Collecting Conversations by Sam Bunch

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My grateful thanks to Sam Bunch for a copy of Collecting Conversations in return for an honest review.

Collecting Conversations is available for purchase here.

Collecting Conversations

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Starting to become unhinged after her parents died, Sam found 30 years worth of diaries her mum had written. In their everyday and often trite delivery Sam was inspired to find out how other women ‘do life’. What she heard was too good not to share. She squeezed out of her comfort zone and decided to write a book about her experience, the interviews and the process in an attempt to show that we can do many things in life if we take away the self imposed limitations. The result is a very beautiful book that is full of honesty, reality and integrity. The book took 7 years to make and it’s arrival is timely. There has never been so much interest in women’s issues. With the and 100 years of suffrage hitting the headlines along with mental health being a major issue her project is very current.

Collecting Conversations is about change, challenges, conversations and connections – it’s a book that talks about everyday stuff as well as the bigger questions. Sam asked 18 questions to 100 women, she travelled the length of the country asking women from all backgrounds and ages (30 – 95) to come to the kitchen table and chat. Some were life long friends others – fleeting guests. After Sam interviewed each woman she asked what they had taken from their experience? Their answers reinforced what Sam was trying to do – to encourage people to share but also to listen – to themselves! “It’s been a privilege to be asked to reflect on my life”. Having heard how important it is to listen and share our stories she has made the book interactive by asking the reader the questions too.

My Review of Collecting Conversations

With her mother dying, Sam has to reach her quickly, but out of adversity and sadness comes Collecting Conversations.

Collecting Conversations is a delightful book, although I have to admit I found the first section quite emotional as Sam writes about being with her mother when she died and it brought back memories for me of being at Dad’s bedside at the end of his life. However, Sam Bunch writes the first section of the book, which is an account of how the second section came into being, with such warmth, honesty, humour and humanity that I forgive her the few tears I spilled en route! She has the ability to explain her life in a way that made me understand perfectly and wish I had the same quality of expression to articulate my own thoughts and feelings. Although I haven’t yet responded to her 18 questions by writing in the book itself, because I didn’t want to spoil what is a beautifully presented volume with some lovely illustrations, I have thought long and hard about my answers. The writing of Collecting Conversations might have been quite cathartic for the author, but it is equally uplifting and soothing for the reader too.

I so enjoyed the second section of the book too. It rewards several revisits. Initially I read Sam Bunch’s explanations of, and the responses to, the 18 questions in the order that they are presented. Then I went back and reread those relating to women in their 50s like me. Next I read continuously all the extracts from Sam’s Mum’s diary that run along the bottom of the pages so that it was like encountering a moving poem of someone’s life. I know I’ll return to these pages many times more too.

Interviewing just over 100 women about life has given Sam Bunch an extraordinarily rich source of material for a wonderful book. I loved Collecting Conversations, not least because it made me realise what a fulfilled and lucky life I have in spite of its problems. I felt connected to many of the women interviewed even though I haven’t met them so that I feel I have been enhanced by the experience of reading Collecting Conversations. I know others have the same hopes and fears as I do and I have learnt I need to give more time to listening actively to those around me.  Also, next time I get out the fly-spray to kill a fly I’ll think twice – but you’ll have to read the book to find out why!

I heartily recommend Collecting Conversations. It’s a book that celebrates and reveals women. It’s a book that enables the reader to feel a connection, a belonging and to find guidance and peace. Don’t miss it.

About Sam Bunch

sam bunch

Sam Bunch grew up under the watchful eye of Pendle Hill in Lancashire. She moved to London in 1987 and has been there ever since. She lives with her husband and 3 children – two of which are at University. She is as a Complimentary therapist and more recently author of her first book Collecting Conversations.

You can find Sam on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @collectingconvs. Even better, you can visit her lovely website where you’ll find more about the book, Collecting Conversations.

Discussing The Accusation with Zosia Wand

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My grateful thanks to Melanie Price for inviting me to participate in the celebrations for The Accusation by Zosia Wand. I’m thrilled that Zosia has agreed to stay in with me and tell me all about her latest book.

Published by Head of Zeus on 1st June 2018, The Accusation is available for purchase from Amazon,  KoboiBooks and Google Play.

The Accusation

9781786692320

Who would you choose if you had to – your daughter or your husband?

Eve lives in the beautiful Cumbrian town of Tarnside with her husband Neil. After years of trying, and failing, to become parents, they are in the final stages of adopting four-year-old Milly. Though she already feels like their daughter, they just have to get through the ‘settling in’ period: three months of living as a family before they can make it official.

But then Eve’s mother, Joan, comes to stay. Joan has never liked her son-in-law. He isn’t right for Eve; too controlling, too opinionated. She knows Eve has always wanted a family, but is Neil the best man to build one with?

Then Joan uncovers something that could smash Eve’s family to pieces…

Staying in with Zosia Wand

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Zosia. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Hello.  Lovely to meet you all!

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

I’ve brought along my new novel, The Accusation.

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It’s the story of Eve and Neil, who are in the process of adopting four year old Milly.. Milly has been living with them for a couple of months and they feel like a family, but until they get through the final review in a month’s time, she is still under the legal guardianship of social services.  Eve has been estranged from her own mother, the possessive and demanding Joan, for two years, but hopes that a grandchild could move things forward. Joan, however, has other plans.

(Sounds as if that’s a recipe for disaster to me and now, of course, I need to read The Accusation to find out what happens!)

What can we expect from an evening in with The Accusation?

Here’s a taster:

The Accusation

Prologue

I know something about fear. I know it can be red and urgent, the roar of a dragon, flames in your face. We all recognise that. You will know it as something brief and fierce, leaving smoke and ashes, sometimes scalded flesh. This fear is different. My fear is not hot and fiery, but grey and quiet, lingering in the shadows. It’s a chill breath on my neck, a whispered warning in my ear. I have no idea why it follows me. I have never experienced real danger, never suffered an act of extreme violence, but I live with a sense of something lurking.  If I do the right thing, if I follow the rules and keep everyone happy, all will be well, but if I get it wrong, something terrible will pounce. I’ve learned to be one step ahead, becoming stealthy, slipping out of sight, dodging the icy drips and sidestepping the puddles. Always alert.

I sense it before the phone rings. Feel its cold grip on my hand as I try to accept the call. Neil’s name on the screen. My fingers won’t move. I have no reason to think this is anything other than the call I was expecting, to tell me that lunch is ready, that he and Milly are waiting for me. But I know before I tap the screen, before I hear the breathless panic in his voice, I know.

‘Eve?’

‘What’s wrong?’

‘It’s Milly.’

A bitter cold pressing into my back, seeping through my flesh and between the bones beneath. Please, not this.

‘She’s gone.’

(Woo. Now that is a very frustrating place for you to stop. I’m desperate to know more.)

What else have you brought and why?

The book is set in the fictional town of Tarnside in South Cumbria.  It’s based on the market town of Ulverston, where I live.  Like Ulverston, Tarnside is a festival town and Eve’s job is to manage the various festivals that take place.  She works in the community park, which is based on Ford Park, Ulverston.  The Lantern Festival features prominently in the novel.  Here’s a photo of a lantern finale in Ford Park.

boat night fire

(That looks really atmospheric.)

Eve is originally from Hitchin in Hertfordshire and her mother still lives in Eve’s childhood home, so some of the novel is set there.  My favourite scene, where Eve meets up with her childhood friend, Naz, takes place at Hitchin’s magnificent outdoor pool.  It was still closed when I visited in April to stay with a friend and complete the final edit.  Here’s a photo of the pool being prepared for the summer season.

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(This takes me back Zosia. I spent many a happy hour at the outdoor pool in my local town…)

And here’s my editing station in the garden of my lovely friend and host, Wendy Bowker.

editing

I was very lucky with the weather!  Who wouldn’t be happy to read through a final draft of a novel in this setting!  It certainly made up for the days hunched over the computer while the rain pounded on the roof!

(I bet – and I’m wondering what’s in that glass!)

I have no food to contribute to the evening, though it does feature heavily in the novel.  Joan is a terrible cook, stuffing poor Eve full of stodgy Shepherd’s pies and over rich lasagne.  Her mother-in-law, Betty, who lives in Stevenage, is a far warmer hostess who creates delicious vegetarian dishes and entertains her extended family in a sunny yellow kitchen that leads out to the garden.  I lived in Hitchin myself, many years ago, when I was working as Community Arts Officer for Stevenage. I created the character of Betty in this novel in memory of Betty Pickersgill, who was on the board of the Stevenage Community Arts Trust when I worked there, and a great friend and mentor.  I wish she was still here.  She would have been delighted to discover the character she inspired.

