BroadChurch Beacon Blog Tour.

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Welcome to my stop on the Broadchurch  Beacon Blog Tour – whilst excitement is rising for series 2, the talented Erin Kelly took on the mantle of putting into literary form the addictive, highly popular tv show and boy did she do it justice and then some so….let me remind you what I told you when I said…

Lets Talk About Broadchurch….

                                                  77403e206818d80d06e332f0565a67ec                                                                                                                          Erin Kelly writer

Right, so, the UK tv sensation of 2013 completely passed me by. Oblivious was I, having watched 10 minutes of the opening episode, then getting distracted by a book or possibly even by chocolate. Luckily I also managed to avoid any and all spoilers, so for me, apart from the fact that there was a body on the beach, I knew nothing.

When I found out that the novel version was to be penned by the devilishly twisty mind of the lovely Erin Kelly I was literally chomping at the bit – for many reasons. Firstly because I adore her books anyway and secondly, being the only person on the planet who did NOT know who murdered Danny Latimer, I wondered if I could work it out. We’ll come back to that one. First lets look at the book overall.

This was a genuine page turner for me, haunting, evocative, looking at a small town coming apart at the seams after a most horrific event. As suspicion rises in all quarters, it was compelling stuff. Its probably good that I can’t make comparisons between the tv portrayal of David (swoon) Tennant and Olivia Coleman and the characterisation provided by Ms Kelly here of Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller, but both of those characters came to life in my head, as did every single one of the others. Emotionally speaking this was a shot straight through the heart – the grief bang in the centre of the Latimer family is brought into stark contrast by the police investigation going on around them – I did often have a tear in my eye especially when Danny’s mum Beth was having her darker moments, alone and in pain.

So yep, packing a definite emotional punch, one that I can’t imagine will be outdone by the viewing of it when I do that – I’ll move onto the heart of the mystery – just who DID kill Danny Latimer and why? Well according to many many people who I have spoken with, on the screen it was glaringly obvious. In the hands of Erin Kelly? Not so much. In fact I got it completely wrong. Utterly, I’m actually embarrassed that now she has had me twice on the twisty turny stuff, once with The Burning Air and now with Broadchurch. When I look back I realise that everything I needed to know was right there – what this author does so well is not hide the facts but make you look the other way. Misdirection. Cleverly done – especially since in this instance she was working from a story already told and to someone elses script. At which point I should say I am VERY much looking forward now to seeing Chris Chibnall’s vision of this story.

For now though I think that if you did watch the show, and loved it as many did, then this novel will absolutely enhance and expand that experience. Because for me, it would not have mattered one little bit if I had already known the culprit, the heart of this novel is not in the whodunnit, but in the emotionally charged atmosphere of the people and place involved. In a community where everybody knows everybody else and there is nowhere to hide, still Broadchurch has many  devastating secrets buried just below the surface. And as brilliant as ALL the actors who took part in the show surely are, you cannot see what they are thinking, feeling at depth or considering doing. That is where the novel will absolutely beat the visual medium I have no doubt. Because Erin Kelly can write characters straight out of real life and onto the page – in this case with a deft hand and an imaginative turn that will hold you gripped within the boundaries of Broadchurch for a good while.

Brilliantly done, loved it!

 

UPDATE: I have now watched the Broadchurch television experience and boy that was absolutely perfect. I can honestly at this stage say that the book and the show compliment each other perfectly. My own recommendation is to read then watch if you are lucky enough to still have this to discover…

Follow Erin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mserinkelly

Follow Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisChibnall

Tell me your thoughts @Lizzy11268 using hashtag #BroadchurchNovel

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….Conquest by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly.

 

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Publication Date: Paperback 28th August, Kindle available now from Headline.

Source: BookBridgr

She is the first of her kind to be born on Earth.
He is one of the Resistance, fighting to rid the world of an alien invasion.
They were never meant to meet.
And when they do, it will change everything . . .

Highly enjoyable YA adventure involving alien invasion, a resistance, the start of a love story and plenty of action – I found it to be a refreshing and fun read, albeit with an ending that annoyed the heck out of me because now I have to wait to find out what happens next.

With a quick introduction explaining how the aliens arrived on our planet, this is a novel that you can immediately be involved with as we soon move on to meeting our main characters. Syl is the first of her kind to be born on earth, along with friend Ani she often breaks out of her protected atmosphere to experience life amongst the humans – when one day they are caught up in a bombing and meet Paul and Steven, two brothers who belong to the resistance, everything begins to change for Syl as she starts to question motives.

There is some extremely clever world building – set mostly in and around Edinburgh, the sense of place is terrific, with some recognisable landmarks making an appearance. I loved all the characters, good and evil, although I have a particular soft spot for Just Joe. The Illyri are wonderfully  imagined and have an intriguing background which is well described so you can get a sense of what they are trying to achieve.

As the story unfolds we realise that there is a lot more going on within the Illyri than first meets the eye, it all flows beautifully keeping you hooked into the narrative, I particularly enjoyed the relationships that started to form and was  surprised by the odd revelation. The scenes set at The Eden Project were brilliant, the action when it comes is fast and furious and as a book one it set things up perfectly for the next instalment.

I think the main thing that made this work for me was the fact that both Alien and Human get pretty equal attention here, the Illyri are not all “evil” and the humans are not all “good” – there is moral amiguity, not everything the Illyri brought with them to earth was horrific. This leads to some interesting interactions between Syl and her kind and the human element and gives an added depth to proceedings. Whilst this is not really a unique story it is a great take on an age old tale and absolutely highly entertaining.

Mostly though this is just a terrifically fun adventure tale, with many threads running through it, an ongoing enthralling story and the hint of really curious things to come. I, for one, am dying to know more about The Sisterhood and REALLY want to know what was actually going on at The Eden Project- just two things that will have me hanging on a thread ready for the next part of the tale, Empire, coming soon.

Definitely a great addition to the YA genre and I look forward to many more adventures with Syl and co.

Find out more here: http://chroniclesoftheinvaders.com/

Follow John Connolly on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/jconnollybooks

Follow Jennifer Ridyard on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/JennieRidyard

Purchase Information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/john+connolly/jennifer+ridyard/conquest/9962196/

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Liz Currently Loves…..Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Available Now from Puffin.

Source: Purchased Copy: Coles Bookstore.

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction.

Ha! I adored this book. I’ll be honest and say I wasnt sure going in, it sounded strange and a little bit mad and actually it was exactly that but at the same time positively brilliant. At turns witty, ironic and emotive, this will have you searching for the fairy tale within the narrative (and trust me the heart of it is there) whilst getting totally immersed in the world Cinder inhabits, with all its charm and mayhem.

Cinder is a top mechanic and also cyborg, a fact she would rather hide when she meets Prince Kai, unexpectedly in her workshop one day. From then on in it is a rollercoaster ride of great reading fun as Cinder finds herself even more at odds with her Stepmother, trying desperately to save her Stepsisters life and becoming aware that not everything is as it seems – even herself. Extremely clever storytelling makes for an addictive and terrific read, the premise is beautifully imagined and executed, the whole thing was top notch.

The world building is pitch perfect, enabling you to visualise the city and the places within, I adored all the characters even the evil ones (the wicked  Queen is wicked indeed) I fell completely in love with Kiko, tried to decide if Prince Kai was indeed charming and really got quite emotional when Cinder was treated badly – I was in this one all the way. The ending drove me to immediately pick up “Scarlet” (thanks to that lovely friend of mine who advised that I buy all 3 available books in this series at once) and so far that one is living up to the promise of the first so I dare say I’ll be on about it anytime now.

This is one of those novels which at first glance you might assume to be light reading, nothing special, fun perhaps but thats it. In reality there are some dark themes running throughout, a little bit of social commentary on how we treat others within our society perceived to be “different” and whilst it absolutely IS a great deal of fun, there is also passion and protest there, an intelligent story within a story that can give you pause for thought. For me this gave it an added depth as an adult reading fiction aimed at teenagers (and teenagers will and do adore it) and solidified my opinion that some of the YA available at the moment is far superior to some of the adult fiction when it comes to packing pure emotional punch.

Overall then terrifically terrific. I’m positive that this is going to be heading to the top of my favourite series list. Absolutely highly recommended for adults and young adults alike.

Find out more here: http://www.marissameyer.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/marissa_meyer

Purchase Information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/marissa+meyer/cinder/8650363/

Also Available:

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Coming 2015: Winter.

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Meeting Lauren Oliver….

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A while ago now I read “Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver and was struck by how beautifully written and evocative it was – I had been saving up the “Delirium” trilogy to read in one big gulp, but when I was offered the opportunity to read her latest novel “Panic” (review to come after this article)  and not only that, but meet the lady herself for a chat about it during one of her signings, I jumped at the chance – who wouldnt? So on Saturday, I took my friend Hayley and we set off to Waterstones in Oxford to do just that.

 

I will admit to being somewhat nervous beforehand, after all it is not every day that you get the opportunity to meet an author who’s work you admire, but that soon vanished as soon as we were in the room, Ms Oliver is one of those people who you immediately feel at ease with – open and friendly with a brilliant smile and as it turns out, passionate about her work and very insightful. Right there and then I knew that I wanted to capture her personality within this article so instead of carefully writing down everything she said, I’m just going to talk a little about our chat and what came out of it.

 

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Panic is a novel about a small town, and in the way of small towns they have their own entertainment. Every year a game is played by the graduating seniors- a game of challenges, ever more dangerous, at the end of which one winner takes home a pot of cash. Of course that is not what it is really about at its heart, so I wanted to know where the story started to come into focus.

With another flash of that brilliant smile Lauren tells me about coming across one of Grimm’s more obscure fairy tales about a boy who could not feel fear, because he was simple – in the way of Grimm, this leads to him spending the night in a haunted castle in an effort to win the hand of the princess . A simplified version of a more complicated tale – those interested can find the full story here http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/4youthfear.html   It got her thinking about what we fear and why, and so Panic was born – the underlying thing for her being that what we fear cannot always be put in front of us in solid form for us to face – the youngsters in Panic may overcome their fear of heights, or small spaces, but these are not the real things that haunt us. It was fascinating watching her enthusiasm for this subject, and certainly for me she captured the essence of the idea in the novel, from her head to the page, a talent that I often wish I had myself…

 

Moving on to the characters that inhabit the place where Panic is played, she and I are of one mind on our favourite – that being Dodge, a character that for her started in a completely different story that never came to fruition. However, she tells me, the character himself stayed with her and by the time she wrote Panic, she knew him well – describing how he finally found life in this novel, he is obviously a creation close to her heart, again something that shines through in the story itself. Vengeance for an accident during the game that disabled his Sister seems to be the driving force behind his desire to win the game, but as always with Ms Olivers writing, that is far from the whole story. It is obvious from talking to her and reading her tales that she has an insight into human behaviour and a unique outlook on some of the things that make us who we are. Which is, I suppose, what makes her books  so addictive for the reader. Certainly for me it is that added depth she brings that makes me love her work – the one thing meeting her has done for me is make me even more determined to keep reading…

 

We did talk a little more about other characters from the book – specifically the relationship between Heather and Nat – but later this month I am writing an article about Women in Writing which will focus on some of the influential women writers around today, and this particular subject, how friendships are portrayed in novels, and other things, will go perfectly with that piece. One in which I was always going to feature Lauren and her novels, so basically I’m teasing here – you will have to wait to find out what she told me. It will be worth it I promise.

 

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The discussion moved on – I think I did manage to flummox her slightly when asking “Why Tigers?” – yes there are Tigers in “Panic”, to find out how and why you will have to read the book (and you really should, trust me on that) – for her, Tigers are something ancient and elegant, so featuring them felt right. With a wry smile she tells me that she can’t always clarify where the ideas come from or remember the exact process, they just are – referring to a scene involving cows in another of her novels and also telling me about the time someone pointed out to her that in “Before I Fall” the character goes through the five stages of grief, in order, something that she had not done intentionally – this speaks to the more organic flow she has to her storytelling, less research and planning, more how it happens as she writes.

Finally we talked a little about the ending of the novel, which for me was pitch perfect – she told me how she did not necessarily want a “happy ever after” finish to Heather, Nat, Dodge and Bishops story – but more the sense of hope, the path to a better life lying in front of them..again for me that is exactly what she put on the page. I have spent some time, and will probably spend more, thinking about where Heather will go next. In my head I’m sure that Happy Ever After will be it, but I’m sure the next reader may take a different path. Another sign of graceful writing that will speak differently to each person it touches…

So that was that for the actual interview – later, as she was signing books for Hayley and I, Lauren made me laugh, her enthusiasm for visiting Edinburgh, next on her schedule, was terrific, but she was perhaps not so happy about the thought of the 6 hour train ride that would get her there – I hope she had a good journey and managed to pick up a couple of the ready glasses of wine she told me she had discovered  – a great idea indeed.  I also hope I have managed to get across a decent sense of the lady – she was beautiful in that windswept stunning way that not many people pull off and so very friendly and completely natural – a perfectly normal and lovely person yet one with an extraordinary gift. I hope to meet her again one day, perhaps after I have read Delirium – I am sure there is a lot more to know. For now though, she definitely has another constant reader in me and she managed to make Hayley a fan before she had even read a word…

Find out more here: http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/biography.php

Follow Lauren on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/OliverBooks

Purchase information for Panic: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/lauren+oliver/panic/10304874/

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.indd Review

Available now in Paperback from Hodder and Staughton.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Panic is a wonderfully written and totally addictive novel, following a group of youngsters playing a dangerous game – but at the heart of the story is a coming of age tale, peppered with some terrific characters who’s motives ebb and flow as the game is played, and who will capture your heart in various ways.

The further I got into this tale the more I loved it – starting off with Heather rather impulsively joining in the game when she fully intended to avoid it – we move through a series of events that are at times heart stopping and at times extremely emotional. Heather struggles in her home life, with a drug addicted mother and a sister to look out for – she sees winning Panic as a way out, a chance to leave this life for pastures new. Along with best friends Nat and Bishop and joining up with the enigmatic Dodge, they traverse the waters of the increasingly dangerous challenges, ending up on a path of discovery about themselves and each other, one that could end up with redemption or disaster.

A clever story, one that speaks to the different fears that each and every one of us has – I loved the flow of it, that absolute sense of excitement the challenges invoke, the pure adrenalin rush that can come from the unexpected – but also the best part for me was the interactions, friendships and ever changing attitudes of the people playing. Well drawn and evocative, this captures some of the aspects of growing up perfectly. With an insightful eye, Ms Oliver tells us a tale about facing your fear – and understanding that which drives us.

Overall a beautifully written and compelling story, one that will stay with me for a while.

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

In Praise of Editors – Guest Post from Joanna Courtney.

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I am very happy to host Joanna once again on my blog, telling us about her publishing journey and writing in general. Today she is in Praise of Editors….

 

 

 

I first started writing for the women’s magazines back in 1999. I still remember having my first story accepted for publication (yes, a bottle of bubbly was bought and probably cost almost as much as I was paid but, as discussed in my previous post, all successes must be celebrated). I felt fantastic – I was on the road to being a ‘real writer’. I could stop doing housework (not that I’d ever really got started) and chain myself to my desk to suffer for my art. The fact that my next 3 stories were all politely turned away dented this confidence a little but there were good reasons for the rejections and once I’d worked out where I was going wrong I crept forward, having work accepted by more and more editors.
And what lovely people they are. OK, so they don’t feel quite so lovely when they reject you (reject your story, I know, but we all understand how personal it feels when it happens) but at heart they are true fiction lovers and very engaging people and I honestly believe that writing for the womags over the years has really helped me improve my general style. There are people who look down on the womags in the same way as there are people who look down on chick lit or sci-fi or romance and for the life of me I fail to see why. These genres sell. Readers love them and what better accolade is there?
I remember hearing the Derbyshire writer Stephen Booth speaking at a writers’ conference in Loughborough once. It was a fantastic speech throughout but the one bit that sticks in my mind was an anecdote he told about touring America. He was taken to a vast warehouse-style bookshop and told his signing would be in the section where his books were shelved. He duly looked up at the huge signs over the aisles and made for ‘fiction’ at which point he was stopped by an apologetic shop worker who told him he was very sorry but Stephen wasn’t in ‘fiction’ – he was in ‘popular fiction’. Why apologise, Stephen asked him – who wouldn’t want to be popular?
I couldn’t agree more and its one of the reasons I love writing for the magazines. There is little more satisfying than receiving a letter from a reader saying they can’t wait to get into the newsagents for the next part of your serial. Old-fashioned maybe (Dickensian even) but wonderful. My main aim as a writer is to involve readers – to create stories that draw them in and make them want to know more and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the lovely editors at the People’s Friend, My Weekly, Women’s Weekly, Take a Break and Yours for helping me learn how best to do that.
My first ever serial with The People’s Friend was a huge learning curve in pacy plotting. For those who don’t know, the outline of a serial is usually accepted with the first episode but every subsequent episode has to be approved on its own merits before you are (a) paid and (b) asked to crack on with the next one. The poor lady editing my work gave me patient and hugely valuable feedback on upping tension, keeping characters consistent and interweaving storylines. I don’t think it was until episode 5 that I got it right first time but some of her wisdom must have rubbed off as from that point on I only had minor re-writes. My next serial sailed through in comparison to the first, though I’m still prone to the odd stupid mistake, always very gently pointed out!
These editors know their readers inside out and that seems to me to be the key to successful fiction. I – along with most writers I’m sure – write from the heart about characters that burn inside me and plots that keep me awake at night and settings that (when I finally do get to sleep) haunt my dreams and I think that’s the only way to do it. Anyone chasing a market is unlikely to succeed – we have to write the story inside us, not the one (tempting though it certainly is) currently flying off the shelves. I do, however, always try and edit with my readers in mind to make sure all those characters and plots and settings are as vivid to them as they are in my own tiny head.
I’m now, very excitingly, embarking on the edit of Book 1 of The Queens of the Conquest, with my new (and hopefully just as patient and kind) editor, Natasha at Pan Macmillan and I’m hoping that years of perfecting short stories to the women’s magazines’ very high standards is going to help. It’s a daunting task trying to get that high-shine to my work and one I’m grateful not to be doing totally alone.
So this entry goes out in praise of editors. My especially thanks go to Shirley Blair at The People’s Friend and Liz Smith at My Weekly and I look forward to continuing to work with them even as I launch into the new waters of my novel. And, of course, I have one consolation – polishing my prose, however tough, will always, always be preferable to polishing the furniture!

 

http://www.joannabarnden.co.uk/

Liz Currently Loves….Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

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Publication Date: Available now from Penguin.

Source: Netgalley

When a harmless quiz night ends with an act of shocking violence, the parents of Pirriwee Public School can’t seem to stop their secrets from finally spilling out. Rumours ripple through the small town, as truth and lies blur to muddy the story of what really happened on that fateful night .

The first thing to say is how cleverly realistic this story is – and also, God save us from parental politics. Any mother or father who has had a child at Primary school will recognise a fair few of the characters in this story and may possibly recognise one or two characteristics of their own personality…which gives the whole thing a terrifically authentic feel.

I was absolutely fascinated – when single mum Jane moves to Pirriwee and sends her son to kindergarten, a first day run in with another child and her mother sets off a chain of events that eventually leads to disaster – secrets are kept, lies are told and everything boils to the surface during a drink fuelled riotous quiz night. As the story unfolds in both current time and flashback, it is absolutely addictive and also, in some ways, a lot of fun despite some rather dark themes running throughout.

Certainly Ms Moriarty has captured the cliquey, bitchy atmosphere that can exist at the school gates perfectly – then takes that and runs with it to create a marvellously intense and compelling tale where you will take sides, change them, change them back again, all the while wondering how on earth it will all resolve itself. There is a lot of ironic humour and occasional laugh out loud moments, but the heart of this is much much darker….

The underlying theme, that of bullying and domestic violence, is done with a compassionate eye and also an awful lot of blunt realism – anyone who has ever asked why a battered wife or husband stays with their spouse would do well to read this. Equally, I found all the interpersonal relationships highly intriguing, the friendships that form, the truth behind the facade of perfect marriages, the truth that we can never really know what goes on behind closed doors or what the true motives of the people around us are.

Overall a scintillating and evocative read, which will make you laugh one moment and cry the next. Brilliant stuff. Loved it.

Find out more here: http://www.lianemoriarty.com/

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Lies-Liane-Moriarty/dp/1405918462/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_har?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407950105&sr=1-1&keywords=little+lies+liane+moriarty

 

Also available:

1746545020823057

Happy Reading folks!

 

Robin Williams….

I’m not that good with words. I’ve seen a lot of heartfelt messages today. I don’t know what to say. So I give you this.

 

still-of-robin-williams-in-dead-poets-society-(1989)              “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

 

 

image03                “Gooooood morning, Vietnam! It’s 0600 hours.”

 

  “My first day as a woman and I’m getting hot flashes.” mrs-doubtfire2

 

 

images “I’ve seen things you’ve only seen in your nightmares. Things you can’t even imagine. Things you can’t even see. There are things that hunt you in the night. Then something screams. Then you hear them eating, and you hope to God that you’re not dessert. Afraid? You don’t even know what afraid is.”

 

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“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

 

August-Rush-robin-williams-23593435-720-540  “What do you want to be in the world? I mean the whole world. What do you want to be? Close your eyes and think about that.” 

 

 

 

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“So what now, huh? What do you want from me? Yea, I could do it. We both know you wouldn’t stop me. So answer me, please. Tell me what you’re doing. Okay, let’s look at the logic. You create man. Man suffers enormous amounts of pain. Man dies. Maybe you should have had just a few more brainstorming sessions prior to creation. You rested on the seventh day, maybe you should have spent that day on compassion.”

 

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     BANGARANG!

 

 

 

 

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NANO NANO

RIP

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Liz Currently Loves…..Chain of Events by Fredrik T Olsson

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Publication Date: 21st August from Little Brown UK/Sphere.

Source: Publisher Review copy – Thank you.

Nothing would make me keep a diary.Except for one thing.The realisation that soon there won’t be anyone around to read it.William Sandberg. A broken genius, snatched from his home.Christina Sandberg, his ex-wife. She does not believe their lies.Our future hangs on their survival. If they fail, we are all lost.

Well what to say about this one. Exhilerating. Utterly exhausting. Totally addictive. Unbelievably clever and if you want your thrillers to be, well you know, actually thrilling, you have come to the right place.

William Sandberg, kidnapped genius, working on an improbable and impossible problem  – if he succeeds humanity can be saved, if he fails we are all doomed in a Friday the 13th, no hope, cannot run cannot hide, the axe will fall kind of way. For the majority of this read I was running on pure adrenalin, despite Mr Olsson’s absolute ability to give you contemplative and emotional moments, still this tale shoots off at breakneck speed, following a “chain of events” that are highly unlikely and yet strangely and absolutely believable….a world encompassing sequence of dominos all falling one after the other, at the end of which is either salvation or calamity.

Intelligent plotting, a thriller that doesnt compromise on character development, you can see Mr Olsson’s screenwriting credentials shine through, still it is beautifully written, a novel not a screenplay but – I am praying that someone with vision will turn this into the blockbuster movie to end all blockbuster movies and not mess with it AT ALL because frankly,  anything added or taken away would destroy the flow, the wonderful atmosphere and the often ironic outlook that comes to life in this narrative.

A highly imaginative premise, this is one of those stories that will have you finishing bleary eyed at 3am, heart pounding, sweat on your brow, for me my immersion into this world was so complete that it took me a while to come back to reality – and those really are the very best kinds of books, any reader would be sure to agree. I loved it absolutely and with passion – I wish I could start all over again now with no knowledge, yet another reminder for me of why I read.

A radiant and marvellous novel and who says that genre fiction such as thrillers can’t contain classical writing or pack emotional real world punch? This one had both of those things, fiction with heart and soul – cannot recommend it highly enough. For anyone of any taste who enjoys a darn good yarn.

Find out more here: http://fredriktolsson.se/

Follow the author on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fredriktolsson

Pre- Order Purchase Information:

Special Signed Edition from Goldsboro books: https://www.goldsborobooks.com/books/chain-of-events-fredrik-t-olsson-signed-first-edition-4125.html

Amazon Pre-Order: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0751556351/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=19H2G6895S4WCJ6H1STF&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455344027&pf_rd_i=468294

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

Author Interview – Andrea Maria Schenkel. The Dark Meadow.

22550167Andrea Maria Schenkel_03 credit Andrea Herdegen

Thanks to Quercus I was recently lucky enough to receive a beautiful little hardback copy of “The Dark Meadow” by Andrea Maria Schenkel, which was an emotional and intriguing story of murder and the killer that got away…

I asked the author some questions and here is what she had to tell me.

 

What was the inspiration behind “The Dark Meadow” ?

 

I came across an old newspaper article that expressed outrage at the result of a murder trial. The journalist writing the story expressed dismay that the victim’s father didn’t confess to killing his daughter—he wrote that “everybody at court knew he was a liar.”

So, I wanted to know if the father really was a liar. But I couldn’t find a lot about the case—records were hard to come by–so I wrote my own story. I have no idea if it happened the way I wrote it or not.

 

 

 

The attitudes of the times, especially with relation to Afra, are very different to today – was a lot of research involved to make it authentic?

 

Yes. It is always helpful to read about the time, about the conditions of living, like how to wash clothes in times before washing machines and dryers, to talk to people who are old enough to have a memory of this period. My mother, for example, was born in 1922. She passed away when the book came out, but she was talking how it was at that time – before, during and after WWII. That was a big help too.

 

Which character did you find the most fascinating to write?

 

 

I liked Afra very much. She is a strong person, she wants to be independent, she wants to be free and at the same time she is caught in conventions and in the time period and the region she is living.

 

 

Can you tell us anything about your next project?

 

My last book in Germany came out a few months ago—Taüscher. It’s about double murder in a small town in Bavaria in the 20′s, but the novel’s underlying story illustrates how living in the post World War I period—under a new form of government, the Weimer Republic, and under challenging economic conditions—affected this community.

And I am working on my first book that takes place outside Bavaria—in fact, outside of Germany. It will break new ground for me in several ways.

 

 

One book you recommend to everyone.

 

I like the book “Ich nannte ihn Krawatte / I Called Him Necktie” by Milena Michiko Flasar. It is no crime novel. The author is half Austrian, half Japanese and I like her way of writing.

 

 

Any writing habits?

 

Sitting with my laptop on the bed, a cup of coffee next to me. I really like it.

 

Tea, Coffee or other?

 

Most of the time coffee with milk and without sugar, but when in the UK or Ireland, I prefer tea. I tried it countless times, but tea never tastes as good outside this region.

 

Thank you so much Andrea.

 

Review

Translated from the German by Anthea Bell.

Bavaria, Germany, 1947
At the end of the war, Afra Zauner returns to her parents’ cottage on the edge of Mauther Forest. Unmarried, and pregnant. As she struggles to raise her child, her father’s shame, her mother’s fury and the loud whispers of the neighbours begin to weigh upon her. She doesn’t believe in her sin. But everyone else does.
And someone brings judgement down upon her.
Many years later, Hermann Müller is throwing a drunk out of his tavern. A traveller, who won’t stop ranting about a murder left unsolved, about police who never investigated. Out of curiousity, the file is reopened. And in the cold light of hindsight, a chilling realisation creeps upon the community.

A very evocative and cleverly written murder mystery novella – telling the story from several viewpoints we are inexorably led to the truth about a murder 18 years cold – this is not a police procedural or a traditional mystery/thriller, it is more a story of retrospection, looking back from a distance to realise that what was assumed was not actually true.

There are several themes running through the narrative that add to the overall ambience – the attitude of the day towards single parents, the understanding or lack thereof of dementia, a different world both in philosophy and procedure that leads to a murderer going free. As we learn about that day so long ago, interspersed with statements from various players in the present time, a remarkable and emotional tale comes into the light.

I was very taken with all the characters, the atmosphere and sense of place was magnificent, painting a picture for the reader as the story unfolded – a short but sweet read that will have you immersed into the tale throughout and awaiting the final outcome.

Overall an excellent book and one I would recommend especially to anyone who likes the mystery genre but are looking for something a bit off the beaten track.

 

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Meadow-Andrea-Maria-Schenkel/dp/1780877730/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_har?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407479832&sr=1-1&keywords=the+dark+meadow+by+andrea+maria+schenkel

Author Website: http://www.andrea-schenkel.de/

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

6 Months of Reading – Part Two.

Climbing with Books

 

So here we are again – Part two of three looking at everyones favourite read of the last six months, and during the post you can find the next 20 titles that made the list. The main problem I’ve had with this list is there are MANY books on it that look fabulous, which I was unaware of before asking the question – so my “to be read” mountain has now become a whole mountain range – but hey, that is just how us readers like it right?

 

There has been an interesting mix of genres within the list as a whole. Some crime, some romance, some non fiction, a spot of family drama, some classics that people have only just gotten around to reading. Some titles are from years ago, some only just released. It seems that everyone has a mountain range of reading to get through, moving backwards and forwards through time – hey there must be a novel in there somewhere I think.

 

So what else was on the list? Well here are a few that I am now determined to read….

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And here are a few that I have ALREADY read, loved and raved about that I would encourage everyone to consider…

 

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And I was SO pleased to see this one in the mix as, well, you know….

 

 

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And HERE are 3 titles that people are only just discovering…

 

 

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The more I look at this eclectic long list, the more excited I am by reading – always something new to discover, to debate and to argue the merits of.

 

So stay tuned later this week for the final part of the list – and PLEASE keep some notes between now and December because I will be asking you all the question again in time for Christmas – lets see if any of these titles turn up again. I have certainly been inspired to expand my reading and try something new…

Happy Reading Folks!