and selfless kindness – and to reject selfishness, deceit, oppression and greed. By recognizing and neutralizing Emotional Predators in your life, you’re not only protecting yourself and your loved ones, you’re also helping to improve things for everyone. You’re contributing to a cultural shift toward new norms of decency, norms that recognize and condemn Emotional Predators for the selfish, conscienceless jerks they are.

Q – What’s been most rewarding about publishing your book?

The feedback from readers that it is super helpful in ways other books have not been. The most common feedback I get is “I wish I’d read this before I met my ex.” For those readers, my book will help them spot and avoid the next Emotional Predator who appears in their life.

Q – How would you describe your writing style?

Conversational and straightforward. I strive to avoid using jargon and technical psychological terms as much as possible, and when I do use them, I explain them clearly in easy to understand language. I wanted to make it easy and useful for lay people – like ai was talking to a friend.

Q – What was your main reason for writing this book?

Repeatedly counseling people one at a time, and having them tell me I ought to write down in a book what I was teaching them – and realizing that I could spread this important information to more people if I put it in a book. One client I’d seen for whatever she could pay, years later contacted me when her children were older and she had more time to ask if I needed any help – and she really impressed on me the value of this information to so many people. She encouraged me to write it down and she helped me clarify and organize early drafts.

Part of the reason for writing the book is to try to reach others who are like I was when I became an adult who think they’re savvy, but don’t know what they don’t know.

Q – Do you have any suggestions for authors just starting?

Have at least one person who believes in you and what you’re writing to support and encourage you – and get good editing which can be from friends who know writing and the topic. Check your Ego and ask yourself honestly whether what you want to say is really useful to others – or are you just indulging yourself in things better kept in a journal?

As Bob Dylan said “And I’ll know my song well before I start singing.” It helps to know what you’re talking about.

Q – Do you have a favorite part of your book?

I like Part 1 (chapters 1 and 2, the first 42 pages) because it sums up the big picture really well and stands alone as a great short book. And I like Part 2 pages 43 through 251 because it is the nitty gritty practical steps of protection, in great useful detail. But if I had to choose one part, I guess I’d say Part 1. After reading Part 1, you want to learn the strategies and tips in Part 2.

Q – Other than selling your book, what do you hope to accomplish with it?

Protecting good-hearted people.

And also changing the social and mental health paradigms for understanding toxic selfish people and calling out those people and their behaviors as unacceptable. Changing the social and professional norms away from greed, narrow self-interest and domination – and toward empathy, conscience and compassion – toward decency.

To help make a better world one reader at a time.

Q – How can readers reach you with questions?

Readers are encouraged to email or call me through

Thank you, Steven Wolhandler and iRead Book tours.

Please freely copy and distribute this post, but be sure to include that it was written by Steven Wolhandler, author of Protecting Yourself from Emotional Predators. (It’s copyright, Steven Wolhandler, 2019) 



About the author

Steven Wolhandler, JD, MA, LPC is a psychotherapist, mediator, arbitrator, custody evaluator, national consultant and retired attorney. He has decades of experience dealing with, and learning from, difficult and manipulative people, and helping their victims with penetrating insight, effective solutions, warmth and humor. He lives in Colorado, consults with people internationally through


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Her missing child – Kerry Watts / #Review #BooksOnTour @bookouture @Denmanisfab


Detective Jessie Blake #2

She lays her baby in his cot – the sound of his quiet breath filling the nursery as she leaves the room. Soon Claire will be fast asleep herself. She won’t hear the back door opening or the footsteps on the stairs.

When Claire Lucas is woken by her husband asking where their baby son is, she is dazed and confused. When she follows Darren into their child’s bedroom, she hears nothing but silence. No baby cries, no cute gurgles. The only thing left in Finlay’s cot is his beloved teddy bear. Finlay has gone.

Detective Jessie Blake rushes to the family’s modern home in the rugged Scottish Highlands. She notices that Darren avoids eye contact, and Claire seems disconnected – unable to account for the last few hours of her afternoon. Jessie knows there’s no normal response to losing a child, but something doesn’t feel right.

Friends rally round the young family, as a search of the narrow lanes and green hills of Moncrieffe begins in earnest. And as helpers battle the wild Scottish weather, Jessie is sure that someone in the search party must know more than they’re letting on. Someone must have seen something.

As a ghost from her own past comes back to haunt her, Jessie must put aside her own personal tragedy to save baby Finlay. Can she get the people of the small town to talk before it’s too late?




My review

This is a kind of story where you could easily have pulled the sofa I was sitting in from under me and I would not have noticed in the slighest. 

I am often engrossed in a book, but when it’s about a child, it touches me in a different way. I suppose it’s because I am a mum too and you can better relate to the feelings of the parents? I see the the teddy bear on the cover and already my heart starts to break.

Not only does DI Blake have to uncover a murderer but she also has her own problems she has to battle against. 

She has a whole basket filled with suspects to choose from, but who is the right one? One moment the clues point her in one direction, the next in a different one. 

The police seems at a loss, but then there is the breakthrough … Can relationships be mended again or is there no way back?

A great story that made your head spin and bottom glued to your chair. 4 stars.

Thank you, Kerry Watts and Bookouture (via Netgalley)


About the author

Kerry Watts was born and grew up in a small town in the East of Scotland where she still lives today. She is always writing and carries a little notebook and pen with her wherever she goes because at her age ideas need to be captured before they disappear. 
Kerry specialises in crime fiction because she enjoys pushing the boundaries of what it is to be human. The nature versus nurture debate 


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