(I’m sure she would. What a wonderful tribute to her.)

About Zosia Wand

zosia

Zosia Wand is an author and playwright. She was born in London and lives in Cumbria with her family. She is passionate about good coffee, cake and her adopted landscape on the edge of the Lake District. Her first novel, Trust Me, was published by Head of Zeus in 2017.

You can follow Zosia on Twitter @zosiawand and find her on Facebook and visit her website. There’s more with these other bloggers too:

The Accusation blog tour (1)

 

Never Go There by Rebecca Tinnelly

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Earlier this year I was so fortunate to meet Rebecca Tinnelly, author of Never Go There, at a wonderful event organised by the Hodder team. After that, Rebecca generously came onto Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me and tell me about Never Go There when the e-book was released and you can read all about that here.

Although it’s several months later than I intended, I’m delighted to have my review of Never Go There today.

Never Go There is published by Hodder and Stoughton and is available for purchase through the links here.

Never Go There

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He told her that she must never, EVER go there…

Nuala knows nothing of her husband James’s past. He made her swear that she would never contact his family or visit the place he was from. But now James is dead, and Nuala is alone. Grieving and desperate, she decides to ignore his warning.

But was he protecting her… or himself?

Nuala is about to find out that some secrets are better left buried – and that uncovering the truth about the man she married will have terrible consequences…

My Review of Never Go There

When Nuala goes to her deceased husband’s home village she finds out more than she wants about his past.

Crumbs! Never Go There is a complex and thought-provoking twisty thriller. I’m not sure what I made of much of it as it deals with themes that are shocking and unpalatable that made me very uncomfortable and yet I wanted to read on. I wanted to know more in spite of my own sensibilities and this has left me feeling very uncomfortable.

I think this is the cleverness of Never Go There. Rebecca Tinnelly has woven elements of society that we don’t often face or discuss into her narrative so that she shocks and entertains at the same time. Having taught youngsters so like her characters of Lois and Emma I could readily accept how their lives had evolved. This makes the title of the book a real triumph. James may not have wanted Nuala to visit his home village but we in society frequently choose to ‘never go there’ in terms of the themes represented or in terms of questioning what happens under our noses too. I can’t reveal them all because I don’t want to spoil the read, but family, relationships, identity, sexuality, obsession, mental health and crime are all part of the fabric of this unsettling story. Rebecca Tinnelly makes the reader confront their own blindness to the harsh truths of life around them in the same way the characters do. This does not always make for comfortable reading.

As for the characters, I found them so well depicted. I didn’t actually like any of them, except perhaps Maggie, and yet I understood them and accepted completely why they behaved the way they did. I think it takes skill to write a novel where the reader doesn’t like the characters but can’t stop reading either! I’m hoping there will be a follow up novel with some of them as I am desperate to know what happens after the end of Never Go There.

I thought the second half of Never Go There was understandably more dynamic than the first half as the foundations for the characters and plot needed establishing, and found myself brought up sharp as revelations and actions happened. There were so many elements that I simply wasn’t expecting so that I finished the book feeling quite shell-shocked.

Never Go There is shocking in many ways. It’s definitely dark and disturbing. I can’t decide if I enjoyed the read or was completely unsettled by it – or both. Either way, it got my pulse racing and my brain whirring and I’ll be thinking about it for some time. I do know, however, that Never Go There will establish Rebecca Tinnelly as a go-to thriller writer of the future.

About Rebecca Tinnelly

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Rebecca Tinnelly lives amongst the twisted sessile oaks of the Somerset coast with her two children and two cats. No doubt fuelled by the stories she was told by her stepmother, a consultant pathologist, Rebecca is most interested in writing about the darker side of society and family life.

After a successful career in sales, most recently selling wicker coffins, she waved goodbye to the office to pursue a career in writing. And, when not writing, enjoys baking the odd cake or two. Never Go There is her debut novel.

You can find out more by following Rebecca on Twitter @RebeccaTinnelly, or visiting her blog.

Discussing Summer of Love with Caro Fraser

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My enormous thanks to Melanie Price for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations for Summer of Love by Caro Fraser. I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Caro to Linda’s Book Bag today to stay in with me and tell tell me about her latest book.

Staying in with Caro Fraser

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Caro. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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I’ve brought along my latest novel, Summer Of Love, which comes out in hardback in a couple of months, and is a sequel to The Summer House Party, which was published last spring – when I finished the first book I realised that the characters and story still had so much life in them, and I had such good feedback from readers that I just had to carry on the story.

summr house party

The Summer House Party opens in August 1936, with a group of guests gathering at the country home of a famous artist and his wife; certain events occur during that fortnight which have repercussions for the guests through the war years and beyond, and Summer Of Love tells how the events of that summer continue to haunt the lives of people who were children then, and carries the story through the 1950s and ‘60s.

(I love it when characters take on a life of their own and insist that authors write their story further Caro!)

What can we expect from an evening in with  Summer Of Love?

I’m a storyteller first and foremost, and I like to think Summer Of Love is the kind of immersive, compelling read you’d want to settle down with on a beach with a nice pina colada, or on a dark winter’s evening with a large glass of red! As it’s set in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, with all the huge social and cultural changes that were happening in post-war Britain in those times, I’ve tried to evoke the feel of that period, and to reflect those changes in the stories of the two central characters, Laura Fenton and Avril Haddon, whose lives are connected in a way that neither of them realises.

(The early 60s is my era so I can’t wait to read Summer of Love.)

One review of The Summer House Party called it ‘a solid summer read, ideal to take on holiday’, and if anyone says the same about Summer Of Love, I’ll know I’ve done my job!

(Both books sound exactly my kind of read.)

I write to entertain my readers, and keep them turning the pages. Another reviewer said, ‘There are unanswered questions at the end of [The Summer House Party] … and I’m looking forward to jumping a few years and enjoying these characters as they grow and age.’ So she should enjoy Summer Of Love. I’ve ended the book at a point where I hope it has a satisfactory conclusion, but it still has great potential for the story to carry on through the next generation into the ‘70s and 80s. So a third book may be in the offing…!

(Woo – I know your readers will be delighted to hear that Caro!)

What else have you brought along and why? 

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I’ve brought along a few pieces of music that I think perfectly capture the spirit of Summer Of Love.  The first half of the book is set in the 1950s, and one of the main characters in is Ellis Candy, a jazz saxophonist, so the haunting sax solo by Stan Getz from the song Corcodavo makes the perfect musical backdrop.

(That’s a gorgeous piece of music. I love it. Blog readers can listen too by clicking on the song titles.)

love me do

The second half of the book is set in the ‘60s, when Love Me Do by the Beatles turned the tide of music forever, so we’ll have a listen to that – as well as Georgie Girl by The Seekers, because it’s a song that summons up the exhilaration of being young and female in those exciting times. My character Laura would definitely identify with it!

(I’m sure she would – and so do I – even if I am showing my age!)

Caro, thank you so much for staying in with me to chat all about Summer of Love. I think it looks a wonderful book and I can’t wait to read it.

Summer of Love

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The dark days of the war are over, but the family secrets they held are only just dawning.

In the hot summer of 1949, a group of family and friends gather at Harry Denholm’s country house in Kent. Meg and Dan Ranscombe, emerging from a scandal of their own making; Dan’s godmother, Sonia; and her two young girls, Laura and Avril, only one of whom is Sonia’s biological daughter. Amongst the heat, memories, and infatuations, a secret is revealed to Meg’s son, Max, and soon a terrible tragedy unfolds that will have consequences for them all.

Afterwards, Avril, Laura and Max must come of age in a society still reeling from the war, haunted by the choices of that fateful summer. Cold, entitled Avril will go to any lengths to take what is hers. Beautiful, naive Laura finds refuge and love in the London jazz clubs, but Max, with wealth and unrequited love, has the capacity to undo it all.

Summer of Love is available for purchase here.

About Caro Fraser

Caro Fraser Copyright free Headshot_-7

Caro Fraser is the author of the bestselling Caper Court novels, based on her own experiences as a lawyer. She is the daughter of Flashman author George MacDonald Fraser and lives in London.

