#Blogtour A Place To Lie by Rebecca Griffiths @rebeccagriffit7 @BooksSphere @millieseward @annecater #RandomThingsTours #APlaceToLie

A Place To Lie by Rebecca Griffiths. Sphere. August 22nd 2019

In Summer 1990, Caroline and Joanna are sent to stay with their great aunt, Dora, to spend their holidays in a sunlit village near the Forest of Dean. The countryside is a welcome change from the trauma they know back home in the city; a chance to make the world a joyful playground again. But in the shadowy woods at the edge of the forest hide secrets that will bring their innocence to a distressing end and make this a summer they will never forget.

There was a dark, dark house

Years later, a shocking act of violence sends Joanna back to Witchwood. In her great aunt’s lonely and dilapidating cottage, she will attempt to unearth the secrets of that terrifying summer and come to terms with the haunting effects it has left on her life. But in her quest to find answers, who can she trust? And will she be able to survive the impending danger from those trying to bury the truth?

My Review

Griffiths didn’t hang around, no preamble, no easing the reader in gently as she launched straight into a devastating event. It was an event that set off a period of introspection, of coming to terms with present and past events.

Joanna, world renowned pianist, was a woman in shock, a woman who had it all, who you immediately liked, could connect with as she grappled with her predicament.

As she drove into the past we met her older sister, Carrie, damaged, psychologically flawed, a young teenager who didn’t know how to make sense of the world around her.

It was their shared past that Griffiths skilfully balanced with the present, as the tenuious threads welded together and their story unfolded.

Griffiths filled her novel with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. The dotty aunt Dora, the creepy son of her neighbour, the vicar and his wife, Dean errant son of the pub landlady. All played their part, none above suspicion for the tragic events that unfurled.

For me the stand out character had to be the landscape, the village of Witchwood, the woods with their ability to conceal, to hide the actions of the characters. It was a place of freedom for children, but also a place of dark secrets, of lingering intent that gave the novel its wonderfully eerie atmosphere.

A Place To Live wasn’t your usual crime novel, it was far from superficial as Griffiths examined the impact words, observations and lies can have on people and the hurt and devastation it could cause not just in the present but also the future.

What seemed innocent to some, took on a life of its own and the examination of those consequences were brilliantly done by the author.

It was a novel I found compelling, and would recommend highly.

I would like to thank Sphere for a copy of A Place To Lie 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

Rebecca Griffiths grew up in rural mid-Wales and went on to gain a first class honours degree in English Literature. After a successful business career in London, Dublin and Scotland, she returned to mid-Wales where she now lives with her husband, a prolific artist, their three vampiric cats as black as night, and pet sheep the size of sofas.

#Blogtour The Warehouse by Rob Hart @robwhart @TransworldBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheWarehouse

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The Warehouse by Rob Hart  Bantam Press August 15th 2019

Change and unemployment have ravaged the nation, and an online retail giant named Cloud reigns supreme. Rob Hart has taken our current reality and transformed it into a terrifyingly recognisable future.

Paxton never thought he’d be working Security for the company that ruined his life, much less that he’d be moving into one of their sprawling live-work facilities. But compared to what’s left outside, perhaps Cloud isn’t so bad. Better still, through his work he meets Zinnia, who fills him with hope for their shared future.

Except that Zinnia is not what she seems. And Paxton, with his all-access security credentials, might just be her meal ticket.As Paxton and Zinnia’s agendas place them on a collision course, they’re about to learn just how far the Cloud will go to make the world a better place. 

The Warehouse is brilliantly devised and fantastic world-building. Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price.

My Review

The Warehouse should come with a warning as it will seriously play havoc with your mind. The idea of a large company that had literally taken over most of the companies, distribution and selling in a future America felt altogether too real, as your thoughts immediately fled to Amazon. Could this happen? Will Amazon finally take over everything or was it just an authors mad thought processes going into imaginative overdrive?

Whatever your thoughts The Warehouse was an addictive and thrilling read. Its characters were real, their motives for working for The Cloud different, yet it was when their lives collided that the story came alive.

Paxton, with just a little grudge against a company that ruined his own business, was merely looking to make a living. You could feel his resistance to his allotted security role, but it was interesting to see how The Cloud, its perks, its expectations slowly pulled him in, won him over before he became completely institutionalised.

Zinnia was the oddball, sent into to do a job, to sabotage The Cloud. She was a tough nut, strong on the outside with just a slight soft centre as her relationship with Paxton turned from one of need to one that challenged her feelings.

Gibson, founder, God in the eyes of so many, the saviour of America, but was he? Was he just an egomaniac, a control freak, a rich man who wanted more, who couldn’t stop, felt the need to take over everything. Hart left it up to us to decide and I couldn’t help but dislike him, felt no empathy for his predicament.

Harts descriptions of the MotherCloud were clinical and stark, no home comforts for the workforce. It almost felt like he was taking us back in time to a need for the ultimate control of the workers, output to be maximised, consequences for those not fast enough, profit at its maximum.

The technology was mind blowing, sustainability at its heart, a glimmer of hope until you reached the latter parts of the novel and your stomach churned, reasons you will need to discover for yourselves.

For all it’s thought provoking concepts, at its heart The Warehouse was a fabulous, tense story. It had drama aplenty, espionage, intrigue and a smidgeon of a good old fashioned bit of love. The narrative was fast, almost cinematic and it didn’t surprise me to see that Ron Howard has already optioned it to be made into a film.

The Warehouse was a brilliant read from a debut author with a bright future. I loved it and devoured it!

I would like to thank Transworld for a copy of The Warehouse 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

Rob Hart Author Image

Rob Hart has been a political reporter, the communications director for a politician, a commissioner for the city of New York and is currently a publisher. The Warehouse is his first standalone novel and has been optioned for film by Ron Howard, director of Rush and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Rob lives in Staten Island, New York.

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#Blogtour The Song of Peterloo by Carolyn O’Brien @CarolynManc @Legend_Press #TheSongOf Peterloo

The Song of Peterloo Cover

The Song Of Peterloo by Carolyn O’Brien  Legend Press August 1st 2019

Manchester 1819: Prices are high and wages are low, but as the poor become poorer, the rich are alarmed by their calls for reform.

Mill-worker Nancy Kay struggles to support her ailing mother and sensitive son. Desperate to provide for them, she is inspired to join the growing agitation. But, as she risks everything to attend a great assembly on St Peter’s Field, Nancy is unaware the day will go down in history, not as a triumph but as tragedy; the Peterloo massacre.

This is one woman’s story of belief in change, pieced together by her family and friends and the two men who share her momentous summer. A story of hope, and sacrifice, and above all, courage.

My Review

The cotton mills of the north are something I am all too familiar as I currently live in what was an old mill town in Lancashire, whose existence depended on them. There is nothing like the majesty of the huge steam engines that drove them, but what of the people who worked within, what was it like for them?

In The Song Of Peterloo, Carolyn O’Brien opened up the doors of the cotton mills of Manchester. It was a world of unending toil and danger, young children sent under the looms to recover the remnants of cotton, the managers ruthless in their pursuit of maximum output, the bosses wanting their profits. Nancy was one such worker and you couldn’t help but fall in love with her as O’Brien created a young woman who worked hard to support her mother and young son. Yet she wasn’t someone who seemed content to accept her lot, a yearning to learn, to read, to write, to grasp opportunities that would improve her circumstances in life.

O’Brien perfectly captured her awe, wonder and excitement as the letters on the pages slowly began to make sense, as the newspapers, the pamphlets she read opened up the world, at the need for change, of empowerment and a better life.

Indeed, Nancy’s home life was grim as O’Brien painted a stark and vivid picture of her surroundings, of the grinding poverty, the struggle to buy food to put on the table.

You instantly hated the mill owners who reaped the rewards, comfortable in their large houses, but Samson seemed different, thrown in to the world of mill management by the death of his uncle. His situation appeared precarious as he navigated the narrowmindedness of his aunt, but you could almost see his brain whirring as he opened his eyes to the possibility of a safer and more learned environment for his workforce.

It was the relationship between Samson and Nancy that was interesting to watch, as they crept around each other, as Samson tried his best to earn her respect and maybe her affection. You sensed in another world, another time, they may eventually have found a way to be together, but you knew no matter how much you hoped it could never be, and it left me feeling sad and just a little frustrated.

What you could not ignore was the wonderful historical detail, in which O’Brien set her story, the rumblings, unrest and fear of change perfectly captured within her narrative.

The Peterloo Massacre itself, was brilliantly and vividly portrayed, the full horror woven in, full of drama, and desperation. It made you feel angry and sad but also respectful and full of admiration for what the workers set out to achieve only to be thwarted by blinkered and fearful authorities.

I found I had a lump in my throat and maybe the glint of a tear in my eyes as I read the latter pages of the novel, so poignant was O’Brien’s writing.

I turned the final page feeling somewhat bereft, but full of admiration for what O’Brien had achieved, for creating a novel suffused with human emotion, for the wonderful historical detail but most of all for Nancy, a wonderful, courageous young woman, who took it upon herself to seek an education and to stand up for what she believed in.

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

 

About the author

Carolyn O'Brien

Carolyn O’Brien was born in South Manchester, and lives in the nearby market town of Altrincham with her husband and two children. Carolyn works part-time as a consultant lawyer, as well as writing.

Follow Carolyn on Twitter @CarolynManc

The Song of Peterloo Blog Tour

#Blogtour Clear My Name by Paula Daly @PaulaDalyAuthor @TransworldBooks @damppebbles #dampebblesblogtours #ClearMyName

Clear My Name cover

Clear My Name by Paula Daly  Transworld August 8th 2019

Innocent?

When Carrie was accused of brutally murdering her husband’s lover, she denied it. She denied it when they arrested her, when they put her in front of a jury, and when they sent her to prison.

Now she’s three years into a fifteen-year sentence, away from the daughter she loves and the life she had built. And she is still denying that she is to blame

Guilty?

Tess Gilroy has devoted her life to righting wrongs. Through her job for Innocence UK, a charity which takes on alleged miscarriages of justice, she works tirelessly to uncover the truth.

But when she is asked to take Carrie’s case, Tess realises that if she is to help this woman, she must risk uncovering the secrets she has struggled a lifetime to hide…

We’ve all done things we’re not proud of.

My Review

What did I like about Clear My Name? I most definitely liked the story of a miscarriage of justice, a woman wrongly imprisoned and of Tess’s pursuit of the truth as she strove to free Carrie.

It had all the tension you would want and more, as Daley kept your interest piqued and your brain well and truly engaged. It was fascinating to read of the processes needed to overturn a conviction, the opposition Tess and Avril encountered and the small and significant victories they achieved.

It was the human aspects of the novel that held my attention and most especially Tess. Outwardly brusque, abrupt, seemingly lacking in emotion, Tess appeared a closed book. It wasn’t until Daley slowly cracked open her facade that she reveal a troubled woman with her own closely guarded secrets. Unlike most crime/thriller novels Tess’s emotions didn’t spill over overtaking or drowning out the whole of the novel. Instead they remained clipped, and sharp and gave the novel an edgy feel.

Avril, the new recruit was the perfect foil, bubbly and naive with smoother, softer edges that you couldn’t help but warm to.

I couldn’t make my mind up about Carrie, unsure wether she was really a victim. There was almost something calculating about her, that didn’t necessarily make me feel sorry for her. Daley made you question her innocence, and you wondered what role her daughter Mia played. Mia herself, I found self absorbed, selfish and not someone you could take at face value.

I found the mother, daughter relationship frustrating, Carrie overprotective, as she pandered to her daughters needs. You did feel sorry for Carrie’s bad marriage, inconsiderate husband and the circumstances she found herself in but something always niggled,didn’t quite fit.

The ensuing events and actions of Daley’s characters made for compelling reading, the narrative sharp and economical giving it a brilliant dramatic, tense feel. It was a novel that definitely packed a punch and would make a great TV drama that I for one would certainly be watching.

I would like to thank Transworld for a copy of Clear My Name to read and review and to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Blogtours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Paula Daly © Stephen Lea

Paula Daly is the critically acclaimed author of six novels. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year award, and her books have been developed for the new ITV television series, Deep Water, starring Anna Friel. She was born in Lancashire and lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children, and whippet Skippy.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulaDalyAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Paula-Daly-490968164379299

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#Blogtour Riverflow by Alison Layland @AlisonLayland @honno @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #Riverflow

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Riverflow by Alison Layland  Honno Press June 20th 2019

After a beloved family member is drowned in a devastating flood, Bede and Elin Sherwell want nothing more than to be left in peace to pursue their off-grid life. But when the very real prospect of fracking hits their village, they are drawn in to the frontline protests. During a spring of relentless rain, a series of mysterious threats and suspicious accidents put friendships on the line and the Sherwells’ marriage under unbearable tension. Is there a connection with their uncle’s death? As the river rises under torrential rain, pressure mounts, Bede’s sense of self begins to crumble and Elin is no longer sure who to believe or what to believe in.

My Review

Layland perfectly matched the ebb and flow of the river to the trials and tribulations of a couple for whom life had been one of a tranquil ideal, of sustainability.

The descriptions of a landscape that fed and watered Bede and Ade were wonderfully described, it’s beauty and, indeed it’s dangers vivid and real. Yet life is not just about the landscape in which we inhabit, it’s also about those who live around us, who support us or who rail against us.

The ideal of fracking, the acquisition of land for shooting, the influx of new people were catalysts for events that tested Bede and Elin. I loved how Layland made them question their beliefs, their ethics, to think how far they would go to protect what they held dear.

You would have thought it would have brought them closer together, but it only seemed to highlight differences, a marriage that seemed to be heading in opposing directions.

Silvan, the new game keeper was a man who appeared well meaning, but you knew there was something not right, yet you couldn’t quite work out what. His infiltration into Bede and Elin’s life’s made you question his intentions, who he was and whose side he was actually on.

Elin, the realist, the campaigner, the activist, was a woman you could admire, for her resilience and honesty.

Bede, so practically intelligent, yet haunted by his upbringing, grief stricken by his uncles death was the character who frustrated, whose anguish and torment you wish you could ease. It was Laylands ability to get right to the heart of that torment and anguish that impressed, her narrative that perfectly captured his innermost thoughts.

You wanted Bede and Elin to emerge intact, to learn to accept one another’s differences, to compromise.

As in all novels life was never what it seemed, as Layland scratched the surface to reveal a community at loggerheads. The themes she raised of Fracking, of the destruction we wreck on our landscape never seemed forced, she provided balance, let you form your own opinions.

Riverflow was one of those novels that provoked thought, that raised important environmental questions but it was also about the fragility of relationships, of the consequences of our own ideals and vision for the world we live in.

It was a novel that I found enthralling and I can only congratulate Layland for writing such a beautifully evocative novel.

I would like to thank Honno Press for a copy of Riverflow to read and review and to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Blogtours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Alison Layland credit Trina Layland med

Alison Layland is a writer and translator. Raised in Newark and Bradford, she now lives on the Wales/Shropshire border. She studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge University and translates from German, French and Welsh into English. Her published translations include a number of bestselling novels.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlisonLayland

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlisonLaylandAuthor/

Website: http://www.alayland.uk/

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#Blogtour The Escape Room by Megan Goldin @megangoldin @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orionbooks #TheEscapeRoom #CompulsiveReaders

The Escape Room

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin  Orion Books July 25th 2019

Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.

When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception, intimidation and sexual harassment thrive.

Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one more final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?

 My Review

Four people trapped in an elevator, their only hope of escape to solve the clues, clues that somehow appeared deeply personal, that would shatter trust, respect and open up secrets. Not your average crime novel, it’s setting unique and refreshing, its characters the ultimate in greed and selfishness.

Goldin didn’t hold back as she gave us four characters who worked hard, typical examples from the world of banking. Vincent, their leader, all powerful, in control, pulling their strings. I loved how Goldin diminished his power, his respect as they grappled in the darkness of the elevator and revealed the extent of his subterfuge.

I detested Sylvie, hard, focused, the ultimate bitch driven by her need to succeed in a man’s world. You could see her vulnerabilities emerge the longer they remained in the elevator but it didn’t make me like her anymore.

The interesting aspect of The Escape Room was Sarah Hall, the one person not in the elevator, but on the outside. She was our eyes, our narrator who filled in the background of the financial team she was thrown into, the one who was never quite accepted. You watched as she enjoyed her success, the money, was enveloped by the whole corporate image, indoctrinated and ultimately blinkered. You wondered what her connections to the escape room were as Goldin ramped up the tension, twisted the screws as you tried to read faster to discover the outcome.

It was an outcome that made you cheer, no sympathy for those involved, a sense of you reap what you sow.

I loved the ending and it did make me think that perhaps Goldin had left the door open for a sequel and I for one would be first in the queue to read.

I would lime to thank Orion for a copy of The Escape Room to read and review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to read and review.

About the author

Megan Goldin

MEGAN GOLDIN worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs. THE ESCAPE ROOM is her debut novel.

The Escape Room blog tour

#Blogtour The Girl In The Window by Rowan Coleman @rowancoleman @EburyPublishing @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheGirlInTheWindow

The Girl at the Window Cover

The Girl In The Window by Rowan Coleman  Ebury Publishing  August 8th 2019

The Girl at the Window is a beautiful and captivating novel set at Ponden Hall, a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors and famously used as a setting for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Known as the place where Cathy’s ghost taps on the window, Emily Bronte used to visit often with her sisters and use the extensive library there. It’s a magical place full of stories.
In The Girl at the Window, Ponden Hall is where Trudy Heaton grew up, but also where
she ran away from… Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, Trudy returns home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead. While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…
The Girl at the Window is hauntingly beautiful, and centred on an epic love story with a twist that draws you in fast. The strong themes of grief, absent fathers and maternal instincts are consistent emotional pulls throughout. Trudy and Abe are the ultimate love story, but there is also a wonderfully atmospheric ghostly mystery to be solved as well.

My Review

The moors surrounding Haworth, and the imposing Ponden Hall provided the perfect setting for Rowan Coleman’s novel The Girl In The Window.

The landscape, known for its bleakness, wonderful imagery, and magic was perfectly translated onto the page and it wasn’t hard to let your imagination run wild as Coleman set her character Tru, on a journey into a past full of surprises.

Indeed Tru, was a wonderful character, full of grief, a need to protect her young son and to build bridges with her estranged Mum. I loved her for her positivity, her resilience, her innate curiosity to seek out the secrets of her home, and most of all her love for the Bronte’s.

You could also sense Coleman’s own love for the Bronte’s as it seeped through her narrative, as she opened up a window to their world and that of past generations who lived or had connections with Ponden Hall.

It was a past that Coleman seamlessly interwove into the structure of the novel, excerpts from old letters that told a story of love, of grief, of murder and tragedy and, were utterly fascinating.

The sheer delight Tru felt as she discovered old notebooks, examined old books was for me, one of the highlights. You could almost smell the mustiness, feel the fragility of the pages, and Tru’s own awe and amazement at each precious discovery.

The ghostly apparitions, and rumblings, the presence of spirits who fought for freedom gave the novel that added extra dimension, lifted it from being just another story of the Bronte’s. You could feel the chill, and the eeriness yet not the fear, as you felt somehow they were there to help, to steer Tru in the right direction.

If it was a novel of past history it was also a novel of the present, of Tru’s own story, of the love she pursued, of the family, and a house she left behind.

Reconciliation and forgiveness were strong themes, and I loved the changing relationship between mother and daughter, that Coleman portrayed beautifully, filled with emotion but also tension and unease.

You wondered how Coleman would pull all the threads together, how the past and the present would finally come together. When it did, it was with skill, filled with compassion, sorrow, but also hope for a bright future.

The Girl In The Window was wonderful, a novel that will transport you to another world, a world full of fabulous characters you will not want to leave.

I would like to thank Ebury for a copy of The Girl In The Window 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

Rowan Coleman Author pic

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house
in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family. Rowan’s last novel,
The Summer of Impossible Things, was selected for Zoe Ball’s ITV Book Club. Rowan has an everlasting love for the Brontes, and is a regular visitor of Ponden Hall.
http://www.rowancoleman.co.uk | @rowancoleman

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