So Pretty by Ronnie Turner @Ronnie_Turner @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #SoPretty

The Blurb

Fear blisters through this town like a fever…
When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.
Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.
Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community.
Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it. As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family
who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife-edge.
Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it always has. And before long, it will find Ada too

My Review

Oh Ronnie what did you do? You made me distinctly uncomfortable and unsettled, I hated the opening of the door into the shop, the window with its ghoulish exhibits. Yet from first page to the last page I just could not put So Pretty down.

Your characters were sublime. Ada, so desperately lonely, so devoted to her little boy, estranged from her family, vulnerability oozed from within.

Teddy, another loner, a perpetual nomad, forever fleeing a past that never seemed to leave him behind.

I could never forget Turners other character Mr Vincent the owner of that shop, the shop that all avoided, that burst at the seems with curio that frightened and delighted. His silent, watchful presence rattled your nerves, his eyes like exocet missiles that bored into your very being.

Vincent and Teddy’s relationship was like watching a chess game as they worked each other out, the power struggle intense and at times frightening. But it was the relationship between Teddy and Ada that was Turner’s triumph, two young people looking for a meaningful connection. That connection was so lovely to read as Teddy embraced Ada and her young son, until Turner wove in some subtle changes, assumptions were made and those connections taken to the extreme.

The narrative became dark and oppressive, the imagery dangerous and you felt chills down your spine as each fought the other for power, for escape.

This was a novel that encompassed so much, from child abuse, murder, to the complexities of human psychology and what passes from parent to child. The effect of actions in a small community, the regrets of those that could have helped but didn’t left a lasting mark.

For all its darkness there were lighter moments, glimpses of hope and reconciliation. I may have felt like I had been through a nerve rattling wringer but my goodness I knew what a superb novel I had just read.

Well done and congratulations Ronnie Turner.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of So Pretty to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author.
Ronnie now lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare
time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. Ronnie isa Waterstones Senior Bookseller and a barista, and her youth belies her
exceptional, highly unusual talent.

Advertisement

#Blogtour The Pain Tourist by Paul Cleave @PaulCleave @ OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #ThePainTourist

Orenda Books November 10th 2022

The Blurb


How can you catch a killer When the only evidence is a dream…?
James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.
But, between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help.
Especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…

My Review

Do you enjoy watching people’s pain and suffering, maybe your not the one doing it, maybe it’s someone else. If you answer yes to any of these questions then you could very well be a pain tourist, at least that’s Paul Cleave’s definition.

Paul Cleave’s pain tourist was a man whose wife had left him, who just wanted to be famous, so in his mind he had nothing to lose.

Detective Rebecca Kent’s take on the matter was of course completely different as she was given the task of finding out who was copying one of New Zealand’s notorious serial killers, our so called pain tourist.

Meanwhile in a hospital James Garrett woke up from a 9 year coma, to the realisation that his parents were dead and his sister, Hazel had escaped. His parents murderers were never caught and Kent is again tasked with closing the case.

To top it all retired detective Theo Tate is somehow dragged into the melee and Cleave proceeded to scramble this readers brain.

Let me clarify, the brain scramble was good, Cleave made me concentrate, absorb his wonderful narrative, made me think about medical advancement but most of all the brutality of murder for its victims and those around them.

To go into depth with anymore of the plot would spoil it for any reader, suffice it to say once engaged it will take all your will power to disengage.

Cleave concentrated a lot on the relationship between Kent and Tate, mutual respect and I always thought a little more. Yet both had their vulnerabilities, pasts that made them too cautious to let the personal blur into the professional.

James Garrett was such a brilliant character, his so called Coma World fascinated, his ability to unlock cabinets inside a giant warehouse felt like Cleave was unlocking the various compartments of his brain, his memory. At times it felt like torture, at others it gave James comfort, gave information to Tate and Kent as their investigations progressed.

Many authors would have struggled with the multiple strands but not Cleave, he handled it with great aplomb and I felt safe in his very capable hands.

The multiple strands gave the book a real dynamism, not much time for the reader to pause and take a breath. His characters were frenetic in their pursuit of the truth, their methods often unorthodox but that made the novel all the more dramatic. The final pages were filled with horror, disgust but also a sense of justice served, a job well done.

You hoped James and his sister would finally find peace, but most of all that Kent and Tate would unlock their own demons and find their own kind of peace.

I guess and am hoping that that peace and onward progression will be the subject of another brilliant and eagerly awaited book by the fantastic Mr Paul Cleaver.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Pain Tourist to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the tour.

