#BookReview : Watch Me by Jody Gehrman @jodygehrman @StMartinsPress @NetGalley : #PublicationDayReview

I am delighted to be sharing “Watch Me” by Jody Gehrman.  The lovely people at St Martin’s Press allowed me an eARC of this book via NetGalley.  It is available from today in hardback and eBook and 1st Feb for the paperback on Amazon UK there is a slight difference on the formats released on Amazon US.

Synopsis:

For fans of dark and twisty psychological thrillers, Watch Me is a riveting novel of suspense about how far obsession can go.

Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.

Except one.

Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.

As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?

A gripping novel exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction, Jody Gehrman introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all.

My Thoughts:

Kate, divorced, teaches creative writing.  She had success with her debut novel but following that one up with another is a bit more challenging.  She is a thirty something who is stuck in a rut and is feeling invisible.  When Sam, a student shows a little more respect, is civil and more attentive than others, Kate pays attention.  She is aware of the teacher-student boundary and does not want to cross the line as her job, career and reputation.  She likes Sam, but doesn’t realise his actions have all been meticulously planned by Sam, her star pupil.

This is an intriguing as well as an enjoyable creepy psychological thriller.  Creepy and enjoyable are not words I would normally associate, but they work for this book.  Told in quick alternating chapters from the viewpoint of the two main protagonists Kate and Sam.  To be in the head of Sam is quite an interesting perspective and also insightful as he sees no problem with what he is doing. It is quite bizarre thing to admit, but I did actually like his character and felt quite sorry for him.  Jody has done a great job creating quite a complex character with obsessive traits, but also explaining the reasoning behind his actions from his perspective.  Kate however I didn’t warm to as much as I thought I would, she felt a little whiny.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like her, but I think as Sam is such a strong character, that Kate felt a little weak in comparison.

The plot itself is basic in some respects, but has been wonderfully developed with some good twists and unexpected turns.  Its pacing gradually speeds as the story unfolds, but on occasions I did feel that some descriptions were a little long, but that could be me being impatient and greedy in wanting to know what was happening with the characters.

This is a book that I found enjoyable, creepy and had a good feeling of believability to it.  Ideal for those who like a good suspense psychological thriller and one that I would recommend.  I would like to thank St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and unbiased.

About the Author:

Jody Gehrman Jody Gehrman is a pagan at heart. She is a native of Northern California, where real witches thrive, and she has had the pleasure of knowing a few. She is also the author of seven novels and numerous award-winning plays. Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft is her most recent Young Adult novel. Her other Young Adult novels include Babe in Boyland, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, and Triple Shot Bettys in Love, (Penguin’s Dial Books). Babe in Boyland has recently been optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award. Her adult novels are Notes from the Backseat, Tart, and Summer in the Land of Skin (Red Dress Ink). Her plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She is a professor of English at Mendocino College, where she can be found grading papers when she’s not experimenting with spells.

You can follow Jody on Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website 

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Better still, go and buy a copy of this book xx

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#BookReview : The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman @ellisshuman

The Burgas Affair by [Shuman, Ellis]

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on “The Burgas Affair” by Ellis Shuman.  It is available as an ebook from Amazon UK and Amazon US.  I was offered this book via the author and I was happy to accept an eARC of it. My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.

In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment.

The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.

It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.

Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.

Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.

The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.

My Thoughts:

Ellis has used real life events of the bombing of a bus at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria as the basis of his story.  He has used his unique knowledge and experiences to add extra dimensions to his story.

This story begins with the bombing, it is hard to read but, as I mentioned it is based on truth.  The bus has Israeli passengers at the Burgas airport. Ellis has not glorified the event.  A Bulgarian-Israeli joint investigation is organised, this is where we meet our Bulgarian detective Boyko, “this is what everyone calls him”, and also Israeli translator Ayala.  From the outset I loved Boyko’s as a character, he is a chauvinistic arse, but also has a little bit of lovable roguishness about him, and as the story progresses things about him change, his mask slips and we see a slightly different side to him.  But his past is about to rear its ugly head, secrets never stay secrets forever.  Ayala has her own story, and her story is one I imagine is unfortunately quite a common one for many.  Working together means working on building up a measure of trust and understanding between the two of them.

The story of the investigation techniques and differences in how things are done was interesting, as well as the attitudes between the two nationalities as they are part of a joint investigating team.  Adding into that both Boyko and Ayala back stories and blending the past and present was done very well.  There was a good amount of Bulgarian and also Israeli extras included, words, food and also the odd custom and tradition.  This was part of the Boyko and Ayala storyline, so fitted in well as they learnt about each other.

Overall a book that starts very dramatically, that then twists and turns its way through several themes.  It was a very insightful read with good attention to details, and a lot of little added extras that the author has used to create a dramatic, exciting edge of the seat read.  A real page turner from start to finish and one I would definitely recommend.  Ideal for readers of crime, thriller with good amount of action, adventure.  I also want to mention how after reading this book, that the cover is a perfect accompaniment.

About the Author:

Ellis Shuman Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army’s Nahal branch. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava Valley in Israel’s south. On the kibbutz he worked in agriculture, industry, tourism, the dairy barn, and served as the kibbutz’s general secretary. After moving with his wife and three young children to Moshav Neve Ilan in the Judean Hills, Ellis received formal training in the hotel industry. He worked in a variety of positions at the Neve Ilan Hotel and later was Food and Beverage Controller at the Jerusalem Hilton. He served as the moshav’s general secretary during a period in which the community underwent major social changes. As a hobby, Ellis began writing on the Internet. He wrote extensively about life in Israel in his position as the Israeli Culture Guide at About.com. He designed and maintained websites for the Neve Ilan Hotel and for Indic–Independent Israeli Cinema. For two years he was webmaster for Yazam, an international financial firm that provided support for technological start-ups. Ellis served for three years as Editor in Chief of Israel Insider, an online daily newsmagazine that developed new technologies as it posted the latest news and views, from and about Israel. Starting in 2004, Ellis began working in a marketing company servicing the online gaming industry. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. During those years, Ellis and Jodie traveled extensively in Bulgaria as well as in the countries of the region. Today Ellis continues working at this job, based in Ramat Gan.

Follow Ellis on Twitter  or on his Website

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy a copy of this book xx

#BlogTour : What She Left by Rosie Fiore @rosiefiore with @rararesources #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “What She Left” by Rosie Fiore.  I would like to express my thanks to Rosie and also Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

What would make you walk away from your life, your family and friends, in search of a completel fresh start?

Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She’s beautiful, accomplished, organised – the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.

But Helen wasn’t abducted or murdered. She’s chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.

Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions, and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.

He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He’s losing control.

But then one day, it really is Helen’s face he sees…

My Thoughts:

When Helen, the perfect wife, mother, organiser and school event planner supreme disappears, her husband Sam is in understandable turmoil.  But his world is torn even further when he is told she is alive, well and has simply walked out on him.  I use the simply very loosely here, as you soon discover that there is nothing simple about the way this has been done or why.

Rosie has thought this story through very well, she has given views from different characters.  Sam, Lara a friend of Helen’s, Miranda the eldest daughter and then later on Helen herself.  It has given the reader thoughts, feelings, views, perspectives, opinions and emotions from various angles, I like this style of writing when it is done well, it gives you a much bigger and more in-depth idea of the characters and the plot. My opinions of the characters changed as the story revealed its secrets, sometimes feeling sorry, then angry and frustrated and by the time I had finished the story, my opinion had changed again.

This is a book I got into very quickly and kept a grip on me right through to the end.  By the end of the book I had discovered secrets, past histories and missed opportunities. With a chance for new ventures and new beginnings, and Rosie has pulled together to make a real cracking read.

This is a book that I would recommend to readers who like literary fiction and women’s fiction genres.  That like a well written, multi point of view read that looks at family dynamics and lifestyle changes

About the Author:

What She Left Author Pic

Rosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market. She has lived in London for the past fifteen years. Her first novel, This Year’s Black, was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award. After Isabella was her most recent novel. Rosie also writes under the name Cass Hunter.

Follow Rosie on Twitter ~ Facebook

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See what other readers thought of the book 

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Or better still, go and buy the book xx

#BlogTour :Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict : @Netgalley @Sourcebooks

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 “Carnegie’s Maid” by Marie Benedict. 

Published by Source Books Landmark.  This book is available in various formats and is available to purchase from Amazon US .  I received an eARC via NetGalley of this book.  My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty.

Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.

If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future — and her family’s.

With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist..

My Thoughts:

Clara Kelly steps of the boat Envy, from Ireland and now emigrating to America.  A woman of the same name and from the same area of Ireland is also expected, our Clara takes the initiative and travels to Pittsburgh to become a Lady’s maid to Mrs. Carnegie, mother to Andrew a business man who will go on to become the wealthiest man in the world.

While the initial premise of this book sounds great, I did find that the idea of a Irish farmers daughter being able to pull off the skilled role of a lady’s maid somewhat unbelievable, but I actually put that aside and just enjoyed the story, this was quite interesting.  Clara spends a lot of time with her employer and builds up a friendship with her son.  I found a lot of details on the Carnegie family that I was unaware of in this book.  I didn’t know much about the family before I started this story, but by the end I found a huge amount of detail had been added as part of the story.  It did spark an interest and I found myself reading further on the internet, so I can also now add that the author has done her research well.

So, as well as the research and information given on the Carnegies, there were also some other nice details for social etiquette and status of the time especially when on a visit to New York.  The characters of Clara, Andrew and Mrs. Carnegie have been developed very well.  This book has a nice steady pace, and has some inclusion of famous historical events that help keep the feel of the era it is set in.

This is a good read that would appeal to readers of historical fiction, American History with social and economic elements from 1860’s America and Ireland included.  I did feel there were some discrepancies with the way Clara could have got this job, but I read this as more of a fiction book than a historically accurate fictionalised one.

About the Author:

B1rrvouIrFS._SY200_Once a New York City lawyer, Marie Benedict had long dreamed about a fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of the past as an archaeologist or historian — before she tried her hand at writing. While drafting her first book, she realized that she could excavate the possible truths lurking in history through fiction, and has done so in THE OTHER EINSTEIN, the story of Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein’s first wife and a physicist herself. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also authored The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, and lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (January 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149264661X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492646617

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy this book xx

 

#BlogTour : The Second Cup by @SarahMarieGraye with @rararesources #Giveaway #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts and also being part of the blog tour for “The Second Cup” by Sarah Marie Graye.  Tour organiser is Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources.  This book is available in paperback and eBook.

Universal Purchase Linkhttps://mybook.to/SecondCup

Synopsis:

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.

Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.

With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

My Thoughts:

From the synopsis we are told this book is about a suicide, the devastation it causes to those left behind.  How a group of friends have lived their lives before and since the event.  But for me it is more than the suicide, and please don’t for a moment think I am playing that down and being disrespectful when I say this.  The suicide is part of the story, but I feel the story is more than that.

The story is told from five viewpoints, they each explain their lives from childhood, to University and beyond.  They all seem to have something that is missing from their lives, it is like a void.  They are fragile but they have strength, support and the bond of friendship that keep them moving forward.  Sarah has explored this aspect very well and the message I seem to be seeing is, if people really expressed their thoughts and feelings to those concerned it could make a difference.  Sometimes you cannot see what you have got in life to be thankful for, sometimes it is staring you in the face, other times it has always been there and you have never noticed until it is no longer there.

This story did take me a while to get into, but once I had met the five characters and understood their role within the group it was all good.  It was an intruding and quite deep and dark at times and Sarah has done a great job of giving each several different traits that make them recognisable as you read.  In having many POV’s you are given a much fuller picture of the story as well as their thoughts and feeling to each other.

I have a feeling this is a book that different readers will take different things from, I think there are elements from characters that some readers will identify with.  I will mention that there are mentions in this of unhappy childhoods, depression and then also the suicide.  This may be a trigger for some readers, but for me I thought Sarah handled them well.  If you read Sarah’s bio you will see she has experience of depression and I think this is what makes this story a believable one.

This is one I would definitely recommend to readers of Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction,  who like a slower paced, multi character lead read, that is well written and an emotionally deep and well thought out book.

I wish to express my thanks to Rachel and Sarah for inviting me onto the tour for this book.  My views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.  I would also like to wish Sarah all the very best with her writing and this book xx

About the Author:

SarahMarieGraye

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression.

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision.

Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel – about family, friendships and mental health.

Follow Sarah on Twitter.

GIVEAWAY

Sarah has an International Giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 3 signed copies of her book.  To enter please follow the link and ⇒ Click Here

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Many thanks for reading my post.   If you liked it please give it a share.  Better still go and buy a copy of the book xx

~BookReview : The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri @_PankajGiri

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I am delighted to be sharing “The Fragile Thread of Hope” by Pankaj Giri. Available to purchase in eBook format.

Synopsis:

A gripping emotional inspirational fiction about love, loss, and finding hope in the darkest of times.

In the autumn of 2012, destiny wreaks havoc on two unsuspecting people—Soham and Fiona.

Although his devastating past involving his brother still haunted him, Soham had established a promising career for himself in Bangalore.

After a difficult childhood, Fiona’s fortunes had finally taken a turn for the better. She had married her beloved, and her life was as perfect as she had ever imagined it to be.

But when tragedy strikes them yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart.

Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief?

Will the overwhelming pain destroy their lives?

Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of family relationships.

Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder—does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

My Thoughts:

This is a stunning and also a bit of an emotional roller coaster of a read.  We are taken into the lives and families of Fiona and Soham.  The start of the story is as an accident occurs, then it goes back in time. We meet the two main characters, to each other they are strangers, but we are told of their childhoods, experiences and memories as they progress through their lives.

Yes it’s a story about growing up with a religious and inspirational aspect to it.  I will be the first to admit that this is not something I would actively seek out to read.  But I was asked if I wanted to read this book  by the author, I checked out the reviews and was intrigued by what I read.  Now after reading the story myself, I am so glad I accepted to give this story a chance.

Pankaj has taken the characters and created a story around them, it is beautifully written even though they have experiences and events in their lives that are heartbreaking and indeed does show how fragile life is.  I started the book, a few hours later I had finished it, I cannot say when or where I found myself avidly turning each page, it just happened. It was like being immersed or cocooned in the world that Pankaj had opened up.

Each character suffers personal tragedy in their lives, we experience their desolation, thoughts, emotions and agonies as well as hearing inspirational insights of help and advice from those around them.  The way Pankaj has beautifully written and explained everything is what makes this special and also impossible to leave.

This is a book I think would appeal to readers of literary fiction, with romance, inspiration and religious aspects.  It is a beautifully crafted story that I absolutely loved and would highly recommend.

My thanks go to Pankaj for suggesting this book to me.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

61h2u3csJqL._SY200_ Pankaj Giri was born and brought up in Gangtok, Sikkim—a picturesque hill station in India. He began his writing career in 2015 by co-authoring a book—Friendship Love and Killer Escapades (FLAKE). Learning from experience and the constructive criticism that he got for his first book, he has now written a new novel—The Fragile Thread of Hope, a mainstream literary fiction dealing with love, loss, and family relationships. He is currently working in the government sector in Sikkim. He likes to kill time by listening to progressive metal music and watching cricket.

Book Details:

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#BlogTour : Standstill by J. A. Marley @jamarleybooks @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

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I an delighted to be part of the blog tour to share my thoughts on “Standstill” by J.A. Marley is available as a paperback and also eBook, published by Bloodhound Books.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (21 Dec. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1912175878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912175871
  • Available from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Even the deadliest criminals leave a trail…

When a psychotic policeman drags the young, ambitious thief, Danny Felix out of bed, he could not imagine he was about to be plunged into the robbery of a lifetime.
Corruption and coercion follow the corrupt Detective Inspector Harkness everywhere he goes and now he has Danny just where he wants him.

But Harkness isn’t the only officer with Danny in his sights. Christine Chance is getting closer to him while doing her best to be a mother to her seriously ill daughter.

Can Danny escape Harkness with his life intact? Can he avoid detection by Chance?

And does he have what it takes to use the streets of modern-day London to pull off the theft of the 21st Century?

Danny thinks he can…but there will be bloodshed. 

My Thoughts:

Danny Felix is a thief, he is a good thief.  But when dirty cop D.I. Harkness raids his flat and doesn’t give him a choice but to work for him, Danny realises he is on uncertain ground.  Danny knows in his gut that working for a dirty cop is not going to be a good relationship.  Add into this story a flying squad officer Christine Chance, she is torn between work and her critically ill daughter. Christine has had a great lead and result on a crime, but when more information comes forward regarding other crimes, she also has a feeling that doesn’t quite sit right.

This took me a while to get into, I think is was the quick chapters and the way they flitted between characters, also the quick introduction to the characters.  But as I started to get a feel for the story things began to fall into place and things started to make sense.  The pacing of the story was one of those that gradually builds as you progress through.  The plot itself was really good, transported into the murky underworld of crime and its associates, corruption, good cop ‘v’ bad cop and blackmail.  I did have a slight issue with the story of Christine and her daughter though, I had trouble believing that she would leave the bedside of her critically ill daughter to go to work. It was the only part of the story that I just didn’t feel right about, the rest of the story I was completely fine with.  As for the rest of the story. The main characters themselves are very varied, with different  outlooks and expectations on life, for some past deeds come back to haunt them.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it was a very well thought out and executed plot, some great characters and twists.  If you like action, adventure, crime, corruption and police drama reads, then this is one that I would recommend.

My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join this blog tour.  My views are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

John Marley, 27April2016, photographer Bronac McNeill

 

John A. Marley’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages…their names were Butch and Dutch and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast.  A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

 

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read even though he knew they were meant for adults and not kids. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace.

 

These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop. 

 

John A. Marley is also a TV producer with a proven track record in creating and producing distinctive, original entertainment and factual programming and formats for both a UK and international audience. His eclectic portfolio of high-profile shows include Britain’s Ultimate Pilots: Inside the RAFBritain’s Flying PastStaraokeBest of FriendsSkatoonyNoel’s House PartyThrough the KeyholeSMTV:Live/CD:UKHow Euro Are You? and live coverage of “The Oscars” with Barry Norman.

 

John runs his own production company Archie Productions which he launched in 2008. Prior to setting up his own indie, John enjoyed a wide and varied career in television with creative roles at Talent Television, Planet 24, Carlton Television and Walt Disney UK. John’s broadcast media career started in his native Northern Ireland as a radio host.

 

Follow John on Twitter or his Website

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it please give a share.  Or better still , go and get yourself a copy of this book xx

In Search of Mary Shelley – The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Fiona Sampson @NetGalley

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“In Search of Mary Shelley – The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein” by Fiona Sampson is available in Hardback and eBook. Published on 4th Jan by Serpent’s Tail / Profile Books.

Synopsis:

We know the facts of Mary Shelley’s life in some detail—the death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, within days of her birth; the upbringing in the house of her father, William Godwin, in a house full of radical thinkers, poets, philosophers, and writers; her elopement, at the age of seventeen, with Percy Shelley; the years of peripatetic travel across Europe that followed. But there has been no literary biography written this century, and previous books have ignored the real person—what she actually thought and felt and why she did what she did—despite the fact that Mary and her group of second-generation Romantics were extremely interested in the psychological aspect of life.

In this probing narrative, Fiona Sampson pursues Mary Shelley through her turbulent life, much as Victor Frankenstein tracked his monster across the arctic wastes. Sampson has written a book that finally answers the question of how it was that a nineteen-year-old came to write a novel so dark, mysterious, anguished, and psychologically astute that it continues to resonate two centuries later. No previous biographer has ever truly considered this question, let alone answered it.

My Thoughts:

Fiona Sampson takes a look at the woman who was the force behind one of literature’s classic books, Frankenstein is a title recognised around the world.  It has been dissected and discussed numerous times, but what about its creator.

Mary Shelley wrote this book at the age of 18, two years after her marriage to Percy Shelley, she was at the time considered to be an intellectual thinker.  This is a time when women are seen as an object or a piece of the furniture, not to have opinions or views that are meaningful.

Fiona has, I feel, done her research well using a number of documents, journals and letters to build up a picture of this young woman’s life.  She has created an in-depth narrative that has an easy flow to it and makes for good reading, it is insightful and full of details.

This is a wonderful read that would appeal to readers of biographies and memoirs of literary greats.  It has the air of a well researched book, is well written and presented.  My first time reading any work by this author, I may have to look at reading more.

I received my copy for my honest and unbiased opinion via NetGalley and the publishers, my thanks to them for this opportunity.

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#BookReview : The Book of Dust – Volume One – La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

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This is a book I have been looking forward to reading for a while now.  I decided it was going to be my New Years Eve read.  Phillip Pullman’s “The Book of Dust” volume #1 La Belle Sauvage, published by Penguin Random House and David Fickling Books.  It is avaialble in a variety of formats,

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books; 01 edition (19 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385604416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385604413

Synopsis:

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .

 

My Thoughts:

It was an absolute delight to be going back to Pullman’s version of Oxford, to a time before His Dark Materials trilogy.  This book begins when Lyra and her daemon Pan are babies and how Malcolm and his daemon Astra meet Lyra and Pan for the first time.

Beginning in Oxford; we meet Malcolm and Astra, he is the son of The Trout Inn owners.  He helps out there and also at the nearby priory of Godstow doing odd jobs and chores for the nuns.  It is also when the authorities start to show themselves. There are several secret organisations that have their own motives and Malcolm is soon caught up in the middle of them.  A surprising the change in the weather leads to some dangerous and surprising twists that will take us on a journey down the Thames.

This is a book that I was eager to read and I wasn’t disappointed.  It was one of those books I knew I was going to love even before I started it.  It starts slowly as the story is set and the various backstories and introductions to the characters are made, then it gradually speeds up as the plot is unravelled and unveiled.  The characters are a real mixed bag of the good, bad and ugly, new characters mingled in with some old ones and the villains are indeed villainous.  Pullman has retained the air of mystery around the intentions of characters, you never know who is to be truly trusted and I love this aspect. The plot has, as you would expect, been very well-developed and has a good amount of twists that I am sure will continue into the next book and beyond.

So did this book live up to my prior expectations? Hell yes and then some, it is Phillip Pullman, it is part of Lyra’s story so what is not to love.  Now comes the agonising wait for the next book 😦

If you have read His Dark Materials you will love this book.  It is a highly recommended read from me xx

I have a hardback copy of this book, I always take off the dust jacket when I read one so I don’t damage it.  Look was hidden underneath it

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About the Author:

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Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it please give it a share, also go and buy yourself a copy of this fabulous book 🙂 xx

#BlogTour : Divine Poison by AB Morgan @AliMorgan2304 : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

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“Divine Poison” by AB Morgan is available in paperback and also eBook format.  Published by Bloodhound Books UK.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (21 Dec. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 191217586X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912175864
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Are you looking for a stunning new crime mystery full of suspense? Then you’ll love AB Morgan’s unmissable Divine Poison.

For a community psychiatric nurse, Monica Morris has an unhealthy interest in poison, and when, on impulse, she buys an antique Ship’s Doctor’s Cabinet with a set of leather-bound journals she becomes fascinated by the content.

A few days later, she discovers the body of her patient, Jan Collins, and although police assume suicide by overdose, Monica is not convinced.

When more unexplained deaths involving poisoning occur, Monica realises they are linked and so does DS Adams who is investigating. But how are they connected? And why?

When it becomes obvious that she’s unwittingly stepped into a trap set for someone else, Monica’s career, her own sanity and her life are placed at risk. But where can she turn to for help?

My Thoughts:

When Monica return from holiday and checks on one of her patients Jan Collins, the last thing she expects is to discover Jan’s body.  Jan had previous mental health problems, but Monica did not expect Jan to commit suicide.  Things don’t feel right and Monica starts to look into events, it soon becomes obvious that she is not sure who she can trust.

The story in this book is quite relevant to things that have been in the news and AB Morgan has used this to create a story that has more of an old sleuthing style feel to it.  In someways this is how Monica and her band of friends seem to tackle their enquiries.  This is a very different read to her previous book “A Justifiable Madness”, this is slower paced and then builds up as it progresses.

The author has injected little bits of humour into this story by way of characters dialogue and I found this quite amusing.  It is a mix of a professional working woman who is not happy with the way the health system can fail those who have mental health problems, also a woman who uses her family to help work out a professional problem.

This is an interesting read that I devoured in two sittings.  I think it would appeal to readers who like a crime, mystery with a female lead character.  It has elements of mental health practices and also some of the down sides to community health care.  Again AB Morgan has used her own career experiences to add her own unique style to this story.

My thanks to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound books for my eARC of this book.  My views are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

unnamed.pngAlison Morgan lives in North Bedfordshire, with her husband and slightly potty dog, their adult children have long since run away in embarrassment, determined to live normal lives (whatever normal is …)

Nurse turned writer, Alison has 30 years of experience in the NHS, mostly spent at the sharp end of mental health nursing where she specialised in psychosis, and pushed herself to achieve a Masters Degree in Advanced Practice. With burnout fast approaching, an unexpected illness challenge forced her to sit down for longer than five minutes. She set about writing a clinical guideline for nurses but became distracted by a story in her head which would not be denied.
Could she write a book? She had no idea. She could write academic assignments and a dissertation, so why not?

Her debut novel A Justifiable Madness, published by Bloodhound Books, is inspired by her life and career as a psychiatric nurse, and her fascination with the extremes of human behaviour. Her second novel Divine Poison is due for publication in January 2018, and her third novel, The Camera Lies also published by Bloodhound Books, will be available on Amazon in February 2018.

She may not be able to climb real mountains anymore but she isn’t afraid to stick two fingers up to convention. Growing older and not being as fit as she used to be is no excuse for being dull. Alison is now the proud owner of a full motorcycle licence! Broooooom. Bikes and books. Why not?

 

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it then please give it a share.  Better still, go and grab a copy of this book xx