Liz Currently Loves…….I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.

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The buzz in the book world was huge about this one – so I have to say I did approach it with some trepidation. Occasionally books that receive a lot of hype can be disappointing but that is absolutely not the case here. For me personally it more than lived up to the hype  – in fact I would say its probably one of the best books I have ever read for sheer scope and scale – and also simply as one of those books you cannot put down no matter how hard you try! A review will follow shortly but first, lets find out a bit more about the author and the journey….

Terry Hayes 1 (c) Kristen Hayes

Terry trained as a journalist working on broadsheet newspapers and producing a national current affairs radio programme in Australia before turning to screenwriting.

With George Miller, he wrote the screenplay for Road Warrior/Mad Max 2 (which I loved!) He co-produced and wrote Dead Calm, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and a large number of TV movies and mini-series – including Bodyline and Bangkok Hilton – two of which received international Emmy nominations. A personal note, Bangkok Hilton is an amazing mini series about drug smuggling abroad and the consequences of being caught with drugs in certain countries. I would highly recommend watching this if you have not done so already! It still stands up today for me as one of the best series I have watched.

He has won over twenty film or television awards. Further credits include Payback with Mel Gibson, From Hell, starring Johnny Depp, and Vertical Limit with Chris O’Donnell. He has also done un-credited writing on a host of other movies including Reign of Fire, Cliffhanger and Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster.

Its hardly surprising considering the sheer depth of experience then that Mr Hayes has written a masterful thriller…..

 

Synopsis

 

Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation.
But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. And it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where the body of a woman is found facedown in a bath of acid, her features erased, her teeth missing, her fingerprints gone. It is a textbook murder – and Pilgrim wrote the book.
What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race-against-time to save America from oblivion. Pilgrim will have to make a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to a deserted ruins on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his God.

 

Review

In some ways this may end up being a fairly simplistic review in comparison to others I have read about this wonderful novel. However for me, this book was very much about the journey I found within its pages – hooked from the very first paragraph I barely looked out on the world again until I was done. For me, as a book lover, blogger and a person who just wants to send your way the very best stories I find out there, this says more than any in depth critique of “I am Pilgrim” could achieve. I do have more to say of course – but that is the long and the short of it fellow readers.

Firstly, what struck me when I received my copy was the sheer size of the book. That excited me – nowadays its rare to find a book that can hold your attention over so many pages – authors don’t tend to write them. Now of course, there is nothing wrong with a book of any size as long as you ENJOY it but I have always been a lover of stories that perhaps give you that little bit more. Its difficult to achieve but Terry Hayes has done so. There is a reason why “The Stand” by Stephen King is still my number 1 book of all time – it, like Pilgrim, is an absorbing, exciting, heart stopping tale with heart that doesnt end in a flash but gives you greater insight and a longer period of time over which to enjoy it. If you, like me, appreciate that sort of thing then this book is definitely for you.

Following “Pilgrim” on his journey was without doubt one of my favourite reading experiences ever. The sheer scale of the story will astound you – as you learn about his background, the things he achieved or perhaps didnt, you will be enthralled and totally caught up in the moment. I have seen reviewers say that it was obviously written with an eye to a blockbuster movie – well I can see their point, especially given the author’s background – but actually I disagree. Its all about the story….written in a way that will keep you READING – it wasnt until I was done with it that I cast it in my head (yes, yes I do that with everything!) during the actual time spent within its pages, a movie was the last thing on my mind. Starting off as a murder mystery it turns into something else altogether – a chase across continents to stop an atrocity and to catch an evil man. Part crime mystery, mostly enthralling spy thriller with an opponent the like of which you may think y0u’ve seen before but havent – its heart stoppingly good. Not since Nelson De Mille’s “The Lion” who appeared in some of the John Corey books will you find a “terrorist” as intriguing as this one. And just as intriguing is the man trying to catch him…a man I still don’t truly know.

Its clever. Its exciting. It is never dull and always unexpected. It has more than one story – you will get an awful lot for your money here. Apart from that I say nothing. If you want an in depth plot analysis you will need to look elsewhere – it won’t be hard, this book has touched many – I will end by saying that this is a must read for anyone who simply loves books. And reading. And finding those stories that will always stay with you and you will read again. Will it knock any of my “top ten reads of all time” down a space on my list? Well you’ll have to wait and see. My Top Ten Books is a blogpost that will appear later in the year!

 

Transworld books brought us this story  – you can follow them on Twitter here. https://twitter.com/TransworldBooks

If you would like to grab yourself a copy of I Am Pilgrim clickety click here. http://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Am-Pilgrim-Terry-Hayes/dp/0593064941/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1375955820&sr=1-1

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

Precious Thing by Colette Mcbeth. Loved it. You will as well.

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A little while ago I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of “Precious Thing” – when I wrote my “Twisty Tales” article (link can be found under “Articles”) I mentioned this one briefly and promised to return to it. So here we are. Precious Thing is a terrific page turner, an engrossing read and a clever little tale.

Colette Mcbeth herself kindly offered to answer a few questions for me and here is what she had to say.

 

Did you know the outcome from the start or did it evolve as Rachel told her story?

I always knew part of the ending which was supposed to be the final twist but then as I was writing the second draft I began thinking it was all a bit too neat. That’s when I came up with the final outcome.

 

Was it always going to be written through Rachel’s eyes or did you consider at any point giving Clara her own say?

It’s key to the story that we see everything from Rachel’s perspective. I did toy with giving Clara a few chapters but nothing more than that. I’m glad I didn’t.

 

Do you have a favourite “peripheral” character from the book?

Robbie the news editor! I should say I have never had a news editor like that, but you do hear stories. He’d have been a nightmare to work for.