About the author

Paul is an award-winning author who often divides his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He’s won the won the Ngaio Marsh Award three times, the Saint-Maur Crime Novel of the Year Award, and Foreword Reviews Thriller of the Year, and has bee shortlisted for the Ned Kelly, Edgar and Barry Awards. He’s thrown his Frisbee in over forty countries, plays tennis badly, golf even worse, and has two cats – which is often two too many. The Pain Tourist is his (lucky) thirteenth novel.

#Blogtour Winter People by Grainne Murphy @GraMurphy @Legend_Times #WinterPeople

Legend Press October 6th 2022

The Blurb

The wild Atlantic coast of Ireland.

Three strangers.

One question: who are we without the people who love us?

Sis Cotter has lived her whole life in a small house by her beloved beach. Here, she grew up, reared her family, and buried her husband. Now her children are far away and, in three days, her house will be taken from her.

Next door, Lydia has withdrawn from her husband, her friends, her life. She watches the sea as her own private penance for a wrong she can never put right.

Peter’s best friend is dying, and his long-time foster mother is slowly forgetting who he is. Adrift without his two anchors, and struggling with the ethics of displacing people for a living, he looks for something to remind him of who he is and who he wants to be.

Winter People is a story of forgiveness, resilience, and the power of the sea to unlock what we are most afraid to say.

My Review

What can I say about Winter People other than beautiful, tender, emotive and utterly enthralling.

A small Irish coastal community, three characters that dwelled on its outer edges, the sea their outlook it’s ebb and flow in sync with their emotions and feelings.

Sis, Murphy’s main character was the one that captivated the most, her faithful elderly dog Laddie stole my heart. Here was a woman who nursed her husband to his death, raised three children and bravely and stoically approached the next stage of her life. Murphy’s descriptions of her arthritic bones, her creaky stiff muscles as she cycled into town, as she shuffled along the beach we’re just wonderful. What was even more wonderful were her thoughts, so vividly captured by Murphy as she considered her life, her parenting skills, her willingness to forgive, to accept her lot.

Sis’s, neighbour Lydia lived in splendid isolation in the newly refurbished blue house. She was the epitome of self flagellation, as she shut herself away from her husband and her friends determined to punish herself for a wrong doing. The large windows overlooking the sea were her windows on the world, the telephone and email there to stop eyes looking upon her, apportioning blame that was her due, her life’s task to wallow in. Whilst you empathised you also felt irritated, wanted her to let her husband in, take comfort in his willingness to help, to love and protect.

Peter, was almost on the periphery, but no less important in the novel, raised in a foster home, his birth mother drowned in drugs and drink. Murphy built a wall around him, impenetrable to the grief of his fosters mums dementia, his best friends final dying days. Girlfriends came and went as he failed to commit, to let them in and his job evicting people from their homes seemed to add to his general persona.

It all sounds very gloomy and in a way it was, but Murphy gave us chunks of light, of memories that were happy and carefree. It didn’t make the novel less enjoyable in fact it only enhanced the quality of Murphy’s narrative, her character’s emotions so raw, that the reader couldn’t help but invest in their lives, to hope the future seemed that little bit brighter, more hopeful.

Winter People was exemplary, touching, and just brilliant.

I would like to thank Legend Times for a copy of Winter People to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

R

About the author

Gráinne grew up in rural west Cork, Ireland. At university she studied Applied Psychology and Forensic Research. In 2011 she moved with her family to Brussels for 5 years. She has now returned to West Cork, working as a self-employed language editor specialising in human rights and environmental issues.
Twitter: @GraMurphy
IG: @gramurphywriter

#Blogtour Sometimes People Die by Simon Stephenson @TheSimonBot @BoroughPress @MidasPr @SofiaSaghir #SometimesPeopleDie

Borough Press September 1st 2022

The Blurb

1999. Returning to practice after a suspension for stealing opioids, a young doctor takes the only job he can find: a post as a physician at the struggling St. Luke’s Hospital in east London.

Amid the maelstrom of sick patients, overworked staff and underfunded wards, a more insidious secret soon declares itself: too many patients are dying.

My Review

Sometimes People Die was much more than a medical thriller, it was a lament, a portrait of a doctor overworked, pushed to the edge. A hospital crumbling, unable to recruit, it’s staff overworked underpaid and all this in 1999, but sounds all too familiar in 2022.

It helped that its author was indeed one of those doctors, his medical insight, his emotions and experience more than evident in his nameless narrator. A nameless narrator who took the only position open to him after the shame of a drug addled past.

We entered a world of endless hours on shift. the cardiac arrests, the ill and infirm, and then bam a death, a seemingly ordinary death until it wasn’t. Stephenson put our narrator under the spotlight, his past misdemeanours made him the ideal suspect, but there were others that stood out, that could so easily have been the culprit.

As our narrator sweated, the relentless shifts continued but Stephenson threw in some memorable characters, my favourite Felix, a drug addict with a heart condition who became the bane of our young doctors life. George the flat mate, affable, chilled, his girlfriend Amelia, the doctor with all the answers. There was student nurse Louise, eager as a young puppy to do well.

As the true extent of the deaths hit the hospital, Stephenson skilfully played around with his suspects, dangled them in front of us before taking them away.

When, at last you thought it was wrapped up, Stephenson through a spanner in the works, our narrator determined to finally discover the truth.

I somehow knew who it would be but the journey there was thrilling, immersive and as someone who loves anything medical, addictive.

The only thing Stephenson needs to do to now is get some TV rights, some fantastic actors and we would have a fantastic drama.

I would like to thank Borough Press for a copy of Sometimes People Fie to read and review and Midas PR for inviting My Bookish blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

I am from Edinburgh in Scotland, but live now in Los Angeles. I have had stopovers along the way in London and San Francisco.

I’m a writer and screenwriter, and before I became a full-time writer I was a physician.

My new novel, ‘Sometimes People Die’ will be published in September 2022.

I have written two other books. ‘Set My Heart To Five’ came out in 2020. The Washington Post review said that I might be ‘Vonnegut’s first true protege’. You’d better believe I am going to be dining out on that for the rest of my life.

‘Let Not the Waves Of the Sea’, my memoir about losing my brother came out in 2012. It won Best First Book at the Scottish Book Awards, and was serialized on BBC Radio 4.

I’ve worked as a writer on various films including Pixar’s LUCA, PADDINGTON 2, and my own THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN. Like every other screenwriter in Hollywood, I have a bottom drawer full of unproduced scripts and forgotten promises. So it goes.

#Blogtour Whisper Of The Seals by Roxanne Bouchard @RBouchard72 @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #WhisperOfTheSeals

The Blurb

Detective Moralès returns in a breathtaking literary thriller set on the icy seas of Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, in the midst of a brutal seal hunt, where nothing is as it seems and absolutely no one can be trusted…
Fisheries officer Simone Lord is transferred to Quebec’s remote Magdalen Islands for the winter, and at the last minute ordered to go aboard a trawler braving a winter storm for the traditional grey seal hunt, while all of the other boats shelter onshore.
Detective Sergeant Joaquin Moralès is on a cross-country boat trip down the St Lawrence River, accompanied by Nadine Lauzon, a forensic psychologist working on the case of a savagely beaten teenager with Moralès’ old team in Montreal.
When it becomes clear that Simone is in grave danger aboard the trawler, the two cases converge, with startling, terrifying consequences for everyone involved…

My Review

Before I go any further let me just say that there are vivid descriptions of seal culling that some may find uncomfortable . On the flip side it had its place within the novel, not something Bouchard threw in to shock but to signify the greed, of its participants and the need to make money and survive.

Now that bit is out of the way what about the rest of the novel. For me this had to be one of Bouchard’s best, one that from the very first page reeled me in and released its grip at the end.

Once again, Simone Lord was that fearless fisheries officer unceremoniously thrown onto an all male sealing boat. She was a woman in a man’s world, derided, preyed on by men that saw her as fair game, there for their enjoyment. This is what I liked about Bouchard, no stereotypical woman for her, instead a woman who kept her vulnerability firmly under wraps, her resilience, resistance focused on the job, on finding that one person who could protect her.

Then of course we had Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales. For him it was all about coming to terms with his recent divorce, a holiday to get his head together. Could he leave the job behind, work out his feelings for Simone? The simple answer was, of course no, Bouchard was not going to let him have a relaxing time. Drawn into a fellow detectives case it soon became apparent something big was about to happen.

And so, Bouchard slipped ever so seamlessly between Joaquin and Simone, both stuck on their respective boats, sailing toward the unknown.

Bouchard knew how to tweak your feelings, your emotions that sense of urgency, of cold stone fear as Simone bravely battled her thoughts and the actions of the men.

Desperation swept in on all sides, the boat crew for the kill, for the dollar signs that loomed large, for Simone the need to survive, to warn others, to do her job. As the stakes rose, so did the chill Bouchard injected into the narrative, the vivid imagery of a cold, white, soulless climate, of murder, drugs and sacrifice.

You waited for Morales to join the dots, to perhaps be the knight in shining armour, a happy ending in sight. But hey, this was a crime novel, nothing guaranteed least of all from Bouchard.

It’s not for me to tell you the ending but let’s just say, I was shocked and I will leave it at that.

The Whisper of The Seals was what I would call Bouchard’s crossroads novel, a novel that challenged its characters to the extreme both physically and emotionally. It was her way of saying, we are at that point in the series where perhaps things needed to divert in another direction, new roads, new experiences. What a great way to keep us dangling, to leave this reader wanting more and hoping it won’t be long before the next Novel drops through the letterbox.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Whisper of the Seals to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Over ten years ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the
Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets,
and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. Her fifth novel
(first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, followed by The Coral Bride, which was a number-one bestseller in Canada, shortlisted for the CWA Translation Dagger and won the Crime Writers of Canada’s Crime Book of the Year Award. Whisper of the Seals is the third novel. She lives in Quebec with her partner, an undertak

#Blogtour The Daves Next Door by Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks @annecater #randomthingstours #thedavesnextdoor

Orenda Books 21st July 2022

The Blurb

A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care. An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white.
A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.
Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.
Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.
Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?
Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.


My Review

This was Will Carver at his absolute best. I have never read anything more original, more engaging and completely off the wall than The Daves Next Door.

Yes there were characters, no there wasn’t much speech, just one long blow your socks of monologue that questioned a vast array of what is wrong and right in todays society.

It all started with a security report, a multi faceted terrorist attack on London that had already happened, neatly swung back to the before as Carver systematically stripped back the why.

He started with the Daves, stuck in a loop of paranoia, fear, mental health dwindling down the proverbial drain. It did confuse me a little until bit by bit Carver unravelled their trauma and it all slowly began to make sense.

Vashti was one of my favourites, a nurse who had lost that spark, work a chore, all feeling pushed to one side. Her relationship with her patient, the sportsman was interesting, his ability to only see Vashti in colour, the rest of the world in grey. It was such a fantastic way for Carver to show the sportsman’s despair at his career ending injury, Vashti the one shining light, the beacon he gravitated towards, the one who could drive him on to full recovery.

Saul, the sad widower, death the only option until the two ‘angels’ his two lodgers, offered a path to his beloved wife Ada. His son, Ash the son wracked with guilt at his dereliction of care towards his Father, who suddenly acted to rectify only to make the ultimate sacrifice.

And what about Carver’s narrator? The man on the tube, the man who watched those around him, who waited for the right time do what he was chosen to do. He was Carvers ultimate mouthpiece, the one who questioned his characters motives, their inner psyche. Who was he, Carver asked us? Was he God, the all seeing, all knowing figure so many believed or was he a man poised to change the lives of many, the beliefs of others systematically placed in his brain, the power to change lives at his fingertips.

To me he was whatever you wanted him to be, Carvers genius instrument that questioned, cajoled the reader to dig deep, to question our reality, wether that be how we see things or how wider society views life.

The ending brilliantly captivated it all, a glorious conclusion of winners and losers, of epiphanies, enlightenment and despair.

Thank you Will Carver for once again pushing the boundaries, of being brave and skilful enough to not write the usual thriller but instead to be that off beat deep thinker we all love.

I would to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Daves Next Door to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, The Beresford is out in July. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

#Blogpost Tasting Sunlight by Ewald Arenz @EwardArenz @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TastingSunlight

Orenda Books June 23rd 2022

The Blurb

Teenager Sally has just run away from a clinic where she is to be treated for anorexia. She’s furious with everything and everyone, and wants to be left in peace. Liss is in her forties, living alone on a large farm that she runs single- handedly. She has little contact with the outside world, and no need for other people.
From their first meeting, Sally realises that Liss isn’t like other adults; she
The first night lengthens into weeks as Sally starts to find pleasure in working with the bees, feeding the chickens, and harvesting potatoes. Eventually an unlikely friendship develops and these two damaged women slowly open up – connecting to each other, reconnecting with themselves, and facing the darkness in their pasts through their shared work on the land.

My Review

I always think it is a mark of a talented author particularly a male that somehow manages to understand the female psyche, to write a whole novel driven by two female protagonists.

Let’s start with Sally a young teenager on the run from a clinic fed up of being told what to do or more importantly what to feel.

She headed, unbeknown to herself to Lisa’s farm, a woman alone, ostracised by the local villagers, with an inherent sense of quiet resilience, a past mired in mystery.

Their relationship formed the brilliance of Arenz’s novel, his perception of their feelings of their emotions was to me astonishing. How could he drill down so perfectly on a young teenagers rebellion against her parents, authority, and at some points her own self. Liss, contained but never one to ask or press Sally, a quiet acknowledgment and understanding that they were the same.

I enjoyed Arenz use of the farming landscape, of the simple acts of gathering crops, of waking up to a glorious autumn sunrise, how it gave Sally peace, a full stop in the perpetual circle of fighting what others thought she should do. Yet Arenz knew their quiet existence would not and could not continue.

Sally’s need to discover Liss’s secrets pushed their quiet understanding to the limits, the encroaching encirclement of Sally’s parents and authorities forced matters to a head. I expected Arenz to bring the novel to its conclusion but no there was more

.Arenz wasn’t finished with Sally and Liss, there was more they had to say, more they had to learn about themselves and indeed each other. There was nothing dramatic about it just the slow meticulous unraveling of Liss in particular, their roles somehow swapped, Sally the strong one, the one who perhaps understood what the future may hold for Liss.

Arenz gave us a fitting ending, one where you could look back and admire this quiet, thoughtful novel with a narrative that shouted about so much but most of showcased the talent of a very gifted author.

I would like to thank Orenda for a copy of Tasting Sunlight to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the Blogtour

About the author

Ewald Arenz was born in Nurnberg in 1965, where he now teaches. He has won various national and regional awards for literature; among them the Bavarian State Prize for Literature and the great Nuremberg Prize for Literature. One of seven children, he enjoys nature, woodturning, biking, swimming, and drinking tea. He lives with his family in Germany. #TastingSunlight #JubilantJune @EwaldArenz

#Blogpost Nothing Else by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #NothingElse

Orenda Books 23rd June

The Blurb

Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts
her sister, who was taken when their parents died, aided on by her childhood
her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown
ords and a single song that continues to haunt her.
out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.
But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.
When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night …
coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

My Review

There is always that sense of anticipation when a new novel by Louise Beech thuds through the letter box. Such is her ability to write in a wide range of themes and topics you are never quite sure where she would take you, I certainly did not expect a cruise ship.

Our protagonist was the very lovely Heather, divorced, alone, a woman who merely existed but did not appear to live, that certain something missing from her life. It was that missing piece of her life, her sister, that drove Beech’s narrative that plunged into the depths of a troubled childhood, of a trauma that lingered through to the present.

I loved that Beech sent Heather on a cruise ship, her social services file tucked neatly into her luggage. Is was as if she wanted to contain Heather, to concentrate her mind, days at sea nowhere to runaway to and escape what lay between the pages.

It was hard to read her stark memories, the abuse, the protective arms she wrapped around her younger sister. Beech’s descriptions of their love for the piano, of their own song, Nothing Else, tugged at heart strings, I loved how it wove its way through the whole novel, it’s tune the talisman that bound Heather and Harriet together.

Yet it wasn’t just Heather’s story, it was also Harriet’s, a differing, perhaps softer angle but still just as powerful. Just like Heather her life was also at a crossroads, health a consideration that forced choices and also impeccable timing.

Aspects of the novel could have seemed contrived but not in Beech’s more than capable hands. Yes, you sort of had an inkling what would happen but that was not what this was about, it was very definitely about the how and the why. It’s the reason why you read Beech, to feel the intense emotions she weaves within her narrative, the human reactions, the tears that are just waiting to greet you.

In my eyes Beech can do no wrong and Nothing Else proved once again just how good an author she is.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Nothing Else to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

All six of Louise Beech’s books have been digital bestsellers. Her novels have been a Guardian Readers’ Choice, shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull. Follow her on Twitter @louisewriter
The multiple bestselling and award-winning author returns with an exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma and the unbreakable bond between sisters; a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything.
Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts
her sister, who was taken when their parents died, aided on by her childhood
her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown
ords and a single song that continues to haunt her.
out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.
But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.
When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night …
coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

#Blogtour Little Drummer by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #LittleDrummer

Orenda Books 26th May 2022

The Blurb

When a woman is found dead in her car in a Norwegian parking garage, everyone suspects an overdose … until a forensics report indicates that she was murdered. Oslo Detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda discover that the victim’s Kenyan scientist boyfriend has disappeared, and their investigations soon lead them into the shady world of international pharmaceutical deals.

While Gunnarstranda closes in on the killers in Norway, Frølich and Lise, his new journalist ally, travel to Africa, where they make a series of shocking discoveries about exploitation and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid and essential HIV medications.

When tragedy unexpectedly strikes, all three investigators face incalculable danger, spanning two continents. And not everyone will make it out alive…

Exploding the confines of the Nordic Noir genre, Little Drummer is a sophisticated, fast-paced, international thriller with a searingly relevant, shocking premise that will keep you glued to the page.

My Review

The one thing you can always guarantee from Dahl are the wonderful descriptions of his beloved Oslo, the streets, the sea and its coastline and in this one a multi storey car park. Not what you would expect but then this is a crime novel and it wouldn’t be that without a starting point and indeed a body.

There was never going to be a simple explanation as to it being there, but then Dahl has never made it easy for the reader or his two detectives, Gunnarstranda and Frolich. Gunnarstranda in particular was dogged and pedantic, his gut and instinct knew the cause of death wasn’t suicide, his innate need to ferret out the truth, to discover the culprits evident from beginning to end.

Frolich, was not entirely Gunnarstranda’s opposite but altogether more easy going, the one most likely to kick back, relax and have some fun. I reckon Dahl gave him the job as gopher, the one able to do the more practical and indeed more energetic elements of the investigation.

In Dahl’s narrative they were obviously the perfect couple and as the investigation intensified, as the leads and clues became more complex it was Frolich that was packaged off to Africa to find the dead woman’s boyfriend.

What Frolich did not expect was journalist, Lise hot on the trail and I thoroughly enjoyed the cat and mouse game Dahl played with them.

It was also where Dahl’s narrative came to life, the heat, the dust, the bustling streets, the chaotic roads, the run down buildings hiding those who did not what to be found.

Those that were found and the truths uncovered were deeper than the detectives could ever have imagined. Drugs that promised everything but did nothing, dodgy financial transactions, innocents caught in the cross fire.

As always Dahl got our detectives to the end, to the truth but also he also gave them something more personal. For Gunnarstranda the realisation that his lifestyle was not perhaps conducive to longevity and an acceptance that changes would have to be made. For Frolich a little romance, perhaps a way forward in his own personal issues.

It was that human touch merged with all the classic Scandi Noir hallmarks that makes Dahl’s novels so damn good.

Roll on the next instalment.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Little Drummer to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers (Oslo Detectives series) featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

#Blogtour Quicksand of Memory by Michael J Malone @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #QuicksandOfMemory

Orenda Books December 9th 2021

The Blurb

Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships. Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy. When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need. And yet, someone is watching. Someone who has been scarred by past events. Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge…
Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, Quicksand of Memory is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that
memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…

My Review

What a tangled web and intricate storyline Mr Malone wove within The Quicksand Of Memory, indeed memory played such a huge role as Malone explored his characters own memories as the past crashed into the future.

The prologue couldn’t help but provoke emotion for the young Jamie, foster parents who whose cold, icy, loveless care would have a lasting effect well into his adult life.

The present was Luke and stepson Nathan attempting to rebuild a future in his chosen career as a psychiatrist, an apt profession and a genius stroke from Malone. What better way to meet and indeed enter the minds of the characters Malone would bring together.

Jenna, bookseller, carer also trying to rebuild a future. Finally Amanda, Jamie’s sister, an upbringing opposite to Jamie, bitter, twisted as Malone used that mindset to pull Jamie’s strings, to exploit his vulnerability, to dish out a revenge Amanda felt was rightfully theirs.

Malone didn’t give much away as you were left wondering how they were all connected, each character given their own voice, their own story and more importantly their own memory, their version of events. Were their recollections true, clear or merely skewed by others, and even themselves. It was them to work out as they all collided, as slowly they learnt the meaning of those connections, as the Malone pushed the stakes and indeed the danger higher and higher.

I loved that we had prior knowledge of some of those secrets, we were flies on the wall as we watched the repercussions, saw them hurtling to a tumultuous ending.

It was also about seeking closure, of reconciliation of the past with the present, of forgiveness, understanding, learning to live with events, close the door and move on.

I liked that Malone didn’t give us the stereotypical ending, question marks left on the page fir the reader to ponder and imagine.

A novel with never a quiet moment, it’s characters and indeed the reader trapped in a whirlwind of revelation, of moments that felt unnerving and uncomfortable, Quicksand Of Memory was one hell of a good read.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Quicksand Of Memory to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died, In the Absence of Miracles and A
Song of Isolation soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber
& Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

%d bloggers like this: