Blog Tour & Extract – Twister River by Siobhan MacDonald

Twisted River - Blog Tour

Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope you’re all having a good week so far 🙂 I’m super excited to be a part of the Twisted River blog tour! In this fun-packed post, you’ll be able to read an extract from the book, which will most definitely leave you wanting more!

Book Extract

Curragower Falls, Limerick, Ireland
Late October

She would never have fit as neatly into the trunk of his own car. He presses two fingers against her beautiful neck. Just in case. No pulse. The blow was fatal. He looks at her one last time and closes the trunk.

Her blood is all over his hands. Oscar stares at the curious patterns forming on his pale skin. No latex gloves this time. He tries to think. In the cold he hardly moves, watching the tiny pearls of red slide down the coarse hairs to his wedding band. The burning in his stomach spreads upward to his chest. His control is slipping, his panicked breath forming small clouds in the dark. Oscar is in turmoil. From man to shivering animal in the space of three minutes.

Across the road, water rages over the falls. Oscar has felt like this before. It was a long time ago but the memory is vivid. In fourth grade, he punches Annabel Klein so hard in the stomach that she vomits. Another memory flashes before him. This time he’s standing over Birgitte, watching her die. Up the road, the church bells sound a mournful chime. What’s done is done.

There comes the sudden beat of wings. Looking up, Oscar sees an arrowhead of swans slicing through the night sky. A splutter of rain starts to fall, the drops making a tinkling sound on the plastic bags scattered at his feet. Shards of glass from a smashed jar of peanut butter mingle with exploded bags of popcorn. There’s a squashed banana— the flesh pulped from its skin— and a packet of brownie mix daubed in blood.

Should he look in the trunk of the car one more time to make sure?

He fumbles for the catch. It isn’t like his BMW. This is a VW sedan. The car they’d agonized in, attempting to sort things out. He’d so wanted to straighten things out. His fingers slip left and right, searching for the catch. The VW badge is smeared with blood. There it is. He squeezes with his thumb and forefinger.


He freezes. He hadn’t seen the kids pick their way across the gravel.


His nine- year- old is shivering in pajamas in the driveway. Jess, his twelve- year- old daughter, is behind him.

“You’ve been gone a long time, Dad,” says Elliot.

It’s more a question than a statement.

Jess stands there, perplexed, eyes innocent and wide. He sees her scanning the debris of the grocery shopping all over the driveway. His children cannot know what just happened. They must be protected, no matter what. The roaring in his ears begins to build again. He wills his mouth into a smile, pulling his lips over his teeth. He hopes it looks convincing.

Jess’s face drains of color as she edges toward him. The sound in his ears is almost unbearable.

“What is it, Jess?”

He can see her mouth is moving. She is asking something.

“What did you say?” he shouts.

“Where’s Mom?” she shouts back.


The Blurb

Kate and Mannix O’Brien and their children live beside Curragower Falls in Limerick, Ireland, in a house they love but can barely afford. What her family needs, Kate decides, is a vacation. So when she sees a beautiful Manhattan apartment on a house swap website, it seems like a dream come true.

Oscar and his wife, Hazel, live with their two children in a gorgeous apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They too need a vacation, and Hazel has long wanted to take her children back to her native Limerick. The house swap seems like the perfect solution. But this is anything but an ideal vacation, and the discovery of a body is just the beginning.

Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonald is available now in eBook by Canelo.

Purchase on Amazon

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Blog Tour & Guest Post: The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name

Today, as part of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper blog tour, I am joined by author Phaedra Patrick who talks about ‘The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name’.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper in a nutshell:

Having been married for over 40 years, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is mourning the loss of his wife. On the anniversary of her death, he finally musters the courage to go through her possessions, and happens upon a charm bracelet that he has never seen before.

Purchase: Amazon

The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name

Phaedra PatrickRihanna, Beyonce, Apple and Harper – these days an unusual name is essential for grabbing attention. However, as a shy, studious Oldham schoolgirl in the eighties, I definitely didn’t want to stand out. Back then, I often wished I was called Lisa, Debbie, or even Dave.

My name is Phaedra, after Some Velvet Morning, a Nancy Sinatra song that not many people have heard of.  In Greek mythology, Phaedra was the wife of King Theseus. She fell in love with her stepson, Hipplytus, caused his death and then killed herself. The Nancy Sinatra connection is much less gory.

People read my name, I see their eyes glaze over, then they attempt, ‘Ffffff….’ as if they’re trying not to swear. I’ve been called Phoebe, Fedora (as in the hat), Deborah and, my personal favourite, Madeira Cake. ‘Tell him you’re called Louise,’ my mum, who gave me the name, used to whisper when we visited Father Christmas in his grotto. ‘Your middle name is easier.’

Each time I meet someone new, I have to explain how to say it, where it comes from and that, no, I have no Greek ancestry whatsoever. Nor am I Irish, as my surname and red hair suggest. It’s all very confusing.

Now I’m a writer, it’s rather nice to have a curious name. The late Peaches Geldof named her second son Phaedra, and Primal Scream and Kate Moss covered Some Velvet Morning, so it must be pretty cool. But how on earth do you say it? I prefer to use Phedra, with a flat ‘e’ as in ‘egg’. My friends from Oldham call me Phed. I’m fine with Phaydra too. But please never ever Pheedra. That’s a pronunciation too far.

About Phaedra
Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. She was inspired to write Arthur Pepper’s story by the memories of her own charm bracelet. She lives near Manchester with her husband and son.

Find out more about Phaedra: Author Website | Twitter | Facebook

I finished The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper at the weekend and I can honestly say the book has changed my life. I won’t reveal too much now as I’ll be posting a review sometime next week, but let’s just say life is worth living.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper blog tour banner

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Q and A with Andy Jones

Andy Jones AuthorToday, I’m excited to announce that Andy Jones, author of The Two of Us, has joined me for a Q and A session. I fell head-over-heels in love with Andy’s debut novel and if you haven’t already, you can view my review here.

Hello Clare, it’s lovely to be on your blog, and I’m not just saying that because you’re based in North Wales, literally down the road from the house I grew up in. In fact, it’s close to Fisher’s dad’s place in The Two of Us, so that’s nice, isn’t it. For what it’s worth, I’m writing this Q&A in Smithfield today, in a café around the corner from this week’s day job (freelance advertising copywriter); the coffee’s dreadful!  So…

The Two of Us - Andy JonesI’m sure you have been asked this question many times before, but where did the idea for the novel come from?
The idea for The Two of Us, came from a novel called Girl 99 that I self-published in 2012. That book was about a guy called William Fisher, who learns over the course of the novel that if you devote all your energies to getting laid, you can miss out on something far more important – love.

The inspiration for that book was a friend of mine who was a bit … well, he liked the company of women, shall we say. He would brag about his escapades and conquests, but there was something a bit sad about it – it wasn’t making him happy, that’s for sure. And I started thinking about the old chestnut that claims men look for sex while women look for love, and I thought, yeah, there’s a book in that. I created a love-interest called Ivy and threw the two of them together.

Thing is, when I got to the end of Girl 99 (and you will have guessed already that they get together), I realised I hadn’t finished with this couple. So, on a walk with my wife one day (January 1st, 2013 to be precise), I thought: What would happen if Ivy became pregnant, quickly and unexpectedly? And that is precisely what happens at the start of The Two of Us.

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Valentine’s Book Love – My top 5 weddings!

Opened book and heart shape

Continuing the love for Valentine’s Book Love I give you my top 5 weddings. It only seems natural that I write about this topic because I got engaged in January 🙂 My wedding isn’t going to be until 2017, but that’s ok because it means I can plan and go to lots of wedding fairs!

I tried incredibly hard to pick weddings that came out of literature, so it’s probably  bad of me to only post one – sorry everyone! You book lovers will probably be shouting your disgust at me right now. If you have any favourites, post in the comments below!

Storm of Swords(Image Credit)
5. The Red Wedding in A Storm of Swords by George R.R.Martin
I haven’t actually read this book, but thanks to the Game of Thrones TV series, everyone knows about The Red Wedding. It was essentially a massive blood bath and audiences everywhere were shocked at what happened, yet to me that’s what makes it top 5 worth – the shock factor. Adding a little excitement  to a wedding is always good, I just wouldn’t advise doing this at yours or any wedding for that matter (I realise I sound creepy, I’m not violent or anything!).

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Valentine’s Book Love – QandA & Guest Post from Jennifer Joyce

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you all have a lovely day, regardless if you’re single or taken! Today on the blog it’s all about the ‘Valentine’s Book Love’. Simona from Sky’s Book Corner has done a great job at creating this love-inspired blog tour where there are some exciting things happening! There is a selection of top 5 posts, giveaways and question and answers. Below you can see a list of bloggers involved and what is happening on their blogs!

SimonaSky’s Book Corner – Top 5 Kisses / Aven Ellis Guest Post – Q&A and Giveaway!
Alba Alba in Bookland Top 5 Dates / Nikki Moore Guest Post – Q&A and Giveaway!
EmmaStar Crossed Reviews – Top 5 Couples
Clare (me) – Top 5 Weddings / Jennifer Joyce Guest Post – Q&A and Giveaway!

Opened book and heart shape
As a writer of romantic comedies, there is a definite relationship between books and Valentine’s Day for me. I want my books to be fun and romantic, which is what I also want on 14th February. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, whether that is with a partner or husband who you love despite the dirty socks left lying on the bedroom floor, or during that magical time of falling in love. Both are equally special and I like to write about either situation and hope to find humour in both.

In my novel, Everything Changes But You, Ally feels that her life has become stale with her husband Gavin. Their lives lack spontaneity or any kind of glamour, which Ally craves. So when her birthday arrives, Ally makes a wish as she blows out the candles, wishing for a more exciting life. But when her wish comes true, Ally quickly realises that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and she begins to truly appreciate the life she had with Gavin. I think Valentine’s Day is a welcome reminder for us to take a step back from our busy everyday lives and appreciate what we have. Those dirty socks left lying on the bedroom floor aren’t so important when you think about how much you love your partner or spouse and how much they enrich your lives. Valentine’s Day is a little less drastic than a life-altering wish, but it can have the same results – with the added bonus of cards and chocolates!

Follow the ‘read more’ tag for a great love inspired question and answer from Jennifer!

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Tea leaf reading with Pat Elliott & GIVEAWAY!

Hello everyone! How are we all? Monday is here again and today we’re talking about all things tea, well tea leaf reading to be exact. Pat Elliott, author of All in the Leaves, showcases her tea leaf reading skills and helps you discover what could be in your fortune.

Also, Pat has kindly donated a ‘Leaves for Chloe’ tote bag for a giveaway – you lucky things!

Fortune telling using Tea Leaves
Fortune telling – there can’t be many of us who haven’t had our fortune told in some way.

In medieval times, spatters of wax were used to predict someone’s future. When tea was introduced from China to Europe in the Seventeenth Century, tea leaf reading was born! It has an official name – Tasseography. (Tasse is French for cup)

In my first novel, ‘All in the Leaves’ a young lady called Anna has her tea leaves read and her fortune predicted. In my second, ‘Leaves for Chloe’, her best friend has her fortune told in the same way. The books follow their adventures.

Many will have heard of tea leaf reading for the first time due to a certain boy wizard and a divination class. In that reading, a dog was spotted in the leaves and taken to mean death.
Now, my Irish great-aunt, who taught me to read the leaves, taught me that DOGS are a sign of FRIENDSHIP.

What other things can be seen in a cup – and what do they foretell?

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