 

Was Precious Thing a lot of fun to write?

The first draft was hard work, it’s definitely not my favourite part of the process. The second and third drafts were where it came to life, you get those moments when you can see it all slotting in to place, or you find yourself doing something mundane like cooking dinner, hanging out the washing and another twist pops up in your head. That is great fun. There’s hardly any violence in Precious Thing but certain scenes were quite emotionally draining to write. You live in the character’s head and in some chapters that was a disturbing place to be.

 

Have you cast the film in your head? As a reader I always do that – I wondered if writers suffer from that as well

Of course! You’re always trying to visualise your characters so fantasy casting can be a great help. I’d love Andrea Riseborough to play Rachel, I think she’d be brilliant, and we both grew up in the same street in Whitley Bay, directly opposite each other in fact.

 

Can you tell us anything about your next project?

It’s the story of two women who were both attacked by the same man years apart. Melody survived but feels dead inside, Eve was killed. When her body is found police connect the cases and Melody embarks on a mission to get to know the dead woman. But the more she finds out about her ‘friend’ the more she realises Eve is the only person who can teach her how to live again.

 

Thank you so much Colette. I shall very much look forward to the next book.

 

Review

 

First of all a huge thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Rachel and Clara meet at school and form an unshakeable bond. Best friends, they know everything there is to know about each other…or do they? Years later Rachel is a successful tv reporter with a loving boyfriend and a great life, while Clara has not had such a happy time of it. When Clara goes missing Rachel begins to question everything she thought she knew about her best friend…..

I loved this very much. The story is told by Rachel in the form of a letter, or diary if you like, to Clara and has a taut, expressive narrative that is not only terrifically compelling but is also quite dark in its tone – as Rachel hovers between obsessive worry about where Clara might be and slow forming terror as she comes to realise the horrific possibilities, you are drawn right into that place and time with her. Slowly revealing the course of their friendship from the day Rachel sat down next to Clara in the classroom and leading us up to present day you will never be quite sure what the outcome might be.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I DO love a clever book. This was clever and then some. Sadly I can’t say very much because its difficult to tell you WHY it was so clever without giving anything away – And I am certainly not going to do that so you will just have to trust me fellow readers, it IS extremely clever. Intelligently written, almost poetic prose in places which changes depending on Rachel’s mood – I love the slight bitchiness that sometimes enters her “voice” – if you love a good twisty tale that you really can get your teeth into then this one is certainly for you.

Brilliantly done from Ms Mcbeth I can’t wait to find out what she has in store for us in the future.

You can follow Colette McBeth on Twitter here https://twitter.com/colettemcbeth

If you would like to read the book clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Precious-Thing-ebook/dp/B00C74SKSG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375864783&sr=1-1&keywords=precious+thing

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

Yes Yes Liz STILL currently Loves…The Humans by Matt Haig

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So a few weeks have passed and I wanted to return for a moment to “The Humans” by Matt Haig. Anyone who has followed my story and its links to this wonderful novel may be interested to hear an update – and it gives me an excuse to talk once again about the wonderful story and offer anyone who hasnt yet read it another chance to read my review.  Also to hear from some of the other people (some close to me) who have read it and their thoughts.

So things are much improved in my life – and that improvement started with that one long night, when I was at my lowest and I picked up “The Humans” with the thought that it might be a fun, light hearted read that could pull me out of the darker feelings I was having. It ended up doing so much more than that – I have said previously that this book saved my life and it did. As “Andrew” went on his journey and discovered the worthwhile side of humanity, so did I. Depression is difficult to conquer but you can wrestle it under control. With help and love and understanding from those around you, those demons can be banished. Something I’ve been learning and its been a life affirming journey. This book was and is a huge part of that. And hell, its ENTERTAINING. Highly so.  If you havent read it then please do…whether it looks like your “type” of book or not. It won’t disappoint you. I can promise you that hand on heart.

Mr Haig has been having a bit of a nasty time of it of late. On Twitter and in various places he’s suffered some rather nasty asides…because he speaks up about the issues surrounding Depression. He’s not afraid to say it how it is or to point out how debilitating it can be…and occasionally fatal. He talks about his own experiences in an effort to help others. And trust me thats not easy – since I started this understanding of mine of what I suffer and how it affects me and those around me I have also tried to be fairly honest and open about whats what. Heck I find it hard and I’m just Liz sat around doing some book reviewing (And I love being a reviewer because I LOVE books!)  – I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for someone with an increasingly large public profile. So I’m going to take this opportunity to say Thank You. And please don’t stop. Its important. To people like me.

So here are a few things that a few people had to say about The Humans. I’m going to start with my lovely daughter Melissa who says it better than I could say. My heart and soul. The girl who was teaching in China and when she realised I was in trouble was on the first plane home without a thought and hasnt left me since. Following her a few others. To finish a good friend on Twitter – Karen. Her story may break your heart….

 

Melissa Lovely Daughter. Human.   https://twitter.com/melissabarnsley

For me and my Family “The Humans” has been much more than just a book. It has been a guide, a manual of sorts, to lead us through some difficult times and direct us over to the other side. The fine balance between comedy, misery and childlike wonder achieved within its pages is a style I have rarely come across (I would liken the narration to that of “The Curious Incident of The dog in the Nightime although of course here we are talking aliens not autism , both offer a fresh perspective on reality). When reading you will find yourself battling inner turmoil, coming to care for the protagonist as you watch him learn the beauty of Human error and perhaps discovering this beauty for yourself.  Matt Haig has written more than words – he has given us a piece of himself, something that very few authors manage and many choose not to do, but something that makes us readers eternally grateful. So thanks Matt: thank you for sharing this part of yourself and rest assured that it will reach the minds of many.

 

Karl Herring. Great Friend. Human.   https://twitter.com/shads616

The Humans was an insightful and thought provoking perspective on human behaviour. I found the main characters journey to be truthful and relatable. It was a breath of fresh air to read someones honest thoughts on how humans treat each other and what we truly find to be important in a world where we destroy so much of what we are told is worth while. it was a book that I fell in love with and that will stay with me for a very, very long time.

 

Georgina Gilmer. Better known to us as “Aunty Gorg”  – Harry couldnt manage “George” when he was little! Great Friend. Human.

 

When Liz reccomended The Humans to me I was more than happy to give it a go; I have always been an avid reader with a wide taste in genre. Boy was I not disappointed! The story was so refreshing, and believable, I found myself hooked and even whilst at work I would find myself looking forward to my break and finding out what the main character would do next. I loved how the book addressed issues such as relationships within familes and problems in our society, dealing with very raw, very human feelings but still having that “sci-fi, fantasy” feel; keeping the story light but relatable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and take my hat off to Matt Haig. Would recommend it to everyone, and infact already do!

 

Twitter friend. Blogger. Bookshelf Butterfly. Human. https://twitter.com/booksbutterfly

I really enjoyed The Humans because the story was so honest and meaningful. The lead character was so endearing and his journey is utterly heartwarming. But other than that the story was also very clever, funny and original. All these things together, for me, made this an unforgettable read.

 

Karen. Twitter Friend. Great reader. Human. https://twitter.com/karlou

Last August my brother committed suicide. In the dark days and weeks immediately after his death I read almost incessantly. I couldn’t sleep because when I closed my eyes all I could see was his body (I had to go to the mortuary with my father to formally identify his body). I read so I could bear the raw grief ripping at my heart. I believe that it’s thanks to books I survived those days, I’m not sure how I’d have coped without books giving me a respite from my at times overwhelming reality. The Humans wasn’t published then but I wish it had been. With my grief not being a linear process there are days when I am hit again with an almost unbearable sadness. I know that on those days I will turn once more to The Humans for within its pages I am reminded that pain is necessary to appreciate the best life has to offer and to quote from the book ” to keep the sun above me”. I don’t ever feel suicidal but there are times when I question what it means to live, reading The Humans reminds me.
Thank you everyone. A heartfelt thanks.

 

Me. Liz. Blogger. Kind of Human. My original review.

So we come to “The Humans”. Anyone who has read my blogpost “How a book speaks to you”  will know that this book is now a very big part of my life. One I will read again. One I will use to get me through the tough stuff. And isnt that amazing? And it could work for you…but lets leave that behind us for now and talk about the book as a book. As entertainment, as fiction as an amazing read and one that will absorb you entirely into its pages. Because it will. This story will amaze you. It will touch your soul no matter where you are in life. It will, I promise. Maths Professor Andrew Martin makes a miraculous breakthrough. But someone is watching…someone who thinks that we are not ready for such things. And they decide to put a stop to it. However as in life, these things don’t ALWAY’S turn out how you have planned them. “Andrew”, instead of carrying out the things he is supposed to be doing, ends up entangled into life. With humans. And their foibles. And despite his efforts to continue on his mission these pesky human people with their quirks and their feelings and their stuff just keep getting in the way…and so begins a journey of discovery. An awesome, wonderous journey of discovery. And peanut butter. Well, who DOESNT love peanut butter? Oh and don’t forget Newton the Dog. Very important stuff don’t you know! Witty and insightful and brilliantly written in a way that makes it easy to love, Matt Haig has given the world something. He has certainly given people like me something miraculous – my faith in the human race is somewhat restored. And if you know me in real life you understand what a gift that is. Still, even just as a random book you pick up because you fancy it suddenly, its pretty darn good. So read it. Not everyone will love it – we are all different – but don’t hesitate to give it a go because if you don’t I promise you – you are missing something,well, super cool. And we all need a bit of that in our lives. And I give you this. Or rather Matt Haig does. Your life will have 25,000 days in it. Make sure you remember some of them.

 

Follow Matt Haig on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/matthaig1

If you have not yet read the Humans and would like to clickety click here. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Humans-Matt-Haig/dp/0857868756/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374844776&sr=1-1&keywords=matt+haig

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 


												

Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin. LOVE those Texas Women!

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So today its all about “Lie Still” a wonderful mystery thriller that is now available for all you lovely readers to enjoy. Characters are key here – you too will love them I promise. Julia Heaberlin kindly took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me….lets see what she had to say.

 

I have to say I loved those Texas women – which one was your favourite?

Letty, Letty, Letty. She just makes me laugh. I have this policy about people: As long as they make life more entertaining, I can forgive a lot, and Letty falls into that camp. You gotta love a 300-pound ex-pageant queen on a hot dog and banana diet who carries an assault rifle in the trunk of her car. I realize she is almost a cartoon. Almost.

 

Did you always know the ultimate resolution or did the story evolve as you wrote?

I usually don’t know the end; I start a book with a simple idea and let the characters take me on a twisty road. I like to weave many threads and then pull them together in the final pages. One of my primary goals is for readers not to know where it’s going, and it helps if I don’t, either!

 

Emily hides a violent secret – was it a difficult subject to tackle as sensitively as you did?

Yes and no. I never expected when I sat down to write that a date rape would be at the heart of my protagonist, but page after page, she told me it was. It didn’t define her, but it colored the way she viewed our sometimes dangerous world. And once I was on board, I really wanted to write something that I think is rarer in this male-dominated thriller world: a female protagonist who is a victim of a crime, the hero of the story and the primary voice. In books, you don’t usually hear from female crime victims years after the fact; the crime is often a prop to get the story started.  I wanted Emily to be talking for all the many tough women out there who have emotional scars from an experience like this and move on.

