Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Wyld Dreamers- Pamela Holmes. Part of the Urbane publications Extravaganza #Lovebooksgrouptours

In the summer of 1972, a group of friends is invited to Somerset to help photographer Seymour Stratton renovate a dilapidated cottage on Wyld Farm. Over the next year, the group come to regard the farm as offering them a place to be for the rest of their lives, to enjoy 'the good life'. But despite the commitment and camaraderie, the rural idyll collapses.

Twenty-five years later, the group is brought together again in unexpected circumstances. Can events of the past be forgotten? Or will the secrets that are revealed devastate once unbreakable friendships?  
Buy Link

Her watch says ten o’ clock when she wakes next morning, drymouthed.
‘Here Comes the Sun’ is playing at full volume and
The Beatles are right. Dim light filters through rents in the red
satin curtains making the room glow rosy-pink; how can David
Amy is washed with cheerfulness. Their high bed stands in
the middle of the room. Against the wall is a wooden chair that
reminds her of school; there’s a chest of drawers half-painted in
gold. She slips down, not from under sheets and blankets as she is
used to but a puffy eiderdown. Her bare feet hit bare floorboards.
Taking a dressing gown from the back of the door, she tip-toes
along the thread-bare carpet looking for the toilet. Stella appears
in a floor-length nightdress and disappears into a room. The
sound of splashing.
Amy sits on the toilet. The room swirls with dotted light from
the stained-glass mobile that hangs like a mushroom above her
head. On the door, a framed poster for an exhibition shows a halfnaked
man on a green bed. No carpet, no neatly stored bottle of
toilet cleaner, no toilet paper. Luckily there’s a used tissue in the
pocket of the dressing gown. She washes her hands and face in
the cracked sink. Back in bed, her cold feet wake David. Feigning
fury, he rolls over to cover her with his body. Pinning her down,
he blows kisses on her neck. She is jubilant.
18 Wyld Dreamers
Half an hour later, Julian kicks open the door and comes in
carrying mugs of tea. He is dressed in what looked like a woman’s
nightie; his hairy legs stick out from the bottom. ‘No time for all
that now,’ he says, ‘we’ve got to get going. Seymour is arriving soon
with Simon. Let’s go see the cottage. Find yourselves some boots,
it’ll be damp.’
Cutting through a gap in the hedge into a field of chest-high
nettles and hummocky grass they find it, a dilapidated two-up
two-down stone building with a brick lean-to on one side. Slates
are missing from the roof and parts of the building’s exterior reveal
what looks like straw and mud walls.
‘Someone lived here until about just before Seymour bought the
place,’ said Julian, water pooling around his boots. ‘Pipe cracked
last winter, that’s why it’s soggy here below the window.’
He shoves his shoulder against the front door. The wood resists
briefly, then gives way. They dip their heads to step inside. A steep
wooden staircase leads up from the hall. There is a sitting room
with a fireplace and beyond it, another smaller room with a set
of backstairs. The ceilings in both rooms are bowed, the walls
streaked with dirt. There’s a lean-to kitchen and bathroom. Mould
grows on the walls. It smells damp.
Julian nods as Amy starts up the stairs. ‘Yes, have a look. Stairs
and floors are safe, that’s been checked.’
‘Needs just a little bit of attention,’ she hears David and Julian
None of three rooms upstairs are large. The middle one has
windows on both sides. How pretty it once might have looked. She
wonders who might have slept here. Was a baby been born, had
someone died, perhaps? Would the ghosts fade once it was painted?
Brushing away cobwebs, she works at a window latch. She can
see the farmhouse where she slept last night. Built from stone,
Wyld Dreamers 19
the square building has windows on either side of the grand front
door, a grey-slate roof and big chimneys. Hard to believe that
she, Amy Taylor, is staying in such a place. She brushes away the
thought that she lied to her parents to be here.
In the cottage garden, Stella is sitting on a branch of a tree. Her
long dress spreads around her like a sail. The girl could be model
from the magazines that Amy sometimes flicks through in the
newsagents. She exudes an untouchable air of exotica even in the
way she breathes. Amy feels a flash of envy: why can’t Stella wear
trousers and an anorak like she does? Amy chastises herself for
being small-minded. Stella simply suits the surroundings better
than she does.
In the single room at the far end of the cottage, there’s a set
of wooden stairs to the room below. Picking up a brown curl of
newspaper from the floor, she sees a story about ‘a Country Show
in 1959’. She waves it at David.
He is craning his neck to look up the chimney trying to look
as though he knows what he’s doing or what he’s looking for. She
touches his shoulder. He turns and taking her in his arms, rests his
chin on her head. ‘Amazing place, eh?’
‘Seymour talks about doing the place up. Though who’d want to
live in this dump, I can’t imagine,’ Julian jokes.
‘It could be made lovely, surely?’ She looks around.
‘For spiders perhaps. Want some?’ Julian offers her a joint.
She shakes her head and wanders outside. Someone had once
tended the garden here for there are the remains of a broken
path and rose bushes and a plant she recalls her father called
‘a butterfly bush’. How pleased he would be to know that she
remembers something he taught her. She tugs a plant she thinks
is a weed.
Stella brushes past. Barely glancing at Amy, she murmurs; ‘I can
20 Wyld Dreamers
hear a car coming up the drive. It’s probably Seymour. Tell Julian
I’ve gone to meet him.’
Amy goes back into the cottage. The boys are larking about in
the kitchen. ‘I think your father’s arrived, Julian. Stella says she’s
gone over to meet him.’
‘Right-o. Okay you two, prepare to meet Seymour Stratton.’
On the drive is a white Jaguar car. A man is reaching into the
boot and pulls two bottles of wine. It’s Simon Webster, a university
friend of Julian and David’s whom Amy once met on an anti-war
march in London. He has those angelic boyish looks that won’t
change much with age, fair hair and a shy smile. But it’s the leatherjacketed
man in his late forties whose she’s more interested in. This
must be Seymour, Julian’s father. Wild curls and a pointed nose, his
heeled boots make him only an inch or two taller than Stella. The
woman stands next to him shaking her hair like a starlet preparing
for the camera. A delicious wave of schadenfreude. Stella reveals
overly-large teeth when she smiles.
Amy and David follow Julian.
‘Julian, my boy, how are you doing?’ Father and son grasp arms.
‘So these are the friends you’ve been telling me about.’
‘Hallo Seymour, meet David Bond. He and I were on the same
degree course.’
It is an accurate statement. Whether they will both graduate is
not certain. David would be content with a second class degree
but Julian, who spent much of the summer term away due to poor
health, isn’t confident he will pass. No one is quite sure why he was
away so much. They sense it is a subject he prefers not to discuss.
Seymour and David shake hands. ‘And this is David’s girlfriend,
Amy Taylor.’
‘Hallo Mr Stratton, pleased to meet you. Thank you for inviting us to stay here with Julian
. You have a beautiful place.’
Wyld Dreamers 21
‘Hallo. Like it, do you, Amy?’ Seymour’s gaze seems to pin her
to the spot. ‘It’s a bit tatty round the edges but yes, a certain charm.
Julian, can you take the camera from the car? And the bag of food
on the back seat of the car. Would you mind bringing it in, David?
Simon, those bottles must go straight into the freezer. Mrs Morle
looking after the place alright, Julian? And how is our feisty Lynn
these days?’
He leads them into the house, calling for Pilot; asks someone to
lay the table, to fetch glasses, to put music on. A Little Feat album
plays while foods she has never seen or tasted before are spread
across the table. Smoked salmon, the thinnest slivers of meat,
olives fat with anchovies, roasted peppers sprinkled with herbs,
a smoky green dip pungent with garlic. They rip pieces of breads
from baguettes, the drink makes her tongue sing.
As they eat, Seymour tells them what he’s been up. People he
has photographed that week, names she has seen mentioned in
newspapers, exotic and eccentric people of note. He tells a story
against himself, a gaff he made with someone famous and it’s very
funny. It all sounds unreal, too strange for her to envisage, the
opposite of the life she has shared with her parents where routine
prevails; jobs and homework and meals and washing up. The
wisps of her hangover disappear.
‘Let’s have a toast,’ Seymour says. ‘To the summer. To you
all.’ He pushes back his chair and stretches out his arms in a
magnanimous gesture. ‘Have you had a look around the place
yet? What do you think of my escape to the country? I’m thinking
of an artist’s retreat, somewhere laid back and cool where people
can rejuvenate the creative juices and have fun. Just needs a few
improvements, here and there, and I’m thinking that Julian could
run the place, perhaps. That’s all in the future. We’re just glad
you’re here now to help us get our little dream going.’
22 Wyld Dreamers
Amy is a bit drunk. A song floats round her head, Dusty
Springfield’s ‘I Only Want to Be with You’. She is sure it will be
somewhere in the snake of vinyl in the sitting room. What if the
boys scoff at her choice?
She puts on the record. It was playing the first time she saw
David in the Student Union bar. Her brother had invited her and
Mary, her school friend to the ‘Spring Bop’. The students, mostly
men as far as she could see, were much older than she and Mary.
They were ranged like skittles around the football table shouting
as they whacked or watched a tiny ball race up and down a table
between the legs of plastic figurines. They clasped pints of beer.
In the corner was a student with a different style. A cigarette
clamped between his teeth, one booted foot resting on a stool, the
man with long nut-brown hair, a stubble-coated chin and a Led
Zepplin t-shirt lazily strummed a guitar. She was mesmerized. A
girl with long hair parted in the middle joined him to share a joke.
Amy felt jealous. Two months later, when she had kissed the guitar
player, she was introduced to the girl. It was Maggie Bond, David’s
younger sister.
A ringing telephone brings her back to the present. No one, it
seems, plans to answer it. So Amy decides she will. Down the hall
she finds a room with a desk and on it, a heavy black telephone.
‘Hallo? This is the, ah….the Stratton family.’ She stifles a snort.
It is not her family but she answering as though it is.
‘Amy, is that you?’
Her mother sounds relieved.
‘Oh, hallo, Mum! How are you?’ Amy realises that her speech
is slurred.
Her mother says: ‘I’ve been calling on and off all morning, Amy,
but there’s been no answer. I’ve been so worried. You didn’t ring last
night to say you had arrived. Are you alright? Amy, are you there?’
Wyld Dreamers 23
‘Mum, hi, sorry, I couldn’t call last night. We got here really late.’
‘You could have called this morning though.’ No one else
listening would know her mother is hurt but Amy does.
‘Sorry, Mum, I was waiting until one o’ clock when it gets
cheaper to make calls.’
‘Amy. It’s Saturday and calls are cheap all day!’
‘Oh yeah, course. Sorry Mum. Yes, I’m fine. How are you?’
‘I can hear music. Is there a party going on?’
‘No, well, yes, just a few friends of the family have come for
lunch with Mr Stratton. Dad alright, Mum? Look, I’ll call again in
a few days and tell you how we’re getting on.’
Her mother does not reply.
In other moods, Amy might have persisted. But she wants to get
back to Dusty and the smelly cheese. ‘Mum, I said I’ll call in a few
days. Speak soon.’

The Cold Years (Sam Williams Book 3) by [Hames, Joel]

The Cold Years- Joel Hames
Sam Williams is defending Richard Fothergill against very old accusations. Sam’s old
enemy Trawden is now dead however it almost doesn’t feel like it as people are
hassling Sam and putting him in the firing line- especially DI Martin. Why is he a
suspect? Sam’s girlfriend Claire is keeping things very close to her chest and possibly
hiding something. This is written in the first person and I have to say for me took a
while to get used to. That said the descriptions are excellent without being over the
top and you know every thought and are with Sam the whole way. Sam although a
lawyer is also a gumshoe  as he wants to get to the bottom of things even though
his own name is cleared early on. Things keep happening which really shouldn’t
and he can’t help but be suspicious. This is the third instalment in the Sam Williams
I have read the second one ( No One Will Hear), some characters as you would
expect carry over  but this happily stands alone. Characters are well described
and I loved Sam’s trip to Blackpool especially and the person he met there.
A different read (in a good way) and an interesting one. One to savour and
think about and leave you with a smile.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1
Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.


About the book: When so many haven’t survived, just being alive can feel like a crime.

Everyone needs to be heard: if there’s one thing Sam Williams has learned it’s that. Which is why he finds himself defending Richard Fothergill against accusations that date back decades.

But Sam’s real problems are closer to home. His nemesis, Trawden, is finally dead, but so are those he once called friends. The people he used to count on, the ones who aren’t in the ground, aren’t what they once were, either. DI Martins is on his back again, and she’s got company. And Sam’s girlfriend Claire might be recovering from her breakdown, but she’s not telling him everything.

Life would be so much easier if Sam knew the answers. Instead, all he’s got are questions.

Who is following him, and what do they want?
What did Fothergill really do to the children he taught?
And where was Claire the day Edward Trawden was killed?

Everyone has a secret to hide, but some secrets are too close to home

About the Author:  Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire, England, with his wife and two daughters, where he works hard at looking serious and pretending to be a proper novelist.
After a varied career in London which involved City law firms, a picture frame warehouse, an investment bank and a number of market stalls (he has been known to cry out “Belgian chocolates going cheap over ‘ere” in his sleep), Joel relocated from the Big Smoke to be his own boss. As a result, he now writes what he wants, when he wants to (which by coincidence is when the rest of the family choose to let him).
Joel’s first novel, Bankers Town, was published in 2014, and The Art of Staying Dead followed in 2015. The novellas Brexecution (written and published in the space of ten days following the UK’s Brexit referendum, with half of the profits going to charity) and Victims were published in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Amazon Link:

Monday, 26 November 2018

Mavis and Dot

Mavis and Dot- Angela Perch-
Mavis and Dot meet when they are both new at the Bridge club. It isn’t long before
they decide the rest of the members are “boring old farts” and set off in search of
a tea room. Mavis tells Dot that she is working her way through activities in
alphabetical order. Bridge was next as “agoraphobics” really wouldn’t be her thing
and so belly dancing is next on the list (Mavis is subject to using malapropisms) .
This is a wonderful, uplifting humorous read. The antics that Mavis and Dot get
up to. From dancing to disco, looking after others and rummaging in charity shops.
From fish and chips to afternoon teas and a love of lapsang souchong (bleugh!!)
to being an artists model and mistaking a woman for a man.  There are more serious
threads along the way. They have had their knocks in life and now it’s time for
them to let their hair down and help others where they can and also maybe have
a little fun in the process. There are some pencil sketches also included in the
book so we get an idea of how Mavis and Dot look. If you need a tonic and a
reason to smile then this could be the very book- it certainly did both for me.
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

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FREE for a limited time! INSIDE THE WHISPERS, a tense, haunting psychological thriller (Samantha Willerby Mystery Series Book 1) by A.J. WAINES.

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The most dangerous place is inside your own head…
Dr Samantha Willerby, a specialist in Post Traumatic Stress, has never seen anything like this before. Following a fire on the London Underground, three survivors seek her help but although unmistakably traumatised, their stories don’t match the facts. Are they ‘faking it’? Sam’s confusion turns to horror when one by one, instead of recovering, they are driven to suicide.

When her lover, Conrad, begins to suffer the same terrifying flashbacks, Sam is desperate to find out what’s causing them. As a mysterious and chilling conspiracy begins to unravel the nightmares begin for Sam…

Also available in the Samantha Willerby Mystery Series:
Lost in the Lake
Perfect Bones

A J Waines is the best-selling author of multiple thrillers, including Don't You Dare and Girl on a Train. A Samantha Willerby Mystery, Inside the Whispers is a tense, haunting psychological thriller that will leave your nerves in shreds. It can easily be read as a stand-alone novel and will appeal to fans of authors like Gillian Flynn, Mark Edwards and Caroline Mitchell.

*** Please note this is a revised edition of a book by the same title previously published in 2016 ***

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Five Ladies Go Skiing by Karen Aldous-+ Giveaway **********
Five friends are “Flowers”- Fun-loving older women embracing life with a renaissance
of spirit- which is their philosophy. Ginny lost her husband Mike a year ago to cancer.
She knows he held a secret. Kim now lives in Australia with her consultant husband Will.
She longs to return to the UK and her friends but Will isn’t finished with his work yet.
Cathy is now living her dream having given up her teaching post and is now writing.
Angie is married to Rob and has a voracious appetite- not for food- much to the
surprise of her husband. Lou when packing is remembering one of her first loves whom
she has now dug up on social media. They have all met up for a skiing holiday- four of
them never having done this before- however each is holding their own secrets in one
way or another. It looks like there could be more than just skiing on the agenda.
I enjoyed this. I loved the camaraderie between the ladies. Some had tough beginnings
in life and owed others for being there when they needed them- even as children.
I felt for Ginny and her predicament and for Kim- I won’t spoil it- but being between
the devil and the deep. A story of life and loves and how friendships help the world
an easier place when sometimes all it seems to throw at us appears to want to knock
us down. A wonderful enjoyable read.

For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Five Ladies Go Skiing A delightful new novel of love and friendship from Karen Aldous… Ginny is alone now after losing her husband, so her friends (her F.L.O.W.E.R.S) decide with his first memorial imminent, learning to ski in the Swiss Alps would be a great distraction for her. What Ginny’s friends fail to add into the equation however, is their own distractions! The baggage they carry with them not only threatens their skiing but scales mountainous emotions throughout the trip. The questions then are…can their friendships survive, and can Ginny ever trust enough to love again? Purchase Links on Amazon worldwide Five Ladies Go Skiing on ibooks Five Ladies Go Skiing on Kobo Five Ladies Go Skiing on NOOK

