The Faithful Couple Giveaway.

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Today I have a copy of The Faithful Couple by A D Miller to giveaway as part of the official blog tour. Comments on this post will see your name go into the literal hat for a copy of the novel. UK only.

About the Book

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Turn a betrayal inside out and you found its opposite, a secret and a bond. Perhaps that was what friendship came down to: a lifelong, affectionate mutual blackmail.

Neil and Adam, two young men on the cusp of adulthood, meet one golden summer in California and, despite their different backgrounds, soon become best friends. Buton a camping trip in Yosemite they lead each other into wrongdoing that, years later, both will desperately regret.

Their connection holds through love affairs, fatherhood, the wild successes and unforeseen failures of booming London, as power and guilt ebb between them.

Then the truth of that long-ago night emerges.

What happens when you discover that the friendship you can’t live without was always built on a lie?

Happy Reading Folks!

A Pressing Dialogue…with Rod Reynolds and Gilly MacMillan

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In the latest of my series of author to author articles and interviews (more to come very soon), I was delighted when the writer of my No 1 book of last year Rod Reynolds and the writer of one of my stand out reads of 2015 Gilly Macmillan agreed to have a little chat about their respective novels. Both The Dark Inside and Burnt Paper Sky have elements of journalism (in fact TDI has a journalist as the main protagonist) in their narratives but both are set in very different eras. So with an open question about the differences in news coverage between then and now, off they went and what followed was a fascinating back and forth that I just couldn’t bring myself to edit lest the flavour was lost! So enjoy and look out at the end for information on both books  which if you havent read yet, you are definitely missing out on something fantastic!

 

Q: The press features significantly in both THE DARK INSIDE and BURNT PAPER SKY – but from very different eras. How do you think the press influences opinion today in the time of 24/7 news and internet as opposed to back in the times of typewriters and newspaper delivery boys?

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GM: The first thing that springs to mind is the way in which press reports from a huge variety of different sources are instantly and widely accessible nowadays. We can step out of the door and purchase any number of print newspapers, and there’s an even greater choice of sources when we go online. This means that we can browse for our news, and be selective. We can check facts and, within hours of a story breaking, we might even be able to read an opinion piece on what’s happening. I think as a result of this wide and instant access to stories, we’ve become smarter and more picky about the news items that we read and what we learn from them, but also more demanding. The easy availability of information breeds a hunger for more stories, more facts, more information and we often want that as soon as possible.

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RR: You’ve touched on a number of interesting points there. You’re absolutely right that news is now largely commercialised, and while that’s resulted in the evolution of 24/7 coverage, ‘live text’ digital updates, citizen journalism and more, I think the overall effect has largely been reductive and detracting. 24/7 channels have the airtime to cover a huge breadth of stories, in great depth – but the chase for eyeballs means ‘Headlines every 15 minutes’ on a seemingly endless loop. News as a business has produced niche channels with no pretense at all to objectivity – as epitomised by the likes of Fox News. Investigative reporting and in-depth articles have been sacrificed in the name of cheap, easy and quick. It’s news as fast food.

And yet that’s not even the most corrosive effect; that would be the rush to judgement that 24/7 news provokes. Stories hit the screen while they’re still unfolding; there’s no chance of any perspective. And your exploration of that was just one of the elements of BURNT PAPER SKY I found so intriguing…

GM: And in contrast, THE DARK INSIDE takes us back to a time when reporting was much more of a one-man job, and limited communications meant that information was more difficult to come by and disseminate. Your lead character, Charlie, perhaps through circumstances he might not have chosen, is nevertheless on a mission to investigate a crime, and he does this by personally meeting with and interviewing the people involved and following leads to the extent that he endangers himself. Do you think that kind of detailed, intelligent and brave investigating and reporting was a badge of honour for a good journalist back in the day, and do you think it exists now?

RR: I’m sure it was, just as I’m sure there are reporters who pride themselves on that kind of reporting these days; I think it’s just in shorter supply – and that’s not necessarily the fault of the journalists. It’s a totally different model now; at the time THE DARK INSIDE is set, the common practice was to have ‘legmen’ out on their beats, all the time, and they would simply call their stories in to the writers based back at the office. That obviously allows for much more freedom, and time spent ‘on the ground’. I’m sure there are reporters today who would kill for that model to return – but, as ever, economics dictates.

Equally, reporters are under so much more pressure now to provide continual coverage. Even at newspapers like the Telegraph, staff are expected to provide Twitter updates, pieces for the website that are updated throughout the day, and more, all alongside whatever they file for the print edition. BURNT PAPER SKY provides a fascinating look at how that model can, in turn, influence the case itself – and I thought in a very credible and authentic way. How did you go about researching that element of the book?

GM: It wasn’t easy or comfortable, but I researched that element of the book by paying close attention to real life cases of child disappearance, and watching how they unfolded via traditional and social media. There were two very high profile cases that happened while I was writing BURNT PAPER SKY and they both threw up slightly different reactions publicly, but what was common to both was how intense the reaction was online. There were extreme outpourings of sympathy and also extreme accusations made. People online clearly felt very emotional about the cases, and being able to interact over social media and discuss their feelings seemed to me to exacerbate that. Obviously there was some very reasonable response in both traditional and social media, but it wasn’t difficult for me to imagine how the people with more extreme reactions might translate their online outrage quite easily into unwelcome or dangerous action, which is explored in the plot of BURNT PAPER SKY.

I decided that I wanted to tell some of the story via traditional and social media extracts because that is how so many of us experience these cases in real life. I was hoping that, alongside the first person narratives of Rachel, the mother of the missing boy, and my detective DI Clemo, the media reports would give the novel a sort of documentary style so the reader not only has insight into the characters’ experiences but also learns about the case in exactly the same way they might normally, as a member of the public.

One of the things that intrigued me most as I was researching was how the social media reaction to the cases was often reported on in the traditional media (usually on days when there was little actual case progress to fill news bulletins), and this gave it a new authority, which in turn seemed to increase its intensity. In some cases search parties were organized via social media, and then word spread yet further by the reporting in news media, and while this was obviously very helpful to the investigations in some ways, I noticed that there were occasions when the police had to use their already limited resources to monitor, organize and sometimes limit what the public were doing. It made me wonder whether it’s a fine line between it being a help or a hindrance to an investigation when the public is mobilized via the media in this way.

I was fascinated by the relationship between the media and the police in THE DARK INSIDE. Your story is based on a true-life case and I wondered what sparked your interest in it in the first place, and what made you chose a journalist as your main character?

RR: I have a confession to make: I often dislike anything that deviates from the narrative, like diary inserts or news articles, because I sometimes find they pull me out of the story – BUT I genuinely loved the way you employed that technique in BURNT PAPER SKY. I think because the extracts and social media posts were so punchy and well-placed, they really did make it feel like the case was unfolding – and unraveling – in front of me. They ramped up the tension, and also illustrated so brilliantly the way these kinds of cases generate such polarised opinions. I thought it was a such a deft way of keeping an edge on your protagonist too – never quite letting the reader feel 100% sympathy for her, by showing us how the general public was reacting to her plight and the suspicion that lingered around her.

I stumbled over the true story that THE DARK INSIDE is based on, but as soon as I did, I was hooked and certain I wanted to write a novel about it (even to the point of immediately discarding the manuscript I’d been working on). There were so many elements of intrigue that sparked my imagination and, while the book is almost entirely fictionalised, many of the ideas it contains were inspired either by real life events, or the rumours and gossip that surrounded the case (or have sprung up in the years after).

Given where we started this discussion, I’d love to say I chose my protagonist to be a journalist because I wanted to say something about the importance of a free press and crusading reporting, but it was much more pragmatic than that: I just wasn’t interested in the procedural aspect of the investigation, plus wanted Charlie to be able to go anywhere and do anything that he felt would get him to the truth – in the way I didn’t think a police (or similar) character could credibly do. Also, I never wanted Charlie to be a tough guy, so I felt giving him a profession where he wouldn’t usually use his fists would leave him even more out of his depth when he pitched up in Texarkana.

Your next book looks to be, in some ways, quite different to BURNT PAPER SKY – how did that story come about?

GM My second book, THE PERFECT GIRL, is a little bit different from BURNT PAPER SKY in that it’s not a detective story in quite the same way (though watch this space for a sequel to BURNT PAPER SKY as Jim Clemo will return in Book 3). THE PERFECT GIRL has a much tighter and more claustrophobic time line – all the action takes place over just two days – and it explores how people can be pushed to the brink and how we can all make choices in just a split second that have the potential to profoundly affect the rest of our lives. Zoe, the character whose story is at the heart of THE PERFECT GIRL, is a teenage girl and a musical prodigy, and we meet her a couple of years after she caused the death of three other teenagers. She’s served her time and now she’s out and she’s preparing to give the performance of her life. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned, and by midnight, her mother is dead.

I got the idea for Zoe after hearing, many years ago, about a case where a teenager was convicted and sent to jail for similar reasons. I just couldn’t forget about it and kept thinking about how an experience like that, at such a vulnerable age, might affect the rest of your life. Zoe’s story came from that idea initially, but then I began to think about how much we push our children in this day and age, and how much is expected of them, and I wanted to explore that too, hence I thought it might be even more interesting to explore how the story might develop if Zoe had a special talent of some kind, if she was, in the words of the blurb, ‘burdened by brilliance’ as well as the events of her past.

I would love to hear more about your next book. Am I right in thinking we’ll see the return of Charlie?

RR: It’s fascinating to me how ideas come to writers. There’s some romantic notion – I think I had it before I started writing seriously – that even if you have to wait a while, a good idea eventually just comes to you in the middle of the night, and then the story just flows onto the page. Of course, that’s not (usually!) the case, and it’s interesting that the basic idea for THE PERFECT GIRL stayed with you for a long time before you actually decided to write it. It was similar for me with THE DARK INSIDE, although the years it spent as a premise and a few notes in a drawer certainly gave time for the story to develop in my head.

My second book, which is titled BLACK NIGHT FALLING, was a bit different, in that although it’s a sequel and therefore the basis of the story naturally arose out of THE DARK INSIDE, I only really stumbled over the setting and background to the book while I was in America researching book one. There’s a town about 100 miles from Texarakana, called Hot Springs, which has a fascinating real life history, frequented as it was by the likes of Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and hordes of other famous gangsters over the decades. Gambling and prostitution, although nominally illegal, carried on right out in the open, and the place was rife with crime and corruption. It’s hard to imagine now, given the picturesque and peaceful little town it’s become, but the image of the place as it was in the 1940s immediately grabbed me, and I decided it would be a great scenario to have Charlie find himself in – especially given it’s proximity to Texarkana, the last place on earth he wants to be near.

Charlie is pressured into going to Hot Springs by an acquaintance from Texarkana, but things go bad as soon as he arrives, and he’s plunged into a nightmare of murder, deception and corruption. But the deeper he digs into it all, the more links he finds to his own recent past – and he soon realises the nightmare he’s been trying to outrun might not be done with him yet…

We’ve somehow got miles off topic, but it’s been great talking books with you. I think we should leave it there so you can crack on with book 3 – I know I can’t wait to hear more from Jim Clemo. Best of luck with the launch of THE PERFECT GIRL too, it sounds enthralling and I look forward to reading it!

GM: I love the title of your new book and I’m already intrigued by the new setting, which sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it and get immersed in more of that fabulous and dark American Noir that you write so wonderfully well, and see what happens to Charlie. Very many thanks to you too.

Thank you both SO MUCH. And I can’t wait for The Perfect Girl and Black Night Falling either!

About the books:

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Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.

But what really happened that fateful afternoon?

Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?

The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?

You can Purchase Burnt Paper Sky HERE

Follow Gilly on Twitter HERE

My original review   (and an interview with Gilly)  can be found HERE.

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1946, Texarkana: a town on the border of Texas and Arkansas. Disgraced New York reporter Charlie Yates has been sent to cover the story of a spate of brutal murders – young couples who’ve been slaughtered at a local date spot. Charlie finds himself drawn into the case by the beautiful and fiery Lizzie, sister to one of the victims, Alice – the only person to have survived the attacks and seen the killer up close.

But Charlie has his own demons to fight, and as he starts to dig into the murders he discovers that the people of Texarkana have secrets that they want kept hidden at all costs. Before long, Charlie discovers that powerful forces might be protecting the killer, and as he investigates further his pursuit of the truth could cost him more than his job…

You can purchase The Dark Inside HERE

Follow Rod on Twitter HERE

My original review  (and an interview with Rod) can be found HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Cherringham. Interview with Jack and Sarah…

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The Final episode of the Cherringham cosy mystery series is being released and to celebrate that and for something a little different, today I have an interview with the two main protagonists of those great tales – Jack and Sarah. Thanks to Neil Richards and Matthew Costello for being great sports – and if you would like to know more about how the series came about and hear from the guys in their own right you can read an interview I did with them last year HERE

The stories have been great, there are details on how you can get hold of them at the end and look out for more Cherringham news coming soon!

 

So, you two are an unlikely pairing, tell us a bit about how you first met…

Sarah: It was a few years back – I think both my kids were still at primary school – and an old friend of mine from school days was found down in the river by Cherringham Bridge. I was sure she hadn’t committed suicide – so I started digging around. Out of duty really – once upon a time she and I had been very close. Jack was living on his barge the other side of the river – I walked by, asked him if he’d seen anything unusual –

Jack: I seem to remember you were pretty rude that day –

Sarah: Ha, that’s exactly how I remember you –

Jack: Anyways… I didn’t think much of it. But I thought I’d take a look-see myself – and pretty soon I realised she was onto something. The girl – poor kid – had been murdered. And soon as I realised that – and saw that Sarah was fighting the war on her own, well… I guess I just – joined the team?

Sarah: Is that how it happened? I suppose so. We didn’t plan things. We just… got on with the job, and each other…

Jack: Once you got over the rude Yank bit –

Sarah: And once you got over the fussy English girl bit – hmm?

And Jack — tell us genuinely – what did you think of Sarah as a first impression?

Jack: To be honest – which, by the way, English people do say a lot – I did think she was a little… brusque? That the polite word? At first. But I could also see she was very sharp – and tough too. Very protective of her kids. Good sense of humor.

I guess it’s only fair therefore to ask Sarah the same question….

Sarah: Oh definitely rude Yank. Patronising at first. Complained quite a lot –

Jack: Hey that’s not true –

Sarah: English roads, English cars, English beer, English coffee, English service, English shops, English oyster sauce – remember?

Jack: Hmm, well, maybe then – but I’d only been here a few months –needed to acclimatize a bit.

Sarah: I know. You’ve got over it. Sometimes I think you’ve nearly got used to living here.

Jack: I’ll certainly never stop liking living here. But that oyster cocktail sauce thing – I mean really – how hard can it be?

You are always getting caught up in murder – do you sometimes feel like you are living in Midsummer? Or perhaps that Jack might be a distant cousin of Jessica Fletchers….

Jack: Really? Hmm. Never occurred to me.

Sarah: No. Me neither. What an odd question!

After all you have been through, how would you describe your relationship now in comparison to all that time ago when Sarah’s friend died in the river?

Sarah: Best Friends?

Jack: Absolutely.

Nothing more?

Sarah: Come on. Jack’s at least a hundred years older than me.

Jack (laughs): More, I’m sure.

Sarah: What are you looking at me like that for?

Jack: Though we’re both single, I’m not in the market for relationships. And I’ve never asked Sarah if she is.

So you’re not soul mates?

Sarah: Can you be soul mates without having to bare your soul all the time? We’re very close – and we really understand each other.

Jack: And we never stop enjoying hanging out together.

Sarah: Working together. I guess – we’re like good work mates.

Which case has been your most challenging? Both individually and together?

Jack: Oh that’s a tricky one. I think any time we’ve had to make a tough call at the end about bringing in the police.

Sarah: Once or twice we’ve looked at each other and thought – does anybody benefit by putting this person in gaol? Has justice already been served?

Jack: Yep. There’s a difference sometimes between what’s right – and what’s fair.

And what does the immediate future hold?

Jack: Well, I’m going to have to take the Fifth on that. There are changes coming. But I can’t really say what they are…

Sarah: Not even to me?

Jack: Oh you’re fine – I’ll tell you. But this blog – hmm, next time maybe… Sorry! All I can say is – there’s a lot more Cherringham to come…

The final episode of Cherringham, A Death in the Family is published today by Bastei Entertainment, price £1.49 in eBook

You can purchase all the Cherringham stories HERE.

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

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Publication Date: Febuary 18th from Vintage

Source: Netgalley

A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a dark and delirious road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of Brazil’s most celebrated young crime writer.

Oh my days. Well for a start that was a one sitting read it may take me WEEKS to recover from, secondly my best advice would be not to read TOO  much about it until you read it. The small blurb in bold above is more than enough. Don’t let anything spoil it for you and I promise that there will be no spoilers in this. I’m going to talk about the reading of it much more than I am the plot of it…

A small plot soundbite – Teo falls in love and when his love is not returned in a way he deems appropriate he just simply takes matters into his own hands. She is the girl of his dreams and for Teo that is everything.

This book is super creepy in that very disturbing way that is spot on pitch perfect. It relies on the narrative of one character – Teo – and puts you firmly inside his very twisted and yet horrifically logical head. If ever there was a masterclass in how to construct a perfect psychological thriller you are looking at it right here. Not since Graeme Cameron’s “Normal” have I experienced such a mix of emotional highs and lows as I did whilst I was reading “Perfect Days”.

It is intensely addictive from first page to last and the tension never lets up and yet it also kind of gently rolls along in places. There are times you forget the terror and get caught out in the sunshine, and even have a laugh – then BANG back you are in that dark place again.

I was on the edge of yelling out and scaring the neighbourhood cats at several points in the storyline and there was one moment ONE MOMENT that I read with my mouth open screaming “NO NO NO” silently in my head. Somewhere deep down inside I’m going to be screaming NO at that moment for a very long time. It will haunt my dreams.

Perfect Days also manages a rare, unexpected and absolutely “perfect” ending – this is a journey that that will chew you up and spit you out the other side wondering what the heck just happened and have you looking around in a daze wondering where the world went. Seriously I’m considering never leaving the house again.

I’m a huge fan of this type of writing, where the boundaries are pushed a bit and some different paths are taken. This may be Raphael Montes first book that has been translated into English, I can only hope that our UK Publisher has signed up for everything he writes ever. Perfect Days was a reading experience.  And that cover – it is beautiful, and spot on – it draws you into the novel but once you have read it you’ll look at it in an ENTIRELY different way. Trust me on that one….

Highly Recommended. But be prepared…

You can follow the author on Twitter here.

And Pre-Order “Perfect Days” by Clickety Clicking right HERE

Don’t be scared- no really.

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Indie Author Spotlight: Claire Morley Tindog Tacloban

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Another Indie Author in the Spotlight  – and still a fair few more to come as time goes on – today it is Claire Morley and Tindog Tacloban

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Claire Morley’s first foray into fiction writing came through her time spent volunteering in the Philippines following the deadly typhoon, Yolanda. Inspired by her experiences and the people she met she wanted to create awareness of the longer-lasting affects of a natural disaster and to encourage people to join the fight against human trafficking, through a fictional story.
Prior to Tindog Tacloban, Claire was a journalist in her adopted country of North Cyprus, where she has lived for 13 years. Previously living in England and Scotland, Claire’s background is marketing. She now works as a wedding planner

I asked Claire who her book might appeal to –

This is quite a tricky question to answer. Tindog Tacloban focuses on some difficult subjects and it’s not of a typical genre, I guess you might ‘label’ it contemporary fiction with suspense thrown in, if pushed. Highlighting child trafficking and the affects of a natural disaster on a family, it may not at first seem like a book to reach for. However, it creates awareness of with some very real issues in a sensitive manner around a story which grips the reader and pulls them in. It is meant to make the reader think and possibly act on the subjects raised. I hope it will appeal to a cross-section of people. One of the reviews I have received on it has said:

If I am being totally honest,  I probably wouldn’t have picked Tindog Tacloban up as it is not my normal choice of read but I am so glad I did. It was an amazing read and I couldn’t wait to get to the end to see what happened. I will be recommending it all to my fellow book lovers out there. I honestly do not think a book has ever made me feel the ways yours did. Huge well done on a fantastic book and I hope you put pen to paper again soon.

 

About the Book:

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In the aftermath of the fiercest typhoon on record to hit land, banners bearing the words Tindog Tacloban started to appear all over the city. Meaning Rise Up Tacloban, they were a testament to the determination and resilience of the Filipino people as they tried to rebuild their shattered lives.
For many, things would never be the same:
Izel Sombilon watched in horror as two of his children were ripped from his arms and swept away by the huge storm waves
Eleven year old Lika Faye was plunged into the sordid underworld of Webcam Child Sex Tourism.
For Helen Gable volunteering in the typhoon ravaged area was a chance for her to come to terms with her own personal tragedy.

You can purchase by clickety clicking here

And follow Claire on Twitter here

Happy Reading Folks!

 

2016 Spotlight: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard.

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Publication Date: Feb 11th 2016 from Orion.

Source: Netgalley

Mare’s blood is red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

And BOOM Victoria Aveyard does it again.

**mutters**

LOVED this. I was a huge fan of Red Queen the first in this series, and like Red Queen I suspect you will either love this with a fiery passion or not really be on board for the ride. There didn’t seem to be much inbetween back then but for me this was a pitch perfect part two. I’ve just turned the final pages, my heart is racing and I want to throw darts at the author because GODARNIT I’ve got to wait a year at least now. Really. There should be a law or something.

In Glass Sword Mare starts building her army – having been betrayed at the most basic level she trusts nobody at all – least of all herself. The mythology deepens, the character arcs expand, we find new friends and old and jeez can Ms Aveyard write a villain and a half. In trying very hard not to spoil Red Queen for those of you who might have missed it and want to start at the beginning I shall name no names…

This bangs along at a rate and a half – you have action and adventure (and some moments where you are gritting your teeth and praying to a God you might not believe in) a touch of romance which is so ingrained into the narrative that it is not in any way annoying (a trait that some YA Dystopia can suffer from) and in Mare you have a creative, infuriating, flawed and fascinating anti heroine who you will adore and detest in equal measure at certain points as events unfold. The Lightning Girl is feisty indeed.

All the characters are great, and the relationships that Victoria Aveyard builds and breaks between them will have you feeling all the emotions, there is a great mix of action and contemplation that works so terrifically well. As for that ending. OH THAT ENDING. **mutters a bit more**

Did I say I loved it? I LOVED it. Emma Kavanagh this one is for you. (I’m sorry)

Find out more here:

Follow the author on Twitter here

To Pre-Order Glass Sword clickety click here

Also Available: Read First.

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This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart …

To Purchase Red Queen click here:

Happy Reading Folks!

The Testament of Vida Tremayne – Sarah Vincent

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Publication Date: Available Now

Source: Author Review Copy.

A lonely novelist, A devoted fan, A journal that speaks of unspeakable things… Author Vida Tremayne lies silent in a hospital bed. The forces which brought about her terrifying decline are shrouded in mystery. Meanwhile, her estranged daughter Dory is forced to abandon her fast paced city life to be by her mother’s bedside. Dory is resentful. She hates the country and she and her mother were never exactly close. Luckily Vida already has a carer, the enigmatic Rhiannon Townsend. A long-standing fan of Vida’s, Rhiannon is happy to take care of the bedside vigil. Dory is free to resume her life. Or is she? Then she discovers her mother’s journal. Vida’s chilling testament reveals the trigger for her spiralling into madness. It also reveals the danger that still lurks close by. A danger that will call on Dory’s every reserve of courage if she’s to free her mother, and maybe in doing so, to free herself.

This is a great book – it is one of those I read off the back of many conversations with the author on Twitter and it has to be said I’ve had some great reads that would not otherwise have been on my radar without that particular social media black hole and I’m glad I did not miss out on this one.

Vida is suffering a mystery illness  and reluctantly her daughter returns to sit vigil – however there is more going on all round than meets the eye and Dory finds herself on a dark path..

This is a compelling, beautifully written story that may defy expectation – the author has a way of sucking you in with really quite gentle prose that is still unsettling and atmospheric. As Dory arrives at a place she does not want to be and finds somebody there who might help make it easier, from the start you are aware that there is something lurking just beneath the surface..it is a cleverly woven web indeed.

It is really quite gripping – I’m loathe to give anything away as most things I could say might necessarily spoil the reasons that this novel is so very good – but one thing I can say quite easily is it is one of those character driven psychological thrillers with a hint of something “other” that might well have you looking nervously over your shoulder.

The themes of dysfunctional family and mental illness are running through the narrative, the descriptive prose when it comes to setting is really very excellent. It is at turns surprising and creepy, with a touch of humour thrown in for good measure upon occasion.

If you are looking for something a little different to offset all the grip lit (yes I’m using that term now since I saw it the other day, I mean why not?) this is one I would definitely recommend. The Testament of Vida Tremayne is very much its own thing, a little gem that waits to be discovered.

You can find out more here:

Follow the author on Twitter here:

To purchase The Testament of Vida Tremayne clickety click here.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

What She Left by T R Richmond. Out now in the US.

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This post today especially for readers in the US to give you a heads up that the brilliant “What She Left” by T R Richmond is now available there. One for fans of character driven psychological thrillers.

Publication Date 12th January from Simon and Shuster.

Original source: UK Review Copy

On a snowy February morning, the body of twenty-five-year-old journalist Alice Salmon washes up on a riverbank south of London. The sudden, shocking death of this beloved local girl becomes a media sensation, and those who knew her struggle to understand what happened to lively, smart, and savvy Alice Salmon. Was it suicide? A tragic accident? Or…murder?

Professor Jeremy Cooke, known around campus as Old Cookie, is an anthropologist nearing the end of his unremarkable academic career. Alice is his former student, and the object of his unhealthy obsession. After her death, he embarks on a final project—a book documenting Alice’s life through the digital and paper trails that survive her: her diaries, letters, Facebook posts, Tweets, and text messages. He collects news articles by and about her; he transcribes old voicemails; he interviews her friends, family, and boyfriends.

Bit by bit, the real Alice—a complicated and vulnerable young woman—springs fully formed from the pages of Cookie’s book…along with a labyrinth of misunderstandings, lies, and secrets that cast suspicion on everyone in her circle—including Jeremy himself.

An absolutely brilliantly constructed story, compelling and actually really quite scary when you can see, all in one go, how much of our lives are just out there in the ether for people to see. The little things and the big, the people who know you and who do not but will speak as if they do, even the smallest of details that you would not think twice about. When Alice Salmon dies, Jeremy Cook starts putting together her life and death through a series of interviews, online information and personal knowledge. Shocking and insightful this is a book you will NOT want to miss!

There is some wonderful writing, wrapped up in an almost matter of fact documentary style story, with surprises and emotional upset along the way,, exploring some extremely intriguing themes beyond that of the digital footprint and I was entirely wrapped up in the story of Alice from start to finish. A truly great read.

Very Highly Recommended.

You can follow the author on Twitter here

And to purchase What She Left clickety click here

Happy Reading!

For the Most Beautiful Blog Tour – Emily Hauser – “Why we Write”

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Very happy to take part in this blog tour today for a beautiful looking (and sounding) book, for my stop I asked if the author would contribute to my ongoing “Why We Write” feature. She has written me a lovely piece and I hope you enjoy it.

Why We Write – Emily Hauser

One of the main reasons why I write is a very specific one: to get people excited about the classical world. I’m passionate about the ancient Greek and Roman past – I’m a scholar and researcher of Classics and have been studying it for over fifteen years – and I love using my expertise on the people and places of antiquity to bring them alive to modern readers. For me, fiction is one of the greatest tools available to us for bringing the myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome alive, and so to connect to the real, living people of the past. Fiction allows us to re-imagine and rebuild the ruined walls of Troy, but most of all, to put the people back into it – to imagine their hopes and fears, their dreams, the people they loved, the journeys they made. That, for me, is the peculiar magic of writing about the past: it is possible through fiction both to bring history alive, and, at the same time, to remind us that we are not, in the end, that different from people who lived thousands of years ago.

Which brings me to the second reason I write: to put women back into the picture of history. So often – and I could name any period, from ancient Greece to medieval France to revolutionary America – women have been lost from the historical record: both because they were not deemed worthy of mention, and because they themselves, often kept illiterate and uneducated, were unable to write, and so to record their thoughts and experiences. As a researcher into the lives of women in ancient Greece and Rome, I want to bring the female experience to the fore. I want to show that historical women’s experiences and women’s lives are just as important as those of the men whose stories have come down to us. In the case of For the Most Beautiful, that meant recovering the tales of two captive women during the Trojan War – Briseis, princess of Pedasus, and Krisayis, daughter of the Trojan High Priest – and telling their side of the story, with all its passion and destructiveness, revenge, love, and betrayal; stories just as powerful and worth telling as that of the rage of Achilles. One of the most rewarding things about this endeavour has been discovering just how vibrant and rich these women’s stories are, and how much there is to tell when you see the world through their eyes.

And finally, which I think might be one of the most common reasons for writing (but no less important for it) – I write simply to give readers that joy of picking up a book and losing themselves in another world, which I myself love to do. To provide another story, another time, through which to think about the things that most concern us: whether they’re love or war, grief, friendship, or death. It’s my belief that stories – and what else are myths and legends but stories? – are one of the most powerful road-maps towards understanding ourselves.

And if that’s not a good reason to write, I don’t know what is.

Thank you Emily!

About the Book:

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Three thousand years ago a war took place that gave birth to legends – to Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. It was a war that shook the very foundations of the world. But what if there was more to this epic conflict? What if there was another, hidden tale of the Trojan War?

Now is the time for the women of Troy to tell their story.

Thrillingly imagined and startlingly original, For the Most Beautiful reveals the true story of true for the first time. The story of Krisayis, daughter of the Trojans’ High Priest, and of Briseis, princess of Pedasus, who fight to determine the fate of a city and its people in this ancient time of mischievous gods and mythic heroes.

In this novel full of passion and revenge, loyalty and betrayal, bravery and sacrifice, Emily Hauser breathes exhilarating new life into one of the greatest legends of all – in a tale that has waited millennia to be told.

You can find out more about Emily  HERE

To Purchase “For the Most Beautiful” click HERE

More information and reviews if you follow the tour:

blog tour poster

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

Elizabeth Haynes – Behind Closed Doors blog tour.

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REALLY happy to join the blog tour for Elizabeth Haynes and Behind Closed Doors – I’m a huge fan (she has her very own page here on the blog so take a look HERE for her other great novels) so I’m more than pleased to share an extract from the novel, plus my original review and offer you the chance to get your very own copy (1 copy available – Open to UK and Ireland only) by doing the usual. Tweet me @Lizzy11268 or comment on this post about why you would like to read it.

 

About the book:

Ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished without a trace during a family holiday to Greece. Not being able to find Scarlett was one of the biggest regrets of DCI Louisa Smith’s career and when Scarlett is discovered back in her home town after all this time, Lou is determined to find out what happened to her and why she remained hidden for so long. Was she abducted or did she run away?
As Lou and her team delve deeper into Scarlett’s past, their investigation throws up more questions than it answers. But as they edge closer to the truth about what really went on behind closed doors, it is more sinister and disturbing than they had ever imagined.

Extract:

SCARLETT – Rhodes, Saturday 23 August 2003, 04:44

To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror.

Darkness, and stifling heat, so hot that breathing felt like effort, sweat pouring off her so her skin itself became liquid and she thought she would simply melt into a hot puddle of nothing. She tried crying out, screaming, but she could barely hear her own voice above the roar of the engine, the sound of the wheels moving at speed on tarmac. All that did was give her a sore throat. Nobody could hear her.

She tried listening instead, eyes wide with nothing to see. She could hear voices sporadically from somewhere else in the vehicle – two different men – but she didn’t recognise them, nor could she understand what they were saying. She assumed they were speaking in Greek, but the harsh rasp of the words sounded different from the voices she’d heard over the past week at the resort. Lots of ‘th’ sounds, rolled ‘r’s, words ending in ‘a’ and ‘eh’.

Fear came in cycles. The first endless panicky minutes had been very bad: trawling through vague memories of the past few days, trying to identify the mistake she’d made, because this had to be her fault – this can’t be real, I’m dreaming – then the shock realisation that this wasn’t a nightmare, it was really happening. The worst moment of all.

It had been so quick.

She had arrived a bit early at the place where they’d agreed to meet, and she’d been preparing to wait – he’d said he finished work at two – and a van had pulled up beside her. She hadn’t been worried. There were still people around, drunk tourists staggering back up the road towards their hotels. The side door of the van had slid open, and a man got out. He was talking to her, friendly, a smile that showed his teeth. His accent was so strong she couldn’t really tell what he was saying.

‘No, no,’ she’d said. ‘English. I don’t understand.’

But he’d kept yammering on, standing too close to her. She had begun to feel unnerved by it, and something had made her glance to the right, to the gate which led to the Aktira Studios, and in that split second when she’d seen someone she recognised, made eye contact, she had felt something like relief – and then the man had pushed her, a hard shove that sent her sprawling into the back of the van. He’d climbed in after her, slammed the door shut and the van started moving. The man had held her down, put his hand over her mouth, pressing her head into the metal floor so hard that she’d thought her skull was going to burst.

Seconds. The whole thing had taken seconds.

Now, hours since those terrifying first moments, she had reached a plateau brought on by the monotony of driving, the panic overridden by the pain in her arms and legs and the discomfort of being tied hand and foot and having to lie still on the floor of the van. They’d stopped once, very early on, before she’d had time to get over the shock or formulate any plan of escape; by that time the man in the back with her had already tied her up. He got out, leaving her alone, and the van door shut – and they were moving again.

The noise of the engine was unbearably loud; the van would bump and jolt as it went over potholes. Her head ached as a result, sometimes so badly it made her cry. The fear made her cry. Crying made her headache worse, and then it all became pointless, so she would stop for a while and try to sleep in snatches, because sleeping, at least, gave her a brief respite.

And she would dream of him, remember, and wake with tears on her cheeks, thinking, This wasn’t supposed to happen. Then the shock and the fear would kick in, and the whole cycle would begin again.

My Review:

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So the second book in the “Louisa Smith” series and with this one, the character and the series comes into its own. The introduction (Under a Silent Moon) was a clever take on the Police Procedural, intelligently  done and highly absorbing. With “Behind Closed Doors” Ms Haynes as taken it to the next level – a darker tale for sure, some emotional themes exploring a side of humanity we rather wish didnt exist, with another cast of superbly creative characters that keep you turning the pages.

When Scarlett went missing, Louisa was part of the team and the fact that she was never found has haunted her. Now however, Scarlett has turned up – what happened to her and why forms the main part of the novel and it is fascinating, disturbing and highly addictive stuff.

On top of that we learn more about Louisa and what makes her tick – leading on nicely from what we knew of her in “Moon”  – she has a beautifully drawn emotive edge to her, her relationships and friendships are all intriguing and full of great depth so you really get a feel for her and her reactions to events around her.

It is difficult reading at times, covering as it does human trafficking and abuse, but it is highly authentic and absolutely believable – Elizabeth Haynes manages to keep a realistic slant to the tale even as she throws in some elegant little twists and turns to keep you on your toes. Scarlett is a captivating and thought provoking character, even now I’ve finished the story I’m still not sure what I think of her and some of the decisions she made. For a story to give you pause for thought and at the same time entertain you thoroughly this is spot on.

Overall then a gorgeously written slightly different slant for the Crime Fiction genre, a mix up of very interesting police procedural and character driven drama that comes highly recommended from me.

Find out more HERE

Follow the author on Twitter HERE

To purchase Behind Closed Doors clickety click HERE

Some of my fellow bloggers will be telling you more on the tour, here is a selection of lovely sites for you to visit.

www.metlinereader.wordpress.com

https://thebookreviewcafe.wordpress.com/

http://bytheletterbookreviews.com/

 

Happy Reading Folks!