#Blogtour The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds @AmandaReynoldsJ @Wildfirebks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheHiddenWife

The Hidden Wife Cover

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds   Wildfire  E-Book March 31st 2019 and Hardback July 25th 2019

WHAT HAPPENED TO JULIA BLAKE?
She was young and beautiful, married to a famous author. They were celebrating their anniversary at their stunning country estate. So why did Julia Blake walk out of her perfect life, apparently leaving no trace?
Seren, a junior reporter for the local paper, can’t believe her luck when she lands an exclusive with Julia’s husband, Max. But as Seren spends more time at the couple’s remote mansion, probing ever deeper into the case, dark questions await. What was Julia really like, behind closed doors? Was her marriage to this brooding, secretive man as perfect as it seemed? And did she really mean to disappear that night – or was she murdered. 

My Review

Max famous author, Julia a young beautiful wife who had mysteriously disappeared, Miriam a grumpy assistant and Seren, an inexperienced young journalist all made for a heady mix in Amanda Reynolds novel, The Hidden Wife.

I was immediately drawn to the setting of Max’s home, surrounded by dense woodland and endless fields, its presence majestic and foreboding. Max himself, devilishly handsome and charismatic, but with a dark, brooding side that Reynolds gave us glimpses of  during his encounters with Seren. He was a man devastated by his wife’s disappearance, or was he?

That was what Seren set out to discover, She was young, inexperienced and to me slightly naive. lacked worldly experience, but you saw Reynolds push that naivety away as she learnt how to tackle Max, how to shift the power, and gain some control. She had tenacity and determination, could think outside the box, yet hid her own sorrow that gave her that drive to discover what happened to Julia.

Reynolds created a heady mix of intrigue, and I loved how she used Miriam, Max’s assistant, his gateway, the woman whose loyalty knew no bounds, and threw in little one liners, clues to Julia’s disappearance that not only tweaked Seren’s interest but also ours. Just what did she know, who was she protecting were all questions we wanted answers to.

Reynolds certainly knew how to build the tension, to use natures elements to her great effect. The Beast From The East played a major part blanketing the house and its surroundings in deep snow, it created a feeling of isolation and danger that pushed Seren to take risks, that had you holding your breath.

Reynolds skill was her ability to juggle all the varying strands, to throw in little clues before doing an about turn and sending us in a different direction. When all the strands finally came together it wasn’t quite what you expected, but made perfect sense. Your attitude toward some of the characters changed slightly, you felt empathy where once there was none, you felt anger and disgust for those you sympathised with, a real conundrum of emotion that brilliantly turned the story on its head.

You loved Seren and admired her just that little bit more, a character who stood out from the start, the one constant who grew, learnt and matured and you didn’t want to leave her, felt there was more you wanted to learn, that you wanted to follow her future journey.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I hope Amanda Reynolds will write another novel, and let us see this young journalist again because I thought she was wonderful.

I would like to thank Wildfire Books for a copy of The Hidden Wife 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

Amanda Reynolds Author picture

 

Amanda Reynolds lives in the Cotswolds with her family where she
writes full-time. Her debut novel, Close To Me, is a #1 e-book bestseller. The Hidden Wife is her third book.
Follow Amanda on Twitter: @AmandaReynoldsJ
amandareynoldsauthor.com

 

 

#Blogtour The Choke by Sofie Laguna #SofieLaguna @BelgraviaB #TheChoke

A quick, cruel, coming-of-age tale in the vein of recent remarkable literature on dangerous girlhoods and disjointed families.

Abandoned by her mother and only occasionally visited by her secretive father, Justine is raised by her grandfather Justine finds sanctuary in Pop’s chickens and the beauty of The Choke on the nearby Murray River. But there is no one to protect Justine from danger. Her father is a criminal, and the world he exposes her to is lethal.

A brilliant, haunting novel about a child navigating an often-uncaring world of male power and violence, in which grown-ups can’t be trusted and comfort can only be found in nature.

My Review

I’m not sure what to say or how to review The Choke, other than if you read one book this year then make sure it is this one!

The Choke was a first class lesson in the art of novel writing, of how you bring the voice of a young girl to life that was not only tender, but heartrending, and for me hugely emotional.

