From the Purchased Pile – A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

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Publication Date: Available Now from Harper Collins

Source: Bought in a bookshop

You find your neighbour dead in his bath.
Your son is with you. He sees everything.
You discover your wife has been in the man’s house.
It seems she knew him.
Now the police need to speak to you.
One night turns Alex Mercer’s life upside down. He loves his family and he wants to protect them, but there is too much he doesn’t know.
He doesn’t know how the cracks in his and Millicent’s marriage have affected their son, Max. Or how Millicent’s bracelet came to be under the neighbour’s bed. He doesn’t know how to be a father to Max when his own world is shattering into pieces.

Then the murder investigation begins…

In ye olde Domestic Noir genre you get a mish mash of reads, some good, some bad, some really excellent and not many done by male authors. Although a few. If A Line of Blood is anything to go by then perhaps more should be entering the fray.

What I loved about it was it was so much more about the dysfunctional family than it was about the possible crime. The next door neighbour kills himself (probably, or did he?) his body is discovered by Alex and son Max and then off we go – into a tale of 3 people, Husband, Wife, Child, all of whom are entirely disturbing and completely frustrating. In a good reading way. I wanted to slap the lot of them frankly but I could NOT look away from the drama unfolding.

Told by Alex, the story goes on a beautifully constructed twisty path of domestic insanity where everyone is hiding something and nobody is entirely trustworthy. Quite aside from the “who did what to who” where no possibility seems too unreasonable, you have some very insightful and thought provoking character studies, an addictively absorbing style of writing (yes Millicent your name by the end was tattooed on my soul) and quite honestly no idea where it was all going to end.

Those are the best stories right? Right.

Clever writing, clever plotting, divisive and undeniably unlikeable characters who will get stuck in your head, when it comes to this particular popular sub genre this is the way to do it.

Highly Recommended.

Follow Ben on Twitter HERE

To Purchase A Line of Blood clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Watching Edie Blog Tour – Interview with Camilla Way

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Today I’m VERY happy to be interviewing Camilla Way all about the heart stopping Watching Edie – a psychological thriller not to be missed. Details on the book follow after the interview. Thanks so much Camilla for taking the time.

Thanks so much for answering some questions – Watching Edie really was a brilliant book with many talking points – my first question goes to that actually, at the end (before the end) Killer Reads asks the reader “what are you feeling right NOW” – I struggled to answer that but with no spoilers, what were you feeling as you wrote that part – the part that will have a lot of people on the floor. (Sorry we are going straight in at the deep end)

Hello, thank you for having me, and I’m so glad you liked the book! It felt quite emotional writing that scene, mainly because it is SO damning for that character. I actually felt quite sorry for her and as though I was throwing her under the bus a bit by describing the phone call she made all those years ago. It’s the final nail in her coffin, isn’t it? Hopefully she is in some ways a sympathetic character and I did try to show there are various reasons why she acted the way she did, but there’s no real coming back from that phone call. Or maybe there is? Can she be redeemed? I really wanted to explore the ideas of guilt and blame and redemption in the book so hopefully that scene raises questions around those themes.

It was an interesting way of using the past/present vibe – with one girl telling the “now” and the other telling the “then” and it works extremely well especially when it comes to exploring their friendship, it allows for some interesting interpretation especially when you do come to the finale – did that come about naturally and intentionally right from the beginning or did you try several methods to make it work?

In its original incarnation the book was purely from Edie’s point of view, both past and present. It was my agent who suggested adding Heather’s voice and it was one of those ‘duh, of course!’ moments. As soon as I started writing Heather’s voice it came very easily, probably the easiest character I’ve ever had to write. I always intended the book to have a ‘past’ and ‘present’ dual narrative, though, because I wanted to explore the question of how we change as we become adults, how our past shapes our future, and the nebulous nature of guilt.

Talking about the two girls – Edie and Heather – Heather is your typical “misfit” but I thought that probably at her heart Edie – who could outwardly become the “popular” girl if you want to label people – was also that way. It is simply their different experiences and influences that put them on the paths they end up on. What inspired both them and their story originally? And who was harder to write?

Edie’s voice was partly inspired by a short story I wrote for Arena magazine many years ago. I never completely forgot her, I liked her voice, how feisty but vulnerable she was and she never let me go, so I built on her for the novel. Yes, I agree they’re both misfits in a way, I think Edie likes being beautiful, she thinks male attention validates her, partly because of the way her father left. Heather is far more vulnerable, she’s not as experienced and astute as Edie, she’s very childlike in many ways, I think they both offer the other something they need, Edie adulation, Heather someone to adore and look up to.

Edie’s lost when she moves to Fremton without friends, Heather is the ideal person to comfort her. She admits at one point in the book that she likes who she is in Heather’s eyes, and I think she looks into Heather’s eyes and sees her worth reflected back at her. I have to say, I have no idea where Heather came from, she just seemed to arrive fully formed in my head one day! She was definitely the easiest to write, though Edie wasn’t difficult, I think she is perhaps a more complicated person, and it was important I got right the many shades of grey in her personality. The story itself was inspired by a news story about teenage bullying that had horrifying consequences. The rooftop scene came first, I just had to figure out how the two characters came to that point!

What do you hope that people take away from “Watching Edie” – I left the novel behind me with absolutely no idea how I would read anything else ever (its ok it passed) and I found that I had a fair amount of sympathy for both girls ultimately. As the author, would that be a good thing that I’m telling you that? Or are you secretly going NO YOU NEED TO HATE THIS ONE. Always interesting to hear from the writer’s side!

No, I’m very glad that you had sympathy for both of them! The crime that is committed is so awful, and there is, obviously one clear victim, but I wanted to look at the many different shades of guilt, and whether anyone can be redeemed or forgiven for atrocities committed in their past. There is a line quite early on in the book that has Edie saying about her unborn child, ‘I only have one wish for it, I hope with all my heart that it isn’t a girl,’ and I wanted the reader to consider why she would say that, and what bearing it has on the final outcome and who is really to blame for what ultimately happened. But yes, I’m glad that you sympathised with both of them, I didn’t want it to be entirely black or white!

Finally tell us a little about you in 5 easy soundbites.

* Tea, coffee or other

Gin

* One book you read then went “DAMN I wish I had written that”

Probably The Vanishing Act of Esme Lenox by Maggie O’Farrell, or Engleby by Sebastian Faulks or Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton. But you want only one…. Argh, Esme Lenox, I think. I’m not quite getting the ‘soundbite’ part of this, am I?

* Musical taste in 3 favourite songs

As by Stevie Wonder, Life on Mars by David Bowie, Close to Me by the Cure

*One piece of technology you just couldn’t live without

My Iphone, predictably (sorry). I’m a shocking insomniac so can’t cope without my audio books. I’m constantly writing down my ideas in the notes thingy, it has all the pictures of my kids on, I can order Uber cabs and find my way with Google Maps (I literally have no sense of direction). And I hear you can even make phone calls with it too!

*One person who inspires you

My dad died when I was 18, but he was a writer too (spy thrillers!), he used to get up at 5 in the morning and write his books before his day job so that was pretty inspiring. It showed me that writing is hard work but so worth it. I grew up in south east London and he had a poet’s way of looking at the city that really influenced me, he saw the beauty amongst the grime and I tried to reflect that in my first book, The Dead of Summer, in which Eighties Greenwich and the Thames plays a big part.

Thank you!

My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

About the book:

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Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…

But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be.

Read my review of Watching Edie HERE

You can follow Camilla Way on Twitter here

To Purchase “Watching Edie” clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

“Its no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then” – Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland.

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Try Not To Breathe – Getting to know Holly Seddon.

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Try not to Breathe was a brilliant book I read earlier this year (my review and details to follow) so I was very happy to get to interview Holly Seddon and find out more about the author behind the story. Thanks so much for taking the time Holly!

 

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in various small towns and villages around the Westcountry but spent the longest time – from 11 to 19 – living in Devon. I went to tonnes of schools, some of them more welcoming than others, and I was a bit of an oddball. I once carried a dead bee around all day to give it a proper funeral back at home, so as you can imagine how many kids were queuing up to be my friend.

My parents definitely weren’t the type to work 9-5 in the same job for years, so they did lots of interesting things and I inherited their itchy feet. They were very encouraging and understanding. They thought we could do or be anything, in never crossed their minds that we shouldn’t.

 

My dad’s a brilliant cook and when I decided (aged nine) to be a vegetarian, unlike a lot of parents, he threw himself into creating lots of meat-free meals for me. He never once complained, even though it was a gigantic pain. I didn’t realise how unusual that was at the time. He was a stay at home dad for a while and that was a real privilege as a daughter. My mum has a super strong work ethic and there were times when she strapped on steel toe boots (disguised as stilettoes) and broke down a lot of career doors.

I have a younger sister who I thought was the worst curse when she was following me everywhere and is now one of my favourite people in the whole world.

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Academic or creative at school?

A bit of both. Art and English were the subjects I enjoyed the most, but I got better grades in science and maths. I failed music GCSE though, on account of not being able to read music. Turns out you can’t wing it on pop culture knowledge alone.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

Honestly? Being an author. Always.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

Not as a specific moment, but my earliest memories generally revolve around reading and writing. Including when I wrote and drew all over the living room wall. It was supposed to be a nice thing for my parents to find… they didn’t really see it like that. I got such a wallop.

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Who are your real life heroes?

Anybody who can do the right thing in a room of people telling them that’s the wrong thing.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

I once farted doing the shot put at sports day. Which isn’t a very literary story.

I also tried to wear heels to work and fell over in front of a tabloid editor and had to be dragged back up by the elbow.

Most of my stories are about farts or falls.

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Is there a talent you would like to have but are useless at?

Playing music. Especially guitar or piano. I slogged away for a good ten years trying to master the guitar. All those years wasted. I’m so jealous of people who are naturally gifted at that kind of thing. Hopefully sometime during my lifetime, some twelve-year-old whizz kid will design a musicality app we can just plug into our brains.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

DIY enthusiast, who then has to have help ‘undoing’ the mess I’ve created.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Can I be greedy? Staying up at night but then rising at lunchtime to soak up the sun (in my farfetched dreams).

A book that had you in tears.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.

One piece of life advice you give everyone.

Nothing is ungetoutofable. So you might as well give it a go.

Thanks Holly!

About the book:

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Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.

Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.

Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…

Read my review of “Try not to Breathe” HERE

Find out more here: http://hollyseddon.tumblr.com/

Follow Holly on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/hollyseddon

To Order “Try not to Breathe” clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Blind Side Blog Tour – On Writing Extreme events with Jennie Ensor

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Today I am very happy to welcome Jennie Ensor to tell us about some of her writing challenges as part of the Blind Side blog tour. Thanks Jennie!

Writing about the extreme recent events – some of the challenges

It struck me when I was editing Blind Side for the final time these past weeks that the time I wrote about is actually recent history. When I first started writing the novel, around 2005, the London bombings and other events I mention were fresh in my mind. Over the years though, so much has changed in the world that this period now seem very much in the past. So I suppose there’s an element of historical fiction to the novel. These days suicide attacks worldwide happen with a terrifying frequency – in 2005 there seemed to be a element of disbelief that London had been targeted by suicide bombers. Lots of small things have changed too. For example back then pubs were smoky places and people didn’t have i-Phones.

The challenge of setting fiction in the relatively recent past is that so many more people actually have experienced the events compared with say the 1940s. Writing about terrorist attacks and terrorism is has further challenges – I’m aware of how many people suffered greatly as a result of the London bombings, or have distressing memories of this period. There are also definite challenges as far as creating tension when you are describing real events. Even if the reader hasn’t directly been impacted by them, ‘what actually happened’ is more or less agreed on so you can’t mess with that framework. But inside that framework there are many possibilities, no one version of reality.

I’ve tried to describe 7/7 and the attempted bombing two weeks later in way that people can recognise, to make them true both factually and emotionally. I’ve drawn on my own experiences of being in London that July – and the months immediately before and after – and those of others. Georgie goes to work by Tube the morning of 7th July and has to walk home afterwards. All around her she sees signs of the terrible thing that has happened, such as a woman’s spilled shopping on the pavement. I don’t take the reader into scenes of carnage, because I don’t need to. It’s often true that the more powerful the thing that one is writing about, the more one needs to stand back for the reader to feel its impact.

There’s a source of tension from the ‘train crash’ situation of the inevitability of real-life events, coming from what the reader knows must happen next… and another kind, out of the reader’s not knowing and having to guess along with characters what might happen next. So tension comes from characters interacting within the fixed framework of events, while their experiences are conveyed as vividly as possible through what they see, hear, smell etc, as well as their thoughts and emotions. For example when Georgie sets off to find Nikolai on 22 July, hours after the failed nail bomb is discovered, she knows what has happened from news reports and sees the effects of it at the bus stop and in the behaviour of people on the bus she takes towards Finsbury Park. She becomes increasingly concerned when she can’t reach Nikolai on her mobile; she doesn’t know where he is, what he might be doing and why he hasn’t contacted her. Impatient to get to him, imagining all sorts of scenarios, she avoids waiting for another bus and walks the rest of the way down a former railway line – a path I happen to know well – experiencing the stifling sensation of the hot and humid air, semi darkness and the almost unnatural silence after a traffic-filled road. She must go on a journey to reach him without knowing the outcome, and so I hope will the reader.

In the past strand of my novel, set in Russia and Chechnya I also describe imagined extreme incidents based on actual or probable happenings during the second war. I had no direct experience of these events, fortunately. But the scaffolding also comes from real events obtained through research, conversations with people and fact finding, and my imagination has filled in the spaces between.

To end, sometimes a writer tries to imagine not just the ‘space between’ actual events but another possible set of events that might have happened only no-one found out about them, or they weren’t fully realised. I’ve done this to an extent in Blind Side, imagining a horrific scenario that had to be carefully fitted around the framework of actual events. No room left to say anything else, I’m afraid.

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London, five months before 7/7: Georgie, a young woman wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when Julian reveals he’s loved her for a long time but felt unable to tell her.

Despite some misgivings, Georgie can’t resist her attraction to Nikolai, a Russian former soldier she meets in a pub. While Julian struggles to deal with her rejection, Georgie realises how deeply war-time incidents in Chechnya have affected Nikolai. She begins to suspect that the Russian is hiding something terrible from her.

Then London is attacked…

Blind Side explores love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession. Can you ever truly know someone? And what if you suspect the unthinkable? An explosive, debate-provoking thriller that confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears.

Find out more HERE

Follow Jennie on Twitter HERE

To Purchase Blind Side clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

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Happy Reading!

 

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2016 Spotlight: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

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Publication Date: Available now from Little Brown Piatkus

Source: Netgalley

To everyone who knows her now, Zoe Maisey – child genius, musical sensation – is perfect. Yet several years ago, Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time. And now she’s free.

Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life.

By midnight, her mother is dead.

As a huge fan of “Burnt Paper Sky” I had that little worry that the second novel could not possibly be as good but noooooooo worries there – The Perfect Girl is a bang on target read, addictive, emotional, very intense at times with some really fascinating characters and a story with a few little twists in the tale…

So Zoe then, she was a pretty typical teenager except for her outstanding musical talent, but the typical teenager part threatened to destroy all that when one night at a party ended in tragedy.  When we come into the picture, Zoe is about to give the first performance of her new life but by the end of this night tragedy will strike once again.  Zoe it seems may be less on the perfect side and more on the dangerous…

Gilly Macmillan uses the multiple viewpoint plot device to perfection in “The Perfect Girl” – we hear from Zoe, from her Aunt, from her lawyer, all building a picture, not only of the present events but the past that lead them here. There is plenty of intricate character study running through the narrative, still waters run deep in this one, it is endlessly intriguing,  often very melancholy and absolutely authentic.

I read it fast, this is one you won’t want to put down until you find out what the finale will bring – it had one of those classic thought provoking endings that stay with you. In a way it is a story about “what if” those little decisions made that change so much of the bigger picture and at the heart of it sits Zoe, prodigy, musical genius but very much still just a girl growing up.

Really very excellent. Very excellent indeed.

Highly Recommended.

Find out more HERE

Follow Gilly on Twitter HERE

To Purchase “The Perfect Girl” clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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2016 Spotlight: Dance with the Dead James Nally

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Publication Date: 28th July from Harper Collins,Avon

Source: Netgalley

Aspiring actress Elizabeth Smart lands her centre stage role: her mutilated body is found dumped in North London’s red light district. Clasped in her hand is a piece of human hair belonging to an unidentified body of a woman murdered two weeks ago.

PC Donal lands himself a place on the murder squad just as his unconventional brother, journalist Finton, unearths the secret double life of Elizabeth.

The bodies mount, each clinging to the strands of hair belonging to the previous victim. The police are convinced it’s the act of a serial killer. But how does Donal convince them it’s not?

The only people he can trust are the victims he dances with in his dream.

So one day not so long back I accidentally bought a book when doing some online shopping for , well not books  (yes EVERY TIME I tell myself I’ll just have a QUICK look see whats about but I’m accident prone)  – anyway that book just happened to be Alone with the Dead – the first Donal Lynch novel – and turns out I fell immediately in love with this character (you can see review for that HERE ) and all the rest. So when I spotted the sequel on Netgalley there was no stopping me.

Once again it was a banging read. Brilliant crime fiction with added “other” – possibly – or maybe Donal is just disturbed – he is certainly disturbingly hilarious at times- the dark often inappropriately laugh out loud moments James Nally brings to the table just makes the whole thing more addictive.

With “Dance with the Dead” we have a multi layered plot that speaks to Donal’s own background (and by the way his brother Fintan is a bloody marvel of a character seriously) and adds a possible serial killer into the mix all whilst the poor guy is trying to redeem himself within the police force. The crime elements of the plot are brilliantly imagined and ever so fascinating, there is huge depth to both character and setting that really rings true, even given the wilder elements. The fact that it is all set in the 90’s just makes it even better, James Nally builds his story around real life events going on in the background and it works extraordinarily well.

For me, this is classic crime fiction with a twist – I love the twist – and I love that Donal is so beautifully rubbish in his brilliance – his attempts at fanning the flames of a possible romance in this instalment made me smile such a lot.  Also the relationships he builds with family and the people around him make a great backdrop to the individual crime stories told, you just want to keep reading for many different reasons.

Book one was great. Book two was better. I think I may have found my new favourite crime thing.

Highly Recommended

Follow the author on Twitter HERE

To Purchase Dance with the Dead clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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2016 Spotlight: The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick

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Publication Date: August 4th From Harvill Secker

Source: Review Copy

Róisín and François first meet in the snowy white expanse of Antarctica. And everything changes.

While Róisín grew up in a tiny village in Ireland, ablaze with a passion for science and the skies and for all there is to discover about the world, François was raised by his beautiful young mother, who dreamt of new worlds but was unable to turn her back on her past.

As we loop back through their lives, glimpsing each of them only when a comet is visible in the skies above, we see how their paths cross as they come closer and closer to this moment.

Theirs are stories filled with love and hope and heartbreak, that show how strangers can be connected and ghosts can be real, and the world can be as lonely or as beautiful as the comets themselves.

I LOVED this book. It was something a little different, beautifully written and absolutely engaging.

Following our characters and those that came before them over a thousand years, snapshots of life whenever a comet is visible in the skies, this is a gorgeous, imaginative premise that really hits you in the heart. To be fair it is actually really difficult to review because you don’t want to give away the pure magic of it but also you want to throw it at people and just say READ THIS you will fall in book love.

The Comet Seekers has a haunting, surreal quality to it, the prose poetic but highly immersive and the descriptive sense of it just sits with you long after you have finished it. I read it in pretty much one sitting so caught up was I in the lives of these people, their world and experience, holding it all together in heavenly (yes) style is the night sky in all its glory – this is a journey in more than one sense of the word.

I adored how Helen Sedgwick made the connections, sent the threads up and around and through the narrative like a spider spinning a web on a dewy morning – pitch perfect to keep you involved and attached to the story unfolding.

Really really lovely. A lovely book – one that you will return to again and again just to find the things you have missed.

Highly Recommended

Find out more HERE

Follow the author on Twitter HERE

To Purchase “The Comet Seekers” clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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The Beauty of the End blog tour – Debbie Howells “Shelfie”

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Today I am really pleased to be part of “The Beauty of the End” blog tour as Debbie Howells shares a “shelfie” with us and talks about a few of her “must keep” books.

The Beauty of the End is an evocative and beautifully written novel – more details and a link to my review after this….

 

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My bookcase is downstairs – easy for friends to see what’s new and borrow! Favourite books I keep forever, but I like to lend them and many get passed on too. I also have a tiny, very pretty antique bookcase in which I keep a selection of my own books in different languages and covers, on top of which is a frame my daughter made of miniature covers. The books below definitely fall into the ‘keep forever’ category.

My Ibiza – Hjordis Fogelberg

Gorgeous book on everything you need to know about Ibiza, one of my favourite places in the world.

A House in the Sky – Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

Amanda Lindhout was taken hostage in Somalia where she was held for 460 days. This book stayed with me for so many reasons – not only for the story, which is a true account of what she endured. There’s the sense of adventure and strength of the human spirit it embodies; I also loved the writing.

Rising Strong – Brene Brown

Since watching Brene’s Ted talks, I’m a fan. In a world that is so unforgiving of human weakness, I love how she explains that what makes us vulnerable and human are actually strengths.

Stillness Speaks – Eckhart Tolle

A book I never want to be without. My brother in law gave it to me and it’s on my coffee table, so that I can pick it up now and then, which I do – often. It’s a book to read to quieten your mind; to reflect on.

Talk Like Ted – Carmine Gallo

I was surprised by this. Not only is it about speaking effectively, which I found fascinating, but it’s full of wisdom from some awesome people.

‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.’ Steve Jobs.

Thanks Debbie!

About the Book:

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Publication Date: Available Now from Pan.

“I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . .”

So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose–and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.

While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April’s name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.

Or so everyone believes. . .

You can read my original review HERE

Find out more here

Follow Debbie on Twitter here

To Purchase The Beauty of the End clickety click right HERE

 

Follow the tour #ReadingBeauty

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Happy Reading!

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2016 Spotlight: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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Publication Date: 28th July from Sphere

Source: Review Copy

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I See You was really really good – SO addictive, twisty turny excellence. If you read “I Let You Go” and loved it but worry that Ms Mackintosh won’t be able to repeat that level of book fun then stop worrying now. Read this. Although perhaps not just before setting off on a trip around the underground. Glancing suspiciously round at fellow travellers in case they are watching you just makes you in yourself look rather suspicious. This may become a whole thing…

So Zoe sees herself in a newspaper ad. A rather suggestive one. Those around her, including the police, dismiss it as coincidence. But then other women appear and the coincidences pile up and we are off to the races…

The concept behind “I See You” was brilliantly imaginative but I can’t really talk about that because otherwise I’ll spoil it and we can’t have that. As with her first novel Clare Mackintosh manages to write a banging good psychological thriller that not only digs deep into some emotive character study but also keeps you on the edge of the seat, wondering what will happen and being surprised quite often by what does…

The sounds of the underground echo through this one as an anchor, for any Londoners it will be a joy, you’ll be able to see things unfold in the minds eye – and to anyone who does not know London that well, has never experienced the joys (??) of that particular system you’ll feel like you know it well. I loved this aspect of it, but again thats all you get you’ll just have to read it.

Several viewpoints tell the story, the narrative is so well flowing and immersive you’ll be in it all the way – leading into a hold your breath and pray finale where everything comes together in a great big glorious reading rush.

Will you be surprised? Probably. Will you be delighted? Almost definitely. Do I recommend this novel? Yes absolutely. Loved it. Read it in two gulping sittings.

Ticked all the boxes. Whatever comes next I’ll be first in line.

Find out more HERE

Follow Clare on Twitter HERE

To Purchase I See You clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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2016 Spotlight: The Hatching – Ezekiel Boone

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Gollanz

Source: Review Copy

A local guide is leading wealthy tourists through a forest in Peru when a strange, black, skittering mass engulfs him and most of the party. FBI Agent Mike Rich is on a routine stakeout in Minneapolis when he’s suddenly called by the director himself to investigate a mysterious plane crash. A scientist studying earthquakes in India registers an unprecedented pattern in local seismic readings. The US president, her defence and national security advisers and her chief of staff are dumped into crisis mode when China “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb on a desolate region of its own country. As such unsettling occurrences mount, the president’s old friend (and her chief of staff’s ex-wife), spider expert Melanie Guyer, receives a box at her lab at American University that contains an ancient egg unearthed at a South American dig.


So begins The Hatching, the hair-raising saga of a single week in which an ancient, frighteningly predatory species of spider re-emerges in force. When the unusual egg in Melanie Guyer’s lab begins to vibrate and crack, she finds herself at the epicentre of this apocalyptic natural disaster. Working closely with her ex-husband and his very powerful boss, she has to find some way to stem the brutal tide of man-eating arachnids.

This book was completely horrifically brilliant.

If you’ve just read the above blurb you will know not to read this if you are irrationally afraid of Spiders.

Actually to be honest I wasnt irrationally afraid of spiders BEFORE I read this book but now I’m flaming terrified. My 8 year old will now be responsible for removing to the outside anything even remotely resembling a spider. Gone are the days in which I happily scooped them up and popped them out the window. Im just saying. Oh don’t worry he’s a little scientist in the making, he’ll be charmed. And hopefully not randomly consumed….

This is one of the best horror books I’ve read for a long long time – mainly because it feels oh so very very real. There are many fascinating characters, a healthy dose of scientific speculation and some hugely scary set pieces that will have you shivering from the edge of your seat. The writing is totally immersive and there are many layers to the tale each of them equally compelling.

I loved Steph (the president, yes she’s a woman and that is not as unlikely as it once was as we all know) – as POTUS having to accept some far fetched theories and take them on board super fast if she’s going to deal with this crisis. I liked her pragamatic and capable personality. Then there is Mike, dealing with some divorce fallout, thrown into the middle of an untenable situation and having to deal with the strangest and most surreal of circumstances. Surrounding these two are many many more, all in different places, all facing down an unknown future in their own way, so this is not only a banging horror story (with SPIDERS did I mention that bit?) but also has a strong, character driven heart. I’ll let you meet the rest of them for yourself but the author has a very keen eye for clever characterful plotting that just absorbs you into their world.

It was all set over the course of a very small period of time. There is no long drawn out “what where when” the what is creepy crawling all over you from very early in the narrative, the where and the when are here and now and it is fast paced and incredibly addictive. Intelligent and thought provoking too, scarily intense and yes I imagine it will haunt some dreams. Not MINE of course I’m far too sensible for that. **glances around nervously**

Also the ending….

But I’ll leave that there…

Loved it. LOVED it. Its really quite a good example of evil genius writing skill.

Find out more HERE

Follow the author on Twitter HERE

To Purchase The Hatching clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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