#Blogtour The Lost Letters of William Woolf @wordsofhelen @MichaelJBooks @BTUkatie

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The Lost Letters Of William Woolf by Helen Cullen  Michael Joseph July 12th 2018

Lost letters have only one hope for survival . . .

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries. Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names – they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning.

Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.

My Review

Do you think they still have a lost letters department at the Royal Mail? I would like to think they do, and I think it would be a job that I, myself would love, just like William Woolf.

Woolf reminded me of an academic such was the way in which Cullen described his appearance, in some ways he seemed older than he actually was.  A failed writer, he appeared to be a man who had slightly lost his way, become stuck in a rut, afraid to take a chance and move on.

He was a bit like his marriage, stale, lost in the minutiae of everyday life, two people drifting apart, not sure how or if they can bring it all back together.

Claire was William’s complete opposite, a high flying lawyer, resentful of William’s lack of ambition and their small flat. I did wonder if William or Claire or even both of them would frustrate me and that I would become inpatient, willing them to sort themselves out. Instead Cullen crafted a narrative that was both poignant and emotive. Both had their dilemmas, to stay or to go and it was only in the retelling of their separate journeys that you slowly began to understand them. It was William’s story that really stood out for me, his discovery of a series of love letters from the mysterious Winter, allowed me to really see who William was, as he dug deep within himself, questioning his life and his love for Claire.

I particularly loved the way in which Cullen interspersed the myriad of lost letters within the story, making this novel more than just about a marriage. It was also the perfect way in which to see the real William and his sensitivity towards others, and the importance he put on ensuring the mail reached the intended persons.

It was a novel that had a huge heart, and one in which I desperately wanted a happy outcome for William and Claire. Cullen cleverly kept me guessing, with a will they or won’t they theme throughout and I will admit to being just a little inpatient, furiously turning the pages to discover the outcome.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and would love to see it adapted for TV, as it would make a brilliant drama series.

I cannot wait for what Cullen will write next and hope she does not leave it too long before novel number 2 appears.

I would like to thank Michael Joseph for a copy to read and review and to Katie Ashworth for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Helen Cullen is an Irish writer living in London.

She worked at RTE (Ireland’s national broadcaster) for seven years before moving to London in 2010. In the UK, Helen established a career as an events and engagement specialist before joining the Google UK marketing team in 2015.

Her debut novel, ‘The Lost Letters of William Woolf’ will be published in 2018.

The first draft of this novel was written while completing the Guardian/UEA novel writing programme under the mentorship of Michèle Roberts. Helen holds an M.A. Theatre Studies from UCD and is currently completing an M.A. English Literature at Brunel University.

Helen is now writing full-time and working on her second novel.

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#Blogtour Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Gina Kirkham @GinaGeeJay @UrbanePub #LoveBooksGroup #wtf #hilarious #doughnuts

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Gina Kirkham Urbane Publications July 19th 2018

The laughter continues to flow in Gina Kirkham’s brilliant sequel to the wonderful Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong.

Our hapless heroine Constable Mavis Upton is preparing to step down the aisle with her fiancé Joe, but has to deal with her temperamental teen daughter, as well as investigate a serial flasher on a push bike. Throw a diva drag queen into the mix and readers can expect the usual hilarious Mavis mishaps that made the first book such a hit.

Revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving stories of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.

Revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving stories of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.

My Review

I feel it my duty to issue a warning to all prospective readers of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Please make sure you have tissues at the ready and be prepared for funny looks if you chose to read in public! Why you might ask?? Well, this book is funny, seriously funny. At one point I was sat in my local Cafe Nero’s literally crying with laughter.

The characters are just brilliant, none better than Mavis, a larger than life police constable with one teenage daughter and a fiance. She was soon joined by a long lost father with dementia, with whom she had to reconcile her differences and attempt to form a relationship. She constantly made me laugh out loud with her penchant for Primark thongs and brilliant one line responses to her work colleagues. There is one particular scene involving underwear that was just hysterical and I defy anyone not to find it funny!

Yet, it wasn’t all fun and laughter as Kirkham showed an emotional and heartbreaking side to Mavis’s story. It was her relationship with her Father and how Mavis came to terms with his dementia diagnosis that added emotion and poignancy to the novel. Add in her grief for a much loved Mother, whose grave she visited and talked to, and Kirkham gave us a glimpse of a woman with huge depths and an ability to forgive, and make the best of the circumstances she faced.

The novel takes place over a number of years, and is dominated by the police’s inability to catch a serial flasher. I do not wish to reveal too much but all I will say is that it may change your outlook on doughnuts forever!

It became Mavis’s obsession to catch the flasher and Kirkham certainly had me guessing throughout as to whom it might be. Kirkham’s tension filled, dramatic and hilarious ending was superb, and will live with me for sometime to come!

Kirkham’s narrative is fast and furious with a perfect balance of funny and serious. If you are going on holiday it is a novel that I would very definitely be packing in my suitcase and reading on the beach or by the pool.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was absolutely brilliant and I cannot wait for the next installment.

I would like to thank Urbane Publications for a copy of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot to read and review and to Love Books Group for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Gina Kirkham Author Image

Gina Kirkham was born on the Wirral in the not-so-swinging 50’s. Being the less adventurous of three children, she remains there to this day. Trundling a bicycle along a leafy path one wintry day, a lifelong passion to be a police officer gave her simultaneously an epiphany and fond memories of her favourite author Enid Blyton and moments of solving mysteries. Thus began an enjoyable and fulfilling career with Merseyside Police. On retirement she put pen to paper to write a book based on her experiences as a police officer. And so Mavis Upton was born…

Social Media links:

Website: https://ginakirkham.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GinaGeeJay
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ginakirkham/

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#Blogtour Retribution Road by Antonin Varenne @maclehosepress @CorinnaZifco

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Retribution Road by Antonin Varenne

We owe you our lives, Sergeant, but you are our worst nightmare . . .”

Burma, 1852. Sergeant Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled – his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman’s mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: “Survival”. But for all that, only a handful escape with their lives.

Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word “Survival” has been daubed in blood by the body’s side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.

From the Burmese jungle to the slums of London to the conquest of the Wild West, Antonin Varenne takes us on a thrilling journey full of sound and unabated fury, reviving the lapsed tradition of the great writers of boundless adventure. Sergeant Bowman belongs to that breed of heroes who inhabit the imaginations of Conrad, Kipling, Stevenson . . . Lost soldiers who have plunged into the heart of darkness and will cross the globe in search of vengeance and redemption.

Translated from the French by Sam Taylor

My Review

The first thing I need to mention about this novel, is that it is dark, very dark. It contained a myriad of dark themes of torture, murder, war, violence, drugs and alcoholism, but do not let that put you off because within these pages is a story that will take you from the backstreets of London to the plains of the American Wild West.

It was these wonderful settings that really made the book stand out. The images conjured up by Varenne were simply brilliant. His description of London’s Great Stink were superb and I could not help but recoil in revulsion as he described the effluence that ran through the streets and cellars and the awful conditions that the poorer residents of London had to endure. What it did do was to plunge the novel into even murkier, darker depths that did make me wonder if it would ever emerge into some lightness.

The characters, themselves were dark and none more darker than Sergeant Arthur Bowman, a man haunted by events in Burma, now a policeman, deep in the depths of depression, drowning in alcohol and drugs just to get through his life.

The discovery of a body with the same torture marks as himself force Bowman to take action and it his journey to track down his fellow soldiers who shared the trauma’s of Burma that form the backbone of Retribution Road.

As we followed Bowman’s journey so we got to know the man and at first he was not a man that I particularly liked. Bowman was a man who cared little for his appearance, for the impact his actions may have had on others, he was rough and prone to the odd bit of violence, yet as the story unfolded little glimmers of a man who was slowly coming to terms with his past, who wanted more from life, started to emerge. I loved the way in which Varenne used the journey in America to peel away Bowman’s many layers, and the tension and drama that slowly built as he got closer and closer to his quarry.

I have to admit to some impatience as Bowman’s journey drew to a close, wanting to discover the ending, only to have my own predicted outcomes thrown out by the subtle twist near the end.

This is not a novel that you can hurry, it is a novel that demands concentration and time to appreciate the detail of the settings, of the complexities of human emotion that spilled from the pages. It is a novel that took me totally by surprise, not only with the harshness of the characters and its themes, but also with the its sense of hope, redemption and as the title so aptly describes, retribution.

