Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Poor Hands by Oliver Tidy.

 

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Today, I’m lucky to be able to post my review of Poor Hands as part of the blog tour.

Many thanks to the author Oliver Tidy, publisher Bloodhound Books and blog tour organiser Sarah Hardy for the ARC copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Book summary. 

Out of a big old building on the south coast of Kent, David Booker runs a book-themed coffee shop and Jo Cash operates a private investigation business. They live there, too. But not like that.

Jo needs help with tracing a mystery client’s living relatives. David needs help with his staffing problems. Can they both get what they are looking for?

Sometimes two heads are better than one. Sometimes a poor hand is better than none. But not always.

Review

I really enjoyed Poor Hands, its a fun and very enjoyable read.  Sometimes you find a set of characters in a novel and simply click with them! I clicked with David Booker and his partner in crime Jo and would happily read about their adventures for years to come.

Poor Hands has multiple story threads running through it, but at no point does it become over complicated.  The stories never swamp each other out leaving the reader scratching their heads trying to keep up, but are thrilling enough to keep the reader highly entertained and engaged.  It’s a thrilling read and an addictive page turner.  Another one of those reads that pull you in and wanting to turn the pages to find out the conculsion.  Hours will happily pass by without you noticing!  You will find yourself looking up and suddenly aware that an afternoon or evening has passed by without you noticing the passage of time.

The setting is perfection.  Remembering I love books and love coffee shops.  In fact, I adore sitting in coffee shops with a good book, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying a really good story. So finding out that David Booker runs a café which has books from his aunt and uncles old bookshop on display and I straight away wanted to spend more time there with him.  Genious idea by the writer Oliver Tidy and he was won himself a new fan.

This book is part of a series, but that should not put off readers who have not previously read Jo and David’s adventures.  I haven’t read the books that proceed Poor Hands and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story, its so well written that you could happily read this as a stand alone.  Having found David and Jo so likeable I would also say it would be a great series to read, and buying them all would provide anyone with hours and hours of reading pleasure.

I look forward to reading more of this crime fighting pair and revisiting Bookers coffee shop in the next instalment.

Poor Hands can be purchased from Amazon

Author Bio 

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Oliver Tidy was born and bred on Romney Marsh, Kent. After a fairly aimless foray into adulthood and a number of unfulfilling jobs he went back to education and qualified as a primary school teacher.
 
A few years of having the life sucked out of him in the classroom encouraged Oliver abroad to teach English as a foreign language. The lifestyle provided him the time and opportunity to try his hand at writing.
 
Oliver’s success as a self-published author has led to his Booker & Cash series of books, which are set mainly on Romney Marsh, being signed by Bloodhound Books.
 
Oliver is now back living on Romney Marsh and writing full time.
Oliver can be followed on Twitter, Facebook and his Webpage

BLOG TOUR

Blog Tour ~ Review ~Giveaway~Contrary To Popular Belief by Neil Anthes.

Contrary to Popular Belief 

Did early Christianity evolve from Roman culture and customs? Was it based on truth?  Were the social issues of the early Roman Empire a driving force to adapt old customs to a new philosophy?
A young Hebrew man seeks answers beyond his religious traditions by spending fifteen years travelling and studying spiritual principles in India and Alexandria, Egypt. Upon returning to his homeland his message of self-awareness is feared by the elders and Temple priests. At the same time the ruling elite in Rome are determined to use this controversy to their advantage. Keen to find a solution to the social and economic issues that have developed after their relentless conquests of foreign lands, they find that the young man’s spiritual message can be altered to suit their needs.
Contrary to Popular Belief is a thought-provoking novel inspired by Christian faith, and the quest for truth.

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Today I’m reviewing Contrary To Popular Belief by Neil Anthes.

Many thanks to Clink Street Publishing,  Neil Anthes and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the ARC copy of the book in return for an honest review.

This interesting novel follows a young Hebrew man who seeks answers beyond the traditions that control his life and religious beliefs.  It also tells the story  of how the Roman elite came to use the development of Christianity for their own ends.  It’s a story that is full of a wealth of historical detail and it’s what I liked about this book. I love Roman history in all its glory and it made it a fascinating read.

He brings to the pages of this novel the violence and corruption at the heart of the Empire. In the character of Brutus, he gives us a symbol of a society threatened by the decadence at its very soul.  In the young Hebrew man he writes a character that symbolises the redemptive nature of Christianity. Its certainly interesting how Neil Anthes explains how Roman officials saw Christianity as the means to save their society from ultimate ruin.

I’m not religious in anyway and the depth of information about its development might put some readers off.  If I had one criticism of this novel, is that it seems to struggle to find a genre to define it. The wealth of historical information almost floods out the fictional narrative. In places it reads more like a non fiction book than a fictional novel.

It is though a thought provoking read. If you love history, especially the development of Christianity, then you really should give this book a try.

If you would like to win a paperback copy of this book, please leave a comment and I will do a draw to pick the winner.  Sorry its limited to UK entries only.

The book can be bought from Amazon

Author Bio

Neil Anthes is a retired small business owner and international business manager. He graduated from the University of Waterloo in Canada with a bachelor of science degree. He is a semi-professional photographer and currently lives in the Southern Interior of British Columbia Canada. This is his second book. The first, Moments in Time, Reflections on Personal Mystical Experiences, was published in 2014.

Neil can be followed on his author website

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Blog Tour ~ Extract ~ The Roving Eye by Richard Evans.

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Welcome to my blog where today I am lucky enough to share an extract of Richard Evan’s book, The Roving Eye with you.

Many thanks to Clink Street Publishing, Richard Evans and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilby for allowing me to take part.

Book summary. 

The Roving Eye: A Reporter’s Love Affair with Paris, Politics & Sport

Go. Be there. For the past six decades Richard Evans has followed that dictum  – being where the action was, not just as a tennis writer and broadcaster – 196 Grand Slams and counting – but through his years as a foreign correspondent in America, France and Vietnam as well as a spell as a roving global reporter for the US television programme Entertainment Tonight.
Evans, whose English family fled France in June 1940, also became a National Service Captain in the British army, without having to dodge a bullet which was not the case in Cambodia nor in Miami where he was struck by a cop during an anti-Nixon demonstration.
Evans was in Memphis hours after Martin Luther King was shot; campaigned through Indiana and California with Bobby Kennedy – “a unique politician” – before he, too, was assassinated and witnessed the pre-Olympic demonstrations in 1968 against the Mexican Government which ended in massacre.
He accompanied the Wimbledon champion and activist Arthur Ashe on two trips to Africa, witnessing the dark days of apartheid and was back in South Africa in 1990 covering Mike Gatting’s rebel cricket tour during the historic weeks that saw Nelson Mandela released and apartheid abolished.
Evans paints an insider’s portrait of Margaret Thatcher and No 10 Downing Street during the time he was with the Prime Minister’s daughter, Carol; a romance with the actress Gayle Hunnicutt and two marriages; friendships with Richard Harris, Michael Crawford and more Wimbledon champions than you could fit into the players’ box. He was also the last person to interview Richard Burton.
A life lived to the full, covering the globe with a Roving Eye – being there.

Extract

In 1972, as a free-lance foreign correspondent, I made my second trip to Vietnam & decided to find out what was happening in neighbouring Laos. The capital, Vientiane, turned out to be a melting pot for all the powers fighting for dominance of the old Indo-China.

