Spotlight 2015 – The Defence by Steve Cavanagh

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Publication Date: 12th March 2015 from Orion

Source: Advance Reading Copy

The truth has no place in a courtroom. The truth doesn’t matter in a trial. The only thing that matters is what the prosecution can prove. Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different. It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter Amy. Eddie only has 48 hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if wants to save his daughter. Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible? Lose this case and he loses everything.

Ok so The Defence then. Another book I have been very lucky to get my hands on ever so early, but I can promise you it is definitely worth the wait ESPECIALLY if, like me, you have been pretty starved lately of a good courtroom drama.

With “The Defence” Steve Cavanagh manages to pull off not only a terrific courtroom drama, but also a bit of an edge of the seat thriller, some witty and darkly humerous moments and a character you will fall in love with.

Eddit Flynn is a mess and at first glance you would think that, if put in the situation he actually does find himself in, that he would be pretty useless. But Eddie is not exactly what he appears – his unusual upbringing means he has more strings to his bow than would be immediately obvious and as he sets off to extricate himself from a sticky situation and ensure his daughters safety it is glorious page turning reading joy.

The plot is intelligently drawn and oh so addictive, even without a main protagonist like Eddie it would be pretty darn good, with him its a marvel. There are some thrills and spills, some hilarious “set pieces” if you like, some witty banter and some seriously gripping moments where you might even decide to shout some encouragement, scaring anyone who might be around you. I love those types of books, the ones that get your blood up and then make you giggle. There is also an emotional edge to things, a child in peril and the relationship described between Eddie and his daughter is terrifically done so you can feel his terror at the same time as he is making you smile.

The villains are realistically villainous, I kind of liked Volchek in a funny kind of way, there are some great peripheral characters that I hope to learn more about in future stories and I really did enjoy every last minute of this. As I said, you may yourself need defending if anyone interrupts you when you are reading.

Overall then a top notch read, one you definitely need to look out for next  year, as for me I just want the next book now. Eddie will surely return and I, for one, can’t wait.

Find out more here: http://stevecavanaghwriter.blogspot.co.uk/

Follow Steve on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SSCav

Pre-Order information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/steve+cavanagh/the+defence/11371766/

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Author Interview and Review: Daniel Gothard. Friendship and Afterwards.

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Interview and Review by Melissa Barnsley

Publication Date: Available Now.

Four young people are in love – David, Sarah, Ben and Alison – and yet none of them are particularly happy with what their lives have become. The story is about how and why people fall in and out of love and the unexpected, sometimes life-changing, consequences that follow. It is a story about growing up and making big mistakes, as all friends and lovers eventually do, and then living with those mistakes afterwards.

It took me exactly one hour and twenty seven minutes to read this lovely little novel; time that I certainly wouldn’t want to take back. Having been handed the book at work by a friend I picked it up that evening, thinking “I’ll just see if I like the first few chapters before I agree to review,” but before I knew it the story was over and I was left wanting more! Daniel Gothard paints an honest, raw picture of the way adult relationships both begin and end. The friction of emotion between each of the characters, whether they are joined by friendship, passion, or love, is utterly believable and at times even difficult to read (in a good way). We’ve all felt those same emotions at some point in our lives – guilt, jealousy, lust, regret. ‘Friendship and afterwards’ is a realistic romance, one that I would certainly recommend that you go and read NOW. My only criticism, and the reason for my four star rating, is that I felt it could have been longer. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was left wanting more!

 

I was lucky enough to catch up with the author, Daniel Gothard, for a Q&A.

 

Hi Daniel!

 

First off, why did you decide to write using multiple narratives?

 

The multiple character narrative was a test for/on myself and also because I wanted to show how good intentions, love, friendship, ambition, etc, can become so complex in any life no matter where you begin from; that there are usually no simple answers to reasonably simple questions when the heart is ruling the head!

 

There were moments in the book where characters seem to have different accounts of the same event, could you elaborate?

 

The original title of the book was ‘How I See Things’ and it was very much based on each character and their views of the same/similar scenarios.

 

What made you decide to keep the story so short?

 

The shortish length of the book wasn’t planned, it just turned out that way – it’s the shortest piece I’ve written for a while. But, like Raymond Carver, Chekhov and others, I feel comfortable boiling down emotions and psychology in stories to a point where the reader can fill in some ‘gaps’.

 

How much of the story is based on your personal experiences?

 

Thankfully, this story is all fiction. The novel is hugely influenced by the work of my favourite author, Richard Yates, particularly his book Young Hearts Crying: a classic story about the American Dream and its slow death post WW2.

 

What first inspired you to become an author?

 

I’ve always written – as a teenager mainly poetry. I gained a CertHE in creative writing from Ruskin College here in Oxford and then an MA in the same subject at Bath Spa Uni. It was after Bath that I made a decision to relentlessly follow my ambition to write and be published.

 

What’s next for you? Are you working on any new projects – perhaps something slightly longer I can get my teeth into?

 

My publisher is talking about releasing 3/4 of my older novels next year. And I’ve just published a 16,000 word dystopian novella, (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/494450) I loved writing in a different genre (first time writing in a second-person narrative too).

 

Thank you so much Daniel. I look forward to reading more of your work!

 

Thank you to the Author and Publisher

Find out more here: http://yolkpublishing.co.uk/

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

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Friendship-Afterwards-Daniel-Gothard-ebook/dp/B00N6SMOUM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416995648&sr=1-1&keywords=friendship+and+afterwards+daniel+gothard

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Spotlight 2015: Black Wood by Susi Holliday.

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Publication Date: March 2015 from Black and White Publishing.

Source: Author copy

Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story. Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?

So any fan of the psychological thriller definitely needs to keep an eye out for this next year – I was lucky enough to read it extremely early, so early in fact that as Susi herself pointed out to me, its probably completely changed by now. I am looking forward to reading the finished product to see how it has developed, but the heart of it will be there for sure, the story and the characters whilst possibly having had added to them a  bit of spit and polish were right there from the start.

What I found was a character driven story with a very haunting and expressive feel that pulled me in immediately. Jo is an intriguing character, dealing with some difficult issues stemming from a childhood trauma – but with no-one to believe her and a memory that is flaky, she feels very alone and that comes out in the way she interacts with those close to her. Not always sympathetic as a character  but ever fascinating, the mystery of what happened to her and Claire all those years ago is compelling and addictive.

Unless it has changed dramatically in the time since I read that early copy and now, this is not a book with those huge BAM out of nowhere twists and turns but is more an exploration of memory and emotion, how things from before can affect the after and is all the more powerful for it.  Thats not to say there are no surprises, there most certainly are and a fair few of them, and as Jo goes on her journey of discovery and possible revenge, you will be completely and utterly hooked. Beautifully paced, it is one of those novels you sink into completely and have to shake off when you emerge back into real life.

It really is deliciously written, capturing the essence of village life perfectly and delivering an eclectic cast of characters, an appealing and exquisitely drawn enigma both in character and plot and overall would defnitely come highly recommended from me. Oh and beautiful job on the cover – captures the whole thing perfectly right there.

I will be talking about this in more detail with a fuller review for you nearer publication – but for now I’m saying put it on that list. You know the one – all us readers have them!

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

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

Pre-Order Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Wood-SJI-Holliday/dp/1845029534/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416907280&sr=1-1&keywords=black+woods+holliday

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

Liz Currently Loves….All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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Publication Date: 8th January 2015 from Penguin Randomhouse UK Childrens

Source: Netgalley

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries
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First of all I should say thank you (I think!) to Louise O Neill (author of Only Ever Yours) for telling me I should read this one – she was completely right about it, a novel that demands to be read, absorbed and committed to memory. It is certainly stuck in my head for good and if my Top Ten Reads of 2014 list was still open you would absolutely find this on it, possibly even right there at number one. As it is it is now in the running for next year and the books of 2015 are going to have to go some to beat this one for pure emotional reaction and resonance.

When Theodore Finch meets Violet Markey under somewhat unusual circumstances, a compelling and fascinating friendship begins. Both damaged in different ways, they come together to work on a school project and everything changes.

Gosh this is hard to review to be honest. On the surface it is simply another teen tale, another Young Adult drama with all the angst and ups and downs you come to expect, but underneath is an affecting tale, one that sinks into your subconcious and hovers there, with something very important to say about love, loss, grief and state of mind.

Theodore Finch is a marvel of a character, unbelievably likeable, authentic and coming alive straight off the page, yet there is a darkness hovering inside him that he struggles with every single day. Violet, suffering from survivor guilt after her Sister died in a car accident is still trying to come to terms with her loss and work out how on earth she will live the rest of her life. The relationship that develops between these two is utterly compelling, totally gripping and credible, the author taking the time to make it real with no rush to judgement. As you read the people and the places will pop and the pages practically turn themselves.

It is an entertaining read for sure but it is so much more than that. Oh so much more.

The subjects addressed here are emotional and all too real for a lot of people, not spoken about nearly so loudly or so often as they should be. With sensitivity and grace, Ms Niven paints a picture for us of the difficulties of knowing when a person truly needs help and indeed, of how easy it is to bury your head in the sand.  Sometimes the people who shine the brightest are the ones who have the most difficulty internally- a truth sharply acknowledged in this story and brought to the forefront instead of being hidden in the background. Finch, with his unerring life quality, his sharp observations about his own feelings and the need other people have to put a label on them, how he describes with absolute and perfect clarity what it is actually like when you are suffering from something more than the normal coming of age issues, it will have you  gripped in an emotion I can’t even describe.

I feel like I should talk more about Violet, a girl who has suffered an unimaginable loss, through her we see another side of Finch and through Finch we see another side of her. As they take turns to tell us what is going on, there is a particular beauty to it all, again pretty indescribable, the tentative reaching out of one damaged soul to another is pitch perfect and absolutely engaging. They are both as real to me as anyone I have ever met and there it is right there.

There was one point in this book, one particular paragraph that resonated with me so completely that I had to read it several times, and have gone back and read it several times since – I won’t quote it here, the novel needs to be read in your own headspace not in mine – but it illustrates how much this has to offer above and beyond the wonder of an excellent story well told. This is one of those important books, one of those you feel like forcing on everyone whether they like it or not, I’m probably about to become very annoying to a lot of people.

At the end I was crying great big buckets of tears – I was distraught, a wet rag of seething emotion and it took a good few hours for that to calm down.Then I read the authors afterword, where she speaks about where the story came from and I was off all over again. Now writing up this review I am undone once more – but I’m so pleased I read this. If I hadnt I wouldnt have known Finch or Violet or those around them, and that would be a huge loss for sure. On top of that this is a book that demands to be read for no other reason than it may help understanding grow of the very real, often invisible, life threatening issues that affect those with mental illness. Apologies to Finch for the use of the label…

Unbelievably real, beautiful writing, wonderful characters and a story that will stay with you forever, just read it. Read it now. It is worth every second of the trauma.

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

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

Pre-Order Information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/jennifer+niven/all+the+bright+places/11149420/

 

Liz Currently Loves…The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth.

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Publication Date: UK 1st January 2015 from Headline. US 24th February 2015 from St Martins Press

Source: Advance Reading Copy.

I’m the only one who knows the secrets her friends have hidden, the mistakes the police have made.
I’m the only one who can warn her she’s still in danger.
I know exactly who attacked her.
He’s the same man who killed me.

I was a huge fan of Colette Mcbeth’s first novel Precious Thing, so I was very excited to receive an advanced copy of her new story “The Life I Left Behind” and if anything it was even better – I read it in about 4 hours, it really was hard to put aside once started.

Told from several points of view – Eve who is dead, Melody who has survived a vicious attack and Victoria the Police Officer in charge of investigating Eve’s murder, it is an emotional and very addictive read with some loveable (and not so much) characters, a terrifically intriguing story and just a little twist in the tale, hearing as we do from the murder victim.

From the very beginning you will get sucked in as Eve is discovered dead and she starts to tell us how it all came to happen. Then enter Melody, who thinks she is hiding her post traumatic stress from her loved ones but maybe is not doing as well as she thinks – she is tied to Eve in ways she cannot yet imagine. Add into the mix Victoria, who starts to question the original conviction in Melody’s case and we are off with a fascinating, poignant and often quite touching tale of a life lost and another hanging in the balance.

There is a mystery element of course – is the same person responsible for both crimes, who is it and why. In a way though this is very much a layer to the story rather than the story itself which is absolutely  focussed on the people, the aftermath, how it affects them and explores, almost quietly, themes of grief, loss and the ever changing nature of relationships. Ms McBeth writes with a very haunting prose that can tug on your heartstrings one minute and have you hanging on the edge of your seat the next.

As the separate worlds of Eve and Melody collide you will not be able to stop turning the pages to find out what is next – there is a terrific emotional resonance to knowing that there is nothing to be done for Eve, she was my favourite character and I almost kept wishing that this was a fantasy novel where she could miraculously be brought back to life. Melody invokes a lot of sympathy, her efforts to heal both mind and body are emotionally engaging and realistically based. Sometimes helped by those around her, sometimes hindered, you will root for her all the way.

Overall then a really really excellent read, a tense psychological thriller that also manages to gently pull you along towards the truth of the matter and will give you a lot to ponder along the way about the nature of life, the universe and humanity. Highly Recommended.

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

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

Pre-Order information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/colette+mcbeth/the+life+i+left+behind/10111091/

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Black Rose by Kris Thompson – Blog Tour.

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Kris Thompson is a veteran of the US Navy and single mother of three. When she’s not knitting scarves, chasing her children around or baking, you’ll find her enjoying a good book or writing down notes for her own upcoming stories. Writing has been a passion for Kris for many years, and seeing those stories printed on paper is a dream come true.

Black Rose

Lillian Locke had the perfect life in Boulder, Colorado. She had the boyfriend of her dreams, a wonderful family, awesome friends, and a spot on the track team at a great college. There wasn’t anything life could throw at her that she couldn’t get through . . . until he found her.

Lillian never could have imagined being abducted and chained up in the dark. Worse yet, being just one of many girls kidnapped and held captive by a madman. All she can do now is hope that she survives the brutality of their captor long enough to find a way to free herself and her new captive friends.

When Richard Haines’ girlfriend goes missing, he makes it his personal mission to find the woman he loves and bring her home to the safety of their loved ones. Seeking the help of friends and family, Richard abandons everything except for his pursuit of Lillian. But when someone else close to Richard goes missing, and the bodies of the abducted girls start showing up in the hills outside Boulder, the only thing he can do is hope that he finds her before it is too late.

Review:

I read this in pretty much one sitting, so well did it flow and for the most part I thought it was a terrific psychological suspense novel, with a realistic twist generally speaking and it definitely packs one heck of an emotional punch.

The most resonant part of the novel for me came with the relationship between Richard and Lillian – the author has done a terrific job of telling us a love story, creating a couple I believed in and then hitting them with the worst case scenario and making me avidly turn pages as Richard desperately searches for Lillian whilst she desperately struggles to survive.

It was cleverly written jumping between Richard and Lillian and telling what they were going through and here was where it was the most authentic.

There were some downsides which were purely subjective – I couldnt quite get my head around how the girls behaved occasionally whilst in captivity.Sometimes that did not ring quite true for how traumatised I would imagine they would be under the circumstances although of course no-one who has not been through such a thing could have any actual idea. Discussing the relative benefits of one good looking star over another for example, not long after you have been brutalised, just took me out of the moment.

Overall however this was a great read, not for the faint hearted, but a very addictive and often emotive story – another plus was the story came to a proper and satisfying conclusion showing aftermath as well as event which added to the overall ambience of the tale being told.

Find out more here: http://kristhompsonauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

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

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Rose-Kris-Thompson-ebook/dp/B00OGT2J1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416384083&sr=1-1&keywords=black+rose+kris+thompson

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves…The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

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Publication Date: January 27th 2015 from Bloomsbury

Source: Netgalley

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

I was one of the people who completely fell in love with “The Bone Season” the first in what will be a series of 7 books – I didnt think that anything could top that, but with “The Mime Order” the stakes were raised and if anything this was even better.

It probably helped that the world that Ms Shannon has built here is now sharply focussed – there was a lot of information to assimilate in book one, with The Mime Order you know whats what and who is who and are already involved with the people and the places.

Paige may have escaped captivity but her problems are only just beginning – with the gangs in disarray she must pull everyone together to face the Rephaim but when everyone has their own agenda and nobody cares much for anyone but themselves this is no easy task – and as the most wanted person in London she must do all of this from a place of hiding. Once more the rich layers of the world the characters inhabit comes to life, there are thrills and spills, some very emotional moments and a lot of hard decisions ahead for Paige.

As a main protagonist Paige is terrifically well drawn and she comes into her own in this instalment. Jaxon is still intriguing and difficult to read when it comes to motivation, he is definitely one of my favourites. Add to that a plethora of other fascinating characters both good and evil and you have a really fun reading experience.

The world building is solidified and expanded and there is a richness to the prose that envelops you – the story is pacy and gripping throughout and descriptively speaking it is really excellent. I enjoyed it very much and as a fan of YA and Fantasy I would highly recommend it.

Find out more here: http://www.samantha-shannon.blogspot.co.uk/

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

Pre- Order information:

Fancy a special edition? Goldsboro Books : http://www.goldsborobooks.com/books/the-mime-order-samantha-shannon-signed-first-edition-4222.html

Alternative Pre-Order Information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/samantha+shannon/the+mime+order/10427272/

Happy Reading Folks!

Kate Riordan, The Girl in the Photograph and Owlpen Manor.

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Publication Date: January 5th 2015 From Penguin.

Status: Currently Reading.

So this weekend just past, me, my lovely daughter plus a few other bloggers were very kindly invited by Penguin Books and the author (thank you Jessica, Kate and Sarah!) to visit Owlpen Manor – the inspiration for the novel. Deep in rural Gloucestershire, it is a beautiful area of the world and we had a chance to meet Kate, have a tour of the house and grounds and find out more about “The Girl in the Photograph”. I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the weekend and put up some pictures I took while I was there (sorry for the quality on some!)

 

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View of the house from the gardens.

 

Upon arrival Mel and I were met by Sarah and Jessica and taken to the estate cottage we would be staying in for the night – Grist Mill. Steeped in history it was absolutely beautiful and I could happily have spent a lifetime there (although possibly not alone at night!) where we met Elle, our housemate for the night, and got settled in.

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Grist Mill – picture taken from Owlpen Website  http://www.owlpen.com/cottages/grist-mill

We then had a light lunch at the Cyder house where we met the rest of the group ( was wonderful to meet so many lovely people who I had spoken to often on Twitter but never met in person) and Kate herself who is stunning and so lovely that everyone felt immediately at ease. After that Sir Nicholas took us for a tour of the house and gardens – he was fantastic, so down to earth and very enthusiastic about his home and its history – after the tour it was VERY easy to see why Kate was so inspired by this location, I was almost inspired enough to write a book myself if only I had the talent.

It is difficult to put into words how lovely the location is and how peaceful – after the tour we had afternoon tea at the Grist Mill, then everyone had a chance to retire to their cottages and relax before dinner. This was once again in the Cyder House and I can’t tell you how yummy the food was – local produce, seasonal, beautifully cooked and again we all had a chance to have a chat about many things including the world of blogging and writing. Terribly relaxed throughout there was no pressure to do anything at all.

 

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On the tour.

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Dinner!

Once we were done for the evening it was back to our cottages where I picked up “The Girl in the Photograph” and started reading – with the location set firmly in my head, although I am currently still not quite at the end of it, I can tell you it is a haunting, evocative and beautifully written book, one that you should certainly all be putting on your reading lists. I will of course review it nearer publication.

After a fairly fun and creepy night – Mel and I having our own bedrooms initially but she arrived in with me at some point in the early hours – it really brought the novel into focus. One character in the book remarks of the country “It is too dark to sleep” and as a town lass myself I was enchanted and a little nervous at how black the night actually was. A really intriguing experience and certainly one I could get used to given the opportunity.

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Bedroom at Grist Mill

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Kate signs some proof copies for us.

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Here we all are!

The following morning having imbedded myself totally into “The Girl in the Photograph” I asked Kate whether she had the bones of the story before visiting Owlpen. Apparently this location was absolutely the inspiration for the whole thing – the first scene she wrote was the one where Alice first arrives at Fiercombe (name change for the book) and everything else spun out from there. It was easy to picture the locations in my head as I read and that scene is perfectly placed. Whilst Kate has used dramatic license to change certain aspects of the area to fit in around the story, the heart and soul of it is definitely within the pages.

After breakfast we very sadly said goodbye to everyone and made our way home – but this is a weekend that will stay with me forever, one for the memory box – an informal, fun and highly relaxing experience and one that definitely makes reading the book all the more wonderful – and it would have been a pretty wonderful read without all that.

If you get a chance you should definitely visit Owlpen for a break – I would definitely love to return one day.

Follow Kate on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KateRiordanUK

Found out more here: http://www.owlpen.com/home

There are some much better pictures on their website.

You can follow here: https://twitter.com/OwlpenManor

Pre-Order information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/kate+riordan/the+girl+in+the+photograph/11223559/

 

Huge thanks to Penguin Books and Kate Riordan for the experience of a lifetime.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Liz Currently Loves….Revival by Stephen King

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Publication Date: Available Now from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Purchased Copy

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs Jacobs; the women and girls – including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister – feel the same about Reverend Jacobs. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.

So more Stephen King then, a pleasure every time and we know its unlikely that I’m going to dislike it, even if its not one of his best – I make no attempt to hide my long term adoration of all things written by this author.

In this case however, my honest opinion is that it IS one of his best – those of you looking for Old School King at the top of his game, the one that can make you shiver, turn the most ordinary things into that which you fear the most and take you by the hand and lead you into a place of darkness – that is what you will get with Revival.

Jamie first meets Charles Jacobs when he is very young, but for the rest of his life this man will cast a peculiar type of shadow as fate (perhaps) keeps drawing them together. Charles experiments with electricity – quite reasonable one would think, but this is a man not only intrigued but obsessed by it. When tragedy strikes Charles is set on a path to destruction, a path that Jamie may not be able to avoid walking with him.

This is one that will grip you from the start and trust me, it is a very good idea to hold off starting it until you have a good few hours to yourself. Oh and not in the dark either if I were you. I’m not one for breaking down a plot bit by bit in my reviews, suffice to say this is a tremendous mix of drama, horror and just plain emotion – it has a very gentle, rolling start but the tension builds bit by bit until you are white knuckled turning the pages to find out what is next, and oh my GOD that ending – I was disturbed, electrified (yes that was on purpose) and I just know its going to niggle at me and niggle at me for a long time to come. One of the most exciting and heart stopping endings Mr King has written for years, dark, scary as hell and all consuming, even with the very last words of the story.

And yes, I did sleep with the lights on last night. And probably will again tonight.

Classic King – absorbing, unbelievably addictive, the heart and soul of true storytelling is right here. Words are his power.

 

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

Follow Stephen King on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/StephenKing

Purchase Information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/stephen+king/revival/10383039/

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Spotlight 2015 – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Publication Date: January 15th 2015 from Transworld

Source: Advance Reading Copy.

To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.
Just goes to show.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and every evening. Every day she passes the same Victorian terraces, stops at the same signal, and sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess seem so happy together.
Then one day Rachel sees something she shouldn’t have seen, and soon after, Jess disappears. Suddenly Rachel is chasing the truth and unable to trust anyone. Not even herself.

So in the first of my “Spotlight 2015″ features coming up over the next few weeks, I’m taking look at “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins – a tense and highly addictive thriller that will almost certainly keep you turning the pages well into the night in order to discover just what the outcome is for Rachel, Jason and Jess.

Rachel has problems, is a highly intriguing character and when we meet her she is on a train. The same train she gets every day, seeing the same things she sees every day – until one day she observes something unusual. This sets her on a path of discovery and on a journey towards destruction.

The whole thing is really excellent – the writing flows along, the characters pop and once you start it is very hard to put aside – one of those “just one more chapter then I’ll load the dishwasher” type books that basically means the dishwasher is going to be rather lonely for a while…

I particularly liked (or actually actively disliked at times) Rachel – who because of her background, is difficult to get a grasp on. Are there nefarious things going on or is it just her? Her dogged determination and often rather obscure decision making means that almost anything could be true and this is where the plot is intelligent, creative and why the whole novel is so addictive. Add to Rachel some other characters who may or may not be as they appear, including Rachel’s seemingly reasonable ex husband, the couple who Rachel avidly observes from her train seat and various others and you have a most terrific mix which creates a character driven thriller of top notch quality.

Overall this is definitely one to look out for in the early months of 2015 and would definitely be a great book to get you over those “End of Holiday” blues once Christmas and New Year is over and done with – you’ll soon get caught up in Rachel’s world and this is a tremendously fun read with a dark heart and a great ending.

Highly Recommended

Find out more here: http://www.transworldbooks.co.uk/authors/paula-hawkins

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

Want to Pre-Order? This book is Goldsboro’s January Book of the Month and you can get your hands on a signed edition here:

http://www.goldsborobooks.com/books/the-girl-on-the-train-paula-hawkins-signed-first-edition-4191.html

Alternative Pre- Order Information:

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/paula+hawkins/the+girl+on+the+train/10789015/

 

Happy Reading Folks!