Tuesday, 27 June 2017

#BlogTour: The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse #LoveLesley @ed_pr #25in25

I am delighted to be a stop on this very special blog tour to celebrate the 25th book of Lesley Pearse. The Woman in the Wood is published on 29th June 2017 by Michael Joseph. My thanks to Darran at ed public relations for having me.

Lesley Pearse is a global bestselling author, having sold more than 10 million books to date. I have read some and they are well written, crossing many genres and boundaries. Firstly I will tell you about The Woman in the Wood and then I have a Factoid for you from one of Lesley's previous books.

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan have always had each other. Until that fateful day in the wood… 

1960: Maisy and Duncan Mitcham are woken one night to find their mother is being committed to an insane asylum. Soon after, their father packs them off to ‘Nightingales’, their grandmother’s country house in the New Forest. Cold and distant, she leaves them to their own devices to explore; a freedom they have never experienced before and which they love. That is, until the day Duncan doesn’t come home from the woods. 

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive and with Grandmother Mitcham showing little concern, it falls to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the woods. A woman called Grace Deville.

So that sounds really exciting, I can't wait to read it. Perhaps you are a fan of Lesley Pearse, I would love to hear which is your favourite of hers. I have been given Lesley's 13th book to give you a fact about. Secrets was first published in 2004...

It's 1930, and Secrets tells the tale of one girl caught in a family mystery, a struggle against cruelty, and a quest for love . . .
This is just one of many captivating novels from the international NO.1 BESTSELLING author Lesley Pearse.
Without her mother she is alone in the world . . .
Twelve-year-old Adele is placed in a bleak, cruel children's home after a family tragedy drives her mother to madness. But when trust is betrayed Adele has no choice but to run away . . .
Alone and friendless, she heads for Sussex, to seek out the grandmother she has never known. However the journey, without food or shelter, leaves her desperately ill. Surrounded by the beautiful Rye Marshes, Adele is nursed back to health.
Can she now dream of a new life? But what will happen when her mother reappears, bearing shocking family secrets?
About the Author: 
Lesley Pearse's novels have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. She lives in Devon and loves walking on the beach with her Grandchildren and dogs .
Novels by Lesley Pearse:
1. Georgia
2. Tara
3. Charity
4. Ellie
5. Camellia
6. Rosie
7. Charlie
8. Never Look Back
9. Trust Me
10. Father Unknown
11. Till we Meet Again
12. Remember Me
13. Secrets
14. A Lesser Evil
15. Hope
16. Faith
17. Gypsy
18. Stolen – A No.1 Bestseller
19. Belle – A No.1 Bestseller
20. The Promise – A No.2 Bestseller
21. Forgive Me – No.1 Bestseller
22. Survivor – No.1 Bestseller
23. Without a Trace – No.1 Bestseller – over 200,000 copies sold to date.
24. Dead to Me – published in paperback, 4th May 2017.

You can find out more:
Website: www.lesleypearse.com
Twitter: @LesleyPearse

Monday, 26 June 2017

#Review: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee @HideawayFall @MJonathanLee #BrokenBranches

Broken Branches is published by Hideaway Fall on the 27th July 2017. It is the first release from this publisher, my thanks to them for sending me a review copy.

'Family curses don't exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don't think so.' 

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family. 

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse. 

My Thoughts:

Broken Branches is the first publication from brand new publisher Hideaway Fall. There has been a massive marketing campaign behind this one and social media has been abuzz. That brings a trepidation of its own as a reader and reviewer, will the story live up to hype surrounding it. I am happy to say that Broken Branches delivered on so many levels.

Ian Perkins returns to the isolated cottage that was his family home, a home that has been passed down from generation to generation. Also passed down, if it is to believed is a curse on the people that live in the cottage. A tree in the garden seems the catalyst for this. The story is pretty dark and creepy throughout, there is a really Gothic feel to it. The ethereal nature of this story means that there is little to feel happy about as events unfold.

Ian Perkins is falling apart, driving himself crazy trying to piece together his family history. Trying to find out about the curse in order to stop it. The cottage makes noises, a creak here, a door slamming there. Papers being moved and put out of order. On the face of it, this would seem ghostly. I am not convinced. The further I got into the story, the more I understood. The Author has done a deft job of writing a multi layered story a ghostly, supernatural story that can be taken at face value or one that runs much deeper if you dare to scrape beneath the surface.

There are chapters about Ian Perkins early years and his time in the cottage during his childhood. He seemingly wanted to be accepted and he also wanted to better himself, he wanted to be different. He didn't want to be defined by life on the farm. I still have a few unanswered questions about his childhood and why he felt the way that he did.

I took more from this story in the aspects of the decline in one persons Mental Health, never have I been a believer in ghosts and curses. Ian Perkins is not a well man, a fragmented mind, the branches of his memories and his present broken and becoming evermore disjointed. The Author has written about one persons unravelling with great skill and care.

The pace built to a crescendo as the story reached its final chapter, almost as if things had to get worse before they could get better. A reminder that much like a tree branch we can bend but we must not break.

Hugely readable and thought provoking.

About the Author:
M. Jonathan Lee (also known as Jonathan Lee) was born in 1974. He is an award-winning novelist who has had two novels in the #10 Amazon charts. He was born in Yorkshire, northern England where he still lives today. 

His first novel, the critically-acclaimed The Radio was shortlisted for The Novel Prize 2012 and is the first in the loosely titled The 'The' trilogy. His second novel, The Page (the second in The 'The' trilogy) was released in January 2015. 

His third novel A Tiny Feeling of Fear was released in September 2015. It has been hailed as 'original and inspiring' by Sunday Times best-selling author, Milly Johnson.

He is working closely with Rethink and Mind Charities to raise awareness of mental health issues, and is a regular commentator on the BBC. 

He signed a four-book deal in February 2015 and is currently writing a non-fiction rock biography about Boston-based band Hallelujah the Hills. He is also writing three further fiction titles, the first of which is to be released in late 2017.

His fourth novel, Broken Branches is due out in July 2017, published by Hideaway Fall. 

More details including contact information can be found at his website: 


He is happy to talk to anyone...

Sunday, 25 June 2017

#Review: Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams #LetterstoEloise @EmilyRMWilliams

Letters to Eloise was published in February 2017. My thanks to the Author for sending me a review copy.

Letters to Eloise is the incredibly warm, witty, poignant and heart-wrenching debut epistolary novel by bestselling author Emily Williams; a love story of misunderstandings, loss, and betrayal but ultimately the incredible bond between mother and child.

‘Receiving a hand written letter is something that always puts a smile on my face, no matter who the sender is.’ Flora Tierney.

When post-graduate student Flora falls unexpectedly pregnant during her final year studies she hits a huge predicament; continue a recent affair with her handsome but mysterious lecturer who dazzles her with love letters taken from the ancient tale of ‘Abelard and Heloise’, or chase after the past with her estranged first love?
But will either man be there to support her during the turmoil ahead?

‘Banish me, therefore, for ever from your heart’, Abelard to Heloise.

My Thoughts:

I was delighted to be approached directly by the Author to read Letters to Eloise. I particularly like reading books in Epistolary format, some of my favourite books are written this way. One of the concerns I had when agreeing to read this book though was whether the plot would resonate with me, I don't have children and writing letters to an unborn child might be something that I would find hard to picture doing. However I was utterly absorbed by this book and I think that anybody that has a heart would be too. 

Flora is in her final year of University, she has lots of plans for her future and at the time that didn't involve having a baby. She finds herself in a difficult position, with little support. Although she struck me as a lady with a fierce independence and great strength of character. She knows one thing, she wants to keep her baby and she is going to love it. As I said previously the book is written in the form of letters to her baby and each chapter starts off with a measurement of how much it has grown. The letters were poignant and emotive and were the perfect vessel to show the reader the varying degrees of love. A love between a mother and child. A love between partners, and finally the love that only comes along once in a lifetime. It also allowed Flora some calm in her live through the turmoil and kept her grounded when all around her was in chaos. 

This story is wonderfully and skilfully written, by the end my heart was just about torn out. I did not anticipate how all the characters lives turned out. The Author has written the book with a great deal of skill and an emotional depth to the characters. Certainly one to read with tissues and a writer to watch in the future for sure. An assured debut. 

About the Author:

Emily Williams lives by the seaside in West Sussex with her family and a menagerie of small pets. After graduating from Sussex University with a BA in Psychology, Emily trained as a primary school teacher and teaches in a local school. Letters to Eloise is her debut novel.

Find Emily on Twitter: @EmilyRMWilliams

Saturday, 24 June 2017

#BlogTour: Nailing Jess by Triona Scully @cranachanbooks @TScullyWriter #NailingJess

My Thoughts:

Nailing Jess has been described as shocking, I would agree with that. It is also the most unusual book I have read so far this year. It was far removed from what I expected when I set out to read it. I really love the element of surprise that was brought to me.

It took me a short while to adjust myself to reading this story. The writing is great but everything that we know is turned on its head. A crime novel is at the base of this story. A serial killer is on the loose, young boys are being brutally murdered. However this isn't any old crime story, you see. Women are in charge and the men are the stay at home parents. It is the men that get the wolf whistles and suchlike and it is the women that use the foulest of language. The men wear skirts, make up and pras and are answerable to the women. The hierarchy is completely different to the world we live in today.

DCI Jane Wayne is somewhat of a renegade Officer she behaves inappropriately and has been regularly in trouble for her behaviour towards her male colleagues. I must admit to cringing at the way she carried on and I didn't warm to her at all. Although I do believe she was the perfect character for this particular story. She doesn't like her colleague Ben who has been put in charge of the serial killer case, he is a menimist and seemingly everything Jane Wayne hates, she really doesn't want to be answerable to a male.

I was fascinated by the way that the author was able to challenge the reader. To be able to challenge the readers preconceived ideas and stereotypes and make them think about sexist attitudes that thankfully seem to be on the decline and be able to reverse all of that and say What if things had been the other way round?

The language in this book is somewhat colourful and I would suggest that this book won't be for everyone but I found it to be rewarding. I commend the author for tackling gender norms and sexism in the workplace in a way that was inspired. An exciting new author and one to watch out for in the future.

I would be fascinated to read any further work by this author.

About the Author:

Irish born Triona lives in Edinburgh with her son Mikey. Nailing Jess is her debut novel. Triona blogs at trionascully.com

Twitter: @TScullyWriter

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

Friday, 23 June 2017

#BlogTour: Calling Down the Storm by Peter Murphy #PeterMurphy @noexitpress #CallingDowntheStorm

Published by No Exit Press on 29th June 2017. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and to Anne Cater for having me on the blog tour.

Calling Down the Storm is the story of two separate but strangely parallel lives: the life of a defendant on trial for murder, and the life of the judge who presides over his trial. 

April 1971. When DI Webb and DS Raymond receive an emergency call, a horrific scene awaits them. Susan Lang is lying on the ground, bleeding to death. Her husband Henry is sitting nearby, holding a large, blood-stained knife. In shock, Henry claims to have no memory of the events that led to his wife’s death, leaving his barrister, Ben Schroeder, little to defend a potential charge of murder. 

Unknown to his strict Baptist wife, Deborah, Mr Justice Conrad Rainer has a secret life as a highstakes gambler. In his desperation for money, he has already raided his own and Deborah’s resources, and now he has crossed another line – one from which there is no return. 

To his horror, as the trial of Henry Lang starts, Conrad discovers a sinister connection between it and his gambling debts, one that will cause his world to unravel. 

My Thoughts:

I have always enjoyed a legal thriller, something about the factual details and the pace of the courtroom I think. Calling Down the Storm is no exception to that, I found it had all the ingredients of the genre and I am certainly pleased to add another author to the list of those that I wasn't aware of.

Set in 1971 the book opens with a brutal murder. Susan Lang has been stabbed to death. Her husband Henry is sitting nearby holding the murder weapon. Seemingly in shock he can't remember what happened, Is he a cold blooded killer like everyone seems to think he is. Of course there is a back story, there always is. A messy divorce and ongoing custody battle, sets some dramatic scenes within the plot and the courtroom. 

The judge trying the case of Henry Lang is Mr Justice Conrad Rainer, who has enough problems of his own as his personal life is descending into a cycle of chaos. A problem with drinking and gambling is impacting on his career and he calls upon his friends in high places. When the trial commences it becomes evident that there is a person of disrepute that inextricably links Rainer and Lang. Does this cause damage to the trial? Is justice served? and is Lang the only one in the wrong?

I found the parallel elements of this story fascinating and the character driven nature made it very readable and gripping. It raised a lot of questions for me. Such as what happened in the 1970's when father's fought for custody. Is there one rule for the lay man and a different rule for members of the legal system? Was Justice served to all involved?

Gripping, thought provoking and believable. An interesting plot and criminal case that had me turning the pages well into the night. I could easily recommend this one to fans of the genre and perhaps to those who might be trying the genre for the first time. Authentic and believable.

About the Author:

Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and seved for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He has written two political thrillers about the US presidency - Removal and Test of Resolve - and five legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder: A Higher Duty, A Matter for the Jury, And is there Honey still for Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr and Calling Down the Storm. He lives in Cambridgeshire.

Please do have a look at the other stops on the Blog Tour.

Friday, 9 June 2017

#BlogTour: The Lighterman by Simon Michael @simonmichaeluk @urbanepub #TheLighterman

The Lighterman was published by Urbane Publications on 8th June 2017. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Michelle Ryles (http://www.thebookmagnet.co.uk/) for inviting me on the blog tour. 

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne. Simon Michael's follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne. The Lighterman provides more of Charles's personal history, dating back to the war years when he worked on the River Thames with his cousin Izzy. Gangland leader Ronnie Kray is not a man to forgive or forget. Holborne has 'taken liberties' and revenge will follow. But how to get at a tough and resourceful Brief with his own history of criminality and a penchant for violence? The answer: find a man who can't be hanged twice. Now Holborne must dig up the secrets of the past to save two lives ... one of them his own. Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

My Thoughts:

The Lighterman is the third in the Charles Holborne series and is one book that I have eagerly anticipated since I closed the last page on An Honest Man. This series is completely solid and one that I will return to time and time again. 

The 1960's are once again vividly and evocativally described in The Lighterman. Charles Holborne is authentic and the return to 60's London was welcome. I feel that we got to know much more about the central character in this book, which was a joy as he was something of an unfinished article or an enigma in the previous books. 

Within the pages of this book we have The Blitz and Charles Holborne's earlier life, and also when he was a Lighterman.  The Krays also feature in this novel, adding a grit and relevance to the story. There is a court case too and in my opinion this is where this author shines and is actually unrivalled. 

Charles Holborne as ever is a superb character. I like the fact that he is slightly flawed, always seems to be usually on the right side of wrong and seems to find himself in tricky and compromising situations. 

Yet again another accomplished and riveting legal thriller from an author that is fast becoming the master of the genre. Yet again I cannot wait to read more from this series in the future. I would suggest that this book would read well as a standalone but you wouldn't want to not read the earlier books as they are so good.

If my review has whetted your appetite, I am delighted that I have one paperback copy of The Lighterman to giveaway. UK entrants only on this one only please. 

About the Author:
Simon Michael was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1978. In his many years of prosecuting and defending criminal cases he has dealt with a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy.
A storyteller all his life, Simon started writing short stories at school. His first novel (co-written) was published by Grafton in 1988 and was followed in 1989 by his first solo novel, The Cut Throat, the first of the Charles Holborne series, based on Simon’s own experiences at the criminal Bar. The Cut Throat was successful in the UK (WH Allen) and in the USA (St Martin’s Press) and the next in the series, The Long Lie, was published in 1992. Between the two, in 1991, Simon’s short story “Split” was shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan/Perrier Short Story Award. He was also commissioned to write two feature screenplays.
Simon then put writing aside to concentrate on his career at the Bar. After a further 25 years’ experience he now has sufficient plots based on real cases for another dozen legal thrillers. The first, The Brief was published in the autumn of 2015 and An Honest Man was published in 2016.

You can find Simon Michael on Twitter: @simonmichaeluk

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

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

#BlogTour: Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen @OrendaBooks #GunnarStaalesen #WolvesintheDark

Published by Orenda Books on 15th June 2017. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour.

PI Varg Veum fights for his reputation, his freedom and his life, when child pornography is found on his computer and he is arrested and jailed. Worse still, his memory is a blank…

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. Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Wolves in the Dark reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers

My Thoughts:

I am delighted to be taking part on the blog tour today. I am beginning to sound a bit like a broken record now where Orenda Books are concerned, but yet again they have pulled an amazing book out of the bag. They can do no wrong in my eyes. 

Wolves in the Dark has been translated perfectly by Don Bartlett, the writing seamless and the story rich. I believe that this is the 21st book in the Varg Veum series but this is my first foray. I read this one as a standalone, and that worked just fine but now I just have to go back and read the others to see what has brought Varg Veum into his current way of life and predicaments. 

Varg Veum is a private investigator, only this time he is the one being investigated. Child Pornography has been found on his computer, he claims not to know how it got there, has no idea how that is even possible. He is struggling to piece together everything as in recent times his descent into alcoholism has clouded his mind and his memories. The instability of Varg Veum makes him exciting, it drives suspense and intrigue right through the heart of this story. I was utterly gripped throughout. I am loathe to tell you more about the storyline, as I want you to find out for yourselves. There are some uncomfortable subjects handled within this story. 

There are twists and turns aplenty, enough to have kept me glued to my chair until the end. Fairly short chapters and the changing back between past and present made this book move along at a great pace, and just enough crumbs of clues etc meant that I was reading faster and faster to reach the conclusion.

Varg Veum is a brilliant protaganist, sometimes I love him, and sometimes I hate him. Much like in real life. He is nowhere near perfect and has many flaws, but this character breathes the life into this story and jumps off the page to bring us another dose of Scandinavian noir at its absolute pinnacle. There is also a fair few unsavoury characters in this story, to be expected. Varg Veum though is the star. 

Loved it! 

About the Author:

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. Don Bartlett is the foremost translator of Norwegian, responsible for the multiaward-winning, bestselling books by Jo Nesbo, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Per Pettersen. It is rare to have a translator who is as well-known and highly regarded as the author.

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

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

#BlogTour: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts @PiatkusBooks #NoraRoberts #ComeSundown

Published by Piatkus Books on 30th May 2017. My thanks to the publisher and author for the review copy and inviting my on the blog tour.

A powerful and passionate novel of suspense from Nora Roberts – the world's greatest storyteller 

Love. Lies. Murder. A lot can happen... COME SUNDOWN 

Bodine Longbow loves to rise with the dawn. As the manager of her family’s resort in Western Montana, there just aren’t enough hours in the day – for life, for work, for loved ones. She certainly doesn’t have time for love, not even in the gorgeous shape of her childhood crush Callen Skinner, all grown up and returned to the ranch. Then again, maybe Callen can change her mind, given time... 

But when a young woman’s body is discovered on resort land, everything changes. Callen falls under the suspicion of a deputy sheriff with a grudge. And for Bodine’s family, the murder is a shocking reminder of an old loss. Twenty-five years ago, Bodine’s Aunt Alice vanished, never to be heard of again. Could this new tragedy be connected to Alice’s mysterious disappearance? 

As events take a dramatic and deadly turn, Bodine and Callen must race to uncover the truth – before the sun sets on their future together

My Thoughts:

I have a confession to make. This is the first book I have read by Nora Roberts. This one is a standalone, which was perfect to get a taste of her writing. 

Come Sundown is set on a ranch in Montana, along two time lines.  The story begins with the abduction of Alice and her subsequent abuse and mistreatment. The scenes that unfolded surrounding this made for pretty grim reading. The present day sees Bodine Longbow running her family's resort. She has to get in extra help and that comes in the form of Callen Skinner. 

When a body is discovered, Callen is a suspect, what ensues is the unravelling of the truth. 

This is a multi layered story containing elements of suspense, mystery, romance and families. The cast of characters is large, I got a bit confused on a couple of occasions. I found this book to be slightly longer than necessary and although I enjoyed it, unfortunately it didn't blow me away. I did however like the character of Bodine, her strength and no nonsense attitude was endearing. 

This book was much darker than I had anticipated and I must applaud the author for her wonderful setting of the scenes in Montana and her well formed characters. 

There is no doubt that Nora Roberts has an entrancing writing style. I would look to read more of her books in the future, to see what else she has to offer. 

About the Author:

Nora Roberts is the number one New York Times bestseller of more than 200 novels. With over 500 million copies of her books in print, she is indisputably one of the most celebrated and popular writers in the world. She is a Sunday Times hardback bestseller writing as both Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb. 

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

Saturday, 3 June 2017

#BlogTour: Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh @McVeighAuthor @PenguinUKBooks

I am delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh. Published by Penguin in July 2017. My thanks to the publisher and the author for having me on the blog tour

Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.
But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley Road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently.
Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?

My Thoughts:

Leopard at the Door takes us to 1952 in Kenya. Rachel Fullsmith returns to Kenya, having been in the UK for six years following the death of her mother. She was hoping to return to the familiarity of family life but things seem different somehow. Her father has a new partner. Her home doesn't seem to feel right anymore.

Packed full of the sights and sounds of Africa, the writing in this book is evocative and lyrical. There are parts of the story about the Mau Mau uprising, which I ashamedly admit to knowing nothing about. I really felt that I learnt a thing or two whilst reading this book.

There is a state of change throughout this story. Cruelty and violence creating a blot on the horizon and making everything seem unsettled. The author has written her characters brilliantly, they are rich and deep. I was utterly absorbed and invested in this story. I found it to be very character driven and emotionally charged, albeit a little upsetting at times.

I would describe this book as an Ode to Africa, you can tell the authors passion and enthusiasm for the country through every single page of this magnificent book. A story of love, secrets and coming of age set upon the most wonderfully described landscape. 

About the Author:

Jennifer McVeigh graduated from Oxford University in 2002. She went on to work in film, radio and publishing before giving up her day job to study for an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She has travelled in wilderness areas of East Africa and southern Africa, driving and camping along the way. Her first novel, The Fever Tree (Penguin, 2012), was a Richard and Judy Book Club Pick and received widespread critical acclaim.

Twitter: @McVeighAuthor

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

Monday, 29 May 2017

#BlogTour: Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul E. Hardisty @OrendaBooks @Hardisty_Paul #ReconciliationForTheDead

Published by Orenda Books on 30th May 2017. My thanks to the publisher and Anne Cater for inviting me on to the blog tour.

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. 
It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. 
Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book that I have read by this author, not really sure why I haven't read the others now. The previous two books are The Abrupt Physics of Dying and The Evolution of Fear. This book is a prequel and I did not feel at a disadvantage by not having read the previous two books first. 

Reconciliation for the Dead takes us back in time as Claymore Straker recounts the events that led to his dishonourable discharge. He testifies to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Ensues is a gripping read about a subject that I didn't know much about - The Cold War and the Apartheid Regime. 

Claymore Straker is one of the most fascinating characters that I have come across in recent times. A balance of good and bad. In fact there are lots of amazingly drawn characters that build up the scene of this magnificent novel.

Steeped in atmosphere, the authors writing style is evocative and transports the reader right into the action. The arid landscapes, the dust and the horror. Power and greed being major parts of the struggle, this book was quite disturbing at times and horrifying but my goodness it is powerful. Scenes of torture and brutality were upsetting but necessary in the telling of events that were very real and that happened in our lifetimes. 

Wonderfully researched, the superb prose just rolled off the page. A wonderful reminder that we should always try to do the right thing. I could not recommend this book more. Now off to get the other two books in the series, so I can find out more about Claymore Straker. This series has well and truly captured my imagination. 

About the Author: 

Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a cafĂ© in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.

You can find him on Twitter: @Hardisty_Paul

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

Thursday, 25 May 2017

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher #AlltheGoodThings @claresitafisher

All the Good Things will be published by Viking Books an imprint of Penguin Books on 1st June 2017. My thanks to the publisher and author for having me on the blog tour.

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?

My Thoughts:

Bethany Mitchell is only young, she is also in prison. She is a bright young lady. She loves reading and writing stories, although she hasn't done much of either lately. She has committed a terrible crime. She doesn't think that she should ever be forgiven, nor does she think she should forgive herself. With the help of her prison therapist she is encouraged to start writing a list of all the good things, instead of concentrating on the bad. 

These good things allow her to tell us in order pretty much what happened to her. Her story is told in her voice and all the bits about her past life and what actually happened to her slowly unfold. I found this to be as equally moving as I did heartbreaking. I found Beth to be a very warm character and found her story to be incredibly touching. Through Beth we get an exploration as to how a series of events can spiral out of all control.

This book explores some complex and brave themes such as Mental Health stigmas, isolation, financial difficulties and growing up within the social care system. The author tackled these with much maturity and they were sensitively handled. 

I read this book very quickly, I found it to be really sad but also very real. I think the thing I will take from it is that there is always hope and good things to take from life even when things go bad. 

An extremely haunting and accomplished debut. 

About the Author:

Clare Fisher was born in Tooting, south London, in 1987. After accidentally getting obsessed with writing fiction when she should have been studying for a BA in History at the University of Oxford. Clare completed an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and now works as a bookseller in Leeds.

An avid observer of the diverse area of south London in which she grew up, Clare's writing is inspired by her long-standing interest in social exclusion and the particular ways in which it affects vulnerable women and girls.

All the Good Things is her first novel. You can find her on Twitter @claresitafisher

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

Monday, 15 May 2017

Blog Tour: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks #Block46

Published by Orenda Books on 15th May 2017 in Paperback. My thanks to Karen at Orenda for the review copy and Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour. 

Evil remembers… Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. 
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea's. 
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. 
Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? 
Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea's friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. 
Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

My Thoughts:

Block 46 is a book that has been expertly translated by Maxim Jakubowski. The writing flowed seamlessly. 

This book held me completely and utterly transfixed from the first page to the last. It is shocking and daring, real and raw. I have been trying to gather my thoughts for the last couple of hours, but I am still stunned by what a talented writer Johana Gustawsson is. 

This is a complex story with many, many layers. One layer is the investigation and hunt for a depraved serial killer. Another layer is the concentration camp of Buchenwald during Nazi Occupation. The two stories are inextricably linked but the author is a master of her craft in revealing this to the reader piece by piece. 

Set in London, Germany, and Sweden. This added to the size and enormity of the events that take place within the short, sharp chapters. There are a lots of characters all that worked well and added to the remarkable plot. The pace of the story is perfect, never stilted nor moving to rapidly.

There is violence within the pages, for some it will shock and for all it should. Violence that isn't in any way gratuitous, but is the vehicle by which the story is told. We all know that terrible events occurred at concentration camps. Events that should never be forgotten to people that should never be forgotten. People who's lives were forever changed and that is the ones who made it out alive. 

Having visited what was a concentration camp whilst living in Germany, the sections set in 1944 moved me profoundly. Writers should never shy away from retelling the events that occurred and I admire the author immensely for the meticulous amount of research that she must have done. 

The past have been perfectly blended with the present when dead bodies start to turn up, young boys and Linnea a talented Jewellery designer. What links these murders with the past and can the killer be stopped before he/she strikes again. 

Dark and disturbing this book has left me with much to think about. I certainly won't be forgetting it in a hurry. Characters that make your skin crawl with a convincing and intriguing plot. I also thought the working partnership between Emily Roy and Alexis Castells worked really well. There really is nothing to dislike about this book. 

This is the best book I have read so far this year!

About the Author:

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

You can find Johana on Twitter: @JoGustawsson

Please have a look at the author stops on the blog tour: