#Blogtour A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World By C. A. Fletcher @CharlieF letch_r @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #FollowGriz

A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C. A. Fletcher  Orbit April 25th 2019

My name’s Griz.

I’ve never been to school, I’ve never had friends, in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football. My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, before all the people went away, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came.

He told stories of the deserted towns and cities beyond our horizons. I liked him – until I woke to find he had stolen my dog. So I chased him out into the ruins of the world.

I just want to get my dog back, but I found more than I ever imagined was possible. More about how the world ended. More about what my family’s real story is. More about what really matters.

My Review

If you find this book then all is not lost.

I found this book and was instantly enveloped in the world of Griz, a world that somehow went back to the beginning, no TV, no phones, no internet and most importantly no people. What had happened we never fully discovered, only glimpses of Freeman and the Gelding, where people no longer bred, that brought us to this now devastated world.  It was a world that Griz inhabited with their family, parents, brothers and sisters surviving on the islands on the west of Scotland, a simple life until a stranger arrived and suddenly everything changed.

We followed Griz on a journey through a devastated landscape. a landscape that Fletcher described in narrative that was so vivid and real I could imagine myself right there. I had a great time guessing where in the country he was describing some more obvious than others, but it was a stark reminder of what could happen if we do not look after what we already have or a catastrophic event laid the entire world to waste.

In some ways it was like stepping back in time and I loved the wonder and awe Griz felt on the journey, as they lived off the land, used what lay around to protect against those that threatened.

Griz as a character was just wonderful, full of a need to discover, but most importantly the need to rescue their dog Jess at whatever the cost. I loved Griz’s resourcefulness, their tenacity and that never to be broken bond Griz had with dogs Jess and Jip, one that I fully understood, that stirred great swathes of emotion in myself as I read.

Fletcher skilfully explored Griz’s emotions, the struggles of understanding the world around them, the need to find a peaceful means to end conflict versus brute force and violence all glared at me from the page. We watched as Griz, matured, grew up, understood more about human nature, the world that existed before, and the pitfalls of an emergent world that beckoned. You willed Griz on to make the right choices, to battle and win against adversity, to find Jess and return home, but Fletcher didn’t make it easy and the latter parts of the books were incredible, as Fletcher turned everything upside down, and surprised you in a way you never ever expected. In a way if I looked back, it was always there but Fletcher did a fantastic job at hiding it, relying on you the reader to make assumptions, to revert to stereotyping the characters you read. The whole book was a great lesson in looking beyond and underneath what was on the surface, not taking anything for granted and having the courage to carry out your conviction no matter the consequences.

For all that, The Boy and His Dog was a novel that was purely and simply a fantastic example of storytelling at its best, it had adventure, action and Griz was just the most wonderful character.

It was a novel that could be enjoyed by both adults and teenagers, a novel, that was both compelling and engaging and would in my opinion make a great film.

I would like to thank Orbit for a copy of A Boy And A Dog At The end Of The World and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

 

About the authorImage result for c a fletcher author

 

C. A. Fletcher has children and dogs. He lives in Scotland and writes for a living.

ABAHD_blog-tour_square

#Blogtour Stanley and Elsie by Nicola Upson @nicolaupsonbooks @DuckBooks #StanleyAndElsie

 

Stanley & Elsie_Cover

Stanley and Elsie by Nicola Upson  Duckworth May 2nd 2019

It’s 1928 and Stanley Spencer arrives in a quiet Hampshire village ready to create the commission of a lifetime. Hired as his housekeeper, Elsie quickly becomes so much more: a muse and a friend for whom he develops a deep, lifelong affection. A joy in the ordinary things bonds them, a simple love of life which is crucial to Spencer’s art but which his wartime experiences and growing celebrity have all but destroyed.
Elsie becomes a vital part of the Spencer family, sharing in the creation of Spencer’s masterpieces and the daily dramas of his life: his marriage to the painter Hilda Carline and the artistic rivalry between husband and wife; the continuing impact of the First World War on all their lives, and the scandal over Spencer’s personal and artistic attitudes toward sex. As the years pass, Elsie does her best to keep the family together even when love, obsession and temptation seem set to tear them apart…
Spencer painted the women in his life with a combination of ruthless honesty and nostalgic idealism, but their voices are tantalisingly absent from history. Stanley and Elsie turns the tables and gives full lives to the women who shaped Stanley
Spencer’s life.

My Review

Who was Stanley Spencer, what drove his art, what made him the man he was? Having not read or known too much about Spencer I was delighted to be invited to participate in Nicola Upson’s Stanley and Elsie blogtour a novel that was steeped in the nuances of a man at odds with himself and society.

It wasn’t Spencer who told his story but his maid Elsie, a young woman from a traditional farming background, who had seen little of the wider world.

You expected naivety in the face of what she witnessed and what she became part of, and yes there was that but there was something else. Elsie had that ability to see beyond the surface, to rationalise and indeed provide clear advise and wisdom that seemed so far beyond her years.

She was our eyes on the day to day minutiae of Spencer and Hilda’s marriage, the confident to both, the straight talker who battled to drum sense into each of them when their marriage and themselves began to fall apart.

Upson’s interpretation of her relationship with Spencer was wonderfully done. You could sense the mutual respect, Elsie’s willingness to learn but offer Spencer an alternative view not only of himself but of his paintings. It was often hard to believe that she was the paid help so bold was Elsie in her plain talking, her ease in which she fitted perfectly into their family.

Yet we know that life is never plain sailing and Upson skilfully used Elsie to show us the breakdown of the family, the scandal and shock that rocked the community of Cookham. You also felt her disappointment not only in Spencer but also in Hilda, their unwillingness to compromise, to put their children first. I did wonder how Elsie stayed with them for so long, perhaps she hoped that Spencer and Hilda would relent, would work it out and come back together.

If Upson showcased her wonderful ability to bring her characters to life then she was equally adept at bringing the complexities of Spencers’ war paintings to life. Her narrative was wonderfully vivid and I could clearly picture the chapel in which he worked, the painstaking way in which he sought to bring his own experiences of war to life. Upson did such a wonderful job that I spent a couple of hours googling Spencers paintings and his history.

That was what was so wonderful about Stanley and Else, the authors ability to engage the reader, to fully immerse them in her subject. She didn’t bog us down with needless information but cleverly wove it into the story, into the interactions between the characters.

It was a novel that I enjoyed immensely and would highly recommend to anyone Wether they have an interest in the world of art and Sir Stanley Spencer or not.

I would like to thank Duck Books for a copy of Stanley and Elsie to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Nicola Upson_Author Photo

 

Nicola Upson was born in Suffolk and read English at Downing College, Cambridge. She has worked in theatre and as a freelance journalist, and is a regular arts
contributor to a number of radio networks. Nicola’s debut fiction, An Expert in Murder, was the first in a series of novels to feature the real-life author and playwright Josephine Tey, one of the leading figures of the Golden Age of crime writing. The book has been dramatised by BBC Scotland for BBC Radio 4, and was praised by PD James as marking ‘the arrival of a new and assured talent’. Nine Lessons, Nicola’s most recent novel, was shortlisted for the 2018 CWA Historical Dagger. Nicola lives with her partner in Cambridge and Cornwall.

Basic RGB

#Blogtour Asylum by Marcus Lowe @MarcusLowx @Legend_Press #Asylum

Asylum cover

Asylum by Marcus Low  Legend Press April 15th 2019

Barry James is detained in a quarantine facility in the blistering heat of the Great Karoo. Here he exists in two worlds: the unforgiving reality of his incarceration and the lyrical landscapes of his dreams.

He has cut all ties with his previous life, his health is failing, and he has given up all hope. All he has to cling to are the meanderings of his restless mind, the daily round of pills and the journals he reluctantly keeps as testimony to a life once lived.

And then there’s an opportunity to escape. 

My Review

We met Barry James, incarcerated in a treatment facility in the middle of a South African desert, his life ruled by a vile lung disease that will end his life. It is three years in the future, 2023, and the world appeared different from the one in which we now reside but somehow it also felt like taking a step back in time, Barry’s lung disease similar to TB, its victims also incarcerated but with one difference, many would survive, in Barry’s case he would not.

So how did Barry accept his fate, and how did he face each day knowing it could be his last? This was the premise in which Low based his book, Barry’s thoughts tumbled out in the form of notebooks, as they revealed glimpses of a troubled past, of a man that was a  bit of a loner. His interactions with other patients were limited, almost as if he had drawn within himself, perhaps the only way he could cope.

What impressed me most was that Low never gave much away, either about Barry’s past, his age, his family. He gave us mere hints, made us think, and read between the lines to fill in the gaps, to piece together who Barry was. I don’t think I ever worked him out completely, but I don’t think that was ever Low’s intention to give us a full, rounded and open characterWhat he did give us was a man at odds with the world, and most importantly with himself. His musing, his dreams were, I felt, his way of coming to terms with his past, his illness and to hopefully make peace and accept his fate.

For all its quietness, and deep thinking, Asylum also had its dramatic moments, like small interludes, that jolted us out of our thoughtfulness, made us leap up and take notice.

Low exposed us to the natural elements of the African Karoo, its great expanse, the heat, the dust, the rain, the need for survival. He gave us the merest hint of politics, of a changing world that you somehow knew would impact on the insular world of Barry and his fellow patients. The consequences were not quite what you expected but profound and moving, Low’s narrative poignant, eloquent and devastating, that left me thoughtful, unsure of how it made me feel. A step away after the turn of the final page provided clarity and an appreciation for an author and his quiet, understated and masterful prose, a novel that was self assured and a pleasure to read.

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

 

About the author

MLowPIC1

 

Marcus Low is a Cape Town-based writer and public health specialist. He completed a MA in creative writing at the University of Cape Town in 2009 – for which he wrote an early draft of ‘asylum’. He previously worked as Policy Director at the Treatment Action Campaign, an influencial South African civil society organisation that advocates for the rights and interests of people living with and affected by tuberculosis (TB) and HIV. He remains involved in public health policy both in South Africa and internationally. His novel ‘asylum’ was in part inspired by the incarceration of patients with drug-resistant forms of TB in South Africa circa 2008 – something he directly encountered in his work. He was born in Vryburg, South Africa in 1979.

Follow Marcus on Twitter @marcuslowx

Asylum Blog Tour Banner

#Blogtour Twisted by Steve Cavanagh @SSCav @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReader #ThisBookIsTwisted #Twisted

 

Image result for twisted steve cavanagh

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh  Orion  April 4th 2019BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK


I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

My Review

Twisted was exactly what its title implied, Twisted. It had so many twists, you did wonder how the author didn’t tie himself and the reader in complete knots, but such was his skill in handling the books complexities there was no need to back track or to think too hard about what you had read.

Cavanagh’s cast of characters were an interesting mix, not least the mysterious J. T Lebeau. You instantly wanted to know who he was, and more importantly why he wished to remain anonymous and what exactly he was hiding. I did think at one point that I had worked it out, but Cavanagh loved to throw in a few red herrings, that definitely kept you on your toes, kept you guessing.

As in all good thriller/crime novels Cavanagh didn’t stint on his share of murder and violence, that was, at times, quite brutal, but totally in keeping with the general tone of the novel.

I’m not sure I actually liked many of the main characters, I found them quite cold and selfish, and at times they made me quite angry, all part of Mr Cavanagh’s aim to engage us fully in his story.

Maria was a woman hellbent on a comfortable, secure life, a product of a harsh upbringing. I did feel quite sorry for her at first before events made me question her motives, made me like her just that little bit less.

Her husband Paul, was a bit of a mystery, an absentee husband, one who you wanted to know more about, wanted your questions answered.

And what about Daryl, our roguish surfer and waiter? Was he out for what he could get or was he just a genuine nice guy?

Cavanagh threw in a couple of good detectives, Bloch and Dole who each had their strengths, each came at the investigation from differing angles, and played their part superbly adding to the multiple layers of intrigue and suspense.

With a varied melee of characters, a tongue twisting plot Twisted was like watching a big chess game as the opposing players plotted their moves, and guarded their secrets, none willing to concede. You held your breath as you waited for check mate, and when it came it did not disappoint, it left you reeling as finally Cavanagh revealed all.

The author brilliantly brought all the strands together, your questions were answered and the only disappointment was that you had reached the end of the story when all you wanted was more.

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

About the author

 

Steve Cavanagh was born and raised in Belfast before leaving for Dublin at the age of eighteen to study Law. He currently practices civil rights law and has been involved in several high profile cases; in 2010 he represented a factory worker who suffered racial abuse in the workplace and won the largest award of damages for race discrimination in Northern Ireland legal history. He holds a certificate in Advanced Advocacy and lectures on various legal subjects (but really he just likes to tell jokes). He is married with two young children.

Follow Steve on Facebook at facebook.com/SSCav1 and Twitter @SSCav

Twisted Blog Tour

#Blogtour The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe @Tonilturbe @EburyPublishing @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #TheLibrarianOfAuschwitz

 

Image result for the librarian of auschwitz

The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites Ebury  April 4th 2019

It wasn’t an extensive library. In fact, it consisted of eight books and some of them were in poor condition. But they were books. In this incredibly dark place, they were a reminder of less sombre times, when words rang out more loudly than machine guns…’

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

My Review

It is not for us to imagine ourselves in a concentration camp. We can never truly understand the terror, the starvation and the harsh cruelties of its many hundreds of thousands of inhabitants. What we can do is to witness, and read the thoughts and accounts of those incarcerated and that was exactly what Antonio Iturbe set out to do in The Librarian Of Auschwitz.

It was definitely not a comfortable read and was all the more real, based on the true story of its main character Dita. The fact that Dita lived to tell her story was testament to her bravery, her strong will and unerring need and will to survive.

You read with utter disbelief the lengths and indeed conscientiousness with which she protected the eight books in the camp library. The joy she found in their contents, the escapism to another world and the love and care she took in maintaining their condition was both astounding and poignant. They gave her and others a gateway, a chance to forget their circumstances and a certain power that the Nazis would have undoubtedly taken away and punished with certain death if discovered.

Dita was the one shining light of the novel. At only 14 many young girls would have withered and crumbled but not Dita. We watched and read as, before our eyes she matured, grew up, understood the vileness of human nature whilst finding a way to live with it, to find the positives that got her out of bed every morning.

A novel set in a concentration camp was never going to be all sweetness and light but amidst the darkness was a story that had laughter, singing, love and hope. I was amazed to read of the children’s camp, the school created to provide them with learning, with a reason to run around, play games and enjoy being just what they were, children. You couldn’t help but admire Fredi Hirsch and his fellow teachers even if Hirsch hid behind alterior motives, motives that you knew did not bode well, that lingered with dreadful anticipation.

The Nazi’s were pretty much as you would expect, harsh, unwielding, fed on propaganda and the promise of a pure German state. Did they know it was wrong? For some no, for the tiny minority yes, but their own sense of entrapment and need to survive prevailed.

Iturbe’s narrative skilfully captured the fear and the anguish of his characters but he excelled in his descriptions of the camp itself. You could not help but recoil in horror as ash from the mass cremations fell from the sky like rain on the prisoners, a daily occurrence that almost became the norm. The cold, the lack of food, the squalid conditions and the constant fear of the gas chambers eerily echoed from the pages. You wondered if life could be any worse until Iturbe turned his attentions to Bergen Belsen, his descriptions on an entirely different and higher level. Having visited myself I will never forget the eerie silence, the huge mounds that covered the many thousands who perished.

The images, the smells, the sheer scale of the torture endured was never faraway, but if there was one thing that Iturbe brilliantly conveyed it was the spirit, the tenacity and the small glimpses of joy and happiness of the prisoners, the one thing the Nazi’s could never take from them.

The Librarian Of Auschwitz was a novel that would linger long in the mind and a reminder to us all to feel grateful for the freedom and the peace we now live in.

I would like to thank Ebury for a copy of The Librarian Of Auschwitz to read and review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Image result for antonio iturbe

Antonio Iturbe lives in Spain, where he is both a novelist and a journalist. In researching The Librarian of Auschwitz, he interviewed Dita Kraus, the real-life librarian of Auschwitz. Lilit Zekulin Thwaites is an award-winning literary translator. After thirty years as an academic at La Trobe University in Australia, she retired from teaching and now focuses primarily on her ongoing translation and research projects. Dita Kraus was born in Prague. In 1942, when Dita was thirteen years old , she and her parents were deported to Ghetto Theresienstadt and later to Auschwitz,. Neither of Dita’s parents survived. After the war Dita married the author Otto B. Kraus. They emigrated to Israel in 1949, where they both worked as teachers They had three children. Since Otto’s death in 2000 , Dita lives alone in Netanya. She has four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Despite the horrors of the concentration camps, Dita has kept her positive approach to life.

#Blogtour The Passengers by John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @EburyPublishing @Tr4cyF3nton #CompulsiveReaders #ThePassengers

 

Image result for the passengers john marrs

The Passengers by John Marrs  Ebury  1st April 2019 (e-book), 30th May 2019 (paperback)

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

‘Provocative, terrifying and compulsive. Another savagely clever near future thriller’ Cara Hunter, bestselling author of CLOSE TO HOME

The new gripping page-turning thriller for fans of BLACK MIRROR from the bestselling author of HER LAST MOVE and THE ONE – soon to be a major Netflix series.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

My Review

The Passengers was different, oh so very different from anything I have read in a longtime. For the two or three days I read it pushed my imagination to the limits, put my brain into a tailspin and basically dominated my head space to the point I had to discuss with anyone who would listen!

Marrs asked us to imagine a future of driverless cars, cars programmed to avoid traffic jams and most importantly avoid collisions. Then he asked us to think about what would happen if someone hacked into those systems and had control, who wanted us the reader and a jury to decide the fate of eight passengers.

What I liked was that Marrs’s jury covered every aspect of the professional world, the doctor, the lawyer, the religious, the MP and lastly a member of the public.

Each had their own approach, each tackled the dilemma the Hacker threw at them from a differing angle. It allowed Marrs to show us their true characters. You couldn’t help but hate MP Jack Larson, selfish, egotistical, a man full of his own self importance. At the other end of the spectrum you had Libby, your average member of the public. I loved her level headedness, her compassion, her questioning nature and her ability to stand up for herself that made her all the more likeable.

The Passengers themselves were from all walks of life, of differing nationalities, religions, race and age, each with a secret they wanted to keep hidden. This is where Marrs was very very clever, where the novel excelled. What if the Hacker knew those secrets but only chose to share certain snippets of information, information that could be manipulated, twisted to influence our decision making? What if he used social media to involve the world in those decisions? As you can imagine this took the novel onto a whole new level as the opinions and the decisions of the jury became complex, the tension and anger almost unbearable. You held your breath as Marrs took everything to the extreme, as you waited for consequences that you knew could only be devastating and catastrophic.

Each chapter gave us differing perspectives as we felt the fear of the The Passengers, Of Libby’s emotions and turmoil. As time ticked away the pace of the novel became frantic as it reflected the panic of its characters. I think my own heart rate raced furiously as the sense of anticipation grew and I waited for the inevitable big explosion, for everything to come crashing down.

I loved the subtle surprise near the end, the tying up of loose ends that didn’t leave me with more questions than answers that can do often happen in novels.

The Passengers was not only high octane, it was thought provoking, intelligent and absolutely brilliant. Can someone please make it into a film or TV drama as it would make for addictive and thrilling viewing!

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

About the author

Image result for john marrs

John Marrs is a former journalist from Northamptonshire, England, who spent 25 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines. He wrote for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine. He recently gave up his job to write novels full time. His first car at the age of seventeen was a three-door, Ford Escort with a Batman sticker in the rear windscreen. He thought the sticker was cool at the time.

thepassengers_blogtour_Draft2

#Blogtour Dark Sky Island by Lara Dearman @laradearman @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #DarkSkyIsland

http://biblioresources.hachette.co.uk/getimage.aspx?id=585612&class=books&cat=default&size=origjpg&type=origjpg&dpi=300&bibliologin=1&s=6bb04426-60a3-427a-8a25-d42c28f6ff89

Dark Sky Island by Lara Dearman   Trapeze Books April 18th 2019 

In this thrilling sequel to The Devil’s Claw, DCI Michael Gilbert is called out to Sark – the world’s first dark sky island – after bones are found on Derrible Bay. He is followed by journalist Jennifer Dorey, driven by a secret in her own past. The remains are decades old, but after a body is discovered Jennifer and Michael fear there may be a killer on the island. Together they follow a dark trail of bad blood and a conspiracy of silence.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. No one is what they seem. And the murderer could strike again at any time…

If you love Ann Cleeves, Peter May and Elly Griffiths, you’ll love the latest atmospheric thriller from Lara Dearman. Dark Sky Island will keep you guessing until the very last page.

My Review

Who would have thought the little island of Sark would be such a hotbed of mystery, murder and intrigue. Who could have imagined that this beautiful, peaceful and traffickless island would harbour murders and criminals and make you question if this was an island you would like to visit.

Sark was definitely the stand out character of Dark Sky Island. Dearman’s descriptions of its landscape, it’s rugged coastline and its traffic less tranquillity were wonderfully evocative. Yet you could feel the palpable tension that simmered below the surface and what you wanted more than anything was for it to bubble and erupt. I didn’t have to wait long as old bones and a murder threw the island into chaos, it’s residents under close scrutiny, old feuds resurrected.

Dearman threw a myriad of character at us, the seigneur, the billionaire, the local policeman, the old fishermen, the shopkeepers, in fact the entire population. She asked us who we would trust, who had something to hide and gave us local journalist Jenny and detective Michael to help us. What I liked what that each had their own perspective on the crimes, each wanting differing outcomes.

I loved Jenny, whose personal angle gave what could have been the harsh realities of murder a softer edge. You had to admire her dogged persistence and her, at times, foolhardy bravery which only made you like her that little bit more.

Michael, on the other hand, had a job to do, murders to solve. Dearman showed a man under pressure, a man whose belief in his fellow officers sorely tested.

I liked the relationship between Jenny and Michael, full of tension yet also mutual respect.

Dark Sky Island was no one dimensional murder, crime, thriller, it’s layers were indeed deep and complex. They beautifully showed the darker side of human nature, of greed, and self preservation to a degree you could at times not quite believe.

It showcased a community that bound itself together, that kept its secrets and pushed away those who tried to enter or challenge the status quo.

The multiple strands, the flip between past and present kept me guessing until slowly the light bulb went on as Dearman skilfully brought the strands together. The latter parts picked up at a furious pace, characters thrown together and against one another and you just knew not all would survive, or maintain their innocence until the last scintillating pages revealed all.

Dark Sky Island was the second book in the series and I loved the loose ends Dearman left dangling. She left me with an appetite for more and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for Jenny and Michael.

I would like to thank Trapeze for a copy of Dark Sky Island to read and review and to Tracy Fenton Of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Lara was born and raised on the Channel Island of Guernsey. She moved to the UK to study International Relations and French at the University of Sussex, after which she endured a brief career in finance before giving it up to be a stay at home mum to her three children. A short course in Creative Writing at Richmond Adult Community College led to Lara studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at St Mary’s University, London. She graduated in 2016 with a distinction. Having moved from Guernsey to Brighton to London to Paris to Singapore and back to London over the last fifteen years, she has now settled in Westchester, New York, with her family. Her first novel, The Devil’s Claw, combines her love of Guernsey, myths and folklore with her obsession with crime fiction and serial killers. In the sequel, Dark Sky Island, murder and mystery arrive on the beautiful and isolated island of Sark.

Dark Sky Island Blog Tour v2

#Blogtour The Island by Ragnar Jonasson @Ragnarjo @MichaelJBooks @sriya_v #TheIsland

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 22.57.37.png

The Island by Ragnar Jonasson  Michael Joseph April 4th 2019

Elliðaey is an isolated island off the Icelandic coast. It has a beautiful, unforgiving terrain – and an easy place to vanish.

At the peak of her career Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to discover what happened when a group of friends visited Elliðaey – but one failed to return.

Could this have links to the disappearance of a couple ten years previously out on the Westfjords? Is there a killer stalking these barren outposts?

Written with Ragnar’s haunting and suspenseful prose The Island follows Hulda’s journey to uncover the island’s secrets and find the truth hidden in its darkest shadows.

My Review

Iceland, not notable for its murders but in Ragnar Jonasson’s world they somehow kept happening. This one was a little different, two bodies, ten years apart and all we had to do was wonder if there was a connection and Jonasson could certainly weave a tale of intrigue with so many layers that it made it hard to finally work out who the culprit or culprits were.

He gave us a bunch of characters, all friends, who had somehow drifted apart and all with something to hide, their lives wonderfully diverse and interesting. There was Dagur with a tragic family history, who on the surface seemed to hold it all together, yet underneath you knew was struggling, could not move on.

Benedikt was the one who seemed the most rounded, yet again there was something about him that didn’t add up, that made you question what he had to hide, or was unwilling to reveal.

The girls Alexandra and Klara were, for me, the ones who seemed more fragile, in particular Klara, who appeared odd, slightly unhinged, and I loved the the little nuances and strange behaviour thrown in by Jonasson.

Any good crime novel obviously needs a great a detective and I knew we were in safe hands with Detective Hulda Hermannsdottir, a woman who had her own tragic past and it was wonderful that Jonasson chose to reveal just that little bit more. We glimpsed more of her personality not just the hardened exterior we saw in Jonasson’s previous novel, The Darkness. That hard exterior was still there as she investigated, went above and beyond putting her own career in danger as she pushed to uncover the truth. That is what I liked about Jonasson’s portrayal of Hulda, she was never that cliche, that one dimensional detective who used brute force to get a result, she was dogged, hard working, methodical and Jonasson brilliantly put her thoughts and musings onto the blank page.

We didn’t just get to read Hulda’s thoughts, as Jonasson chose to use the individual chapters to give each character their own voice. You would have thought this would have made it easier to work out the culprit or culprits, but oh no, in fact it made it more complicated as you continually changed your mind, as they revealed more information about themselves and their relationship to the others. When all was eventually revealed it all made perfect sense, but was still, to me, a surprise.

What you could not get away from  was Jonasson’s wonderfully vivid imagery of an island that was both beautiful and remote, and even if bodies kept appearing , one you longed to visit. Maybe a tour of the murder locations could be mooted with the tourist board, as I know I for one would be signing up!

Once again Ragnar Jonasson has shown that he is at the top of his game in his chosen genre and I am anticipating great things for the next instalment!

I would like to thank Michael Joseph for a copy of The Island to read and review and to Sriya Varadharajan for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to paricipate in the blogtour.

About the author

Ragnar Jonasson is the award winning author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series and the Hidden Iceland series. He has sold over 600,000 books worldwide, thereof over 300,000 thousand books in France in just two years. His books are published in 21 languages in over 30 countries and his debut, Snowblind, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication in the UK. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. The second book in the series, Nightblind, also became a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Ragnar is also a no. 1 Crime Fiction Bestseller in France, with Blackout topping the crime fiction charts in France in 2019. Ragnar is the winner of the Mörda Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Nightblind. His latest book in the UK, The Darkness, was selected as the Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Month and Snowblind was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015. His books have also won praise from publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Ragnar has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik. Ragnar has a law degree and works as an investment banker in Reykjavik, in addition to teaching law at Reykjavik University.

The Island Blog Tour Card

#Blogtour Him by Clare Empson @ClareEmpson2 @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #IDestroyedHim #Him

 

Him

 

Clare Empson  Him  Orion Books April 4th 2019

Now: Catherine can’t and won’t speak to her husband, children or friends. When her doctor and nurses fail to coax her out of her elective mutism, they embark on an intensive exploration of her fractured past.

They will start with Him. Lucian. Then: Fifteen years before, Catherine was at university when she met the smart, vulnerable, funny Lucian: the love of her life.

But something terrible happens, something Catherine can never speak about without destroying Lucian.

So she disappears without explanation, and shatters his life. Years later, Lucian haunts every one of Catherine’s quiet moments. So when they are unexpectedly reunited, their love reignites with explosive force. But yet again their lives implode.

This time, however, Lucian tries to uncover the real truth of the past, with horrific consequences.

Now: As Catherine moves deeper into the past, into the heart of their love affair, the truth slowly begins to unfurl. But will she be able to reclaim herself in time to save their second chance together? Or has that, too, been lost forever?

My Review

When you go to university you expect to meet lots of new people, but how often do you expect to meet the person would turn out to be the love of your life?

That is exactly what happened to Catherine and Lucian, but as we all know the course of true love never runs smooth and Empson definitely wrote a fascinating novel that encapsulated the impact and effect it had on their lives.

For Catherine, it was marriage and children but Empson made us question if we should settle for second best, if that true love would have sustained the rigours of everyday life. It was interesting to see how Catherine carefully papered over the cracks and attempted to immerse herself in family life, yet Empson created that sense of anticipation as we wondered what the catalyst would be, that would potentially shatter her world.

For Lucian, his was a gilded world of wealth and privilege but Empson created a man who never flaunted it, who was just simply a very nice person.

I think that is what I liked about Him, that two opposite worlds collided, and you could stand back and watch as you waited for the devastating consequences it would have for all involved.

I did feel sympathy for Catherine’s husband Sam but at the same time felt he had no back bone, never brave enough to upset the status quo.

Lucien’s friends were a mix between the truly vile, self obsessed world of the rich and those that were much nicer, much more accepting.

The mix of personalities was brilliant and I was just waiting for the explosion, for the lies and deceit to be uncovered. It was almost like watching a car crash in slow motion, just waiting for that impact and wondering who the casualties would be.

Empson did not disappoint, the narrative building the tension, until finally all was revealed and what a reveal it was!

There was definitely a serious side to Him, one that explored mental health, which was both balanced and sympathetic. It certainly made me think about trauma and the differing effects it can have.

Yet, it’s overriding theme was love, love that can be superficial, for convenience but also that once in a lifetime love, that is passionate, deep and everlasting.

If there is one thing I have learnt from reading Him is that if you find that one true love, hang on to it, don’t ever let it go because you might never find it again.

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

About the author

Clare Empson worked as a staff writer on national newspapers covering everything from collapsing merchant banks to tea with the late Barbara Cartland (everything pink including the cakes). Eight years ago, she moved to the West Country and founded the arts and lifestyle blog countrycalling.co.uk.

The idyllic setting inspired her first novel, which reveals the darker side of paradise. Clare lives on the Wiltshire/Dorset border with her husband and three children.

HIM Blog Tour

HIM Blog Tour Page 2

#Blogtour Poster Boy by NJ Crosskey @NJCrosskey @LegendPress #PosterBoy

Poster Boy Cover

Poster Boy by NJ Crosskey  Legend Press April 1st 2019

Broadcast live, Rosa Lincoln takes to the stage at her brother’s memorial service with a bomb concealed beneath her clothes. Being in Jimmy’s shadow was never easy, even when he was alive, but in death he has become a national hero.

When she crosses paths with the enigmatic Teresa, she discovers that those she has been taught to view as enemies may not be the real villains after all. 

The lies need to be stopped, and Rosa intends on doing just that. 

Crosskey combines the social commentary of classic dystopian works such as 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale with the contemporary style of unreliable narration found in recent hits Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. 

Now more than ever, readers are seeking accessible and topical social commentary, and with its combination of modern storytelling and strong narrative voice, Poster Boy is exactly what modern readers are looking for.

My Review

I’m not sure quite where to start with Poster Boy other than to say, hold on and sit tight because Crosskey has written one helluva a novel.

Let’s start with the fact it was set sometime in the future but when you are never quite sure. The world in general was still recognisable but shades or glasses had replaced mobile phones and the political landscape was just a little different.

Those differences were so subtle that they would not have looked out of place in today’s society and for me this was an absolute master stroke by Crosskey. The ruling political party the English Reclamation Party, ERP, were against immigration, Muslims, and anyone who wasn’t British accessing services. Immediately your mind went into overdrive as The British Defence League and UKIP all jumped out at you, current parties with the same manifesto and reasoning.

And then as you read, as Crosskey themes went further you started to wonder, could this be our future, was this what we would have to look forward to. I have to say that it really made me think, her fiction so close to what could ultimately be our reality.

What of the people who lived in this system. How did they cope, did they agree or did they find ways to fight back?

This is where the action began as Crosskey gave us two brilliant characters.

Rosa, a young teen, happy with her life and friends but suddenly adrift after the death of her twin brother Jimmy. To me, she was the pawn in a complex and intense game of chess. You couldn’t believe the manipulation, the lies, the propaganda she was fed. I felt her utter despair, her confusion, her anger at everyone. You couldn’t blame her for her actions, in fact if you could  have jumped into the novel you would have fought her corner, and helped her.

Then we had Teresa. It has been a long time since I have come across a female character that was so strong, so focused, so lacking in emotion, so damn manipulative. I loved and hated her all at the same time and admired her intelligence, her drive and single mindedness, she was just brilliant!

What I liked was their alternating voices, we got two sides of the story. It gave Crosskey the opportunity to dig deep into their thoughts and feelings.

The tension was palpable and in the latter parts of the novel unbearable. I think the fact that we knew from the beginning that Rosa was wearing a bomb vest didn’t help as I was impatient to know why and how. Such a brilliant tool and brilliantly executed by Crosskey to start at the end and work back to how it all began. The drama was never ending, my head permanently on fast spin, and I was totally drained by the time I turned the last page, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way as Poster Boy was utterly brilliant.

If there are any TV executives out there wanting a new drama series then I would look no further than Poster Boy.

Superb!!!

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of Poster Boy to read and review and to Lucy Chamberlain for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Nicola Crosskey author headshot

NJ Crosskey lives with her husband and two children in Worthing, West Sussex. She worked in the care sector for almost 20 years and now is a full-time writer.

njcrosskey.wordpress.com

Follow NJ on Twitter @NJCrosskey

%d bloggers like this: