#BlogTour: WOULD LIKE TO MEET by Rachel Winters @Frostycheeks @TrapezeBooks @alexxlayt

image001Publication: 30th April 2020 – Trapeze

Long-suffering assistant Evie Summers will lose her job unless she can convince her film agency’s biggest and most difficult client, Ezra Chester, to finish the script for a Hollywood romcom. The catch? He hasn’t started writing it.

Suffering from ‘writer’s block,’ he will only put pen to paper if singleton Evie can prove to him that you can fall in love like they do in the movies. Forget internet dating, Evie can only meet a man the way that Sally met Harry, or Hugh Grant meets anyone. Cue her entering into one ridiculous romcom scenario after another. But can life ever be like the movies?

Of course, real life is never that straightforward…

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Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Would Like To Meet, the hilarious new novel by Rachel Winters, which is out this week.

In need of a book that will make you laugh and cheer you up? Then you need to pick up this amazing novel. I laughed so much and I couldn’t stop reading as the protagonist of the story, Evie Summers, tries recreate the funny and terrible scenarios typical of rom-com movies to help a famous Hollywood screenwriter overcome his writer block. From dubious book clubs to disastrous coffee-spills and catastrophic road trips, Evie’s adventures had me with tears in my eyes from laughing.

What a fantastic cast of characters the author created: the protagonist, Evie, is funny and determined and I found myself relating to her because, like her, I do love rom-com movies (I don’t know how many times I’ve watched The Proposal, Friends With Benefits, and How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days). Then, there is adorable young Anette who swears in French and likes to match make, her dark and serious father Ben, and Evie’s best friends, Jeremy, Sarah, and Maria whose WhatsApp messages with Evie where some of my favourite part of the novel. I also liked annoying-but-also-funny Oscar winning screenwriter Ezra. His email exchange with Evie created many hilarious moments.

I enjoyed how the author opens each chapter with a movie script that sets the scene in a way that lets you imagine the entire scene in the head like if it was a real rom-com movie.

Would Like To Meet is a witty and refreshing story that will keep you entertained for a few hours and will make you laugh page after page with its amazing characters, its engaging plot, and the author’s captivating writing style.

A huge thank you to Alex and Orion for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this fantastic novel.

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Follow the rest of the blog tour:

WLTM Blog Tour Asset

#Extract: KEEPING TIME by Thomas Legendre @legendreality

I am delighted today to share an extract of Keeping Time, the new novel by Thomas Legendre, published by Acre Books on 15th March 2020.

First, let’s see what the book is about:

Keeping Time coverA crumbling marriage. An ancient mystery. And a way to change the past . . . 

When archaeologist Aaron Keeler finds himself transported eighteen years backward in time, he becomes swept up in a strangely illicit liaison with his younger wife. A brilliant musician, Violet is captivated by the attentive, “weathered” version of her husband. The Aaron she recently married—an American expat—has become distant, absorbed by his excavation of a prehistoric site at Kilmartin Glen on Scotland’s west coast, where he will soon make the discovery that launches his career. As Aaron travels back and forth across the span of nearly two decades, with time passing in both worlds, he faces a threat to his revelatory dig, a crisis with the older Violet—mother of his two young children—and a sudden deterioration of his health. Meanwhile, Violet’s musical performances take on a resonance related to the secrets the two are uncovering in both time frames. With their children and Aaron’s lives at risk, he and Violet try to repair the damage before it’s too late.

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/2KdWQWO

Then, more about the author:

Thomas Legendre is the author of The Burning—longlisted for the Warwick Prize for Writingas well as Half Life, a play performed as part of NVA’s art installation of the same name in conjunction with the National Theatre of Scotland, and the radio drama Dream Repair, aired by BBC4. He is an assistant professor at the University of Nottingham. https://www.thomaslegendre.com/keeping-time

Now, let’s enjoy an extract from this brilliant novel:

chapter one

1988

If I make a circle it doesn’t matter where I start, so let’s begin with Aaron appearing from the future. How does a time traveller arrive? By buzzing the entryphone. It halts me during Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor for organ—or rather, a piano transcription that
seems too thin, too sterile—and I rise from the bench humming the final variation, trying to give it some life. I lose it completely, though, at the sound of Aaron’s voice bristling with static. This can’t be good news. He’s supposed to be in Mid Argyll. As his footsteps
come up the main stair, I think maybe the next phase of his Great Dig was postponed and he lost his keys in a Neolithic ditch.

But then the sight of him sends me backing into the sitting room.

He recites my favourite colour, my lucky number, my comfort foods, my shoe and dress sizes—as if I need convincing, when in fact the problem isn’t that I doubt who he is, but that I immediately believe it. Yes, it’s obvious. My future is his past. Though it’s April of 1988 for me, it’s November of 2006 for him—or almost November. Halloween night. That’s when our son will stay home with me, apparently, while he takes our daughter trick- or- treating, despite my protests, so he can introduce her to his American childhood ritual, his annual allowance of junk food and fright. I can’t imagine myself protesting such a harmless thing, which is partly why it seems like a di!erent woman in that time. An alternate self.

The mother of two children. I’m already suspicious of her. Where does she begin? Where do I end? But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m here. I’m now. I’m making it up as I go along. If I make a circle it doesn’t matter where I start.

“But you need to know it’s really me,” he says. “And I can prove it. The first time we met was at that pub o! Buccleuch. You were upset about playing the Rach 3, and I told you…” He stops himself, clenching his eyes shut. “No, no. Wait. Anyone could know that.”

He turns away and grips the mantel, in the throes of some internal debate, then turns back and starts reeling o! details about something that happened to me before that—a private trauma I’ve never shared with anyone. Proof. Evidence. He needs to convince
himself that I’m convinced. He needs to believe that I believe.

“Aaron?” I wave him down. “This isn’t necessary.”

“But you locked the door behind him,” he says, “and you sat there hugging your knees until dawn when you could walk home safely, and you couldn’t even bring yourself to tell Clare or Isobel afterward, instead making up some story about, what was it, he
vomited and passed out. It was your first and last one- night stand. Am I right?”

His face is both familiar and strange. There’s a wider spread to his features, the continental drift of age, but otherwise he seems recast with sharper angles and ridges, with deeper definition. The endearing little curve to his lower lip is more pronounced, his hair reduced to a close- cropped style that actually suits him better. It’s the haircut he should have had from the beginning. I hesitate to mention it because I’m afraid he’s going to say it was my suggestion.

The other Violet. The older one. A deep unease comes over me, unreasonably, at the thought of her.

“Violet, please. Am I right about this?”

I manage to nod.

“Have you shared that experience with anyone?”

I shake my head.

“Anyone at all?”

I close my eyes to absorb not the fact but the feeling of it. A new time signature.

“I know it must be strange to have me describe it this way, like watching your own dream on television. But you’ll tell me in a few years. At a performance one night you’ll see someone who resembles him, and you’ll confess the whole thing afterward right here
in this room. Except it’s not really a confession because you didn’t do anything wrong. I should mention that now, ahead of time, to preempt some of the guilt. Because the guy tried to rape you, for Christ’s sake, so don’t be ashamed of that, and I still want to track
him down and break his kneecaps, which you’ll attribute to my crude notion of Appalachian justice. If memory serves.”

And his accent has changed. Those hints of southern comfort, those drawling vowels—all tempered to British speech. The sound of him, the sense. Yes, it’s the man he will be in eighteen years.

One of my legs is trembling like a bow string, and I have to collar it with both hands to make it stop.

He comes forward. “Are you all right?”

I step back and knock into a lamp. He lunges and catches it before it falls, then looks at it oddly as he sets it back.

“Tessa broke this. She was crawling under the table and—” He glances at an empty corner of the room. “The table we’re going to buy after we have the flat repainted. In 1996, I think.”

“Good thing you caught it, then.”

He snaps his attention back to me, flummoxed by the comment until it takes hold, and he laughs. Then his eyes widen with mischief.

“Hey, should I smash it and see what happens?”

“Please don’t. It’s hard enough living in an unfurnished rental—and excuse me, but how are we going to buy this flat if we can barely a!ord the rent?”

He hesitates, sensing a tripwire. “Did I say we bought it?”

“You said we repainted it. Eight years from now.”

“Oh. Well. Don’t worry about that. It’s not the sort of detail that matters.”

I fold my arms. “As opposed to what, my shoe size? Which you got wrong, by the way.”

“Your shoe . . .” He sways slightly and catches himself. “Ah, right. Before the children you’re a five, not a five- and- a- half.”

“Pardon?”

“Because your feet swelled with the pregnancies.”

“You mean permanently?”

He shrugs.

“Leave o!, Aaron. Time travel is more plausible than that.”

He seems to drop a notch. It’s all crucial to him. Endings and beginnings, cause and e!ect. With renewed desperation he starts patting himself down, as if searching for a futuristic calling card.

But what can he o!er? He isn’t wearing any silver lamé. No spacey designs or insignias. Just a jumper with a hole in the shoulder, a collared shirt, jeans. The trainers are a type I’ve never seen before, but that doesn’t mean much. He could be from any time, any
place. He doesn’t even have a wallet. The only artefact he can produce is an electronic domino, which apparently is a mobile phone.

“Will you stop that, please?”

“I’m trying to provide hard evidence.”

“Hard evidence of what? That mobiles are shoddy in 2006?”

He holds it up. “The supporting technology doesn’t exist yet. If you brought a radio back to the eighteenth century and switched it on, it wouldn’t—”

“But it doesn’t switch on.”

“Or maybe the circuits were fried in the . . .” He gestures broadly. “I don’t know, the time warp or whatever you want to call it, because it sure as hell did something to my nerves. In fact, I thought that was the problem at first. It felt like a concussion.

A seizure, maybe. Except the weather was di!erent. The daylight.

I knew it was spring. I could taste it in the air. And then on the street I saw . . .” He trails, his eyes magnetized by something across the room.

I swivel but don’t find anything worthy of fascination. The stereo and records, the old armchair, the telephone on a faux Ancient Roman pedestal that he bought a few months ago at a charity shop. I turn back to him. “You saw what?” I ask.

He walks over and puts his hand on the phone as if he doesn’t quite believe it exists.

“That would be the real test,” he says.

“Pardon?”

“No room for doubt after that.”

“What are you talking about?”

He picks up the receiver, then immediately slams it down again and steps back with his hands over his mouth.

“Hey,” I say, coming over and touching his cheek cautiously, expecting some kind of metaphysical crackle, but it’s simply Aaron with extra weather in his skin, etchings around his eyes. “It’s all right. I’m here.”

He folds at my touch, settling against me. A firmness to his chest, a harder texture to his arms. Does he exercise now? I try to imagine him at the gym, substituting fitness for youth—a youth still intact in the other Aaron, working on an excavation three hours away. I run my hands all over him, him but not- him, finding the di!erences, the octaves between one and the other, as if playing the Passacaglia in a lower register to bring out the resonance, except something is missing from the transcription, because even though the notes are right as my fingers press to his shoulders, they don’t sound true. Do I still think this way in the future? Am I always this strange? When I pull back to ask him, though, I find the full presence I’ve always anticipated without realising it, his
face in mine.

“Ultra- Violet,” he says. “It’s you.”

There’s no reason to stop what happens next. He’s here and there, now and then. We’re making it up as we go along. By the time I work his shirt o! I’ve discovered a scar on his shoulder, old to him and new to me, and a mild subsidence in his body. But it doesn’t matter. Oh, it really doesn’t matter. He hits notes of pleasure in me that I didn’t even know were there, new pitches on my scale. Of course he has an unfair advantage. An extra eighteen years of practice, I think, as he carries me across the threshold of our bedroom like it’s our wedding night again, a replay of our honeymoon with all this messy, raunchy tenderness. Better than our honeymoon, actually. And gripping his hand against the mattress, I feel his wedding band—our ring of eternity, as Isobel phrased it,
in honour of our legal manoeuvre to keep him in the country. But it has lasted. It has endured. If only I could share the news with her and Clare, not to mention Mum, still unsettled by my lack of propriety and pageantry, my unserious life. See, Mum? He’s my
husband, after all.

Afterward there’s a sizzling purity to everything, all nerve endings and open strings.

Sunlight flickering on the wall, the howling raw motions of sky. A breeze sighing through the fireplace. Traffic rumbling like a waterfall in the distance. Everything acute and true. His leg still draped over mine. An octave occurs when one pitch has exactly double the frequency of another. But this is a different harmonic. A di!erent sequence of semitones. A perfect fifth. Yes. The interval above the root of all major and minor chords, and now excuse me while I smile.