The ten year old Justine was one of the most brilliantly realised characters I have read in a very long time. Abandoned by her mother, a father who was largely absent, Justine was raised on a farm, Pop Three, by her grandfather, Pop. A Grandfather who had no idea how to raise a young girl, whose own life was marred by his time as a prisoner of war in Burma, his experiences plunging him into deep, dark places that Justine could never pull him from. Whilst at times you, wanted to shake Pop, tell him to get some help, you also had to admire him, for doing what he thought was the right thing, even if it was wrong, as you knew somewhere deep down it was done with love.

Laguna, gave an astonishingly vivid picture of a young girl who didn’t understand what it was to be a normal everyday girl, of what normal family life should be, no-one to tell her when to wash, to change her clothes or guide her on the right way to be with those around her.  The relationships she formed were sometimes for the wrong reasons, whilst in another she found true friendship only to have it snatched away. The one relationship that remained constant was that with Pop, often mired in tension, but poignant, filled with an understated tenderness, a reliance on each other that went unsaid, but somehow they knew they needed each other.

Justine’s attempts to navigate through life were, at times, almost too much to read and I wanted to jump into the pages and rescue her, but I knew this was how it had to be, that Justine had to endure so much in the hope that at the end, something good would happen and that she would be saved. It is not for me to say if she found rescue, but lets just say that what you read will not disappoint.

If The Choke was as much about the characters, it was also about the setting, the heat and dust of rural Australia, the hardships of rural life, trying to scratch a living from the land. There was the small town mentality, of everyone knowing everyone’s business, of the narrow mindedness, the unwillingness to look beyond the surface. There was the lack of awareness or an unwillingness to see Justine’s suffering, her educational shortcomings that struck me more than anything, and made me angry but it was perhaps indicative of the time the novel was set, the way things were.

There was one thing I was very sure of as I read The Choke and it was the sheer high quality of Laguna’s writing. It was Laguna’s ability to delve so deep into the mind of the young Justine, and at times it was breathtaking, her every thought and action laid bare on the page. It stirred so much emotion in me that by the end I was emotionally drained, trapped by my thoughts of the injustices and trauma served on the vulnerable Justine. I know that Justine will live with me for a long time and I defy anyone not to be similarly affected.

The Choke was sublime. wonderful and utterly brilliant.

I would like to thank Gallic books for a copy of The Choke to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Sofie Laguna

Sofie Laguna originally studied to be a lawyer, but after deciding law was not for her, she moved to Melbourne to train as an actor. Sofie worked for many years as an actor before she began to write – both for children and adults.

Sofie’s second novel for adults, ‘The Eye of the Sheep’ – shortlisted for the Stella Prize – won the 2015 Miles Franklin Award. It has been optioned for both film and theatre. Sofie’s first novel for adults, ‘One Foot Wrong’, published throughout Europe, the US and the UK, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Screen rights have been optioned and Sofie has completed the screenplay.

Sofie’s many books for young people have been published in the US, the UK and in translation throughout Europe and Asia. She has been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Award, and her books have been named Honour Books and Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Sofie has just released her third novel for adults, ‘The Choke’, to wide acclaim.

Sofie lives in Melbourne with her husband, illustrator Marc McBride, and their two young sons.

 

#Blogtour A Gift For Dying by M.J. Arlidge @mjarlidge @MichaelJBooks @Tr4cyF3nT0N #AGiftForDying #addictive #fantastic

 

A Gift for Dying

A Gift For Dying by M. J. Arlidge     Michael Joseph  March 7th 2019

With just one look, she knows how and when you will die . . . 

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her. 

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

My Review

Saturday March 16th was awful, the rain came down and dumped half a month’s rainfall in one long dreary day. The only thing that made that wet, gloomy day bearable was M. J Arlidge’s A Gift For Dying. So immersed was I in its pages that I soon forgot the rain outside and instead fell in love with the young vulnerable Kassie, all alone and frightened by her terrifying gift of seeing death in the eyes of those she met. All you felt was her frustration, her yearning to be believed and taken seriously, for someone to tell her it was ok and that they would help her. She was feisty, strong willed, and brave and it was hard to believe that she was only fifteen years old, so mature did she seem.

Her only friend was respected psychologist Adam Brandt, a man who had the perfect life, but that didn’t stop Arlidge from turning his life upside down. The intricacies of Adam and Kassie’s relationship was one of the highlights of the novel as Arlidge brilliantly portrayed a man conflicted, a man whose scientific and professional mind told him her gift was absurd yet events showed him otherwise.