You can follow Caro on Twitter @carofraser and find her on Facebook.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Summer of Love Blog Tour banner (1)

The Real Simon, A Guest Post by Alison Murdoch, Author of Bed 12

Bed 12

With my own husband having had two potentially life threatening illnesses of a mini-stroke and cancer in recent years I am honoured to feature Bed 12 by Alison Murdoch today and to close the blog tour. Alison has written a stunning guest post about her husband and the NHS care he received that I am privileged to share with you today here on Linda’s Book Bag.

Published by Hikari Press, Bed 12 is available for purchase here.

Bed 12

Bed 12

Bed 12 is the book Alison wrote when her husband became critically ill with viral encephalitis and fell into a life-threatening coma.

Described as ‘A love letter to the NHS and the everyday acts of kindness that keep it afloat’ by Dr Phil Hammond, Bed 12 is a survival guide to the world of acute medicine, and a poignant and darkly comic account of what it’s like to fight for someone’s life. It is a true story with cliffhangers that are all too real.

The Real Simon

A Guest Post by Alison Murdoch

A glimpse of the real Simon emerges through the fog of illness

All day long I whisper in his ear “You’re safe, everyone’s safe, there’s nothing to be afraid of, if you’re seeing frightening things it’s only because of the medicines the doctors are giving you, you’re getting better every day, we’ll go home soon, I’m here and I love you so much.” He lies back down, docile and peaceful, until the cycle resumes a minute or so later. I’m proud of the fact that there’s no sign of any anger or aggression in him, just puzzlement and deep confusion.

One of the nurses has such an uncanny ability to get the bed comfortable and in order that I secretly label her ‘the pillow queen’. She has the manner of an old-fashioned nursery nurse and this has a visible effect on Simon’s behaviour. I muse to myself about whether this is an inborn skill or something that can be learned alongside the many other more technology-based tasks that an ICU nurse has to master.

Following on from Nurse Ed’s challenging shift, the ward sister Angela assigns two overnight nurses to Simon’s bedside rather than just one. I’ve never seen that happen before and wonder what impact it has on the budget. But to everyone’s surprise, Nurse Lau and his colleague conjure up such a relaxed and nurturing atmosphere that they even find time to give Simon a massage, raiding my store of scented oils.

With the morning shift, the agitation resumes. Although still unconscious, at one point Simon actually gets his feet onto the floor. Angela is now at the end of her tether. She gets on the phone and negotiates to borrow a bed with cot sides from the paediatric unit. It’s brand new with a brushed-cotton fitted sheet and padded sides, and is also longer than his previous bed. One side is missing its padding but this is quickly improvised using pillows held together by plastic forceps. Crash mats are placed on the floor each side of the bed in case Simon makes another bid for freedom and the bed is lowered to within a few inches of the floor. The entire arrangement is a triumph.

I don’t know why I am so much less anxious than the nurses. Is it because I bear no direct responsibility for Simon’s physical safety? Or is it because I’m unaware of all the risk factors for his long-term health, both from the original illness and from the drugs and other treatments that he’s received over the past weeks? Or perhaps it’s just because I’m closing down emotionally, out of self-preservation. The image that comes to mind is of a mussel that’s only a chink open. However what I do observe, and Philip agrees, is that Simon’s familiar gestures and poses are gradually re-emerging out of the fog. Despite the delirium, it feels as if he’s gradually coming back to us.

(What an inspirational post Alison. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.)

About Alison Murdoch

alison

Alison Murdoch is former Director of the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, a London-based NGO founded in 2005 with the Dalai Lama as its patron. As Director of several charities and NGOs she turned a Grade II listed London courthouse into the vibrant Jamyang Buddhist Centre, set up the first-ever national network of day centres for homeless people in the UK, created a catering service for refugees, and designed a research project on begging that sparked national debate. She also once smuggled herself into Tibet in the back of a lorry…

You can find out more by following Alison on Twitter @Alison_Murdoch_. You’ll also find Alison on Facebook and there’s more with these other bloggers:

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Introducing Letterbox by P.A. Davies

Letterbox - P.A. Davies - Book Cover

My enormous thanks to fellow blogger and tour organiser Caroline Vincent at Bits About Books for inviting me to be part of the celebrations for Letterbox by P.A.Davies. I’m thrilled to have a fascinating guest post from P.A. Davies explaining the origins of Letterbox to share with you today.

Letterbox is available for purchase from Amazon, but signed copies are available directly from the author here.

Letterbox

Letterbox - P.A. Davies - Book Cover

At approximately 09.00 hrs on the 15th June 1996, an unassuming white lorry was parked on Corporation Street in the city centre of Manchester, England; It contained over 3000 pounds of high explosive.

At 11.15 hrs the same day, Manchester witnessed the detonation of the largest device on the British mainland since the Second World War … The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

Based around actual events, Letterbox tells the story of Liam Connor, an ordinary boy brought up in Manchester by a seemingly ordinary family.  He goes to the local school, loves football and has a best friend called Sean … an ordinary life.

Unbeknown to Liam, his father, Michael Connor, harbours a dark historic secret and follows a life less ordinary … as a furtive yet high ranking soldier within the IRA.

As a result of extraordinary circumstances, Liam’s innocent and carefree world is shattered when he is exposed to the truth about his family’s heritage and then learns about the tragic death of his father at the hands of the SAS.

Consumed with both hate and the need to seek retribution, Liam is taken to Ireland where he is intensively trained to become a highly skilled and efficient soldier within the Irish Republican Army … He is 16 years old.

Some years later, following the drug-induced death of his beloved sister, Liam is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on those he believed should truly be blamed for the tragedies in his life … The British Government.

Thus, on the 15th June 1996, it was Liam’s responsibility to drive the bomb-laden lorry into the unsuspecting city of Manchester and let the voice of the IRA be clearly heard …

And listened to…

The Origins of Letterbox

A Guest Post by P.A. Davies

At 10.15hrs on Saturday 15th June 1996, the Greater Manchester Police received a coded message stating that a bomb had been left in the city centre.

With little time to spare, it then became the responsibility of just twelve Police Officers from Bootle Street Police station – together with a handful of Security Guards – to orchestrate the evacuation of some seventy five to eighty thousand people from the city centre streets surrounding the bomb’s location.

At approximately 11.15hrs the same day, a 3000-pound bomb – hidden inside a white Ford Cargo Lorry – exploded on Corporation Street; the largest device to have been detonated on the mainland of Britain since the Second World War.

The Irish Republican Army went on to claim culpability.

The explosion left an estimated £700 million in structural damage and injured over 200 citizens, though it was down to the actions and sheer determination of the people tasked with the public’s egress that miraculously, nobody lost their life.

Despite an extensive investigation into the bombing, the only people to have been arrested in connection with the crime were a Police Officer and a Journalist for allegedly leaking and reporting on, information regarding the identity of a possible suspect.

Though both were cleared of any charges, the case against the one and only “real” suspect was rendered inadmissible in court, and subsequently closed. The offence still remains unsolved to this day.

Many people, both in and out of Manchester, have been heard to say, that in terms of the regeneration that followed, the IRA bombing was probably the best thing that could ever have happened to the City as – like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of destruction – it has become one of Europe’s most cultural and modernistic centres.

Though the sheer power of the explosion had indiscriminately destroyed the surrounding aged buildings, it is ironic that one small thing within the immediate epicentre of the blast remained relatively unscathed … a Letterbox constructed during the reign of Edward VII.

To this day that same red Letterbox stands proudly on Corporation Street, Manchester, England, like a beacon of defiance and hope shining brightly against a world of adversity.

Letterbox is a work of fiction, based around the actual events of Saturday 15th June 1996 and follows the life of Liam Connor: a boy who would eventually become the man to drive the lorry into Manchester City centre on that fateful day and leave the infamous legacy of the IRA.

(Thank you so much for such a fascinating guest post. I now want to put Letterbox at the top of my TBR pile.)

About P.A.Davies

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P.A. Davies grew up in Manchester, UK, a place he has lived in and around all his life – he loves Manchester and is proud to be part of the multi-cultural, modern city that houses two Premiership football teams and is the birthplace of many a famous band, such as Oasis, the Stone Roses, Take That and Simply Red.

For most of his life, he dabbled with writing various pieces, from poems to short fictional stories just for fun. However, following advice from a good friend he decided to have a go at writing a novel. Thus, his first novel Letterbox was conceived, a fictional take on the infamous IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. It took him over a year to complete but while doing so, he found it to be one of the most satisfying and interesting paths he had ever followed. It comes as no surprise that the writing bug now became firmly embedded within him.

P.A. Davies’ second book was published in May 2013, ‘George: A Gentleman of the Road’, a true story about one of Manchester’s homeless. His third novel, ‘The Good in Mister Philips’, is an erotic novel (arguably set to rival Fifty Shades…!) and his fourth, ‘Nobody Heard Me Cry’ (Dec. 2015) is again a fact-based tale, this time of Manchester’s darker side. The thriller ‘Absolution’ (Oct. 2017) is his fifth novel. Currently, P.A. Davies is writing his sixth novel, titled ‘I, Muslim.’

To label P.A. Davies’ writings would be difficult because his works diverse from thrillers to touching novels to true-to-life tales embedded in a captivating story for the author is an imaginative and versatile storyteller.

You can find out more by visiting P.A. Davies’ website, finding him on Facebook or Instagram and following him on Twitter @padavies_ and Goodreads.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Letterbox - P.A. Davies - Book Blog Tour Poster

Staying in with Janice Milusich

Cleos big ideas

As a result of my terrible sight, I was a late reader, so I’m always keen on Linda’s Book Bag to feature authors who write for children because I don’t want children to miss out on the joy of reading and come to it late like I did! Consequently, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Janice Milusich to the blog today to tell me about one of her children’s books.

Staying in with Janice Milusich

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Janice. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

Cleos big ideas

This evening I’ve brought along Cleo’s Big Ideas: One Thing Leads to Another to share with your readers. Cleo’s Big Ideas, is an early chapter book that encourages creative thinking, has quirky characters you’ll want to root for and incorporates amazing activities after a number of the chapters. I’ve chosen to share it because I’ve just finished writing a sequel to Cleo and I want to get the word out on what I hope will become a fun “green themed” series for kids.

(What a brilliant idea Janice.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Cleo’s Big Ideas?

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An evening with Cleo wouldn’t be complete without her SETI enthusiast and deely-bopper loving friend Albert coming along too.  When Cleo moved into her new old house on Limbo Lane in the quiet town of Humble Albert was the only one who appreciated her big ideas. Even after her Turbo-twisting boomerang and kite launcher conked him in the head.

(Albert must be a very good friend after forgiving that encounter!)

Cleo’ s knack for inventions made from recycled whoosey-whatsis-doodads, and thing-a-ma-jigs, and Albert’s love of space and all its frontiers help to keep the two a good balance, as true friends are.

pointing

What else have you brought along and why?

solar

I’ve brought along one of Cleo’s and Albert’s favorite recipes, Solar S’mores to share. I hope you’ll try it, and I know if you do, you’ll like it!

(Looks like my kind of treat actually Janice!)

boomerang

And afterward if your readers want to learn something new Cleo can show them the steps it takes to chuck a boomerang.  Just remind them to duck!

(Er… Maybe we’ll try that later!) 

Thanks so much for staying in with me and telling me all about Cleo’s Big Ideas Janice. Cleo sounds like my kind of girl!

Cleo’s Big Ideas: One Thing Leads to Another

Cleos big ideas

Look out Humble, here comes Cleo. Cleopatra W. Darby’s ideas are big, and her inventions are out of this world. So when Cleo moves into her new old house in the country, the small town of Humble isn’t quite ready for her, especially Ms. Mason and her daughter Emmie. Cleo is worried that Humble just isn’t the place for her. All of her inventions have flopped since she’s arrived. But Mom, Dad, Albert, and Mrs. Swell believe in her, and Cleo is not one to give up. If she can’t find a friend, she’ll invent one. And after her invented friend, Hope, falls apart, Cleo is still able to save the day. After all, one good idea always leads to another.

Every chapter includes one of Cleo’s Do-it-yourself activities that you can try out, too!

Cleo’s Big Ideas: One Thing Leads to Another is available for purchase here.

About Janice Milusich

Janice

Janice Milusich is a published children’s book author. Her picture book Off Go Their Engines, Off Go Their Lights was published by Dutton. Her early chapter book, Cleo’s Big Ideas: One Thing Leads to Another, was published by Eifrig Publishing. She is a graduate of Stony Brook University’s Children’s Literature Fellowship. She is also a teacher for the blind and visually impaired presently working with visually impaired/blind students.

You can find out more by visiting Janice’s website.