Thursday, 26 November 2015

Author Interview: Alex Blackmore

Today it's my pleasure to welcome author Alex Blackmore to the blog for the latest stop on the Killing Eva blog tour.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel Killing Eva?
Eva is a character from my first book (Lethal Profit). Her brother was murdered by forces unknown - and then she starts getting phone calls apparently from him. In this book she becomes something of a science experiment and is challenged by people she thought she knew, and by some pretty brutal strangers, to retain her sanity and to live. 

Which character did you have the most fun creating? 
Leon. He's such a brooding Frenchman and I love those. But he's also quite a complex character with some unexpected sides to him and we don't really know who he is yet. Some of my friends who read Lethal Profit have a huge crush on him. He wasn't really written as a love interest, more a foil. But there's definitely something that connects him and Eva so who knows where it will go. 

How much research did you have to do to enable you to write Killing Eva?
The book is a 'what if' scenario so although it didn't have to be accurate to something that already existed, it needed to be grounded in enough fact to be believable and also to be plausible. So I researched economies, corporates and financial systems and the way they work, as well as what you can do to someone's brain to cause them to see things as you want them to see things and the meeting point between human biology and technology. I also had to go and party in Berlin, which was a terrible hardship. 

Can you describe Killing Eva in one sentence? 
A brutal loss of control

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Emma's Guest Review: Harriet Evans - A Winterfold Christmas

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Winterfold has always sprung to life at Christmas - the purple wisteria might be a distant memory, but in the crisp air of December, the glow of candles at the window and the warmth of the kitchen offer you a warm welcome.

As Martha Winter's family fill the empty rooms with their laughter and cheer, the ghosts of the past are pushed into the shadows.

Welcome to Winterfold. And the healing magic of Christmas.

Amazon link: Kindle

Guest Post: Eating Your Way Through NYC Christmas by Lynn Marie Hulsman

Today it's my stop on Lynn Marie Hulsman's A Miracle at Macy's blog tour with a tantalising post by Lynn Marie of some of her favourite eateries in New York City.

There may be no place on earth as magical as New York City at Christmastime. The infectious cheer of the crowds on the street, the world-famous, twinkling window decorations, and the aroma of warm chocolate, roast meats, and baking bread emanating from the eateries infuse us with hope and expectation. 

As much a foodie’s delight as a holiday-maker’s dream destination, Manhattan serves up sustenance and delight in the form of food and beverages to suit any tuckered-out traveler’s tastebuds. Whether you’re looking for a quick, thrifty snack to fuel you as you shop iconic department stores such as Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s, and of course Macy’s, or you seek a luxury, once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, this Holiday Eats list will point you in the right direction. 

I’m counting down from Number 10…

Happy holidays, and bon app├ętit from me to you! x

10. Jean Georges Trump Tower Hotel, Central Park West*

This New French eatery, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Central Park is clean, sleek, and sophisticated but surprisingly welcoming. In the Trump Hotel, with the golden statue of the earth out front, Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves up what many consider to be the pinnacle of New York top-shelf cuisine. Open Christmas Day, you can dine for a mere $238 for a prix fixe meal. It sounds outrageous, but I promise you it will rank among your “Top Ten” restaurant experiences, ever. Period. 

Insider Tip: Stroll Central Park afterward, and hop a horse-and-carriage if you’re so inclined. 

9. Christmas Eve Virgil’s Real Barbeque West 44th Street, Times Square

Centrally located if you want to check out Times Square of if you have Broadway tickets for one of the shows that runs on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, Virgil’s is an ideal spot to pack in a satisfying winter meal. Real falling-off-the-bone Southern barbeque is served alongside Maryland crab cakes, spicy shrimp, beer-battered onion rings, pickled beets, and collard greens. And… they have killer cocktails. On second thought, you might want to schedule a nap after eating here. What’s the point of spending a mint on a show ticket if you’ll be snoring by the second act?

Inside & Outside @ Virgil's BBQ 

8. Nuts 4 Nuts, Carts Ubiquitous around Manhattan* 

If you haven’t tasted these morsels from heaven yet, maybe you’d better steer clear. They. Are. Addictive. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, and coconut chunks are coated with some kind of sugary glaze that must contain crack, and roasted under heat lamps. The goodies are sold in waxed paper bags, and don’t fool yourself into thinking you might eat a few and put the rest in your bag. One taste and your hooked. 

7. The Russian Tea Room, 57th Street, Midtown*

This uptown establishment is offering a four-course prix fixe on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, loaded with Russian favorites: borscht, whole roasted, deboned pig, and chicken Kiev. Finish the meal with the Tea Room’s famous blintzes or the over-the-top Czar’s gold-and-caviar parfait made with 24-karat edible gold. If you haven’t seen this place in old movies, you’ve surely seen it in Sex and the City when Carrie was dating the Russian. 

 The Russian Tea Room
Bear Lounge @ The Russian Tea Room NYC

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

A Night in with Audrey Hepburn as part of the BFI Love Festival

This weekend saw me heading back to London for an event with a difference, a movie night at Harper Collins HQ to watch Breakfast at Tiffany's in conjunction with the BFI Love Festival and to tie in with the publication of A Night in with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday.

On arrival we were greeted by the lovely Kate Bradley from Harper Collins and Charlotte Ledger from Harper Impulse before being plied with a never-ending glass of Prosecco as it seemed to be forever topped up ;-)

Before the film started, Kate talked to Lucy about her book A Night in with Audrey Hepburn who also gave us a little taster as to what we can expect in A Night in with Marilyn Monroe which is published on 3rd December.

Books Read: Darcie Boleyn - Wish Upon a Christmas Cake

The most wonderful time of the year?

Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!

If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Carl…

But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam – and his two adorable children – to turn up on her doorstep. She didn’t think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?

Amazon link: Kindle

Monday, 23 November 2015

Extract from The Silent Dead by Claire McGowan & preview of A Savage Hunter

Today I'm kicking off the blog tour for Claire McGowan's latest book The Silent Dead that features forensic psychologist Paula Maguire.  I've been looking forward to reading this next installment in the series but despite having a copy on my Kindle I haven't had a chance to read it yet as life has been a little hectic recently but I am hoping to read and review it soon. 

Victim: Male. Mid-thirties. 5'7".
Cause of death: Hanging. Initial impression - murder.
ID: Mickey Doyle. Suspected terrorist and member of the Mayday Five.

The officers at the crime scene know exactly who the victim is.

Doyle was one of five suspected bombers who caused the deaths of sixteen people.

The remaining four are also missing and when a second body is found, decapitated, it's clear they are being killed by the same methods their victims suffered.

Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire is assigned the case but she is up against the clock - both personally and professionally.

With moral boundaries blurred between victim and perpetrator, will be Paula be able to find those responsible? After all, even killers deserve justice, don't they?

Thanks to the lovely Katie at Headline, I am able to share with you an extract from Chapter One to whet your appetite.

The car park near the forest was full of police cars and vans. Paula was beginning to realise her bridesmaid’s dress was not the most practical of garments for a crime scene. No matter. She wasn’t going to miss this.

She parked and staggered up to the police cordon on the path leading into the forest. DC Gerard Monaghan, an ambitious Catholic recruit in his twenties, was on his mobile nearby, and burst out laughing when he saw her. ‘Jesus, Maguire. Are you lost on your way to a formal?’

She was panting already, slick with sweat under the man-made fibres. ‘You found something.’

‘A walker phoned in a body in the trees. Some local uniform was first on scene.’

‘And how did we get in on it, if he’s dead?’ They were walking, so she tried to tuck up the hem of her dress.

 ‘Well, Corry and Brooking are on bestest terms right now.’

‘Hmm.’ Paula wasn’t sure how she felt about this rapprochement between DCI Helen Corry, head of Serious Crime at the regular PSNI in the area, and DI Guy Brooking, their boss at the missing persons unit, seconded in from London. At first the two had thoroughly trampled on each other’s toes, but lately Corry had been nice as pie about sharing jurisdiction. Paula wasn’t sure why.

But none of that mattered right now. ‘Is it definitely one of the Five? Which one?’

‘I doubt they can tell.’ He was leading her to the cordon and nodding to the uniformed officer at the tape. ‘Here’s Cinderella, late for the ball.’ She glared at him and he laughed. ‘She’s with us, pal. Dr Maguire, forensic psychologist.’

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Emma's Guest Review: Ella Harper - The Years of Loving You

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call best friend Ed in a crisis?

Ed. The very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in very different directions. They could only ever be friends.

Suddenly Molly starts to question every decision she’s ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? Back to the very beginning. When the only certainty they shared was each other …

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback