#Blogtour You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster @SaraJFoster @Legend_Press #YouDon’tKnowMe

You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster Legend Press May 18th 2020

Book Synopsis

Lizzie Burdett was eighteen when she vanished. Noah Carruso has never forgotten her: she was his first crush; his unrequited love. She was also his brother’s girlfriend. 
Tom Carruso hasn’t been home in over a decade. He left soon after Lizzie disappeared, under a darkening cloud of suspicion. Now he’s coming home for the inquest into Lizzie’s death, intent on telling his side of the story for the first time.
As the inquest looms, Noah meets Alice Pryce while on holiday in Thailand. They fall in love fast and hard, but Noah can’t bear to tell Alice his deepest fears. And Alice is equally stricken, for she carries a terrible secret of her own. 
He’s guarding a dark secret, but so is she.

My Review

I’ve never really believed in love at first sight but for some the moment you see that one person it’s like a thunder bolt, the world stops and you have to be with them. Noah and Alice were those people, destined to meet, fall in love as they travelled in Thailand. Their connection was electric, as they gave into the all consuming passion that engulfed them, but how much did they really know about each, what were they hiding or to afraid to reveal?

Foster gave them pasts that were about to catch up with them, that you could see had a huge psychological impact, that threatened what they had begun. She gave us insightful glimpses of their psyche, of families torn apart, rifts that would be hard to bridge, responsibilities that trapped them.

Alice, seemed the stronger of the two, Noah vulnerable on the edge, their mutual support of each other key to their survival. Back in Australia, Foster threw them back into events and circumstances that put them on a rollercoaster of emotions, as tension mounted and Foster slowly revealed their stories. There were twists and turns, as you wondered what really did happen, before the ultimate surprise, a betrayal that you never saw, that shocked not only the reader but the characters.

It was one of those moments that you love in novels, a moment where you have to take a breath, think back and look for the clues that you never saw. You watch the characters as they reel from the revelations, their myriad of coping mechanisms, and wonder if they will recover. In particular you wondered what lay ahead for Noah and Alice, would love as they say conquer all or would it force them apart?

Having never read Sara Foster I was impressed and look forward to discovering more.

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

About the author

Sara Foster crop.jpg

Sara Foster is the bestselling author of five psychological suspense novels. Bristish author Sara  now lives in Western Australia with her husband and two young daughters, and is a doctoral candidate at Curtin University.

Twitter: @SaraJFoster

#Review Biloxi by Mary Miller #MaryMiller @wwnortonUK @emcaryelwes #Biloxi

9781631497841 198
Biloxi by Mary Miller W.W. Norton UK July 3rd 2020

Book Synopsis

Mary Miller seizes the mantle of southern US literature with Biloxi, a tender, gritty tale of middle age and the unexpected turns a life can take.
Building on her critically acclaimed novel The Last Days of California and her biting collection Always Happy Hour, Miller transports readers to this delightfully wry, unapologetic corner of the south—Biloxi, Mississippi, home to sixty-three-year-old Louis McDonald, Jr.
Louis has been forlorn since his wife of thirty-seven years left him, his father passed away and he impulsively retired from his job in anticipation of an inheritance that may not come. These days he watches reality television and tries to avoid his ex-wife and daughter, benefiting from the charity of his former brother-in-law, Frank, who religiously brings over his Chili’s leftovers and always stays for a beer.

Yet the past is no predictor of Louis’s future. On a routine trip to Walgreens to pick up his diabetes medication, he stops at a sign advertising free dogs and meets Harry Davidson, a man who claims to have more than a dozen canines on offer, but offers only one: an overweight mixed breed named Layla. Without any rational explanation, Louis feels compelled to take the dog home, and the two become inseparable. Louis, more than anyone, is dumbfounded to find himself in love—bursting into song with improvised jingles, exploring new locales and re-evaluating what he once considered the fixed horizons of his life. With her “sociologist’s eye for the mundane and revealing” (Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books), Miller populates the Gulf Coast with Ann Beattie-like characters. A strangely heartwarming tale of loneliness, masculinity, and the limitations of each, Biloxi confirms Miller’s position as one of our most gifted and perceptive writers.

My Review

At first glance Biloxi seemed like a straightforward story of one man and a rescued dog. It wasn’t until Miller peeled away the layers that you realised it was anything but simple.

Louis was the main man, retired, divorced and alone. Did he like being alone or was the aloneness forced upon him? As the reader, you had to say it was a mixture of circumstance and choice, Louis was somehow adrift, no structure to his day, no idea who to be and where to go as a newly single man.

I felt a smidgeon sorry for him, but a large part of me wanted to shake him out of his reverie, make him take care of himself, eat properly and exercise.

The acquisition of Layla, the free dog from a house he just happened to pass, acted like a door left slightly ajar, as Miller used Layla to gently push or squeeze Louis through.

You could see small chunks of light appear in his mind as he saw the possibilities of a new life on the horizon. Yet things are never that simple, and Miller excelled at the anguish and angst she put him through.

The irreverent house guest with her feminine wiles, the chance meeting of a woman in a bar gave Louis the opportunity to assess the role of the women who had been in his life, namely his wife. Did he want another relationship, were they important to his happiness, his life?

Miller examined the relationship with his father, the impending inheritance, the freedom it promised, or alternatively the chain around his neck.

Yet it was his interaction with Layla, that well and truly opened him up. She got him up in the morning, made him walk the streets, the city of Biloxi, gave him responsibility and maybe that will to stay alive, to make changes that you hoped would make him happier.

Millers prose was careful and considered as she probed Louis’s mindset, as she widened his horizons. The exploration of loneliness, of loss was touching and tender, no cliches, none of the usual stereotypical nuances so beloved by many authors. She gave Louis and us hope, a world of possibilities and the wonderful after effects of a superb novel.

I would like to thank W W Norton for a copy of Biloxi to read and to Emily Cary-Elwes for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to review.

About the author

MARY MILLER is the author of three previous books, including the story collection Always Happy Hour and the novel The Last Days of California. She is a former James A. Michener Fellow and John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

#Blogblitz The First Lie by AJ Park @AJParkauthor @orion_crime #TheFirstLie

The First Lie by AJ Park Orion June 25th 2020

Happy Publication Day

“A. J. Park is a master of suspense who knows how to keep readers hovering tensely over the edges of their seats.” 
Sophie Hannah

THE FIRST LIE BY A.J. PARK

“This is a real page-turner. I finished it in one go!”
Martina Cole

A husband and wife cover up a murder. But the lie eats away at the fabric of their relationship and things unravel till they can’t trust anyone – even each other.

“A great thriller that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.”
Luca Veste

A freak accident. An impossible choice. But what was the first lie?

When Paul Reeve comes home to find his wife in the bathroom, bloodied and shaking, his survival instinct kicks in.

Alice never meant to kill the intruder. She was at home, alone, and terrified. She doesn’t deserve to be blamed for it. Covering up the murder is their only option.

But the crime eats away at the couple and soon they can’t trust anyone – even one another…

But there is much more at stake than anyone realises – and many more people on their trail than they can possibly evade…

“Fast-moving, gripping, the ground shifting perpetually beneath your feet as you read… I read it in one sitting.”
Alex Marwood

Available as a paperback, ebook and audio book.

Links:

Waterstones Paperback: http://tidd.ly/553cdf07

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KNl4rt

Pseudonym for author Karl Vadaszffy.

After studying literature, linguistics and Spanish at university, AJ Park trained as an English teacher and actor. He has edited magazines and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools in England

#Blogtour The Miseducation Of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor @matson_taylor_ @simonschusterUK @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheMiseducationOfEvieEpworth

The Miseducation Of Evie Epworth ny Matson Taylor Scribner July 23rd 2020

Book Synopsis

Cold Comfort Farm meets Adrian Mole in the funniest debut novel of the year.
Yorkshire, the summer of 1962. Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?
Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Girl Guides, cows, milk deliveries, lost mothers and village fetes. But, inspired by her idols (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen), she dreams of a world far away from rural East Yorkshire, a world of glamour lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds).

Standing in the way of these dreams, though, is Christine, Evie’s soon to
be stepmother, a manipulative and money grubbing schemer who is
lining Evie up for a life of shampoo and-set drudgery at the local salon.
Luckily, Evie is not alone. With the help of a few friends, and the wise counsel of the two Adam Faith posters on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’), Evie comes up with a plan to rescue her bereaved father,
Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save their beloved farmhouse from being sold off. She will need a little luck, a dash of charm and a big dollop of Yorkshire magic if she is to succeed, but in the process she may just discover who exactly she is meant to be.

My Review

What a way to meet Evie Epworth as she drove her father’s MG with milk bottles clattering away on the passenger seat before disaster struck in the most bizarre and original manner. It was the start of a startlingly brilliant novel that had so many laugh out loud moments I lost count.

Evie, was just superb, the young Yorkshire teenager, stuck in the middle of her Father and new girlfriend, Christine, as she attempted to navigate between finding her own path in life and expunging money grabber Christine from their home.

I loved her naivety, her hankering for something more than the hairdressing job Christine acquired for her, and her unending loyalty to those around her. Her friendship with, neighbour Mrs Scott-Pym, was wonderfully tender and sweet, the Granny or mother figure she never had, their plotting and conspiring to rid Evie of Christine came with hilarious results, with just a tinge of seriousness underneath. The seriousness was a young girl with no direction, no role model to look upto, who took a determined stand to fight, with just a little help, to reclaim her father and the life she was destined to lead. I admired how Matson was able to delve into her mind, to write with such assurance from a female point of view,.

Christine, was the nightmare you never seemed to be rid of and Matson didn’t hold back on his descriptions of her myriad of fluffy pink and truly awful outfits that conjured up some fabulously wonderful images. Her unerring desire for money and material possessions were definitely not her most endearing features and I think you would have had to have dug pretty deep to find any. She was the real comedy turn of the novel, as you cringed with embarrassment at her and her mother’s hilarious antics.

What was so wonderful about Matson’s narrative was his ability to capture the essence of the 1960’s, of a world on the brink of change. He caught the fashion, the sounds, the Beatles, the evolving attitudes of society, as women emerged from their kitchens’s, took up careers and became more independent.

Matson didn’t forget about the past, the story of Evie’s dead mother interspersed within the body of the novel, that gave us the background we needed to understand her Father and made you hope all the more for a happy ending.

The ending when it came was gloriously fitting, and I have to admit to being very sad to leave Evie Epworth. I would love to see where her next chapter will take her and what mad hilarious situations and characters she would meet next. A sequel would be just fantastic please Mr Matson!

A brilliant, funny, debut.

I would like to thank Scribner for a copy of The Miseducation of Miss Evie Epworth 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

Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in London. He is a
design historian and academic writing tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the RCA. He has also worked on Camden Market,
appeared in an Italian TV commercial, and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers.

#Blogtour The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith @evecsmith @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheWaitingRoom

The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith Orenda Books July 9th 2020

Book Synopsis

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

My Review

Wow, if this book didn’t just hit the publishing world at the right time! It was scary, topical and I wondered if Smith had psychic powers and knew what was about to hit us in 2020.

The similarities between the human resistance to antibiotics, the rise of TB and the world of COVID-19 were astonishing as Smith described a future world of hand washing, sanitising and face masks. Was it really a future world or, as the use of antibiotics is seen as the cure all for so many infections the direction we could be heading?

Smith’s knowledge and understanding of the science was exemplary, she didn’t blind us with it, instead wove it skilfully into the main narrative, as the characters learnt to live with their pasts and their present.

Indomitable scientist Mary Sommers was the past, at the top of her profession, brilliantly clever yet just like the rest of us, soft and vulnerable underneath. It was that vulnerability, the choices she made that had such huge ramifications not only for herself but for others.

Our present or future was Kate, wife, mother and nurse, the kind of nurse you didn’t want to see as Smith described her job. It was a job that saw her ease the way of her patients into the next world, the over 70’s no longer deemed treatable, but disposable, if only to save the younger generation. It was chilling, unsettling and were we not living through a pandemic something you would have seen as pure fiction.

It was Kate’s search for her birth mother that opened up lies, intrigue and the mighty power of pharmaceutical companies. Smith’s plot was utterly compelling, to the point I couldn’t put the book down. I’m not sure I can find the words to describe quite how it made me feel, except that it felt surreal but real all at the same time.

The time before the antibiotic crisis and Mary’s story, mainly in South Africa, was beautifully narrated, the African Bush, vivid and alive in Burton’s capable words. She used Mary’s research to raise the ultimate dilemma between politics, ethics, and loyalties as she pushed Mary to such limits that you wondered how she managed to reconcile it all in her head, as she looked back, when that past threatened her very being.

Kate’s story, post crisis, although different raised similar dilemma’s, perhaps the most horrific choice of all, that of who should live and who should die. It all, quite literally took my breath away, it almost felt too close to what has happened in the last twelve weeks, as I relived conversations I had had as part of my job as a GP receptionist.

Whatever issues, Smith raised, however close it all seemed, what you had to admire was the storytelling, the ingenious mix of science and human emotion, of real characters faced with everyday dilemmas, of living through the extraordinary and wondering if they would emerge unscathed on the other side.

I have to congratulate Eve Smith on this amazingly brilliant debut and await with baited breath for her next novel.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Waiting Rooms to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to partcipate in the blogtour

About the author

Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis,her debut novel The Waiting Roomswas shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.

#Blogtour The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble #ElizabethNoble @MichaelJBooks @ellamwatkins #TheFamilyHoliday

The Family Holiday
The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble MichaelJBooks June 26th 2020

Book Synopsis

The Chamberlain family used to be close.

Charlie and Daphne were happily married, and their children Laura, Scott and Nick were inseparable. But then, inevitably, the children grew up and their own messy lives got in the way.

Since Daphne died, Charlie can’t help but think about happier times for the Chamberlain family – before his children drifted apart. His wife was the family’s true north, and without her guidance, Charlie fears his kids have all lost their direction.

For his eightieth birthday, all Charlie wants is to bring his family together again. And by some miracle, they’ve all said yes.

So, for the first time in a long time, the Chamberlains are going on a family holiday.

It’s only ten days . . . how bad could it be?

My Review

Families, love them or hate them most of us are part of one. Some families are close, some see each other occasionally, and it is very rare to find a family that doesn’t have its issues.

The Chamberlain family were no different, and that is what I liked about Noble’s creations. Each character was real, someone you could come across in everyday life, they were all so different, all had their own problems, problems that we all could face at sometime.

What was rare, was the fact that I didn’t dislike any of the characters, when usually there was always one that got on my nerves, or whom I didn’t have any feelings towards.

Charlie, widower and head of the Chamberlains’ was the Dad, Grandad you always wanted, except he didn’t think so, and you loved his attempts to pull his family together, to celebrate his birthday, but also to try and fix his children, to make life better for them.

Yet, you knew it wasn’t only up to him and Noble gave us great insights into what it means to be separated and replaced by a younger model, or to be left a young widower with a full time job and three young children. She gave us teenage angst, as Ethan coped with his parents separation, but also the joys and unhappiness that comes with young love.

It wasn’t all unhappiness, they were moments of pure joy, of finally finding that one person that made you complete, of looking around you and trying to fix those around you. Heather was that person, the outsider, the brash, perfect American who had to work so hard to fit in. I loved the role that Noble gave her, the unknown, but ultimately the fixer, as she applied the glue that appeared to stick them together.

Now you might think that a novel such as this could be quite saccharine, full of cosy cliches, but it wasn’t. It may not have been complex with tonnes of subplots, but it did explore human emotion, how life can stop us in our tracks, make us reassess, and give us hope, that there is light at the end. It was this simplicity that I loved, the pull of a damn good story, that was heartwarming and sincere.

I would like to thank Michael J Books for a copy of The Family Holiday to read and review and to Ella Watkins for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Elizabeth Noble lives in Surrey with her husband and two daughters. Her previous Sunday Times bestsellers include: The Reading Group, which reached Number One, The Friendship Test (formerly published as The Tenko Club), Alphabet Weekends, Things I Want My Daughters to Know, The Girl Next Door, The Way We Were, Between a Mother and her Child, Love, Iris and The Family Holiday. Between a Mother and her Child and Love, Iris were both Richard & Judy Book Club picks. Other People’s Husbands is her tenth novel.

#Blogtour The Strange Adventures Of H by Sarah Burton @AdventuresOfH1 @legend_press #TheStrangeAdventuresOfH

The Strange Adventures Of H by Sarah Burton Legend Press May 1st 2020

Book Synopsis

Orphaned young, H is sent to live with her doting aunt in London. H’s life is a happy one until her lecherous cousin robs her of her innocence, and the plague takes away the city and the people she loves. H is cast out – friendless, pregnant and destitute – into the rapidly emptying streets of London under quarantine.


Forced to fend for herself, she is determined to gain back the life she lost. H will face a villain out for revenge, find love in the most unexpected places, and overcome a betrayal that she never could have foreseen. Weathering it all, can H charm, or scheme, her way to the life of freedom and independence that she longs for?

My Review

Who was H? To begin she was the young orphan sent off with elder sister, Evelyn to live with Aunt Madge in London, a far cry from their humble rural home, but then something happened as Burton took us and H through some pivotol moments in London’s history that shaped the new H.

From the start you couldn’t help but love H, the naive young girl who delighted at the new sights of London, to the unknown quantities of the characters that entered her new life. They were characters that would have a distinct impact, especially that of her cousins Frederick and Roger. They were light and dark, good and bad, the bad the start of her downfall but also, in my opinion, the making of her.

Yet Burton was clever, her use of two major events in London history, the Great Plague and Fire gave her licence to describe a London under siege. The horrors of the plague were graphic and chilling, you felt yourself recoil in horror at the selfishness that pervaded, of the fear and dread that encapsulated the city. You could see H’s instinct for survival kick in, hard choices made before Burton gave us the Great Fire of London, the destruction and turmoil for H and fellow Londoners. It gave her the opportunity to be her own person, as she exploited men’s weaknesses for her own gain, as she achieved notoriety, wealth and independence.

Burton gave her a hard, determined exterior but maintained her femininity, her vulnerability, and as the story progressed the real H slowly began to materialise. We witnessed her own slow acceptance of who she was, what the people in her life meant to and the slight chink in her armour as she learnt to trust.

H was a wonderful character but she wasn’t the only one. There were her sisters, all so different, her gentlemen friends, Lord H and Charlie and my favourites Jasper and Godfrey who added colour and a measure of fun.

What I admired most about Burtons narrative was her portrayal of women, of their lack of standing, the derision men poured on them, yet who relied on them for more than simple household duties. Burton showed what happened when one woman opposed them, stood up for herself and in some instances outwitted and rose above them.

Above all The Strange Adventures Of H was that wonderful mix of the historical with a dawn good story and characters that transfixed and entertained.

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

About the author

THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF H is Sarah’s debut novel for adults. Sarah was the course director of Cambridge University’s MSt in Creative Writing. She has written for BBC History Magazine and reviews for the Times, Spectator, Guardian and Independent.

#Review The Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet @lydia_millet @wwnortonUK @emcaryelwes #TheChildrensBible

The Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet
WW Norton UK June 12th 2020

Book Synopsis

A brilliant, indelible novel of teenage alienation and adult complacency in a world whose climate and culture are unravelling.

Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel—her first since the National Book Award–longlisted Sweet Lamb of Heaven— follows a group of eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their parents at a lakeside mansion. Contemptuous of their elders, who pass their days in a hedonistic stupor, the children are driven out into a chaotic landscape after a great storm descends. The story’s narrator, Eve, devotes herself to the safety of her beloved little brother as events around them begin to mimic scenes from his cherished picture Bible.

Millet, praised as “unnervingly talented” (San Francisco Chronicle), has produced a heartbreaking story of the legacy of climate change denial. Her parable of the coming generational divide offers a lucid vision of what awaits us on the other side of Revelation.

My Review

I struggled to decide if The Children’s Bible was actually set in the future or if Millet exaggerated the devastating affects of a hurricane to highlight our lacklustre attitude toward climate change and more importantly the way in which we interact as humans in the present day.

Our narrator was Evie, one of a mixed age group of children holidaying in a mansion house with their respective parents., and this is where it got extremely interesting. The children were a disparate bunch, from the highly sexualised, deaf, disinterested in those around them, to Jack, Evie’s younger brother, both sensitive, quiet and thoughtful. They somehow got along, united in there disregard for their parents who thy vocally and physically disowned, reluctant to even name who their parents were.

The parents were unbelievably selfish, hedonistic, wrapped up in a world of drink, drugs, sex and each other. What Millet did so cleverly was to reverse the roles, the adults became the children, the children the adults, as Millet showed their disdain for their behaviour, their ability to look after themselves, whilst they assumed control, took decisions and generally got on with surviving.

As you turned the pages, Millet widened the the gulf between them, the pressure built as the storm roared in, as its devastating after effects finally forced them apart and the children escaped with homeless Burl to guide them.

Their arrival at a deserted cottage, the appearance of three strangers, the angels, and Jacks gift of a children’s bible began to make you feel that perhaps you weren’t in the real world. It felt surreal, ethereal, almost apocalyptic, events matched those in Jack’s bible, Millet’s modern interpretation at times shocking, but somehow skilfully used to make statements, to highlight the plight they found themselves in.

You wondered where Millet would take us, the fate of both the adults and the children as violence slowly pervaded the narrative, as she blindsided us with other worldly episodes that didn’t seem out of place, that perfectly suited the tone and complexity of the storyline.

Did I expect the ending? I’m not quite sure, in some ways, yes, in other ways it wasn’t exactly what i imagined but then I don’t think Millet’s aim was to surprise.

To me, her aim was to provoke thought, to look at the state of the world we live in through the eyes of a group of children. She posed questions about this generation of adults, parents. Have they or are they in the process of destroying the social, moral and environmental well being of today’s world? Will our children, the next generation, be the ones that grasp control, take over and pull us back from the brink.

Whatever Millet’s aim, whatever the moral and ethical dilemmas she posed, you had to admire her superb narrative skill, her ability to tell a story that was both chilling, and to me, utterly engrossing. Her characters were real, and fascinating.

The Children’s Bible, was a novel to remember, its author one to admire, to applaud.

I would like to thank WW Norton and Company and Emily Cary-Elwes for a copy Of The Children’s Bible to read and review.

About the author

Lydia Millet has written twelve works of fiction. She has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her books have been longlisted for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and named as New York Times Notable Books. Her story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She lives outside Tucson, Arizona.

#Blogtour Safe by S.K Barnett @SK_Barnett @arrowpublishing @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Safe

Safe by S.K Barnett
Arrow Publishing June 11th 2020

Book Synopsis

Jenny Kristal was six years old when she was snatched in broad daylight from her quiet suburban neighbourhood.

Twelve years later, she miraculously returns home after escaping her kidnappers – but as her parents and older brother welcome her back, the questions begin to mount.

Where has she been all these years? Why is she back now? And is home really the safest place for her . . . or for any of them?

My Review

How much crime do you read? How many time’s have you turned the last page and thought I’ve read that before? For me that has happened far too many times, but when I chose to be part of the blogtour for Safe, there was the merest hint that it might be something a little different, and oh my it definitely was.

Imagine the daughter who disappeared twelve years ago turned up on your doorstep, would it bring a family back together or tear them apart? Barnett didn’t exactly make it appear black and white, instead she drew me into a web of lies and secrets that were buried so deep that the layers appeared endless.

She could have taken the easy route and looked at the whole drama from the point of view of the parents, their torment and suffering but oh no Barnett chose to take Jenny, the lost daughter, as her main narrator. As she tried to slot back into the family something didn’t feel quite right for her and for us. The more I read, the more the uneasiness crept in before Barnett blew the whole plot apart and you were left thinking just where she was going to take me next.

It was by no means easy reading, the trauma of sexual and physical abuse, of neglect and the search for belonging and love ran deep and Barnett dealt with them in a measured and balanced manner. She didn’t trivialise, or exaggerate but used her narrative and characters, to highlight the impact it had on them and their subsequent actions.

I loved how Barnett grasped the psychology behind each of her characters, particularly that of Ben the elder brother. It was his apparent ability to block events that you knew held the key to the truth behind Jenny’s disappearance. Jenny’s tenacity and determination to unlock his mind was wonderfully compelling, it gave her life purpose where before it seemed aimless, even if it led her into danger that might just cost everything.

Barnett didn’t fill her story with endless police procedural, in fact they took a backseat, hardly noticeable, and the lack of screaming sirens was refreshing.

Barnett’s intricate plotting reminded me of a clockwork toy being slowly wound before it’s mad, furious release, before finally the madness subsided and all was still. You felt Jenny was that toy, that after the relentlessness of discovering the shocking mind bending truth she would arrive at peacefulness and calm, a life to look forward to.

If she did or not is up to you to find out and I do so hope you do. Safe was intelligent, brilliantly written and ripe for a Netflix dramatisation!

I would like to thank Arrow Publishing for a copy of Safe 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

S. K. Barnett is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling author whose previous thriller novel Derailed was turned into a major motion picture in 2005 featuring Jennifer Anniston and Clive Owen. He lives in New York State with his family.

#Blogtour The Curator by M.W. Craven @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @Bethwright26 #WashingtonPoe #Tilly #Edgar #TheCurator

The Curator
The Curator by M.W. Craven
Constable June 5th 2020

Book Synopsis

It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again . . .

My Review

This was the book I needed, the one that had me stuck to my deck chair over the hot weekend. Once again I found myself racing across Cumbrian Fells, lost in a plot that grew grimmer by the page and reunited me with my favourite characters, Washington Poe, Tilly Bradshaw and bouncy Spaniel, Edgar.

Poe never changed, still hellbent on pursuing his own course through investigations that somehow his superiors turned a blind eye to and forgave as they knew he would get results. We never get to see much of his personal love life just glimpses that Craven dangled in front of us, perhaps saving for a later novel. What I would love, Mr Craven is for Poe to perhaps have a little romance at some point!

I love the way Craven is developing Tilly’s character, and in this one he slowly opened her up a little bit more. We saw a sense of humour, her social skills improving and her colleagues looking beyond the awkwardness to appreciate the extraordinary talent and skills she possessed.

The plot was typical Craven, dark, twisted and intricate. Detached fingers found in multiple locations and one body gave Poe and Tilly more than a headache as they attempted to work out what they meant and, indeed who or whom were behind the gruesome discoveries. Craven played to their strengths as he used Poe’s ability to think outside the box and Tilly’s technical skills to dig deep into the dark side of the internet and the psychology behind the coercion and brain washing of individuals. I found it absolutely fascinating as Craven opened up a world that I never knew existed and made all the more scary that it was actually based on reality, Craven exaggerating and pushing to the extreme to get the most out of his plot lines.

Numerous characters flitted through your mind as potential suspects before Craven steered you on another tangent, before he finally revealed the brains behind the whole twisted and horrific crimes. You will definitely be surprised, the perpetrator unexpected, whose actions were all the more horrific and evil when you knew who they were.

Once again Craven used the Cumbrian landscape to his advantage, it’s bleakness, inclement weather and locations created a brilliant atmosphere. The imaginary Montague Island based on the Islands of Furness provided Craven with a brilliant location for the final breath taking and tense moments as the wind blew around them and the tide threatened their lives.

I was sad to leave Poe and Tilly behind but the tantalising final page left me in no doubt that we shall meet again and maybe just maybe we will get to know a bit more about Poe.

I would like to thank Little Brown for a copy of The Curator to read and review and to Beth Wright for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, returning after 31 years to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals. His first novel featuring Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw, The Puppet Show, was published by Constable to huge acclaim, and it has since won the CWA Gold Dagger Award and been shortlisted for the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards: Best Crime Novel, the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award and the Dead Good Reader Awards. M. W. Craven lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

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