Book Review: She Knew Her Killer

51BBErbsnJLFive old school friends reunited for a weekend in Sheffield. A drunken game of truth or dare. One won’t survive.

The young woman is found murdered in a swanky hotel room. Detective Claudia Nunn gets the text just as she leaves her therapist’s office.

The victim’s friends all say the same thing: she had been distracted and kept disappearing all weekend. And on the Saturday, someone had screamed abuse in her face.

Did she know her killer?

As Claudia closes in on the murderer, the top-brass start closing down the investigation. And the team become the target of violent attacks.

Someone will do anything to stop the truth getting out.

 

My Thoughts

Followers of my blog will know how much of a MASSIVE fan of Rebecca Bradley I am! Having followed her Hannah Robbins series since the beginning and also being lucky enough to be on her book launch team I have had the privilege to read her other books too!!!

Rebecca has managed to land herself a publishing deal with Joffe books and I have been super keen to read her new stuff, so when She Knew Her Killer came out and I had time to review it I was straight on it. It’s just a shame it’s taken me for ever to right an actual review….

What has interested me most about this series is the dynamics between Claudia Nunn and her dad Dominic. Though I am starting this series on book three I have missed the beginning of the arc between the two characters and though this is bubbling under the surface of the novel it didn’t matter I was still able to enjoy this book.

Harlow Cunningham has organised to meet up with all her school friends as a guise to learning about her past. As Claudia and her team try and figure out why Harlow was murdered one of her friends eventually reveals that Harlow admitted in a drunken game she was a Foundling (a child who was abandoned after birth)

The story runs along two-story lines Harlow learning about where she came from and who her parents were and the why she was abandoned and the police investigation. We learn early on her parents must have some power as the police investigation keeps being stalled and someone is taking unprecedented steps to stop it completely.

Though at times this story seemed to be dragging along at a slow pace and a lot of the information being repeated several times. I enjoyed this different style in Rebecca’s writing that differed from the Hannah Robbins books I have previously devoured and will certainly going back to the beginning of this series to learn more about the dynamics between Claudia and her dad.

Rebecca Bradley - photo

Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective. She lives in the UK with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

She writes the DI Hannah Robbins police procedural series, the DI Claudia Nunn series and has also released two standalone novels, Dead Blind, about a cop who acquires prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness and Perfect Murder about a crime writer who wonders if she could commit the perfect murder so sets out to see.

You can purchase She Knew Her Killer below:

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There are also some great resources on her website

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As stated above I love Rebecca Bradley’s books and have done various interviews and reviews of her books, which can all be found HERE

Horses with Annie Rose

Annie has a new book out Recipe for Mr Super! As part of her Recipes of Life Serise so I caught up with Annie to talk Horses????

 

All my books so far have had dogs in, but in Recipe for Mr Super, I’ve been allowed to indulge my love ofauthor horses. A quick disclaimer – all horses in this book are based on horses I’ve known, but, except for Charlie Brown, the Shetland Pony – that was his real name, names have been changed to protect the innocent!

The names weren’t the only thing I made up, okay, I’ll admit I never evented. I have acted as groom, helped at cross country events, been a dressage writer for many, many dressage tests including some major competitions over a long period of time, but I just couldn’t face competing. So, it’s fair to say the eventing world in Recipe for Mr Super is entirely imaginary, except that one event is held at Tweseldown – a real place, and my absolute favourite eventing venue. A place I have spent happy hours, helping, or watching, some talented riders compete. I’ve even gone cross country schooling there on my own horse several times and loved the experience, but never had any desire to compete at any level.

IMG_6811People always tell me that the adrenalin high you get from doing well in competition is the ultimate thrill and worth the anxiety of getting ready to compete. I never agreed. Even the clear-round competition at the local show would have me hyperventilating.

I can’t remember when my love affair with horses started. I was very young. I’d ride anything whenever I had the opportunity, but the only person we knew back then with a horse was my godmother.

My first book was Black Beauty. I still have that copy, the colour plates in it are amazing and it would be my desert island choice. I’ve had it so long; I can’t imagine ever being without it. Photos 2 on 8 Jul 2022 at 20_28_28I was 11 years old, when a lady, my mother worked with, who had a pony, which was a bit of a handful, asked her if I’d like to ride it. Her own daughter had outgrown it, so they’d bought her a horse and needed someone to exercise the pony. I’ve always assumed my mother didn’t understand what a bit of a handful meant at the time, rather than she thought she could afford to lose her eldest daughter. The pony was a rig, with a mind of his own – initially I spend a lot of time on the floor, but it was a great learning curve and I loved him to pieces, spending all my free time at the stables. Eventually, I outgrew him too, but was offered the ride on another horse at the same stables, a lot steadier, and a true gentleman, until a permanent home could be found for him.

I’d been married less than six months, when I finally had the opportunity to buy a horse. I’d been having Beziqueriding lessons and hacking out at a local stable for some time, but it wasn’t a considered decision. I didn’t go out that day having decided to buy a horse, but I was told during a lesson that the horse I was riding, would be going to go back to the dealers and not available for lessons the following week. She wasn’t popular with clients other than me, being a head shaker and very green about everything. The deal I struck with my husband was that if I gave up smoking for a month, I could buy her. I never smoked again, I couldn’t, because although I didn’t tell him, I’d already paid for her.

We went on to develop a really special relationship, (both horse and husband). She taught me so much about unconditional love and trust. I like to think I taught her to jump. She’d only ever been driven, until shortly before she came into the riding school, and responded well to simple voice commands like, “left” or “right” and you had to tell her to “jump” if you wanted her to go over, rather than through or round any obstacle!

My biggest problem with her was that she hated being tied up and could untie herself from just about anything and sometimes her mates! She was a real Houdini, but having done it, she wouldn’t move further than the nearest hay net or patch of grass. She just didn’t like to be attached to anything.

Sadly, she was fatally injured in a road traffic accident, which left such a huge hole in my life that I was finally persuaded to look for another horse and found a huge tri-coloured mare. The picture IMG_7917is by the very talented equestrian artist Lydia Kiernan. I’m not aware that she ever met my horse, but this is just the most picture, it hangs on my wall. It has her facial markings spot on and has really captured her expression. This horse and I clicked, and I just knew I’d found somebody special. There were all sorts of alarm bells that should have rung. She had sarcoids, a cracked hoof, an irregular heartbeat, a dust allergy – I could go on, but the vet took one look at her and asked me what I thought I wanted.

I told him, I needed a horse, no bigger than 16 ½ hands to take care of me, to rebuild my trust in riding. A horse I could hack on my own, and maybe occasionally jump.  

The vet turned and said, ‘Then she’s perfect for you. I’m not going to vet her, because she’ll fail. Just one thing, promise me you will give yourself a year with her to build a relationship. There will be times during that year when you’ll struggle – wonder what you’ve done and wish you’d never bought her. You’ll get her home, think she’s perfect, but give it three weeks and she’ll go through that difficult toddler stage. She’ll start testing boundaries. Don’t let her get away with anything. Always be kind, but firm and soldier on. It will be worth it. If after a year, and I really don’t think this will happen, but if you haven’t bonded then you owe it to both of you, to find her another home.’ He issued a passport for her, and in it said she was 16 ½ hands – years later my then vet said, you do know she’s a lot bigger than that – don’t you?

We did bond and had sixteen amazing years together. She put a broken person back together and we both learned to trust each other. She overcame her fears about walking through water and I learned to accept that if something was really frightening, in horse terms, it was better to walk, or trot past it backwards!

I have just started having lessons again and recently met a lovely horse – a real black beauty!IMG_6999

 

 

 

Recipe for Mr Super by Anni Rose

 
Where’s a hero when you need him?
 
In Autumn Rigden’s case, enjoying semi-celebrity status on the other side of the world. Although Nick Flynn is no superman – talented horse rider and Super Sportstar of the Year he might be, but he has a habit of leaving Autumn in the lurch when she needs him most.

Anyway, Autumn is too busy with her new career to care about Nick. Okay, so she’s had to give up her OIympic dressage dream, her childhood home and beloved Shetland pony – and all to the benefit of Gordon, Nick’s money-grabbing father. But Autumn’s new ambition is to become an heir hunter extraordinaire, and with a promising commission and only a few weirdos demanding she prove they’re related to royalty, she’s all set.

But when Mr Super returns, will Autumn find that forgetting about horses and the Flynns is harder than she could have ever imagined?

 

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Doing the Research… Chris Penhall

As Summer starts to arrive in the UK, so do the Summer choc-lit books and where best to start? By talking to Chris Penhall, about the research that goes into her books especially her newest The House on the Hill – A Summer in the Algarve.

 

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The books I have written are all set in places I know very well, and I feel the locations are characters in the stories. So, when I frivolously say I research my books when I’m on holiday, I sort of mean it and I sort of don’t.

The landscapes, sounds and smells of Portugal and the south Wales coast are so imprinted on my mind that I call on them when I want to for a particular scene. In my new novel, The House on the Hill – Lagos, where its set,  is very much a part of the action. I feel it’s my second home, and as with all of the places I write about, because I only visit for short periods of time, my experiences when I’m there are always intense and very vivid.

There is a lot of yoga, meditation, Zumba and a bit of dancing in this particular book too, and although not an expert in any of them, I do all of them regularly. So, once again, I have used my own knowledge of participating in classes, although I have never taught any kind of sport, exercise or dance. I’m just there to enjoy myself…

There is also one small scene set in a radio station. I cannot reveal what it’s about, but suffice to say that most of my working life has been involved in working in radio in some way or another, so something was bound to seep into one of my books at some stage. This particular bit is entirely fictional, but, honestly, it really could happen.

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When I’m writing – and I’m sure this is true of many authors – things that are going on around me can also find their way into the story. For instance, I did sunset beach yoga for the first time in October 2021 in Lagos, and after experiencing the real joy of watching the sunset on Porto Do Mos Beach, with only the sound of the gentle rolling of the sea next to me, It fed into the book somehow. Not in a big way, really, but that’s often what happens – these things often add extra layers to the story.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I subconsciously gather images and ideas wherever I go, and when I allow my imagination to run free, some of those memories find their way onto the page. So, I have been accidentally researching my novels for a very long time, and I never even knew it.

 

 

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Layla is calm, in control and is definitely not about to lose her serenity for the man next door!
Surely it can’t be hard to stay peaceful at one of the oldest yoga and mindfulness retreats in the Algarve, surrounded by sea, sun and serenity? Mostly, owner Layla Garcia manages it – with the help of meditation and plenty of camomile tea, of course.

But keeping her grandparents’ legacy alive is stressful, and Layla has become so shackled to the work that, for her, The House on the Hill is fast becoming ‘The Fortress on the Hill’.

Then writer Luke Mackie moves to the villa next door, bringing with him a healthy dose of chaos to disrupt Layla’s plans, plus a painful reminder of a time when she was less-than-serene. But could his influence be just what Layla needs to ‘dance like no-one’s watching’ and have the fun she’s been missing?

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Which Books… Joanne Boden

Joanne is back with her next book and it’s about a village vet! I wonder if she’d be able to help me with my cat issues…

Which book do you wish you’d written. IMG_20210820_114508277_3

There are so many books to choose from. I love Nora Roberts, so it would have to be all of her books! If I had to choose one book by another author it would have to be The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I still have no idea how that book was her debut. It’s my all time favourite book and I remember buying it when it was first published in 2003. I can’t quite believe it’s nearly twenty years old.

Which book cover have you looked at and gone that’s amazing.

Again, there have been so many. And I have to admit I am a bit of a cover buyer. The hardback of Joanna Cannon’s Three, Things About Elsie, is a firm favourite as the cover is decorated in battenberg cake. It’s just so pretty. The cover of House of Sky and Breath, Crescent City Book 2, is also beautiful as is the harback of Sarah Winman’s Still Life. As a side note I love all the clothbound Penguin classics. They are all beautiful. My husband bought me David Copperfoeld and Middlemarch for Christmas.

Which book character/s would you protect from the world?

Ooh that’s an interesting one. I would love to put the characters of Martha and Patrick from Sorrow and Bliss in a bubble. I also have a fierce need to protect Feyre from A Court Of Thorns and Roses as she goes through so much at such a young age. Then there are Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows. I’d love to pluck them out of the world they are in and keep them safe.

Which was the last book that broke your heart.

Colleen Hoover’s, It Ends With Us. Loved that book, but oh my, I had a serious book hangover for a week afterwards.

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Which book would you make your child/ren read.

I have never made my boys read anything. It is their choice. But they have been brought up in a house full of books and they love to read. Anything goes!

Which book would you rewrite in a different genre.

It would still have to be romance because that’s what I write, but I would tweak it. I’d love to take The Hating Game and make it a cowboy romance, set on a ranch.  I can just imagine Josh as a tall and brooding cowboy and Lucy as a cowgirl in pink cowboy boots.

If you could write any genre which one would it be?

It would have to be romance. I can’t imagine writing in any other gentee to be honest.

If you could redesign any book cover which one, would you choose?

Ooh that’s a difficult one. I have no idea and it’s all down to personal taste isn’t it? I am also not a cover designer, so I think it’s best left to the professionals.

 

Which book taught you the largest lesson about life.

Different books teach you different things, don’t they? But I suppose the one book that stands out to me as it had a profound effect on me at such a young age is Little Women, and it is still one of my all time favourite books. It taught me about female friendship, about the strength of family and featured such fabulous female role models.

Which three books would you take on holiday in 2022?

 

We’re not going away this year but usually I take my Kindle when we go away. It’s just easier than carting around a stack of books. So, three books that I have on my kindle that I would love to read this summer are:

Breathe by Nicholas Sparks

Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

I also have a selection of cowboy romance novels that I need to work my way through.

 

 

A Vacancy for a Village Vet by Joanne BodenFrom big city high-flyer to little village vet …


Hannah and Daniel were teenage sweethearts, but then Daniel left their sleepy village of Middlefern and his grandfather’s veterinary practice behind for the bright lights of London.
 
Now, fifteen years later, the prodigal grandson has returned to temporarily take over the village practice with a veterinary qualification and his dog, Sammy, in tow. Daniel is ready for rabbits with tummy aches, guinea pigs who’ve lost their squeak, plenty of cow complaints and a whole lot of memories – both good and bad. But is he ready to see Hannah again?

Of course, a high-flying city vet like Daniel was never planning to stay in Middlefern for good – especially given his history with the place. But could another, even more important, vacancy convince him to change his mind?

 

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A Day in The Life Of…. Kirsty Ferry

As you may have gathered from the Blog Post Anni Rose posted as part of the blog hoop in for new book A Burning Lie. My life evolves around Football training, Air Cadets, The Fire Service and the occasional novel writing. I was looking forward to hearing about what Kirsty does with hers days….

 

This is quite a hard piece to write – each day is different, and contrary to what people might believe I do Kirstyas an author, I can’t drift around in a haze of creativity, writing all day as I have one of those things called a ‘life’. By that, I mean I have other commitments like a family and a day job and can’t always devote time to writing, much as I’d like to. I haven’t written anything substantial, really, since September – part of that was a decision I made after releasing three books in one year. I wrote them in lockdown and just thought that was enough really for the time being. I have released two more this year and one is coming out at Christmas – and that’s a lot of lockdown writing. Thankfully, now restrictions have eased a bit I can do other things. I have, for example, started an art class, which is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and we had three days in Glasgow which was lovely. Maybe I should write about one of those days!

Coffee is vitally important and I will start each day off with a one. I’m a monster without it! So our second day in Glasgow we visited the Willow Tea Rooms on Buchanan Street for coffee and a square sausage sandwich for breakfast; then we found our way to the Clockwork Orange subway and went to, variously, the Kelvingrove Museum, the Hunterian Museum, the Rennie Mackintosh House, up to the Cathedral and had a pit stop at a donut place before the Museum of Modern Art. My donut and coffee was much needed

donutI had taken my trusty notebook and pen to Glasgow in case inspiration struck – I refused to cart a laptop up there, even though I usually would take one on holiday as writing is a pleasure and a nice way to settle in for the evening in a holiday cottage. But as we were on the train and limited luggage-wise it wasn’t practical and, from experience, I knew I wouldn’t write when it was such a short, busy break. Well, I didn’t even open my notebook, even though there was lots to inspire me (some of the artworks were incredible and told such stories – the portraits at the Hunterian, and the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists were fantastic – and I saw some Pre Raphaelite works, some Impressionists work and even a Van Gogh) so I was pleased I hadn’t taken my laptop. On the train coming back, though, I got one of those lovely emails from the publishers that ping in and tell me edits are ready to be worked on, and I couldn’t wait to get home and settle down to them. I might have worked on them under the influence of a glass of wine and a takeaway, but it was a really nice end to the holiday.

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I am still writing, and being ‘an author’, but slowly! I am a little way through a novella but had to put it to one side to do edits on Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings, and then I was working on expanding Holly’s Christmas Secret (the train edits!) to make it novel length and appropriate for trade paperback. I will have the third Padcock one lined up to edit soon, which is another Christmas book, so new material isn’t happening very quickly but I’m working on other things. I’m squeezing some time in to do this blog at Costa, for example, before I head to work as I’m back in the office more, whereas I spent lockdown working from home.

So I don’t really have a typical day as an author. Things seem a little chaotic right now, but when I am in the writing zone, I do like to set aside some time either in the afternoon if it’s a non-work day, or in the evening to write, and I can get quite a lot of work done in those sessions. But right now I’m struggling to fit it in. But I will get back to it – it’s like my coffee. I have to do it, otherwise I’m a monster and all the characters in the stories I have yet to tell will get really, really cross at me!

 

 

Edie cover

Can Edie rediscover her artistic mojo and become a ‘Watercolour Wonder’?

Edie Brinkley went from rising star on the London art scene to hiding out at her gran’s cottage in the little village of Padcock after a series of unfortunate circumstances leave her almost too panicky to pick up a paintbrush.

When celebrity artist Ninian Chambers rocks up in the village to film Watercolour Wonders, a new TV art competition, Edie is horrified – especially as he played no small part in her decision to leave London.


But, with the support of the Padcock community, and one very special fellow contestant, could Ninian’s show ultimately offer a fresh start for Edie and her art career? Or will Annabel the sixties’ style stealer, along with make-up artist Tallulah and her ‘Caravan of Hell’, sabotage her summer of new beginnings?

Part of the Padcock Village series but can be read as a standalone story.

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Meet The Family – Hannah Pearl

 Something a little bit different this time round as Hannah talks to us about living with ME and how much she related to her character’s in her new book “Meet Me On the Buddy Bench” Which I myself can’t wait to read…

Hi, my name is Hannah Pearl and I’d like to thank Claire for inviting me on to her blog to talk about my new book, Meet Me on the Buddy Bench.  This book is a romance at heart, but it includes issues of grief han 4 (1) (1)and chronic illness. It is the story of Sam and Ava. Having both experienced huge changes in their lives, they question whether they can build a new life together and just what this might look like when it is not what they would ever have expected.

This book felt very personal to me because, like Ava, I also suffer from ME. I experience huge amounts of fatigue, balance problems, and brain fog. One of the hardest aspects to manage though is the post-exertional malaise. This is the key identifying symptom of ME. It means that if I overdo it, then all of my symptoms get worse, I feel awful, and it can take quite a bit of time for it to lift again.

