#Blogtour Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen @julie_cohen @OrionBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #complusivereaders #LouisAndLouise

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Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen  Orion January 24th 2019

One life. Lived twice.

Louis David Alder and Louise Dawn Alder are the same person in two different realities: they have the same parents, the same birthday, the same talents, the same wishes, the same eyes and hair. Their realities are separated only by the gender announced by the doctor and a final ‘e’.

Both Louis and Louise grow up in the small paper mill town of Casablanca, Maine, with the same friends and family—but because of their gender, everything looks different.

On a sultry evening when they are eighteen years old, during a violent strike at the paper mill, two dramatic events happen—one to Louis, and another to Louise—which mean that they leave Casablanca, seemingly for good. But twelve years later, when their mother is dying of cancer, Louis and Louise return to Maine to deal with two very different towns and problems…and to discover whether their destinies are, after all, the same.

My Review

I’m not quite sure how to start or even write the review for Julie Cohen’s Louis and Louise. I think it’s so hard because of its originality, and knowing if I had figured out what the authors intentions were when she wrote the novel. Anyway I shall give it a go!

Louis and Louise, born on the same day, at the same time, in the same town and from the same family. Louis and Louise are one and the same person, the only difference their gender. Gender, man and woman, how differently we treat, perceive them. What are the differing consequences to any of our actions as a man and a woman? That was, I hope, what Cohen set out to show in this novel. and how brilliantly she did it!

Both had to deal with present day events, but also events that happened in the past, on their graduation night, that somehow shaped their adult lives.

Louis, recoiling from the breakdown of his marriage, a published author, yet not sure who he was or where or what he should be.

The same could have been said for Louise, except she was a single mother, teacher, a wannabe author. She too struggled with life, with where and who she should be.

And so, we entered a parallel universe, but one that never confused, never felt awkward, but seamlessly slotted together. Cohen took us deep into the psyche of Louis and Louise, as her narrative made me feel angry, frustrated, emotional but also at times happy and joyful. She made me care about them, and want the best for them, as they struggled with the same issues, yet dealt with them slightly differently, making you wonder if they would achieve the same outcome.

The issues Cohen raised, gender, sexuality were timely and current, but never forced on the reader, they lingered within the narrative, prompting and provoking me, the reader, to think just that little bit harder.

I loved the other big character in the novel, the small town of Casablanca. I admired how Cohen used the claustrophobia of a small town, where everyone knew everyone, where everyone lived under a microscope. She raised the stakes even higher with its occupants dependant on the one industry, the paper mill, owned by the family of Louis and Louise. As Cohen took us into the past, she used a strike at the paper mill to show the divide between the community, then bang, she plunged Louis and Louise into differing but dramatic situations. It was one of those heartstopping moments in a novel that you relish, that made you hold your breath, that made you turn the pages even faster to discover the outcome.

If you want to read an engrossing, immersive and intelligent thought provoking novel then look no further than Louis and Louise. It was just brilliant.

 

I would like to thank Orion for a copy of Louis and Louise to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours fro inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

photo by Stewart Smith

 

I grew up in the western mountains of Maine, in a small town where the sulfur scent of the paper mill was called ‘the smell of money’. My house was just up the hill from the library, and I spent many hours walking up and down that hill, my nose in a book. I wanted to be a writer, and to have my book on the shelf of the Rumford Public Library.

I wrote my first novel at the age of 11. It was about a girl wizard and was more or less a genderflipped imitation of Ursula LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. I wrote it by hand in a spiral-bound notebook and included illustrations and maps.

I studied English Literature at Brown University in Rhode Island and Cambridge University in the UK, and then did an M.Phil. degree by research on fairies in Victorian and Edwardian children’s literature. As this had very few practical applications, I became a secondary school English teacher. It was about at this point that I realised that if I wanted to become a novelist, I should probably start writing novels.

At first, I failed. In my previous life I had always been pretty good at what I tried to do, so it was difficult when my novels kept getting rejected. I didn’t know then what I know now: that writing is a process of getting a good idea and then failing to execute it. The wrong words always come before the right ones.

I’ve kept writing and kept writing and eventually I’ve found some of the right words. My novels have been translated into seventeen languages and sold a million copies worldwide. My books TOGETHER and DEAR THING were both Richard and Judy Book Club picks.

I teach creative writing workshops—for The Guardian, Literature Wales, and Writers’ Workshop, among others—and run my own fiction consultancy and mentoring business, with many of my clients going on to publication. Some have become international bestsellers. Despite not being able to draw, I’m also the official cartoonist for the Sherlock Holmes Journal.

I am a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of our Rainbow Chapter for LGBQIA+ writers. I am very proud to be Patron of local literacy charity ABC to Read, who help children in Berkshire primary schools learn to read.
I live in Berkshire with my family and a dog. And every year I bring a copy of my latest book to the Rumford Public Library, and they put it on the shelf.

louis and louise

#Review Blood & Sugar by Laura Shephard-Robinson @LauraSRobinson @mantlebooks @panmacmillan #Blood&Sugar #Deptford #slavery

Blood & Sugar by Laura Shephard-Robinson   Mantle (Pan – Macmillan) January 24th 2019

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend’s investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him.

And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford . 

My Review

Captain Henry Corsham, a war hero with political ambition, but would he be willing to put it all at risk? That is the question Laura Shephard-Robinson posed in her debut novel Blood & Sugar. That wasn’t the only question she posed as she took me into deepest darkest Deptford in the 18th Century. It wasn’t a pleasant world to read about and when you read the historical notes at the end, the fact it was based upon real events and historical fact made it all the more horrifying to read. This was because it exposed the depravity of the slave trade, the horrors slaves were forced to endure, treated like cattle, never seen as human beings.

It was through the eyes of Captain Henry Corsham that Shephard-Robinson gave us a grand tour of Deptford. It was almost like reading of another country even though you knew it was not far from the city of London and took two hours on horseback to reach it. The vivid descriptions exploded in your mind as you walked the dark, rank streets and alleys, danger hiding behind every corner. You worried for Corsham as he sought the story behind his friend Tad’s disappearance, as he met the myriad of characters Tad encountered and the author kept us guessing as to who was telling the truth and who was hiding behind a web of intricate lies.

The range of characters in this novel was immense, from high ranking officers of government to the lowest of the low.  In fact there were so many characters that you had to admire Shephard-Robinson’s skill in handling them all, not confusing the reader and weaving a novel of pure and brilliant intrigue. Did I guess what had happened to Tad? I attempted to work it out but decided to let Corsham do the work as he slowly revealed the truth, as he risked his life time after time, and I began to wonder if he would actually survive to the end of the novel.

What I admired most about Blood & Sugar was its unflinching honesty of the slave trade, of their treatment, and torture and lack of stature in society even if they were ‘free’. How could we, as a society have been so cruel and ignorant, yet how much I admired those who risked their social standing to fight for their rights and a better life.

Now, Shephard-Robinson could have thrown in vast quantities of historical detail, clogging up the narrative, but she didn’t, instead letting the characters in their roles tell the story,  making us live their lives no matter how bad it turned out to be. She touched on so many differing aspects of 17th century society that we would not tolerate or that would be seen as normal today, adding extra dimensions that were both interesting and eye opening.

The pace wasn’t fast, in fact you would describe it as a slow burn, as Shephard- took her time setting the scene and the characters, and then boom, the latter parts raced along, as you held your breath waiting and hoping for a happy and successful outcome for Captain Henry Corsham.

If you want a novel rich in history, that had murder, love, torture, masses of delicious mystery and intrigue and a wonderfully colourful cast of characters then I suggest you dash down to your nearest library or bookshop and borrow or buy Blood & Sugar.

I would like to thank Mantle (Pan-Macmillan) for a copy of Blood & Sugar to read and review and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for organising.

About the author

Laura Shepherd-Robinson is an author, born in Bristol in 1976. She has a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics.

Laura worked in politics for nearly twenty years before re-entering normal life to complete an MA in Creative Writing at City University. She lives in London with her husband, Adrian.

 

#Review The Puppet Show by MW Craven @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK #ThePuppetShow #thrilling #dark

 

The Puppet Show (Washington Poe 1)

The Puppet Show by MW Craven   Little Brown  January 21st 2019

Meet Detective Sergeant Washington Poe. Dark, cynical, ruthless; he lives a monastic existence in a shepherd’s croft on the most desolate moorland in Cumbria. Even his secrets have secrets. He has a past he keeps there and another past he doesn’t yet know about . . .

And now meet civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw. Brilliant, adorably awkward, a social hand grenade; she lives at home with her parents and isn’t allowed out on her own. She has three PhDs but doesn’t know how to boil an egg. Meeting Poe will be her first step into the non-academic world. The world might not yet be ready for her . . .

And finally there’s Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn. Poe used to be her boss, she’s now his. She heads up the National Crime Agency’s Serious Crime Analysis Section – the unit charged with apprehending serial killers and solving apparently motiveless murders. It’s the country’s last line of defence and although Flynn knows managing Poe and Tilly will be like herding cats, she also knows she’s the only one who can do it . . .

So why not start the journey with me as this trio of disparate misfits come together, form an uneasy truce and, as Poe says, starts ‘sherlocking the f**k’ out of things . 

My Review

The beginning of the Puppet Show is definitely not for the fainthearted and I did worry that the gruesome details of burning bodies would be dominant throughout. I needn’t have worried, yes there were gruesome bits but it wasn’t a pervading theme, it was concerned more about the investigation to find the Immolation Man, a person who burnt his victims literally to the bone.

The novel had a wonderful cast of characters and Washington Poe was your typical detective, who always did a good job but did not always follow procedure, resulting in suspension until his name is found carved on one of the victims and he is brought in to assist with the investigation.  He was a character that was instantly likeable and his solitary life on Shap Fell with his dog Edgar was wonderfully described by Craven. In fact that was one of the main assets of the novel, Craven was so brilliantly skilful at depicting the wild and remoteness of the Lakeland Fells, and perfectly created a very dark, chilling and  at times dramatic feel.

I loved analyst Tilly Bradshaw, her intense high intelligence made her socially awkward and to see her emerge from her shell provided some much needed light relief.

The clashes between the Cumbrian police and the special crimes unit meant the investigation did not always run smoothly and Craven used it to great effect to add even more twists and turns.

It was a novel that kept you guessing, although I did work out who it was but not the reasons why. The reasons why did not make for pleasant reading but it did make me question my feelings towards the murderer which you don’t often encounter in crime novels.

The Puppet Show is fast paced , a real page tuner and a little different from all novels in its genre. I am very pleased to see it is number one in a proposed series featuring Washington Poe and await with baited breath his next thrilling instalment.

I would like to thank MW Craven for sending a copy of The Puppet Show to read and review.

About the author

Mike Craven

 

I was, and remain, a happy person. I love to laugh and I’m forever on the lookout for new and innovative ways to do this. Other than my father dying when I was fourteen, I had a brilliant childhood. I was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle. When I was sixteen I joined the army by accident (may that wily recruiting sergeant have a lifetime of TV programmes with incorrectly synced audio . . .). I spent the next decade travelling the world sweeping leaves. When every leaf was off every tree in every barrack in Germany, and safely in a bin liner, I dug a tunnel with a reconditioned mess-tin and escaped.

At a loose end, I considered becoming an expert in otters (sadly this is true). To further this aim I did a degree in social work. Thirty-one years after I’d left Cumbria as a babe-in-arms, heralded by the seven trumpets of the apocalypse, I returned to take up a probation officer role in Whitehaven. It was . . . boisterous.

Sixteen years later, and at the rank of assistant chief executive, I made the jump and became a full-time author. As one half of Mr and Mrs Craven, I am contractually obliged to say that getting married is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. With this in mind, a job you can do in your pyjamas comes a pretty decent second . . .

So here I am. Living in a beautiful and historic part of the country. Fells and mountains to pretend you’ve climbed. Forgotten villages to explore. Lakes to swim in and rivers to kayak down (I’ve done neither and I never will.). There are castles and mazes to get lost in, Roman ruins to scramble on (don’t do this, people will shout at you), and, as you’ll see in The Puppet Show, sixty-three Neolithic stone circles to run around naked (again, don’t do this; people really shout at you).

Also we have a lot of sheep.

#Blogtour Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn @r_welbourn @IdealAngelsBook @Unbound_Digital @annecater #RandomThingsTours #IdealAngels

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Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn  Unbound Digital  August 16th 2018

Is it possible to keep secrets in the age of social media? When someone lives their entire life in the spotlight, what could they possibly hide from you? Ideal Angels explores just that. It s the story of one man, one woman, one week. They meet, fall in love, and never look back. Eloise s phone is never far away, furiously cataloguing their ups and downs. But there are always shadows, lurking just out of reach. The moments after the camera flashes, unseen, uncaptured. The threat of an inescapable doom. How much can one person change you? How much can one person be your downfall?

My review

Social media, most of us have it, and use it everyday, but how much is too much, should every single part of lives be documented and posted online? Ideal Angels, didn’t try to answer these questions, but provoked the reader into thinking what they thought the answers should be.

So, how did Mr Welbourn achieve this? What he did and did very well was to take one lonely young man, who liked a drink, and I would say was just a little bit vulnerable, and definitely ripe for change, and excitement, and threw him at the mercy of a young confident, and very attractive woman. Their meeting ignited a flame inside him that he had never felt or not felt in a long time, and we, the reader were witness to those consequences.

The narrative was sparse, yet descriptive, reflecting the speed of the relationship and the events, almost like we were on a collision course but not quite sure what the destination would be.

Eloise, the young woman, was to me overbearing, and over confident, I wondered if her feelings were real or just an act, acts that were posted on every conceivable social media app. I found myself frustrated with both of them but for entirely different reasons. For him, I wanted to sit him down and talk to him, tell him to wake, to see what was happening and get a grip. For Elosie, I disliked her intensely, questioned her motives, and wanted to the snatch the phone out of her hand and throw it away. It is to the authors talent, that my feelings were so strong and it was almost like watching a scary TV drama, your hands over your eyes because you did not want to see what would happen next!

The latter parts of the novel put me in even more of a quandary, as I glimpsed tiny fissures of the real Elosie, a sense of her true feelings and emotions very much based in the real rather than the virtual world. Our protagonist had a past and things slowly began to make more sense, you began to question your feelings toward the two characters, your dislike and frustration turned a little more towards compassion and positivity.

You almost knew things would not end well, but were not sure how the author would get us there and that was what made this such a great novel. It may have been a novel of few pages, but it packed a veritable punch. I loved that it challenged my own views about social media and how I use it without preaching to me. It was an eyeopening social commentary on the world in which we reside, a world that is forever changing and not always for the better, it was simply brilliant!

I would like to thank Unbound Digital for a copy of Ideal Angels to read and review and to Anne Cater for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

robert welbourn author pic

 

Robert Welbourn is Yorkshire born and bred – he’s lived there almost all his life, and now written a book set there. He’s had a passion for books as long as he can remember, and has been writing his whole life. His favourite authors are Bret Easton Ellis and Stephen King, and he cites Ellis as his number one influence.

He studied English Literature at Salford University, and this confirmed that he wanted to spend his life working with books. He currently works in marketing, but is hoping to spend his life telling stories.

Twitter @r_welbourn

ideal angels blog tour poster

#Blogtour A Long Night In Paris by Dov Alfon @dovalfon @MacLehosepress @MacPressCorinna #ALongNightInParis

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A  Long Night In Paris by Dov Alfon    Maclehose Press January 10th 2019

When an Israeli tech entrepreneur disappears from Charles de Gaulle airport with a woman in red, logic dictates youthful indiscretion. But Israel is on a state of high alert nonetheless. Colonel Zeev Abadi, the new head of Unit 8200’s autonomous Special Section, who just happens to be in Paris, also just happens to have arrived on the same flight.

For Commissaire Léger of the Paris Police coincidences have their reasons, and most are suspect. When a second young Israeli is kidnapped soon after arriving on the same flight, this time at gunpoint from his hotel room, his suspicions are confirmed – and a diplomatic incident looms.

Back in Tel Aviv, Lieutenant Oriana Talmor, Abadi’s deputy, is his only ally, applying her sharp wits to the race to identify the victims and the reasons behind their abduction. In Paris a covert Chinese commando team listens to the investigation unfurl and watches from the rooftops. While by the hour the morgue receives more bodies from the river and the city’s arrondissements.

The clock has been set. And this could be a long night in the City of Lights

My Review

Dov Alfon, is apparently Israel’s answer to John Le Carre, and a former member of Unit 8200, an arm of the Israeli Defence Force. It always intrigues when publishers use this kind of hype on the the publicity blurb and often the novel never actually lives upto the hype, so with a smidgen of scepticism I settled down to read A Long Night In Paris.

My scepticism swiftly disappeared as Alfon hit me full on with a kidnap and subsequent murder in the very first chapter and the action did not stop. Now if you were expecting the usual gun toting mass of villains and special agents chasing then you would be very wrong, as this novel was written with a great deal of care and lots of intelligence.

Alfon’s previous role in Unit 8200, was a big advantage, as he took us behind the scenes of the unit and the characters that worked there. What surprised me most was the young age of its members, but then Israel is a country that operates conscription, so not unusual. I loved Oriana, she was one tough woman, unfazed by her older commanders and not afraid to take risks and ruffle feathers, a nice change to have a strong female lead, not reliant on looks but rather intelligence to get results. It was her determination to get results combined with that of her Commander Abadi that drove this novel forward, propelling the action forward despite many outside and internal influences.

The intelligence within the novel lay in the complexity of its plot, as Alfon opened up a corrupt world of finance, the machinations of government, chinese mafia and the french police. However Alfon made it all seem quite logical, the narrative flowed with ease and the links slowly revealed themselves, the jigsaw finally fitting together and the whole truth revealed.

Chapters told the story from the myriad of characters point of view, and gave a wonderful insight into their minds and emotions, not all of it good, in fact one or two were pretty nasty but that only added the the general feeling of tension and drama that surrounded them.

With its fast pace, its intricate plotting and fantastic narrative it is hardly surprising that A Long Night In Paris has been snapped up by the producer of Homeland, and I for one cannot wait to see the result.

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

About the author

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Dov Alfon, brought up in Paris and Tel Aviv, is a former intelligence officer of Unit 8200, the most secretive arm of the Israeli Defence Forces. He was editor in chief of Israel’s most influential newspaper, Haaretz, and chief editor of the leading publishing house Kinneret-Zmora. A Long Night In Paris, published in Israel to rave reviews, topped the best seller charts for 24 weeks. His previous projects have been called “fantastically creative” by the Guardian, “revolutionary” by The Paris Review and “incredibly inspiring” by The New Yorker. This is his first work of fiction.

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#Blogtour Red Snow by Will Dean @willrdean @PtBlankBks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #RedSnow #Tuva2

Red Snow Cover

Red Snow by Will Dean  Point Blank Books January 10th 2019

TWO BODIES
One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected?
And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?
TWO COINS
Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes.
The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.
TWO WEEKS
Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths
before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already
terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop
the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

My review

I haven’t read Dark Pines but had heard so much about how good it was that I just had to be part of the blogtour for Red Snow. It was not essential to have read Dark Pines as Red Snow stood up brilliantly as a stand alone novel, and what a great novel it was.

The first thing that struck me was the harsh, cold environment, it was your enemy, the main character in the novel you had to guard against. Yes, a murderer was out there somewhere, but the cold would get you long before any murderer could. The deep freezing temperatures, slowed everything down and Dean’s narrative perfectly matched this, as he drew us in to his brilliant descriptions of the snowy roads, the gloom as the afternoons descended into night, and the echoey, eerie feel of the forest. You could almost sense the ice and snow crackling underfoot, and the ever present danger that enveloped you by just stepping out of your front door, heightened the tension and drama.

Equally brilliant was the character of Tuva Moody, deeply flawed and one very mixed up woman, a woman who couldn’t or wouldn’t face upto the death of her mother, who seemed unable to deal with her feelings for those around her and more importantly her own issues. Tuva’s deafness did not seem to hinder her, in a way it helped, it made her more tenacious, more determined and I felt at times she took more risks, which made for some very interesting reading.

Other characters played their part, none more so then the Grimbergs, owners of the liquorice factory. They appeared impenetrable, a mystery to the small town they lived in, and Dean teased us with his little clues as we accompanied Tuva on her interviews with them, and we became embroiled in her research as the truth slowly emerged.  And it was the slow pace of the novel that impressed me, it allowed Dean to burrow deep into his characters, to explore the intricacies of a small town where every knows everyone else, where events can be magnified, the past brought to the fore with devastating consequences.

It wasn’t until the latter parts of the novel that Dean turned the screws, that the truth became clearer and a sense of desperation amongst the characters set in. The pace shifted, became quicker, the atmosphere tense and the outcome uncertain, would Tuva succeed or fail?

Red Snow, was crime writing at its best, intricate, and chilling with an introspective approach that made it stand out from the rest. A perfect read for those cold winter evenings with a roaring fire and a large mug of tea.

I would like to thank Point Blank for a signed copy of Red Snow 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 Dean Author Picture

WILL DEAN grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before
the age of eighteen. After studying at the LSE and working in London, he
settled in rural Sweden with his wife. He built a wooden house in a boggy
forest clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he
compulsively reads and writes.

#RedSnow @willrdean @PtBlankBks

FINAL Red Snow Blog Tour Poster

#Blogtour A River In The Trees by Jacqueline O’Mahoney @jacomahony @riverrunbooks @AnaBooks #ARiverInTheTrees

river in the trees

A River In The Trees by Jacqueline Mahony   Riverrun January 10th 2019

A sweeping novel of love, loss, family and history for readers who love Maggie O’Farrell, John Boyne and Donal Ryan

1919

Ireland is about to be torn apart by the War of Independence.

Hannah O’Donovan helps her father hide rebel soldiers in the attic, putting her family in great danger from the British soldiers who roam the countryside. An immediate connection between Hannah and O’Riada, the leader of this hidden band of rebels, will change her life and that of her family forever . . .

2019

Ellen is at a crossroads: her marriage is in trouble, her career is over and she’s grieving the loss of a baby. After years in London, she decides to come home to Ireland to face the things she’s tried so hard to escape. Reaching into the past, she feels a connection to her ancestor, the mysterious Hannah O’Donovan. But why won’t anyone in her family talk about Hannah? And how can this journey help Ellen put her life back together?

My review

How much do we honestly know about Ireland’s bid for independence in 1919, I for one knew little or nothing until I read Jacqueline O’Mahoney’s A River In The Trees.

Now I love historical fiction but I don’t like the sort that overwhelms you with facts and the minutiae of events, happily A River In The Trees was not of those novels. It was a novel that instead concentrated on the human aspects of conflict, and loyalty, and in particular the life of Hannah, a woman whose strength and bravery shone from the pages. It was her tenacity, and sheer bloody  mindedness that drew me to her, that had me enthralled from the start.

Yet, it wasn’t just a novel about Hannah, it was also the story of Ellen, a woman who travelled to Ireland, her home country to view the old family farmhouse where Hannah once lived. Ellen was broken, grieving for the longed for child that died and a marriage that is literally non-existent. Where Hannah was strong and resilient, Ellen was quite literally a mess, emotions all over the place and her decision making at times left me frustrated. I wasn’t entirely sure if I felt sorry for her, or just wished that she would pull herself together and get on with it. She did however redeem herself as she slowly uncovered the history of her family and it was this angle that was most intriguing as I slowly began to link the past and the present.

The dual timelines were seamless and the use of alternating chapters each told from Hannah and Ellen’s point of view added depth, O’Mahoney able to explore the emotions and events that impacted on the two women’s lives. Although I enjoyed Ellen’s story I felt more drawn to Hannah’s, and at times wanted to read more about but appreciated the balance the author embedded in the novel.

It wasn’t only the characters that had a role, the Irish landscape lent itself to the drama of Hannah’s story. You could imagine the isolation, the bleakness and hardships the landscape imposed, that provided the perfect hiding places for the rebel soldiers and hindered the Black and Tans intent on catching their prey. The modern landscape was perhaps not quite so bleak but O’Mahney’s descriptions of the abandoned farmhouse with the families furniture still in situ, instead provided the dramatic picture of a family who left in a hurry and perhaps not for good reasons.

What I admired most about A River In The Trees was the slow but intense pacing, the gradual intertwining of the past and the present, the unknown fate of Hannah and Ellen preying on your mind as you read.

It was a novel that successfully balanced the history of a divided country with that of the pressures of modern life, of the cost to those personally involved, but with glimmers of hope that flickered throughout.

It was a novel that enthralled and one that I would highly recommend.

I would like to thank River Run for a copy of A River In The Trees to read and review and to Ana Sampson McLaughlin for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

jacqueline o'mahony - use this one

Jacqueline O’Mahony is from, Cork, Ireland. She did her BA in Ireland, her MA at the University of Bologna, and her PhD in History as a Fulbright Scholar at Duke University, and at Boston College. She has worked as a writer, editor and stylist at TatlerVogue and the Irish Independent.
She lives in Notting Hill with her husband and three young children.

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#Blogtour My Name Is Anna @LizzyBarber @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy #MyNameIsAnna #thoughtprovoking

My Name is Anna

Two women – desperate to unlock the truth.
How far will they go to lay the past to rest?

ANNA has been taught that virtue is the path to God. But on her eighteenth birthday she defies her Mamma’s rules and visits Florida’s biggest theme park. 
She has never been allowed to go – so why, when she arrives, does everything seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives on the same day?
ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads.Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes in full flow, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth. 
But will she find the answer before it tears her family apart?

My Review

Her name was Anna, or that was what she thought and indeed we thought she was, author Lizzie Barber however had other plans. as she took us on a journey. That journey involved two young girls, Anna and Rosie, two girls with widely different backgrounds , that Barber used to brilliant effect,

Anna, did not have the advantage of the internet, TV or  mobile phone, her methods of discovery were the old fashioned kind, that of instinct, gut feeling and making good use of opportunities that presented themselves. In some ways it allowed Barber to explore her emotions, her confusion as to who she was that little bit more. For me, what made her story all the more interesting and poignant was her feelings towards her mother, at times anger and at other an overriding sense of loyalty and love for the woman who had raised her.

Rosie, was the child that had to live up to the older sister that went missing and never came back. Barber made me feel quite sorry for her, always having to check in, to ride the waves of the emotional rollercoaster that enveloped her parents, to live the life of the perfect teenager. Yet, Rosie had a tenacious, feisty side to her that I loved, and her quest to discover the mystery of her sisters disappearance made for pretty gripping reading.

Barbers use of alternating chapters showing Anna and Rosie’s points of view was seamlessly done, it allowed Barber to show two differing sides and for me it was utterly thought provoking. Its similarities with Madeline McCann really made me think what it must have been and still is like for the parents, remaining children and the wider family. It so clearly highlighted what really happens when the media disappears and moves on to the next story.  You just wanted Rosie and Anna to be normal, to be doing all the things that normal teenagers do, but it was their drive to discover the truth that stayed firmly at the heart of the novel, the pace unrelenting as they each unearthed revelation after revelation.

I had to think really hard about my feelings towards Anna’s mother. Did I feel sorry for her, did I despise her and her unorthodox child rearing methods or was she too a victim? This was an aspect of the novel that I found challenged my thinking and I for one love any novel that can do that, and do it so well.

I desperately wanted a happy ending, and although it is not for me to say, My Name is Anna will leave you with more questions than answers.

It will pull you into a whirlwind of emotions and drama and a world you would never wish to enter. It would make a great TV drama or film and I really do hope that someone will take a chance on My Name Is Anna and bring it to life.

I would like to thank Arrow Publishing for a copy of My Name Is Anna to read and review and Rachel Kennedy for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Lizzy Barber studied English at Cambridge University and works as the head of brand and marketing for a restaurant group. Her debut novel, My Name is Anna, was the winner of the Daily Mail crime writing competition and she is currently hard at work on her next thriller. Lizzy lives in London with her husband.

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#Blogtour Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks @annecater #RndomThingsTours

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Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb  Orenda Books January 24th 2019

A price on her head, and just 48 hours to expose the truth, and save her family…
Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob, who they want her dead. But rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die. With only 48 hours before North is due to appear in court, Lori sets across Florida, racing against the clock to find him, and save her family…

My review

If you are going to discover a new author and an awesome new character what better place to start than book three in the series! Did it matter? Absolutely not. Yes, I may have missed out on background information but this made no difference what so ever to my enjoyment of Deep Dirty Truth, as it stood up perfectly as a standalone.

Deep Dirty Truth, didn’t hang around, there was minimal preamble before Broadribb hurled me straight into the action and it didn’t stop until I reached the last page.

Our main protagonist was Lori Anderson, renowned bounty hunter, who enjoyed a quiet life in Miami with her daughter and partner, JT until the mob called in a favour that Lori had to accept if she wanted to save her family. Lori was a woman I admired, she had guts and a toughness that prevailed throughout, yet always maintained an aura of femininity and vulnerability. She was resourceful and clever and her body certainly stood upto the physical extremes that she had to endure.

The bad guys were definitely bad, and you knew from the outset that they would stop at nothing to get what they wanted.

What appeared, at first to be a straight forward job for Lori you soon realised that all was not as it seemed and I loved the intricacies that Broadribb created. You never quite knew who you could trust or in fact who was working for who and where the story would take you.

Broadribb’s narrative was fast, full of drama, and the time limits imposed on Lori upped the tension, not only for the characters but also for me as the reader. I desperately wanted Lori to succeed but there were times when you really felt that she wouldn’t, that her life would come crashing down and that would be it.

I particularly liked the heat and humidity of the Miami setting and the use of the Everglades and, the peering eyes of numerous crocodiles added an extra dangerous dimension. I know that I raced through these few pages, just as they raced through the Everglades, both of us desperate to discover the outcome. The whole novel was much like this and I defy anyone not to race through as quickly as I did!

The thrills and spills of Deep Dirty Truth were addictive and compelling and, in my opinion would make a great movie or Netflix drama, my only problem would be that I arrived so late to the wonderful world of Lori Anderson.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Deep Dirty Truth 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

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most
of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego –
Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging
at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest
releases. She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The Splice Girls.
Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University
London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori
Anderson thrillers. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and
chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good
was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts. My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.

Deep Dirty Truth Blog Tour Poster

#Blogtour Changeling by Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKraken @orendabooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Changeling #chilling #shocking

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Changeling by Matt Wesolowski  Orenda Books  January 24th 2019

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden
was declared officially dead in 1995. Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance,
interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…

My Review

I was extremely excited to receive my copy of Matt Wesolowski’s Changeling and even more excited when I discovered that I would be opening the blogtour! Definitely a great start to the new year for My Bookish Blogspot.

Oh my word, Scott King is back and this time he was investigating Alfie Marsden, a 6 year old boy who disappeared thirty years ago. Cue the usual vigour to solve the case, yet somehow you sensed a reluctance, a different Scott King, who wanted to take his time, to uncover the actual facts before revealing the truth to his many followers.

And take his time he did, Wesolowski was more measured and controlled in his delivery, his narrative tight and succinct, full of wonderful and at times eerie imagery.

Wentshire Forest pushed its way into your imagination, taking over your mind with its mysterious knocking sounds, its strange and at times ethereal figures that plagued anyone who ventured into its clutches. Beware it may make you never wish to visit a forest again!

Wesolowski’s characters were fantastic, never superficial, never one dimensional but real and believable, with a depth that took you right into their mindsets, and which at times I found downright scary.

As in any good novel Wesolowski started with the minor characters, garnering background on Alfie’s parents, before finally we were introduced to the main protagonists.

One character in particular, stood out and that was the supposed psychic, Anne, the director, directing Scott in his investigations. Her actions and the way she relayed her own thoughts niggled at the back of my mind as I read, as I wondered if she knew more, or just where it would all end.

Other characters provided multiple points of view, as a story of abuse and control slowly unravelled until finally he introduced us to the parents Sorrell and Sonia. I held my breath as Wesolowski gave us an insight into two parents clearly ravished by the loss of their son, but were they telling the truth, who could we believe, a real conundrum that had my brain whirling into overdrive.

As if that wasn’t enough Wesolowski threw in a couple of curve balls before finally he hit me with what I can only describe as one of the most shocking and totally mind blowing twists I have ever encountered.  I was definitely not prepared and it took me a little time to process what I had read, but it made sense, it was completely relevant, and in no way seemed forced just for dramatic effect.

Changeling was a novel that will live long in my brain, not just for the dramatic twist, but for the skill of its author, for the mesmerising nature of the narrative and the characters. Having read Hydra I would have to say that Changeling is better, it had all the hallmarks of an author maturing, and developing his craft, of having a deep understanding of his subject matter and an ability to pull in its reader, hold them captive, before letting them go and begging for the next Scott King instalment.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Changeling 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

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Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV
rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.

Changeling Blog Tour Poster