#Blogtour Fall by West Camel @west_camel @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Fall

Orenda Books 9th December 2021

The Blurb

Twins Aaron and Clive have been estranged for forty years. Aaron still lives in the empty, crumbling tower block on the riverside in Deptford where they grew up. Clive is a successful property developer, determined to turn the tower into luxury flats.

But Aaron is blocking the plan and their petty squabble becomes something much greater when two ghosts from the past – twins Annette and Christine – appear in the tower. At once, the desolate estate becomes a stage on which the events of one scorching summer are relived – a summer that shattered their lives, and changed everything forever…

Grim, evocative and exquisitely rendered, Fall is a story of friendship and family – of perception, fear and prejudice, the events that punctuate our journeys into adulthood, and the indelible scars they leave – a triumph of a novel that will affect you long after the final page has been turned.

My Review

Fall could not have been more different from Camel’s first novel Attend, this time the heatwave of 1976, two sets of twins, one black one white, all living in a new model estate in Deptford.

Aaron and Clive uprooted from the wealthy enclave of Blackheath to live their architect mothers experiment. Intrinsically entwined in each other’s minds, their differences only evident as fateful events unfolded.

Annette and Christine, students, inhabitants of a higher floor, charismatic, magnets to Aaron and Clive and to those around them.

The present day and Aaron and Clive are estranged, little known of Annette and Christine, the future of the tower block in the hands of Clive, Aaron the stalwart tenant unwilling to accept the money and move.

Immediately Camel made you aware something had happened, and you wanted to know why. Camel effortlessly took us back to the crazy heat of 1976, of teenagers enjoying evenings of music and friends, the residents restless, perturbed.

Even Zoe, the twins mother became agitated, protective of what she had created, accused of racism as what she deemed as black outsiders congregated on her estate.

I loved the sense of proprietorship Camel created as her vision appeared to crumble, Annette and Christine the instigators, the ones held responsible. Her boys, riled against her, as Camel slowly cracked the protective layer she had built around them. Was there something else that pushed her, that made her stand firm?

Of course there was a reason but Camel wasn’t going to let us in on it until the heatwave intensified, the tensions between the parties built to the point of imminent explosion.

A party, a confrontation, secrets, truths, a tragic event, questions, racism were thrust to the fore. Camel drove a huge chasm between Aaron and Clive, Clive the dominant twin, Aaron squashed, quietened. And what of Annette and Christine? What better way for Camel to make a point, their colour the one thing that went against them, the obvious targets, the ones that raised suspicions. The decisions Camel’s characters made were perhaps indicative of the social norms of the time, the truth full of hypocrisy, selfishness, damaging.

When Camel finally flew into present day, those past decisions came back to Clive and Aaron but this time with understanding, secrets unravelled that shuck them to their core. Would amends be made, differences set aside, a new future unfurl before them?

It all remained to be see but what was clear was Camel’s growing confidence as an author, to build on Attend, to showcase his attention to societal detail, to create wonderful multidimensional characters.

It was also a vivid and imaginative portrayal of the advent of the London tower block, the vision thrust on its inhabitants, the division between black and white, a huge chasm decked with suspicion and derision. Have we written the wrongs of the past or are we still striving to get there, all questions Camel asked, the answers for us to decide.

Whatever the morals, the ethics Fall was a dammed good novel of which West Camel should be immensely proud of.

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

About the author

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend, his first novel was shortlisted for the Polari prize.

#Blogtour Whitesands by Johann Thorsson @johannthors #BloodshotBooks @Tr3cyF4nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #Whitesands

Bloodshot Books

The Blurb

THE BREAKOUT SUPERNATURAL THRILLER FROM ICELANDIC WRITER JOHANN THORSSON

Detective John Dark’s daughter has been missing for two years. In his frantic and unfruitful search for her two years ago, John Dark overreached and was reprimanded and demoted.

Now suddenly back into the homicide department, Dark is put on a chilling case – a man who killed his wife in their locked house and then dressed the body up to resemble a deer, but claims to remember none of it. A few days later an impossibly similar case crops up connecting the suspects to a prep school and a thirty year old missing persons’ case.

Just as he is getting back into his old groove, a new lead in his daughter’s disappearance pops up and threatens to derail his career again.

Time is running out and John Dark needs to solve the case before more people are killed, and while there is still hope to find his daughter.

In the style of True Detective and Silence of the Lambs, WHITESANDS is a thrilling supernatural crime novel.

“Tense, breakneck storytelling. WHITESANDS is a dash of Thomas Harris swirled with supernatural elements that leave you speeding through the pages.” – Kristi DeMeester, author of SUCH A PRETTY SMILE and BENEATH

“Johann Thorsson’s fast-moving debut WHITESANDS, packs enough incident for a novel twice its size, until it’s impossible to turn the pages fast enough.” – John Langan, author of Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies

My Review

I do like a thriller that’s just that little bit different and Whitesands was definitely that. Lets start with Detective John Dark, a man on a mission, haunted by the disappearance of his daughter some two years ago. On the outside he seemed perfectly ordinary but from the outset Thorsson showed us a man who felt, saw things others didn’t, not psychic or intuition but more a feeling of sensitivity, in tune with the vibes, senses that people emitted. It became even more evident as he investigated a series of strange and unique murders.

Now if you thought Detective Dark was on a different plane then Thorsson’s unique character, Daniel was even more otherworldly. A schizophrenic who worked for a large IT company he lived in a sluggish drug induced world, social interaction difficult until an offer he couldn’t quite refuse plunged him back into a drug free existence.

His place in the novel seemed uncertain, was he the murderer or was that too obvious as his visions and behaviour escalated outside the norms of society?

Johannson certainly didn’t make life easy for Dark, but you routed for this character knew he would unearth the truth which when it came was very much not of this world. And that was what made this novel so unique, the bravery of the novelist to inject with the supernatural, not exaggerated but in a measured relevant way that enhanced the story.

Dark and ourselves may have got some answers, some closure for the victims but Johannson left us with a sense that all was not finished, that more lay in wait for John Dark and ourselves. In fact the ending was wonderfully chilling as Thorsson tantalised with an array of never ending possibilities.

I would like to thank Bloodshot Books for a copy of Whitesands to read and review and to Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Johann Thorsson is a writer of fiction with a supernatural slant, mainly short stories, mainly in English.

He was born in 1978 in a small town in Iceland (dark and cold, close to the sea). When he was nine he moved to Israel, and later to Croatia. He now resides in the Reykjavik area with his beautiful wife and two little kids.

His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Every Day Fiction, eFiction Magazine, eFiction Horror and Fireside Fiction.

Most recently, a story of his was selected for in the forthcoming anthology Apex Book of World SF 4 and Garden of Fiends

His favorite books are 1984Flowers for AlgernonI am LegendThe Things They Carried and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels. Oh, and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s BoneRomeo and Juliet. (This could go on for a while).

#Blogtour The Lost by Simon Beckett @BeckettSimon @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #TheLost

The Lost: It's not the missing who are in danger, but those left behind. (Hardback)
Orion 25th November 2021

A MISSING CHILD

Ten years ago, the disappearance of firearms police officer Jonah Colley’s young son almost destroyed him.

A GRUESOME DISCOVERY

A plea for help from an old friend leads Jonah to Slaughter Quay, and the discovery of four bodies. Brutally attacked and left for dead, he is the only survivor.

A SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH

My Review

Hands up I have never read a Simon Beckett novel but after a shout out from the lovely Tracy Fenton to support Simon after his Twitter incident I knew it was time to step in and help out.

I am so glad I did as I loved The Lost, not least because of the superb narrative from Beckett. His character Jonah was a policeman pushed to his limits, those limits tested in the very first few pages as he wrestled with an unknown attacker, forced to see things no person should. Injured, hurt Beckett piled on even more pressure as two detectives put him at the top of their suspect list.

We knew or at least we thought we did that whatever had occurred wasn’t of Jonah’s volition yet they didn’t and I loved Beckett’a cat and mouse game between them.

Jonah also had to contend with his own personal issues not least the disappearance of his son ten years ago and the realisation that it could be linked to his current predicament.

Beckett wasn’t going to tell us anything as he threw Jonah deeper and deeper into a intricate web of drugs, money and trafficking. You could sense the stress emanating from Jonah, you railed at the detectives, at their narrow mindedness, wondered if Beckett would let Jonah survive.

More turmoil ensued, risks taken, bodies found until finally the shocking big reveal. You had an inkling what and who it would be, but all credit to Beckett for keeping you guessing.

I loved the pulsating drama of the final few pages, of the sadness and betrayal that engulfed Jonah. In essence I just loved this thriller and from now onwards will be hugely anticipating the next novel from Simon Beckett.

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

About the author

Simon Beckett is the No.1 international bestselling author of the David Hunter series: The Chemistry of Death, Written in Bone, Whispers of the Dead, The Calling of the Grave, The Restless Dead and The Scent of Death. His books have been translated into 29 languages, appeared in the Sunday Times top 10 bestseller lists and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. A former freelance journalist, he has written for The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and Observer. The inspiration for the first David Hunter novel came after a visit to the world-renowned Body Farm in Tennessee introduced him to the work of forensic anthropologists. Joint-winner (with Arne Dahl) of Europe’s largest crime fiction prize – the Ripper Award 2018/19 – he has also won the Raymond Chandler Society’s Marlowe Award and been short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, CWA Dagger in the Library and Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year awards. He is also the author of several stand-alone novels including Stone Bruises and Where There’s Smoke. Simon Beckett lives in Sheffield.

#Blogtour The Quiet People by Paul Cleave @PaulCleave @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheQuietPeople

Orenda Books November 25th 2021

The Blurb

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time…

Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.

My Review

You will need to strap yourself in before reading The Quiet People, it was quite honestly one of the most fast paced and truly brilliant thrillers I have read in a very long time.

Lets start with the first chapter, a car chase, the inevitable crash and a whole lot of questions for the reader. Then Cleeve introduced us to Cameron and Lisa Murdoch, crime writers, who lived a ‘quiet’ life in the suburbs with their son, Zach , a young boy with obvious issues that rose to the fore with devastating consequences when he suddenly disappeared.

What happened next was just thrilling, Cleeve never let his narrative or indeed the twists and turns let up. I loved that it was all in one voice, that of Cameron, the father, his emotions never left the surface, they were what drove him, what pushed him to extremes.

Cleeve based those extremes on reality, the role of social media, 24hrs news, the perceptions of those of us that read, watch and listen. There were characters that pushed buttons for their own purposes, to avenge past grudges without foresight, without thought for what may happen.

There was the idea that crime writers would and could commit the perfect crime, their minds stuck in the depths of depravity, a ploy to increase books sales, to raise their profiles, but was that something Cameron would seriously consider? The police seemed to think so, as did the public and there was only so much a man could take as Cameron was pushed further and further to the edge until Cleeve gave him permission take matters into his own hands. The anger emanated from the pages, his rage vented on those who sought to do him wrong and just when you thought it was all over Cleeve ranked it up a notch, a glorious twist, a glimmer of hope. Yet hope often comes with truth and that was the cleverness in Cleeve’s plotting, as greed and lust reared its ugly head, the shock and horror of what people will do to get what they want became abundantly clear.

Yes, it was exaggerated, yes it bent the realms of reality but I for one did not care. This is what crime /thriller writing was all about, that instant buzz of an explosive first few pages, the numerous, inventive plot twists, the constant nagging at the back of the readers mind as to Cameron’s innocence, the depravity of persons within our society and an ability to not give in to that all encompassing happy ending.

Orenda, I do hope you will be publishing more of Mr Paul Cleeve’s novels because I for one will be first in the queue.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Quiet People to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Booksih Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Image

Paul is Christchurch born and raised, and other than a couple of years when he was living in London and bouncing around Europe a little, he’s always lived there. Paul wanted to write horror, and it was a few years in when he realised that crime – real life crime – is horror. When he made that connection, he turned to writing dark crime fiction, writing first The Killing Hour, and then The Cleaner, in his mid-twenties. Not long after that Paul sold his house and lived with his parents so he could write full time – a gamble that paid off a few years later when Random House signed him up. From that point on he’s written his dark tales set in his home city, introducing Joe Middleton – the Christchurch Carver, and Melissa, and Theodore Tate, and Schroder, and Jerry Gray, among others to the world.

#Blogtour Blue Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu @SJSindu @Legend_Times #BlueSkinnedGods

Legend Press November 2nd 2022

The Blurb

Traveling from the ashrams of India to the underground rock scene of New York City, Blue-Skinned Gods explores ethnic, gender, and sexual identities, and examines the need for belief in a fractured world.


In Tamil Nadu, India, a boy is born with blue skin. His father sets up an ashram, and the family makes a living off of the pilgrims who seek the child’s blessings and miracles, believing young Kalki to be tenth human incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.


Kalki is confronted with three trials in his tenth year—tests of his power that will prove his divine status and, his father tells him, spread his fame worldwide. Over the next decade, as the story of his family unravels, his relationship to everyone—his dominating father, his beloved cousin, his cancer-stricken aunt, and the young woman he imagines he will marry—threatens to fall apart. At once a personal tale of youthful searching, and a magisterial, continent spanning tour-de-force, Blue-Skinned Gods is unwaveringly honest and heartbreaking, a powerful novel told through the eyes of a wonderfully winning and idiosyncratic protagonist.

My Review

It’s all very well to be an outsider looking in, to see the calm, serenity of an Ashram, to see the Kalki, the young boy with blue skin, proclaimed god, healer and to believe so utterly in what is presented. Yet what if you were on the inside, what if you were Kalki that blue skinned boy we first met age 6? That was Sindu’s aim to take us to the inside to hear Kalki’s voice, his thoughts, his feelings and what a story.

I was amazed at the strength of Kalki’s voice, of Sindu’s ability to translate that into her narrative, the ten year old forced to pass 3 tests to prove his status as a God. You saw his anguish as he so desperately wished to succeed, the pressure from his father, the scrutiny from those around him. His best friend Lakshman and his Amma seemed to be the only people he could be himself, to enjoy being a ten year old.

As the years progressed, the pressure on Kalki increased the net his father wound around him grew tighter. Sindu made you feel frustration as those around Kalki warned him that it was all a scam, yet the constant brainwashing persisted, his mother the one person that kept him tied to the ashram.

When escape finally arrived you wondered if it was too late but loved the wonderment and naivety, the confusion felt by Kalki as his mind tried to unwind to switch off from everything he had been told.

You could enjoy the novel purely for the excellence of the story and the writing or you could chose to examine the undercurrents and themes explored so brilliantly by Sindu. I chose to do both, angry that as with most things in society money seemed to be the main driver, Kalki’s fathers desperation to control, to push Kalki to the extreme to pull the wealth he craved. But was it more than that, was it also about power, status, recognition, a perverse sense of what was right, what the world needed, could not do without. You could also question Lakshamn’s motives as he helped his friend navigate a new world, his use of Kalki to further the fame of his band, and ultimately make them money.

And what of Kalki, how does he break free, learn to speak and think for himself. You knew it would take time, and Sindu gave us little glimpses of that free mind, of the strength he slowly regained to push forward and be his own person.

Sindu’s narrative was emotive, brilliantly conveyed Kalki’s story and provoked anger, frustration and numerous questions from this reader.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of Blue Skinned Gods to read and review and for inviting My Bookish blogspot to participate in the blogtour

About the author

SJ Sindu was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Massachusetts. Sindu is the author of the novel Marriage of a Thousand Lies, which was selected by the American Library Association as a Stonewall Honor Book, as well as nonfi ction I Once Met You But You Were Dead, which won the Split Lip Press Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest. A 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow, Sindu holds a PhD in Creative Writing

#Blogtour Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #PsychopathsAnonymous

Orenda Books

The Blurb

Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: A functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men.

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve.

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control.

She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group.

But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

A scathing, violent and darkly funny book about love, connection, obsessions and sex – and the aspects of human nature we’d prefer to hide – Psychopaths Anonymous is also an electrifyingly original, unpredictable thriller that challenges virtually everything.

My Review

From what recess of Carver’s imagination did Maeve come from, because I know for sure I could never have realised such a character. Here was a woman who managed a hugely successful career in marketing, went home drank copious amounts of alcohol, attended numerous AA meetings and just as a bonus killed a few men that clearly annoyed her.

You may imagine that she was evil, totally unlikeable but no Carver was clever, he actually made me like her. Underneath that lethal exterior lay a woman who in some way looked after her so called friends, Jill one example, there was the capacity against her own will to fall in love, to not want to lose that love and to do all she could to keep it. In essence, to me, Carver had created the ultimate compassionate serial killer who throughout the pages searched for her place in society.
That search saw Maeve trawl the numerous AA meetings dotted around community centres, church halls, a different story of her fall into alcoholism at each one, disdain for the people that attended. What became even more apparent was Maeve’s view of God, the role of religion within the alcoholic community. I loved how Carver showed the similarities between the twelve steps and the ten commandments, the giving back of what you had taken, the making amends, living a purer and better life. At its heart was God, Gods place, his supposed power to absolve and provide comfort and relief.

Did Maeve believe? Of course not, this is after all a Will Carver novel, not for Maeve the safety of God’s embrace, instead her own group of like minded individuals, all with their own psychopathic tendencies. I particularly loved the surgeon with a nasty habit of a wavering surgical blade.

As the body count rose so did the stakes, the risk and Carver gave you the sense that Maeve needed to reign herself in, to gain some distance from the group and to her dismay, a need to rescue her relationship with Sebastian, the one thing she was not ready to give up. Would Sebastian feel the same way or was their relationship doomed?

My fingers, my heart were all crossed and with one final surprise from Carver he gave me my answer, but which one?

Brutal, dark, funny, with Carvers own subversive take on society and the world we live you could not help but once again admire his nerve, skill and sheer uniqueness.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Psychopaths Anonymous to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, The Beresford is out in July. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

#Blogtour The Girl In The Maze by Cathy Hayward @CathyHayward7 @AgoraBooksLDN #TheGirlInTheMaze

Agora Books October 28th 2021

The Blurb

I would caution you against delving into the past. The past is often best left exactly where it is.’
Emma Bowen has never had a close relationship with her mother, barely speaking with her in the last years of her life. But after her mother’s death, Emma finds something that might just explain the distance between them.
Discovering letters between her mother and grandmother, it seems to Emma that her mother has always been difficult.
As she searches for answers about her own childhood, Emma is drawn into the mystery of her mother’s enigmatic life. The more she finds, the more lost she feels, but Emma is determined to uncover her mother’s past, and the secrets held within it, whatever the cost.
An enthralling story of three women, generations apart, linked by one terrible tragedy.

My Review

The death of a relative always seems to open up a huge can of worms that can never be put back in the tin and so it proved for Emma. The death of her mother Margaret sent her and us the reader into the past, to an era where children born out of wedlock were shunned, mother’s derided for being ‘loose’ the father never the one at fault.

Indeed the opening chapter of The Girl In The Maze made for uncomfortable reading, yet Hayward had a reason, one that saw Emma’s grandmother feel the full of force of her own mothers scorn, the desperation that Betty felt at her situation. But Hayward balanced that with love, tenderness and hope, of the possibilities that might lay ahead.

Those possibilities would have ramifications for Margaret and indeed for Emma who wanted to know why their relationship was always so strained, the birth of Emma’s own daughter the final straw as they finally lost touch.

What I liked was Haywards ability to convey the hurt that each of these women felt at their treatment, how it transferred down the line. the same mistakes made, an end never in sight. They all had courage, bravery, society the one common barrier, the whispers behind backs, the homes women were sent to, forced adoptions all played their part. I loved that Hayward gave Emma determination and courage to buck the trend, to not stop until she had all the answers no matter what it meant for her on a personal level.

The answers themselves were unpleasant, shame, avoidance, the brushing under the carpet of actions, events that would rock the boat hastily ignored. For Emma it was a truth that mattered, that finally gave her some form of closure, of new beginnings and an appreciation of her own family.

Hayward’s sensitive handling of the themes was to be admired, their place in the novel timely and relevant and not used for mere drama or shock factor. Yes they may act as triggers for some readers, but it was a novel that informed, that wove a powerful story in a wonderful way.

