#BookReview : The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert @mimi_albert @penguinrandom @NetGalley #PublicationDay

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I am so delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on “The Hazel Wood” by Melissa Albert, it is due for publication today and available in various formats.  Published by Penguin it can be purchased from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .

My Thoughts:

When you think of fairy tales it is often woods, wolves, castles, princes and princesses with a happy ever after.  The Hazel Wood is nothing like that, it contains fairy tales but they are darker with an underlying feeling of dread to them.  The reclusive and mysterious author Althea Prosperine published her only novel Tales of the Hinterland.  Her granddaughter Ella has never met Althea, never read the book, but is aware of it.  In fact not many have met Althea or even have a copy of the book.  Ella and her mum Alice have to move around a lot, they keep their heads down, always try to keep ahead of the bad luck that seems to shadow them.  This story is how Ella and the reader learns about The Hazel Wood, the book and the bad luck.

This is a brilliantly woven story using the basic premise of a fairy tales.  Twisting them into a dark and brooding journey for the reader.  As we follow Ella and Alice there are things that are seen out of the corner of an eye that gives feeling of the supernatural that have mysterious darker undertones, shadows that linger, people that don’t quite fit in, this all adds to a feeling of tense suspense.  As the story unfolds there are several twists that I didn’t expect, they are clever and make this an extremely addictive read. There are several characters in this story and they are easily remembered and play their parts well, they have good backstories, and while I didn’t like all the characters I found them intriguing.

Once I started this story I could not put it down, the descriptions give a vivid and imaginative picture.  I loved the style of the writing, at times it had the fairy tale feel you would expect, but also a darker much more intense feel that was far removed from fairy tales.  I would like to see follow on from this book as there were several characters that I would like to know more about, and some that left me with questions. But overall it has been beautifully put together and is one I would absolutely recommend.

So if you like a dark and twisty fantasy read that has some roots in magical fairy tales then this is a book for you.  It is a young adult read, that an older adult loved.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for my eARC of this wonderful book, my thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

You can visit the author in Twitter and also find all the links to purchase the books HERE

 

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this brilliant book 🙂 xx

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#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : Outremer by D.N.Carter : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 #BookReview #Blogtour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “Outremer” by D.N.Carter.  This book is available in hardback, paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis:

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.
The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

My Thoughts:

This is a huge book, not just in length, but also in detail, content, description, plot and research.  The research alone that has gone into this book is in itself vast.  If you want a book that takes you through the history of the Knights Templar and the events of the high middle ages then this is a must read.  Also included is a vast array of things relevant to the time and their connections through history, and includes Christianity, Muslims, Islam, Egyptology, symbolism, paganism, Arthurian Legend, folklore and astrology, this list only just scratches the surface. It is the first in a planned series of four books, and feels to be just the tip of the iceberg.  I am so excited about this upcoming series after reading this first instalment.

All of the above and more have been cleverly wrapped around the love story of Paul from a Christian family and Alisha from a Muslim one.  In theory these two families should be enemies,at the time of crusades when Muslim and Christian are at war.  But this is not the case, the families have been friends for many years, and respected by some of the highest ranking Grand Masters, but why is this information not available to all, and known only by a select few.   Paul and Alisha’s story is one that is destined to be. But one that some would like to wipe out, to stop and erase the bloodline. While we learn this story as it happens, we also meet an old man, he has a story and tells it at the local inn to a mixed background audience.  He tells the story of Paul and Alisha, but it is after it has happened, a few years later in fact.  The audience initially believe he is telling a tall tale, but there are things for some of the audience that ring true, and as he tells his tale he fills in the history.  Not just of the families but of all things from all ages and many countries, he has details of dates, people, places, events, and then religions, legends, myths and facts.  He has detailed documents to prove the information he gives.

I could write so much about this book, there is so much information in it, from various sources and backgrounds.  It is almost like reading a history lesson as it happens.  The descriptions for the settings and the people have been really well done.  I really like the way the two stories complement each other.  One as it happens, the other in the future. There are many characters in this story, the major players quickly become identifiable, and after a few appearances so do the smaller re-occurring players.