Those events were definitely not nice and not for the faint-hearted or squeamish and it sent chills down my spine and as darkness closed in outside, I found myself glancing around just to check I was alone!

Kassie and Adam’s desperation intensified and just when you thought they couldn’t endure anymore Arlidge piled on yet more anguish and horrors. Not only did he pile on the anguish but he sent my head in a veritable spin as I tried to work out who did what, and where Arlidge would take me next. At times I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to go there but then there were moments when I couldn’t read fast enough so desperate was I to discover the next twist and the fate of Adam and Kassie. It was the unpredictability that I admired hugely and the fact the novel wasn’t wrapped in cliche’s, didn’t follow the normal formulaic route of so many novels in the genre, its narrative punchy not mired in needless in-depth descriptions, instead succinct and to the point as if to emphasise and convey the heightened drama and tension.

Arlidge saved the best until last and I thought I knew what would happen, how it would unfold, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how Arlidge delivered those last few nerve wracking, drama filled scenes.

So there we had my first M. J. Arlidge experience, a high octane, adrenaline fuelled story of immense highs and lows, of grim, dark events and two wonderful characters. It left me with a real book hangover and it won’t be long before I immersive myself in another M. J. Arlidge experience.

I can only suggest that you beg, buy or borrow a copy of A Gift For Dying as soon as you can.

I would like to thank Michael Joseph for a copy of A Gift For Dying to read and review and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

 

M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last twenty years, specializing in high-end drama production, including prime-time crime serials Silent Witness, Torn, The Little House and, most recently, the hit ITV show Innocent. In 2015 his audiobook exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a number-one bestseller. His debut thriller, Eeny Meeny, was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel, The Doll’s House, Liar Liar, Little Boy Blue, Hide and Seek and Love Me Not. Down to the Woods is the eighth DI Helen Grace thriller.

#Blogtour Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson @LauraPAuthor @AgoraBooksLDN @TheyCallMePeyto #NobodysWife

Nobody's Wife Cover

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson  Agora Books   March 28th 2019

‘Of the four of them, only three remained. And there was no going backwards from there.’

Emily and Josephine have always shared everything. They’re sisters, flatmates, and best friends. It’s the two of them against the world.

When Emily has the perfect wedding, and Josephine finds the perfect man, they know things will change forever. But nothing can prepare them for what, or who, one of them is willing to give up for love.

Four people. Three couples. Two sisters. One unforgiveable betrayal.

From the best-selling author of Missing Pieces comes a heart-wrenching story about family, loyalty, and obsession that will have you racing to the finish.

My Review

I love a good wedding, especially at the start of a novel, the happy couple all loved up and ready to start their married life.

This is how we met Emily and Michael and loved up they appeared to be, or were they?

This was a question Pearson asked of us and then proceeded to give a portrait of a marriage, of how it can change the relationships we have with those around us, of how it can make us question our life choices. She presented us with four characters, all connected to one another in some way and it was interesting to read how Pearson made them interact and the impacts their actions had upon one another.

We had the sibling relationship between Emily and Josephine, their closeness all too evident, but Emily’s marriage and Josephine’s new boyfriend Jack seemed to put a wedge into it, one that pushed them further and further away.  What Pearson did so well was to take us along with Emily and Josephine as they experienced a full range of emotions, from anger, guilt and ultimately betrayal. She never made us feel that the blame lay soley with the one sister, she merely presented their circumstances letting us the reader make up our own minds. It highlighted how we don’t necessarily chose who we fall in and out of love with, how sometimes we have to give into what we truly want even if that meant hurting others.

Pearson didn’t hit us with the usual myriad of high dramatic confrontations but instead they were understated, with subtle words that took the place of actions, the emotions of the characters brought to the fore. You sensed great sorrow but also forgiveness and for me this is what made it stand out, made it non formulaic or predictable, the outcomes laced with uncertainty until the latter few pages when Pearson gave you the answers, and not necessarily those you wanted.

It was a novel that impressed and one that I enjoyed immensely and I shall look forward to reading more from Laura Pearson.

I would like to thank Agora Books  for a copy of Nobody’s Wife to read and review and to Peyton Stableford for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to Participate in the blogtour.

 

About the author

Laura Pearson - Author Photo (1)

Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She spent a decade living in London and working as a copywriter and editor for QVC, Expedia, Net a Porter, EE, and The Ministry of Justice. Now, she lives in Leicestershire, where she writes novels, blogs about her experience of breast cancer (www.breastcancerandbaby.com), runs The Motherload Book Club, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.

