Brief blogs for busy bees

Tag: blog tour

Blog tour: Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Blog tour: Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Fallen Angel blog tour. This is the first Chris Brookmyre novel I’ve ever read, but as soon as Caolinn invited me to take part I knew I had to say yes – she described Fallen Angel in […]

Blog tour: Trapped by Nick Louth

Blog tour: Trapped by Nick Louth

Hi there! Last week I took part in the blog blitz for Vivian Conroy’s A Testament to Murder and I told you that I had another exciting Canelo blog tour coming up, and today’s the day. As always, I’m going to give you a bit […]

Blog tour: The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Blog tour: The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Hello, and welcome to my stop on The Lost Man blog tour. I’ve taken part in the blog tours for both The Dry and Force of Nature, so I jumped at the chance to read and review another of Jane Harper’s novels.

My excitement grew when I learnt that this book was a standalone and not another Aaron Falk novel. Even though I absolutely love his character, I couldn’t wait to see how Harper’s writing changed with a completely new cast of characters.

I wasn’t disappointed.

If you don’t know what The Lost Man is about, check out the synopsis below, then keep reading to hear my spoiler-free thoughts on Harper’s third novel:

Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper.

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

Dark, suspenseful and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is the highly anticipated next book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature.

As well as being Harper’s third novel, The Lost Man is the third of her books that I’ve given five stars to. It’s safe to say that she’s cemented herself as one of my favourite mystery authors, keeping me on the edge of my seat and making me consistently unable to predict the outcome to her stories.

At its core, The Lost Man is a tale about coping with adversity. Of course, the characters are all learning to cope with their grief at losing Cam, but as we learn more about each of their back stories it becomes apparent that nearly every member of this family has had a tough time of it.

Nathan has been an outcast – almost completely on his own in the outback – for a decade after making a decision which still haunts him. Liz, their mother, dealt with her abusive husband until his death, but each day she’s forced to confront the lasting impact of his actions. Then there’s Ilse, Cam’s wife, who’s adjusting to life without her husband while rapidly discovering he might not have been the man she thought he was…

The most impressive thing about The Lost Man is how few characters there are. It’s pretty obvious that Cam’s death wasn’t a straight-up suicide: I don’t think there’d be as much of a story here if that was the case, so I’m not counting that as a spoiler! But even though the action solely takes place on Cam’s farm, making the narrative stiflingly intimate, I still gasped with shock when Harper revealed exactly who was involved in his death.

It takes a special kind of writer to pull the wool over my eyes, because I’m notorious for seeing twists coming from a mile away, so I’m impressed that Harper has managed to do it not once, but three times. I’m already highly anticipating her fourth novel, and I’m looking forward to discovering whether she’s going to write another standalone or whether she’s going to catch up with her old friend Aaron Falk again.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to both Grace Vincent and Caolinn Douglas from Little, Brown, who are tireless supporters of Jane Harper and have put in a huge amount of work to run this blog tour. If you’ve got the time, you should check out the Little, Brown Twitter page to read some more of the posts on this blog tour – there are some brilliant bloggers involved, and I’m honoured to be one of them.

Alyce

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Blog tour: Where The Truth Lies by M.J. Lee

Blog tour: Where The Truth Lies by M.J. Lee

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Where The Truth Lies blog tour. I’ve teamed up with Canelo quite a few times this year, and I’m glad I was invited to participate in the blog tour for this book, because it’s a corker. It’s the first […]

Blogtober Day 10: Blog tour: Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Blogtober Day 10: Blog tour: Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Hi there! Welcome to my stop on the Jackson Saves an Owl blog tour. I’d like to say a big thank you to Faye Rogers, for allowing me to get involved in the blog tour for this charming picture book. Zophia loves owls, so as soon as […]

Blogtober Day 4: Blog tour: Beardies’ World by Joyce Ives

Blogtober Day 4: Blog tour: Beardies’ World by Joyce Ives

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Beardies’ World blog tour. First off I’d like to say a huge thank you to Faye, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and to Joyce Ives, author of Beardies’ World, who has written a lovely guest post for me to share with you all today.

In case you haven’t heard of Beardies’ World before, I’m going to start by giving you some more information about the book, before I share some briefs thoughts about it in a spoiler-free review.

Beardies' World by Joyce Ives

If you already have a dog/dogs or are even thinking of buying one, read this book, which shows what fun and laughter we had with ours over twenty-six years, making a lot of friends along the way.

This book is Joyce Ives’ narrative to the twenty-six years she and husband John owned, cared for and loved their four Bearded Collies. The memories shared by Joyce in this book are likely to touch the heart of anyone who has had any experience of growing up and growing old with dogs. In her narrative Joyce has been able to capture beautifully how our special bond with our canine friends often becomes so significant in our life’s journey; our experiences of joy and laughter and at times our sadness and loss.

If you’re interested in learning more about Beardies’ World, click on the cover to check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

So, what did I think of Beardies’ World?

Beardies' World by Joyce Ives review header

When I first started reading Beardies’ World I found it a little disorienting, as it’s told from the perspective of the dogs rather than from Joyce herself. As I got used to the writing style I found it charming and quirky, but it did take a little while to adjust as it’s very different to any non-fiction I’ve read before.

A combination of memoir and travel guide, Beardies’ World is informative, sharing tips about the best places to visit with dogs in the UK, as well as the best walking holidays you can take with or without four-legged friends. Joyce’s descriptions bring the various British locations to life in your mind. I particularly enjoyed their trip to the Isle of Wight, somewhere I visited when I was a child – it made me remember a lot about my week away that I’d forgotten, and now I’m desperate to return.

But Joyce doesn’t only use this book to educate; it’s also highly entertaining. Stuffed full of humorous – yet often disastrous – tales, Joyce welcomes you into her family and into her home, delivering anecdotes that will remind you of the best and worst times you’ve had with your own dogs. Joyce’s Beardies seem to particularly enjoy water and mud, and I laughed out loud at multiple points (helped along by adorable illustrations and photographs, showing the dogs in their moments of mayhem). Be warned: you will shed tears at multiple points, but Joyce begins the book by describing the Rainbow Bridge with optimism and positivity, so try not to get too upset!

Reading Beardies’ World is like eating stew: it warms you from the inside out, it’s inoffensive and it’s easily digestible. I didn’t feel as though I could rate it higher than three stars because it did take me quite a while to feel comfortable with the writing style, but this is bound to appeal to other readers and I’m sure it’s going to become a fast favourite among dog lovers.

 

Now it’s time for me to pass you over to Joyce, who has some advice for those who are considering getting a four-legged friend of their own…