The historical content in this is huge, at times I did find myself overwhelmed by it, and at times I got confused by my lack of understanding.  But to be honest, the parts I found confusing didn’t take anything away from the story or my enjoyment of it. There are some very interesting elements in this, some of which have previously been brought up in Dan Brown books, there is a reference to his work in the bibliography, and not all of the theories in Brown’s books I understood either and yet still loved them.

So if you want a serious book about the high middle ages, and are ready for an amazing journey, then this is the book for you.  I would definitely recommend this to readers of Historical Fiction, readers of History and mention that it contains some historical romance.  It is a well researched, well presented and a real epic of a book.  I eagerly await the next instalment.

About the Author:

After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.                    Visit the author – Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 658 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (9 May 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911525255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911525257
  • Amazon UK

Check out the other brilliant books, dates, bloggers for

Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

12Days2017_Calendar

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

 

#BookTour : You’re Next by Michael Fowler : published by @caffeinenights : tour organised by @CarolineBookBit

You're Next - Michael Fowler - Book Cover

It is my pleasure to be part of the blog tour of “You’re Next ” by Michael Fowler, by

Caffeine Nights Publishing  on 9th November 2017 and is available in paperback.

 

Synopsis:

It is the opening day of Detective Sergeant Scarlett Macey’s biggest case of her life – ‘The Lycra Rapist’ is standing trial for a series of brutal rapes.

But things don’t go according to plan – the trial collapses – and James Green is freed.

Scarlett is determined his freedom will not last long and immediately begins planning his downfall.

Meanwhile James Green has his own plans for revenge, and driven by feelings of hatred begins to pick out those who brought about his downfall – priming them for the kill.

Scarlett has faced many villains in the past, but never one quite as terrifying as James Green…

My Thoughts:

D.S Scarlett Macey has been working on the case of “The Lycra Rapist” and it is now trial time, everything is all lined up ready for James Green to be locked up for his crimes.  Well that was the thought, but an unforeseen event leads to James being released.  Scarlett wants justice, and James wants revenge.

This story starts off running and does not let up, just as you start getting your head round one thing, it twists and something else is thrown in.  The plot has been very cleverly manipulated, twisted and convincingly developed.  It does not give an inch as far as guessing the plot goes. As I was reading I guessed at one thing and was so far off the mark. The good guys are really good, the bad guys are monsters!

Macey and her partner D.C Tarn Scarr are the two main detectives in this story, but add to that various other characters and you have a cast that is not massive, but just the right amount to add the variety and extra depth.  It is set in London and the descriptions the author gives are spot on.  One thing that really jumped out at me were the procedural details.  It was the little things and the comments that were added, it appeared to be written by someone who had a knowledge of policing.  After reading the book I checked out Michael’s bio, sure enough he was an ex-police officer, the added extras that he brought to the story from his own experiences really did show.

This is my first experience with this author, I can honestly say it will not be my last.  This is perfect for a reader who likes action packed, fast paced and a well written book with some good characters and deep well developed plots.  I found it to be an addictive page turner from start to finish, I read it in a day as I really could not put it down.  Perfect for Crime /Thriller / Mystery readers. I would highly recommend this book.

I would like to thank Caroline at Bits About Books for allowing me a spot on this tour.  Also many thanks to Michael Fowler and Caffeine Nights Publishing for my copy of this book.  My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Author Bio:

Michael Fowler Author Image

Following retirement, after thirty-two years as a police officer, working mainly as a detective, Michael returned to the deadly business of murder, as a writer. His past work brought him very close to some nasty characters, including psychopaths, and gruesome cases, and he draws on that experience to craft his novels: There is nothing gentle about Michael’s stories.

His landmark novel Heart of the Demon, published in 2012, introduced Detective Sergeant Hunter Kerr. Michael has since written five novels and a novella featuring Kerr. He also released the first DS Scarlett Macey book in 2016. Michael is also the author of a stand-alone crime novella and a true crime thriller.

Michael has another side to his life – a passion for art, and has found considerable success as an artist, receiving numerous artistic accolades. Currently, his oil paintings can be found in the galleries of Spencer Coleman Fine Arts.

He is a member of the Crime Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

Follow Michael on his Website.  To see all of Micheal’s books check out Caffeine Nights Publishing.