I decided to make a call on the North Vietnamese ambassador whose residence was a typical Asian-style villa situated in a residential neighbourhood of the city. He came into the courtyard to talk to me, a sweaty, nervous little man who was obviously at his wit’s end.
“They watch me all the time!” he exclaimed in a high-pitched voice using serviceable English. “Look! Look! They have cameras, every move we make is recorded!”
He was pointing to a couple of windows from a nearby house which did not seem to be especially festooned with monitoring kit but, no matter, this poor man was obviously not sleeping well and he was in serious need of repatriation.
The Ambassador was right in as much everyone was observing everyone and trying to make out what was, and what wasn’t, the truth. Mostly it was a pack of lies. There was a Graham Greene novel in every conversation and some of the characters one ran into at the Constellation, run by an amiable but obviously savvy Frenchman called Maurice Cavalerie, could have filled volumes. Although frequently bloodshot eyes offered tell-tale signs of opium addiction, Maurice was a handsome man who had been born of a French botanist father and an upper-class Chinese beauty. Fleeing the fighting in the north, Cavalerie had brought his family to Vientiane and set up his far from upper class hotel with two floors of rooms that reeked of marijuana and a bar downstairs that opened onto the main street. People flocked to it because Maurice knew everyone and could fix anything, especially for the correspondents who drank quantities of his Heineken for which he owned the franchise. There were plenty of flies around this hot, sticky city but none on Maurice.

The Roving Eye can be purchased from Amazon

Author

Richard Evans has been a journalist since the 1960s where he began his career writing for the Evening Standard. He has covered tennis for outlets including the Sunday Times, Fox Sports USA and Tennis Magazine, reporting on more than 196 Grand Slams over the course of his career. Evans was the play-by-play commentator for BBC Radio at Wimbledon for twenty years and was a commentator for the Tennis Channel at the French Open and AO Radio at the Australian Open. He is the author of 18 books, including biographies of tennis legends, the official history of the Davis Cup, and most recently co-authoring Pain, Set & Match.

Richard can be followed on Twitter.

Blog Tour ~ Review ~A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden.

a-gathering-of-ravens (1) Beowulf Meets The Lord Of The Rings In An Epic Novel of Vengeance, Faith And The Power Of Myth…….

Book summary

To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind—the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning—the Old Ways versus the New—and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?

Review.

Firstly I would like to thank the author Scott Oden and publisher Bantam Press for the ARC copy of this book, in return for an honest review.

I need to say that I loved A Gathering of Ravens! I’ve always had wide reading tastes even when a child. But from an early age historical and fantasy novels have always been my favourites.  So give me a book that combines the mythical elements of Beowulf and the epic fantasy of Lord of The Rings and I become one very happy reader!

I loved the way the writer Scott Oden combined both these elements and yet wrote a story, that while paying homage to his love of English and history, was orginal and addictive to read.

He has given us a hero in Grimnir who reminds me of some of the great hero’s of epic fantasy stories such as Lord of The Rings. He strides through this novel with a commanding presence. In short I found him to be glorious.  I know some people would find it wierd to find a monster such a heroic figure, but to describe him in one word is difficult. He is multi layered as all great characters are.  He seeps into your soul and catches hold of your heart. Grimnir withour doubt is one of my favourite characters within the genre of epic historical/fantasy epics.  He maybe gruff, he maybe consumed by the need for revenge, but he is simply inspiring. For me, he is the heart and soul of this incrediable read.

If you loved Lord of The Rings, then you will adore and be excited by A Gathering Of Ravens. It’s written with passion. The writer understands what makes this genre work.  They need writers who can emerge themselves within the fantasical world they have created and Scott Oden does that.  He most certainly is a up and coming star and I hope he carries on writing such glorious book.

I must admit, I think I love him a little for giving me Grimnir, the son of a wolf and brother to a serpent. 

You can purchase the book from Amazon 

Author

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SCOTT ODEN was born in Indiana, but has spent most of his life shuffling between his home in rural North Alabama, a Hobbit hole in Middle-earth, and some sketchy tavern in the Hyborian Age. He is an avid reader of fantasy and ancient history, a collector of swords, and a player of tabletop role-playing games. When not writing, he can be found walking his two dogs or doting over his lovely wife, Shannon.Oden’s books include the historical fantasy, The Lion of Cairo, and the historical novels, Men of Bronze and Memnon.

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Blog Tour ~ Review~ The Other Twin by L V Hay

 

 

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Book Summary

Description When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop.

Review

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Other Twin. Many thanks to the author L V Hay, publisher Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater, for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Its confession time! I love and adore beautiful book covers. I have this mad idea, that they’re a window into the soul of a book.  If the time has been taken to find the perfect image to attract a reader, who is scanning bookshelves in a shop filled with tempting treats.  I believe what I will find within its cover, will fill my mind with wonder, scare me witless or charm me with wondrous delights.

The cover of The Other Twin, if I had seen it on the shelves of my favourite bookshop, would have drawn me straight to it. When I saw it, it made me instantly want place my hand against the hand of the girl on the cover and make a connection with her. It made me want to know who she was, what her story was. It felt like the book would be a tense, edgy read, full of nerve racking drama. The cover did not let me down!

The Other Twin is a chilling, emotional rollercoaster of a read. Within its pages is a dark tale of loss, murderous rage and fragmented relationships. In a time when so much of who we are is shared in online,  but hidden from those who should know us best, The Other Twin delves into mercurial world of social media. Where identity is fluid and the truth almost always just of your reach.

Set amongst the heady social life of Brighton, the story twists and turns likes the lanes of this iconic city. The fate of India and the perceptible threat to her sister Poppy as she seeks to discover the real reason behind her sister’s death, seeps off the page and into the minds of the reader. Anxiety filled my mind as layers of the story were pealed away, until on reaching the last page, only then did I feel able to expel the tension this story invoked within me.

Not only are the characters beautifully written, they do what all creations in a tense thriller should do. They attract you, disturb you and even horrify you, but you can never take you eyes away from them because they’re fascinating in equal turns.

Setting the story in Brighton where all manner of fascinating characters live, a veritable cornucopia of experiences and people gives the story a extra buzz. The city and its vibrant party scene gives a voice to the nightmare India finds herself engulfed in. Almost as a flip side to the fun enjoyable Brighton atmosphere we find ourselves in when we visit as tourists.

If your looking for an exciting and thrilling read, then you need look no further than L V Hay’s The Other Twin!

It can be purchased from Amazon.

 

Author Bio

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama ScreenplaysShe lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Catch 52 by P G Ronane

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Book info

Catch 52: One Man’s Tale of Surviving in a Post-Brexit World 
What do you do when your love affair with Europe comes to an undignified end?

On 24th June 2016, Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that Britain has voted to leave the EU. A committed European, he is shattered. Over the coming weeks and months, he takes a long, hard look at himself, determined to uncover the reasons why this travesty has occurred, scrutinising the faces of everyone he meets for those he believes may have voted in or out.
As he tries to cope with the looming horror of Brexit, Mike fondly recalls his visits to Europe as a young man, the relationships he formed and how these have moulded his pan-European outlook.
Digging too deeply into issues has always been his problem. Mike begins to question the views he holds so dear and discovers new things about those closest to him. As McCarthy staggers on from The Referendum to the unthinkable triggering of Article 50, he finds himself plunged himself into a different world of social comment and political media. As the strategy for Bredit emerges, he wonders where his future lies and questions his commitment to a cause that may yet plunge his and Britain’s hopes and dreams into the abyss.

Review

Welcome to my blog, where today I am hosting the book tour for P.G.Ronane’s Catch 52.  Many thanks to the author, Clink Street publishing and tour organiser Rachel Gilby for the ARC copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Firstly I must say that any political views in this post are mine and not the authors. There is no intention to offend and that I am simply expressing my views on the book.

I was looking forward to reading Catch 52, because I had a very personal and emotional reaction to the decision made to leave the EU. I should declare that I’m what has come to be termed a Remainer, and I very much consider myself as Welsh, European and then British! I know this will make some readers angry, but it’s centred around me world view and belief that in a troubled world, we are stronger together than apart!

In Catch 52 the character Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that the British electorate have voted to leave the EU.  He is shattered by this news, as I was myself and spends the novel trying to come to terms with the decision.  From page one,  I liked Mike, because I felt that we shared common emotions, disbelief, upset and even anger, at what I felt was a short sighted decision to sever ourselves, from an organisation set up to promote cooperation and integration. I have an instinctive distrust of politicians that use patriotism for self gain, those who exploit the fears of people who felt ignored by a political elite they decided had betrayed them. So I found Mike’s journey cathartic and I understood the range of emotions he goes through to come to a journey’s end.

What I also liked about this book, is the way the author explains how Mike comes to be so Euro centric and the life experiences that he enjoyed.  It goes some way to explain why others mistrust the European Union, those less lucky than himself, who lives have not allowed them to travel and emerse themselves in other cultures. They distrust what they may not understand. Or it could be that they have travelled and just not liked or enjoyed the cultures they came across.

I liked the way P.G Ronane doesn’t seek to judge those that voted to leave the European Union too harshly. The reasons people voted the way they did, were complicated and not just based on anti European vitriol.  We all have our views about what happened and the writer importantly acknowledges this. It’s a well balanced and interesting read.

There was one thing that niggled me about Catch 52 and its a minor point.  The author notes that Wales voted as a nation to leave the EU. This isn’t true, parts of Wales voted to remain, including my beloved home Cardiff, which held up its creditials as a city that aims to be inclusive. He doesn’t label all of England as voting leave, so it would be nice to ackllowedge that Wales is also a diverse nation politically. But its a small niggle. This is a novel, not a non fiction look at why people voted the way they did. As such, this point would only really bother me and I doubt would even be picked up by many readers.

Given Catch 52 has such a strong political theme, it may not be for everyone, but I urge people to give it a try.  For Remainers so they realise they are not alone and Brexiters so they can understand why so many people have had such an emotional reaction to Brexit.  If we are to heal as a nation, we need to be able to see both sides of a very emotional journey, to a Britain that sits on the presapice of a very uncertain future.

Catch 52 is an excellent look at the events that took place and voices the journey so many have also undergone.

You can buy Catch 52 via Amazon

Author Bio

After three decades of serving as a police officer in the inner-city areas of Liverpool, P.G.Ronane retired and decided to go back to school, run for office and travel the European continent. Now 61, he is an education manager living in Wirral with his family. This is his first book.

 

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~Those That Remain by Rob Ashman.

 

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Book summary

Lucas is coasting to retirement in a mundane Florida police precinct when a brutal serial killer, codenamed Mechanic, lands on his patch.

Three years ago they thought Mechanic was dead. But Mechanic is very much alive and no family is safe from the savage, ritualistic murders that this sadistic killer is compelled to commit.
Mechanic is always one step ahead and Lucas is forced to operate outside the law.

But who can he trust and who is Mechanic?

Soon Lucas will learn that truth is more terrifying than he could ever imagine and in order to find the answers he needs, he might just have to put his life on the line…

Review

I am delighted to be able to welcome you to the blog tour for an exciting new Bloodhound books release, Those That Remain by Rob Ashman. 

My thanks to Bloodhound Books, Rob Ashman and blog tour organiser Sarah Hardy for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I’ve read a lot of thrillers over the last few months and i’m begining to get a feel for what works! For me characterisation is important, along with a strong and plausible storyline.  Those That Remain fufill’s these criteria and is an exciting start to what is set to be, a must read series of books.

Rob Ashman has created in the Mechanic, a nemisis to his hero Lucas, who easily rivals any of the classic serial killers of literary and television fame.  I loved how the writer sets up this game of cat and mouse between two equally matched adversaries, skilfully avoiding making one more prominent than the other. They are eveningly matched and as a result, you as the reader are left on tender hooks, wondering who will win out in the end.

