Friday, 17 November 2017

#Review: Ours is the Winter by @LaurieEllingham @rararesources #OursistheWinter

Ours is the Winter is published today by HQ Digital. My thanks to the Authors and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for providing me with the review copy and allowing me to take part in today's publication celebration. 

Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.

Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion.  Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.

Purchase from Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

I am delighted to be able to review Ours is the Winter today. Laurie Ellingham has been a guest on my blog before and you can read her post about her journey to publication here.

I was initially drawn in to this book by that gorgeous cover and the setting of the story. The setting is Alaska and the author managed to draw me in with her evocative description of the landscape, of the cold and the snow. Of course as a massive dog lover, the huskies in this book were very welcome.

This books focuses on three main characters. Erica, Molly and Noah, who all have their differing reasons for embarking on the trip to drive Siberian Huskies in an Arctic Challenge. All three hope that the trip will change them and allow them to escape their problems, and I would say to move on with their lives. We are introduced to all three characters and are allowed a little insight into their lives. 

Laurie Ellingham has created some very real and often flawed characters and she has seemingly done this effortlessly. The setting is the biggest draw of this book for me but the story comes together beautifully. I felt emotionally invested in the outcomes of the characters lives as each chapter went by.

I found Ours is the Winter to have a wonderful and evocative setting, excellently drawn characters and a plot that managed to engage me. It really was a beautiful and captivating read and I look forward to reading more by Laurie Ellingham in the future.

About the Author:
Laurie Ellingham lives on the Suffolk/Essex border with her two children, husband, and cockerpoo Rodney. She has a First Class honours degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, but her main love is writing and disappearing into the fictional world of her characters, preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand.

Follow Laurie Ellingham on..

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

#BlogTour: Lay Me to Rest by @EAClarkAuthor @rararesources #LayMetoRest

 Lay Me to Rest by E.A. Clark was published by HQ Digital on 29th September 2017. My thanks to the Author and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the review copy and having me on the blog tour.

Lay Me To Rest

Some secrets never stay buried for long…

Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.
She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…
Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby?
A gripping thriller from E. A. Clark, perfect for fans of Kerri Wilkinson, Sarah Wray and Stella Duffy. You won’t be able to put it down!

Purchase from Amazon

My Thoughts:

Lay Me to  Rest was one of those books that just hooked me in from the very first page and I didn't put it down until I was finished. I found it utterly page turning and engrossing. 

Annie Philips is recently bereaved, her husband died in a tragic accident and she is pregnant with his child. In an attempt to get away from all that her grief brings her she rents a cottage in Anglesey. She hopes for a change of scenery, fresh air and a new start. The people at the cottages are friendly and amiable, her neighbour Peter is a bit peculiar but Annie doesn't worry to much. That is until ghostly goings on start occurring, Annie finds this unsettling, upsetting and disturbing, it becomes clear that something has happened at the cottage in the past. Annie with the help of others is determined to find out what, and perhaps lay the ghosts to rest.

There is a real mystery involved in this book, suspense is built up wonderfully across several chapters. I couldn't wait to find out the truth of what had happened. I loved the ethereal quality of this novel, although at times the plot had a certain menace to it and an edgy undertone, never quite knowing what is going to happen next. 

I don't read many books with a supernatural element to them, preferring to keep my feet firmly on the ground. This one however had all the elements that have made it the superb story that it is. 

Vivid imagery and an excellently described setting puts the reader right in the heart of the action and I for one would love to read anything else by this author in the future. 

About the Author:
E. A. Clark lives in the Midlands with her husband and son, plus a rather temperamental cat, a rabbit and a chinchilla. She has three (now grown-up) children and five grandchildren. She is particularly partial to Italian food, decent red wine (or any coloured wine come to that …) and cake – and has been known to over-indulge in each on occasions.
She has a penchant for visiting old graveyards and speculating on the demise of those entombed beneath. Whilst she has written short stories and poetry for many years, a lifelong fascination with all things paranormal has culminated in her first novel for adults, Lay Me to Rest. The setting is inspired by her love of Wales, owing to her father’s Celtic roots.
Follow E.A. Clark on…

Please do have a look at some of the other stops on the blog tour. 

Monday, 13 November 2017

#BlogTour: Last Christmas in Paris by @HazelGaynor and @msheatherwebb #LastChristmasinParis

Last Christmas in Paris was published by William Morrow Publishers on 5th October 2017. My thanks to the Authors and Publisher for the review copy and having me on the blog tour.

They were told it would be ‘over by Christmas’…

When Evelyn Elliott’s brother Will and his best friend Thomas Harding sign up for the front, everyone is convinced that the war will be over in months and they’ll be free to celebrate the festive season in the cafes and boulevards of the French capital. But as the months drag on, their ‘Christmas in Paris’ becomes an increasingly distant dream. 
Evie becomes increasingly frustrated by her life as a privileged young woman and is desperate to contribute towards the war effort. Thomas faces the unimaginable horrors of the front, compounded by his obligations to his father’s newspaper business at home. 
Their letters between each other and their friends and relatives reflect the gradual erosion of their youthful idealism and the growing warmth in their own relationship. As the conflict darkens, will they ever be able to enjoy the Christmas they planned together in happier times? 
Last Christmas in Paris was written by historical fiction authors Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. They met after working together on a collection of short stories based on The First World War, Fall of Poppies. They’d both enjoyed the novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and thought that an epistolary novel would be a good way of working together.

My Thoughts:

Last Christmas in Paris is a deeply moving novel told in a series of letters between Evie and her brother Will and friend Thomas who have gone away to serve in World War One. There are others letters between friends and family and the format of the letters works really well. 

The authors have managed to create rounded and authentic characters and portrayed the horrors of the war for those away and those left back at home, a war that should have been over in a matter of weeks but instead went on for years. 

Evie is frustrated being at home, lonely and wanting to help the war effort she takes on the writing of a newspaper column engaging with the ladies left behind, I loved the spirit and the fortitude of her character. 

It was very moving when Thomas begins to suffer from his mental health when he had been on the front line for so long and I think that this was sensitivity handled and shone a light on something that was probably rarely discussed at the time.

Last Christmas in Paris really is beautifully written and incredibly moving, I read it in one sitting. I really do enjoy stories in the Epistolary format and it worked amazingly well here. The characters all felt very real, you could feel there excitements, and then their fears and despondencies as the war started to drag on. Everyone's lives on hold, and nothing to return to the same way as before. All lives altered forever. 

Something also struck me in that the art of letter writing seems to have gone out of fashion but I can't help but imagine what waiting for a letter to arrive from a loved one must have felt like, just to know that they are safe and for them the war goes on.

Deeply moving and sensitively written, this book is somewhat of a gem, I can really recommend it. 

About the Authors:
Hazel Gaynor is the author of Irish bestselling novel Hazel Gaynor's 2014 debut novel The Girl Who Came Home was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Hazel writes a popular guest blog 'Carry on Writing' for national Irish writing website and contributes regular feature articles for the site, interviewing authors such as Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, Cheryl Strayed, Rachel Joyce and Jo Baker, among others. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. 

Heather Webb is the acclaimed author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover. In 2015, Goodreads selected Rodin’s Lover as a Top Pick of the Month. Heather is a member of the Historical Novel Society and lives in New England with her children and husband, and one feisty rabbit.

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

#BlogTour: Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li @winniemli @Legend_Press #DarkChapter

Dark Chapter was published by Legend Press on 1st November 2017. My thanks to the Author and the Publisher for the review copy and the invitation to be part of the blog tour.

Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.
On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence.
In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.
Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.
My Thoughts:

Dark Chapter is the remarkable debut novel of Winnie M. Li. All the more remarkable because although it is a work of fiction it was inspired by the very personal events that happened to her. 

Vivian is confident, professional, outgoing and good at her job. She loves to relax by going hiking, which has always been a passion of hers, it holds a sense of adventure and a thrill for her. A chance to let her hair down and spend some time out of her hectic life on her own. Her trip to Ireland should have been no different but the tranquil escape that she anticipated was anything but and her life is irrevocably changed by her encounter with Johnny. 

Johnny is from the travelling community. He is marginalised and his childhood has lacked stability, he is a very mixed up young man. He almost seems to be an adult in a child's body, Pornography, alcohol and a lack of parental support has lead to a life of stealing and disrespect for others. 

The events of the day in question and the sexual assault change both the lives of Vivian and Johnny and as a reader we are spared no details in this often brutal and graphic account of what happened. Interestingly the story is told from both the points of view of the victim and the perpetrator. The story deals with events before, during and after the ordeal. 

Not for the faint hearted, this book is quite harrowing and at times had me in tears at the injustice of it all. I think that the author has told an important story with great honesty and compassion, the narrative was gripping and the accounts from both sides were realistic and plausible. 

I think the author has been bold and brave in writing this story about a subject matter that is often shied away from. I have complete and utter admiration for her in the telling of this story and I believe it to be an important and literary work of fiction. 

Moving, absorbing and extremely emotive, I can recommend it whole heartedly. 
About the Author:
Winnie M. Li is a writer and producer, who has worked in the creative industries on three continents. A Harvard graduate, she has written for travel guide books, produced independent feature films, programmed for film festivals, and developed eco-tourism projects. After graduating with Distinction in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths (where she was shortlisted for the Pat Kavanagh Prize 2015), she now currently writes across a range of media (including a column for The Huffington Post), runs arts festivals, and is a PhD researcher in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. She was Highly Commended for the CWA Debut Dagger 2015 and also shortlisted for the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize. She lives in London yet is somewhat addicted to travel. Dark Chapter is her first novel.
Follow Winnie online at or on Twitter @winniemli
Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.

Friday, 10 November 2017

#BlogTour: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng @littlebrownuk @pronounced_ing

Little Fires Everywhere was published by Little Brown Book Group on the 9th November 2017. My thanks to the Author and the Publisher for the review copy and the invitation to be a a part of the blog tour.

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When the Richardsons' friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family - and Mia's.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

My Thoughts:

Little Fires Everywhere is set in Shaker Heights, a suburb in Cleveland, Ohio. Shaker Heights is a place where everything has to be perfect, there are lots of rules to conform to. You are only allowed to paint your house certain colours for example. The idea being that utopia is created by as much planning as possible, I detested the idea of such uniformity. 

In this novel there are those that revel in the conformity, namely the Richardsons. However one day Mia and her daughter Pearl arrive, they are different in every way from the Richardsons. Mia has a past, is an artist and along with Pearl they have lead something of a nomadic existence to date. Mia has decided that it is time to put some roots down for Pearl. Mia and Pearl rent a place from Mrs Richardson. 

There is an court battle surrounding an adoption, which only serves to divide the community further. There are so many strands to this story, it is intricate and delicate and I struggled to settle into it at first. Once I did though it took my breath away. 

There are many themes in this book; motherhood, race and class divisions, family tensions. They are also secrets involved and there are people that think they are better because of their bank balance. I enjoyed the exploration of the way that people can be judged by others by what they have and haven't got. 

Little Fires Everywhere is such an accomplishment on the part of the author. The wonderful interwoven and nuanced plot, and beautiful writing serve to display what a gifted story teller she is. I have no doubt in my mind that this will be the best seller that it is poised to be.

About the Author:

Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, won the Hopwood Award, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the American Library Association's Alex Award. She is a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Please do have a look at some of the other stops on the blog tour.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

#BlogTour: Wide Awake Asleep by Louise Wise @Louise_Wise #WideAwakeAsleep

Delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Wide Awake Asleep by Louise Wise. My thanks to the Author for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for having me on the blog tour.

Can you really be on the WRONG path in life?

No one knew she was driving on that stretch of road. No one saw her car leave the highway and crash into a watery ditch. No one heard the car’s windscreen smash or saw the tree branch come through to impale her to her seat. No one heard her screams.
Julie Compton’s life should have come to an end that day, but instead, that moment was the beginning of her new life as she wakes, unharmed, back in 1972 and primed to relive her traumatic childhood all over again. One flaw. She’s in the body of a stranger.
Journey back to the 70s and 80s England where Julie is forced to jump through the eras, occupying and controlling other people’s bodies she knew as a child. She must work out which destiny path was the wrong one all while wondering if her body, back in 2016, was dying in her car.
With each momentous change, her memories transform and she realises she’s not only changing her future but of those around her. She’s finally ‘living’ but does that mean she must die?

Purchase Links:

My Thoughts:

Wide Awake Asleep is the first novel that I have read by Louise Wise, it is somewhat of a paranormal romance with some time travel involved. 

Julie Compton is 49 years old and has a lot on her plate, she is a successful business woman, she has an ailing mother that she visits regularly but their relationship is strained. Julie doesn't really agree with her Mum's lifestyle choices and decisions that she made when Julie was a child. 

Tragically, Julie is involved in a car crash, only she wakes up in a car in Potterspury. This was miles away from where the crash happened and happens to be her childhood home. It becomes evident that the present day has been swept away as the author manages to capture a sense of the 1970's and 1980's which happened to be Julie's formative years. 

What happens next is a paradoxical look at what would happen if we were able to go back and rewrite our pasts, being able to look back at events that happened, like a fly on the wall. Inhabiting the bodies of various people we knew at that time and being able to remake and influence decisions that they made. 

Wide Awake Asleep is a far cry from the usual books I read, and for that reason I loved it. I thought the concept was fascinating, beguiling and engaging. The writing flowed wonderfully well and I had an emotional investment in the characters who all just seemed to jump off of the page. The Author succeeded in being able to set the time and the place of the story and also being able to transport the reader along for the ride. 

I found this one to be different and I would really recommend it. It put a microscope on family dynamics and how the decisions that people make, can have an effect of others.  I enjoyed it. 

About the Author:
Louise Wise is a British writer and has been weaving stories all her life—and for many years, she was a 'closet writer' with a cupboard is full of ageing manuscripts depicting fantastical romantic adventures!
Most of her books have an element of romance, but tend to cross over into other genres, giving them a unique edge.
Her debut novel is the best-selling sci-fi romance EDEN, which was followed by its sequel HUNTED in 2013.
A PROPER CHARLIE is a romantic comedy written purely for the chick lit market, but then she decided to unite her love of all things supernatural with romance and OH NO, I’VE FALLEN IN LOVE and WIDE AWAKE ASLEEP came along.
Her other works include SCRUFFY TRAINERS (a collection of short stories with a twist). She has written numerous short stories for women’s magazines including Women’s Own and Take a Break.
She loves hearing from her readers - the good, the bad and the ugly stuff they want to share!

Social Media Links –

Please do have a look at some of the other stops on the blog tour.

Friday, 27 October 2017

#BlogTour: Why Stuff Matters by Jen Waldo @ArcadiaBooks

Published by Arcadia Books on 20th October 21017. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy. 

When Jessica, a grieving widow, inherits an antique mall from her mother she also inherits the stallholders, an elderly, amoral, acquisitive, and paranoid collection. 

When one of the vendors, a wily ex-con named Roxy, shoots her ex-husband, she calls on Jessica to help bury the body and soon Jessica is embroiled in cover-ups, lies, and misdirection. Into this mix comes Lizzie, Jessica’s late husband’s twelve-year-old daughter by his first marriage, who’s been dumped on Jessica’s doorstep by the child’s self-absorbed mother and it soon becomes apparent that Lizzie is as obsessed with material possessions as Jessica’s elderly tenants.

Why Stuff Matters is a compelling ode to possession, why people like things and the curious lengths they will go to keep them. Returning to her fictional Caprock, Waldo turns her wry wit on the lives of those afraid to let go.

My Thoughts:

When I was invited to review Why Stuff Matters I was instantly drawn by the unique premise of the Story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book set in the fictional town of Caprock, in small town texas. It is a difficult book to describe.

A cast of individual and unique characters make Why Stuff Matters an entertaining and amusig read about the price that we put on 'things'. Recently bereaved Jessica inherits an antique mall and the stallholders that go with it. All highly original characters and not without their problems and dramas. It is not about all of the older stallholders of the mall. Lizzie brings youth to the story and the interaction between her and the older generation, is insightful and very well done. 

I loved everything about this book, the wry and witty anecdotes and the hilariously drawn characters. The quirkiness of the story, and the sentimental but not twee look at what value we put on our possessions. 

Jen Waldo is an author that I would most certainly return to. I loved the originality of her writing and the stories she has to tell, and the points she has to make.

I really recommend this one as one of the more entertaining and uplifting books that you will read this year. 

About the Author:

Jen Waldo has lived in Holland, Egypt, the UK, Scotland, Kuwait and Singapore, but now lives in her home Texas, where her novels are set.
She first began writing twenty five years ago and shortly afterwards she had a story picked up by The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler. Her novel Disappearing Otis' won an honourable mention in the Indy Book Awards.
For Arcadia Books, Jen has written Old Buildings in North Texas and - to come - her second novel Why Stuff Matters. 

#BlogTour: Fair of Face by @CAJamesWriter #fairofface @saltpublishing

Published by Salt Publishing on 15th October 2017. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy.

A double murder is discovered in Spalding some days after it takes place.
The victims are Tina Brackenbury, the foster mother of Grace Winter, a ten-year-old who escapes the killer because she is staying at her friend Chloe Hebblewhite's house at the time, and Tina's infant daughter. Enquiries by the police and social services reveal that some four years previously Grace was the sole survivor of the horrific massacre of her mother, grandparents and sister at Brocklesby Farm in North Lincolnshire, a crime for which her uncle Tristram Arkwright is currently serving a whole-life tariff.
Why did Amy Winter, Grace's adoptive mother, send her to live with a foster parent? Is it a coincidence that both of Grace's families have now been brutally killed? And is it possible that Grace's uncle, a notorious con-man, has found a way to contact her from his maximum security cell?
DI Yates and his team face a series of apparently impenetrable conundrums.

My Thoughts:

Fair of Face is the first novel I have read by Christina James but it is the 6th in the DI Yates crime series that is set in Spalding, Lincolnshire. I found that although part of a series, this book read very well as a standalone novel. 

I always find it tricky reviewing crime novels as I am loathe to give anything of the plot away. Suffice to say there were plenty of twists and turns in this story. The addition of children as witnesses is something new to me and made a refreshing change in a somewhat crowded genre. 

The police, including DI Yates are called in to investigate after the double murder of a mother and small child. Who on earth would kill a mother and daughter and what was their motive? The case seems a difficult one for the police to tackle.

It took me a short while to settle into the story, but once I did I found it to be engaging and compelling. There are a lot of characters and interactions to keep a track of but I think they added to the plot and the intrigue for me as a reader. 

This was a rollercoaster of a read that I found gripping and thrilling and I didn't predict the story that unravelled. 

I look forward to reading some more books from this series in the future. 

About the Author:
Christina James was born in Spalding and sets her novels in the evocative Fenland countryside of South Lincolnshire. She works as a bookseller, researcher and teacher. She is also a well-established non-fiction writer under a separate name.

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour:

Saturday, 30 September 2017

#BlogTour: Snow Sisters by @CarolLovekin @Honno #snowsisters

Published on 21st September 2017 by Honno Welsh Women's Press. My thanks to the Author and the Publisher for the review copy and having me on the blog tour.

Two sisters, their grandmother's old house and Angharad... the girl who cannot leave

Meredith discovers a dusty sewing box in a disused attic. Once open the box releases the ghost of Angharad, a Victorian child-woman with a horrific secret she must share. Angharad slowly reveals her story to Meredith who fails to convince her sister of the visitations until Verity sees Angharad for herself on the eve of an April snowstorm.

Forced by her flighty mother to abandon Gull House for London, Meredith struggles to settle, still haunted by Angharad and her little red flannel hearts. This time, Verity is not sure she will be able to save her...

My Thoughts:

Snow Sisters is the second novel written by Carol Lovekin, her first Ghostbird was published last year. I haven't read that one yet, and I must own up slightly and say that I am not usually the biggest fan of stories that contain ghosts, but I adored this book in so many ways, it was actually quite transformative.

Snow Sisters is a book that defies genres, nestled in its own niche, if pushed I would say it is literary fiction, with magical realism and feminism. It really is a wonderful, absorbing and unique read. 

This is the story of Sisters, Meredith and Verity. It is also the story of Angharad, a ghost of a girl who lived at Gull House 100 years prior. She has a sad story to tell and it seems that Meredith is the one to hear it. Allegra is the girls Mother, who is dysfunctional at best and seems distant and detached. It seems that she is incapable of showing her children the love and nurturing that they deserve. 

Nonetheless the girls have ambitions, they long to be independent. Relying on a man is not really in their plans. They have a wonderful relationship with their Nain, who seems to keep an eye on the girls from a distance despairing of her daughter Allegra's behaviour. 

Many themes are encompassed within the pages of this story; feminism, the mother/daughter relationship, hope, magic, love, sisterly bonds, favouritism. 

I was unprepared for the exquisiteness of the authors writing, the glorious prose and the poetic and lyrical nature of the wording. Colours and places, nature and sound, voices and landscapes, past and present. All of these things danced off of every page, a kaleidoscope of magic. 

The wonderful almost female only cast of characters, were believable, genuine and warm. Although not all likeable all of the time, they were all wonderfully written and envisaged by the author in great detail. I had a very vivid picture in mind of them all as I was reading. 

I have no doubt in my mind that this author is an artist, an artist with great insight. One that shows and doesn't tell. An artist that uses her literary palette with a deft touch that leads the reader on the journey, invites them to sit in the gardens of Gull House for a while and then lets them form their own conclusions as the landscape unfolds before them.  A writer that isn't afraid to use the light and shade in this multi faceted and phenomenal story.

I could recommend this one to every single person and I am sure they would love it as much as I did. 

About the Author:
© Janey Stevens
Carol is a writer, feminist and flâneuse. Her home is in beautiful West Wales, a place whose legends and landscape inform her writing. She writes contemporary fiction threaded with elements of magic.
Her second book, SNOW SISTERS, was published on 21 September, 2017 by Honno, the Welsh Women's Press. It has been chosen by the Welsh Books Council as their October Book of the Month (for independent shops.)
GHOSTBIRD, her first novel, was published in March 2016. The book was chosen as Waterstones Wales and Welsh Independent Bookshops 'Book Of The Month' for April 2016. It was longlisted for the Guardian 'Not the Booker' prize 2016 and nominated for the Guardian Readers' Book of the Year 2016. 

Please do have a look at the other stops along the blog tour. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

#BlogTour: The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet @noexitpress #FrozenWomanBook

Published by No Exit Press on 21st September 2017. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour.

In the depths of the Norwegian winter, a woman s frozen corpse is discovered in the garden of a notorious ex-lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death.
A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by the lawyer, is found dead in suspicious circumstances.
Thygesen starts receiving anonymous threats, and becomes ensnared in a web of violence, crime and blackmail that spreads across Northern Europe.
Does the frozen woman hold the key?

My Thoughts:

The Frozen Woman is a wonderful slice of Nordic Noir, that has been seamlessly translated by Don Bartlett. A multi layered story that was intriguing and at times harsh. I really enjoyed the descriptiveness of the Norwegian landscape and the fact that the Author pulled the reader in with a taut plot. The pace is not hurtling as has been known with some thrillers, but this book is as equally engaging. 

The body of a Woman is found in the garden of Vilhelm Thygesen, the police have nicknamed her Picea.  Thygesen used to be a lawyer who is somewhat disgraced, a dishonest and slippery character. Detectives Stribolt and Vaage are called in to investigate and it isn't hard to see why Thygesen is their prime suspect. 

As the story progresses further strands of the story develop and the richness of the plot develops from here,biker gangs and blackmail play a part. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between the two detectives, Vaage and Stribolt. They don't always see eye to eye but they are as equally competitive and both strive for results.

If you are looking for a fast paced thriller then this one probably isn't for you. However I relished the fact that this novel made me concentrate on the intricacies of the plot. It is a fairly short book but one that can't be rushed. 

You can tell that Jon Michelet is an experienced writer, this is more than just Nordic Noir, it touches on some of the social issues of our lifetimes. I feel enriched from having read this one. 

About the Author:
© Hans Fredrik Asbjørnse
Jon Michelet has been one of Norway's leading authors through five decades. He made his debut in 1975 with the crime novel He Who Is Born to Be Hanged, Shall Never Be Drowned. He has since published numerous novels, plays and non-fiction books, and co-authored five bestselling reportage books from the Football World Cup with Dag Solstad. Michelet has also worked as a sailor, a docker, a journalist, publisher and newspaper editor. He is renowned in Norway for his strong commitment to a number of political and cultural causes. 
Michelet has been awarded the Riverton Prize for Best Norwegian Crime Novel twice, for   and The Frozen Woman both part of his long running Vilhelm Thygesen series. He has also had phenomenal success with his epic series, A Hero of the Sea. Telling the story of the dramatic experiences of a Norwegian merchant navy sailor during WWII, the five novels published so far have been topping the charts since 2012, and have sold well over half a million copies, making Michelet a household name in Norway. 
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