Book details:

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Caffeine Nights Publishing (9 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910720895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910720899

Order from :  Amazon UK  |  Amazon US

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

#BlogTour : Illusion by @StephanieElmas with @EndeavourPress #BookReview

Illusion blog tour promo

“Illusion” by Stephanie Elmas is available as a paperback and also eBook.  Published by Endeavour Press.

Synopsis:

London, 1873.

Returning home from his travels with a stowaway named Kayan, Walter Balanchine is noted for the charms, potions and locket hanging from his neck.

Finding his friend Tom Winter’s mother unwell, he gives her a potion he learned to brew in the Far East. Lucid and free from pain, the old woman remembers something about Walter’s mother.

Walter is intrigued, for he has never known his family or even his own name – he christened himself upon leaving the workhouse.

Living in a cemetery with his pet panther Sinbad to keep the body snatchers away, word soon spreads of his healing and magical abilities and he becomes a sought after party performer.

During one of Walter’s parties, Tom is approached by Tamara Huntington, who reveals she is being forced to marry a man she does not love.

Will he and Walter come to her rescue?

Try as they might, sometimes all the best intentions in the world can’t put a stop to a bad thing, and she is soon married off to the cruel Cecil Hearst.

Drama and tragedy ensue, and Walter keeps his distance from Tamara.

That is until her stricken brother-in-law Daniel requires his magical healing, and he is forced back into her life.

With secrets beginning to emerge, Walter finds his mother may be a lot closer to home than he realised…

Filled with mystery, magic and larger than life characters, Illusion will keep you guessing until the very last page. 

My Thoughts:

Set in London 1873 with Tom Winter as he catches up with old friend Walter Balanchine and his stowaway Kayan.  Walter has been away travelling in The East learning healing and magic.  Walter is asked to perform magic at a birthday party and that is where Tom first sets eyes on Tamara.  She is there with her mother and a man presumed to be her father, but is actually Cecil Hearst, her soon to be husband.  As the story progresses a picture is built up that delves into the lives and histories of the main cast of characters, a world of mystery, suspense and intrigue.

The characters of this story cover a good array of different traits, personalities and social backgrounds, rich, poor, feeble, heroic, manipulative and downright loathsome and evil.  You will soon work out which character fits with which trait, who you will want to cheer on and who you will despise.  Each has a very memorable personality making them easy to remember as the plot is explored.  The plot itself is deeply twisted with an air of tension and suspense, taking the reader through many subplots.  The story expresses the atmosphere of the era very well with some wonderful descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells.

I would recommend this book to readers of period fiction, mystery,that oozes atmosphere, suspense, mystery and intrigue.

About the Author:

Stephanie ElmasStephanie Elmas was born in Hong Kong to an English father and Czech mother but spent most of her childhood in Bristol, England UK. She studied English at university in London. She has worked as a head hunter, taught English in Japan and returned to university to complete a Masters in Victorian fiction. It was here that she developed her interest in the dark dangerous world of Victorian sensation writing. Stephanie now lives in a chaotic house in Surrey, England UK, with her husband and three highly energetic but wonderful children.

Author Links: Website  Twitter

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (2 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1549655175
  • ISBN-13: 978-1549655173
  • Amazon UK

Links for Endeavour

Website: www.endeavourpress.com

Twitter: @EndeavourPress

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourPress/

Instagram: @endeavour_press

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give it a share.

Better still, go and buy the book.

#BlogTour The Mercury Travel Club by @Helen_Bridgett with @RedDoorBooks @rararesources @gilbster1000

“The Mercury Travel Club” by Helen Bridgett.  Is available in paperback and eBook format.  Published by Red Door Publishing.

Synopsis:

He took her to dinner: that was annoying

He slept with her: that was hurtful

He bought new underwear to impress her: quite frankly astounding

He left me to bloody wash his FILTHY WHORING PANTS: INFURIATING!

After twenty-four years and eleven months of marriage, Angie Shepherd is divorced, dejected and facing a future of cardigans and cats. Best friend Patty is having none of it, and launches Angie into a variety of crazy schemes in search of her lost mojo.

But it s just not enough; what she really dreams of is beating her ex and becoming Entrepreneur of the Year. Channelling her inner Richard Branson, Angie invests her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, a travel agency with a twist. But as the club gets going, things don’t go according to plan, and in this digital age, a little chaos brings the recognition Angie’s been looking for.

Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good novel shows that it’s never too late for a second chance.

My Thoughts:

Angela is coming up for her 53rd birthday, she is divorced, in a starter home and feeling a little sorry for herself.  Her marriage ended after 24 years and 11 months, not even long enough to get her silver wedding anniversary.  Her 23-year-old daughter Zoe, wants her mum to move on, just as Zoe’s dad has.  Patty has been a friend to Angela for over 30 years and is of the same opinion as Zoe, but her ideas are not the same as Zoe’s.  During one night out, the girls are trending on you tube, much to Zoe’s disgust!

Essentially this is a story of a 50 something trying to find out who she is, and also so much more than that.  As Angela takes steps to moving on she starts to change, initially outwardly, it is far easier to change clothes, hair and make up.  After a while she starts to change on the inside, she decides she is going to be priority and starts to gain the confidence to put herself first.  What started as a little idea, has turned into a success.  Her little idea of a travel club is now reality, as is all the hard work of organising, attending talks, group visits and the whole shebang that goes with it.

This is a great book, it is light-hearted and heart-warming.  I am not a big reader of this style of book, but as I read this I had a smile on my face, and several times sniggered at the antics.  It has a great deal of well written little stories within the main story, sort of anecdotes of things that happen in the characters lives.  The characters are wonderful, diverse and well described.  The plot of the story I really enjoyed.  As I mentioned, a 50 something woman finding herself, or should I say finding herself in situations that she would never have considered herself in as a wife. It is a warm, cosy, snuggly read, with some wonderful characters and really well written.

I would recommend this book to readers of chic lit, who like a good light-hearted, heart warming, humorous read with some memorable characters.  I will be looking out for more books in this series.

I would like to say a big thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for bringing this book to my attention and allowing me a spot on the tour.  My thoughts here are my own and are unbiased.  I would also like to wish Helen all the best with this book and future books.

About the Author:

Helen Bridgett

Helen Bridgett was born in North-East England and now lives in Manchester having stopped off at a few places in between. Having failed miserably with every New Year’s resolution that involved giving up food or drink, one year, she set herself a completely different goal – to write a novel and give it as a Christmas present. The Mercury Travel Club was born and the characters took on a life of their own. Outside of writing, Helen loves hiking and wine – not usually at the same time.Helen is currently developing the next novels in The Mercury Travel Club series

Author Links: Website   Facebook    Twitter

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: RedDoor Publishing (16 Mar. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910453285
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910453285
  • Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share. 

Better still go and buy the book.

#Book Review : Living in Italy, The Real Deal by Stef Smulders @italie_verhalen

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“Living In Italy : The Real Deal” by Stef Smulders is available in paperback and eBook.

Synopsis:

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy? Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.

For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. And for those interested in practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy there is useful information along the way, pleasantly presented within the short stories.
Glossary of Italian words included! Learn the true meaning of Italian phrases and expressions like “non ci sono problemi“, “di fiducia“, “persone serie“, “tutto a norma” and many more. Learn a bit of the foreign language before going to Italy.
My Thoughts:
A while ago Stef asked me if I was interested in reading his book.  I was curious when I read the synopsis, of how Stef and Nico left The Netherlands to live in Italy running a B&B.  I had resisted the temptation to visit the website to see the before and after pictures, though I had seen a glimpse of them.  I wanted to read this book and build up my own image, from the descriptions Stef was going to describe on the pages of his book.
What started in 2007 with looking for a property to the end result of a beautiful home is remarkable, especially as you read all the hoops these two men went through to get to their dream.  All the rules and regulations seem to have been a minefield, with a lot of travelling between departments, authorities, bureaus, then there are the estate agent, owners, contractors and so many others.
2008/09 saw them in the property and as Italian residents, builders with extra unforeseen costs, weather, ground water and they still continued.  How Stef and Nico managed to remain calm and sane is remarkable.  Their patience was pushed to the limit, but they remained focused on their end goal.  They also started to build up a relationship with locals, going to see various attractions in the area.  They wanted to include a lists of places for their guests to visit.
I really liked this book, Stef has created a really great book of his  experiences.  He has the high points and the low points of the venture they embarked upon.  He has included a lot of Italian phrases and a very in-depth glossary, though as you read the phrases he has included meanings, it is very useful doing it this way as it saves flitting between glossary and story.  This is written in a very readable way, it kept me captivated from the beginning.  It is an account that is humorous at times and at others made me feel their anguish as they dealt with all the trials they went through.
So when I had finished the book I then went to look at their website ( you will find a link to this in the “About the Author” section below), and it is a beautiful house.  Did the descriptions I had read in the book match what I saw in the site ? Well yes they did actually, and I lost myself for a while looking and reading through the site.  I admit to being a little bit envious of their house, it is beautiful and in a gorgeous location.
I would recommend this book to readers who like to read about other people’s adventures in life, a non fiction, educational, reference guide to living in a different country.  It is well written, with great content and some weird and wonderful observations from Stef.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Stef for my copy of this book.  My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.
About the Author:
 7538348
 Dutchman who moved to Italy in 2008 to live the good life wih husband and dog, welcoming guests in their Villa I Due Padroni B&B in the beautiful wine region Oltrepò Pavese, south of Milan.