It was really important to me to write this book for a few reasons. I wanted to take the opportunity to raise awareness of ME. We don’t yet have a blood test for ME, it is diagnosed on the basis of symptoms that don’t seem to have another cause, and so it can take quite a while to get a diagnosis, and then it can because it is poorly understood by doctors, it can be very hard to receive up to date information or advice. There are at least 250000 people in the UK who have ME, many of whom are even more severely affected than me. A quarter of people with ME are housebound or bedbound. Because of my health it can be very difficult to do the things you might do normally if a cause is important to you, like meet others or attend events. The online ME community though has been a source of enormous support and information.

I also wanted to write about ME within a romance book because when I first got ill (with symptoms much like Ava’s), reading gave me such an important way to escape from how awful I was feeling, if only for as long as the book lasted, and so I would finish one book and immediately start in the next. Romance books don’t shy away from covering difficult and emotive topics, and reading about people who had to start over but found new ways to live and to love helped me to stay positive at a time when my life changed so dramatically.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by supportive family and friends. I do hope that awareness of ME improves and that one day there will be better treatments available. There is so much of my old life that I miss and so many things I wish I could do again, especially with my children. Until then, I remain massively limited, but, like Ava, I try to find joy in the small things. It isn’t the life I expected to have but it is filled with love and I am very grateful for that.

I loved writing this book and hope that people enjoy finding out more about Sam and Ava as they try to rebuild their lives together.

You can find out more about ME The ME Association

More About Hannah Pearl

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labrynthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

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When an ordinary park bench becomes a lifeline …

As a primary school teacher, Ava Lam is familiar with the ‘buddy bench’: a rainbow painted bench where sad or lonely children can sit to show they need a friend.

But are buddy benches just for kids? Ava might have assumed so – until she finds herself sobbing her heart out on a park bench and a kind stranger sits down next to her.

The stranger, Dr Sam Stone, has a house, an impressive job and he’s even training for a marathon – all things that have become painfully out of reach for Ava in her new and scary circumstances. But whilst Sam appears to have everything figured out, it seems he needs a sympathetic ear just as much as she does.

Is the encounter a one-off, or could the ‘buddy bench’ begin to represent a source of comfort and support that will become precious to them both?

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The Lisa Carter Files Sound Track.

Hey,

so here we go, month’s in the making..

The Lisa Carter Files Play List The soundtrack to the Best Selling book series

Perfect Lie

Katy Perry – Pearl

She opened the app on her phone and started her music. As she opened the front door she was hit full force by the cold wind and it was raining. She stepped outside and braced herself hoping she would warm up soon enough.

I think that this song sets up the whole book, she is more than what people believe Jen to be, on the face of it she is the perfect mother and wife but really there is this whole other side of her that no one else knows about.

Taylor Swift – … Ready For It

‘Let’s dance.’ she dragged him onto the dancefloor and he suddenly became twenty-one again as this unbelievable woman continued to rub herself up against him. He needed to stay in control. The last thing he needed was to get a stonking great hard-on. As she maneuvered her body away from him, he grabbed her close, kissing her and making sure he got a good feel of her body as an electronic urge hit and rushed through his veins

If there was an album that was meant to sum up Hannah, I think it would be Taylor Swift’s Reputation album. We don’t get to see the other side of Hannah in Perfect Lie, she is a vixen and highly sexualised its her defense mechanism, its all she’s ever known. Even Chris wants HER, but he is a good guy and would never take advantage of anyone in the situation they find themselves in.

Limp Bizket – Take A Look Round

Jen removed the gun from the holster and held it with both hands as she headed towards the east of the lines of containers. It was cold and she could feel her feet turning into blocks of ice. She wiggled them, hoping to bring them to life and keep the blood circulating. She was now alone with her thoughts as she tried desperately to keep on the task.

Slight confession here! I always thought that the lyrics went something like

“All the tension in the world today, All the little girls Holdin’ up the world today, When the good comes to bad, the bad comes to good”

So I’ve always imagined this track being used in a big fight scene, so this would be the perfect track even if i knew the correct lyrics…. Plus it “was” the mission impossible theme tune.

Matt Cardle – When We Colide

Someone forced themselves into his flat as he opened the door, colliding with him and pinning him to the wall. The adrenaline pulsed through his body as he felt soft lips against his own. He tried to break free as he felt them brush across his cheek and moved up to his ear.

‘Come on, Detective Inspector. Put some effort in.’

He managed to free himself before pushing her up hard against the closed door. She laughed as their lips met and his hands started to trail her body. He knew exactly who this was. He would no longer be left with what-ifs and regrets. Because right now he had Officer Littlefair pinned against his front door and there was no reason to stop this time.

When I wrote Chris and Hannah’s final scene I always had this song in my head, to the point my editor wrote something along the lines of can we use something other than “collide” as they seem to be doing alot of that.

In this scene both Hannah and Chris get what they finally wanted. each other….

Our Lady Peace – Story About a Girl

This would be the end credits for a Perfect Lie, as it was a story about a girl : )

A Silent Child

Jimmy Eat World – Polaris

“You say that love goes anywhere, In your darkest time, it’s just enough to know it’s there”

All the character’s in A Silent Child do something because of love.

Jen

‘Jen, will you promise to always come back to me and the kids?’

 Jen looked at him quizzically. ‘I don’t understand, James.’

‘I know we need to put what happened last year behind us, and I’m trying.’ James sat on the edge of the bed and looked at the wall. He had rehearsed what he was going to say to her a million times, so he took a deep breath and tried again. ‘What I mean is, when you go off saving the world, will you promise you’ll always come back to me and the kids?’

‘But I’m not going anywhere.’ Jen moved to sit next to him as she did up her bra.

‘Jen, I don’t want to wake up one morning and for you to have just gone again—’

‘James.’ Jen interrupted him. ‘I’m not going anywhere, though.’

‘I’ve been looking through the news reports. I heard what the DI said. This little boy has been asking for you. He obviously needs your help. If it was his mum who was found in the Trent, he’s completely alone in the world.’

‘I don’t understand, James.’

‘What I’m saying is go back to the DI and go and visit this boy. Just promise me you’ll always come back to us.’

Jen looked at him, clearly surprised. ‘But what you said—’

‘That doesn’t matter any more. Just promise.’

‘I will always come home to you. Who else will put up with my obsessive cleaning and silliness?’ Jen placed her hand on her husband’s face and turned him towards her. ‘I love you with all my heart and more, James Derek Garner.’

James’ lets Jen go because she promises him that she will always come back to them and Jen knows what ever she goes through her kid and husband will still love her no matter what.

Chris:

He needed to made a decision, and as he stood there he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. The name coming up on the screen almost made him laugh to himself, given who he’d just been thinking about.  

‘Mum?’ he answered, almost unsure whether it would be her on the other end of the phone. He was greeted by the sound of someone coughing.

‘Sorry … Christopher?’

‘Is everything okay, Mum? You sound awful.’

‘Ah, just this cold thing that’s going round. It’s the middle of bloody summer and here I am hacking up a lung.’

‘Have you been to see the doctor or anything?’

‘Oh no, don’t be silly. Your dad is looking after me like he always does. If I’m honest with you, he’s being a bit of a pain.’

‘Look, Mum, I’m really sorry but I’m busy. Can I call you back later?

‘As long as you do. We haven’t heard from you in such a long time.’

‘I promise I’ll phone back over the next couple of days.

‘Okay. Goodbye, Christopher. Keep safe.’

He had made his decision. His dad looked after his mum no matter what. What if he’d already found that someone to love in the kind of way his parents loved each other? And he was about to let her go off to who knows where, to fuck who knows who? It was his duty to keep her safe.

Chris realises that he “loves” Hannah and can’t let her go undercover on her own because he believes in the sort of love that his parents have for each other.

Dana

‘I knew this would be the last time I would ever spend with Mikel, so I kept him close and made sure he knew how much I loved him and always would.’

And Dana believes the only way she can save her son, is if she kills herself and let’s him go into care. Little does she know Nottingham is the least safest place for him right now.

Lewis Capaldi – Hold Me While You Wait.

As they left the cottage, he noticed Hannah on her phone. He realised he really needed to get his turned back on and check in with the investigation at home.

‘Ready?’ she asked as she ended the call.

Chris moved around to the back of the car and climbed in. ‘Thanks for coming to get us,’ Chris said to Barry.

‘Not a problem. Did you both have a good night?’

‘You could say that …’

To Chris’ surprise, Hannah got into the back of the car with him. ‘Not sitting up front?’ he asked her.

‘Will you hold me?’ she whispered.

‘You okay?’ ‘I think so, but I just need to lay in your arms and feel safe again.’

This song helped write the scene when Hannah and Chris return after their undercover experiences. I know alot of what went on at the party is left to the readers imagination. But I find sex a very powerful and sometimes emotional draining. So when Chris and Hannah return to the car the last thing Hannah wants is to talk through what went on last night she just wants Chris to hold her and feel loved and safe, the more vulnerable side of Hannah appears the side we never see or even knew existed. We all like an after sex cuddle ; )

A Burning Lie

Tom Walker – Wait For You

Now this song might be a *spoiler* so I’m not going to explain the use, but it would play at the end as the credit’s roll. I’ll let you come in your own conclusions.

***

As you can tell I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about the soundtrack for Perfect Lie, but that is because that book has been apart of me for such a long time… Even before it got published.

Katy Perry – Save As Draft

I love this song, because I spend my life saving things to draft . I also always get loads of reminders from things around me that I *should* be writing that novel!

A Day In The Life of: Helen Buckley

So this morning I got up, tried to get a child up, shouted at said child, husband went to work, shouted at child a bit more and broke the land speed record getting said child to school on time… Though I can’t help wondering what Helen’s day was like….

Signing contract photo further cropWhat do you imagine when you think of an author? Someone getting up late, perhaps sitting at a desk in their PJs with a large mug of coffee, spending the day typing away, or possibly staring out of the window, seeking inspiration?

Sadly, that’s not my experience!

My day usually starts around 5ish. I’m up to make my children’s breakfast and lunches. Then if I’m lucky, I get time to write before the kids wake up. I have two boys, one is nearly 3 years old, and the other is 15 months, so life is very full on.

My husband and I get the boys up and deliver them to their childcare places. Then I start work – my job is being the communications officer for a disability inclusion non-profit called Shaping Our Lives. Fortunately I work from home, so there’s no commute apart from the short drive to drop the boys off at the childminder and nursery.

I work 9-5pm and then the boys come back and chaos is unleashed till they are asleep.

Around 7 or 8pm, all being well, I might try to do a little writing, or update my blog/ social media.

Then I crash into bed at 10pm, exhausted!

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So my life definitely doesn’t fit the relaxing image I conjured up in the first paragraph, although I do always have a cup of coffee or tea on the go. But I wouldn’t change things. I’m very lucky to have my two boys (both IVF-miracle babies), and I know one day I will have more time to write when they are a little bigger. Till then I grit my teeth and drag myself out of bed before it’s dawn, and hope to have another book completed soon!

 

 

KEEPING UP WITH THE KERSHAWS_FRONT_RGB

What do you do when your life becomes more dramatic than reality TV?

As the devoted carer for famous antique expert Harold Kershaw, Karrie Morgan was always happy to keep a professional distance from his four spoilt grown-up children, who rarely made time for their father. But then a surprise involving Harold’s Will means Karrie is flung headlong into a press scandal, and into the chaotic world of the surviving Kershaws.

With the support of her trusted childhood friend Andrew, mild-mannered Karrie must face down ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, star of reality TV show Raised in Richmond … although perhaps not as fake and flashy as he initially seems?

As vicious rumours circulate and Karrie’s past comes back to haunt her, she struggles to know who to trust. Can she keep up with the Kershaws’ schemes?

 

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logo_thumb800@HelenCBuckley                                      Facebook-Xperia  Helen Buckley Author

 

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Helen Buckley

 

 

ChocLit-logo-Web Check out Helen’s other two books on the Choc Lit website

 

Helen has visited my blog many time and her other posts can be found HERE

Book Review: Killer In The Crowd

Killer in the Crowd

Live music is in her blood, but as the death threats arrive, she fears
there’s a killer in the crowd.

Cath Edgley is just a normal schoolteacher… until she hears the shocking news that fading rock star Raven Rain has been murdered.

Because, to Cath, Raven Rain is more than just a picture on a magazine – he was also the ex-lover of her missing mother, Betzy Blac, lead singer of ’80s punk girl band, Décolleté. A woman who went missing over 30 years ago.

Warned by a string of mystery text messages to “trust no one”, Cath is inspired to solve the mystery of her mum’s disappearance, once and for all.

Cath finds herself thrust into the sordid underbelly of the ’80s music scene, when rock and roll played second fiddle to the sex and drugs.

Along the way, she joins forces with Raven’s son, the American superstarheartthrob Travis Brennon, as well as playing a new role: unwitting replacement lead singer for Décolleté on their first tour in over 30 years.

Can Cath find the killers before she becomes their next victim?
Are the superstars she encounters all that they seem?
And what exactly happened to the punk superstar, Betzy Blac?

 

My Thoughts

I have often wondered in the past what it must be like for Johnny Depps kids, (pre all this with Amber Heard I must add) do you wake up one day and think holy shit my dads famous! When exactly did the Beckham kids realise their parents where famous? Well this book in someways tells the story of what it’s like to be an adult and know that both your mum and dad are famous rock stars.

But unlike some of the famous people today who are only famous because their parents are famous Paris Hilton springs to mind. Cath Edgley is desperate for the quiet life opting to teach at a posh girls school away from the lime light until she discovers one day that her father has died of a suspected drug overdose but he’s been clean for years.

Wanting to just get on with life because she never knew her father anyway the world media have better ideas and the police come knocking too looking for a missing manuscript said to be worth millions.

But Cath’s mum was famous rocker Betzy Blanc who disappeared in strange circumstances some thirty years previously, so maybe there is something going on here that isn’t quite right. When her dad son Travis Brennon contacts her asking for her help she is suddenly thrust back into the lime light in order to find out who killed her dad and what really happened to her mum.

I loved this story so much the peak behind the curtain of a rock and roll lifestyle and I’m a sucker for stories when two lonely people end up together (Even though I tend to read crime and thrillers!) I felt a real connection to these character’s who were all betrayed as real people I could relate to, and not “rich people” who were better than me.

A million stars for this novel and I hope to be reading more by P N Johnson in the future.

 

Phil J B&WAs a TV Newsreader, Reporter and Producer for both BBC East and ITV Anglia, P N Johnson covered everything from tracking down criminals in Spain and going on high-octane police chases, to interviewing pop stars, politicians and celebrities. P N Johnson was also the face and voice of
Crimestoppers in the eastern region for many years and created the successful TV series: “999 Frontline”. Now living near Norwich, P N Johnson loves music, travelling, walking, and sailing, and bringing exciting new characters with amazing stories to the page.

You can purchase Killer In the Crowd from the retailers below:

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A Day In The Life Of – Berni Stevens

So not only does Berni write a-ma-zing books she is also a cover designer and has created all three of mine which I love. So how does she fit it all in!

 

I’m not sure there is a typical day to describe to be honest. Certainly not as a writer, because most of my writing is done in the evening and at weekends. That is, until the edits come in, which are often urgent and need attention as soon as possible.BERNI_newsmall

I used to go to the gym four times a week for Zumba classes (pre Covid), and teach my own Zumba class on Wednesday evenings. Post Covid, I’ve left the gym because all the Zumba instructors I liked have left – one has even gone back to Poland. But things change – it’s inevitable – and it means my days have changed too. The price for gym membership has also gone up of course, and I’d rather save the money!

As a Zumba Instructor I have access to all the choreography and music on the Instructors’ website, which is updated monthly. An early morning treat for me, is whizzing through the routines and music, making a note of the ones I like at first glance, with a view to learning and tweaking them for my class. (Remembering them is another matter!)

I do an hour’s Zumba every other day and I find it sets me up for work quite well. Who needs the gym? During the various lockdowns, there were a few virtual training sessions and ‘jam sessions’ at weekends, that I did via Zoom, which were all great fun, with people from all over the world joining in.

notepad-g79c0f266d_640The largest part of any day is my design work, and I tend to have several book covers on the go at once. Generally speaking, they’ll all be at different stages, which is a good thing; some have visuals out with the publisher or author, others have been approved and need high resolution artwork, whilst others need full cover artwork for print. I know most people keep notes on their Smartphones these days, but I tend to write actual notes in real notebooks and highlight projects as they’re finished. I suppose it’s the designer in me – but I do love notebooks and sketchbooks. In fact, the only things I miss about working in-house are the stationery cupboard (all those pens, notebooks and Post-it pads), and paid holidays! I certainly don’t miss the cover meetings that’s for sure! (And that’s a whole other discussion).

In better weather – should we ever have any – I might go for a walk at lunchtime. We’re lucky to have a Woodland Trust walk at the back of our house that the property developers can’t get their sticky mitts on. Although they’re building everywhere else it seems. I even once found someone taking photos of our front garden and making notes on a clipboard. I told her in no uncertain terms that our house is listed and therefore off limits. But for how long I wonder?  However, walking across the fields at the moment is almost a snorkel and flippers job – we’ve had so much rain, the fields are a quagmire. Here’s hoping we get some sunshine in the summer. (Note to self – get a new pair of wellies).

I love having a new book, in fact I look forward to the evenings when I can get back to writing. (Unless it’s playmobil-g605d110c2_640not going well and I’m stuck!) But when it is all going well, I can’t wait to rejoin the characters, and write more of their stories. Although there are times when their conversations keep me awake at night … this happens to a lot of writers I’m told.

In Izzy’s latest book for instance, I hadn’t planned on Jonno walking out on the tour, it just kind of happened. Minds of their own, some characters. : )   Losing myself in the characters  can be very therapeutic sometimes. When I wrote my first paranormal romance, I had great fun killing off characters if anyone upset me … although I’m not at all sure what that says about me. A friend of mine bought me a sign for my office which simply says, ‘Careful or you’ll end up in my novel.’

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@Berni_Stevens1                      Facebook-Xperia Berni Stevens

 

indexBerni Stevens       foto www.bernistevenscoverdesign.com/

 

IT'S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL_FRONT_RGB_150dpi copy

Is the rock and roll lifestyle all it’s cracked up to be?

Being the girlfriend of a rock star isn’t all glitz and glamour – at least that’s what Izzy Grant has found since she started dating Seth Roberts of Scarlet Gryphon fame; it’s actually a lot of waiting and wondering and worrying as Seth travels the world whilst she’s stuck in London. Can she ever rely on Mr Cool to settle down?

But rock gods get insecure too, and whilst Seth is jetting off to far-flung locations to perform sold-out shows, he worries that Izzy will find a “Joe Normal” and opt for a more ordinary life. Plus, he could do with some support when a certain entitled rock star girlfriend gets too big for her Jimmy Choos and threatens to break up the band.

There is a solution, but are either of them willing to take the plunge?

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ChocLit-logo-WebBerni’s other books can be found HERE

 

I recently spoke to Berni as part of my Meet The Family Series, which can be found HERE