Nobody's Wife Blog Tour (1)

#Blogtour A Letter From Sarah by Dan Proops @Dan_Proops @urbanebooks @LoveBooksGroup #ALetterFromSarah

A Letter From Sarah Publlication date 7th March 2019

A Letter From Sarah by Dan Proops  Urbane Books March 7th 2019

Adam’s sister, Sarah, has been missing for seven years, but he hasn’t given up hope of finding her. He is a sculptor and lives with his bedridden father who is a bully and a curmudgeon.

One morning, as the anniversary of Sarah’s disappearance nears, Adam receives a letter from her and she is apparently alive and well, living in New York. Adam travels to Brooklyn to search for Sarah as he’s desperate to see her, but she seems determined to avoid him.

Sarah’s letters arrive weekly, but she continues to remain elusive. Adam is perplexed by Sarah’s requests for secrecy, as is his father and his girlfriend, Cassandra.

He is determined to find her, whatever the cost to his wellbeing, health and sanity….

My Review

It wasn’t obvious when I read this novel exactly what genre to place it in, it wasn’t crime, and it wasn’t thriller as the blurb on the back might have indicated. For me, it was a novel driven by the characters Proops created, a novel of self discovery, of mental health and healing.

Our main protagonist was very clearly depressed, and who wouldn’t be if your career as a sculpture was at a standstill, your father, a bully and self absorbed, and a sister who seven years ago mysteriously disappeared. It was Adam’s inability to accept the disappearance of his sister and move on that Proops used to great effect, to fashion a story around Adam, of his life and the relationships with those around him. Proops gave us a real sense of Adam’s pain and anguish and whilst you felt empathy there were also times when you felt frustrated at his inaction and general attitude. You wanted those around him to be more understanding, to help him, to push him forwards but they remained wrapped up in their own lives or unable to get through to Adam to help.

It was Cassandra, Adam’s girlfriend that appeared the most supportive, but Proops gave her her own issues, that clashed against Adam’s yet raised some thought provoking moments for the reader. I did wonder how the two had remained together for so long, but then we often stay in a relationship because of the comfort and security it offers us and I am sure this was the same for Adam and Cassandra.

The ray of sunshine, that lifted the novel from the gloom had to be Nigel, a character down on his luck and not a man you liked but one who provided lightness, whose insensitive manner and actions at times made me smile and also want to punch him!

Adam’s father, Darius, appeared older than he actually was, a man wracked with guilt at his daughter’s disappearance, yet punished his son, unwilling to see his son’s distress or so I thought.

So there we had all the main characters, and Proops’s skill was his ability to write of the relationships between them, the intricacies, the anger, and the way in which they drove the story.  It became clear as I read that each had a purpose, that they were there to teach and guide Adam, to send him on a particular path and this is what made the novel so interesting. What else made it fascinating was Proops ability to get inside Adam’s mind to document his depression, his slow mental decline and you were never quite sure how the novel would end. The ending when I did get there  was one that took me by surprise, but perfectly fitted with the whole essence of the novel.

If you like a novel that closely examines who we are, how we deal or not deal with the impact of major events in our lives then you would enjoy, A Letter From Sarah, as much as i did.

I would like to thank Urbane for a copy of A Letter From Sarah to read and review and to Love Books Group for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

d1

Dan has been a full time writer for six years and has completed four novels and a memoir. He wrote short stories as a teenager gleaning knowledge from his grandmother, the legendary advice columnist, Marje Proops.

Dan was a professional artist, and had a one man show at the age of fourteen in London. He’s had many exhibitions over a long career and his artwork was purchased by internationally acclaimed art dealer, Eric Franck. His artwork appeared frequently in the national press and his painting was featured in Image of the Week in the Times. One of his exhibitions was previewed in the Telegraphby columnist Colin Gleadell.

Dan lives and works in London. He is a Twitter influencer and has a following of 22, 000. Dan has been using the twitter platform for some years. In 2016 he had a wide outreach and his tweets were seen by 1.5 million users.

Dan lives and works in London.

You can follow Dan Proops on Twitter @Dan_Proops

letter-sarah

 

 

#Blogtour Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff @SarahDavisGoff @TinderPress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #LastOnesLeftAlive

Last Ones Left Alive Cover

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff   Tinder Press March 7th 2019

Remember your Just-In-Cases. Beware Tall Buildings. Watch Your Six

Raised by her mother and Maeve on Slanbeg, an island off the west coast of Ireland, Orpen has a childhood of love and stories by the fireside. But the stories grow darker, and the training begins. Ireland has been devoured by a ravening menace known as the skrake, and though Slanbeg is safe for now, the women must always be ready to run, or to fight.

When Maeve is bitten, Orpen is faced with a dilemma: kill Maeve before her transformation is complete, or try to get help. So Orpen sets off, with Maeve in a wheelbarrow and her dog at her side, in the hope of finding other survivors, and a cure. It is a journey that will test Orpen to her limits, on which she will learn who she really is, who she really loves, and how to imagine a future in a world that ended before she was born.

My Review

I’m not a huge fan of dystopian novels but when a novel like Last Ones Left Alive is surrounded by a huge amount of buzz then you know you just have to read it or forever wonder what you missed.

Last Ones Left Alive was not a novel that had much light, its themes were distinctly dark and unsettling but full of strong and what I would only describe as fierce women. None were more fierce or indeed fearless than Orphen, raised by her Mum and Maeve on an island off the coast of Ireland. Her upbringing was definitely not normal as she trained to become an efficient and effective fighter, forced to grow up quickly, and to learn to survive in a desolate, crazed world full of dangerous ‘skrakes’, creatures who would take your soul, your life, as you became one of them.

It was Oprhen’s strength and fierce personality that dominated the novel, yet she wasn’t wholly impenetrable as Davis-Goff gave us glimpses of her emotions and feelings, of her desperation at perhaps being all alone in the world. It was a world where she learnt how to trust, to form relationships, no matter how tenuous, to consider the feelings of others and more importantly to recognise that her own emotions were not necessarily a sign of weakness. It was if Davis-Goff sent her not only on a dangerous mission but also a journey of self discovery, and it was a journey that held me in its grasp.  Indeed, it was the strength of women that echoed throughout and I did wonder if Davis-Goff through her writing, was sublimely pushing her own thoughts of the position and role of women in society. It was in no way preachy, or forced on you, it was merely a thought that lingered at the back of your mind as you read.

One thing that you could not get away from was the quality of Davis-Goff’s narrative. It was hard hitting, direct and she was economical with her words, none wasted, all with a purpose, wether that was to delve into the mind of Orphen or to describe the desolate and dangerous landscape she inhabited.

There was little time to draw breath as Orphen fought constant danger, a heightened tension throughout, as you shared and felt the constant dangers Orphen faced. You longed for this young woman to find what she was looking for and in some ways to find happiness and peace, her place in a desolate and lonely world.

You never discovered what catastrophic event occurred to change Orphen’s world and society but that was of no consequence, it was enough to be immersed in her life, in her quest. It was a world I was reluctant to leave and would love to revisit and I dearly hope that at sometime in the future Davis-Goff will revisit this the life of this strong and fierce woman.

I would like to thank Tinder Press for a copy of Last Ones Left Alice 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

Sarah Davis Goff

Sarah Davis-Goff was born and raised in Ireland. After going to college in the US and UK, she eventually returned, and now lives in Dublin. ‘Last Ones Left Alive’ is her debut novel.

Last Ones Left Alive BT Poster

 

#Blogtour The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu @skimfu @legend_press #LostGirls

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The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore  Legend Press

A group of young girls descend on a sleepaway camp where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people.

A portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves, and the pasts we can’t escape.

My Review

Five girls stranded on an island have to find their way out, there are tensions, power struggles and their  actions perhaps not the nicest. This was the premise for Kim Fu’s novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, so I was expecting a Lord of the Flies, how wrong I was. Yes, it did contain some similarities but what was unusual and what made this novel so distinct and different was the alternative approach adopted by Fu. Fu didn’t concentrate the bulk of her narrative on the girls fight to get out, instead she examined their lives in the afterwards, what effect it had on them and it is what made the novel so utterly compelling.

Fu beautifully set the scene, the ethos behind Camp Forevermore laid out, our first meetings of the five girls gave us an initial feel for their characters, hinting at their individual nuances as they eyed each other up. It created a sense of foreboding and anticipation, a glimpse of possible trouble ahead as they set out in their kayaks on their adventure.

The adult leader, Jan was an interesting character, so full of herself, lackadaisical in here approach to responsibility and safety awareness, another clear indication that all would not go well.

It was only when tragedy struck that Fu revealed the true characters of the girls, as she took us away from the island to a time in the future, to five girls who had to process the events and get on with the rest of their lifes. This is where Fu excelled, as she unravelled five girls with widely differing and varied lifes,  some more likeable than others.

Nita was the hardest to like, the genius, the one with the hard impenetrable exterior, that made you have to dig deep to find anything that made you empathise with her and even like her.

There was Dina, spoilt, and somehow detached from real life, who I found utterly frustrating, and many times I found myself wanting to shout at her, shake her and make her wake up to the real world.

Isabel, the loner, who I found to be quite intense, yet I felt quite sorry for her, her life full of tragedy that she found to process.

Andee, was driven, always busy as though if she stopped she would have to think, have to remember and deal with her emotions. Fu’s  interesting and unique approach to Andee’s story meant we didn’t get up close to her as we did the other girls, yet she was still able to give us a sense of who she was.

Siobhan was my favourite and indeed the most likeable, the one who emerged as the natural leader, although you would not have guessed that at the beginning. Fu’s approach to Sobhan’s story was slightly different, it was almost as if Fu deliberately flipped what you expected and gave you the unexpected. Her story was perhaps the most harrowing, laying bare the true characters of the girls, and the ultimate need to survive. I found it quite unsettling to read, but understood why Fu had done it, to tie all the ends together, to give us answers and ultimately to blow apart the tension she had built.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore was a brilliant examination of human nature, of how we react to dramatic events, to those around us and the effects we take with us into the future. I admired Fu’s ability to pick apart and dig deep into the psyche of each of the girls, to highlight their differences and show off the wonderful variety and diversity in her narrative.

It was a novel that made you think, about how you would react, what you would do and to hope that you never found yourself in a similar situation and I loved it.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Kim Fu is a Canadian-born writer, living in Seattle, Washington. Fu’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Hazlitt, and the Times Literary Supplement.

kim-fu.com

Follow Kim on Twitter @skimfu

#Blogtour The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheCourier #Superb

The Courier aw.indd

The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl    Orenda Books March 21st 2019

In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden whilst the rest of her family is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, Ester ’s childhood best friend. A relationship develops between them, but ends
abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire. And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter Turid. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…
Written with Dahl’s trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway’s most criticallyacclaimed authors at his best, as he takes on one of the most
horrifying periods of modern history. With its sophisticated storytelling and elegant prose, this stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd.

My Review

I am not sure I can put into words how much I enjoyed this superb novel, so different from his previous novels but in my opinion better.

Why? World War II always provokes huge emotion and we are so used to reading novels from the perspectives of Germany, Britain, Russia and Eastern Europe, but we never read much about Norway and Sweden’s role. This was what was so fascinating about The Courier, as I knew very little about their role or indeed what it meant for its inhabitants.

Kicking off in present day we met Turid, only a baby in World War II but with parents who had a history, and a turbulent and traumatic story, full of intrigue that you wanted to discover.

The chance spotting of a bracelet by Turid set in motion a chain of memories but also a story that enthralled and captivated. Dahl skilfully used flashbacks to 1942 and 1967 and effortlessly unravelled events, wrapping us up in a whirl of intrigue surrounding three central characters.

Ester, Norwegian and Jewish with parents who failed to evade capture by the Germans escaped to Sweden, a strong, brave young woman used as a pawn in a bigger game. She was the linchpin, the link, the one who the other characters revolved around. You had to admire her, empathise with her and you knew she was the only one who was true and honest, the only character you could trust.

Gerhard, partner of Ester’s childhood friend, Asa, deeply involved in the resistance, yet Dahl gave us glimpses of a man you perhaps could not, nor did not want to trust. I can’t say I liked him very much, and found him self absorbed, slightly unhinged and you knew there was a dangerous element to him.

Sverre was a strange character and again there was something about him I didn’t like nor trust. You questioned wether his intentions were honourable, was he protecting something bigger, yet Dahl also showed his vulnerability, his fear, making him slightly more human than Gerhard.

Intrigue and espionage whirled around them, the tension palpable, like a piece of string pulled so tight that at some point you knew it would snap but you weren’t sure when or where or what impact it would have. Dahl kept that string pulled tight throughout and the snap when it happened was dramatic but in a quiet understated way, that perfectly befitted the whole feel of the novel. It was this quiet and understated feel that I admired hugely, along with the wonderful atmosphere that Dahl created. It was an atmosphere that I have found difficult to describe, but it was almost like being out in the dead of night, with a dense fog whirling around, a chill in the air with dark figures that lurked in the shadows. You sensed danger behind every corner, every turn of the page and that is what made The Courier so deeply absorbing and utterly brilliant.

The detail, and the descriptions that infused Dahl’s narrative were such that you were in no doubt that you were in Sweden during the war. You sensed the huge danger that Ester found herself in, but you also sensed her tangled emotions, her need to do what was right for her childhood friend and to see justice done both in the past and the present.

It wasn’t until the latter parts that Dahl pulled all the varying strands together, that you finally began to see the whole picture and it was not without its surprises, surprises that weren’t dramatic but subtle, that made perfect sense.

I cannot speak highly enough of The Courier, it was atmospheric and a superbly written piece of fiction that is very definitely one of the best novels I have read this year.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Courier 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

Kjell Ola Dahl-Rolf-M-Aagaard

 

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

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

#Blogtour Are You The F**king Doctor by Dr Liam Farrell @drlfarrell #DalzellPress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #AreYouTheF**kingDoctor #IrishMed

 

Are You the Doctor Cover

Are You the F**king Doctor by Dr Liam Farrell  Dalzell Press November 8th 2018

General practice is the great unknown. We stand on the cusp of the beyond. Science takes us only so far, then the maps stop in the grey areas of intuition, imagination and feelings: here be dragons. Lurching from heart-breaking tragedy to high farce, we are the Renaissance men and women of medicine; our art is intangible. Anything can walk through our door…’

Family doctor, Irishman, musician, award-winning author, anarchist and recovering morphine addict, Liam became a columnist for the BMJ in 1994. He went on to write for many major publications, winning a series of prestigious awards; in 2005, he was the first doctor to win Columnist of the Year in the Periodical Publishers Association awards.

The book contains a selection of Liam’s best work, from his columns, blogs and short stories.Brilliantly funny, glittering with literary allusion and darkly wicked humour, this book is much more than a collection of stand-alone anecdotes and whimsical reflections, rather a compelling chronicle of the daily struggles – and personal costs – of a doctor at the coalface.

My Review

I’ve always wondered what the life of a GP would look like, how they dealt with the myriad of patients that stepped through their doors. When I was offered a spot on the blogtour for Dr Liam Farrell’s Are You The F**king Doctor I jumped at it. Another reason was that I had recently accepted a position as a GP receptionist in a busy medical partnership so I thought it would give me the heads up as to what to expect!

The body of the book was an anthology of Farrell’s articles published in numerous medical publications over many years of being in practice. The vast time frame allowed Farrell to take in the many changes, both good and bad and with Farrell’s own distinct take on what the changes meant not only for himself but GP’s in general.

It was Farrell’s distinct style that was one of the highlights, humour injected into what could have been a very dry and at times depressing subject. It may have been something to do with the fact that Farrell was also Irish but in my opinion more due to his brilliant narrative, a narrative that pulled no punches and was at times very funny. Prevalent throughout was one of Farrell’s patients, a man who could only be classed as a hypercondriac, yet the relationship between doctor and patient described so brilliantly, that you wondered how Farrell kept his patience and more importantly maintained as sense of humour, testament to what a wonderful GP he must be.

Whilst the humour shone through there was a also a serious side, the continual need for change, to meet targets and to operate under financial pressures were all evident, yet it never felt laboured and nor did I feel that I was being preached to. Even more serious was his own personal health issues, that made the writing all the more poignant in places, and made him seem more human, capable of making his own mistakes, unable to wave a magic wand and make everything better.

It was Farrell’s ability to maintain the balance between the personal and the facts, the serious and the funny that made Are You The F**king Doctor so enjoyable and I certainly left with a new found respect for GP’s and all that they do.

I would like to thank Dalzell Press for a copy of Are You The F**king Doctor to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Dr-Liam-Farrell

Dr Liam Farrell is from Rostrevor, Co Down, Ireland. He was a family doctor in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, for 20 years, and is an award-winning writer and a seasoned broadcaster. He is married to Brid, and has three children Jack, Katie, and Grace.

He was a columnist for the British Medical Journal for 20 years and currently writes for GP, the leading newspaper for general practitioners in the UK. He has also been a columnist for the Lancet, the Journal of General Practice, the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News. He wrote the entry on ‘Sex’ for The Oxford Companion to the Body.
On Twitter he curates #Irishmed, a weekly tweetchat on all things medical, which has a global following. He also co-curates #WritersWise, a regular tweetchat for writers, with novelist Sharon Thompson.
He was the medical columnist for the BBC Radio Ulster Evening Extra 1996-98; presented the series Health-Check for Ulster TV in 2002, and was medical consultant for both series of Country Practice in 2000 and 2002 for BBC Northern Ireland.
His awards include Columnist of the Year at Irish Medical Media Awards 2003, Periodical Publishers Association of Great Britain 2006 and Medical Journalist’s Society, London 2011, and Advancing Health through Media at the Zenith Global Healthcare Awards 2018.He was shortlisted for the Michael McLaverty Short Story Competition in 2008.
His twitter handle is @DrLFarrell

Doctor Blog Tour Poster

#Blogtour Welcome To The Heady Heights by David F. Ross @dfr10 @OrendaBooks @anncater #RandomThingsTours #WelcomeToTheHeadyHeights

 

Welcome To The Heady Heights  By David F. Ross   Orenda Books  Match 21st 2019

Welcome to the Heady Heights …
It’s the year punk rock was born, Concorde entered commercial service and a tiny Romanian gymnast changed the sport forever.
 
Archie Blunt is a man with big ideas. He just needs a break for them to be realised. In a bizarre brush with the light-entertainment business, Archie unwittingly saves the life of the UK’s top showbiz star, Hank ‘Heady’ Hendricks’, and now dreams of hitting the big-time as a Popular Music Impresario. Seizing the initiative, he creates a new singing group with five unruly working-class kids from Glasgow’s East End. Together, they make the finals of a televised Saturday-night talent show, and before they know it, fame and fortune beckon for Archie and The High Five. But there’s a complication; a trail of irate Glaswegian bookies, corrupt politicians and a determined Scottish WPC known as The Tank are all on his tail…
 
A hilarious and poignant nod to the elusivity of stardom, in an age when making it’ was ‘having it all’, Welcome to the Heady Heights  is also a dark, laugh-out-loud comedy, a heartwarming tribute to a bygone age and a delicious drama about desperate men, connected by secrets and lies, by accidents of time and, most of all, the city they live in.
My Review
It was the year of the big heatwave, 1976 and the location the city of Glasgow, when things got more than just a little bit hot for a certain Mr Archie Blunt.
His was a story of politics, murder, sex and showbiz. At times it was funny, at others it was both bleak and dark.
At the heart of Archie’s story was the city of Glasgow, with its working class background. The harsh realities of life were brilliantly and starkly portrayed by Ross, his myriad of characters a dazzling mix of men like Archie, scraping a living, drowning their sorrows, wondering when it would all get better.
There was Gail, a freelance journalist looking to avenge the death of her father at the hands of those in power, even if that meant putting her own life at risk. Barbara, a young police officer, in a male dominated world putting up with lurid innuendo and slaps on the backside and a working day of making endless cups of tea and menial duties deemed appropriate to her sex and intelligence. Oh how I wanted to scream and shout, bang on the table and tell the men exactly what I thought, but this is what it would have been like and I had to accept it and keep my fingers crossed that Barbara would rise above it and show them exactly what she was made of!
Each character was a cog in a wheel, a link in a chain that Ross used to slowly unwind his story. All three set out with the same purpose, yet unaware of the other until Ross carefully and skilfully pulled all the strands together.
The narrative was sharp and punchy and at times very funny, but there was always a darkness lurking underneath. You wanted the characters to succeed and in Archie’s case break free from the relentlessness of his life with no job, no money and a dad with dementia. I loved his determination, his absolute belief in his newly created boy band and felt sympathy in his naivety when faced with blackmail and criminal intrigue.
The criminals were superb, a heady mix of politicians, entertainers, high up police chiefs and newspaper editors, their ‘Circle’ a hotbed of money and sex that wouldn’t look out of place today. Ross was adept at stirring up my emotions, making me feel angry at them, urging me to cheer on the good guys, to see them reap their revenge and bring about their downfall.
Intrigue and suspense permeated the pages and kept me well and truly hooked. The Glasgow setting and use of the true Scottish dialect added a harshness and realism that lifted the novel and made it an enthralling and brilliant read.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Welcome to The Heady heights to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

David_F_Ross_001v

 

David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas and The Man Who Loved Islands. David lives in Ayrshire.

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