Author of the Award winning book “Living in Italy: the Real Deal” with hilarious expat adventures.

Book Details:
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 949.0 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Babelcube Inc. (5 Nov. 2017)
Many thanks for reading my post/  If you liked it, please give it a share. 
Better still, go and buy the book.

#BlogTour Dark Chapter by @winniemli with @Legend_Press #BookReview

 

I have read this book as part of the tour for this heartbreaking, emotional, inspiring book.  This book is available as paperback, hardback, eBook, audio-book and audio CD.

Synopsis:

An astonishing and unique novel inspired by the author’s own story

Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel.
Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.

On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence.

In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.

Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.

Praise for the Book:

Winner of The Guardian Not The Booker
Prize 2017

As covered by YOU Magazine, Daily Mail,
Daily Telegraph, The Times, Metro, The Weekender, The Stylist, Irish Sun, Irish
News, The Scotsman, Irish News, Books Ireland Magazine, BBC World Service, RTE
Radio, BBC Radio Ulster, London Live, The Pool, Crime Writers Association,
English PEN podcast.

STYLIST magazine Top 10 debuts to look out for in 2017

‘An important and moving book’ Cathy Rentzenbrink

‘Complex and rewarding… an important book’-Stylist

‘Dark Chapter is a must-read. It’s gripping, compelling and all the more authentic for inhabiting both voices so completely. Stunning.’ Erin Kelly

‘An authentic, courageous debut, told with unflinching honesty and exceptional insight.’ A.D. Garret

‘A powerful story, compassionately told.’Ros Barber, winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize and The Author’s Club First Novel Award

‘An accomplished debut, an honest and unsparing story.’ Cath Staincliffe

‘I have never found myself rooting for a heroine with more urgency’ Kate Rhodes

‘Deftly written, pacey and unflinching, I could not put it down. Winnie Li is a rare talent with an explosive and timely story. Do not miss it.’ Marti Leimbach, best-selling author of Dying Young and Daniel Isn’t Talking

Highly Commended for the CWA Debut Dagger

My Thoughts:

When I was approached by Imogen Harris at Legend Press to read this book and be part of a blog tour , I did not respond straight away, I thought about it first.  I am not a reader who likes to read about rape, so why would I want to read this? Then I read that it was based on a true story by the victim of this attack, it did make me re think.  I changed my mind because I wanted to support this lady, my way of offering my support is to read her book.  Her experience inspired the story.

So onto my thoughts regarding the story.  At first it was a little confusing, starting at the end, then jumping to the beginning. Then onto the  childhood of Vivian, living in America, her education and her love of travel  with her arrival to the UK.  At the same time as Vivian’s story we are told about Johnny, a teenager of Irish Travellers, his upbringing is very different and hard.  Once I had gone a few chapters into the book and understood the switching between characters, then I was well and truly hooked.

The book tells how two people come to be in one place at the same time.  How that meeting changed both of their lives.  What I found interesting was how the author had also incorporated the thoughts of both the victim and the attacker.  It gave a very deep and in-depth perspective.  Two views that are so opposite to each other.  The characters are different in their mannerisms, outlooks on life, their education, their everything.   The book, once I had got used to the style, was then set out in a very logical way.  It gives details up to the attack, the attack, the trial and also the after effects of the attack  As I read the section regarding the trial especially, I had a lump in my throat, just holding back the tears until the verdict was delivered.  At this point I had to put down the book, I could not see through my tears.  I was amazed at how caught up I had got in this story.

