#Blogtour The Aladdin Trial by Abi Silver @abisilver16 @EyeAndLightning @EllieFBeadle

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The Aladdin Trial by Abi Silver   Eye and Lightning June 28th 2018

When an elderly artist plunges one hundred feet to her death at a London hospital, the police sense foul play. The hospital cleaner, a Syrian refugee, is arrested for her murder after stolen jewellery is found at his home. He protests his innocence, but why has he given the woman the story of Aladdin to read and why does he shake uncontrollably in times of stress?
Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, the legal duo introduced in Abi Silver’s acclaimed debut The Pinocchio Brief, reunite in The Aladdin Trial to defend a man whom the media has already convicted.
In a spellbinding courtroom confrontation in which they once more grapple with all-too possible developments in artificial intelligence (AI), they uncover not only the cleaner’s secrets, but also those of the artist’s family, her lawyer and the hospital.

My Review

The Aladdin Trial is the second in the Burton and Lamb series but no prior knowledge is required, as straightaway you get a real feel of who Burton and Lamb are.

Lamb is the duty solicitor called into represent Ahmad and I immediately sensed that she was a solicitor who cared about the people she acted on behalf of. Throughout the novel Ahmad and his family became her priority, and the further she became entangled in their lives the more she found out about their nightmare past in Syria. Her personal life appeared somewhat complicated and I think that saddened her and in contrast to Burton made her slightly more human and approachable

Burton was the no nonsense barrister, she was the steadying influence to Lamb’s more buoyant enthusiastic notions regarding the murder trial. You never knew much about her personal life and maybe that came up in the first book, but I felt it made her appear more driven, focused and quite harsh. It perfectly fitted her persona in front of a judge and jury, her questioning of witnesses direct and hardhitting.

Ahmad, was a complex character, shaped by his experiences in Syria and his fear of reprisals should he not be the perfect employee in his hospital cleaning job.  Silver’s portrayal of Ahmad and his family was extremely touching, and their journey to England poignant and heartbreaking. Silver gave the reader a real insight into the hardships faced by refugees in this country, and you could not help but feel huge sorrow for Ahmad and his family.

Silver’s background as a lawyer ensured that the court room scenes were brilliantly accurate, the tension palpable as witnesses were questioned, cross examined and layers of hidden truths slowly peeled back and revealed. I liked that Silver didn’t bog her narrative down with legal jargon, but let the characters tell the story.

Indeed, Mrs Hennessy’s children were instantly dislikeable, totally selfish, and both with secrets that wanted to remain hidden. Their mothers murder seemed almost secondary to their apparent greed and selfishness, and I really did not like them. Add in Mrs Hennessy’s lawyer Brian Bateman and I really did begin to question most of the characters innocence, non of them believable.

Yet Silver didn’t stop there. as the medical professionals who treated Mrs Hennessy were thrown into the mix and I was one very confused reader who had no idea whatsoever who the murderer or murderers could be!!

Silver did a great job in maintaining brilliant tension and suspense throughout and when all was finally revealed it was a real surprise and a great twist.

This is a well written, intelligent and absorbing thriller that is both realistic and thought provoking. I am hoping that the wait will not be long for the the next book featuring Constance Lamb and Judith Burton.

I would like to thank Eye and Lightning for a copy of the book to read and review and to Ellie Beadle for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Abi Silver - Author

ABI SILVER was born in Leeds and is a lawyer by profession. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons. Her first novel, The Pinocchio Brief – also a courtroom drama with an AI twist featuring Judith Burton and Constance Lamb – was a Sunday Times Crime Club pick and is shortlisted for the 2018 Waverton Good Read Award.

If you would like to find out more about Abi Silver and her books you can visit her website http://abisilver.co.uk/

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#Blogtour Butterfly Ranch by R.K Salter @Descend_Orpheus @matadorbooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Butterfly Ranch Cover

Tristan Griffin is a household name and the author of a universally popular detective series. For the past few years he has lived in self-exile in a remote jungle lodge nestled in the Mayan hills of Southern Belize, with his partner Hedda. The novel begins as he attempts suicide and Hedda disappears. Altamont Stanbury, an old Kriol police constable posted to the local backwater of San Antonio, rushes to the scene with his daughter Philomena, the village nurse.

Philomena saves Tristan but he remains unconscious. Altamont, a bumbler and long-time reader of crime novels, launches a half-hearted search for Hedda by radio but decides to remain at the lodge. In truth his reverence for Tristan the writer consumes all else, and he becomes obsessed with the Griffin books he finds at the lodge.

When Tristan comes to, he is distraught and at times delirious, haunted by flashbacks of his uncompromising, cursed love for Hedda and the dark secret behind her disappearance. His anger and increasingly erratic behavior only find respite in the presence of Altamont’s innocent daughter. But he feels nothing but spite for Altamont himself, and the relationship between the two threatens to have fatal consequences for one or both.

My Review

This is a novel that will transport you to the hot and sultry climate of South America, taking you into the minds and actions of a diverse group of characters.

Altamont Stanbury is our main protagonist, a police officer with a penchant for crime novels that kept him occupied during his time on duty in the relative quiet of the back water town of San Antonio. He came across as a bit of a bumbling character, a man biding his time until retirement. He had a seemingly indifferent attitude towards his wife, yet absolute adoration for his daughter, Philomena.

The disappearance of Hedda and the apparent suicide of Tristan Griffin were a dream cone true for Altamont. I expected to feel his frustration at his conflicting role as a police officer and a fan of Tristan’s books but there was none. he appeared perfectly at ease with an unconscious Griffin with whom he could talk to at length about his novels and appeared to have little interest in doing any actual police work. I actually quite liked this angle, it certainly made the novel a little different and it I was actually  I who became frustrated, wanting Altamont to spring into action and actually do something.

I loved Philomena, a young woman with oodles of commonsense and a real sense of duty, not only to her patient but also to her community.

Tristan Griffin, was not a character I liked. He came across as quite selfish and controlling and was the real villain of the novel.

Salter was particularly good at managing the dual timeline throughout. We learnt the history of Griffin and Hedda’s relationship and their reason for living in such splendid isolation. It was interesting to learn about Hedda and like Griffin I was not sure she was a character I particularly liked, their personalities setting them on a trajectory that you just knew would not end well.

Salter’s description of the isolated Butterfly Ranch were wonderfully vivid and his evocation of a climate steeped in heat and humidity, fantastic. Indeed, they added an intensity to the novel and as the humidity increased, so did the tension amongst the characters, leading to a dramatic series of events befitting of any good thriller.

There was a lovely juicy twist at the end, that was just perfect making this a hugely enjoyable novel.

I would like to thank Matador for a copy of the novel to read and review and to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

 

 

About the author

RK Salters - Author Picture

RK Salters grew up in Paris in the 1970s to an Irish émigré father and French mother. He is himself an exile of sorts, having left the roost to study abroad and subsequently lived in a number of countries. His approach to writing is eclectic, drawing influences from classic and contemporary, genre and literary fiction alike, across both sides of the Atlantic.

He is now settled in Lithuania (Baltics), where he earlier met his future wife while exploring the collapsing Soviet Union. He is a passionate traveller and an expedition in Belizean jungles provided the setting for Butterfly Ranch, his first novel.

www.amazon.com/author/rksalters

Twitter: @Descend_Orpheus

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#Blogtour Tubing by K.A McKeagney @kamckeagney @RedDoorBooks

Tubing by K.A McKeagney  RedDoor Publishing  May 10th 2018

Polly, 28, lives in London with her ‘perfect-on-paper’ boyfriend. She works a dead end job on a free London paper… life as she knows it is dull. But her banal existence is turned upside down late one drunken night on her way home, after a chance encounter with a man on a packed tube train. The chemistry between them is electric and on impulse, they kiss, giving in to their carnal desires. But it’s over in an instant, and Polly is left shell-shocked as he walks away without even telling her his name.

Now obsessed with this beautiful stranger, Polly begins a frantic online search, and finally discovers more about tubing , an underground phenomenon in which total strangers set up illicit, silent, sexual meetings on busy commuter tube trains. In the process, she manages to track him down and he slowly lures her into his murky world, setting up encounters with different men via Twitter.

At first she thinks she can keep it separate from the rest of her life, but things soon spiral out of control.

By chance she spots him on a packed tube train with a young, pretty blonde. Seething with jealousy, she watches them together. But something isn’t right and a horrific turn of events make Polly realise not only how foolish she has been, but how much danger she is in…

Can she get out before it’s too late?

My Review

I’m not sure I would like to use the London Underground again after reading Tubing and I doubt the main protagonist Polly would either!

Polly, was a character I found difficult to like, in fact, non of the characters were particularly likeable!

Polly was a woman with issues, a difficult relationship with her mother, a history of self harm and an eating disorder, add in an indifferent and dismissive relationship  with her surgeon boyfriend , Oliver and you had one self absorbed and quite selfish individual. Yes, you could blame her difficult past for her current issues but I think it was her attitude toward her boyfriend that really led me to dislike her.]

It wasn’t until later on in the novel that she somehow redeemed herself, finding the confidence and wherewithall to do something about the situation she found herself in, that I actually began to like her.

The idea of a prearranged sexual encounter with an unknown individual, known as tubing, was well thought out and and gave the premise of the novel a uniqueness that appealed.

Polly’s seemingly unplanned first encounter literally steamed off the pages, and her subsequent entrapments were both graphic and detailed, definitely not for those with a prudish disposition.

If at first Polly found the whole idea of tubing daring, thrilling and all consuming her witness of an event finally exposed her to the danger she found herself in. It was here that the novel took a deep, dark and edgy turn. If the first half was fast paced the second half was even faster. Who could Polly trust, could she stop herself spiraling even further into a trajectory of self destruction, or would she discover some inner strength and self preservation to do something about her predicament?

My page turning became even more frenetic after McKeagney revealed more and the plot thickened. I knew what would happen but that wasn’t important, what was intriguing was how the various strands and complexities of the novel got me there.

I read this novel in two sittings and from the first page to the last I was utterly engrossed. The imagery is fantastic, taking you deep down into the often cramped and oppressive feel of the underground. It had a scintillating and heady mix of eroticism and danger that was brilliantly thrilling.

A great debut and I cannot wait for novel number two!

Thank you to RedDoor Books for a copy of the novel to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

K.A. McKeagney studied psychology in Bristol before completing a Masters degree in creative writing at Brunel. She won the Curtis Brown prize for her dissertation, which formed the basis of her first novel Tubing. She has worked in London as a health editor writing consumer information as well as for medical journals. Her writing has been commended by the British Medical Association (BMA) patient information awards.

She is currently working on her second novel.

#BlogBlitz A Dead American In Paris by Seth Lynch #SalazarMysteries @SethALynch @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles

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A Dead American in Paris by Seth Lynch  Fahrenheit Press  April 9th 2018

Paris. 1931.

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.

He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.

Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

My Review

This is a dark atmospheric novel set in the salubrious cafe’s and backstreets of Paris. Lynch wastes no time in setting the scene, throwing us straight into a murder scene and the introduction of Salazar, the main protagonist of the novel.

Having not read the Salazar, the first in the series, I was a little concerned that I might have needed some prior knowledge, and I think that may have helpful but it in no way affected my enjoyment of the novel.

Salazar himself, was a complex character, with a hint of a dark side, that he perhaps tried to keep hidden or maintain some form of control over. There was the lurking sense of violence just a fingers breath away in his encounters, that sometimes threatened to overwhelm and at times the mask slipped, and the control disappeared. I think if it wasn’t for his loyal girlfriend, Megan, and her influence Salazar  would have ended up in far more scrapes than he actually did. There were hints of a past marred by a first world war spent in the trenches that haunted him, the murderous scenes he visited, reappearing in his nightmares. I admired Lynch’s grasp of this character, a character that fascinated and intrigued me.

If Lynch’s characterisation was good his sense of place and setting was even better. I could smell and feel the smoke filled rooms of the backstreet cafe’s and the grime of the streets. Murder scenes were graphically depicted, the smell of rotting corpses oozing from the pages, and one scene in particular was particularly vivid and nightmare inducing.

The plot itself is complex and Lynch is particularly good at making you think you’ve worked it all about before sending you off in another direction. It was certainly filled with great tension and drama and I particularly enjoyed Salazar’s interaction with Madam Fulton, a woman with a slightly unhinged personality, not immune to creating her own brand of high drama in the novel!

A Dead American In Paris was not just a crime novel, it also had a social conscience, perfectly depicting the anguish women faced over the agonising decision of unwanted pregnancies and the horrors of backstreet abortions. Where Salazar, was pretty black and white in his thoughts and opinions, I admired Lynch’s use of Salazar’s girlfriend Megan as the voice of reason, educating him of the complexities of both moral and emotional dilemmas many women faced at the time.

A Dead American In Paris was a captivating and atmospheric novel, pulling me in to a murky Parisienne underworld that I cannot wait to revisit.

Thank you to Fahrenheit Press for a copy of the novel to read and review and Damp Pebbles for the inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour

About the author

seth lynch

Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich and the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

Seth’s Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethALynch

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sethlynchauthor

Dead American Paris

#Blogour Mad by Chloe Esposito @ChloeJEsposito @PenguinRHUK @BTUkatie #addictive

Mad by Chloe Esposito  Penguin May 31st 2018

Seven days of sin. Seven days of secrets. Seven days to steal her sister’s life.

Beth has always been the golden girl, leaving her identical twin, Alvie, in her shadow. She has everything Alvie ever wanted – the money, the hot husband, the cute baby, the fast car.

So when she invites Alvie for seven sun-drenched days at her luxury villa in Sicily, Alvie accepts. Just because Alvie can’t stand Beth doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy a slice of her decadent lifestyle.

But her usually goody-two-shoes twin has a hidden agenda. And when the sisters swap identities for a day, it ends badly for Beth. Very badly.

It’s Alvie’s chance to steal the life that she deserves . . .

If she can get away with it

My Review

Oh my, I loved this novel. It had everything, sex, drugs, murder, you name it, it all happened.

The whole novel centres around Alvie, twin sister to Beth but less popular, less beautiful, less successful. She obviously had a huge chip on her shoulder, resented her mother’s indifference to her as they were growing up and the less she had to do with Beth the better, but what I loved about Alvie was that she was an opportunist and the loss of her job and a roof over her head sends her flying out to Siciliy and her sisters flash, expensive villa.

In normal novels, you might have expected a big reunion and much sisterly love and yes there is a hint, before absolute chaos ensues. Swapping their identities sets of a chain of events that are what I can only describe as total and utter madness.

I had to forget that what I was reading was based on any kind of reality and instead I immersed myself in a story that had me laughing, cringing and recoiling in horror at Alvie’s escapades

What I loved most was Alvie’s transformation from a down and out individual with no prospects to a self assured, gun toting, criminally minded person out for everything she could get and more. Her personality, and drive leapt from the page and if at first I didn’t like her, I was soon an admirer, gasping at her antics, her audacity and the ludicrousness of the situations she found herself in. If ever there was a character made for the big screen then Alvie was it!

Eposito’s narrative was fast and furious, the imagery just superb. I felt myself transported to the sweltering summer heat of Siciliy, the dark sultry nights just perfect for the odd bit of criminal activity.

The plot itself was full of twist and turns, one twist slightly more outlandish than the last, the pacing at times frenetic and tension filled. My page turning was equally as frenetic as the plot as I raced through the pages eager to discover just what Alvie would do next.

This isn’t a novel for the faint hearted, nor is it a novel steeped in reality. It is a novel that will transport you away from the everyday mundanity of life, hold you in its clutches, put your head in a fast spin before spitting you out unceremoniously at the end, leaving you wanting more of the character that is Alvie.

Thank goodness Esposito has written a sequel, Bad, and I am hoping that it will be even more outlandish and fabulous then Mad!!

Thank you to Katie Ashworth and Penguin for a copy of Mad to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Chloé Esposito is from Cheltenham and now lives in London. She has a BA and MA in English from Oxford University, where her dissertation focused on 19th-century feminist writers. She has been a senior management consultant, an English teacher at two of the UK’s top private schools and a fashion stylist at Condé Nast. She is a graduate of the Faber Academy and is now writing full-time.

Find out if my other fellow bloggers enjoyed Mad just as much as I did by following the blogtour

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#Blogour Brand New Friend by Kate Vane @k8vane

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Brand New Friend by Kate Vane   June 5th 2018

If you wish to purchase the novel just click on the link below. For a limited time only it is just 99p to purchase the Amazon Kindle version

https://mybook.to/brandnewfriend

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s death might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same.

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

My Review

I remember my students days quite vividly, but I am not sure how pleased I would be if a person from those days contacted me and I wound up involved in murder and intrigue. This is exactly what happens to Paolo, taking him on a journey back to the past and a host of people he thought he might never see again.

It’s always interesting to see how authors handle a dual timeline and even more intriguing to see how the two will finally meet. It requires an author of great skill to make the two seem seamless and I have to say that is exactly what Vane achieved. I loved the way she linked the characters from the past to the present, in a complex plotline that she handled with ease.

Paolo, as a character was interesting, from his name change from an ordinary Paul to a glittering career as a TV journalist with the BBC. I particularly like the insights into the workings of a BBC journalist but am not sure BBC Breakfast would be pleased with Vane’s portrayal. I got the impression that Paolo had somehow lost sight of what being a journalist meant for himself and that his involvement with his old friend Mark and subsequent events took him back to his roots, giving him a renewed appreciation for those on the less glamorous side of the profession.

I enjoyed that we got to see how the characters evolved from their student days to  the present, how the events during those mad days in Leeds had affected them and their lives.

Vane kept me firmly on the toes with an extremely intricate plot, throwing in a few red herrings along the way, that spun me first one way and then another. I did think I had worked it all out at one point, but oh no, Vane threw in another twist that had me reeling and rethinking my theories. The last few twists towards the end were particularly good and I was pleased that I had not guessed as this added a little more drama and tension to the novel.

Brand New Friend tackled some serious environmental issues from animal testing to fracking. It would have been quite easy for Vane to overload the narrative with biased viewpoints, and positive and negative opinions but to her credit Vane maintained a balance that didn’t drown out the plotline, but instead added an extra dramatic dimension.

Brand New Friend is a novel driven by characters, it is fast paced, intricate and utterly compelling, and I enjoyed it immensely.

I would like to thank Kate Vane for inviting me to read and review Brand New Friend and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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I’m an independent author living in Devon. I have published three novels, The Former Chief Executive, Not the End and Recognition.

I have written for BBC drama Doctors and have had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

Kate Vane

#Blogtour The Life Of A Banana by PP Wong #PPWong @Legend_Press

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The Life Of A Banana by PP Wong  Legend Press June 1st 2018

Xing Li is what some Chinese people call a banana – yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Although born and raised in London, she never feels like she fits in. When her mother dies, she moves with her older brother to live with venomous Grandma, strange Uncle Ho and Hollywood actress Auntie Mei. Her only friend is Jay – a mixed raced Jamaican boy with a passion for classical music. Then Xing Li’s life takes an even harsher turn: the school bullying escalates and her uncle requests she assist him in an unthinkable favour. Her happy childhood becomes a distant memory as her new life is infiltrated with the harsh reality of being an ethnic minority. Consumed by secrets, violence and confusing family relations, Xing Li tries to find hope wherever she can. In order to find her own identity, she must first discover what it means to be both Chinese and British.

My Review

Imagine being 12 years old, your father is dead and now your mum is dead too. Its just you and your brother and you are sent to live with your estranged Grandmother, Auntie Mei and Uncle Ho. This is the situation Xing Li finds herself in and oh, how she tugged at my heartstrings.

All this young girl wanted was love and comfort in her grief, instead she got a Grandmother who was harsh, strict and seemingly lacking in any emotion. Uncle Ho had serious mental issues and Auntie Mei, although sympathetic was to busy with her acting career. To make matters worse Xing Li is the subject of intense bullying at her new private school with teachers and her Grandmother seemingly reluctant to do anything about it. her one saving grace was the friendship with Jay, another mixed race student who befriends her, understands her and helps her to deal with the bullies.

Ok, so that all sounds utterly depressing, and yes it is but what Wong does so well is mix in some great one liners and some brilliant humour, primarily supplied by Xing Li’s Grandmother. In fact, her Grandmother was my favourite character. A woman steeped in tradition, and an attitude on certain aspects on life that had me chuckling away to myself. She is a character with a harsh exterior but with a soft centre hidden deep down in the depths of her persona.

I loved Auntie Mei who appeared superficial on the surface, ruled over by the iron will of her mother, yet inderneath she was the only one who showed Xing Li any love, who harboured deep regrets but appeared reluctant or unable to do anything about them.

Xing Li’s brother was our typical teenage rebel, getting into trouble, before being banished from the house leaving Xing Li alone.  It would have been very easy for Wong to allow Xing Li to wallow in self pity and plummet to the the depths of despair. In a way she did, but what stood out for me was Xing Li’s tenacity, her bravery and her strength. Somehow a series of revelations and events force Xing Li to take control of her life to look beyond the harsh exterior of her Grandmother. More importantly Wong used Xing Li to highlight the racism and ignorance that mixed race people encounter in our society, how much harder it is for them to be accepted and to fit in. Wong didn’t labour the point but allowed the characters to tell the story in a narrative that was brilliantly compelling and completely immersive.

She made me feel a huge range of emotions from anger and disbelief to laughter and hope. Its a novel full of insight and hope and is funny and brilliant.

I would like to thank Imogen Harris and Legend Press for a copy to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

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PP Wong was born in London in 1982. Her parents, both Chinese and originally from Singapore, moved between London and Asia during her childhood. PP Wong is now a writer and is also editor of www. bananawriters.com, a platform to encourage new East
Asian and South East Asian writers with thousands of readers from over 30 different countries.

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#Blogtour The Visitors by Catherine Burns @C_Burnzi @Legend_Press

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The Visitors by Catherine Burns  Legend Press June 1st 2018

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John, in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar. Until suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden. As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side.

My Review

If you are looking for a fast paced action packed thriller then this is not the book for you. If on the other hand you like a novel that is full of suspense, and hints of something truly sinister with characters who are dark and chilling then you are going to love The Visitors.

Before that I became immersed in the story of Marion, an almost childlike fifty something with low self-esteem little confidence and totally ruled by her elder brother, John.

Marion does everything for John, cooking, washing and generally pandering to his every demand, with an awareness that what he does in the cellar is not nice burying the knowledge deep within herself, denying its existence. What intrigued from the outset was how Marion ended up in her present situation, the reasons for her lack of action and lethargy, and what a back story she had!

Burns Portrayal of a family with little or no apparent love and affection, particularly, for Marion was superb. It was almost as if the family existed in their own world, with their own rules, an oddity in an increasingly modern world. I loved the image Burns conjured of Marion’s mother, a woman who adored her son, yet remained indifferent to her daughter, her ideas somehow slightly warped, and you knew exactly why Marion was the way she was.

Marion herself, at first glance, seemed one dimensional, what you saw is what you got, but it wasn’t long before Burns began to drop little hints and subtle undertones of a woman with many sides, of something more sinister lurking underneath. I wanted to scream at her to stop aiding her brother, to stand up for herself and break away and when John had a heart attack, I urged her on, as she gained more confidence before recoiling in horror at subsequent events and the real Marion emerged.

I felt I had more questions than answers as the novel drew to a close, not in an unsatisfying way but in a manner that let my imagination run riot. I liked that I felt a distinct chill run down my spine as I read and the underlying menace in the narrative was superbly done. Its compelling and immersive and I am hoping that it will not be long before Burns’ produces another novel.

I would like to thank Imogen Harris and Legend Press for a review copy to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blog tour.

About The Author

Burns

Residing in Manchester, Catherine Burns is a graduate of Trinity College Cambridge. She worked as a bond trader in London before studying at the Moscow Institute of Film, and teaching film theory at Salford University. The Visitors is her debut novel.
Follow Catherine on Twitter@C_Burnzi

Discover what my other fellow bloggers thought about The Visitors by following the blogtour.

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#Blogtour The Gravity Of Love by Noelle Harrison @NoelleHarrison @bwpublishing @LinaLanglee

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The Gravity of Love by Noelle Harrison  Black and White Publishing  May 24th 2018

Arizona, 1989

Joy Sheldon loves the plants that bloom in the desert but dreams too of the sea’s elemental wildness. Now, riven by terrible secrets, Joy embarks on a journey to seek her identity and to discover why the sea pulls at her heart.

London, 1967

Lewis Bell, a young graphic designer, is aiming for the big time if only he can keep his creative spark. But, as his talented girlfriend Marnie adds her own pressures, sixties Soho fast shows its darker side.

Ireland, 1989

Drawn together, Joy and Lewis fly across the Atlantic to the Irish coast. She’s in search of a lost mother; he’s looking for a lost love. They need to make peace with the past, themselves and others. But the truths they encounter will transform everyone’s lives forever.

Bold, intimate and joyful. This glorious novel tells an unforgettable story of love’s true gravity.

My review

What’s not to love about a book cover featuring a beautiful green coat and a hummingbird broach and how intriguing to wonder just what the significance of the two could be, I thought as I opened the first pages of The Gravity Of Love.

Straightaway I was introduced to the two main characters, Joy and Lewis, and soon swept away in their stories of discovery. Lewis sought his long lost love, the love of his life, and Joy the mother she never knew about, who seemingly handed her over for adoption many years ago.

What I found amazing was that they could live in such a small Arizona desert town but not know each other until a sequence of events threw them together and I could instantly sense some chemistry between them. Where would it take them, what consequences would it have for them and their families?

I immediately liked Joy, a woman who knew no other life than being married and raising her children, who wondered what was next when those children flew the nest and all that was left was you and your husband. I felt Harrison really got to the very heart of Joy, her grief for her father so eloquently described and her turmoil as she questioned who she was, if her marriage was as happy as she thought it was and what her future held.

Lewis on the other hand was likeable but as Harrison delved into his past, you had to question his attitude towards women, his egocentric behaviour, his need to succeed at the cost of the one person he loved. As Harrison delved even deeper his unhappy childhood, and the loss of his sister perhaps explained some of his behaviour and drove him to do what he did, and yes, you felt sorry for him but there was always just a little bit of frustration and annoyance as you read. This was in no way a bad thing, in fact, it made me feel somehow more connected to the story and his character.

It was Harrison’s continual thoughts on the role of women both in the work place and in marriage that made this novel more than a simple love story. As she took us back to sixties London and then to 1989 you had to wonder how much had actually changed, and how hard it was for women to achieve in business or breakaway from the traditional role of housewife. I found myself urging Joy onwards, to break free, to realise her potential and be who she wanted to be.

As a lovestory, Gravity of Love ticked all the boxes. It brilliantly portrayed Joy and Eddies’ teenage love, and the all consuming passion of Lewis and Marnie, as they hid their relationship from those around them. I loved the poignancy and emotion of Joy and Lewis’s relationship, the respect they had for each other but also the bewilderment they both felt at new emotions, feelings and the rights and wrongs of what they were doing

Their flight to Ireland and subsequent discoveries never felt contrived and indeed the final revelation is one that took me totally by surprise. It also left me wanting more, I wanted to know what was to become of Joy and Lewis, of the people they met on their journey and what the future held for them.

I f you want a poignant novel of love, self discovery and beautiful settings then The Gravity of Love is for you, I loved it.

Thank you to Lina Langlee and Black and White Publishing for a copy of the novel to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Noelle Harrison 1 (c) Chloe Martina Salvi - cropped low res

Born in London, I moved to Ireland in 1991, shortly afterwards setting up the theatre company Aurora. I have written four stage plays, Northern Landscapes, Black Virgin, Runaway Wife and The Good Sister, and one short film, Blue Void. I have also written extensively on visual art in Ireland, contributing to various journals and artists’ catalogues over the years.

In August 2004 my first novel Beatrice was published by Tivoli/ Pan Macmillan. My second novel, A Small Part Of Me, was published by Tivoli / Pan Macmillan in September 2005. My third novel I Remember was published by Pan Macmillan in September 2008. The Adulteress was published by Pan Macmillan in September 2009, and The Secret Loves of Julia Caesar, an illustrated limited edition novella was published in 2012.

Having lived in Bergen in Norway for several years, in September 2012 Beatrice was published by Juritzen Forlag in Norwegian. My Noelle Harrison novels have also been translated and published in Italy, Germany, Holland, and Hungary.
I am also published under the pen name Evie Blake and my Valentina Trilogy has been published in over 13 countries worldwide.

In 2014 I was one of 56 Irish Writers included in the anthology and exhibition Lines of Vision Irish Writers on Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, and published by Thames & Hudson.

I currently live in Edinburgh in Scotland, and I am one of the founders of Aurora Writers’ Retreats .

Discover what my other fellow blogger thought about the Gravity of Love by following the tour

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