I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The Whisker Twitchers is a beautifully illustrated book about finding the courage to experience new adventures featuring cute rabbits. Bella worries when Grandad behaves oddly, but he keeps his secret until the next day. Bella is amazed and a little scared when faced with snow, but her curiosity makes her brave, and she finds it’s fun.
The text is simple enough for young readers to read and understand. It’s also a perfect book for adults to read and expand and share their experiences of wintry weather antics.
Writing is a relatively new part of my life. When I go to schools and am introduced as an author it is still a bit of a surprise to me!
It was the birth of my daughter (in 2016) that changed everything. I had spent many years building up my career in accountancy, accumulating business qualifications and generally working hard in that one field.
Spending time with my little girl and reading hundreds of different children’s stories really inspired me. My first book, Nana Duck, was published in 2017. It did well and I found that I enjoyed visiting schools and nurseries. There is nothing like reading your story and getting great reactions from a class full of eager little children.
Now, I’m having ideas all of the time. I’m so looking forward to bringing more stories into the world, to seeing my characters come to life through the talented illustrators that I work with, and inspiring more children in my local area and beyond.
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the giveaway link above. 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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
White Dog is a literary thriller set against the backdrop of the contemporary art world. It follows the fortunes of Ryder, a cynical art deal who aspires to the heights, yet despises the people who populate those realms.
On his way to the top, back down, and back up again, Ryder encounters a picaresque collection of characters and gets drawn into a web of intrigue that involves murder, money-laundering, and materialism. But can his new-found fame and fortune ever make up for the loss of the one thing he ever really valued in life?
White Dog will take you on a rollercoaster ride of sex, drugs, and art – of violence, blackmail, hedonism, and dark politics. Are you ready to face the wolves?
RUPERT WHEWELL was born in Buckinghamshire in 1969. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from Downing College, Cambridge, before working in advertising in Hong Kong and later as a recruitment consultant. He established his own firm, Bateman Gray – named after the respected protagonists of his two favourite novels – in London, specialising in placing bankers. A keen adventurer, Rupert loved hillwalking, climbing and skiing, counting skiing down Mont Blanc as one of his greatest triumphs.
With his fiftieth birthday looming, he joined a group setting out to climb peaks in the Nanda Devi area of India in May 2019. An avalanche brought about his early death in the Himalayas, together with the loss of his seven climbing companions. He is survived by his mother Elaine, brother Andrew and sister Lisa, having no children of his own.
White Dog is his first novel, published posthumously.
The only novel from budding author Rupert Whewell, who sadly lost his life in a tragic climbing accident in the Nanda Devi region of the Himalayas. At the time of his death, the manuscript of White Dog was left incomplete, with Rupert’s plans for the book’s ending remaining a mystery.
As a tribute to her brother and his love of words, Rupert’s sister Lisa Anson worked closely with renowned author John McDonald to complete White Dog, which allowed her to come to terms with his unexpected passing.
”This book has been a long time in the making. Rupert always loved writing and talked often about his desire to write a book. Distracted by a full life and being present with his friends and family, it remained in the background, referenced, and variously started without real progress. In his late forties, he started to put pen to paper in earnest and White Dog was born. Rupert was a very special person; not just to me – as a lifelong presence – but to his many friends. His tragic death is something I will never get over and will never forget.
I have taken on the task of finishing and publishing his book, which he left 80 percent complete. It was important to me to see his story through and share his writing. It brought me closer to Rupert, and I hope it will keep his memory alive for those that knew him and will entertain others who did not.”
A twisting tale of elemental magick and a broken ecosystem, Earthlings is the spellbinding debut from Ray Star exploring family, friendship and the intrinsic value of nature
Peridot Watkins has always lived a very sheltered life. Raised on a remote island by an over-protective mother, she has never spoken to anyone outside of her family.
Until one day, a strange boy Euan knocks on her window, mumbling about escape from captivity on the mainland and Peri quickly learns that the world isn’t safe for people like them. It isn’t safe for Elementals, those who have the power to control earth, air, fire, water and spirit.
On her quest to learn the truth, Peri escapes the island to discover that the world is worse than she could have possibly imagined. Humans are slaves, animals can talk and the world is run by unruly chickens.
Peri is thrown into a world she barely understands; caught in an ongoing battle for freedom and struggling to command her magick whilst trying to find Euan, who is entangled with people who may not be as straight forward as they seem. Peri’s abilities may be what is needed to save humanity but at what cost?
I received a copy of this book from the author via Midas PR in return for an honest review.
Earthlings is intended for the young adult fantasy age group, but it explores issues that affect everyone. There is something in this story to capture most people’s interest. It envisages an alternative world where the balance of power shifts from humanity to the animal world. Whether you are an advocate of animal welfare or not, it’s hard not to see that current practices using animals are likely to harm not just them but humans too.
Peri’s sheltered life leaves her unprepared for her exceptional skills and the real world she encounters. This story is about how she copes and the difference she can make. It’s a coming-of-age fantasy story, but its setting and the world-building gives it a dystopian ethos. The inhumanity shown to animals is reversed in this world with humans as the farmed captive creatures. The story has a serious message that is impactful because of the quality of the storytelling. Adventure, friendship, family and relationships are all explored. Magickal practices feature strongly in this story through the main protagonist and as a major plot strand giving this story an engaging vibrancy.
The characters are believably crafted and draw the reader quickly into a world that should defy belief but doesn’t.
Q&A with Ray Star – #Earthlings
When creating your story, which comes first, the characters, plot or setting? Why do you think this is?
I am going to be completely honest with you, I have no plan of action when it comes to writing. The words find their way to me when I’m in the moment, and I rarely, if ever, know what I am going to write.
The Earthlings story came to me bizarrely when I was at lunch with my mother, a few weeks after my dad’s funeral. We were seated next to a small tropical fish tank, and I remember feeling so sad for the fish that would inevitably spend their lives swimming round in circles, never experiencing freedom.
I remember vividly, turning to Mum and saying quite out of the blue, “I’m going to write a book about animals that can talk.”
She stopped eating, put her fork down and said with a smile, “Well, why not?”
“Yes,” I thought, “why not indeed?”
I looked down at my dad’s ring that I wear always, and as the green gem twinkled back at me, Peridot’s tale came to life from there.
What are the inspirations for Earthlings – The Beginning, your debut fantasy novel?
Animals and the environment were the reason behind the creation of the Earthlings trilogy. As a practising eclectic green witch, I have a deep love for the natural world, and it pains me to witness how humanity neglects our home and its inhabitants.
I wanted to write a book that had a conscience to the narrative, enabling readers to contemplate how life could be if we were no longer the dominant species on the planet.
World-building is an essential component of fantasy novels. How did you create yours?
This was surprisingly the easiest part of writing Earthlings, I looked at modern day society and without giving too much away, reversed some of the roles.
I remember thinking another writer might have a similar concept and beat me to it, itching to publish the book so I didn’t miss the opportunity to share the Earthlings tale.
Did you set out to write a book suited to the young adult market? If so, can you share why you believe they are your target audience?
I knew from the moment I wrote the first chapter that I wanted the story to revolve around teenagers, finding their inner power and trying to make positive changes for the planet. It’s a concept I believe we can all relate to.
Deep down, everyonewants to make the world a better place.
I also wanted to incorporate some of my daily practises as an eclectic witch into the novel, as an avid YA Fantasy lover, giving Peridot magick (yes – magick with a ‘k’), was too tempting to resist.
This was the only aspect of Earthlings that I debated – whether to include magick. In the end, it was my love for YA Fantasy that made it an easy decision to make.
Is this book part of a series? If so, what aspect of elemental magick and the ecosystem does the second book explore?
Earthlings includes genuine magickal practises that I use in my own rituals, from herbal lore, crystal healing and invoking the elements to following moon cycles – I wanted to include practical magick that works and that we can use in our lives today.
Earthlings is book one of a trilogy as the story has many depths that I wanted to cover, and I physically could not cram them all into one book, as much as I wanted to!
The following book in the trilogy (Dominion) is in the editing process due for release this festive period, with the final instalment (Land of hope and glory) to be released next year.
A little inside secret for your followers; I will be writing a prequel (The Changing) which will be Peridot’s mother’s story explaining how the Earthlings world came to be, and I plan to have a spin off series from this once that book is complete.
Readers can sign up to my newsletter on raystarbooks.com for more details on this to come next year!
What five words summarise your story. Can you explain why?
Earthlings is the world we live in today, reversed, and with a hearty helping of magick added to each page.
Ray Star is a Fantasy author from Essex with a passion for animal rights and eco-living. She can often be found writing, exploring nature and occasionally stargazing underneath a full moon with a tarot deck in one hand and a strong cuppa in the other.
Earthlings was conceived from a love for the environment and inspired by her father, whose passing was a catalyst in leading a greener lifestyle.
Ray’s dream is to one day open an animal sanctuary and wildlife reserve in memory of her father. Earthlings is Ray’s debut novel and the first book in the Earthlings trilogy.
Lena Farnham has it all: a job she loves, a wonderful husband, a huge house, and a baby about to arrive. She’s the happiest she’s ever been, and she can’t believe how lucky she is.
Unfortunately, Lena’s luck is about to run out.
Someone is following her, and not only that – they’re leaving frightening messages, and threatening her perfect life. Even worse? Her husband Sean doesn’t believe any of it.
When the baby finally arrives, however, Lena’s follower is the least of her worries. Everything in her life is about to change, but why? What did she do to deserve this? And what isn’t Sean telling her?
Lena embarks on a journey to uncover the lies, deceit, and betrayal from the one person she loves and trusts the most… her husband.
Even the most perfect people can have dark pasts – and even darker secrets.
This story has an addictive quality essential for psychological suspense.
Lena is an unreliable protagonist, but this only becomes clear as the story progresses. She’s easy to empathise with. Sean, the love of Lena’s life, has secrets and is unlikeable. Various other viewpoints give the reader an omnipotent view.
Some of the plot twists are easy to discern, but there are suspenseful elements in this story. The more developed characters’ motivations make this an absorbing read. There is some repetition from the many viewpoints. Less information would make the plot more edgy and intense.
This disturbing, domestic psychological suspense immerses the reader in the characters’ lives. Its implications are immense and resonate.
I read this book on Kindle Unlimited.
Q&A with Ruth O’Neill
Which comes first when you are creating your novel, characters, plot or setting? Why is this?
For me personally, I always begin with the plot I like to know where I am going before I create my characters. Although I do have a strong idea as to how my characters will be integrated into my story, I do not really develop all aspects of their personality until the story unfolds and I can tweak their character to match what is happening.
What are the inspirations for your latest book, Circle of Betrayal?
I was inspired to write this book because I wanted to write a story about characters that have domestic noir issues. I love this genre, so for me it was incredibly exciting creating a story that turns into a minefield of betrayal and deception.
How do you make your dialogue authentic?
This is one of the most difficult things for me to develop; I would say that I’ve learnt a lot from reading different authors where dialogue was a strong part of their stories. This helped me understand how to allow dialogue to develop and be interesting. Dialogue must sound like it does in real life, so I do spend considerable time reading aloud what is being said and this helps me keep the flow of conversation realistic.
Why do you write psychological suspense?
I`ve always enjoyed reading such stories before I became an author, so it seemed a natural progression to combine my personal interest to my writing. I love the challenge of trying to keep readers glued to the page and keeping them guessing. Writing about the dark truths, lies, cheating, manipulation, and heinous crimes that happen under the veneer of everyday lives, and writing a plot full of twist and turns allows me to enter the minds of readers allowing them to wonder what’s going to happen next.
Describe your latest release in five words and say why they epitomise your story.
Tense, Twisty, Domestic, Captivating & Heart-breaking. These five words, including the title of my new release, Circle of Betrayal, epitomise what my story is really about as they are all integrated into the background of my story. They become more apparent as the revealing revelations come to a climax.
Can you share what the best things about being a writer are?
I find writing very therapeutic, my first book, Sunshine and Tears, was a story I developed from my own personal experiences, and I found it extremely rewarding. After so much positive feedback about the book and with so many ideas floating around in my head it seemed natural to just develop these ideas into books. The best thing about being a writer is being able to take so many of these ideas into a different world in which readers can become totally immersed in.
Receiving positive reviews from readers who have enjoyed my books gives me a real lift and being part of the writing community is enriching. I’ve made many friends in the last six years I’ve been writing and it feels amazing when I connect with people through my writing.
What are you currently writing?
I’m working on a new psychological thriller about three sisters. It’s a dark story with dark undertones which will hopefully drag the reader in and never let them… go!
A woman lies dead in a bombed-out house. A tragic casualty of the Blitz? Or something more sinister?
Cleaner-turned-detective Stella Darnell connects a murder in Tewkesbury Abbey to a decades-old mystery in wartime London. From the number 1 bestselling author of The Detective’s Daughter.
Several neighbours heard the scream of the woman in the bombed-out house. One told the detective she thought the lady had seen a mouse. Another said it wasn’t his business what went on behind closed doors. None of them imagined that a trusting young woman was being strangled by her lover.
Beneath the vast stone arches of Tewkesbury Abbey, a man lies bleeding, close to death. He is the creator of a true-crime podcast which now will never air. He was investigating the murder of a 1940s police pathologist – had he come closer to the truth than he realised?
Stella Darnell has moved to Tewkesbury to escape from death, not to court it. But when this man dies in her arms, Stella, impelled to root out evil when she finds it, becomes determined to hunt down his killer and to bring the secrets he was searching for into the light…
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The Detective Daughter series delivers an original twist on the classic murder mystery genre. Stella, the detective’s daughter, has a cleaning business and a detective agency with an eclectic mix of employees. The main protagonists are believably eccentric and flawed. This story reads well as a standalone, but the series is addictive and engaging and worth reading in its entirety.
This dual timeline story explores a wartime murder during the London blitz and murder in Tewkesbury in 2019. The connections between the two stories are revealed in a suspenseful way and involve Stella, Jack and the other team members across London and Tewkesbury.
The recent murders are catalysed by The Death Cafe, a group that discusses death that Stella is drawn to. The story has important character development for the main protagonists in addition to the well-plotted murder mystery.
Evocative with vivid sensory imagery, the reader is drawn into a world of deceit and murder that is chilling and disturbing. The historical and contemporary are interwoven convincingly and give the story its classic murder mystery ethos.
This story’s atmospheric settings and vibrant characters elevate the simple murder mystery into something that resonates.
Q&A : Lesley Thomson
What inspired you to write about a blitz murder?
I spent first part of 2020 clearing and sorting stuff in the attic in preparation of moving. I unearthed a photocopy of a message that Jose Wahlberg, a convicted Nazi spy, wrote to my grandfather – who I never knew – the night before Wahlberg was hanged Pentonville Prison in 1940. My mum had showed me the cigarette packet on the back of which Jose Wahlberg had thanked my grandfather for his kindness. Mum would reflect on how hard it must have been for her dad , prison officer, to comfort the young man hours before his death. On the internet I found newspaper articles about Wahlberg’s capture and how the British were treating spies and, as often happens point of inspiration takes me somewhere else.
In The Distant Dead, I mention the incident in passing, I was inspired to explore 1940 London in which my mum and her family had lived. Blackouts, the deafening roar of planes, the massive thuds as bombs fell and the constant smell of burning. The murder rate went up and, with a depleted police force, fewer were solved. You could pass off a murder victim as a bombing casualty. Stuck in Lockdown, I found key similarities between 1940 and our own restricted lives. Even the slogan – We’re all in it together – was the same. This was enough for me to find a bridge to the past.
Did you undertake any research with this novel?
I read books on the Home-front including a doorstop-sized biography of Churchill by Andrew Roberts, I devoured published diaries by women living through the Blitz. Newspapers of the time were fascinating as were the propaganda films made by British Government agencies such as Fires Were Started and Britain Can Take it.’ Tewkesbury Abbey was my other inspiration and long before I started The Distant Dead, I had spent many hours there. I was sorry not to be able to visit in 2020.
Out of the entire Detective Daughter’s series, which one was your favourite to write and why?
For me, I think it’s up to the reader to have a favourite novel. Were you to have asked me this question each year, starting when Ghost Girl came out, I’d tell you the same. This novel. I relish steeping myself in the world of my story, honing my writing ability and creating new characters and ideas. I want each novel to be my best yet. Therefore, The Distant Dead is my current favourite and I loved every minute of working on it right to proof stage.
If you could have any job in the world (other than an author), what would it be and why?
I’d want something that involves long drives in a nice car, preferably a Jeep, with music playing. I used imagine being a taxi driver, but these days I’d rather be alone in the car to think or sing raucously and out of tune to, for instance Robbie Williams’s Angels or say, True along with Spandau Ballet. So if there were a job, which involves delivering Jeeps to far-flung corners of the country and back, I would apply.
What are you currently working on at the moment?
I’m writing The Companion, a standalone set in Sussex, featuring a disparate bunch of oddballs who live in a stately home converted into luxury apartments. There’s a serial killer at large – dubbed the media, The Family Man – due to the victim profile. This means that an ever watchful fear and suspicion pervades the mood of the community. Is it him, is it her? Who can you trust? As ever with my novels, I hope The Companion will offer the reader frissons of dread and unease laced with laugh out loud moments.
What can we expect to see from Stella next?
In 2023, I hope. She’s already knocking at my door with another mystery…
Lesley Thomson is the author of the Detective’s Daughter series of West London-set mysteries featuring private investigators Stella, a cleaner, and Jack, a tube driver. The first novel, The Detective’s Daughter, became an ebook phenomenon in 2013, staying at number 1 in the digital charts for 3 months. Since then, the series has gone on to sell 800,000 copies worldwide. Lesley is an active member of the UK crimewriting community, and appeared at several crime festivals in 2019, including CrimeFest, Harrogate, Morecambe & Vice and Capital Crime. She lives in Lewes with her partner and her dog
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.
This is a lovely heartwarming story set on the west coast of Ireland. It explores female relationships and the importance of living life to the full. The setting is an immense part of this story giving the women space to breathe and think. The relationship dynamics are relatable, and the author explores topical issues in an enlightened way.
Character-driven, it immerses the reader in the main protagonists’ lives, which is an emotional experience. Family drama, heartbreaking decisions and romance are interwoven into this literary puzzle, and despite the shocks and tears, it leaves you feeling uplifted.
Guest Post:The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club – Inspiration- Faith Hogan
It’s been a funny old year, I mean to quote those wonderful words, it’s been the best of times, it’s been the worst of times, certainly, it’s been an extraordinary fifteen months on this side of the pond and although I haven’t travelled to the UK since 2019 – that sounds much too long ago – this has been a year like no other in every part of the world.
Apart from the terrible tragedies that have moved each of us, even if they did not touch our lives directly, there has been such a complete upheaval of life as we’ve known it and sometimes, it feels as if we may never fully return to what went before as normal.
At the end of it all, I’ve found a much renewed love of the book that uplift my spirits. It’s been an essential part of my lockdown armoury. Losing myself in the words of favourite writers who can help me escape the worries that might otherwise have dragged me down further and let-s face it, the nightly news was as much as any of us needed to drift into the tragedies of life.
So, I’ve been reading lots of unashamedly uplifting, happy books. I think it’s helped me to see the positives of having been locked down in a way that has balanced out all the losses. And there have been many positives. While less air travel has meant travel is curbed, I’m also very aware that the environment has managed to get some much needed breathing space. It’s given us great family time – now we’re playing scrabble and regularly sitting down to watch TV programmes together that I’d never have watched otherwise. And it’s given us time to think; perhaps savouring the little things that we’d rushed about so much for before and missed out on the simple joy of them. Things like family meals, long phone calls with friends – when once a text flown off seemed to be as much as we could manage. And then, there have been so many who’ve had the opportunity to work from home and in some cases think of re-locating and maybe taking life off hold.
Yes, it’s been the best of times and the worst of times.
But the one thing I’m sure of, is that a good uplifting book is one of those things that has really come up trumps throughout, a little like scrabble and strangely, The Grand Tour – yep ,in the Hogan House we’re on a binge!
I wrote The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club the year before we’d even heard of Covid 19. I’d written it purely for the joy of telling a story that would uplift my own spirits and so far it seems to have had the same impact on readers who’ve picked it up.
It’s unashamedly feel good, gentle and ultimately heartening, you may cry at certain parts, but you will laugh much more and I hope, as you pick up the threads of Lucy, Jo and Elizabeth’s lives, you will feel you are on a journey with old friends – people you’ll root for, people you’ll be sad to say goodbye to at the end. Because, we all want a happy ending, don’t we and there’s nothing that we could want more than a happy ending for the people we love!
And, as we near the end of this extraordinary year, perhaps we’ve all learned something we hadn’t expected – happiness can be found in the most unexpected places and if we’re wise, we’ll grab it when we can. And happiness is the one thing that we can feel, no matter if we are living in the best of times or indeed, the worst of times…
So, go on, choose your own kind of happy today, jump in with the Ladies Midnight Swimming Club, I promise, you’ll feel better once you’ve dived in there….
Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
Today is publication day for The Wolf Mile by C.F.Barrington by Aries Fiction, the adventure fiction imprint of Head of Zeus Books. The first in a series of five books this promises something different for the adventure fiction market.
A forbidden contest. An international game.
Bankrolled by the world’s wealthy elite and followed by thousands online, two teams of warriors vie for dominance … and the streets of Edinburgh run with blood.
Into this secret struggle steps Tyler Maitland, seeking his lost sister, and Lana Cameron, grieving her dead child. When they are accosted by figures in black hoodies and each handed a silver amulet, they recognise the Triple Horn of Odin – the talisman of the Valhalla Horde.
They are being recruited into the great game known as The Pantheon. And one day they will change everything.
Now they must risk their lives and join the ranks of seven ancient warrior teams which inhabit this illicit world. Their journey will be more wondrous and horrifying than anything they could have dreamed, taking each of them to the depths of their souls … and testing them to breaking point as they search for loved ones and for the meaning in their lives.
I thought your readers might like to hear about my debut novel – The Wolf Mile – which is being launched by Head of Zeus adventure imprint, Aries Fiction, on 6 May (digital) and 8 August (paperback). It is the first in a five-book saga about The Pantheon, with Book 2 (The Blood Isles) launching in October 2021 and Book 3 (The Hastening Storm) coming in spring 2022.
I’ve chosen it because the story – and indeed the genre – has sparked much discussion amongst my early readers, because it is hard to pin into a single category and defies my many attempts to condense it into a snappy teaser. The most concise description came from one of my advance readers, who said it was ‘Fight Club with swords’. I’ll take that! And my agent (Laura Macdougall at United Agents) said it had ‘elements of The Hunger Games’ when she first read it.
What inspired you to write The Wolf Mile?
It is a story which is first and foremost inspired by a sense of place. Apart from a sojourn into the forests of the Highlands, the book’s action all takes place in the closes, tunnels and rooftops which flow from the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Indeed, it was Edinburgh’s Old Town which really allowed the story to manifest. The dark, malevolent history of the Old Town and its stunning architecture and rumours of tunnels and secret passages, set my mind ticking. I am sure that the whole concept of The Pantheon could not have come together if it had not been for my life in and around Edinburgh.
The story was also prompted by two other factors: Firstly, I had always wanted to take my love of historical fiction and coax it into a modern thriller – without going down the well-trodden route of some sort of time-travel. Secondly, after a career spent in major gift fundraising for charities and universities, I had communicated with many very wealthy individuals and I got to wondering what makes someone excited when they can buy everything? As the book asks….. Imagine riches beyond your wildest dreams. What would you do with them? Travel the world? Buy a yacht? Now times it by ten. A hundred. We’re talking mega-wealth – the kind that buys governments, shapes economies, enervates security forces and makes a mockery of justice systems. NOW what would you do with it? Less certain?
In ancient times, the wealthy of Rome spent their money and energies on forsaking human life in the gladiatorial stadia – and that’s where the concept of The Pantheon grew from in my head.
The Wolf Mile charts the rise of Tyler Maitland and Lana Cameron as they are plucked from their normal lives to become players in The Pantheon, a secret game bankrolled by the world’s wealthy elite and watched online by thousands. Warriors from seven ancient civilisations are trained, sworn to allegiance, then pitted against each other in battles amongst the claustrophobic alleys which flow from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and filmed in real-time.
Set in today’s city, this is very much a modern thriller, but it mixes elements of historical fiction, as well as a sweeping romance over the five-book series, which takes the protagonists from friends, to sworn enemies and finally to lovers. So when Aries came along and declared it was, above all, adventure fiction, it was perfect – because this is exactly what the saga is: A twisting, turning, relentless adventure with a big cast of characters, which propels the protagonists on a journey more horrifying and wondrous than they could ever have dreamed, into a world which perhaps we all secretly wish we experience.
Comments so far include:
‘The Wolf Mile is a thrilling ride and a heck of a debut. C F Barrington knocks it out the park.’
‘Featuring two compelling yet flawed lead characters, an intriguing mystery and unrelenting action, I can’t wait to see where Mr Barrington takes us in the future.’
‘It is a very cool idea and I think if done right will become one of my favourite secret societies.’
‘Get ready for a rip-roaring adventure through the streets of Edinburgh – The Wolf Mile is the perfect escapist read!’
I’ve included some photos of the Old Town which have helped inspire me. One evening before the pandemic, a friend and I toured the Old Town cameras in hand. We ended up climbing onto buildings and lying in the middle of roads, getting carried away discovering the dark, brooding essence of The Pantheon. It was great fun and hopefully the images provide a taste of what to expect in The Wolf Mile.
C F Barrington spent twenty years intending to write a novel, but found life kept getting in the way. Instead, his career took him into major gift fundraising, leading teams in organisations as varied as the RSPB, Oxford University and the National Trust.
When his role as Head of Communications at Edinburgh Zoo meant a third year of fielding endless media enquiries about the possible birth of a baby panda, he finally retreated to a quiet desk beside the sea and discovered the inspiration for the Pantheon saga.
Raised in Hertfordshire and educated at Oxford, he now divides his time between running over the hills of the Lake District and dog walking on the beaches of Fife.
My website is www.cfbarrington.com – and provides lots of visuals and backstory about Edinburgh’s Old Town.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus -Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is an addictive historical ganglit with the indomitable Georgina Garrett desperate for release from Holloway Prison to reclaim her children and get revenge on her enemies. With WW2 still raging when Georgina returns to Battersea, she has to regroup and diversify to achieve her aims with grit and tenacity, meeting violence with violence.
This is a well-written story with vivid characters and a menacing ethos. It captures the gangland era dynamic and personalities in an intricate plot with unexpected twists.
Guest post- Sam Michaels – Siren
Thanks for taking the time to read my post and thank you to Jane for inviting to me contribute to her fabulous website.
I’m thrilled that Siren is now out in the big wide world and I can’t wait for you to read it! This is the fourth book in the Georgina Garrett series. The first, Trickster, begins on the day that WW1 is declared. And then Rivals is next which is set just before the outbreak of WW2. Vixen and Siren follow Georgina’s life through the turbulent and challenging times of worn-torn Britain.
Although my gangland sagas are fictional, I like the facts to be historically correct so I’ve spent many hours researching the history of these times and read hundreds of personal memories of the Blitz. The things that I’ve learned have been both fascinating and heart-wrenching. Tales of rations, shortages and the blackouts are bad enough but the stories of bombs raining down on cities across the country are horrendous. The Blitz began in September 1940 and for fifty-seven consecutive nights, London was bombarded by the Luftwaffe’s bombs. Over three hundred planes would fly across the city, destroying a third of London and killing and injuring thousands. The accounts of the people whose memories I read makes me wish that I’d asked my grandparents more about their personal experiences of being Londoners living through the war.
But it wasn’t all fear and gloom. One of the overwhelming feelings that I got from my research was the sense of community and coming together that the war seemed to bring. I loved reading about the impressive strength of the British resolve and I found the make do and mend attitude admirable. Also, with the men away fighting the enemy, women found a place in the workforce doing the jobs that men once did. This was a huge shift from the traditional role of the stay-at-home housewife and mother though in most jobs, women weren’t paid the same rate as the men had been. Mothers had to quickly adapt a new way of life. For many, their children had been evacuated to safer homes in the countryside away from the nightly air raid sirens, explosions and fires. Food shortages meant that they had to be inventive with new recipes. Even stockings were hard to come by so ladies might use gravy browning to colour their legs and draw a line up the back to imitate a seam. With homes being destroyed all around them, lives being lost, their husbands and sons in foreign, treacherous lands and sleepless nights in air raid shelters, it does make me wonder how people today would cope if we were thrown into the same situation.
In Siren, the book opens with Georgina behind bars in Holloway prison. During my research, I was shocked and horrified to discover some of the facts about prison life for women at this time. And not just women. Holloway Prison also held German-Jewish refugee children incarcerated with their mothers. It was a time of deep suspicion of anyone German which was transposed onto the German-Jews who came to Britain when fleeing death from Hitler. I was equally shocked to find out that Sir Oswald Mosely, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, was also held prisoner at Holloway. Under Winston Churchill’s orders, Mosely was detained with his wife, Diana, in a house within the grounds of the prison. They even had women prisoners to wait on them and they were allowed to order deliveries from Harrods!
So when you read my books, you’ll find bits of background information weaved throughout which are fact, not fiction. For instance, the meagre breakfasts in the prison, the continual bombing of London, the firewomen on motorbikes… all these things and many more are true stories.
I really hope that you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them! And, by the way, this isn’t the last that you’ll hear of Georgina… I’m halfway through writing the fifth book in the series.
Danny is riddled with anxiety. But he wants to be strong for his wife Sam. She’s been through so much already. If only he had someone to talk to.
Sam is facing a very different future to the one she expected. She’s ready to move on, yet other people won’t let her. If only she had someone to talk to.
Their new neighbour Diana is hiding from her past. She wanted a new life. Now she’s got it she feels angry and alone. If only she had someone to talk to.
Each of them is hiding their pain. Each of them needs to heal. But only when they learn to let each other in will they finally be able to grow.
I received an audiobook from HQ (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This character-driven story features a multi-generational friendship. Told from three viewpoints Diana, Sam and Danny, it is a detailed emotional story that explores finding your true self, fitting in, honesty and loss.
It’s introspective and works well as an audiobook. The narrator is clear and engaging, voicing the characters believably and distinctly. The gentle pace enables the listener to know each character well, and the humour, insight and poignancy, make it an emotional read.
The parallels with nature that affects the characters’ lives are well crafted and make this an engaging, thought-provoking story.
During a celebratory outing in Las Vegas, high school teacher Shane Rawlings is involved in a tragic car accident that kills his best friend. He isolates himself on Bainbridge Island, buried in survivor’s guilt until he begins receiving several mailed index cards, each detailing challenges for him to venture out of his self-imposed exile.
Emma Jacobs is a famous actress embroiled in a scandal by her cheating ex-boyfriend who escapes to Bainbridge Island and meets Shane by chance at the local grocery store. Shane and Emma grow closer with each completed task until Emma’s agent arrives in town and pulls her back to Los Angeles. An upset Shane discovers her celebrity status when he’s suspended from his teaching position, causing Emma to end their relationship.
Realizing his mistake, Shane flies to Los Angeles, hoping to persuade Emma to take him back. Faced with disapproval from outsiders, Shane and Emma fight for their love and his healing.
Yvette Geer is the author of the multicultural romance novel, The List. As an avid reader of romance and mystery books, Yvette enjoys creating worlds where opposites attract, set against the backdrop of some of the country’s most iconic cities. Currently based in Northern California with her husband and two girls, this “military brat” travelled often as a kid, from the Midwest to England. She continues to marry her two passions for travelling and writing through road trips and other adventures. She rounds out her artistic need by playing piano and dabbling in photography. She continues to highlight and celebrate the positive outcomes of different lives colliding in her blog, The Swirl Effect.