He slides out of bed and starts gathering his clothes. “This isn’t a coincidence.”

I turn toward him. “What?”

“The date.”

“You mean, Good April Fool’s Friday?”

He gives me a perplexed look.

“That’s the joke you made when you called last night. Or may be I should say eighteen years ago? Because it’s Good Friday and April Fool’s Day, together at once—which proved, you said, that the Resurrection was really just a prank that got out of hand.

Why else would they celebrate the occasion when the saviour was whipped and beaten and nailed to a cross? If that’s a good Friday, I’d hate to see a bad one.”

He halts for an instant after stepping into his jeans, blinking the thought away. “I’m talking about spring 1988. Kilmartin Glen.

The excavation at Inbhir. Right now I’m discovering that it’s not only a chambered cairn, but also a . . .” He breaks o!. “I’ll tell you—I mean, he’ll tell you all about it when he comes home tonight.”

“Lovely. Something to look forward to. But why is that not a coincidence?”

“I go back there in 2006.”

“And?”

He shakes his head. A forbidden topic. I’m about to press him when he reaches for something on his bureau—the mug he won at a state fair when he was a boy. Another casualty of the years between us, no doubt. Is he going to blame our daughter for this
one as well? As he runs his fingers over the raised lettering, I can’t help recalling that moment at the telephone. Who was he going to call? Then he sets the mug down and, still naked from the waist up, strides out of the room. I lean over and watch him through the doorway of his study, examining all the drawings and photos tacked to the wall—the collage he hopes will provoke some kind of insight—along with the Ordnance Survey map that he marks with the locations of all known rock carvings in Kilmartin Glen, like a general plotting troop movements. I am under solemn oath under penalty of death not to tell his coworkers for fear he will be mocked mercilessly. Because he is convinced the rock carvings occur not at random locations but at natural thresholds of the landscape, with the motifs taking on greater complexity at key approaches. Furthermore, he says, they have a systematic relationship to the cairns and standing stones along the floor of the valley. They lead you to those sites. They guide you in. They bring you down.

That must be it. The source of his accidental time travel. A mystical portal of some kind, marked by signs and stones—the very sort of wishy- washy New Age hokum he loathes, which would explain why he’s so tight- lipped about the whole thing. He’d sooner whip up a hypothesis of geological features and material culture than allow any kind of metaphysical mystery. But today’s superstition is tomorrow’s science. He probably just stumbled into it like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. After all, there’s a hidden aspect to that place, or rather something absent. Undisclosed.

Withdrawn. I kept looking for what I was missing even the first time I visited, long before Aaron, on a family holiday. It was Dad’s idea of a diversion before catching the ferry at Oban—some pagan viscera to o!set the tepid encounter with St Columba he knew
Mum would impose on us once we reached Iona. At least that’s my understanding of it now. At a layby he read out a placard explaining how the cairns were arranged in a straight line over a distance of two miles along the floor of the glen. A linear cemetery.

A valley of death. A natural amphitheatre fringed with terraces, as if designed by the gods themselves, whoever they happened to be back then, for ritual processions and ceremonies.

And what remained? A few standing stones. Some rock piles resembling igloos where prehistoric corpses were supposedly stored like tins in a larder but that now held nothing at all. Nevertheless, we made a go of it. We tramped among livestock and heaps of manure to lay our hands on the slanted monoliths. We squeezed inside one of the cairns with Mum holding her jacket over her shoulders and Dad declaring his wonder at what it must have been like, really, if you gave it a bit of thought. And of course the rock carvings, worn down and barely visible at midday, with their cups and rings and stray lines radiating outward. A few looked like dartboards, Peter said. Because he played darts. I spotted a treble clef, then realised it was just a part of the texture, of the cracks  and fissures in the rock itself. The whole thing was a Rorschach test.

A trick of desire. I felt it most at the summit of Dunadd, when I stepped in the carved footprint used in the first coronation rituals of Scotland. Dad dubbed me Violet MacAlpin, conqueror of the Picts, founder of the Kingdom of Alba. Peter dubbed me a royal pain in the arse.

Aaron is the only one I know intent on assembling a larger picture, even as he distrusts larger pictures. It’s who he is: his helpless speculation, his urge to know. His pleasure in paradox. He doesn’t expect to solve the rock carvings but rather to become satisfied in
the e!ort. Yet he will never be satisfied, even in that. Does he know it yet? Does he know himself?

I hear a tapping of keys, a familiar staccato from his desk across the hall. What on earth could he be typing? I call his name. I wait.

I lean on the bed again but see only the scraped file cabinet, the chair plundered from a skip, the lamp with its paper shade burnt by a bulb that gives more heat than light. When we buy this flat I bloody well hope we can a!ord to furnish it properly.

“A friggin’ typewriter,” Aaron says, jerking his thumb over his shoulder as he comes back through the doorway, his voice flaring with Blue Ridge summer, the gut- level syllables of his younger self—all still inside him, of course. A ground bass of basic pleasures and straightforward thinking.

I work up a tolerant expression. “Yes, a typewriter.”

“And the circle jerks.”

“What?”

“Those pages I tacked up. As if I had some great insight into the universe.” He draws a long breath. “All those years I was putting the cart before the horse. That’s one thing Tessa . . .”

I watch him carefully as he trails o!, a flicker of caution in his eyes.

“Anyway,” he says, “that typewriter still drops the f ’s. Oh, and look at this.” He goes over to his closet and flips through the hangers.

“Um, Aaron?”

He pulls out a striped shirt—not one of my favourites—and holds it at arm’s length. “I really used to wear this, didn’t I?”

“You don’t have the greatest fashion sense, if that’s what you mean.”

He gives me a burlesque frown before setting it back.

“I gather you were typing a note to yourself?”

“Hell no. I just wanted to bang the keys again for old times’ sake.”

“But don’t you have some advice to o!er? Words of wisdom?”

I prop my head on my hand. “Stock tips, perhaps? There must be something you’d like to say to him.”

“I doubt he’d listen.”

“Then tell me instead.”

He straightens up with wry gravitas—about to make a joke, it seems, at the expense of his younger self—when a heavier notion takes hold instead. He falters for a moment before he finally says it. “Don’t worry about him while he’s on this dig. He’s not doing anything wrong.”

“Wrong?”

“I mean, he’s not misbehaving. That’s all.” He reaches for his shirt on the floor, trying to be nonchalant. But then our eyes catch.

“All right,” he says. “There’s a colleague—a woman working with him at the site. Pottery expert. They’ll flirt and have some laughs together, but that’ll be the beginning and end of it. Nothing is going to happen. No big deal. Ok?”

“Ok,” I reply, drawing it out with a light twist. “If you say so. After all, I guess it pales in comparison, doesn’t it?”

He stops with his arm in a sleeve. “In comparison to what?”

“This. I’ve just cheated on him, haven’t I?” I ru#e my hair and let the sheet slip down a bit. “And with good reason. Some things improve with age.”

He eases back and adjusts his shirt like a stunt driver checking his seatbelt. I seem to be a dangerous temptation now. A hazard in time.

“You still haven’t told me how it happened,” I say. “All I know is that it was Halloween night.”

“Sort of,” he says, fastening his buttons.

“Oh, dear. Suddenly you’re evasive. A while ago you were babbling away about a windstorm and guising—sorry, trick- ortreating—with our daughter. Tessa. I must have chosen that name. After my gran. And our son, what do we call him?”

He inhales. “Can we change the subject?”

“Why?”

“I’ve already told you too much.”

“What di!erence does it make if you tell me our son’s name?

You’ve already warned me about your pottery expert and her clay jugs, or whatever it is that you find so attractive. But really, Aaron. You can’t start that kind of thing and just stop.”

“I told you about Siobhan because it’s worth the risk. Now will you drop it, please?”

“Worth what risk?”

He holds up a hand. “Can you just trust me on this? I have to be careful. I don’t know how it all works. What kind of damage I might do. What damage I’ve already done.”

I roll onto my back. “Well, unless you murdered someone or robbed a bank on your way here, I don’t think you have much to worry about. The only di!erence is what you’ve told me. We’ll have a daughter and a son. Our daughter will break a lamp. We’ll have the flat repainted, presumably after we manage to buy it. Oh, goodness, think of the disruption, the great rip in the fabric of the space- time.”

Wrong thing to say. He crouches down and ties his shoelaces. What happened to his gleeful nihilism? His urge for existential mischief? All those late- night rhapsodies about geological time scales and the insignificance of the human race? He’s taking the wrong track. He’s confusing the score with the music, the treble with the bass, the right hand with the left. As if one thing causes the other. Oh, Aaron. That’s not how it goes. Let’s sequence the motif. Let’s try a di!erent key. Let’s improvise.

“Are you going to tell her?” I ask.

“You mean—”

“Me. Her. The future Violet.”

“I guess I won’t need to. She’ll already know because . . .” He pauses to untangle the pronouns, the past and present selves.

“ . . . well, you’re her. Or you’re going to be her.”

“Don’t be so sure.”

He gives me an indulgent smile. “You planning on a severe case of amnesia between now and then?”

“I’m just saying we could be di!erent people. In fact, I’m quite certain of it.”

“And why is that?”

“Dad took us guising every Halloween when I was a girl, and it’s exactly the kind of thing I’d want for our children. I don’t know who that older woman is, but she’s not me. Don’t you get it? This isn’t just a di!erent time, Aaron. It’s a di!erent place as well.”

He opens his mouth to reply, but seems to lose track of the thought, his expression lifting free of its moorings as a pulse of sunlight comes into the room, bringing a higher voltage, a renewed circuitry to every surface and texture.

“A separate reality,” he says. “A parallel universe. Which would mean that whatever happens here . . .” He shifts his gaze back to me.

I flick my eyebrows at him and stretch out with a feline extravagance.

He comes over for what he probably tells himself is just a kiss, but then his face is buried in my hair and I’m working his shirt on again. He grips me with an almost helpless greed. I have to reach back and brace myself against the headboard, working into the
pleasure until we’re breathing together, his hands cupping my face as if he’s afraid of losing it, his body sliding down afterward, his forehead pressed to the space between my breasts. I feel him trembling.

Then something seizes him, and he shoves away. A fracture between us like shattered glass.

He dresses brusquely, giving his lapels a hard tug. “I need tools,” he says.

I run the words over, thinking I must have I misheard.

“A hammer,” he adds. “Or at least a screwdriver. Otherwise I can’t go back.”

“Well, you know where they are,” I manage to say. “Or were. I guess we might move them to a di!erent cupboard by 2006.”

I wait for more—an explanation, a response of some kind—but he finishes dressing in silence, his mouth clamped shut. And a terrible stillness comes into me. Something is wrong. Not now.

Then. In the future.

“What is it?” I ask, my voice falling to a whisper. “What’s happening to us?”

He leaves the bedroom without replying. I hear the creaking hinges of the cupboard. The rattle of the toolbox. The lid’s metallic thud. There’s a rustling, a scraping inside the closet itself. What could he possibly be doing? And then the sounds of him repacking everything slowly, with that special care of his.

No. I won’t let it end this way. I’ll bring him back. The other Violet and I can share him. What’s mine is hers, what’s hers is mine. Yes, that’s the key. It’s how everything falls into place. The sharps, the flats, the accidentals. The intervals and chords. The perfect fifth. As he walks down the hallway his footsteps become the rhythm, my heartbeat the time. The door shuts behind him with a click like a metronome. I can play it now. And it goes like this.

 

#CoverReveal: MIDTOWN HUCKSTER by Leopold Borstinski @borstinski @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs #MidtownHuckster

Good morning and welcome to a fantastic cover reveal!!!

Today, thanks to the amazing Emma Welton, I am delighted to take part in the cover reveal for Midtown Huckster, the new novel by Leopold Borstinski, which will be published by Sobriety Press on 16th July 2020.

What is Midtown Huckster about?

Can you keep your gelt and freedom when the cops have enough evidence to take you down? 

1930s Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen runs Murder Inc for Lucky Luciano. After the death of Prohibition he must find a new way to make money, just as the cops are baying at his heels. When Luciano goes down for racketeering, Alex loses his protection and is arrested for tax evasion-he must decide between saving his skin and ratting out his friends.

If he chooses prison time then his gang will fall apart and he will end up with nothing. If he squeals then he will have to flee the city he loves and the family he once adored. What would you do in a world where nobody can be trusted and you have everything to lose?

The third book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical noir novel, which plunges you deep into the early days of narcotics trafficking and the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction delivers a fix to every reader like heroin from a needle.

Pre-order Links

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2xImJvr

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3cAyjHY

 

Who is Leopold Borstinski?

BorstinskiLeopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski @borstinski

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

Website: https://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/borstinski/

 

And now it’s time to see the cover…

 

3 Midtown Huckster High Res 1930

 

What do you think? Do you like it?

A huge thank you to Emma Welton for inviting me to join the cover reveal.

 

dpbt 2

 

 

 

 

#BlogTour: I AM DUST by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

I Am Dust JacketPublication: 16th April – 2020 – Orenda Books

When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.
And Chloe has been watching…

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I am delighted to welcome you on my stop on the blog tour for I Am Dust, the suspenseful new novel by Louise Beech.

Let me start my review by admitting ashamedly that this is the first novel by Louise Beech. Reading the reviews of other bloggers, it seems that I am very late to the party, but I am planning to catch up quickly, especially after reading this latest gripping novel. Seriously, I was completely blown away by this novel. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. It reminded me a bit of The Phantom of the Opera and I loved the dark and claustrophobic atmosphere, the setting of the theatre where most of the story takes place, and the author’s writing style is captivating.

I Am Dust in narrated through two timelines. In 2005, three teenagers attend the local theatre class and play with magic, death, and a Ouija board to call spirits. In the present, one of them is working as an usher in the local theatre. The announcement that a play is going to be back on stage after twenty years brings back to light memories of the past and an unsolved murder.

The author did an amazing job mixing teenage drama and jealousies with ghosts, witches, and cursed plays. You will find yourself immersed in this haunting and gothic mystery with supernatural elements that will take you by surprise, that will give you goose-bumps and keep you on the edge of your seat as you read. Even though sometimes I didn’t like the characters and I found them annoying, they are well-crafted and they fit perfectly with the story.

If, like me, you haven’t read any novels by Louise Beech, I think that I Am Dust is the perfect book to start discovering this author because it will leave you wanting for more. Highly recommended!!!

A huge thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of the book and inviting me to join the blog tour.

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Follow the rest of the blog tour:

I Am Dust BT Poster

Louise Beech Author picRecalling the theatre noir of Ngaio Marsh with supernatural elements and a modern spin, this is a bewitching, beguiling and
dark psychological thriller from the critically acclaimed author of The Lion Tamer Who Lost and Call Me Star Girl.
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The
Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her
husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

#BookReview: WHERE WE BELONG by Anstey Harris @Anstey_Harris @simonschusterUK @jessbarratt88 @BookMinxSJV @TeamBATC

Where We BelongPublication: 14th May 2020 – Simon & Schuster UK

One summer.
One house.
One family learning to love again.

Cate Morris and her son, Leo, are homeless, adrift. They’ve packed up the boxes from their London home, said goodbye to friends and colleagues, and now they are on their way to Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World – to stay just for the summer. Cate doesn’t want to be there, in Richard’s family home without Richard to guide her any more. And she knows for sure that Araminta, the retainer of the collection of dusty objects and stuffed animals, has taken against them. But they have nowhere else to go. They have to make the best of it.

But Richard hasn’t told Cate the truth about his family’s history. And something about the house starts to work its way under her skin.
Can she really walk away, once she knows the truth?

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Prepare the tissues and settle down because Anstey Harris’s new novel is AMAZING!!! Last year, I LOVED her novel The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton so I was delighted when I got my hands on her new book, Where We Belong, thanks to the amazing Sara-Jade and Simon & Schuster. It’s a beautiful and moving story and it got me out of the reading slump I got in during the lockdown.

Where We Belong 2The protagonist of the novel is Cate. She met Richard at university and it was love at first sight. They got married and they had a son, but Richard’s illness took him away and now Cate, jobless and homeless, has no choice but to move into Richard’s family home, at least temporarily. However, as Cate and her son Leo stay at Hatters Museum, they find out secrets about Richard’s family that they never knew.

Wow!!! This novel had me in tears quite a few times. The way the author, through Cate’s voice, describes Richard’s illness was really heartbreaking, as well as Cate’s grief over her husband’s death. There are also a few happy moments, moments that made me smile and lifted me up, especially when it came to Leo, Cate and Richard’s nineteen-year-old son, who was my favourite character in the story. Speaking of characters, they are really well-drawn. They feel realistic, with their insecurities and their flaws, and they are very likable. The more I read, the more I grew fond of them.

Addressing themes of mental health, love, and new beginnings and with a bit of family drama and secrets, Where We Belong is an engaging, inspiring, emotional, and unique story that will stay with me for a while.

Where We Belong is out next month, on May 14th, and you can already pre-order: https://amzn.to/3akiVxu

 

#BookReview: FAMILY FOR BEGINNERS by Sarah Morgan @SarahMorgan_ @HQstories

Family For BeginnersPublication: 2nd April 2020 – HQ

Who says you can’t choose your family?

When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…

The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.

And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes.

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Nothing cheers me up like a novel by Sarah Morgan. Her stories are entertaining, heart-warming, and so well-written that I always find myself completely engrossed in them and I always fall in love with the characters.

Her new novel, Family For Beginners, sees two fantastic female protagonists. Flora is a woman in her thirties with a bit of a tragic past and in search of love and family. She works as a florist (never name was more adapt) and one day she meets Jack, a widower with a teenage daughter, a seven-year old daughter, and a late wife who, according to everyone who knew her, was simply perfect. Will Flora find what she is looking for with Jack?

Izzy is Jack’s seventeen-year-old daughter. Still grieving over her mother’s death and feeling guilty over the fight they had right before her death, Izzy feels it’s her responsibility to take care of her father and to take on the role of mother to her younger sister. So, when Flora enters their lives, Izzy is ready to do everything to make sure she doesn’t stay.

I LOVED the characters. Like in all her novels, they are very likable, engaging, and well-developed. They are the kind of characters I wish they were real and they could be my friends. I liked Izzy, even when she was an annoying teenager, and I found her sister Molly so adorable and funny.

One of my favourite thing about Sarah Morgan’s novels is the settings she chooses for her stories (I am still dreaming of a Christmas in Scotland thanks to The Christmas Sisters). In Family For Beginners, the author splits the story between my all-time favourite city, New York City, and the Lake District which, thanks to the author’s beautiful descriptions, I just added to my list of places to visit.

Would I recommend this story? Of course, over and over again. I ADORE Sarah Morgan and Family For Beginners is a beautiful and captivating novel about family, friendship, love, and new beginnings.

A huge thank you to HQ and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this amazing novel.

Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/2K6EkQq

 

#BlogTour: BURIED by Lynda La Plante @LaPlanteLynda @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0

BuriedPublication: 2nd April 2020 – Zaffre

DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can’t seem to find his place in the world – until he’s drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down.

In the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes.

Jack’s search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld – a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers – and what will it cost him?

In BURIED, it’s time to meet DC Jack Warr as he digs up the deadly secrets of the past . . .

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Lynda La Plante is back and I am delighted to take part in the blog tour for her brand new fantastic novel, Buried.

A fire leads to the discovery of a body and the money from an old heist. Enter DC Jack Warr, the protagonist of this new series by Lynda La Plante. Jack Warr has recently joined the Met, after moving from Devon to London with his girlfriend Maggie. While Jack tries to figure out the truth about the case, he has his own personal problems: his adoptive father is dying and his search for his real father quickly becomes an obsession.

I really liked the characters of Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie, they are smart, engaging, and well-crafted characters. Jack has his doubts about his career in the police and his search for the truth about his birth and his past lead him to a journey of self-discovery, while she is very understanding and supporting.

The story is intriguing, twisty, and very well-plotted. There are cold cases, gangsters, and so much mystery and, if you’ve read the author’s previous novels, you will recognize some of the characters mentioned. The more I read, the more the pace increases, the more twists keep coming, the more I couldn’t put it down so that I read it in less than two days. I think that the ending was perfect and surprising and it makes me eager to see what happens next to DC Jack Warr.

A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the novel.

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Lynda La Plante Buried-29.01.20