Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Q&A with Charlie Laidlaw @claidlawauthor

Thank you for stopping by I have a little Q&A with Charlie Laidlaw today. 

First of all let's take a look at his book The Things We Learn When We're Dead. I will be reviewing this book at the beginning of October as at the moment my TBR pile is way out of control!




On the way home from a dinner party she didn't want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.

It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…

Buy Link


Q&A – Charlie Laidlaw

1 - Can you choose three words that best describe your personality?

Introverted, extroverted, confused.

2 - Is there a book you wish you could have written?

Like many authors, One Day by David Nicholls.

3 - What was the last book you read?

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, and Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift.  Both, in different ways, are beautifully written.

4 - If you were stranded on a desert island what three books would you want with you?

Ideally, any book that would burn well.  However, I’d settle for anything that could teach me how to fish, grow stuff, or build an aeroplane. 

5 - Do you have any strange writing habits?

I find that writing is the easy bit.  Deciding what to write is the hard bit.  Strangely, I find my best inspiration when driving or on a long train journey.

6 - Is there a specific place where you write?

I have a home-office, and that’s the only place I write.

7 - What is your favourite personality trait of your main character from The Things We Learn When We're Dead?

She’s a young women so, like many young people, she’s an idealist.  In a sense, the book is about how she comes to balance idealism with reality – something, I guess, that we all have to do.

8 - What did you enjoy most about writing The Things We Learn When We're Dead?

Getting to know my main character, finding out what she liked, and the things she didn’t like.  Although it doesn’t come into the book, I know what TV programmes she likes, the kind of music she enjoys, and the books she reads.  For me, my fictional characters become real people, and it’s them who (almost) tell me what to write.

9 - Are you working on anything now?

A book called Darker Matters which is about love, loss, and a dollop of astrophysics.  It’s a dark comedy about the unintended consequences of celebrity, and how a young woman grows up in the long shadow of her film star father.  It’s poignant and fun.

Quick fire questions - Which do you prefer?

Paperback or eBook

Paperback.  Do you know how little authors are paid for eBooks?

Classic novel or Contemporary

Contemporary.  I like to support living authors (see above).

Cinema or Theatre

With regret, cinema, because I love the theatre. 

Crisps or Chocolate

Chocolate.  I don’t like crisps.

Tea or Coffee

Coffee.  Tea is the work of the Devil.

Night out or Day out

Either.  It depends on the who and the where.



Thank you again for taking the time to answer the Q&A!




I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault.  That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father.  That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland (quite near Paisley, but thankfully not too close) and graduated from the University of Edinburgh.  I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist.  I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics.  I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries.  Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa.  What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then.  However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian.   And that’s about it.

Author Links


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Fox in the Box by Amanda Gee #Review




When Lydia finds a lost baby fox outside her back door, they set off together to look for his family. But on the way, they discover a terrible disaster is about to overtake their village. Can they stop it.....and will the cub find what he's looking for?

Buy Link



I have to talk about the front cover as it's just perfect and my children immediately started talking about the Fox and my son asked if he was ok which I thought was very sweet. The illustrations are wonderfully eye catching and really helped to engage my children as they talked about what they saw as well as listening to the story. I really enjoyed reading the story to my children the rhyming style worked well and it flowed perfectly.

It has a lovely sweet and loving feel to it as Lydia the little girl finds the fox and tries to comfort him then deciding to help him find his way home. Within the story there is also a lovely message to convey about caring for our environment. The story is easy to understand whether it's about being kind and helpful but also that working together can sometimes work. The ending was perfect and as a family we were all delighted with the way things turned out in the end.

The length of the story is just about right as my two year old can sometimes lose interest if a story is too long. However she sat and listened to it all along with her brother where they happily pointed out all the different animals that Lydia and the fox encounter along the way.

A sweet and delightful story!

With thanks to Amanda Gee for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion


Unforgivable by Mike Thomas @ItDaFiveOh #BlogTour #Review @BonnierZaffre



Thank you for joining me on the blog tour for Unforgivable by Mike Thomas I'm delighted to be sharing my review today along with an extract. 

First of all though let's take a look at the description for the book...



Bombs detonate in a busy souk, causing massive devastation. 

An explosion rips apart a mosque, killing and injuring those inside. 

But this isn't the Middle East - this is Cardiff . . . 

In a city where tensions are already running high, DC Will MacReady and his colleagues begin the desperate hunt for the attacker. If they knew the 'why', then surely they can find the 'who'? But that isn't so easy, and time is fast running out . . . 

MacReady is still trying to prove himself after the horrific events of the previous year, which left his sergeant injured and his job in jeopardy, so he feels sidelined when he's asked to investigate a vicious knife attack on a young woman. 

But all is not as it seems with his new case, and soon MacReady must put everything on the line in order to do what is right.

Buy Link






Extract

Just two days after the market and mosque attacks, the city is slowly returning to normal despite the fact the bomber is still on the loose. As MacReady and the team start to make a couple of small breakthroughs in the case, a lone figure walks towards the biggest shopping centre in Cardiff – and he’s carrying a rucksack full of homemade pipe bombs…

So heavy, all this clothing. This rucksack. So hot.
Under cloudless sky he strides towards the entrance, across sculpted lawn and immaculate block pathways, the open space peppered with bag-laden shoppers, with Pret-stuffing businessmen, with giggling teens who sit beneath trees and sup on lattes, on iced drinks, smartphones never more than a few inches from their faces. People forget so quickly. Yesterday, the day after Bessemer, the Al Mahdi, they were fearful. Of enclosed areas, of large gatherings. He saw it on their faces: in railway stations, on buses, in the city centre’s pubs and bars and clubs. A tension there. Anxiety fizzing beneath the surface. Casting sideways glances. Watchful. Nervous. Trying not to appear so.
Now not one of them looks at him. Widens their eyes as they take in his appearance. Reels backward in terror as they push themselves away from him. Even after the news reports this morning, the photograph that is everywhere. There is nothing. Not a flicker of recognition, of anything remotely close to vigilance. Just ignorance and apathy and self-absorption, shocking in their measure, and deserving of punishment.
The skin between his shoulder blades prickles, a square of cold sweat. Head low, tucked into the raised collar. Baseball cap too tight on his head, pinching at hair and scalp. Sunglasses heavy across the bridge of his nose. Hands wrinkled and sopping inside leather gloves that he has jammed into the pockets of his jacket. The hiss of white noise in his ears, growing louder with every step.
This heat. Unbearable. He pauses after pushing through the glass doors, as the temperature-controlled air envelops him. Cools him a little. He savours it, checking about as he stands in his outfit. The jacket one he used to wear when tasked with stopping anyone seeking to do the very thing he was about to. When protecting the public. Serving them. The jacket is the only thing that might identify him. It’s a minor oversight, he realises now. Just like the market, the mosque, there have been no warnings, no coded telephone calls. He has nothing else on him. No wallet. No phone. No ID of any kind, other than what they might take from his fingertips, from his mouth for DNA, if they captured him. If they took him alive.
If.
Again, not a single head turns towards him as he stands, motionless bar the rise and fall of his chest, at the entrance to the shopping centre’s cafĂ© quarter. Restaurants, eateries. Two entire floors of chain brands selling their overpriced, reheated wares to consumer zombies with their bags crammed full of expensive tat. Mouths chew at egg noodles, pasta, overpriced funky chips and pulse-ridden Super fucking Foods. The sight of it almost makes him do it right here, right now. He closes his eyes behind the sunglasses. Breathes deeply, listens to the white noise, the thump of his heart just-about-audible beneath.
Removes the security card. Congratulates himself again on his foresight. How he removed it long before they removed him. Swipe at the pad, the Staff Only door giving a slight tremor as its locks disable. A quick shift of the rucksack, higher onto his back, and he pushes through.
He’s in.


I have to talk about the opening chapter it's safe to say that it grabbed hold of me and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It's gritty and dark at times but this just made the story all the more gripping and addictive. The main point that I found was that the events in this book can and do take place which made it all the more chilling, from protest marches to actual bombs being detonated. The story feels very real almost as if you are a fly on the wall experiencing the events with the characters.


Will isn't perfect and for me it made his character much more believable. I always seem to appreciate a character more if they have flaws. Will makes mistakes but don't we all it's just all the more dangerous and significant if Will does. Even though this is the second Will MacReady story it didn't really feel as if there was any confusion from not reading the first story Ash and Bones. Although as with any series it does help to start at the beginning I guess just so you get more of the back story. I felt that I was given enough information to get a feel for Will's character without it being too much at once. There are a wide range of supporting characters who vary in how likeable they are. 

It was great to see a couple of plot strands take place along with the bombings and it was interesting to see the investigations play out. The pacing of the story is pretty good with a good mix of high adrenaline scenes then seeing how they go about investigating the crimes. Mike Thomas has written an intriguing character and story that left me wanting more.

Unforgivable is tense, fast paced with plenty of heart stopping moments!


With thanks to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.



His teenage years were spent breakdancing, spraying graffiti around the town’s walls and office blocks and just about staying on the right side of the law, until his early twenties when, inexplicably, he joined the local constabulary and began locking people up for spraying graffiti around the town’s walls and office blocks.
“…inexplicably, he joined the local constabulary and began locking people up for spraying graffiti around the town’s walls and office blocks…”
While working as a plod in Wales’ capital city of Cardiff, Thomas continued with his childhood passion: writing. As a freelance he produced articles for local newspapers, various websites and national travel magazines, while in 2007 he was one of the winners in the annual Rhys Davies Short Story Competition organised by Literature Wales. After completing a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Wales between 2007 and 2009, Thomas published his debut novel, Pocket Notebook, in 2010 with William Heinemann/Penguin Random House.

The author was on the prestigious list of Waterstones’ ‘New Voices’ for that year, while Pocket Notebook was longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year and optioned for television by Carnival Films, the producers of Downton Abbey. His second novel, Ugly Bus, was released by Heinemann in 2014 and is currently in development as a six part television series with the BBC. Both novels deal with the uglier side of policing.
“…He currently lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife and children…”
Thomas left the police in the spring of 2015 and grew his hair and a pathetic attempt at a beard. He currently lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife and children. Alongside chopping wood, cementing crumbling house walls and trying to find somewhere that sells his beloved Marmite, he continues to write articles and web pieces for a variety of sites and publications, and is contracted to London’s Bonnier Publishing for three new novels, the first of which – Ash and Bones – was released August 2016. The second in the series, Splinter, is due for publication in the summer of 2017.

Author Links




37 Hours by J. F. Kirwan @kirwanjf #GuestPost @NeverlandBT #BlogTour


 Thank you for joining me on the blog tour for 37 Hours by J. F. Kirwan today I'm sharing a great guest post where J F Kirwan talks about basing fictional characters on people you know. First of all though let's take a look at the book...



After two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

Book links:





Guest Post

Basing fictional characters on people you know

Guest Blog by J F Kirwan

One of the commonest questions I’m asked is whether any of my characters are based on real people that I know. My answer is usually, ‘Well, sort of…’ It’s a good and natural question, but the full answer is tricky.

So, why do it? It takes a lot of time and effort to create a brand new character out of nothing, one who will resonate with readers, and who will, as Hemingway put it, ‘leave footprints in the snow.’ Sometimes it comes easy, a character seems to be hiding in the ink in your pen or in your fingertips above the keys on your laptop, just itching to be born. Other times it’s easier to use someone you know as a starting point. But that’s all. A starting point.

What’s the process? I pick someone I know, or have known. They must have something about them that ‘fits’ the character I want to portray. For example, I once knew someone who was a bit of a scary individual. He’d nearly died, and that experience seemed to have affected him in not-always-positive ways. I used his character as the basis for Danton, a sadistic torturer in 66 metres. Of course in reality he’s an okay dude, but there was just enough to leap off from the real person, to extrapolate to how he might be in a different life, and to bring flesh and bones to his fictional persona. It worked. Some people can’t read some of the scenes involving him, as he’s pretty nasty.

Do you make them look the same? No, I almost always change some or all physical attributes. Otherwise you can end up writing about the real person and how they might react, rather than who the story needs them to be.

Do you do this for the principal characters, e.g. Nadia or Jake? No. I think an author should always take the long route for the protagonists and the other main players. That way they are entirely constructed for the novel, and the result will feel more authentic to the reader.

How many characters do you do this for? Just two or three. 66 metres had four. 37 hours, one, and she was a minor character. It can work well for ‘walk-on-walk-off’ characters, as you can give them a ‘handle’ (a pithy description that immediately brings them to life) quite quickly, so that even secondary characters seem three dimensional, and appear to have a life off the page.

Do the real people ever find out? How do they react? Here’s the downside. In my earlier, pre-Nadia writing, someone found out and wasn’t too happy about it, and didn’t like the way they’d been portrayed, even though they were a hero. So, I got burned once, and now I never tell people. The trouble is, that in the author’s mind, the new characters really are different from the person who acted as the launch-point, but to the actual person, of course, well, they may see it differently. One guy though, a good friend, really gets a kick out of the fact that I made him evil.


Which characters end up seeming more real to the reader? Here’s the crux. If you work hard on a completely fictional character, I think those are the ones people most relate to, and most remember. In 66 metres, for example, there is Lazarus, who is pretty memorable, and came completely out of the blue. And there is Nadia, the protagonist. People really think I based her on somebody, but it’s simply not the case. And if she was real, given what I put Nadia through in the novels, she’d probably hunt me down…




J.F. Kirwan is a writer for Harper Collins, under their HQ digital imprint. By day he works in aviation and nuclear safety, but at night, during bouts of insomnia, he writes thrillers with significant body counts. He’s an ex-diving instructor, so there is an underwater element in each of his two novels, 66 Metres and 37 Hours. Most readers find his writing has a cinematic feel, as if you are there with the characters. The original inspiration for the protagonist, Nadia, came from Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the dragon tattoo, though David Baldacci and Lee Child have had significant impact on the writing style, plotting and pace. He is currently writing the third book in the series.

Author links:





Giveaway

£20 Amazon giftcard
International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can follow along with the tour below

Monday, 14 August 2017

A Beginner's Guide To Saying I Do by Jennifer Joyce #Review @writer_jenn


Ruth can’t quite believe she’s managed to snag The One but when he proposes, she can finally accept that she’s found her happily ever after. But when Ruth finds herself booking her dream church for just six weeks away, she starts to panic. You can’t plan a whole wedding at such short notice. Can you?

Trina has only just walked down the aisle, but she’s already starting to question whether they can make their marriage work. Will they survive the honeymoon period, or have they just made a very big – and very expensive – mistake?

Erin has somehow found herself agreeing to be a bridesmaid for the tackiest wedding known to man. With drunk hens, ridiculous outfits and a terrifying wedding planner, just what has Erin signed up for?

Three women. Three weddings. But who will say I do – and who will say I don’t?



Buy Link




The story follows a group of three women who are all connected by either friendship or family and who are either married, getting married or attending weddings. I thought that this theme worked really well as you got to see some very fun and interesting scenes play out. From scary hen parties to over the top weddings it certainly provided lots of entertaining moments. Even though this book continues Ruth's story from A Beginners Guide To Salad I would still class it as a standalone. I haven't had chance to read the first book and I didn't feel any confusion at all.

I really got attached to this group and it would be hard to pick a favourite but I guess it was Trina's character that my heart went out to. No spoilers but after her perfect wedding married life was very different to what she was expecting. I couldn't help but smile at Ruth's excitement to getting married even if it is at very short notice. Will it all go to plan though? Erin's dry sense of humour was a hit with me especially when she had to endure a hen party which was her worst nightmare although to be fair it would have been mine too! The best thing about Ruth, Trina and Erin is that they are all different but this works so well and made the story so amusing as I saw their different situations play out. The supporting characters deserve a mention too especially Mary she had me giggling a few times with some of her comments.

I have a confession to make I love cheesy pop music so I loved the soundtrack of songs that are mentioned in the book. I even felt like joining in with the songs it definitely made the story even more feel good for me! The pace of the story is good and it didn't take me long to read at all. 

A Beginner's Guide To Saying I do is a fun filled look at weddings, friendship and romance. 

Entertaining and a perfect pick me up!

With thanks to Jennifer Joyce for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.


I'm a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with my husband and our daughters, Rianne and Isobel, plus our Jack Russell Luna and bunny Cinnamon.

I've been scribbling down bits of stories for as long as I can remember, graduating from a pen to a typewriter and then an electronic typewriter. And I felt like the bee's knees typing on THAT. I now write my books on a laptop (which has a proper delete button and everything).

I've self-published two novels and am also published by HQ Digital (HarperCollins).

I've written six novels so far:


plus a free festive short story:

My seventh novel and second in the Beginner's Guide series, A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO SAYING I DO is out on 15th August 2017 and is available to pre-order here

You can find out more about my books by clicking on the links beneath each cover on the right-hand sidebar.

You can also sign up for my newsletter to keep up to date with my books, plus receive exclusive content and short stories. 

Author Links



Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Blacksmith's Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes #Review @EisabethHobbes



I am delighted to be sharing my review of The Blacksmith's Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes. It turns out that this is the 150th book that I have read this year!

Before we check out my review let's find out about the book first...





A passion forged from fire 

Rejected by her favored knight, Joanna Sollers knows she will never love again. Especially when the man she's now forced to marry is none other than her beloved's half brother!

For blacksmith Hal Danby, marrying Joanna makes his lifelong dream of entering the Smiths' Guild possible, even if the secrets in his past mean he'll forever keep his distance. But everything changes with one stolen night, and in the arms of his new bride, Hal wonders if this loveless arrangement could transform into something real…

Buy Link



So first of all I have to admit that this is my first medieval romance and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I love historical romance though so I couldn't wait to start. What did I think...

It's safe to say that I completely enjoyed it right from the characters through to the story. I actually read it in almost one go and I only stopped because it was heading close to midnight and I had work the next day!

Joanna is definitely a determined character especially in her decision to marry Roger but after that plan goes wrong she ends up in another situation entirely. Hal is a character that I just took to straight away he is kind but brooding too which I love. Joanna has a strong attitude that is so fun to see when she meets Hal. They just spark off each other brilliantly and Elisabeth Hobbes created the perfect amount of tension between them.

With misunderstandings galore this pair definitely had a rocky road ahead. I think one of the things that I enjoyed the most was that the story wasn't rushed now that doesn't mean that it was slow paced. I actually found the pacing pretty good I think that it just gave me chance to get to know the characters better. Which was great and made me really want to root for that perfect happy ending.

What can I say about Roger well he is definitely an interesting character and I really can't wait to read his story and see if his character changes.

The Blacksmith's Wife has complicated families, mistrust, secrets and romance so it makes for an entertaining read. Making it perfect to sit down with and become completely engrossed in this romantic tale.

With thanks to Elisabeth Hobbes for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.



My books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk as well as from Harlequin and Mills & Boon and other online retailers.

You can find me hanging around The Unlaced Book Club on Facebook along with other Harlequin Historical authors.  Come join us for history, romance and chat with no buy ads.

I grew up in York where I spent most of my teenage years wandering around the city looking for a handsome Roman or Viking to sweep me off my feet. Sadly it never happened but I developed a love of the past and went on to read History and Art History at university before venturing into the world of teaching.

These days I hold down jobs as a teacher and mum and have strong views on SPaG and the National Curriculum.

I live in Cheshire with my husband, two young children and two cats with ridiculous names because the car broke down here in 1999 and I never left.

I love historical fiction and have a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes. When I’m not writing, I spend a lot of my spare time reading and have become something of a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book!

I’m fond of ginger mojitos and Thai hot and sour soup, though not at the same time.

Author Links



Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe @KJHoweAuthor #Review @MickeyCreative


There are twenty-five elite kidnap and ransom (K&R) specialists in the world. Only one is a woman: Thea Paris. And she's the best in the business.


Twenty years ago, a terrified young boy was abducted in the middle of the night by masked intruders while his sister watched, paralyzed with fear. Returned after a harrowing nine months with his captors, Thea's brother has never been the same.
This life-shattering experience drove Thea to become what she is today: a world-class freedom broker. Most hostage-recovery work is done at the negotiation table, but when diplomacy fails, Thea leads Quantum Security International's black-ops team on highly sensitive rescue missions to political hot spots around the globe.
Her childhood nightmare resurfaces when her oil magnate father, Christos Paris, is snatched from his yacht off Santorini on his sixtieth birthday, days away from the biggest deal of his career. The brutal kidnappers left the entire crew slaughtered in their wake, but strangely, there are no ransom demands, no political appeals, no prisoner release requests-just obscure and foreboding texts written in Latin sent from burner phones.
Knowing the survival window for kidnap victims is small, Thea throws herself into the most urgent and challenging rescue mission of her life-but will she be able to prevent this kidnapping from destroying her family for good?


Buy Link




I've had The Freedom Broker sat on my TBR pile for a while and I have been itching to get started so when I finally I had some space I couldn't wait to pick it up. Here goes...

Chapter one definitely gets the adrenaline going by hitting the ground running. It's fast paced and gives a great introduction to Thea and her team. Thea is strong, determined and pushes herself to succeed in her job making it very easy to get attached to her character. You can also understand her guilt due to her brother's kidnapping and how it has affected her life and his. Rif was great and I have to say even though I enjoyed hearing the story from Thea. I also thought it was interesting seeing the story from his perspective too, especially seeing their different views on the same situation. You can see that Rif is impulsive and this is what annoys Thea but he is great under pressure and this made his character brilliant to see in action.

I enjoyed reading the book from the various points of view I think it gave the book a more rounded feel. Mainly because as the reader you got to see the full picture even if the characters are in the dark. The characters are all engaging in their own right and I felt like I was given enough material to get to know them without an overload of information. This helped to keep the pace constant with everything unfolding quickly but with plenty of twisty turns that kept me on my toes. I was intrigued by both the story and characters with their very complicated lives. It's easy to get a feel for everything that plays out, the writing is spot on for ramping up the tension and I could easily see this story working as a film.

Even though there is a lot going on as there are a few characters to follow I still managed to understand everything that happened. K.J. Howe has a clear writing style that kept the plot moving well. There is plenty of detail given but it's made interesting and I genuinely felt as if I have learnt something about a subject I didn't really have any idea about. It's safe to say that we all watch the news or read a newspaper and hear of people being kidnapped and held hostage. However this book captures the whole behind the scenes that we never really get to see or hear about.

A smart and twisty story that captured my attention all the way through!

With thanks to Mickey Mikkelson & K.J. Howe for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.


Born in Toronto, Canada, KJ enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle during her early years, living in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Caribbean, which gave her an insider’s view into many different cultures. While abroad, she read every book she could find, which triggered in her a desire to create her own stories.

She attended Salzburg International Preparatory School, Neuchâtel Junior College, and Albert College before earning a Specialists Degree in Business from the University of Toronto. KJ found success in the corporate world, but her passion for travel, adventure, and stories drew her back to school where she earned a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She also won several writing awards, including three Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.
While honing her fiction skills, KJ worked as a medical, health, and fitness writer. She then became involved with the International Thriller Writers as the Executive Director of ThrillerFest, the organization’s annual conference held every July in New York City.

In preparation for writing THE FREEDOM BROKER series, which focuses on elite kidnap negotiator Thea Paris, KJ spent extensive time researching the dark world of kidnapping. She has interviewed former hostages, negotiators, hostage reintegration experts, special forces operatives, and K&R insurance executives.

KJ is an avid tennis player, cyclist, and swimmer. Travel and adventure still rank high on her priority list. She has had the pleasure of riding racing camels in Jordan, surfing in Hawaii, ziplining in the Costa Rican jungle, diving alongside Great White Sharks in South Africa, studying modern combat in the Arizona desert, and working with elephants in Botswana. Home is in Toronto, Canada, but she is often missing in action.


Author Links