Having not read any of Varenne’s previous novels, I shall definitely be seeking them out to read.

I would like to thank MacLehose Press for a copy of the novel to read and review and to Corinna Zifco for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Antoine

Antonin Varenne was awarded the Prix Michel Lebrun and the Grand Prix du Jury Sang d’encre for Bed of Nails, his first novel to be translated into English. His second, Loser’s Corner was awarded the Prix des Lecteurs Quais du polar – 20 minutes and the Prix du Meilleur Polar Francophone.

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#Blogtour Dead of Night by Michael Stanley @detectivekubu @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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Dead of Night by Michael Stanley  Orenda Books  July 15th 2018

When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, while searching for her missing colleague. But, within a week, she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that may hold the key to everything. Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the
local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late. She has a shocking story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it…
Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller that exposes one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…

My review

Rhinos and their horns are an extremely valuable commodity, worth millions in an underground market, poachers stopping at nothing to garner the huge rewards. We all have an opinion, many agreeing that it is wrong, but do we really know the whole story of poaching in South Africa? Do we know what it means for the people who live there, the poachers, and ultimately, the animals themselves?

Dead of Night is a novel that attempted to tell us the whole story, and it did so in an extremely informative and well balanced way. I learnt things that I had never even considered before, and on many levels it was extremely thought provoking. The facts and information were cleverly interwoven into the thrilling action of the story, never overwhelming the reader and, whilst I am sure Michael Stanley exercised some degree of artistic licence, I am certain that much of what they wrote was based on well -documented reality.

The pace was fast and at times quite frenetic, the action  relentless as Crys attempted to track down not only the poachers but also her colleague Michael.

Crys, herself,  was one brave and determined character, who would stop at nothing to discover the truth no matter what danger she placed herself in. I loved her quick thinking practicality, but above all her naivety about corruption, the rhino trade and the desperation of the many people who worked in the lodges and game reserves who were willing to risk all, to earn money for their families.

I particularly liked the multi dimensional feel that the characters gave to the novel, who represented the differing factions within the novel, giving it its balanced approach.

What stood out for me was the wonderful settings and in particular, the stunning scenes of Africa, the games reserves and the amazing animals that Crys encountered. I loved the way in which the authors described the beauty of the magnificent elephants and rhino, graceful, yet tinged with a danger possessed by all animals in the wild.

Vietnam may not have had the same beauty and stunning settings as Africa, yet you could still sense the bustling street and wonderful food aromas that Crys encountered.

As I have already mentioned the pace of the novel is frenetic at times and this was especially so as I reached the latter parts. I quickly began to piece all the varying strands together and the authors even threw in a little surprise, that I didn’t guess.

This is a wonderful fast paced novel, with settings that set alight your imagination. It is a novel that not only entertains but informs and one that I enjoyed immensely.

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

About the author

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Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both
were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. On a
flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a
wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their
first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the
Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards,
including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and
their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for
an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’
award. Dead of Night is their first stand-alone thriller.

Follow the blogtour to discover the the thoughts of my fellow bloggers.

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#Blogtour Blind Justice by Alex Tresillian @Alex_Tresillian @urbanebooks #LoveBooksGroupTours

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Blind Justice by Alex Tresillian  Urbane Publications  July 5th 2018

Superstar Paralympian Fiona Mackintosh Green retires from wheelchair racing to set up Forward Roll – a charity to help disabled people achieve self-respect through sport. However, question marks surround some of the charity’s major donors, and Niall Burnet, visually impaired journalist, is sent in under cover to work for the organisation and find out more.

What he finds is danger at the hands of a pharmaceutical giant involved in the development of undetectable performance-enhancing drugs. Niall’s investigating soon stirs old enemies who lurk on the streets of London, and when his girlfriend takes up a position at the British Association for the Blind, it triggers a chain of events that leads inexorably towards threats on their very lives…

My Review

Imagine my surprise when I realised the customer who had asked if he could put a poster up on our library notice board for his book signing was non other than Alex Tresillian. It took me a moment or two to realise but when I did I rushed over and blurted out that I was about to read Blind Justice and participate in the blogtour!

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the book signing, but I am sure it was a huge success.