I would like to thank Agora Books for a copy of The Girl In The Maze to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour

About the author

Cathy Hayward trained as a journalist and edited a variety of trade publications, several of which were so niche they were featured on Have I Got News for You. She then moved into the world of PR and set up an award-winning communications agency. Devastated and inspired in equal measure by the
death of her parents in quick succession, Cathy completed The Creative Writing Programme with New Writing South out of which emerged her debut novel The Girl in the Maze about the experience of mothering and being mothered. It won Agora Books’ Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize 2020 and was longlisted for the Grindstone Literary Prize 2020.
When she’s not writing (or reading) in her local library, Cathy loves pottering in second-hand bookshops, hiking and wild camping. She lives in Brighton – sandwiched between the Downs and the sea – with her husband, three children, and two rescue cats – one of whom thinks he’s a do.

#Blogtour The Cheltenham Literature Festival @midaspr @CheltLitFest

I was lucky enough to be contacted by Midas Publication Relations and asked if I would like to participate in the blogtour to promote the Cheltenham Literature Festival. As a past visitor how could I say no, and to receive a surprise book by one of the authors attending the festival was an added bonus.

My book was Luster by Raven Leilani which I will be taking on my upcoming holiday. Check out the blurb and author details below. She will be appearing at the Festival on Saturday 16th October. Follow the link for all the details

https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature

Book cover for 9781529035988
Picador January 21st 2021.

The Blurb

Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize 2021

Longlisted for the Women’s Prize For Fiction 2021

The Sunday Times Bestseller

‘A book of pure fineness, exceptional.’ Diana Evans, Guardian

‘A giddy joy, crafted with mischievous perfection.‘ Mail on Sunday

Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, is sleeping with all the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her, painting. No one seems to care that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscape of sexual and racial politics as a young black woman wasn’t already hard enough, with nowhere else left to go, Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s home and family.

Razor sharp, provocatively page-turning and surprisingly tender, Luster by Raven Leilani is a painfully funny debut about what it means to be young now.

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Guardian, New York TimesNew YorkerBoston GlobeLiterary HubVanity FairLos Angeles TimesGlamourTimeGood HousekeepingInStyle, NPR, O Magazine, BuzzfeedElectric LiteratureTown & CountryWiredNew StatesmanVoxShelf Awarenessi-D, BookPage and more.

One of Barack Obama’s Favourite Books of 2020

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award.

About the author

Raven Leilani

Raven Leilani’s work has been published in GrantaMcSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and The Cut, among other publications. Leilani received her MFA from NYU and is currently the Axinn Foundation Writer in Residence there. Luster is her first novel.

#Blogtour The Rabbit Factor by Antii Tuomainen @antti_tuomainen @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Orenda Books October 28th 2021

The Blurb

Award-winning author Antti Tuomainen launches his first series with The Rabbit Factor, an energetic black comedy, currently being adapted for the screen by Amazon/Mandeville Films with Steve Carell to star, and Antti executive producing.
What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal. Until he is faced with the incalculable, after a series of unforeseeable events.
After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from some dangerous men who are very keen to get their money back.
All improbable and complicated problems. But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses
paths with Laura, a happy-go-lucky artist with a chequered past, whose erratic lifestyle bewilders him. As the criminals go to increasingly extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets.

My Review

If Tuomainen hadn’t informed me that Henri was 42 I would have guessed he was in his 50’s. Why? His whole demeanour was that of a much older, but definitely not wiser man. Tuomainen gave him set routines, a life ruled by endless mathematical calculations as to the probability of outcomes, in other words a controlled and constrained existence.

At times it was funny, those tense nervous moments when a normal individual would just get on with it, Henri, stopped and calculated before proceeding. At other times it was frustrating, and I often found myself furious, wanting to shout at him.

Yet Tuomainen had a purpose, one that saw Henri lose his job as an actuary and to his and our amazement inherit an adventure park. The questions we now asked ourselves were just how would Henri cope, the clamouring noise and chaos of children, parents, and the staff with their myriad of idiosyncrasies. As if that wasn’t enough, Tuomainen added a few wonderful criminals, criminals who were owed money, who would stop at nothing to get it back.

You prepared yourself for a Henri on the run, the uncertainty an absolute killer. Instead here was a Henri who continually surprised, who literally mathematically calculated his way through the numerous encounters with Lizard Man, AJ and the big boss.

At times it was comical, cinnamon buns, wheel barrows and freezers all part of Henri’s new experiences. I never sensed any fear, just an unwavering intellect, a certainty that mathematics would always provide the answer.

Of course it wasn’t all criminals and dark moments, Tuomainen didn’t forget that lurking underneath Henri’s stern exterior was a new softer man just waiting to emerge.

What better way than for Tuomainen to access than Laura, general manager of the park, a hidden past, a talented artist. They made a brilliant working team, but on a personal level the careful tiptoeing around each other, their thoughts and feelings went unsaid. I wanted to knock their heads together, but knew it would be in vain until Tuomainen decided their fate and I had to temper my impatience. Typically the course of true love never runs smoothly and Tuomainen certainly made them and ourselves wait to discover if love conquered all.

I loved Tuomainen’s mix of the serious and the funny, of physical violence versus intelligent and strategic thought, and if a man who discovered that life could and would be so much different from what he envisaged.

It will be interesting to see who the film company will cast as Henri, what the adventure park will look like and to finally see the giant rabbit with the damaged ear materialise on the screen.

I would like to thank Orenda Books For a copy of the Rabbit Factor to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. A TV adaptation is in the works, and Jussi Vatanen (Man In Room 301) has just been announced as a leading role. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. His latest thriller, Little Siberia, was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, the Amazon Publishing/Capital Crime Awards and the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award, and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. In total, Antti Tuomainen has been short- and longlisted for 12 UK awards.

#Blogtour Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun @HoZ_Books #Lemon #NotJustAnyBook YouDecide

Lemon
Head Of Zeus October 7th 2021

The Blurb

In the summer of 2002, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on was murdered in what became known as the High School Beauty Murder. There were two suspects: Shin Jeongjun, who had a rock-solid alibi, and Han Manu, to whom no evidence could be pinned. The case went cold.

Seventeen years pass without justice, and the grief and uncertainty take a cruel toll on her younger sister, Da-on, in particular. Unable to move on with her life, Da-on tries in her own twisted way to recover some of what she’s lost, ultimately setting out to find the truth of what happened.

Told at different points in time from the perspectives of Da-on and two of Hae-on’s classmates, Lemon is a piercing psychological portrait that takes the shape of a crime novel and is a must-read novel of 2021.

My Review

If you asked me to categorise Lemon I would struggle, on the one hand a crime novel on the other contemporary fiction. But perhaps it is not for us to categorise but to merely enjoy what was a unique and singular examination of a crime and the grief and trauma it left behind.

The victim, Hae-on was, as the novel progressed, perhaps not a likeable character, self obsessed, lazy, aloof and the more I read the more I felt that she perhaps lay on a spectrum, her actions strange and out of the ordinary. I did wonder if it was the authors intention, or she was merely portraying a young woman who sought attention and perhaps this was reason for her murder. Whatever the reason it was her younger sister Da-on who drove the narrative, who Yeo-sun used so brilliantly, a young girl who took on the responsibility of looking after Hae-on until her death and then the aftermath, the grief, the unanswered questions that drove her to find the answers.

The interjection of school friends gave a differing perspective, one from the outside, of the relationship between the sisters, of the behaviour of Hae-on.

There were the possible perpetrators, armed with motive, one a mere spectator, and I continually found myself looking for the clues, attempted to guess just who it could be.

Yet I felt no frustration, no desperate need to know, just felt swept along with Yeo-sun’s wonderful narrative. The dissection of grief was profound, the consequences of questionable accusations more important than the answers we thought we wanted and needed.

The author left it for us to decide who we wanted the murderer to be and it was a refreshing and welcome change.

Am interesting, thought provoking and wonderful novel.

I would like to thank Head Of Zeus for a copy of Lemon to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Kwon Yeo-sun

Kwon Yeo-sun is an award-winning Korean writer. She has won the Sangsang Literary Award, Oh Yeongsu Literature Award, Yi Sang Literary Prize, Hankook Ilbo Literary Award, Tong-ni Literature Prize and Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award. Lemon is her first novel to be published in the English language.

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