Author Bio – Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine! Much of Karen's inspiration comes from her travels and meeting people. The UK, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and parts of the USA and Asia are just some you will experience in her books to date. However, wherever she goes, new characters emerge in 'Karen's World' screaming at her to tell their stories; past or present. She loves to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives - but struggle to control them! And, of course there's always a gorgeous hunk or two! See more... Social Media Links – Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Giveaway – Win 5 x Paperback copies of Five Ladies Go Skiing (UK Only) *Terms and Conditions –Please note prize will be distributed once the paperback is available (published 13th December). UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. a Rafflecopter giveaway OR if you don’t like html or are on WordPress

Wednesday, 21 November 2018


The Enigma- Stewart Giles-Crime
When a boat arrives at the local harbour with a gaping hole in one side, the harbour-master
goes to its assistance. What he didn’t bargain for was a dead body at the helm. When
 DC Harriet Taylor and her team arrive they find an even more gruesome discovery.
Another boat is found shortly afterwards in a different harbour and the two incidents
appear to be linked. What is going on and why have the bodies been operated on?
This is only my second read of a Stewart Giles book  (the first being The Beekeeper)
so I was not familiar with the characters (I understand that they have appeared in
different books). I was not disappointed. I found this an easy read, nothing too gory
and an excellent plot which kept me turning. I took to the characters quickly and
particularly liked both Harriet and Jason. A book that you get into quickly and easily
to me makes for a relaxing read. Enough to keep the grey matter active but not too
much that it becomes a chore. Short, snappy chapters keep the pace flowing and
I wanted to keep turning as this is quite the ingenious plot.
Will I be reading more from this author- you bet!
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

THE DOLL COLLECTOR by Joanna Stephen-Ward - Emma
OMG.A crime book with a difference. The synopsis reads as a crime/thriller with rather
more, and boy  this is so much more. Maurice lives in a flat. Years beforehand his
mother nursed the owner who left the flat to Maurice and his mother so that they
would not have any financial worries. Enter Ian and his father- the son and grandson
of the original owner. They are estate agents and actually having to work for a living
- something they never did when times were good. They have flash cars, several
properties and are now having to tighten their belts. They contrive against Maurice
and find an old copy of the will so that Maurice still rents the flat rather than own it-
and they want him out before he causes any issues. Maurice himself isn’t the best
of workers and has an aversion to cleaning- both himself and the flat. One day when
strapped for the rent he decides to rent out his spare room. Enter Gloria and her
doll collection. Gloria lives in a world of her own and cleans and cleans and cleans
. She is critical of almost everyone.  She decides that she and Maurice should move
into the same room and get engaged- all without Maurice having a say in all of this.
Gloria has a past and this is where the dolls come in to it. Gloria is rather a scary
character to say the least. I felt for Maurice as he really was naive and innocent
in what he did. Oh boy! A clever plot. I won’t spoil anything other than to say
“revenge is a dish best served cold” Loved this!
For more reviews please see my blog
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Book Blurb:
Murders that look like accidents. An accident that looks like murder.
A couple and their young son burn to death in a house fire.
A girl dies from a nut allergy.
A woman falls under a train during the rush hour.
An accountant falls down the steps to his basement.
Their deaths appear to be accidents but Gloria knows they were murdered because she murdered them. And every time Gloria kills she buys a doll.
But how many dolls will she need to keep her satisfied?
When Gloria takes a room as a lodger her behaviour starts to spin out of control. Gloria wants love and happiness and friendship and she will do anything she can to get what she wants...

About Joanna Stephen-Ward:
Joanna Stephen-Ward was born in the Australian outback, and grew up in Melbourne. Her school days were spent dreaming about being an opera singer or a writer. To the exasperation of her parents and teachers she spent her final year sitting at the back of the classroom writing a novel set in WW2.
When she left school she went to an opera school where she was taught drama, movement and language pronunciation and had small roles in the workshop productions. She was not good enough to become a professional opera singer, but the seeds of her novel Vissi d'arte were sown.
She left Australia and spent a year travelling around Europe and the UK. While working in outpatients for the NHS she met Peter and they married in 1985. They lived in Richmond Surrey and she worked at The National Archives, an enthralling place for anyone interested in history or crime.
Having been brought up as a lonely only child, she was astonished to discover in 2010 that she was one of eight children. She and her sister had last been together on a verandah in the outback when they were babies. They had a joyous reunion in Cornwall in 2012.
Joanna has written seven novels and is working on her eighth.


The Note

The Note- Andrew Barrett- 5* A short story written in the first person by CSI Eddie Collins. Eddie is the sort of bloke who calls a s...