Ten tips to give new dog owners

  1. Breeders do not usually sell you a puppy if you work full time as it cannot be trained if left all day and he/she would be lonely. You cannot train a puppy to become clean if you are not there.
  2. A crate is good to have, large enough for a growing puppy, with washable bedding at the back (not bean bag, puppies are inclined to rip these open and all the balls fall out) and several sheets of paper at the front. A crate is ideal at night time until he/she is clean and not for keeping the puppy in all day, but helpful if you want to pop out to get some shopping and stops it getting into mischief. During the day you need to constantly take your dog out, praising it every time it functions. i.e. “Name – go and do a wee wee, Name – go and do a poo”, or whatever word you want to use. This helps if you are visiting friends and you ask your dog to function before you leave, although on a long journey it is best to make them comfortable before entering a friend’s house
  3. Find a good training school, this is usually once a week in the evening and you are expected to practice every day. Do not spend more than half an hour at a time training as the puppy will tire easily and then they will not give you their full attention. I always use titbits when they do something right, using from the amount of food when you feed them, don’t overfeed.
  4. Socialise your dog before their vaccinations. If they are not a large puppy I always took them out in a holdall zipped up with just their head out so they can see and get used to all the traffic noise. You are right up close to them to assure them. Hang the bag around your neck at your front. Once allowed down on the ground, I took my puppies to my local town on market day, making sure they got used to the air brakes on buses.
  5. Bonfire night. It seems fireworks/bangers are being set off before the 5th November. Rather than going to the vet and asking for calming pills, there is a C.D. you can buy especially for dogs. You play it at home in the evenings prior to the 5th starting the sounds low, then gradually increase the noise over a period of a few weeks so they get used to the noise.
  6. Allowing the dogs on furniture and on or in your bed is up to you, if you have guests they are not really happy sitting on dog hairs. As for the bed, if the dog picks up mites running through long grass in the summer, then you will get badly bitten and itchy and the sheets will need changing.
  7. Always remember if you allow a dog to do something just once, their mindset is they are allowed to do it all the time. It is always bad manners to feed your dog from the table, there is nothing worse than a begging drooling and dribbling dog.
  8. If you take your dog out regularly, at least three times a day, they probably will not use the garden when is an asset if you have young children there is nothing worse than poo covered shoes.
  9. Brush and clean your dog regularly checking their paws for cuts and ears especially if they flap down as they are more prone to get infection not being open to the air. If you buy a Beardie a Mason Pearson brush is best. It is expensive but should last the whole of your dog’s life. It is also good to practice opening your dog’s mouth, so when the vet needs to do it, there shouldn’t be a problem. Cleaning their teeth regularly, you will avoid the expense of your dog having an anaesthetic to have them cleaned to stop decay and bad breath.
  10. Whether you buy a pedigree dog or a mixed breed, you should consider insuring with a good pet insurance company and remember once they reach ten years old the premium greatly increases.

 

About the author:Joyce Ives

 

Ever since she was a young girl, Joyce Ives has had a soft spot in her heart for dogs. So when the time came, she decided to leave her full time job to become an owner to her very first Bearded Collie – Kizzy. After this initial decision, they soon became owners to three other beautiful Beardies – Emma, Muffin and Solei. Unfortunately, due to ill health, both Joyce and John no longer look after any dogs but Joyce will always dream of owning more. Joyce now resides in Seaford, East Sussex, and is glad to finally have had time to write her first book.

 

 

I’d like to say another huge thank you to Joyce, for writing such a heartwarming book (and a highly informative blog post for my readers!).

Have you ever owned any Beardies, or do you favour a different breed?

Alyce

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Blog tour: The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Blog tour: The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon. A debut novel widely agreed to be one of the most anticipated novels of 2018, it’s an honour to have been invited to participate – a huge thank you to Grace […]

Blog tour: The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

Blog tour: The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

I’m ridiculously excited to welcome you to my stop on The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game blog tour. I’ve never been a huge Top Gear fan but the enigma of The Stig has always fascinated me, and this novelisation seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn a […]

Blog tour: In Bloom by C.J. Skuse

Blog tour: In Bloom by C.J. Skuse

Hi there, and welcome to my stop on the In Bloom blog tour.

This post contains spoilers for Sweetpea, so please look away if you haven’t read it yet!

I only reviewed Sweetpea a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn’t resist taking part in this tour and getting to see what Rhiannon had been up to since the end of the first installment in the series.

In case you weren’t aware that Sweetpea was getting a sequel, here’s all you need to know about In Bloom:

In Bloom by C.J. Skuse

The darkly comic crime sequel to Sweetpea, following girl-next-door serial killer Rhiannon as she’s now caught between the urge to kill and her unborn baby stopping her.

If only they knew the real truth. It should be my face on those front pages. My headlines. I did those things, not him. I just want to stand on that doorstep and scream it: IT WAS ME. ME. ME. ME. ME!

Rhiannon Lewis has successfully fooled the world and framed her cheating fiancé Craig for the depraved and bloody killing spree she committed. She should be ecstatic that she’s free.

Except for one small problem. She’s pregnant with her ex-lover’s child. The ex-lover she only recently chopped up and buried in her in-laws’ garden. And as much as Rhiannon wants to continue making her way through her kill lists, a small voice inside is trying to make her stop.