I found once I had started this book, it was very difficult to put down.  There are some uncomfortable reading moments as you would expect.   It has  an honesty that is heartbreaking, emotional and inspiring.  I would recommend this book to readers of contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, crime genres.

I wish to thank Imogen Harris and Legend Press for my copy of this book.  My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (1 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785079069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785079061
  • Amazon UK  Amazon US

About the Author:

IMG_9929 LR final.jpg

Winnie M Li is a writer and producer. A Harvard graduate, she has written for travel guide books, produced independent feature filmes, programmed for film festivals and developed ecotourism projects. After graduating with Distinction in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, she now writes across a range of media (including the Huffington Post), runs arts festivals, and is a PhD researcher at LSE. Winnie lives in London, yet is somewhat addicted to travel Follow Winnie on Twitter

 

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

#BlogBlitz Scream Blue Murder by @TonyJForder with @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 #BookReview

Tony J Forder - Scream Blue Murder_cover_1

“Scream Blue Murder” by Tony J Forder is available in eBook.  Published by Bloodhound Books.

Synopsis:

Mike Lynch is going through hard times. But things get much worse when he witnesses a murder in a lay-by. Snatching the victim’s car in order to get away, Mike soon makes a shocking discovery – the victim’s young daughter and her nanny are hiding in the rear footwell. This is when the real trouble begins.

Mike wants to go to the police, but the nanny, Melissa, wants to delay until the daughter, Charlie, is somewhere safe. Mike agrees to this request before finding out the seriousness of the situation, and just how much danger they are really in.

Who exactly was the man he saw murdered? And who is the man he saw pulling the trigger?

In a situation where nothing is what it seems, Mike will have to fight for his life to protect a woman and a child he doesn’t know. And when the death count rises, he will discover what kind of man he really is.

When you can’t identify the victim, how can you find the killer?

My thoughts:

When I was approached by Sarah to see if this would be a book I would like to read, I all but snapped her hand off.  A couple of months ago I read Degrees of Darkness (Amazon link) and when the offer of reading Scream Blue Murder came along, I have to admit to not reading the synopsis.  I went with the fact that I had read one book by this author and loved it, so would trust that he could deliver again. So as I read this one, I was not expecting to come out with so many what the hell’s, no way’s, bloody hell’s, and what the f.. well you get the idea.  I was also glad I read it on my kindle, if it had been in book format I would have lost my page so many times, as I threw my hands up in the air on several occasions.   I must quickly add at this point, all these exclamation are good ones,  I loved it so much.  I rated his last book as a 5 star on Amazon and Goodread’s, now want to know where the button is to add a 6 star review.

Anyway, to the story.  Mike Lynch has had a really bad day.  When you think of the phrase “wrong time, wrong place” this is Mike, he really was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He only pulled into a lay-by to stretch his legs, when he witnesses a murder, he sees one option, to jump into the waiting car and drive off.  The car is the victims car and he discovers it has two passengers hiding behind the seat, a young woman and a child, they add to the problems.  What follows is something much more than a problem, it becomes a matter of survival.

The author has managed to create an deeply intricate and twisted plot line.  There are so many stories and threads that have been manipulated to create a very fast paced, action packed, well written story.  There are quite a few characters  in this book, but the main focus is really on Mike and Melissa, how they work through to discover the why’s and the who’s of this murder.  As they get to know each other the reader is given a great background into their histories, and  what makes them tick, but more importantly the reasons behind their actions and reactions.

The author has not missed a beat with this book, well in my opinion he hasn’t.  He has covered so many angles, throwing so many curve balls, giving outcomes that I did not see coming at all, and when they were delivered it was without warning, with a punch.

Highly recommend this book to readers who like action packed, hard hitting, hold nothing back murder, mystery, thriller, crime books.  It has memorable characters, is addictive from start to finish, with great plots and twists and is well written.

I would like to thank Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my spot on the tour.  Also huge thanks to Tony for an amazingly brilliant read. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

Bloodhound-Author-Meet-89

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller Bad to the Bone, the first in a series featuring DI Jimmy Bliss and DC Penny Chandler. The second book in the series will be released in 2018, with a third currently in progress.

On 19 September 2017, Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This was intended to be a stand-alone novel, but Tony is now considering the possibility of a follow-up.

On 8 November, Bloodhound Books will publish Tony’s new fast-paced action thriller, Scream Blue Murder. This is the first novel in an intended series, and has received praise from both Mason Cross and Matt Hilton.

Some years ago, Tony won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books. The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale. It was the start of Tony’s publishing journey.

Tony is signed to Bloodhound Books for a minimum of four books, but believes there is much more to come.

Follow the author on Facebook  |  Twitter

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2387 KB
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (8 Nov. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Purchase from  Amazon UK

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#BookReview Three Days a Life by Pierre Lemaitre (author) Frank Wynne (translator) @maclehosepress @QuercusBooks

“Three Days a Life” by Pierre Lemaitre is available in various formats, though release dates for these are different.  Published by  Maclehose Press and Quercus Books

Synopsis:

In 1999, in the small provincial town of Beauval, France, twelve-year-old Antoine Courtin accidentally kills a young neighbor boy in the woods near his home. Panicked, he conceals the body and to his relief–and ongoing shame–he is never suspected of any connection to the child’s disappearance.
But the boy’s death continues to haunt him, shaping his life in unseen ways. More than a decade later, Antoine is living in Paris, now a young doctor with a fiancée and a promising future. On a rare trip home to the town he hates and fears, Antoine thoughtlessly sleeps with a beautiful young woman from his past. She shows up pregnant at his doorstep in Paris a few months later, insisting that they marry, but Antoine refuses.

Meanwhile, the newly discovered body of Antoine’s childhood victim means that the case has been reopened, and all of his old fears rush back. Then the young woman’s father threatens Antoine with a paternity test–which would almost certainly match the DNA found on the dead child’s body. Will Antoine finally be forced to confront his crime? And what is he prepared to do to keep his secrets buried in the past?

My Thoughts:

When I normally write-up a review, I like to start with my version of a synopsis, but only for the beginning of the story.  But after reading this book and then re-reading the summery prior to writing the review, I realised how much detail it already included, but it doesn’t take away from the story.  It is a story about the mental journey from 1999 to 2015.

This book is a noir fiction. it focuses on Antoine Coutin from the small French town of Beauval, and the way he deals with the accidental killing of a younger boy.  It is a very well laid out story from the outset.  The reader is introduced to the setting and the characters.  It discusses their relationships and dynamics within their various groups.  The first half of the book deals with 1999, the lead up to the death, the death itself and the thoughts of Antoine as he deals with what he has done.  His state of mind, what his first responses are, the way he thinks through the consequences and how thinks people look at him now. From then a leap forward to the year 2011, now older, Antoine’s state of mind as he has moved on, but how he still deals with occasional troubled thoughts and dreams.  Then another jump to 2015 to tell of where Antoine is and how he is still dealing with the event.  The setting has been very well described, the author has managed to build a very convincing visual image of the town, it’s surroundings and also the time of year. As each of these time jumps occur, the author has included a brief explanation of events as the story then continues.

I found this very different to a previous book by Lemaitre and was very surprised by the contrast in styles.  This is well laid out as it explains the way the main protagonist thinks.  It comes across as quite a subtle story, it is one that just gradually consumed me, the way that Lemaitre has very cleverly explored the way a 12-year-old may see the world, his thoughts, actions and consequences was very addictive reading.  I read this in one sitting, almost a novella sized book.  The story leads the reader and by the end was absorbed, but when the end arrives there is a sudden twist, that completely blindsided me.  Finishing this on a high.

I would recommend this to readers of noir fiction, of psychological fiction, as well as readers of general fiction, murder and mystery genres.

About the Author:

Pierre Lemaitre Pierre Lemaitre was born in Paris in 1951. He worked for many years as a teacher of literature before becoming a novelist.

He has won the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger three times, once alongside Fred Vargas, for “Alex”, and twice as sole winner for “Camille” and “The Great Swindle”. In 2013 “The Great Swindle” (published in French as “Au revoir là-haut”) won the Prix Goncourt, France’s leading literary award, and it will be released as a film in 2017.

