#Blogtour Black Summer by M. W. Craven @MWCravenUk @LittleBrownUK @BethWright26 #BlackSummer #TeamTilly

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Black Summer M. W Craven   Constable December 12th 2019

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

My Review

Washington Poe was back and how excited was I. One of my favourite detectives, a man who enjoyed the outdoor life of Cumbria and owner of my favourite Spaniel, Edgar!

Pie didn’t have much time to enjoy the rugged and wild landscape of the Cumbrian fells as he found himself embroiled in the reappearance of a missing, supposedly murdered girl, daughter of a celebrity chef who resided at her majesty’s pleasure for her murder.

Was all as it seemed or was something more sinister at play? Luckily for us something more sinister was definitely afoot, and Craven once again led us on a complex, action packed investigation.

Poe, as ever, was at the helm, his investigative abilities tested to the fore, but luckily he had his trusted side kick super intelligent Tilly Bradshaw with him.

I loved their relationship, their mutual respect for each other’s skills, their playful conversations, and ability to accept each other’s faults. I often felt that Tilly was just a little bit in love with Poe, but didn’t have the capability to understand or act on her feelings. Maybe something in the future, but I hope not because I think it would spoil what is and has the potential to develop into one of the best investigative duos in fiction.

The case was complex but that was no problem for Craven, as he skilfully led this reader through the multiple layers with ease. Little clues littered his narrative but I can honestly say I did not see the surprise twist and it only made me like Craven and his novel just that little bit more.

Some aspects were particularly gruesome but entirely in keeping and relevant to the various themes, and I was glad I had eaten my dinner before reading.

The Cumbrian landscape, once again played its part, the inclement weather added brilliant atmosphere, the isolated spots provided the drama you craved and which Craven delivered in abundance.

We saw a little bit more of Poe, of a character with a hard exterior but a soft inside, that perhaps craved more than the company of his beloved Edgar as he sought to repair himself. The ending lent itself to a future glimpse into this man, and I for one am hoping that Craven will not keep us waiting long for the next instalment.

I would like to thank Constable for a copy of Black Summer to read and review and to Beth Wright for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, returning after 31 years to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals. His first novel featuring Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw, The Puppet Show, was published by Constable to huge acclaim, and was longlisted for the 2019 CWA Gold Dagger Award. M. W. Craven lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

#Blogtour The Pursuit Of William Abbey by Claire North #ClaireNorth @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #ThePursuitOfWilliamAbbey

William Abbey

The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North  Orbit Books November 12th 2019

South Africa, 1884. A young and naive English doctor by the name of William Abbey witnesses the lynching of a local boy by white colonists. He’s guilt-struck, but too cowardly to stand up against this horrific act. And as the child dies, his mother curses William.

William begins to understand when what the curse means when the shadow of the dead boy starts following him across the world. It never stops, never rests. It can cross oceans and mountains. And if it catches him, the person he loves most in the world will die . . .

My Review

The Pursuit of William Abbey was like a tour of British History in the late 19th and early 20th century.

From the plains of Africa to the First World War it was a lesson in British Imperialism, a government’s desire to acquire countries, impose its own culture, and show the world who was boss.

William Abbey was a doctor stuck in its whirlwind, a man traumatised by his inability to prevent the burning of a young boy, a boy who chased him around the world determined to catch Abbey.

North’s Abbey was complex and deep, a man who had huge regrets and agreed to spy for his country to atone for his wrongs. The people he encountered, the events he became embroiled in were exciting and frightening and I often found myself holding my breath as I waited to see who would survive.

At the start of the novel I am not sure I actually liked Abbey, nor did I feel sorry for him, merely saw him as selfish. His willingness to spy, to betray for atonement didn’t seem that noble, but as he travelled, you started to see a man who really did want to be better, who did want a life that he was comfortable living and the respect of those around him.

In fact events took a quite horrific turn and this was where Abbey shone, where the man who he wanted to be began to emerge.

His selfishness seemed to disappear, his pursuit of the truth, and to right the wrongs of who he worked for overtook any concerns he had for his own personal safety.

North’s narrative was wonderfully descriptive to the point you were with Abbey in the middle of the action. You couldn’t help but recoil at the horrors he witnessed, to feel the tension as he fought for his and the lives of others. I loved the way in which North merged the mythical, and fantastical with fact, that lifted the novel out of the ordinary, that showcased the skill of an author at the top of her craft.

I would like to thank Orbit Books for a copy of The Pursuit Of William Abbey to read and review and Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Claire North is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated author whose debut novel was written when she was just fourteen years old. She has fast established herself as one of the most powerful and imaginative voices in modern fiction. Her first book published under the Claire North pen name was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which became a word-of-mouth bestseller and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. The follow-up, Touch, was described by the Independent as ‘little short of a masterpiece’. Her next novel, The Sudden Appearance of Hope, won the 2017 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and The End of the Day was shortlisted for the 2017 Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. Her latest novel, 84K, received widespread critical acclaim and was described by bestselling author Emily St. John Mandel as ‘an eerily plausible dystopian masterpiece’. She lives in London.

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#Blogtour Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #NothingImportantHappenedToday

 

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver  Orenda Books November 14th 2019

Nine suicides

One Cult

No leader

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today. That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another. Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.

How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?

A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller, Nothing Important Happened Today confirms Will Carver as one of the most extraordinary, exciting authors in crime fiction.

My Review

I should only be sharing an extract but after reading this astonishing novel I felt I had to say a few words.

It was one of those novels that you weren’t quite sure what you were going to get, and when you did start reading you just couldn’t stop.

Why? For me it was a combination of a topic that has always fascinated, cults, mass murder and the psychology behind it, with a narrative that just blew me away.

It was stark, brutal and utterly compelling, the visual images Carver imprinted on my brain, of nine strangers hanging from Chelsea Bridge was one that will stay with me for a very long time.

What fascinated was how any person could be persuaded to act as they did, considering that all were from varied walks of life, some highly intelligent functioning people. Was it the modern world where they strove for perfection that they could never quite achieve, or disappointment that their lives had not worked out as they planned that made these people so vulnerable?

And that’s what was so intriguing about Carvers characters they seemed to represent issues that are so prevalent in today’s society.

The boy with mental health issues, the doctor treating self inflicted conditions, the lack of resources, the young girl drowning in debt, death the only way to a better life and fulfilment.

Behind all of this Carver examined what made a cult, a cult leader, the serial killers and what drove them to do what they did.

Secondary to all that was the investigation, to discover who was behind it all, Detective Pace our guide. Yes, you knew who it or they were but that wasn’t the point it was how Carver got us there, the process, the insight and the final dramatic conclusion.

Nothing Important Happened Today was breathtakingly brilliant, my brain so scrambled with thoughts I might never recover.

Orenda have done it again, a publisher at the top that deserves so much more recognition than it gets for its willingness to take on the extraordinary and unique.

Now, enough of my ramblings, as now share an extract from Will Carver’s amazing novel.

Ungrateful

Still hungover at noon, she opens the bank statement first, skip-ping all the outgoing figures next to items like shoes and bags and bar tabs and restaurants and other things she knows she doesn’t need but at the time believed were imperative to her happiness.

It’s not happiness.

And it’s never enough.

Five tattoos only felt better than four tattoos for a moment. The joy of ten thousand social-media followers was as fleeting as the climax she faked with that reality TV contestant. The drug doesn’t work.

Her mother had told her that fulfilment can only be achieved when you choose to give something back. She’s only been gone two years but her daughter has forgotten this lesson.

The ungrateful young woman skims over the evidence of the mistakes she hasn’t learned from and heads straight to the reality of the figure written in red ink at the bottom of the final page. The expression on her face doesn’t alter, it does not convey what she feels inside, but the tears offer a clue.

There’s a second letter from the bank confirming an increase to her overdraft limit. And a wave of relief washes the tears away, diluting another headache. And the severity of real life dissipates for a few seconds.

But her credit-card bill reintroduces panic. She’s been saving it for days.

She throws up into her mouth and swallows it back down.

There are four other credit cards.

Her father only knows about one.

Her sister has one card that she clears each month. And she remembers their mother.

The bathroom door is locked, as it always is. Just in case. She sits on the closed toilet lid, the tiles are cold beneath her bare feet, reminding her that she, at least, has some capacity to feel. She stands up, takes a swig of water from the tap at the sink and splashes water against her sad-clown face. Looking at herself in the mirror, she takes a picture with her phone. Not for social media. For her. And she drops back to her position of self-pity.

There’s more.

She tells herself that she can’t open another bill. That it will kill her. That she will have to confess to her father and he will have to bail her out again. And everyone will know.

But one of the letters in her growing pile of debt and guilt will get her out of this mess.

One white envelope contains her exit strategy.

It gives her the choice.

She tears a strip of toilet roll to wipe those drugged panda eyes, lifts the toilet slightly from her seated position and pushes the mascara-blotted paper through the gap between her legs before sitting down again to work through the last few letters.

Her store card has £2,668.48 outstanding. Her allowance will easily cover the minimum monthly payment, but paying a similar amount on the rest of her cards leaves her feeling crippled. And it’s only four months until Christmas. And the only way she knows to cope with the stress is to buy herself something nice. Something she doesn’t really need. Something else she can’t afford.

That momentary high to break up the misery.

It’s a relief that the final letter has no transparent window detailing her name and address.

Save the best until last.

Ease the hurt.

Reward yourself. She throws all the other letters into the bathtub to her right. She can’t deal with them now. And she makes a small incision at the corner of the flap, inserts her finger and runs it along the length of the envelope.

There are two pages inside.

The first piece of paper contains only four words.

Nothing

Important

Happened

Today

And she is grateful to read mail that, for once, is not covered in red ink.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Nothing Important Happened Today to read and review and to Anne Cater of 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. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook chart.

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#Blogtour The Perfect Widow by A.M. Castle @AliceMCastle @HQDigital #The PerfectWidow

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The Perfect Widow by A.M. Castle   HQ Digital 

Louise Bridges has the perfect life.

A loving husband, Patrick. Two adorable children. A comfortable home.

So when PC Becca Holt arrives to break the news that Patrick has been killed in an accident, she thinks Louise’s perfect world is about to collapse around her.

But Louise doesn’t react in the way Becca would expect her to on hearing of her husband’s death. And there are only three plates set out for dinner, as if Louise already knew Patrick wouldn’t be home that night…

The more Becca digs, the more secrets she uncovers in the Bridges’ marriage – and the more she wonders just how far Louise would go to get what she wants…

Is Louise a loving wife – or a cold-hearted killer?

My Review

What is the Perfect Widow? Is the woman who sobs uncontrollably, can’t put one foot in front of the other or is it the woman who seems controlled, void of emotion?

Castle challenged the reader to think about what made a perfect widow, our preconceptions, the life behind the public seemingly happy facade. She Ali questioned our views of the haves and the have nots, how far we might personally go to gain both financial and personal stability, security.

Both of the main characters lacked something in their lives both in the past and the present. Louise, The Perfect Widow was the most complex, a woman who brought herself up as she watched her mum drown in drugs, alcohol and the wrong men. Did I like her? You had to admire her determination and tenacity to hide her past, to push herself out of poverty to get the life she felt she deserved. The other part of me found her cold, even callous as she used those around her, those who taught her how to behave, how to dress, how to be a parent. There was one thing I was certain of and that was the love she had for her children, the need to protect and nurture and give them everything she never had. You did wonder if a different upbringing would have brought about an alternative outcome, and if the perfection she strove towards was just too perfect.

Becca, on the other hand, had a mum who cared and nurtured, but put her down, left her feeling inadequate, less confident. I loved that she was the polar opposite of Louise, a comfort eater, a less than slim body, but both shared that feisty determination and tenacity to achieve. Her obsession to uncover Louise’s supposed crime drove her on, and you could see her gain confidence, fight off the self doubt that had so plagued her.

Their alternating voices gave the novel a wonderful balance, the pursuer versus the perused, who would be victorious, or was that really the point? To some extent yes, after all this was a crime novel and we all wanted to know if Louise was guilty, but it was also about what you would do to protect your children, to fight for the life that you had and did not want to lose. I loved reading the way in which Louise and in particular, Becca’s characters developed, the confidence Becca found, the respect she craved from her peers within her grasp.

The plot was intricate, what you read never superficial, always another layer to be peeled back as the truth or what you thought to be the truth slowly emerged. It definitely wasn’t driven by action, but by a glorious cast of characters driven by their need to succeed and I loved it!

I would like to thank  HQ for a copy of The Perfect Widow to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Alice Castle

Before turning to crime, A.M. Castle had a long career as a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. She grew up in south London and, after a stint in Brussels, she is back where she belongs. As well as writing psychological thrillers, she also writes cosy mysteries as Alice Castle. She is married with two children, two stepchildren and two cats.

 

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#Blogtour The Ex-Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty @sryia_v @PenguinUKBooks #TheExGirlfriend

 

The Ex-Girlfriend

The Ex-Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty   Penguin October 31st 2019

SHE WANTS HIM BACK. SHE WANTS YOU GONE.

Finally, Georgia has found the one. Luke is kind, handsome, and makes her feel safe – which is what she needs after everything she’s been through.

The only problem is his ex-girlfriend.

Luke says Cadence just can’t accept the breakup, and that explains the texts, the emails, the notes…

But then things start to go very wrong – will Cadence really do whatever it takes to get what she wants?

My Review

Tinder has a lot to answer for and that was definitely the case for Georgia as she headed out on a first date, only for him to stand her up and then be rescued by another man.

Was it sheer coincidence or was it something more? Moriarty led us to believe it was the former as Georgia embarked on what she thought was a relationship with the man of her dreams only for Cadence, the ex-girlfriend, to burst their bubble. I loved the Fatal Attraction type scenario as Cadence seemingly wrecked havoc on their lives yet there was that sneaky feeling that Moriarty cleverly injected into my brain that all was not right.

You had to feel sorry for Georgia as her life appeared to be falling apart, as Moriarty inserted little flash backs to past events that began to impact on her life and saw her begin to spiral into despair.

Yet Georgia was one tough woman and somehow Moriarty gave her the resolve to fight back, to discover the truth and justice.

Moriarty didn’t give you the opportunity to draw breath as events and truths unfolded. There was one particular scene that was utterly chilling and vividly described that I shall not forget in a hurry but provided a suitably dramatic finale.

One thing I will take away from this novel is to perhaps stay away from online dating as you never know who you might meet and what might happen!!

I would like to thank Penguin for a copy of The Ex-Girlfriend to read and review and to Sryia Varadharajan for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour

About the author

 

 

Nicola Moriarty is a novelist, copywriter and mum to two small (but remarkably strong-willed) daughters. In between various career changes, becoming a mum and studying at university, she began to write. Now, she can’t seem to stop. The Fifth Letter was her UK debut novel, followed by Those Other Women.

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#Blogtour How To Be Perfect by Holly Wainwright @hollycwain @Legend_Press #HowToBePerfect

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How To Be Perfect by Holly Wainwright  Legend Press   November 1st 2019

Elle is holed up in an exclusive retreat where women pay thousands to mimic her extreme lifestyle, or die trying. But who’s bankrolling Elle’s new empire?  

Abi just wants to marry her true love in the garden on New Year’s Eve. But her ex-husband is building a financial cult in the shed and her teenage daughter’s YouTube channel is gaining followers for all the wrong reasons. 

Frances has a newborn and a WhatsApp mothers’ group that’s giving her anxiety. But she’s certain that if she can just be more like those fitmums on Instagram, things can only get better. 

Enter the world of How to be Perfect… fake gurus, green smoothies and bad influences included.

My Review

We have all seen those Instagram posts, read the blogs about positivity and how wonderful life is but what’s the reality? Holly Wainwright brilliantly captured the two opposites in her novel How To Be Perfect.

She gave us a myriad of characters all looking for perfection, or looking to unmask the perceived perfection.

Frances was the most real of all the characters, the one we could all most identify with. The new mum, who felt fat and frumpy, her identity lost in nappies, feeding and sleep deprivation. We’ve all looked for that miracle cure, spent money on potions and lotions and Frances was no different. I loved her transformation as she visited Elle’s retreat, the slow realisation that perfection didn’t exist, that social media was a front to hide the cracks and the realities of life.

As for Elle, the clean loving guru, you had to laugh at her implausible truths, at the drivel she fed her followers, in her ruthless pursuit of money and selfish gratification. You wondered if she had a heart, if behind the hardened exterior there was one softer and more real waiting to get out.

Abi was also ruthless but in a different, kinder way although her obsession at bringing down Elle sometimes made her seem just as bad. Her family provided the fun factor of the novel, the numerous children running wild, the daughter a YouTube sensation and the ex husband in the shed gave many laughable moments.

That was what I so enjoyed about the novel, the humour laced with the serious, the fickle world of social media exposed. It was also perhaps a cautionary tale of never believing what you see, that reality is often very different and accepting that there are two sides to every story.

I am hoping that Wainwright has other adventures awaiting Abi, Elle and Francis as I loved their chaotic and interesting lives.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of How To Be Perfect to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

 

Holly Wainwright

 

Originally from Manchester Holly lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a journalist and editor, originally  working in travel and celebrity magazines and now online as Head of Entertainment at Mamamia. Holly hosts a parenting podcast and has two small children.

Follow Holly on Twitter @hollycwain

Follow Holly on Instagram @wainwrightholly

How to be Perfect Blog Tour

 

#Blogtour Ghoster by Jason Arnopp @JasonArnopp @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n @Gambit589 #CompulsiveReaders #Ghoster

Ghoster by Jacob Arnopp Orbit 24th October 2019

About the book

Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty flat. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared. 

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his texts, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself. 

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the door that she can’t explain. 

And the growing feeling that she’s being watched . . .

My Review

I have not read anything quite like Ghoster for a long time. It was a real mix of the supernatural, real life and the sometimes brutal and fickle world of social media.

Main protagonist Kate, was your average single woman, a heroic paramedic, who upsticks and moved to Brighton to move in with Scott, a guy first encountered on Tinder before meeting at a holistic retreat. Would I move in with a guy after 4 months, maybe not but this was fiction and where would we be without a bit of drama as Kate discovered an empty flat and no Scott.

With no contact Kate was well and truly Ghosted, something I myself have never encountered but have heard of. Now if it was me I’d cut my losses and go home but not Kate as she discovered Scott’s phone and decided it was time to go back into the world of social media.

Boy did she get more than she bargained for and Arnopp left nothing out as he took us on roller coaster tour of the social media world.

He gave us glimpses into the easily accessible world of porn, of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tinder. The near perfect images percolated from the screen, and you could see how easily Kate had once been drawn in to its addictive world, of the obsessiveness, of following that one person, agonising over the if and buts of failed relationships and the world in general.

This time you felt Kate’s use of social media was for a good cause, as she sought to uncover the disappearance of Scott, yet it came with its own dangers, as Arnopp delighted in his eerie ghostly visions, of chipped wood in front doors. There were the mysterious phone calls which only added to the chilling intensity and bristling fear.

The arrival of her friend Izzy, seemed to push Kate onwards as the novel became darker, and more intense. Where would Arnopp take us next, what would Kate discover and would we have that happy ending we always want?

It was a novel that pushed the bounds of realism, that wasn’t afraid to take risks, pulling the reader along, to a fast and dramatic conclusion.

Arnopp should be congratulated for creating a novel that stepped away from the ordinary, that challenged and entertained.

I would like to thank Orion for a copy of Ghoster to read and review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Jason Arnopp is a British author and scriptwriter. His background is in journalism: he has worked on titles such as Heat, Q, The Word and Kerrang!. He recently co-authored the Black Mirror tie-in book with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones, and has also written comedy for Radio 4 and official tie-in fiction for Doctor Who and Friday the 13th. The cult hit The Last Days of Jack Sparks was the first novel which was entirely Jason’s own fault, and it is followed by the chilling supernatural thriller Ghoster.