 

Do you prefer e-book reading or reading a physical book?

Yikes, you should see my bedroom. Every surface covered with books to read. My bookshelves are overflowing with ones I can’t part with. For me, it will always be the physical book. I have an immediate dislike for any house where I walk in and can’t immediately see books. It’s like a museum with blank walls.

 

Favourite thing to do when not writing?

Watching my son pitch for the last 15 years. We experienced so many of the same things when it comes to our two passions (pitching and writing). In both, there is so much rejection and failure and then moments of bliss that make up for it. Being there for his moments of bliss on and off the field far outweigh anything else in my life.

 

Thank you Julia!

Find out more about Julia here: http://juliaheaberlin.com/

Follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/juliathrillers

 

Review

 

First of all thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy of this novel via netgalley.

Emily is desperately trying to leave a violent past behind her and escape a stalker who has haunted her for years. Pregnant with her first child she and her Husband move to Clairmont, Texas. Hoping for a new start Emily finds herself thrust into the heart of a group of Texas women, all of whom have secrets – run by their “Queen” Caroline Warwick, who may also be hiding secrets of her own. When Caroline disappears Emily finds herself having to unravel the threads of her past, as well as her present in order to save herself.

I loved the way this novel was written. It was kind of messy like Emily herself but in a very good way….as she unravels things YOU unravel things and the story has many twists and turns along the way. Cleverly released information in small doses makes you turn the pages all the faster to find out who is hiding what and why – and the characters are not always what they appear to be. Emily herself reveals her own secrets along the way – she hides from herself as much as from anyone and this makes her a very well drawn character. The Texas women are all intriguing – hey and annoying in equal measure – their “voices” will speak to you, I could almost hear them as I read. And the final resolution will not disappoint…

This novel also tackles some serious subjects head on and in a realistic and I think quite important way..the second book I have come across recently that does so. This gives it an edge over a standard mystery thriller and for that reason as well as the fact that its a great story  I would highly recommend it.

 

To Purchase Lie Still clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lie-Still-ebook/dp/B00CR6MNFU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375686289&sr=1-1&keywords=lie+still+julia+heaberlin

 

Also Available:

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Synopsis

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?

That’s the question torturing child psychologist Tommie McCloud after she opens a stranger’s letter only days after burying her father. The woman claims that Tommie is her child, kidnapped thirty-two years ago. Suddenly, a deeply rooted Texas girl finds herself linked to a horrific past: the slaughter of a family in Chicago, the murder of an Oklahoma beauty queen and the kidnapping of a little girl named Adriana. With everything she has ever believed in question and a stalker determined to stop her, Tommie must discover the truth about her family’s secrets and the girl who vanished.

To purchase clickety click here : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Playing-Dead-Julia-Heaberlin/dp/0571287689/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Coming Next Week to Liz Loves Books.

Well folks, here we are at another weekend and last week was such fun! My grateful thanks to Chris Ewan, Mark Edwards and Louise Voss for taking the time to answer some questions for me, and my article on all things twisty was extremely popular. Hurray!

So what do I have for you next week? Well…lets see….

 

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On Monday it will all be about the amazing book Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin. Available now, I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this one and boy, its a corker. I LOVED those Texas women! Julia kindly took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me so you can hear from her, along with a review and various linky links on Monday.

 

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On Tuesday I will be revisiting that wonderful novel The Humans from Matt Haig. Anyone who has read my early blatherings about this book and how much it helped me will know that it is now in the top 5% of my favourite books ever written. On Tuesday I will talk a little more about it, post the review again and you can also hear from some other readers who have loved this novel and why they did so.

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On Wednesday in kind of a follow up to my twisty tales article last week, as promised I will tell you about Precious Thing, an amazing story that will keep you guessing. Colette Mcbeth has also kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me and you can see what she has to say and find some more information about the book on Wednesday.

 

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On Thursday you can find out about all things Pilgrim. Highly rated in the book world, this novel lived up to expectations and then some – its possibly one of the best books I’ve ever read, let alone in the Thriller genre. Find out why when I post my review along with some information about the author and other bits and pieces. Should be a good one!

 

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On Friday in another follow up to the twisty tale article I’m going to be talking “Book Comparisons”. You know – that marketing ploy when you see on the front of a book “This years Gone Girl” or “Ian Rankin fans will love this”. Readers – you know the type of thing! I will be giving this readers opinion of when it works and when it doesnt, and how perhaps to avoid the pitfalls when you are choosing your next read and may be either encouraged, or indeed put off, by a comparison that is being made.

 

So there you go! Thats Next Week for you. Hope there is something in there you fancy…

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Happy Publication Day. Dead Line by Chris Ewan.

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So a very happy publication day to Mr Ewan for the terrific thriller “Dead Line”. I tracked Chris down and asked him a few questions – see what he had to say, followed by a review and some linky links.

Dead Line is a terrific thriller. Was it fun to write?

Dead Line involved a real change of approach for me, and doing something new and challenging is always fun (even if it sometimes didn’t feel that way when I was figuring out how to write the book). The biggest change is that Dead Line is the first novel I’ve narrated almost entirely in third-person. Most of my writing before now has been driven by first-person narration, but I enjoyed the third-person sections I wrote for Safe House, so I thought I’d experiment with writing more of a novel in this way. Dead Line is a very dark book, set in the sunshine of Marseilles, and playing with that contrast (as well as visiting Marseilles for research) was a real blast. On top of that, learning more about the somewhat murky kidnap and ransom industry, and some of the individuals who make their living as negotiators, was fascinating.

Which of the Dead Line characters is your favourite.?

Much of the novel is told from the perspective of Daniel Trent, a hostage negotiator who is trying to find his missing fiancee. He’s a tough, uncompromising character, who is willing to go to extremes to get what he wants – pushing far beyond what normal people might do. And writing about a character like that can’t fail to be interesting. But I also really liked writing about Stephanie Moreau, a beautiful ballet dancer who happens to be married to the crook Trent suspects of abducting his fiancee. Stephanie came out much darker, and more damaged, than I’d anticipated.

Do you have any particular writing habits?

I have a bunch of writing habits that I try to stick to as much as I can, which is not as easy as it used to be now that we have a baby daughter to shake things up! What I aim for is to be at my desk by 9am, to write five pages (double-spaced) straight to my computer, then to come back the next day and do exactly the same thing until a first draft is complete. Usually I work seven days a week, although just recently I’ve been taking a day off on a weekend. If all goes to plan, I’ll have a first draft of a novel after something like four months, and from then on I just work as many hours as I can for the next five months, rewriting the manuscript and getting the book into shape. I do a lot of rewrites and revisions before I show the book to anyone. When it’s close to ready, my wife reads it. After that, I usually do a final polish before sending it to my agent. It usually takes me a year from first coming up with an idea to completing  a book. Fingers-crossed the same will be true for the book I’m currently working on!

 

Breakfast: Greasy or Healthy?

Boringly healthy, on the whole. Unless I’m in the States, and then all bets are off — usually meaning pancakes and strong coffee (and then repeat!).

What are you reading at the moment?

 

I’m reading a whole bunch of great books at the moment, including The Shining Girls by Lauren Buekes, Eleven Days by Stav Sherez, and A Willing Victim by Laura Wilson. A book I finished not too long ago, and loved, is The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald.
One thing you would want if stranded on a desert Island?
Hey, I live on the Isle of Man, which sometimes doesn’t feel so different. But a magic portal into a pancake house would suit me.
Thanks Chris!
Review

Having loved “Safe House” I was very much looking forward to this novel from Mr Ewan and I was very excited to receive a copy from Netgalley – thank you kindly.

Daniel Trent works in the dangerous field of hostage negotiation…along with his fiancee Aimee. When Aimee goes missing herself, Trent has a good idea of who is responsible…but then his chief suspect is kidnapped and so begins a desperate search for answers. Can Trent save the kidnap victim and find Aimee?

Well what can I say…fast paced and amazingly addictive this novel rushes you headlong into Daniel Trent’s world and what a world it is. Cleverly strung out, my desire to find out what happened to Aimee soon matched Trents own…and I breathlessy followed him through all the twists and turns of the story to the final resolution – and that resolution my reading friends was clever, unexpected and brilliant.

I adored Trent as a character. Single minded, hell bent on the destruction of anyone who gets in his way no matter the consequences made me add him to my list of “literary characters I’d certainly marry”…in fact perhaps a future blog piece can talk about all those guys – he’ll be somewhere near the top. The rest of the characters played their part admirably – trust no-one would be my advice and even then you’ll be surprised at what happens. My favourite character by far was…ok I’m not going to tell you. You tell me when you get a chance to read it and we’ll compare notes! No spoilers here.

I adore a good page turner and this novel certainly falls into that category. There are rare restful moments – make the most of them because shortly you’ll be on that rollercoaster again. Don’t fall off! Enjoy. Happy Reading Folks!

Find out more about Chris Ewan here : http://chrisewan.com/

Follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/chrisewan

If this sounds like your kind of book clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Line-ebook/dp/B00CR6MNFA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375344157&sr=1-1&keywords=dead+line

 

 

Also available:

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Synopsis

When Rob Hale wakes up in hospital after a motorcycle crash on the Isle of Man, he is told that Lena, the woman he claims was travelling with him, doesn’t exist. The woman he describes bears a striking resemblance to his recently deceased sister, Laura, but has he really only imagined her?

Convinced that Lena is real, Rob sets out to find the answers to who she is and who is behind her disappearance. He is aided in this by Rebecca Lewis, a London-based PI, who has come to the island at the behest of his parents to investigate his sister’s suicide. But who is Rebecca really and how did she know his sister?

Together Rob and Rebecca follow the clues to discover Lena’s fate. In doing so they realise that even on an island where most people know each other, everyone hides a secret, and sometimes your best option isn’t to hide but to stay and fight.

If you fancy that one (and you should) clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Safe-House-ebook/dp/B0086KPYWK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375344459&sr=1-1&keywords=safe+house

My grateful thanks to Chris Ewan for answering some questions for me and for providing me with such a great reading experience!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

6 Books that made me Cry. Sob.

So today I’m going to tell you about 6 of the books that made me cry. When I can I’ll tell you why…but its not always easy to put your heart into words…sometimes you cry just because. Its touched on something personal in your life, or it has simply just spoken to you somewhere that you can’t quite see.

These are not the only books to ever make me cry, but they are some of the most recent, and the most memorable. So here we go. Simply put…..

 

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Lets start with Tony Black, His Fathers Son. Mr Black is better known for his brilliant crime fiction but with this novel he went another route. And did so in an amazing way. You can find a review for this under “Coming Soon” and on its publication day there will be a whole blog post talking about this one.

Why did it make me cry? Well its beautiful, evocative, a story of a family in tatters – and it touched on things going on in my personal life. I too am sorting through the aftermath of a change in my family unit so this families story touched on MY families story. The wife in the novel suffers depression – known in wider circles as the “Black Dog” – and hey. So do I. Her story and that of her husband tugged at my heartstrings. So yes I cried. Not least because I saw it from the other side – Joey has to deal with many things in order to hold his family together. To find out if he succeeds you will need to read the book – and I would because even if you don’t have a personal connection to the story its a darned good read!

 

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Now. The Book Thief. What on earth can be said about this magnificent novel. You cannot find a review for it on this site as yet – I didnt have the words – that lovely friend of mine Sharon Sant is going to guest review it for me as soon as she has time so you’ll have to wait for her thoughts. I never even considered reading this – then Will Carver mentioned it during a “top 1o books” discussion a while ago and I took his word for it. Thank Heavens! Athough I DO blame him for the tears. Thanks Will!

Cleverly told from the point of view of “Death” we follow Liesel Meminger as she traverses the waters of war torn Germany, collecting books along the way. Its her story – and that of Death who is ever watchful. At the end of this novel I had tears streaming down my face, they lasted a while. Having spoken to other people who have read this novel, it has affected them all in the same way. Its a sad tale but an uplifting one. If you havent read it please do  – it doesnt matter which genre is your favourite. This one is a novel for anyone who simply likes to read.

 

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Next on my list is Tom Vowler’s “What Lies Within”. Review can be found here. http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/liz-currently-loves-what-lies-within-by-tom-vowler/

Another family story this touches on nature v nurture and what constitutes the REAL meaning of family. It also tackles a serious subject in a sympathetic and realistic way…something that touched my heart. Anna’s story is both happy and sad – perhaps the fact that Anna is very much finding herself was the reason for my tears. But I’m not sure. There are many aspects to this wonderful book that could cause a tear or two. You should perhaps have a read and find out whether or not it will speak to you…..

 

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The Madmans Tale is an older read of mine from years ago. No review available as yet, its on my re-read list in order to add a review to site, and having thought about it in order to write this blog its just moved up the list. So hopefully I  can provide you with a full review soon.

This is crime fiction in a way. But then not really. Following the recollections of Francis Petrel as he looks back at his time in a mental hospital – a time when a killer stalked the corridors and he was drawn into the investigation – this is really a story of hope. And redemption. As Francis suffers flashbacks and hallucinations he believes his madness is returning. It makes for a stunning read – with a mystery at its heart. I cried for Francis, I did. The end left me in pieces. Happy ending? You’ll have to read it to see but there are no guarantee’s…….

 

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Candlemoth. Oh Candlemoth! The first book to make me cry and realise that sometimes a book CAN touch your heart, I look back on this with great fondness. Also on my reread list to add to Mr Ellory’s page here, it was certainly one of the books that turned me into the prolific reader I am today.

Candlemoth tells the story of Daniel Ford. Sat on Death Row with only 30 days until his execution is set, he looks back on the events that lead him there – and so begins the story of a friendship that was supposed to be forever. Daniel’s story is a sad one. It is. It speaks about how life catches up with you – how events in life can change who you are. So yes, tears. Tears for Daniel and for his friend Nathan. A beautiful story….

 

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Finally, we come to The Humans. This will be short and sweet. I have already spoken about this novel a lot in various blog posts going back to when my site was first up and running. The tears I cried over this book were cathartic tears. Life affirming tears. Dealing with MY depression this novel spoke to me in a way that I can’t put into words.

My “support” network of friends and family have mostly all now read this wonderful book. In honour of that on Tuesday 6th August you will be able to find a new article about The Humans which will include a small paragraph from a few people closest to me about why they loved this book – because this, like “The Book Thief” is a book for anyone that reads. Find out why from me AND others on Tuesday. And if anyone reading this has read it and would like to contribute do let me know.

 

So there you go. 6 books that made me cry! I’ve shown you mine…how about you show me yours? Is there one book that had you in floods or many?

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

 

Liz REALLY loves…..A Good Twisty Tale. **No Spoilers Please We’re British**

So today I’m going to talk about terrific twisty tales but before I do note: There will be NO spoilers anywhere in this article beyond the fact that the books I am going to talk about do, in fact, have a twist to the tale. As a reviewer and a reader I believe its ok to say that the book has one (or in some cases many) as long as no information is forthcoming about the details – because some readers are looking for just that type of story. Often a book is marketed on that very thing!  However if you prefer to not even know there IS a twist or that the tale you are about to dive into is a twisty one, then please read no further.

Still with me? Ok then. To my mind there are two kinds of twisty tales available. The first type are those novels that send you first down one path, then another, constantly making you question what has gone before until ultimately you get a resolution. The second type – which are my favourite – are what I call “Game Changer Twists” – those books where there is one major incident or “reveal” that makes you pretty much fall off your chair with surprise, even if you knew there was something coming….the best of this type are the ones that can then continue on after that and offer you a brilliant and satisfactory resolution and only the most clever of authors can achieve that. So here we go – one more warning before you continue – I will now be talking about my favourite twisty tales and I will be saying which category they fall into. So again, if you don’t want to know, stop reading. However I reiterate my promise – you will find no details that will ruin your enjoyment of the novels. What I HOPE to do is ensure you don’t miss out on some absolutely terrifically clever writing!

 

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Lets start with Tina Seskis and the book “One Step Too Far”. Now this novel was actually marketed on the fact that there was a twist to the story – “No-one has ever guessed Emily’s secret – will you? ” it told me and before I started reading it I was saying “Of course I’ll get it very little surprises me these days its all been done before”. Well. No. It hasnt. Not only has Ms Seskis managed to write a story that absolutely doesnt NEED a twist to make it superb, she has also stuck one in there that I promise you – you will never see coming. I’ve recommended this to a lot of people and they have all come back to me with the same look on their faces….HOW did she manage to do that? Well folks, I don’t know – but she did. I don’t know how many novels I have read over the years where I’ve been told there is a twist and I’ve seen it coming a mile away – its difficult to fool me I promise you – but Tina managed it and then some. Mainly because of the intelligent writing it has to be said – and because in a very strange way, its a simple one. Read it. Love it. And tell me if you get it. Anyone that does is definitely clever! I don’t think you will though….and it doesnt matter. Emily’s story is fascinating in and of itself. Yes this is a “game changer” novel but it may well have been that anyway  – twist or not.

You can follow Tina on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/tinaseskis but don’t ask her because she aint telling!

If you think it sounds like your sort of book – clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Step-Too-Far-ebook/dp/B00C9IW9OQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375175571&sr=1-1&keywords=one+step+too+far+by+tina+seskis and its currently in the Summer Sale so get your hands on a copy today!

Incidentally her second novel – A Serpentine Affair – is also brilliant. Another twisty tale but in a very different way. You might want to have a look at that one also.

 

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Now then Ms Erin Kelley – queen of the super twisty tales that suck you in and spit you out – what DID you do to me with “The Burning Air” I wonder? Well. It was the first book I read that when I hit the “game changer moment” I literally shouted out loud “NOOOOOOO really?” A few people were in the room with me at the time watching some tv and they all jumped out of their skin..it was the first time I actually understood what the phrase “jaw drop” meant – mine was on the floor. Up until then I had been enjoying an amazingly good story about family and the ties that bind.. After that moment I was rabidly turning the pages desperate to know the outcome and wondering what the heck was going to happen – woe betide anyone that dared to try and interrupt me while I was discovering the truth. Amazing writing, terribly clever misdirection and again, like Ms Seskis, a book that didnt NEED a twist to make it simply stunning. It was just the cherry on the top so to speak. In fact looking back now I’m stunned all over again!

You can follow Erin Kelley on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/mserinkelly but again she won’t be telling – you’ll have to read it!

If it sounds like your kind of book clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Burning-Air-ebook/dp/B0091LLZZI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375176169&sr=1-1&keywords=the+burning+air+erin+kelly

Incidentally another of Erin’s novels – The Poison Tree – is a book that I loved with a fiery vengeance mainly because the ending was probably the most satisfying ending I have ever read. You may want to check that one out!

 

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So we come to Gone Girl. Of course. THE twisty tale of all twisty tales – the one that went viral, that I think pretty much everyone on the planet has read by now and the book that almost every twisty tale that came out afterwards referred to in its blurb. “This years Gone Girl!” I read quite often. And yes I LOVED it. But I’ll let you into a little secret. I saw that twist coming from 100 miles away and it was no surprise to me. Still it WAS a game changer yes. But in this readers honest opinion it is not nearly as clever or as good as the two books I have mentioned above – and more recently “Precious Thing” from Colette Mcbeth which I’m not going to talk about again in this article but that will be having its own blog day coming soon. Gone Girl was its own thing – a brilliantly imagined tale of a marriage between two people both of whom held secrets – and that for me was the beauty of it, NOT the twist in the tale that everyone raves about. The thing I loved about Gone Girl was the characters. Ones you will love to hate. Its a great book – it deserves its success without a doubt. And I hope that Gillian Flynn can top it with her next novel which I will certainly be reading. However I say again – The Burning Air and One Step Too Far are better. They are. A feat that is not easy to achieve!

If you are one of about 3 people who have not yet read it clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gone-Girl-ebook/dp/B007ZXK08C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375176967&sr=1-1&keywords=gone+girl

Its definitely worth your time and hey, that twist is twisty and a whole lot of fun!

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Finally I’m going to talk about just one of Sophie Hannah’s many novels – my favourite of the Simon Waterhouse books – and a brilliant example of the other kind of twisty tale – the type that twists and turns all the way through, giving you smartly dolled out pieces of information until finally you can see the whole. In this particular book miscarriages of justice are the topic – and they are brilliantly done. My favourite because the protagonist is a girl after my own heart, the twists and turns in this book were stunning.  The absolute beauty of Ms Hannah’s writing lies in her ability to tell the tale not only from the Police point of view – And Mr Waterhouse is a detective like no other, trust me – but also from the point of view of the people embroiled in whichever case he happens to currently be investigating. In fact MOSTLY from their point of view a lot of the time. Sophie writes characters that I adore – the “usual suspects” Charlie and Simon and The Snowman – never disappoint but each separate book also gives you at least one more character you can adore! Or hate to the point of wanting to get into the book and strangle them sometimes – I’ve had that with the odd one especially a particularly well written and insanely annoying character from her latest Simon Waterhouse tale “The Carrier”. Ms Hannah’s ability to misdirect you and make you THINK you know whats going on, only to completely flummox you again a couple of pages later – is terrific. And it happens every time – she changes the game just enough with each novel that no matter how many you read you are always going to be swimming in a sea of confusion until she decides to finally let you know the truth. Therein lies the reason that I will never stop reading them as long as she keeps writing them. If you havent yet had a go pick yourself up a copy of “Little Face” – and take it from there.

You can follow Sophie Hannah on Twitter here https://twitter.com/sophiehannahCB1

If you want to start at the very beginning clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Face-ebook/dp/B002VHI8DG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375177684&sr=1-1&keywords=little+face+sophie+hannah

 

So there we go. My mini guide to all things twisty and turny. I hope you have enjoyed it and that you may have found something there that you would like to try – twisty tales are the most fun you can have with a book and sometimes they really will mess with your head! Do you have a favourite? Please let me know…I don’t want to miss out!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Harrogate – A readers tale.

