Blog Tour ~Review~ We Were Salt of The Sea by Roxanne Bouchard.

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Description As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters.

Review

Many thanks to Orenda Books, the writer Roxanne Bouchard and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC of We Were Salt of The Sea in return for an honest review.

We Were Salt of the Sea is different to your traditional thriller, in that the main focus is on character rather than events. It moves along at a much slower pace than you expect and its heart is firmly based in the people of a remote fishing village in Quebec and their reactions to the death Marie Garant. Don’t let this put you off reading it though, because its uniqueness is what makes it so special and a haunting. The characters don’t so much leap of the page, they slowly and bit by bit, seep into your consciousness like they have always been there, old friends who memories soon become one with you the reader. I found my heart breaking for the loss of a great love, laughing at the dramatic gossip of the bistro owner, while sharing the irritation of poor DS Morales. Each character in the book is so beautifully drawn that you can visualise them in your mind’s eye and step with them into long suppressed memories.

The setting is perfect. For the mistrust of outsiders to work effectively, the story needed to be set in a small town, one whose bond with the sea is for some like a shackle them weighs them down and for others the liberation that frees them for the pain of the past. Here is a little village in which the characters are able to hide secrets, limit Catherine Days access to their memories and frustrate Morales efforts to search for answers around Garants’s mysterious death. This atmosphere is only possible because Bouchard has created a small community whose inhabitants are connected in ways they wouldn’t be in a bigger community and she imbues their connection with an emotional element that excludes both Day and Morales.

Special mention must also go to David Warriner whose translation is superb. He has produced a translation that celebrates and conveys Bouchard’s story for the reader with almost effortless grace.

We Were Salt of The Sea is another outstanding offering from the Orenda family of authors.

We Were Salt Of The Sea can be purchased from Amazon.

A little bit about the author

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Ten years or so ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspe Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. We Were the Salt of the Sea is her fifth novel, and her first to be translated into English. She lives in Quebec.

About the Translator
David Warriner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a modern languages degree, he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than an decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand again to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Beneath The Water by Sarah Painter.

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Munro House is the new start Stella needs. But it will also draw her back to a dark past…

Devastated by a broken engagement, Stella Jackson leaves her old life behind for a new start in rural Scotland. But when she arrives in the remote coastal village of Arisaig, nothing is what she expected.

At the edge of Arisaig sits Munro House; grand, imposing and said to be cursed by a string of tragic deaths. No less intriguing is its eccentric and handsome young owner, Jamie Munro, who hires Stella as his assistant while he pursues a seemingly impossible aim. Working through the great house’s archives, Stella soon finds herself drawn in by a cache of increasingly erratic letters from a young Victorian woman about her husband, Dr James Lockhart, a man whose single-minded ambition has
strange parallels with Jamie’s.

Just as Stella begins developing feelings for Jamie, she discovers that the connection between the Lockharts and the Munros could have sinister repercussions for them both. She’s finally found the life she wants to live – but is it all an illusion?

Review

I would like to thank Lake Union Publishing, the author Sarah Painter and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC of Beneath The Water in return for an honest review.
My favourite thing about this historical/contemporary mix was the way the connection was made between the past and the present, with each chapter starting with a letter from Jessie, a troubled Victorian women whose life reaches out into Stella Jackson’s present. The affect these letters have on current events, is what gives this superb novel is addictive nature, keeping me awake to one thirty am, when my alarm clock was due to go off four and a bit hours later. I was gripped with a need to know what would become of the troubled Stella and the equally unpredictable Jamie Munro, while also worrying by the fate of Jessie.
All the characters are beautifully drawn, flawed enough to make them fascinating and at the same time likeable enough to make you care about their fates. So much so that I find myself wishing that Sarah Painter would write a new novel delving into the fascinating story of Dr James Lockhart and his wife. I wanted to understand more about their lives and personalities. It is not an indication of a flaw in Beneath The Water, but that the writer writes about them so well, teasing you about their lives, that you just want to know more and you wish they had their own story. Both Stella and Jamie are superb leading characters, with the changeable and unpredictable Jamie being my favourite. Why? Because something just drew me to him. Probably the fact that it is rare to come across a male character whose mental health and troubled personality are front and centre of a storyline.
The edgy atmosphere which is depicted so well in this novel contributes to the tension in the story. You can feel the claustrophobic nature of a small community, where everyone knows everyone and their story. Or do they? Is it true that isolated inhabitants of places like the fictional Arisaig know their neighbours and if they don’t what is the real story behind troubled lives of people like Jamie and Stella. The feeling of a community damaged by lies and half truths contributes to this atmosphere of mistrust and repressed anger that Stella walks into.
Beneath the Water is an excellent read and I would not hesitate to recommend it to my fellow booked addicted friends.

Beneath The Water can be purchased from Amazon.

A bit about the author. 

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Sarah Painter writes novels which sometimes have historical elements or touches of magic, but always have an emotional core. Her debut novel, The Language of Spells, became a Kindle bestseller and was followed by a sequel, The Secrets of Ghosts. Her last book, In the Light of What We See, was also a bestseller and a Kindle First pick.

Sarah hosts a podcast about writing (and interviews other authors and creative-types) at www.worried writer.com. She lives in rural Scotland with her children, husband, and a grey tabby called Zelda Kitzgerald. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from St Andrews, drinks too much tea, loves the work of Joss Whedon, and is the proud owner of a writing shed.

Talking points:
Anxiety and self-doubt – how Sarah overcame anxiety and self-doubt to pursue her ambitions
Psychological impact of childhood heart surgery – and the decision to marry and have children early as a result
Helping other writers through the ‘Worried Writer’ podcast, book, and website to overcome fear, self-doubt and procrastination
James Young Simpson – the amazing 19th century Scottish obstetrician, who has captivated Sarah’s imagination.

Sarah Painter can be followed on Twitter

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~ The Torcian Chronicles, Defiance by P J Read.

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Mesham sits dejectedly in a tiny garret above an inn, as the lands of Torcia fall to the magically-enhanced army of the infamous Mivirian Horde. One of the last surviving ancient warlocks of Torcia, Mesham knows he is marked for death. The Torcian king knocks on Mesham’s door later that evening and offers him the chance of rejuvenation in return for a seemingly impossible mission into the heart of Mivir. Mesham reluctantly agrees, only to realise the evil of Mivir has spread to the very top of the Torcian government. As Mesham undertakes his quest to complete the mission, he finds himself hunted by his king, by the mighty Torcian warbands, and by the Horde. But he cannot fail, for the fate of Mesham’s beloved Torcia rests in his hands.

Review

I would like to thank the author PJ Read and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the ARC of The Torcian Chronicles in return for an honest review.
I admit that that my feelings about this, the first fantasy book I have read in a while are mixed. Not because of the writing and concept behind the book, both of which are excellent, but how I gelled with the story as a reader. Reading is a very personal experience and I firmly believe that it is rare to read a bad book. It’s all about the book finding the right reader and a relationship building up between the two. It took me a while to understand why I found my enjoyment of the book ebbed and flowed as the story progressed. It turned out to be simple in the end though!
So what bothered me? It was the number of times throughout the story our three hero’s were hurt, poisoned and attacked, only to survive their wounds and move onto the next. It is a minor point and one I am sure probably only bothered me, but it bothered me enough for it to cause my feelings about the book to change as I was reading. Make no mistake, I did enjoy it! The writing is great and the story exciting and thrilling. The fantasy element was well thought out and I loved the characters, but the flow of the story suffered a little because of the constant near death experiences endured by the characters.
This is probably not going to bother anyone else and it shoud not, because The Torcian Chronicles is excellent fantasy writing and I am looking forward to the next in the series. Mesham in particular fascinated me, reborn in order to complete a mission laid out for him by his king, he is a character that worms his way into your heart. The adventure is non stop and it makes it an exciting read. I very much enjoyed the battle of our worthy hero’s against the massed hordes of the Mivirian army, with its twists and turns! I am also looking forward to part two and would definitely recommend this book to fellow fantasy lovers, my niggle was minor, and all about me. The book is a fine first length book by an author with a bright future.

The Torcian Chronicles can be bought from Amazon.

 

A little bit about the author 

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P.J. Reed – Writer of warlocks and other magical creatures. P.J. Reed is a writer and poet from England. She holds a BAEd from Canterbury Christ Church University and an MA from Bradford University. She has been widely published in anthologies and collections. P.J. Reed currently lives in Devon, with a handful of teenagers, one feral cat and a dog called Fizz.

P J Reed can be followed on her WebsiteFacebook and Twitter.

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~ The Dog Ate My Homework.

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The Dog Ate My Homework by Aaron James is a collection of short poems that will capture your imagination. Filled with fun stories that make you think, laugh and tell your friends. Do you remember your first day at school? Or when you tried to convince your teacher you actually done your homework? Or the excitement you felt when you bought your new pair of trainers? In The Dog Ate My Homework you will get a chance to read all these stories and many more!

Review

I would like to thank the Clink Street Publishing, the author Aaron James and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilby for the ARC of The Dog Ate My Homework in return for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this group of poems and felt it would be a fun introduction for young children and their parents not familiar with reading poetry. Aaron James poems are perfect for this group, in that they are about subjects they can easily engage with, The Dog Ate My Homework as well as the fun of choosing a new pair of trainers. What I liked most about them, was that the writer did not use words a young reader might not know and be forced to look up, keeping the language simple and allowing the poems to flow. There is nothing wrong with using more complicated language in a poem, as reading skill progresses, but having read poems to young children and having to stop to explain a word, ruins the magic of the poem and how well they engage with it. So I was happy that the writer used fun and engaging language they will understand and will make them laugh at the adventures told within the poems.
It is often hard for poets to use language without the temptation to insert a word to simply make the poem rhyme, but sometimes this leads to challenging language combinations that put many people off reading poetry. I myself haven’t always enjoyed poetry, often finding it hard to engage with and absorb, so I now aim to read a poem a day as an adult and this has both changed my relationship with poetry and my enjoyment of it. I would love younger readers to do the same, so they don’t grow up nervous of poetry, feeling it’s a medium that is inaccessible to them as readers and this lovely little book of poems will help nurture a love of poetry.
If you’re looking for a set of poems for younger readers then this would be an excellent choice.

The Dog Ate My Homework and Other Poems for Children can be purchased from now Amazon.

A little bit about the author.

Born and raised in Tottenham, North London and today living in Bromley, South London with his wife, Aaron James works as a poet and spoken word artist. The Dog Ate My Homework is his first children’s poetry book.

 

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~ I Know Where You Live by Pat Young.

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Penny believes she’s being watched. Yet no one should know where she lives.

Penny seizes the chance of a new life for her family when her husband is offered a job in Europe.

At the airport they meet charming Sophie, fluent in French and looking for work as an au pair.

Penny, struggling to cope in France, offers Sophie a job and she soon becomes an important part of the family’s life. But Sophie is hiding something.

Then Penny’s toddler son, Ethan, is abducted and an international hunt for the child begins.
The police beg Penny and her husband to take part in a television appeal but the couple refuse. Unknown to the police, Penny and Seth have new identities and are determined to lay low and protect them. But it may be too late for that.

Who has taken Ethan and why?

Are the couple’s true identities linked to the abduction?

And who has been watching them?

To save her son Penny may have to put her own life on the line.

Review

I would like to thank Bloodhound Books, author Pat Young and blog tour organiser for the ARC of I Know Where You Live in return for an honest review.

It is always a bit nerve wracking when reading a sequel to a book you really enjoyed, in case you don’t like it as much as you expect to. I am happy to be able to say I not only loved I Know Where You Live, sequel to Till The Dust Settles, I thought it was an exciting and thrilling follow on.

It catches up with Penny and her young family as they travel to Europe for work and into a whole lot of trouble and angst.   It is so well written I felt almost immediately at home within their story and back amongst old friends.  Admittedly friends I was worried and scared about, unable to tear myself away from the horror that was engulfing their lives.  Unable to put it down, staying up way too long into the early hours of the morning, half asleep at my desk the next day, because I was worried about Penny and her family.

Pat Young has me tied up in knots of anxiety needing to know their fates.  You want a thriller to hook you in and hurl you through the story and this book certainly did that, because it is a real page turner. Both top class writing and reading.

I hope to hear more from Pat Young, because she writes with skill and style and knws how to hook a reader in.

I Know Where You Live can be purchased from Amazon.

About the author. 

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Pat Young grew up in the south west of Scotland where she still lives, sometimes. She often goes to the other extreme, the south west of France, in search of sunlight.

Pat never expected to be a writer. Then she found a discarded book with a wad of cash tucked in the flyleaf. ‘What if something awful happened to the person who lost this book?’ she thought, and she was off.

Pat knew nothing of writing, but she knew a thing or two about books, having studied English, French and German at Glasgow University. A passion for languages led to a career she loved and then a successful part-time business that allowed her some free-time, at last.

Pat had plans, none of which included sitting at her desk from daybreak till dusk. But some days she has to. Because there’s a story to be told. And when it’s done, she can go out to play. On zip-wires and abseil ropes, or just the tennis court.

Pat writes psychological thrillers. Her debut novel Till the Dust Settles, has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Stag trophy. Following publication in July
2017 Pat was delighted to be chosen as an ‘emerging talent’ for Crime in the Spotlight and read from Till the Dust Settles to an audience at Bloody Scotland – another dream come true.

Published by Bloodhound Books, I Know Where You Live is the much-anticipated sequel to Pat’s gripping and unmissable debut thriller, Till the Dust Settles. It too is a psychological thriller with a skilfully told story that makes for an enjoyable stand alone read. It will hook you from the start.

Pat Young can be followed on Twitter.

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