#BookReview : The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements @KL_Clements @headlinepg @NetGalley

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Today I have a ghost story set on the eerie Yorkshire Moors.  The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements is available in various formats from Amazon UK.  My thanks to NetGalley and Headline Publishing Group for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

An eerie and compelling ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of The Witchfinder’s Sister or The Silent Companions, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.

‘Spine-tingling… the scariest ghost story I have read in a long time’ Barbara Erskine

‘Brooding and full of creeping menace’ Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions 

‘Like something from Emily Bronte’s nightmares’ Andrew Taylor, author of The Ashes of London

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

My Thoughts:

Set in the 17th century on the eerie Yorkshire Moors. Meet Mercy, she lives with her father Bartram Booth and Agnes in Scarcross Hall.  They are in the heart of the sheep community and part of a close-knit of herders, shepherds and locals. But when a stranger appears looking for work, is it coincidence that things take on a turn that boarders on creepy maybe even supernatural.

The descriptions given of the contrasts that can be experienced on the moors have been vividly told, they paint a beautiful and bleak image.  She has explored the deeply rooted sense of community. But when uncertainty mixed with fear is in the air then self-preservation is utmost priority, woe betide anyone getting on the wrong side of community spirit. Fear is something that lurks in the minds of some, makes them think of things from the past, it creeps into the heads and when things go missing, noises are heard and items are moved the feeling that something more is going on.

The plot itself is a good suspense filled one, it paints the bleak, rugged and dangerous moors as a backdrop for a more intense feeling.  I was never quite sure who or what was the cause, but by the end I felt quite satisfied that my questions and thoughts had been answered.  Mercy is a hard but likeable character, the epitomizes the strength required to work, a woman in a man’s world, doing a man’s job, just as good as any man as well.  She is a powerful character, and there were times that she did have more of a feminine side.

I thought this was a great read, it has the eerie suspense of evil that chitters away in the background, occasionally raising its head to remind you of its presence. It is atmospheric and has a beautiful description of the moors and surrounding areas.  This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction, suspense and in my opinion only a hint of horror.

About the Author:

81NpCsnHasL._SY200_  Katherine Clements is a critically acclaimed historical novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, The Crimson Ribbon, was published in 2014 and her second, The Silvered Heart, in 2015. Both works are set in the seventeenth century and centre on the events and aftermath of English Civil War. Her work has been compared to the likes of Sarah Waters and Daphne du Maurier. Her third novel, The Coffin Path, will be published in February 2018.

Katherine is editor of Historia, the online magazine of the Historical Writers’ Association, and is a member of the HWA committee. She writes for various blogs and websites and particularly enjoys reviewing historical drama on film and TV. She is based in Manchester where she is currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Manchester University, and is working on her next novel.

Visit Katherine online at http://www.katherineclements.co.uk or find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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

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#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

 

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#BookReview : Niki Jabbour’s Garden Remix @NikiJabbour : @StoreyPub @NetGalley

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My Thoughts:

Has this book given me so many ideas or what. I am a gardener in Cornwall UK and I think this book would be a very useful addition to my already large gardening reference collection. It is well laid out with some beautiful pictures, great advice and tips. There is a vast array of vegetables on the market but there are none that taste better than homegrown ones. This book will be invaluable to people who want to try something a little bit different, I know after reading this book, I will be one of them. I also really like the way Niki has included her own tips, from germinating, pollinating, growing and caring for this vast array of plants. Knowledge is something that is learnt or passed, so in sharing her own experiences it will help save time, extra hard work and disappointment.

I would recommend this book to people who like Gardening and want to try something different, this is a beautiful book.

I would like to express my thanks to NetGalley and to Storey Publishers for my copy of this book. My views and opinions are my own, they are honest and unbiased.

Synopsis:

Best-selling author Niki Jabbour invites you to shake up your vegetable garden with an intriguing array of 238 plants from around the world. With her lively “Like this? Then try this!” approach, Jabbour encourages you to start with what you know and expand your repertoire to try related plants, many of which are delicacies in other cultures. Jabbour presents detailed growing information for each plant, along with fun facts and plant history. Be prepared to have your mind expanded and catch Jabbour’s contagious enthusiasm for experimentation and fun in the garden.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing LLC (6 Feb. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612126707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612126708

About the Author:

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Niki Jabbour is the author of the best-selling & award winning book, The Year Round Vegetable Gardener (2012 American Horticultural Society Book Award). Her latest book is Groundbreaking Food Gardens, released by Storey Publishing in March 2014. Niki writes for magazines and newspapers across North America, including Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Garden Making, Gardens East and The Heirloom Gardener. She speaks widely at garden shows and events. Niki is also the host of The Weekend Gardener on News 95.7 FM (www.news957.com) that airs every Sunday from 10 to noon Atlantic time.

Author Links | Website |Twitter

To Buy : Amazon UK |

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share. Or grab a copy of your own 😊 xx

#BookReview : The Feed by Nick Clark Windo @nickhdclark @headlinepg @NetGalley

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I am delighted to be sharing “The Feed” by Nick Clark Windo.  I would like to thank the lovely people at Headline Publishing for my eARC via NetGalley.  The Feed is available in various formats from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Synopsis:

THE FEED by Nick Clark Windo is a startling and timely debut which presents a world as unique and vividly imagined as STATION ELEVEN and THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.

Tom and Kate’s daughter turns six tomorrow, and they have to tell her about sleep.
If you sleep unwatched, you could be Taken. If you are Taken, then watching won’t save you.
Nothing saves you.

Your knowledge. Your memories. Your dreams.
If all you are is on the Feed, what will you become when the Feed goes down?

For Tom and Kate, in the six years since the world collapsed, every day has been a fight for survival. And when their daughter, Bea, goes missing, they will question whether they can even trust each other anymore.

The threat is closer than they realise…

My Thoughts:

The Feed is a futuristic look at something that could possibly happen.  An implant that gives wearers 24-7 access to news feeds, people’s lives, their feelings, where physical communication has been taken over by virtual communication. Tom and Kate are the main focus of this story, Tom insists that he and Kate do have time “off Feed” and spend time talking, this is difficult as the feed is so much part of every day life. When the feed collapses Tom and Kate go back to basics, and head into the country.  The story jumps forward six years and they have a daughter Bea.  Things are bleak but they are surviving, but when their daughter in taken they try to find her.  It is this part of the story that explains the details of the feed and what happened.

I will admit to struggling with the beginning of this book, I couldn’t quite see where the story was going and didn’t understand the concept of “The Feed”.  But I could see that there was something about it that intrigued me more than just a little bit.  I am glad I persevered with this book as suddenly it started to come together, things started to make sense.  Once these things started to fall into place I found a really enjoyable read, with some great descriptions of a bleak lawless landscape where people made the most of what they have got.  Tom and Kate I didn’t warm to immediately, but they seem to fit and almost mirror the desolation and loneliness of the land.  When I got the plot I really enjoyed it, it plays well on the fear of an advanced technologically dominated future, one that I am sure many people will see as a definite possibility. I know I do!

Overall this is a good read, a bit of a slow amble along in the beginning, but picks up pace to a satisfactory conclusion, with some good unexpected twists.  It is not excessively heavy on technological terms, Nick has kept it understandable.  A book I would recommend to readers of a futuristic, dystopian, mystery, thriller and science fiction genres.

My thanks to Headline Publishing Group and NetGalley for my eARC of this book.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

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

#BookReview : The Confession by Jo Spain @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks @NetGalley

The Confession: The most addictive psychological thriller of 2018 by [Spain, Jo]

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “The Confession” by Jo Spain.  It is published by Quercus Books and available in various formats, however hard and paperback are due to be published on 25th January 2018.  I received my copy of this book via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

My Thoughts:

When a stranger walks into a house, beats up the husband as the wife watches frozen, unable to do anything to help or stop the attack, you know there will or should be a pretty good reason for it.

Oh! This is a good read, a well paced psychological thriller.  It is set over several years, filling in the background of the main characters.  The chapters are told by different characters and from their own perspectives.  They flit between times and places with quick succession.  It did take me a few chapters to get to grips with this, occasionally loosing what time I was in, but its one of those books that, as you read you get to learn the style and format.

The characters themselves, I have mixed opinions on some and changes my opinion on others.  This is a good thing by the way, for me it means the author has manipulated my feelings as I have read and therefore my opinion matches the character as they change, or you learn more about them. Now as for the plot, it is one of those deliciously deep and twisty ones that kept me guessing, even when things were being drawn together for the conclusion a few more sneaky twists were included in this slippery tale.

This is a book that I would definitely recommend to readers who like a good psychological thriller with twists that are revealed at the end with extra twisty bits.  It also has elements that show the contrasts of two different social backgrounds, one poor and one rich, the haves and the have nots.  A well written and executed read that kept me turning the pages avidly.

About the Author:

Jo Spain Jo Spain is the author of the Inspector Tom Reynolds series. Her first book, top ten bestseller With Our Blessing, was a finalist in the 2015 Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller. The Confession is her first standalone thriller.
Jo is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, a former political advisor in the Irish parliament and former vice-chair of InterTrade Ireland business body.
Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and four young children. In her spare time (she has four children, there is no spare time really) she likes to read. Her favourite authors include Pierre Lemaitre, Jo Nesbo, Liane Moriarty, Fred Vargas and Louise Penny. She also watches TV detective series and was slightly obsessed with The Bridge, Trapped and The Missing.
Jo thinks up her plots on long runs in the woods. Her husband sleeps with one eye open and all her friends have looked at her strangely since she won her publishing deal.

Follow Jo on Twitter 

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#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

#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

 

#BookReview : Season of Blood by Jeri Westerson : @jeriwesterson @severnhouse @NetGalley

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A Medieval Mystery from Jeri Westerson, “Season of Blood” is available in hardback and eBook formats.  Published by Severn House Digital

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1256.0 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Digital; First World Publication edition (24 Dec. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B077NH7L86

Synopsis:

A missing Holy Relic. A mysterious and beautiful woman. Two murdered monks: Crispin Guest tackles his most intriguing investigation to date.

1390. Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire, England. Two monks lie murdered, their Holy Blood relic stolen: a relic that is said to run liquid for the sinless and remain stubbornly dry for the sinner. Unwilling to become involved in a bitter dispute between a country monastery and Westminster Abbey, the disgraced former knight Crispin Guest attempts to return the relic to Hailes where it belongs, but somehow it keeps returning to his hands no matter what.

My Thoughts:

This is my first visit with this author and I read this book as a stand alone.  It is set in 1390 and we are introduced to Crispin Guest and his apprentice and side kick Jack Tucker.  They have been approached by a mysterious lady for their help in finding her niece. But along with that a monk dies on Crispin’s door step and in his possession is a religious Blood Relic artefact.

This is the 10th instalment in the Crispin Guest mystery series.  As this is the first I had read by this author, I was intrigued as to how well I would get on with an established series.  For me, I am pleased to say, it worked very well, there are hints and mentions of past stories but not enough to detract from this one.  This book has a very good “well researched” feel to it.  It is one of those books that feel right for the time it is set in and Jeri has some great description to back that feel up.  It is a well paced story that has some very unexpected twists, it is one of those books that you are never quite sure who is telling the truth, creating a good edginess to it.  The characters are quick to remember and identify as they are introduced gradually.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read, and I think a good introduction for me to this author, even though I have started at the wrong end of the series. I would recommend this to readers who like a good medieval murder, mystery read.  Some good twists, plots and characters.   It has been well researched and written.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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I’m Jeri Westerson and I write medieval mysteries with an enigmatic, flawed, sexy, and very different protagonist. His name is Crispin Guest and he’s an ex-knight turned private eye. You might want to think of him as a Medieval Sam Spade and these mysteries as Medieval Noir. That’s what makes these novels different. They’re full of hard-hitting action and characters with dirty little secrets. Then there’s the added twist dropped in the middle of murder: a relic with mystical powers. They always seem to stir things up, whether it’s something everyone wants to get their hands on or can’t wait to get rid of.

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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 Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris :pub @BonnierZaffre @NetGalley

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“The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris is available to purchase from 11th January and is available in various formats.  Published by Bonnier Zaffre and available from Amazon UK 

Synopsis:

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

My Thoughts:

Where to start with this book, it took me a while to get my thoughts in order before I could write a review.  This is based on the true story of Lala & Gita Sokolov.  They met when Lala tattooed the number on her arm on her arrival at Auschwitz.  They along with tens of thousands of others became a number.  Not a name. Not a person.  They were A Number.

Heather spent three years with Lala and his two dogs as he told his story to her.  He needed to do this so that “it would never happen again”.  Also it was time for him to tell, he knew he didn’t have long before he joined his beloved Gita.  Her death gave him the push he needed.

Lala was part of the German round-up of much-needed workers and he was taken to Auschwitz.  By the use of his charm and a certain amount of luck he managed to get the position of “Tetovierer” the tattooist in the camps of Auschwitz and also nearby Birkenau. This allowed him a little more freedom and also extra food rations, Lala shared all he could with others in the camp.  He managed to barter with civilian workers for food, with the help of Gita and her friends.  All that could be shared out was, help given where possible.  The generosity in a time of great suffering shown by others has a way of repaying itself, and indeed when Lala was in need of help it was there.  He travelled between the two camps and this gave him insights as to what was happening, seeing different things appearing, seeing new people, meeting the new doctor a certain Josef Mengeler.

Through Heather, Lala gave accounts of who he met and his experiences.  Heather has written his story with true emotion, sympathy and understanding.  It is a heart wrenching read, and so it should be, but Lala’s character has come through the pages, showing his grim determination that he would survive, he would marry Gita and they would have a future together.

This is an important period in history, one that should never be forgotten or taken lightly.  Heather has done a wonderful job in relating Lala’s story. It is an emotional journey, and even now I still feel the emotion as I write this review, a few days after reading the book.  I received this book as an eARC via NetGalley, but I will be buying my own physical copy.  I highly recommend this book to all readers.

Lala’s lifetime motto was “If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.”

Number – 34902 – Gita born 1925 died 2003

Number – 32407 – Lala born 1916 died 2006

Many thanks to Bonnier Faffre and NetGalley for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia, working in a large public hospital in Melbourne. For several years she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives, as their friendship grew and he embarked on a journey on self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

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