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So I may have been extremely disappointed not to have been able to attend Harrogate after all due to ill health, but I was very lucky that a lovely friend of mine, Steph Rothwell WAS going and agreed to write me up a little diary/observation piece on how she got on. Next year it will be me for sure folks along with my other good friend Hayley but for this year here is what Steph had to say!

 

Friday
I arrived late Friday morning at my first crime event. For the 1st day I was on my own and was getting more nervous by the minute on the way up to the hotel. It was an absolutely beautiful day and when I arrived there were many people listening to the Dead in Deutschland  panel and many more all sat about  on the lawn. There were two huge tents on the lawn, one for refreshments and one where the bookshop was and signings done.
More or less straight away I spotted Mel Sherratt who had previously told me to join them. I went over ,passing Val McDermid on the way and she quickly introduced me to Rebecca Bradley, Nic Ford, David Jackson, Pam Mcllroy and Elizabeth Haynes. I stayed with the little group until it was time to go into my 1st panel.
I had booked in for four panels on the Friday: Victorian Crime Fact or Fiction, Social Media Who Are You, Touching Evil and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. After each of the events had finished the authors who had taken part would then go into the tent to do the signings.
I knew that the authors would sign books but didn’t think there would be just one book shop. I had expected different publishing houses to have their own stalls. All the authors who participated in the event had books for sale in the shop.
Part way through the day I collected our goodie bags which we received for booking all day Saturday. Big mistake! Carrying 2 bags containing a dozen books and two bottle of Theakstons old Peculier in 80 degree heat was a bit of a challenge.
I enjoyed all the panels I attended today but Social Media and Standing on the Shouders of Giants stood out. The former for the row that broke out after a challenge from an audience member over events that happened last year. The latter? I now need to read every book by everyone of the authors that took part.
Saturday
My husband came with me today and when we arrived shortly before the 1st panel everywhere looked very quiet, nobody on the lawn or in the tent. When we want into the hotel we realised why. Everybody was in the queue to get into the ballroom to see Ian Rankin in conversation with William Mcllvanney. This was probably one of the most popular panels and was the only one that I attended that finished with both clapping and cheering.
My favourite panel of the weekend was up next, Val McDermid talking to Sue Black. It was funny, quite graphic, and both participants had great respect for each other. I will be reciting bits from this for weeks to come.
My remaining  two panels of the day were New Blood ( more books to buy) and Vera another which was very popular. We finished our weekend with a glass of pimms on the lawn whilst Ann Cleeves and Brenda Blethyn sat signing books for a very long time.
I came away from the festival with 3 bags crammed with new books, memories of great panels and memories of people I had met. Hopefully when we go next year for the full weekend we will have many more.
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If you would like to follow Steph on Twitter clickety click here  https://twitter.com/sjroth21
Thanks Steph! Sounds brilliant and I can’t wait to find out for myself.

Coming Next Week to Liz Loves Books.

So its after midnight and Indie Author week is officially at an end. Thank you so much to Sharon, Simon, Jack and Terry for taking part and having such fun with it. I will run another one in a few weeks where you will be able to hear from the tremendously talented Rachel Abbott amongst others. Keep an eye out for that!

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Thats for later though so I  thought I would let you know whats coming next week – and perhaps ask some questions of you, those readers who end up here, to help make the next batch of blogs just as fun.

On Monday you will be able to read the Harrogate Diary of Steph Rothwell – a lovely friend of mine who agreed to jot down some of her experiences when it became apparent that I would too unwell to attend after all. Thanks to Steph and a lot of other people including the lovely author Leigh Russell, I felt like I was there a lot of the time anyway. As a first time visitor Steph had great fun. Look out for that on Monday.

On Tuesday I will be talking about twisty tales – I DO love a book that floors you at some point with a major twist that you just didnt see coming. Now don’t worry – no spoilers will be found in this piece – whats the point of a jaw dropping twist in the tale if someone tells you about it first? I will however be telling you about a few of the books that have literally blown my mind and given me those “facepalm” moments so you can enjoy them for yourselves. And possibly drop a few hints about reviewing books and not dropping spoilers. A rant I went on a while ago – I’m sure it can be found in the archives somewhere! Included in this will be Erin Kelley’s “The Burning Air” , Tina Seskis and THAT book “One Step Too Far” amongst others. And of course no twisty tale story would be complete without a nod to Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”. What one book made your jaw drop to the floor? Do tell.

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On Wednesday I will tell you about 6 books that made me cry. Real tears. For a long time. How often does a book make YOU cry? And which one book would you say really tugged at your heartstrings? Two of the books I will mention are very recent reads – from Tom Vowler and Tony Black. Then you have The Book Thief. Of course. Anyone who DOESNT cry at The Book Thief has no heart. If you want to know what the other three are then join me next Wednesday.

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On Thursday its publication day for Chris Ewan and Dead Line. Join me then for a Q & A with Chris, see a review of the book and why you should be reading it. Also on Thursday there are two other great books released – One I’ve just completed and one I’m reading right now – Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin and Precious Thing by Colette Mcbeth. I will direct you to reviews on those and let you know when you can read more about them. But Thursday will be mostly about Dead Line – and yes I will talk about the ending but No I will not be giving ANYTHING away. Trust me though  – its worth the wait.

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Finally on Friday I will be all about that wonderful writing duo Mark Edwards and Louis Voss. Join me for a Q & A with them and see a review of their latest release “Forward Slash” which you can get hold of now if you don’t want to wait! Also I will look at some of their other books – and of course I’m not going to be able to resist talking about “The Magpies” again – Mr Edwards solo novel and some of you may remember how much I liked that one! So that should be a great ending to the week.

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So there you go – going to be a fun week for me and I hope for you too. Have a great weekend folks and I’ll see you next week.

Happy Reading!