The story itself is your classic page turner.  You want and need to know the conclusion and so on you read.  Brutal serial killers are nothing new or original, so it takes a strong writer to make a character like Mechanic stand out.  Rob Ashman does this by giving him a very distinctive profile and teases the reader throughout with tit bits of information around the reasons for his shocking killing spree.  He makes you understand the tortured mind that seeks to find release by destroying the lives of others. It seems wrong, but though you are repulsed by his actions, getting an insight into a killer driven by urges he can’t control, makes you begin to understand that some people are born killers while others are made so by events we can’t comprehend. He is without a doubt a character that both repulses and fascinates me and that’s the mark of excellent characterisation.  I wanted the Mechanic, to be intelligent enough to outwit Lucas! By making him so fascinating, Rob Ashman, gave me a compulsive and addictive read.

I look forward to reading the other books in the series that are due to be published this year.  Will Lucas be faced with a new enemy or will Mechanic live on? If you want to know if he does, your going to have to read Those That Remain!

Author Bio

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Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

Rob can be followed on ~

Twitter

Facebook

His author page

 

Rob is delighted that all three books in the Mechanic Trilogy will be published with Bloodhound Books in 2017.

Those That Remain  –  22 June

In Your Name            –  13 July

Pay The Penance     –  8 August

Rob now writes full time and has recently completed his fourth novel titled Faceless.

 

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

EXQUISITE COVER AW.indd

Book summary

Description Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?

 

Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author Sarah Stovell, Orenda books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

First things first. I loved Esquiste.  Clever, original and unnerving in its plausability, it’s sure to be one of this years must read books!

Why did I love it so much?  There were several reasons!

The strength of the plotline, which was beautifully balanced, it gave a strong voice to both female protagonists.  Added to this the writer made her two main characters, clever, intelligent and complex women.  Not for Bo and Alice supporting roles in a male dominated drama, they were front and centre and that is still the exception, rather than the norm in modern fiction.

On top of this, the story gripped me within a few pages and held me in its thrall right to the very last page.  Cleverly the story was told alternatively from Bo and Alice’s point of view. Each seeing events from a slightly different perspective and this left me flipping back and forward, continuously changing my mind about who was engaging in sinister games within their rapidly developing relationship.  The writer had me so tied in knots that at one point, I conjured up a character in my mind, who never even emerged in the novel.

The quality of the writing within Exquisite is top notch.   It’s a twisted and taunt storyline, making it a must read book! Without a doubt this is another author added to my list of automatic purchases when she releases her next novel.

You can buy this exciting read from Amazon

 

Author

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Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter.

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Blog Tour ~ Review~Being Simon Haines by Tom Vaughan Macaulay

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Book summary

Meet Simon Haines.
For a decade he’s been chasing his dream: partnership at the legendary, family-run law firm of Fiennes & Plunkett. The gruelling hours and manic intensity of his job have come close to breaking him, but he has made it through the years and is now within a whisker of his millions: in less than two weeks, he will know the outcome of the partnership vote. He decides to spend the wait in Cuba in an attempt to rediscover his youthful enthusiasm and curiosity, and to clear his mind before the arrival of the news that might change his life forever. But alone in Havana he becomes lost in nostalgia and begins to relive his past…
Set against the backdrop of an uncertain world, and charged with emotion, Being Simon Haines is a searching story about contemporary London and aspiration, values and love. Painting a picture of a generation of young professionals, it asks the most universal of questions: are we strong enough to know who we are?

 

Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author Tom MacAulay and Red Door Publishing for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

In this, his first published novel, Tom MacAulay delivers an assured and fascinating study, of one man’s determined pursuit of a partnership in the law firm of Fiennes & Plunket.  All other aspects of his life, have affectively been sacrificed in his relentless pursuit of success and financial reward. Then, while waiting to hear if he has succeeded in his dream of becoming a partner, he takes a break in Cuba, alone and at a lose end for the first time in many years.

Simon Haines is not your typically likeable character. In fact as the novel opens he both irritating and selfish.  But, as he explores Cuba and recounts the events from his past that have led to this point in his life, I warmed to him. In fact I came to love him, in the way you love an annoying sibling.  This is not a bad thing, I love my brother, but sometimes I could happily slap him!

As the novel progresses he deepens into a character who is capable of looking back on past events and questioning his life choices.  Away from the crushing pressure of his London life, he has time to think, rest and reevaluate all the choices he has made. Does he want money and success over friends and a less hectic life. Is being a career devotee who Simon Haines really is?

Tom MacAulay thankfully does not fall into the trap of portraying Haines’s break in Cuba as a visit to an idyllic retreat.  He looks past the isolated all inclusive hotel resorts into the real Cuba. He immerses his character in the amongst the poverty, massive edifices from a communist past and the wondrous and spikey  personality of the Cuban people.   Across its pages he introduces Simon to all aspects of the islands inhabitants and this is what begins to loosen the stranglehold the pursuit of money and success has on Simon Haines.  His often awkward encounters with the local inhabitants made me smile and made me realise, he could be anyone of us in a similar situation.

Tom MacAulay has created a highly enjoyable and often very amusing read.  At the same time he has delivered a novel that looks at the complexities of modern life and the obsession so many people have with status and personal wealth.

Join Simon on his journey of discovery, as looking back on his past, he revaluates the decisions he made and discovers whether he is brave enough to accept who he really is.   Simon will get under your skin and good or bad, he is worth getting to know.

Without a doubt this novel deserves to read and recommended to all your book reading friends.

Being Simon Haines is published by Red Door Publishing and can be purchased from –

Amazon   and Waterstones and other great bookshops.

Author Bio

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Blog Tour ~Review~ Wolves In The Dark by Gunnar Staalesen

wolves in the dark cover

Book summary

Description Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material … and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest – and most personal – case yet.

Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author, publisher Orenda books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC copy of this book,  in return for an honest review.

This was my first foray into Nordic crime fiction and what an introduction!  It’s a first class story from a masterful storyteller.

It’s strengths lie in the way that Gunnar Staaleson focuses on the characterisation and imbuing his novel with a taunt sense of atmosphere.  It reels you in and makes the reader feel they are within the pages of his story, right next to the hero Varg Veum.   Masterfully he reveals the threads of his novel slowly, never once trying to give his readers an easy opt-out clause. Once you have started reading Wolves In The Dark, you won’t want to put it down, because it’s deliciously addictive. Just like constructing the pieces of a puzzle,  Gunner Staaleson slowly reveals pieces of the story to you and invites the reader to construct the puzzle with him. Slowly, but thrillingly, you start to understand the reasons why Veum now faces a fight for his career and freedom.

In Veum he has a leading character who is stoic and determined. He has a dark side, but that just makes him a more rounded and intriguing as a character.  Hero’s who are tormented by demon’s from their past, are so much more fascinating and Veum is a perfect example.  Like Mr Rochester, who is haunted by his mad wife, Veum, is haunted by the murder of the women he loved, making his quest for redemption all the more fascinating. He is complex and beautifully constructed and I found myself warming to him as the story progresses.

Like the title suggests Wolves In The Dark, has darkness at its very core, as Veum is set up by a child pornography ring and is forced to fight for his life and career.  Socially aware, the writer, brings this terrible perversion to the front of our conciousness. He uses his hero to illustrate what hides away often just below the veneer of polite society.  Its a difficult subject, but he handles it well, blending it into his story, exposing it for the unforgivable crime it is.

Wolves In The Dark is part of a series of novels featuring Veum, saying that, it reads well as a stand alone, which is how I came to read it. I would recommend it both to new readers of Nordic crime books and dedicated fans of this of this Norwegian Chandler.

Wolves In The Dark can be bought from Amazon,  Waterstones and other good bookshops.

 

Author Bio

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

Granite Noir Fest 2017

wolves blog tour poster