But can a killer’s urges ever really be curbed?

I haven’t had the chance to finish In Bloom yet (I’m about halfway through, and so far it’s even better than the first book) but I have a brilliant extract from the book to share with you today. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s a tense one…

Sunday, 24th June – 7 weeks pregnant

KNOCK. KNOCKKNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK.

So there I was, red-handed, red-faced, naked and straddling a corpse. His body is covered in my DNA so even if I did toss him over the balcony onto several parked hatchbacks, the evidence would lead straight back to me.

KNOCK KNOCKKNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK.

“Jesus Christ police have got loud knocks. Okay okay okay okay think whatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdo?” Prison is a no no. I’ve seen Orange is the New Black. I can’t do all that lesbianing. It looks exhausting.

ANSWER THE FUCKING DOOR!

“Yeah, I guess I’m gonna have to, aren’t I?”

I fling on my dressing gown and tiptoe across to the bedroom door. The knock comes again and I jump a clear foot in the air.

For crying out loud, Mummy. This isn’t just about you now. You’ve got me to think about. Answer it and tell them you can’t speak to them now. 

“Oh yeah they’re gonna love that, aren’t they? ‘Sorry, Sarge, could you pop out for a couple of doughnuts while I dispose of this corpse I’ve been sleeping with, then do feel free to come back with your Marigolds on and have a good root around?’ It’s not gonna wash, Foetus Face.”

KNOCK KNOCK.

Right well that knocking is getting right on my tits now so just answer it. You’ll think of something.

I’ll admit, I’d have been lost if it hadn’t been for that little voice from beyond my own vagina telling me what to do. I tiptoed across the cold floor.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.

The words ‘shit’ and ‘creek’ spring to mind and there ain’t a paddle in sight. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK!”

Damn stupid to kill him here in the first place. What was I thinking? Must be the start of ‘Baby Brain’. That’s what I’m going to blame it on anyway.

Don’t you lay this shit on me.

How did I think I was going to get a six-foot Australian man-child out of my flat, along the hall, down two flights, across the car port and into my tiny car without being seen by some busy-body with a nose for cadavers? I’ve told you what to do – cut him up! Fortunately AJ wasn’t decomposing quickly – I’d drained him out over the bath before I left for the hen weekend. This slows the process down. I saw Dad do it once through a warehouse window – him and his associates, all in balaclavas.

Not just a pretty face, am I? *wink emoji*

Anyway, my heart’s pounding and my mouth’s all dry but the situation is what it is. There’s no escape. The knock echoes once more, I take in a deep lungful of air, prepare my best ‘shocked and saddened’ face and open the door of the flat.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s impossible to resist continuing a story which starts as explosively as this one. If you’d like to purchase a copy of In Bloom, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link.

About the author:C.J. Skuse

C.J. Skuse is the author of the young adult novels Pretty Bad Things, Rockoholic and Dead Romantic (Chicken House), Monster and The Deviants (Mira Ink). She was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels lectures in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. C.J. has released two adult books, Sweetpea and In Bloom (HQ/HarperCollins).

C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. She hates carnivals, hard-boiled eggs and coughing. The movies TitanicMy Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas; she just didn’t get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

If you’d like to find out more about C.J. Skuse, you can follow her on Twitter.

 

I hope you enjoyed my stop on the In Bloom blog tour. Huge thanks to Isabel from HarperCollins for reaching out and inviting me to take part. My review of In Bloom should be up towards the end of the week, so you’ll have to remember to pop back to hear my thoughts!

Alyce

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Blog tour: Love the Stationery in Your Classroom by Rebecca Palliser

Blog tour: Love the Stationery in Your Classroom by Rebecca Palliser

Welcome to the first of two blog tours which I’m taking part in today. The two titles couldn’t be much further apart – this is a book aimed at young school children, while I’m also on the blog tour for C.J. Skuse’s second adult crime […]