In addition to his “Brigade Criminelle” novels starring Commandant Camille Verhoeven, Lemaitre writes standalone thrillers including “Blood Wedding” and the forthcoming “Three Days in a Life” and “Inhuman Resources”. “The Great Swindle” will be developed into a trilogy in the coming years.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (13 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085705662X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857056627
  • Amazon UK     Amazon US

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Better still go and buy the book.

 

#BookReview The Price of Silence by @D_GordonSmith published by @severnhouse via @NetGalley

“The Price of Silence” by Delores Gordon-Smith is available in hardback and also eBook.  Published by Severn House Publishers and available for purchase.

Synopsis:

A thrilling World War One spy story from the author of the acclaimed Jack Haldean series.

Working for the British Government as a secret agent, Anthony Brooke wants to expose the people responsible for blackmailing innocent people and gruesome murders. But when the gang plots a kidnap, Anthony finds himself in the race to reach the little girl before they do. However, Milly will not be easy to retrieve, for she is in a Belgian convent, in German-occupied territory.

To rescue her, Anthony must go behind enemy lines, crawl under the wire, face ruthless German guards and break into a convent. But, even if he can save her, what possible use could an orphan girl be to a violent gang? Anthony must find out soon, as countless more lives than just the little girl’s are in danger…

This is Dolores Gordon-Smith’s tribute to John Buchan and the Thirty Nine Steps, now celebrating its centenary. All references and similarities are intentional.

My Thoughts:

A story set in London in the main during World War I.  Anthony Brooke is recruited to work for the British Intelligence Service.  What begins as a murder enquiry takes a decidedly nasty turn, as a viscous blackmail plot is uncovered, as well as kidnapping.  A perilous trip into Belgium to gather more information leads to more questions than answers.

A very enjoyable murder / mystery read, with the back drop of WWI.  It includes mentions of how lives have been changed, the living conditions, the economic climate and the suffering, not just here but also in Europe and especially in Belgium.  This was a section I found really interesting, how the lives of people are touched by war.  As women are leaving paid service as maids, cooks, cleaners etc to work in factories, particularly the munitions factories, it show the change in the social side of the country.  Better wages for factory jobs, also better working hours with more time off.  This is not the view of all, the old stalwarts who remain in service see this as a lack of respect and loyalty.

The plot has been cleverly thought out and put together and twisted around actual historical figures and events, the author has let her imagination well in this respect.  It has a very convincing and mysterious plot with many twists and turns. I did like the characters and found them memorable quickly, even when the plot caused them to change their names for undercover work.  It is set at a very good pace than is consistent throughout.  The descriptions of settings had been executed to a good standard giving  a good insight into the various locations.

 

As I read this I had a sense of Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings in Anthony Brooke, not exactly the same but similar in some instances.  It also had a similar feel and structure to it, and came across as very logical, a sleuthing mystery.  I did see that this is the authors tribute to John Buchan’s;  39 Steps, but it was many years ago that I read that book, so I cannot comment on this.

I would recommend this book to readers who like a period crime / mystery read.  Some good historical elements, characters, plot and well written.  This is my first meeting with this author and it will not be my last.

I wish to express my thanks to Severn House Publishing, Delores Gordon-Smith and NetGalley for approving my copy of this eARC.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

 

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd; First World Publication ed. edition (10 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727887262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727887269
  • Amazon UK
  • Amazon US

About The Author:

I live in a small town near Manchester with my husband, five children, three cats and two dogs. I’ve always been fascinated by the Twenties.

The four years of the First World War had ripped away the old securities and expectations and, when it was over, things were never the same again. Everything changed, from politics to fashions. Skirts rose to the knee and women cropped, bobbed or shingled their hair. Music took a new direction; listen to the clarinet solo of Rhapsody in Blue, the urbane, polished sophistication of Cole Porter and Noel Coward, the wistful longing of Jerome Kern and the “crazy rhythm” of Jazz.

Popular fiction (Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy L. Sayers are three of my favourites) reflected the new age. The classic detective story, where an ordered world is plunged into chaos and then re-invented, is the perfect vehicle to celebrate the energy of this brave new world.

Follow the author on Twitter  Website

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