Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost & #Extract Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by @thatsueshepherd #NewRelease @CorazonBooks Sisters, secrets and second chances. . . .

Can't Get You Out of My Head artwork by Sue Shepherd 120318
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Sue Shepherd
Synopsis:

A moving and funny story about sisters, secrets and second chances.

Twin sisters Beth and Lisa do everything together, so what will happen now they both want a life of their own?

Beth has a secret she’s kept from everyone except her sister. But it’s time to get on with her life. Could a seductive Italian, a smooth-talking charmer or backpacking around Australia be the answer?

Lisa feels she’s always lived in her sister’s shadow. Maybe now it’s her turn for some fun, whatever the consequences. But will her drunken antics land Beth in trouble?

And when it comes to the crunch, will one sister have to give up what she wants so the other can have what she needs?

Guest Post – Inspiration:

‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ is the story of twin sisters, Beth and Lisa. Growing up, they’re very close and Beth is happy to share everything with her twin. When they’re ten, an accident at their birthday party disturbs Beth. But, as always, Lisa is there to comfort her and lull her off to sleep at bedtime. However, as Beth approaches adulthood, finding it more and more difficult to share everything with Lisa, she decides it’s time to start making a life for herself – alone.

Tired of living in her twin sister’s shadow, Lisa also makes a decision. It’s finally her turn to have some fun. She’s coming out into the spotlight, whatever the consequences.

What was the inspiration for the book?

When I began writing ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ I had no idea where the story would take me. Initially, I simply decided to include a couple of events from my own life. For example; for Beth and Lisa’s tenth birthday, their dad, Don, makes them a homemade paddling pool. Temperatures are soaring, and all around the neighbourhood the conversation revolves around the drought and the hosepipe ban. Don is too scared to fill the pool more than a few inches, knowing his neighbour ‘Grumpy Jack’ would think nothing of dobbing him in. This part of the story was based on my own tenth birthday. Being born in the summer of 1966, it means, of course, that my tenth birthday took place during what became known as ‘the long hot summer of ’76’. I have such strong memories of my sister and I jumping in and out of that small homemade pool. Our dad was also a nervous wreck, and, like Don, he turned the tap off after just five minutes.
The other part of the story that’s based on my own memories is the backpacking trip to Australia. After a harrowing experience at the age of seventeen, the twins decide to take a trip to Australia with their friend, Michelle. Some of the things that happen in Australia are based on the experiences of either myself or people that I met whilst there. Reading through my Aussie diaries conjured up many memories.

Why twins?

I knew that I wanted to write about sisters. Being one of two sisters myself, it’s a relationship I felt confident to write about. But I’ve always been rather interested in twins. Usually we spend the first part of our lives alone in the womb, and I find it fascinating that twins share those very important nine months.

Who is Michelle?

Michelle is Beth’s best friend. They meet when they are Primary School age. They are kindred spirits. Beth has her troublesome twin, Lisa, to contend with and Michelle has her overbearing mother. When, at the age of ten, the girls take a bit of fun slightly too far, Beth is forced to summons up all her courage, and risks a slap when standing up to Michelle’s mum. Eventually, freeing herself from the situation, she calls on her nanna to put Michelle’s mum firmly in her place. Throughout the book Beth and Michelle’s friendship goes through highs and lows. But, there are moments of great tenderness and devotion between them. It’s a friendship to be proud of.

What genre does the book fall into?

It’s a romcom. It centres around the tempestuous connection between the twins. But, with a seductive Italian and a charming backpacker up for grabs, it also includes a little bit of naughtiness. It touches on some difficult and relevant topics, with sensitivity and humour. As well as this, the story includes all the usual shenanigans and dramas associated with a busy, loving family. Ultimately, ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ has, at its heart, a touching romance. Hopefully my readers will laugh, cry and urge the characters on to achieve the things they deserve.

Is there a twist?

I’ve always enjoyed that slight ‘other world’ feel to a story. One of my favourite films is ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, which of course includes a look at how life would’ve been if George Bailey had never been born.
My first novel was a tongue in cheek look at guardian angels. Sometimes written from the point of view of the overworked angels, who have the unenviable task of watching over us. I enjoyed creating a world that was not just inhabited by humans.
My second, told the tale of a decision and its two alternative outcomes. Two possibilities intertwined, kind of like the movie ‘Sliding Doors’. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that there could be more than one world, running simultaneously, where a seemingly inconsequential choice can change the future of those closest to us.

So, as you can see, I enjoy writing novels where things are not quite as they first appear, and ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head,’ is no different.

What is the twist?

Well, now … that would be telling!

Extract:

Beth was getting out of her car when she heard a familiar voice behind her. ‘Beth Campbell, are you stalking me?’
She spun round, a smile already on her face. ‘Charlie Morris, you wally!’ He held his arms open and she ran to him. ‘When did you get back?’
‘Just over a week ago. Thought I’d come and see you, and, um … and … catch up with Michelle.’
‘You were away for ages.’
‘Yeah. I’ve been gone so long my face ought to be on milk cartons.’ He grinned, then added, ‘Don’t say it …’
‘What?’
‘That my face ought to be on bog rolls!’
‘I would never say such a thing.’ Beth gave his chin a stroke. ‘Your bum fluff hasn’t improved much.’
‘Nonsense. This is a brilliant beard,’ Charlie snorted.
She’d missed his laugh. ‘Michelle doesn’t live in Tennison Avenue any more. She moved out of her mum’s house.’
‘No one can blame her for that.’ He shuddered. ‘Bloody hell. Her mother. Meddling cow!’
‘Absolutely. Michelle’s not far though. She rents a flat with Ricky.’
‘OK. Cool.’
‘Do you want to go for a drink or something? You know, to catch up.’
He gave a casual shrug. ‘Yeah, sure.’
‘I’ll just need to pop in and tell them I’m going out, they were expecting me for dinner.’ Beth gestured towards her parents’ house. ‘Fancy coming in, to see them?’
Again, he was casual. ‘Uh huh.’
She opened the front door and called out, ‘Look who I found loitering outside the house.’
Pat and Don appeared at the kitchen doorway. Don blanched and dropped the tea towel he’d been holding. ‘Oh, Christ.’
‘Is that little Charlie Morris?’ Pat had a closer look.
‘Yep, it’s me. All grown up.’
‘You’re not wrong. How are you?’ She was staring up at him, amazed at his size.
‘I’m good, thanks. Just back from Singapore for a while.’ Charlie held out his hand to Don. ‘Hello.’ With a slightly nervous cough, he added, ‘I’m OK, honest I am.’
Realising he’d been staring, with his mouth open, Don apologised and shook the hand he’d been offered. ‘Sorry, son, it’s just, you know. I can’t help remembering …’
At this point, Nanna came down the stairs. ‘Who’s this, then?’ Examining Charlie’s face, she grabbed the bull by the horns and said, ‘It’s the boy who nearly died. Blimey, you didn’t get like that eating salad, did you?’ Turning to Pat she remarked, ‘You’d never be able to pick him up out of that paddling pool now, would you?’
Charlie grinned. ‘Hello, Nanna. It’s good to see you again.’
‘We’re going to pop out for a drink to catch up. Don’t worry about me for dinner, Mum, I’ll get something whilst we’re out.’ Beth grabbed her handbag and made her way over to the hall mirror. Applying an extra coat of mascara and some fresh lipstick, she then set about adding some cover up to the scars on her chin, a constant reminder not to listen to Lisa’s advice.
‘OK. Just the two of you, is it?’ Pat asked.
Beth looked at Charlie. ‘Um … Charlie wants to catch up with Michelle too.’
‘Well, we don’t have to … I just …’
‘He had no intention of catching up with her, you idiot. Can’t you tell when someone wants to be alone with you?’ Lisa asked.
‘He mentioned her first. I’m just going along with his plan.’
Beth gave Nanna a hug. ‘See you later.’
‘Have fun with the big fella.’
‘You know something, Nanna?’ Charlie said. ‘You haven’t changed a bit.’
Nanna tilted her head. ‘Nonsense, I’ve aged like a sausage in the sun, but thank you anyway.’

Sue Shepherd author photo
Sue Shepherd
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Author Bio:
Born in Harrow, Sue went on to spend several years living in Hertfordshire before selling up and taking a leap of faith across The Solent. She now resides on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the seaside and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Happiest when hunched over her laptop with a cup of tea on the go, Sue loves to create stories with plenty of heart and laughs, but she makes sure to include a bit of naughtiness too. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies and she’d prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!

***My review to follow this month, but check out the other fabulous bloggers on the blog tour***
Sue Shepherd Blog Tour
Also by Sue Shepherd:

DEHAS LTALT
For more details, see the authors website. Happy Monday reading!

 

 

 

Anne Bonny #BookReview Snow Blind by @ChristophGolden 5* #Snow #Horror #SnowReads @headlinepg #SnowBlind

cover
Snow Blind by Christopher Golden
Synopsis:

Twelve years ago the small town of Coventry, Massachusetts was in the grasp of a particularly brutal winter. And then came the Great Storm.

It hit hard. Not everyone saw the spring. Today the families, friends and lovers of the victims are still haunted by the ghosts of those they lost so suddenly. If only they could see them one more time, hold them close, tell them they love them.

It was the deadliest winter in living memory.

Until now.

When a new storm strikes, it doesn’t just bring snow and ice, it brings the people of Coventry exactly what they’ve been wishing for.
And the realisation their nightmare is only beginning.

My Review:

I had previously read the authors novel Ararat, which absolutely blew me away and has recently won a book an award! When we had the snow (March 2018 UK), I decided to read a novel with a theme of a storm/blizzard and picked up Snow Blind from my tbr pile. The novel has an eerie horror/mystery feel and has received praise from Stephen King! So, here’s my thoughts on Snow Blind.

The snow is set in the small town of Coventry, Massachusetts during a brutal winter. My favourite thing about the novel is the character depth. The characters are detailed, but not overly so. Just enough to get you invested in their stories and intrigued on their journey within the novel.

‘Snowstorms provided the most beautiful and haunting images of all’

The novel opens with restaurant opener Ella having a cigarette break alone as the snow falls. Ella is lonely and vulnerable as the blizzard moves in.

Allie is a young widow, a mum to two young boys and currently dating handsome doctor Niko. They gather as a family to watch movies and eat popcorn, whilst the storm hits Coventry. Allie’s husband died in combat and she is apprehensive about her new relationship with Niko. How her sons Isaac and Jake will adapt to the new situation, and also Niko’s daughter Miri. They read incredibly well as a family just trying to survive what life throws at them. But their pain is far from over!

Joe Keenan is a rookie cop for the Coventry PD. He is on patrol during the blizzard, dealing with the typical complaints and thinking back to the last aggressive storm of 1978. When Joe hits something in his patrol car, something he can’t see. . .

Doug Manning is a local mechanic on route to an evening with his workmates to watch the game. His wife Cherie remains at home awaiting his return. When some ‘jokes’ get out of hand, Doug finds himself fired and cast out from his workplace.

TJ Farrelly is a local singer at Ella’s restaurant, he harbours romantic feelings towards her but has previously held back. He is supposed to be spending the evening of the storm with his elderly mother Martha. But when there’s a power cut in Ella’s restaurant he can’t resist the urge to bring her comfort.

Cherie (Doug’s Wife) is alone at home on the telephone with her best friend Angela. When her dog begins howling she must venture into the yard during the storm to bring him in. She hears strange whisperings of ‘Let’s get in’ and her dog bites her hand.

The night is full of strange occurrences for the townsfolk of Coventry.

‘The city of Coventry had given itself over to the storm’

The evening continues to get more and more creepy.

Joe is dealing with the 13 power lines that are down, when he is summoned to the Wexler’s residence The Wexler son and his two friends have gone missing. Joe must find the teens as the snow continues to fall down around him.

Allie and Niko discuss their future, trying their best to consider everyone in the family’s feelings and where they go from here. Down the hall in the boy’s room, Isaac has become terrified of a presence outside of the window ‘There are monsters in the yard’. Despite the comforting words of his brother Jake, he opens the window.
A mistake that will scar them all, one way or another.

At this point the novel has a huge twist and it is not one I am willing to give away. What I have described above is actually, only a short part of the opening of the novel.
The beauty of this novel is within the first twist!

This novel has a subtle eerie feeling and is perfect to read when the snow is falling. As stated above the descriptions of the characters are brilliant. They draw you into their individual stories and they are all unique. The novel maybe of the horror genre, but it does have a strong emotional edge also. The theme of personal grief and emotional longing for a lost relative, is beautifully written. When you add in the eerie feeling and the flash horror scenes, you have the recipe for a 5* novel.

CG
Christopher Golden
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My Review of Ararat
My Q&A with Christopher Golden
Enjoy the snow. . . . .