Blind Justice was a novel that hooked me from the first page, the subjects it covered both interesting and thought provoking. The subject of sport and drug taking to enhance performance is, it seems never out of the news and much of this novel dealt with just this topic. What I particularly liked was that Tresillian gave a balanced viewpoint never pushing the negatives at the reader but succinctly portraying the thought processes behind those who clearly have no qualms about using artifical means to enhance their performance.

The two sides of the argument were a great tool by which Tresillian could bring out the various characteristics of his characters. Nate, the coach,was a prime example, a man always tinged with bad press, forceful, nasty and really not very likeable. I wasn’t quite sure about his wife Fiona, at times I liked her, at other times I found her cold and calculating, but I guess as a retired paraathlete she had to be this way in order to succeed.

It was the main characters, Niall and Miranda who were the stars of the novel. A couple who were not quite sure why they lived together or if in fact they actually loved each other. Niall’s undercover job offered them a chance of a new start but only seemed to widen the cracks in their already fractured relationship.

Niall, was at times irritating and frustrating, and at first he came across as selfish and self absorbed but as the novel progressed I found that I liked him more, found him to be much stronger and purposeful. His blindness wasn’t his main issue, and to Tresillian’s credit there were instances when I forgot that he had no sight. What his blindness did do was heighten his other senses and Tresillian skillfully wove these into the story giving the novel a unique and completely different perspective from others in the genre.

Miranda, was Niall’s opposite, caring, and thoughtful thinking more of Niall than herself. Having not read the first novel and unaware of Miranda’s back story, I sensed that she felt guilty about having her sight back and maybe felt somehow beholden to Niall. As the story unfolded you could sense her growing confidence, her need to sort out her own life, to discover who she wanted to be.

At times it felt as if there were two separate stories within one novel, that of Niall and the other Miranda, each trying to sort out their lives, yet converging at points to work together to try and uncover the truth about the Forword Roll charity. You might have thought it would make the novel disjointed and bitty but Tresillian’s skill was the way in which he handled the two strands, and wove them seamlessly together.

I found the novel fast paced and totally immersive, and the themes of disability brilliantly done, and thought provoking, providing the novel with a perspective and feel that was totally unique.

I shall be adding my copy of Blind Justice to the stock at Malvern Library and recommending this fabulous local author to all our customers!

I would like to thank Urbane Publications for a copy of Blind Justice to read and review and Love Books Group Tour for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Alex Tresillian Author Image

Alex grew up in rural England with a dream to write for a living which never quite came true. He has enjoyed incarnations as a theatre publicity officer, restaurant manager, teacher, teacher trainer, and curriculum developer. Along the way Alex wrote five plays that were performed by students including one, Never Mind the Rain Forests, that was enthusiastically reviewed (3 stars) at the Edinburgh Fringe. Another, Gavin’s Kingdom, received a professional workshop production at the Birmingham Rep. Plays Into Shakespeare, a book for English and Drama teachers that introduced students to the characters in Shakespeare’s plays through short modern-English ‘additional’ scenes, was published by First and Best in Education in 2007.

Alex moved to Abu Dhabi in 2008 with a Lebanese international education company that had a contract to train English teachers and develop curriculum materials. Latterly moved to their Academic Development office in Beirut and wrote two series of books for students from ages eight to sixteen – one on grammar and one on the art of writing. He is now living with his wife of many years in Worcestershire, his children pursuing careers in education, fashion, charity fundraising and web development in places as disparate as Beijing, London and Chesterfield. Alex also enjoys writing stories for his young grandchildren.

Social Media links:

Website: https://urbanepublications.com/authors/alex-tresillian/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alex_Tresillian
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#Blogtour Testament by Kim Sherwood @kimtsherwood @QuercusBooks @AnaBooks #emotive #poignant #stunning

Testament by Kim Sherwood   Riverrun July 12th 2018

Of everyone in her complicated family, Eva was closest to her grandfather: a charismatic painter – and a keeper of secrets. So when he dies, she’s hit by a greater loss – of the questions he never answered, and the past he never shared.

It’s then she finds the letter from the Jewish Museum in Berlin. They have uncovered the testimony he gave after his forced labour service in Hungary, which took him to the death camps and then to England as a refugee. This is how he survived.

But there is a deeper story that Eva will unravel – of how her grandfather learnt to live afterwards. As she confronts the lies that have haunted her family, their identity shifts and her own takes shape. The testament is in her hands.

Kim Sherwood’s extraordinary first novel is a powerful statement of intent. Beautifully written, moving and hopeful, it crosses the tidemark where the third generation meets the first, finding a new language to express love, legacy and our place within history.

My Review

It is an absolute privilege to be kicking of the blogtour for Testament, a novel that will not leave me for a very long time.

There is so much to talk about in this novel, that I am not quite sure where to start or if my review will even do justice to the power within the pages of  Testament, but I shall try my best.

Essentially Testament was a story of the Jews and the aftermath of the terrible atrocities they endured during World War II and their struggle to comprehend and attempt to live a normal life. Sherwood used the two brothers, Jozsef and Lazlo, to show a life of two extremes, Jozsef and his desperate need to forget and move on, Lazlo and his need to remember, to never forget what happened to them. I loved how Sherwood gave them totally opposite lives, totally opposite perspectives, how she used it to heighten the tension, to show two sides of an argument, challenging me to think what I would have done, how I would have coped.

Sherwood didn’t pull any punches when describing the long distance marches, the camps and the sights Lazlo and Jozsef had to endure. The graphic imagery emanated from the pages as I read, and at times I recoiled in horror, wondering how the human race could be so cruel. I questioned the attitudes of both Lazlo and Jozsef, on the one hand wishing Lazlo could learn to bury the past and on the other hand how you could just get on with your life as if nothing ever happened, never tell anyone, but live a life built on lies like Jozsef. I came to the conclusion that neither were right, that it was their way of coping, the only way that they could get out of bed in the morning and survive.

The person I felt most empathy for was Jozsef’s granddaughter, Eva, who not only had to cope with the death of her beloved grandfather, but also come to terms with the fact that her grandfather was not the person who she thought he was. Her journey across Europe and her discoveries were incredibly moving, so very poignant, and at times I felt myself close to tears.

I loved the slow peeling back of the many layers that made up her grandfather’s life, how it shaped him and, how her own attitude towards him and her life changed the more she unearthed. The descriptions of the locations she visited and particularly that of Budapest were vivid and wonderful, and at times I felt I was right there with Eva,  feeling the same emotions, seeing the same things that she saw.

You  might think that The Testament is just too grim and depressing a read and yes, at times it was, but interwoven with the darkness Sherwood dropped little glimmers of hope, of redemption and of love. You see, it was not just Jozsef and Lazlo’s story it was also Eva’s story, how she came to terms with her own past, and her difficult relationship with her father. She may not have endured the horrors of her grandfather and her uncle, but she still had to come to terms with how their lives affected hers, and to discover for herself what direction her own life would take, to find her own way to forgive and accept.

Ultimately Testament is an important novel, a reminder of what Jews endured at the hands of a regime hellbent on wiping them out, of their tenaciousness and utter determination to survive. Sherwood’s writing is immersive, and compelling, filled with emotion and poignancy and I defy anyone not to be affected by the words that they read.

Testament is simply stunning.

I would like to thank Riverrun for a copy of Testament to read and review and to Ana McLaughlin for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author
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Kim Sherwood was born in Camden in 1989 and lives in Bath. She studied Creative Writing at UEA, is now Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, and teaches prisoners. Her pieces have appeared in MslexiaLighthouse, and Going Down Swinging. Kim began researching and writing Testament, her first novel, after her grandfather, the actor George Baker, passed away and her grandmother began to talk about her experiences as a Holocaust Survivor for the first time. It won the 2016 Bath Novel Award.

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#Blogtour Gone To Ground by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett #damppebblestours

Gone to Ground Cover MEDIUM WEB_previewGone To Ground by Rachel Amphlett  Saxon Publishing  July 8th 2018 While attending a crime scene on the outskirts of Maidstone, DI Kay Hunter makes a shocking discovery. The victim has been brutally cut to pieces, his identity unknown. When more body parts start turning up in the Kentish countryside, Kay realises the disturbing truth – a serial killer is at large and must be stopped at all costs. With no motive for the murders and a killer who has gone undetected until now, Kay and her team of detectives must work fast to calm a terrified local population. When a third victim is found, her investigation grows even more complicated. As she begins to expose a dark underbelly to the county town, Kay and her team are pulled into a web of jealousy and intrigue that, if left unchecked, will soon claim another life. Gone to Ground is a gripping serial killer thriller full of page-turning suspense, and the sixth book in the Detective Kay Hunter British detective series:

  1. Scared to Death
  2. Will to Live
  3. One to Watch
  4. Hell to Pay
  5. Call to Arms
  6. Gone to Ground

My ReviewOk, so I’m late to the party and this is my first foray into the world of newly promoted Detective Inspector Kay Hunter. I embarked on my reading of Gone to Ground with no prior knowledge of Kay and her life, nor her team of detectives. Would I have missed out on anything? Maybe a little, as it would have been good to know how she won her promotion and how the relationships within her team had formed over numerous cases. Having said all that, no previous knowledge is required as Gone To Ground stands very firmly on its own.It is a novel that doesn’t pull any punches with graphic detail of the various body parts that begin to turn up. Amphlett’s descriptions, particularly of those who discovered the the crime scenes were brilliantly done and I could almost see the shock and horror on their faces. The big question, of course was who was responsible for the the crimes?Hunters’ investigation and her techniques revealed a lot about her character. She was a detective who loved to work with her team, not for her the bureaucracy and tedium of emails, interviews and endless management meetings. What it did show was her dogged determination and tenaciousness in bringing the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice and that is what I liked about her. She was a woman who stood her ground and beleived in the actions she took.Hunter’s personal life was a happy one and this made a welcome change from the many crime novels I have read. It enabled Amphlett to concentrate on the minutiae of the investigation.The investigation itself, was at times torrid and fast paced, the detectives as well the reader wondering when the big break through would come. The myriad of possible suspects made deciphering the guilty difficult and it wasn’t until the latter part of the novel when I started to form my own ideas. I did guess, but certainly didn’t guess the motive, and I thought this was quite a unique twist, and very well done by Amphlett.The narrative was full of tension and drama winding up to a fantastic ending that had me furiously turning pages to discover what would happen next.I did have one thought as I was reading and thought that Gone to Ground would make a great TV drama, so visual was Amphlett’s writing.My only negative, is that I waited so long before discovering Rachel Amphlett and her Kay Hunter series.I would like to thank Saxon Publishing for a copy of Gone To ground to read and review and to damppebblestours for inviting My Bookisg Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.About the authorrachel amphlett Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant. She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series. Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza, Ken Follett, and Stuart MacBride. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag. Her novels are available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from worldwide retailers including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play. A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance!Social Media:Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelAmphlettFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelamphlett.author/Website: https://www.rachelamphlett.com/Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rachel-Amphlett/e/B005EK7TRI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1528972893&sr=8-1Gone to Ground

#Blogtour An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim @thea_lim @QuercusBooks @AnaBooks

An Ocean of Minutes (UK) - Thea LimAn Ocean Of Minutes by Thea Lim  Quercus June 28th 2018On September 1981, Polly and Frank arrive at the time travel terminal at Houston Intercontinental Airport. One will travel, and one will stay.

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, Polly will do whatever it takes to save her lover, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a divided America, with no status and no money, Polly is desperate to find Frank. But as danger mounts and her search demands unthinkable sacrifice, she must ask herself: what does it cost to hold on to the past, and what does it cost to let it go?

An Ocean of Minutes is a timely exploration of migration and the wrenching love story of two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.

My Review

Before I even opened An Ocean of Minutes my eyes were instantly drawn to the cover. It was a cover that stood out due to its simplicity, yet I knew it contained a myriad of hidden meanings that I hoped the story would uncover.

And, yes this is a story that has many levels, the primary being that of love, and its true meaning not just in general but what it means to us on an individual basis. For Polly it is her love for her boyfriend Frank and the need to save him from certain death from a flu pandemic sweeping America. Unwilling to leave him to the vagaries of the public health care system, but give him the best care possible Polly signed up to and was transported to the future and 1993, agreeing  where and when they will meet when Frank finally catches up with her. But as we know the course of true love is never smooth and Polly finds herself in 1998, 5 years later, and a world so different from the one she left.

It is a world that I was instantly transported to, such were the vivid descriptions and imagery used by Lim. Polly’s frustration at not being able to make a simple phone call, send a letter, emanates from the pages and you have to read through gritted teeth as she meets brick wall after brick wall in her search for Frank.

The relationships she formed with her fellow time travellers are somehow more meaningful as they fight for food, sanity and survival, but it is her relationship with Norberto that is the most engaging and interesting. He is a man who she perhaps would not have been friends with in normal circumstances, but a mutual understanding led them to help one another. The consequences of their actions created some of the most dramatic moments in the novel and they had me literally turning the pages as quickly as possible to find out what happened next.

The latter parts of the novel are mesmerising, and emotive but I shall say no more for fear of revealing any spoilers!

This is a novel that had so much depth to it. It was thought provoking and hugely emotive, and certainly made me think about what love means to me and what I would do or feel if I was in the same situation.

The dystopian aspect is brilliantly done and I particularly liked that we weren’t sent somewhere into the future but back to a time that was so different from what I myself remembered. It was almost like having all the nice things and even some of the basics in your life stripped away, laying you bare to yourself and your emotions. I think that is why the novel was so emotive as Polly’s entire being centered around her search for her one true love, Frank.

As you can probably tell I loved this novel and I can honestly say it as good and if not better than its cover. I shall be donating my copy to the library in which I work, so that I can recommend to my customers and they enjoy An Ocean of Minutes as much as I did

Thank you so much to Quercus for a copy to read and review and to Ana McLaughlin for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the Blogtour.

About the AuthorImage result for thea limThea Lim’s novel An Ocean of Minutes is forthcoming from Quercus/Hachette in the UK, Viking/Penguin in Canada, and Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster in the US in Summer 2018. Her writing has been published by the Southampton Review, GRIST, the Guardian, Salon, the Millions, Bitch Magazine, Utne Reader and others, and she has received multiple awards and fellowships for her work, including artists’ grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Her novella The Same Woman was released by Invisible Publishing in 2007. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and she previously served as nonfiction editor at Gulf Coast. She grew up in Singapore and lives in Toronto, where she teaches creative writing.Follow the other bloggers on the Ocean Of Minutes blogtourThea Lim

#Blogtour A Necessary Murder by M.J. Tjia @mjtjia @Legend_Press

book_imgA Necessary Murder by M.J. Tjia  Legend Press   July 2nd 2018

Stoke Newington, 1863: Little Margaret Lovejoy is found brutally murdered in the outhouse at her family’s estate.A few days later, a man is cut down in a similar manner on the doorstep of courtesan and professional detective Heloise Chancey’s prestigious address. At the same time, Heloise’s maid, Amah Li Leen, must confront events from her past that appear to have erupted into the present day.Once again Heloise is caught up in a maelstrom of murder and deceit that threatens to reach into the very heart of her existence. In this second instalment of the Heloise Chancey Mysteries, M.J Tjia brings us another enthralling historical crime with twists and turns are as numerous and dark as the London streets which serve as their setting.

My Review

I love historical crime novels and A Necessary Murder is one that did not disappoint. Having not read the first in the Heloise Chancey Mysteries I was a little afraid I would have missed something but my fears were soon allayed as this is very much a standalone novel with no previous history required.

Revolving around the murder of a young girl, and a subsequent murder right on Heloise’s doorstep this is a novel with a huge amount of intrigue, plunging, you the reader, into a Victorian world of darkness.

Heloise herself, was definitely not your typical Victorian Lady, neither delicate nor fragile. She was a woman, who preferred the company of men of science, who was both headstrong and stubborn, yet vain, selfish and at times unlikeable. There were moments I felt sorry for her mother Amah, who Heloise treated more as her maid then her actual mother, yet you could feel that they had a strong bond and no doubt Helosie had a huge amount of love for Amah even if she did not show it at times. Despite her selfishness and vanity, I admired Heloise’s guts and determination to be treated as a man’s equal in a time when women were very much kept in the background and considered neither overly intelligent or too delicate for such matters as murder. She was a woman who was ahead of her time, but this is what made her character and indeed the setting of the novel so much more interesting.

Heloise was supported by a wonderful cast of characters who all had their own story and, indeed all had their own aura of suspicion about them. As the bodies mounted, it was very difficult to decipher who was innocent, who was telling the truth and what linked them altogether.

What stood out for me was the remarkably vivid descriptions of the backstreets of London. The grime and naked effluence that lurked in the back alleys and streets evoked images and smells that were dark, gloomy and at times gruesome. If you are of a delicate disposition then some of the murder scenes may not be for you.

The whole novel was steeped in darkness with the odd glimmer of brightness, often in the form of one of Heloise’s many dresses that she chose to wear. It also had a back story, that of Heloise’s mother Amah and her journey to England. I found it extremely poignant and very interesting, in fact it would have made a very good novel on its own if Tjia needed any ideas about what to write next!

A Necessary Murder is quite complex and the dual timeline and many strands were handled brilliantly by Tjia, the themes and strands brought seamlessly together. The ending was dramatic and very satisfying and I certainly felt justice had been done. It was nice that Tjia threw in a couple of surprises just to add that little bit extra tension and drama to a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I shall definitely be reading the next thrilling installment of The Heloise Chancey Mysteries.

Thank you to Legend Press for a copy of the novel to read and review and to Lucy Chamberlain for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the Authorbook_imgM.J. is a Brisbane-based writer. She has been shortlisted for the Josephine Ulrick Short Story Prize and the Luke Bitmead Bursary (UK), and longlisted for the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize and CWA (UK) dagger awards. Her work has appeared in RexPeril and Shibboleth and Other Stories.She is the author of She Be Damned: A Heloise Chancey Mystery, (2017) with the sequel to follow in 2018.Follow M.J. on Twitter @mjtjiaA Necessary Murder blog tour

#Blogtour In The Wake by Helen Treverrow @helentrevorrow @UrbaneBooks #LoveBooksGroupTours

Image may contain: textIn The Wake by Helen Trevorrow  Urbane Books  June 28th 2018

In the Wake is a crime thriller set in contemporary London with dark ‘me too’ themes and a distorted vision of who is good and who is bad. Kay Christie, a successful career woman, navigates a professional catastrophe under the shadow of an old traumatic event that resurfaces violently and refuses to leave. When a body is found in the Royal Albert Dock, Kay is sent to quiet the media, but things get complicated when it emerges that she knew the victim.

My Review

There is nothing like a body dragged from the water and a missing person to entice the reader into a tense, and deep thriller and that is exactly what Trevorrow does. There is no messing around, and no preamble as the main protagonist Kay Christie is thrown into a maelstrom of mystery and intrigue.

And, what about Kay, what was she like as a character? The first thing I noticed was that Kay loved a drink, perhaps too much, she was also a person at a crossroads in her personal life, dealing with grief and a father who also liked a drink but to more extremes. The possible collapse of her PR business only added to her problems and added a wonderful extra dimension to the novel, that made it more than just a straightforward thriller. I loved that we seemed to be on a journey with Kay, a road to discovering what she did want and it was interesting to see how the author weaved the various strands together. It was a task Trevorrow managed extremely well and she took me on a veritable rollercoaster as the murder investigation progressed and I was never quite sure who to believe and what would happen next.

What I particularly liked were the glimpses we had of Kay’s past and the characters that stayed with her through to the present, and the little clues Treverrow left which allowed me to slowly piece together exactly who the murderer was.

Trevorrow’s narrative is full of wonderful imagery and the emotions of the characters, particularly Kay’s which are at times raw and poignant, providing a complete and welcome contrast to the more violent and hard edges of the novel.

The novel is full of tension and builds to a dramatic ending that did not disappoint this reader. It is hard to believe that this is Helen Treverrow’s debut and I hope we do not have to wait too long for her next novel.

I would like to thank Urbane Books for a copy of the book to read and review and to Love Book Groups for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the authorImage may contain: 1 person, sitting, closeup and indoor

Helen Trevorrow is a graduate of the 2016 Faber Academy creative writing programme. She studied at Leeds University and has worked in marketing and public relations in London. She is a specialist food and drink PR. Helen’s debut novel IN THE WAKE is a feminist crime thriller about family, unrealised trauma and alcoholism. Helen has ghost-written many articles for newspapers, magazines and websites. She lives in Brighton, Sussex with her wife and child.

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