#Blogtour Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante #LyndaLaPlante @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #JudasHorse

Judas Horse (DC Jack Warr #2)
Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante Zaffre April 1st 2021

Violent burglars have been terrorising residents across the English countryside. But when a mutilated body is discovered in a Cotswolds house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary group of opportunist thieves.

As Detective Jack Warr investigates, he discovers locals with dark secrets, unearths hidden crimes – and hits countless dead ends. With few leads and the violent attacks escalating, he will have to act as audaciously as the criminals if he hopes to stop them.

When Warr meets Charlotte Miles, a terrified woman with links to the group, he must use her to lure the unsuspecting killers into one last job, and into his trap. But with the law already stretched to breaking point, any failure will be on Warr’s head – and any more blood spilled, on his hands …

My Review

I will admit it now, I have never read a novel by Lynda La Plante, however I have watched all of the Jane Tennsion series so Judas Horse would be my first foray. It wasn’t Jane Tennsion that La Plante wrote about but a new detective DC Jack Warr, one who first appeared in Buried the first of her new series. Trust me to not start at the beginning, and yes it would have been helpful but it didn’t stop my enjoyment nor any continual second guessing about past events.

Who was Jack Warr? As far as I could make out he was newly married to Maggie, about to become a first time father and shared a house with his mother, Penny. La Plante gave us a good sense of his trepidation as more personal responsibility loomed. I loved that La Plante gave us those two sides of Warr, the personal and the professional, the confidence that oozed in his professional life and the more vulnerable cautiousness in his personal.

His work life was for me the most interesting, the one that got the heart rate going that kept me on my toes, as I wondered what turn the plot would take, who would emerge innocent or guilty. The main plot line revolved around a reign of terror and fear from a gang of clever burglars in the wealthy belt of the Cotswolds, Warr seconded to use his brilliant expertise to bring their reign to an end. I liked that he didn’t blend in, his city ways that caused problems with his new team, his unwillingness to compromise to get results, to alienate those who thought they knew better. It added a distinct edge, but also showed his nurturing qualities, his skill in developing those in which he recognised future potential.

What Plante got across so well was his tenacity and his determination to unearth the criminals, he had an in built ability to think outside the box, to read those he came into contact with.

The burglaries were wonderfully complex, a myriad of layers, intelligently thought out by the perpetrators, and La Plante increased the stakes, turned up the brutality and the lengths they would go to achieve their aim. As Warr unravelled their intentions so his clashes with certain colleagues became more intense, unwanted casualties piled up but still he ploughed on until he achieved his objective.

La Plante didn’t take prisoners least of all the reader never losing their interest, always another corner to turn, another blind alley to back away from. The ending certainly delivered and this reader definitely loved Detective Warr and is looking forward to his next investigation.

I would like to thank Zaffre Books for a copy of Judas Horse to read and review and Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour

About the author

Lynda La Plante (born Lynda Titchmarsh) is a British author, screenwriter, and erstwhile actress (her performances in Rentaghost and other programmes were under her stage name of Lynda Marchal), best known for writing the Prime Suspect television crime series.

Her first TV series as a scriptwriter was the six part robbery series Widows, in 1983, in which the widows of four armed robbers carry out a heist planned by their deceased husbands.

In 1991 ITV released Prime Suspect which has now run to seven series and stars Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison. (In the United States Prime Suspect airs on PBS as part of the anthology program Mystery!) In 1993 La Plante won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for her work on the series. In 1992 she wrote at TV movie called Seekers, starring Brenda Fricker and Josette Simon, produced by Sarah Lawson.

She formed her own television production company, La Plante Productions, in 1994 and as La Plante Productions she wrote and produced the sequel to Widows, the equally gutsy She’s Out (ITV, 1995). The name “La Plante” comes from her marriage to writer Richard La Plante, author of the book Mantis and Hog Fever. La Plante divorced Lynda in the early 1990s.

Her output continued with The Governor (ITV 1995-96), a series focusing on the female governor of a high security prison, and was followed by a string of ratings pulling miniseries: the psycho killer nightmare events of Trial & Retribution (ITV 1997-), the widows’ revenge of the murders of their husbands & children Bella Mafia (1997) (starring Vanessa Redgrave), the undercover police unit operations of Supply and Demand (ITV 1998), videogame/internet murder mystery Killer Net (Channel 4 1998) and the female criminal profiler cases of Mind Games (ITV 2001).

Two additions to the Trial and Retribution miniseries were broadcast during 2006.

#Blogtour The Source by Sarah Sultoon @SultoonSarah @OrendaBook @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheSource

The Source by Sarah Sultoon Orenda Books April 15th 2021

The Blurb

1996. Essex. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth … and justice.

A riveting, searing and devastatingly dark thriller, The Source is also a story about survival, about hopes and dreams, about power, abuse and resilience … an immense, tense and thought-provoking debut that you will never, ever forget.

My Review

When an author writes a novel based on what they know and what they do in their everyday work life it can go one of two ways, its either overloaded with far too much detail and banal insider stuff or its totally fascinating and perfectly compliments the story the author is trying to tell. In Sultoon’s, The Source, the latter was very definitely evident, the premise of sex trafficking, investigative cover ups all true in the world we currently inhabit.

As much as the plotline was important stand out characters are always needed to carry the story, Maria and Carly definitely stood out, Maria 2006, Carly 1996. Carly was the young teenager, whose life on an army base was fraught, an alcoholic mother who couldn’t take care of herself never mind Carly and her baby sister Kayleigh. Sultoon gave her a naivety and a desperation that made her extremely vulnerable, a need to provide for her sister the overriding reason as she followed her brother into a world of army parties and what we could only assume the provision of sexual favours for officers and guests. Sultoon hinted at a reticence, her best friend Rach the driving force the one that pushed, that coerced, yet gave Carly reassurance, a mother figure who appeared in some misguided way to offer what her own mother could not.

2006 and Maria, a junior production assistant for a news channel who worked undercover to expose a sex trafficking ring, again Sultoon showed a vulnerability, the shadow of something in the past that weighed heavily in her present. She had a fragility, but also a steely determination that rose to the surface as the story unfolded.

It wasn’t until an investigation into the army’s own sex trafficking scandal that Sultoon cleverly blurred the lines between past and present, between Carly and Maria. Suddenly we wondered if there was a connection, and if yes what that connection was as Sultoon ramped up the stakes for both girls. I loved that she highlighted their fragility, the mental and indeed physical anguish it imposed on them, the gradual wearing down of resistance, the inability to be able to move forward. You understood why the word ‘no’ wasn’t a thing to be tolerated, what reasons drove young women to do such desperate things, and it stirred anger and incredulity in you as you read.

The slow unfolding of lies, of cover ups, of individuals selfish motives to protect themselves, was prevalent throughout but none more so than in the second half of the novel, as Sultoon revealed the horrors that faced young girls, and their exploitation by those in power. In some ways it was shocking but then in other ways not when in recent years we have read of similar cases in Rochdale, but what Sultoon managed to do so brilliantly was to get inside the heads of those young girls, of why they did it, of the fear, the manipulation, the long term after effects that no one could ever take away from them.

As much as this was about the psychology and the intricacies of sex rings, The Source was also a brilliant story. It had fantastic characters, a storyline that twisted one way then the other and the ability to hold your attention throughout to the point i did not want to put it done. It was hard to believe that this was Sultoon’s debut novel and I am very much hoping another novel is in the pipeline.

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

About the author

Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer whose work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for
her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an
undergraduate language degree in French and Spanish, and Masters of Philosophy in History, Film and Television. When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or throwing a ball for her three children and dog while she imagines what might happen if…

Books On The Hill #BooksOnTheHill #OpenDsylexiaKickstarterProject #AccessibleFictionForAll

BOTH logo 7 shop colours

Since I was a child I have always loved reading and as an adult it has been my escape from the stress of normal everyday life. What if the words were all scrambled and reading was difficult, how would you cope. I know for me it would be a complete disaster and that it is why I wanted to bring your attention to a great project from Books On The Hill. Have a read at the information below and if you know anyone that struggles with dyslexia point them in this their direction

What it’s all about

Books on the Hill is passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or have any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction. There are great books out now for children with dyslexia, with specialist publishers like Barrington Stokes and mainstream publishers such as Bloomsbury doing their part. However, there are sadly very few books for adults with Dyslexia in traditional mass market publishing.

Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. The NHS estimates that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, while other dyslexic organisations believe 1 in 5 and more than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected.

Dyslexia does not stop someone from achieving. There are many individuals who are successful and are dyslexic. Famous actors, such as Orlando Bloom; Entrepreneurs like Theo Paphitis, and many, many more, including myself. All of who believe dyslexia has helped them to be where they are now. Dyslexia, though, as I can attest to, does not go away. You don’t grow out of it, and so we are acknowledging that and trying to without being patronising, create a selection of books that will be friendly to people who deal with dyslexia every day.

Since we started the project in 2019, Books on the Hill have had many adults customers with dyslexia come in shop the asking for something accessible to read. For example, one customer asked if we stocked well known novels in a dyslexic friendly format. Unfortunately we had to say no, as they just don’t exist. We explained what we are trying to achieve by printing our own and she replied:

“I have been reading [children dyslexic] books but they are a bit childish so am really happy I have found your company!! Thanks so much again and thank you for making such a helpful and inclusive brand – it means a lot. “

This response is not isolated. We have had many adults come in to the shop with dyslexia, who do not read or struggle to read and they they believe dyslexic friendly books would have real impact on their reading for pleasure.

We are launching a Kickstarter beginning in April 2nd 2021 for 30 days, with the focus on paying for the printing of our books and giving us starting capital to continue to print more titles.

How you can get involved

There will be many ways you can be involved in this. You can contribute on the Kickstarter website itself. There will be a number of different options of donating money, in which you will receive rewards, such as ebooks of a title or a paperback of one or more of the titles to be published. In addition a unique reward from authors who are contributing to the project.

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You can still contribute outside the Kickstarter. We are happy to receive your help in the shop, where we will have a donation box available.

Links

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#Blogtour Rites Of Spring by Anders de la Motte #AndersdelaMotte @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #RitesOfSpring

Rites of Spring: The internationally bestselling new crime series
Rites Of Spring by Anders de la Motte Zaffre April 1st 2021

The Blurb

On Walpurgis night of 1986, a sixteen-year-old girl is ritualistically murdered in the woods adjacent to a castle in the southernmost part of Sweden. Her stepbrother is convicted of the terrible deed, and shortly after, the entire family vanishes without a trace.

The spring of 2019, doctor Thea Lind moves into the castle. Having made a strange discovery in an ancient oak tree on the grounds, her fascination with the old tragedy deepens. As she uncovers more and more similarities between her own troubled past and the murdered girl’s upbringing, her conviction grows: the truth of the killing was never uncovered. The spring of 1986 claimed more victims than one.

Rites of Spring is the final installment in Anders de la Motte’s lauded series of stand-alone suspense novels set in southern Sweden.

My Review

I definitely chose the right time to read Rites Of Spring the first warm sunny weather of the year meant I could sit in my garden and immerse myself in the story of Thea Lind and her quest to discover the truth behind the sacrifical murder of Elita Svart.

Immerse was an apt word to describe Motte’s novel, as I literally did not want to put it down. I think it was a combination of brilliant characterisation and his ability to pull me in to the Swedish landscape, the haunting denseness of the forest, the marshes, and the green moss strewn canal, all part of Thea’s new surroundings. Thea herself came with her own issues, a career as a doctor in the war torn regions of the world, a dear friend forever scarred, a husband, David who put her back together, who she felt she owed. And this was where many of her problems lay as she discovered David’s connection to the murder, his family and friends all intrinsically linked. Rather than seamlessly fitting in with the new community Motte placed Thea very much on the outside.

It soon became clear that Motte had given Thea a cause, something that went back to her past, a need to proof that just because we came from a certain background didn’t mean we had to conform to stated stereotypes. It was a secret she guarded and you just knew that at some point it would emerge, our guess was when and what impact it would have.

Motte gave Thea a veritable array of supporting cast characters. Her husband David the failed chef who worked on rebuilding a new venture in his hometown supported by childhood friends, protected by a mother from his past. There was the mysterious Hubert, resident in a wing of the castle, disinherited by his father, a loner, a little strange but for some reason Thea and Hubert shared a connection. As the novel progressed I got the feeling he wanted to share information with Thea, the little clues, pointers he threw her way, ones that led her deeper and deeper into Elita’s death, the communities involvement and indeed who the killer was.

Who was the killer? For much of the novel my guesses flitted from one character to the next as Motte took us and Thea on a meandering journey of clues, interview documents and case notes. The anecdotal evidence of the various characters and their assumptions often placed Thea in danger, the ever present feeling of being watched, but somehow with sheer determination it never seemed to stop Thea.

Motte never let his reader feel comfortable as layer after layer of the story slowly unraveled and the last third was unbelievably tense to the point I had to get up and walk around before continuing. The outcome was not quite what I was expecting but then for me that is the best sign that the novel was everything you wanted and a whole lot more.

Rites of Spring was wonderfully atmospheric, dark and chilling and it was such a shame this it was the last novel in Motte’s quartet, but then again maybe that’s a good thing, maybe he has something completely new in store for his next novel.

I would like to thank Zaffre for a copy of Rites Of Spring to read and review and to Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogpsot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Anders de la Motte (b. 1971), a former police officer, made his crime fiction debut in 2010 with Game and has since become one of Sweden’s most beloved crime writers. De la Motte is the author of three acclaimed crime fiction series and in 2016 he embarked on his new series, the electrifying Skåne Quartet. Deeds of Fall is his fourth stand-alone installment, completing this bestselling and award-winning suspense quartet.

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#Blogtour The Girls From Alexandria by Carol Cooper @DrCarolCooper @AgoraBooksLDN

The Girls From Alexandria by Carol Cooper Agora April 1st 2021

The Blurb

‘Memories are fragile when you are seventy years old. I can’t afford to lose any more of them, not when remembering the past might help with the here and now.’
Nadia needs help. Help getting out of her hospital bed. Help taking her pills. One thing she doesn’t need help with is remembering her sister. But she does need help finding her. Alone and abandoned in a London hospital, 70-year-old Nadia is facing the rest of her life spent in a care home unless she can contact her sister Simone… who’s been missing for 50 years.
Despite being told she’s ‘confused’ and not quite understanding how wi-fi works, Nadia is determined to find Simone. So with only cryptic postcards and her own jumbled memories to go on, Nadia must race against her own fading faculties and find her sister before she herself is forgotten.
Set against the lush and glamorous backdrop of 20th century Alexandria, Carol Cooper’s The Girls from Alexandria is equal parts contemporary mystery and historical fiction: a re-coming of age story about
family, identity, and homeland.

My Review

Ask me about the Ancient Egyptians and I could give you numerous facts, ask me about Egypt from the 1950’s and I would draw a complete blank. My ignorance was finally banished by Carol Cooper’s The Girls From Alexandria.

I got to see Egypt through the eyes of Nadia, a woman laid in a hospital bed with a mysterious illness who longs to the see her long lost sister. At first glance you would think, ok I’ve read this before its going to be no different from every other novel of someone looking back over their past, and yes it followed the same premise, but in all others aspects it stood above from the crowd.

Why? First of all Nadia herself, from child to adult, Cooper gave us such a wonderful in depth portrayal of what it was like to live in an evolving Egypt. There was her love for Alexandria, the bustle of the city, the family get togethers, the inner dynamics that moulded her character and indeed her attitudes. Nadia’s elder sister, Simone, was her everything, the one person she looked to, and I suppose aspired to be like and Coopers ploy to make her disappear was a brilliant tactic as we watched Nadia stand on her own two feet, and make her own decisions both good and bad.

Her marriage to an aspiring doctor, her move backwards and forwards to the UK , the life they led all seemed empty, as Cooper gave the sense that Nadia’s life was incomplete and would never be full until she found her sister. Cooper took us to and from past to present and it was the present where her determination, her inner strength shone through, her need to prove the doctors wrong, that she really did have her sister, that she could navigate Facebook, google to look for clues and track Simone down.

As she searched, it gave Cooper scope to open up her world in Alexandria which I found absolutely fascinating. The politics of the country, the numerous coups, the protests, the assassinations were all examined but in no way drowned out the real essence of the story. We saw the impact it had on Nadia’s family, the inability to travel, the gradual erosion of status and indeed wealth, the limited choices available especially for women. It was no wonder Simone disappeared, yet Nadia remained, conformed, her small acts of rebellion carefully hidden until events forced change, new decisions and a new direction as Cooper used illness and the sense of immortality to push Nadia further in her quest to find Simone.

You would expect a happy ending, but Cooper took a different tack, looked at events from a differing angle as we saw Nadia wrestle with anger, resentment, reticence, happiness not a given but something that needed to be found, compromises reached.

All in all, The Girls From Alexandria was a beautiful fascinating novel that brilliantly drew on Cooper’s own personal experiences, that gave the novel such a wonderfully authentic feel.

I would like to thank Agora for a copy of The Girls From Alexandria to read and review and to Peyton Stableford for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and author. Born in London, she was only a few months old when her cosmopolitan family took her to live in Egypt. She returned to the UK at eighteen and went to Cambridge University where she studied medicine and her fellow students. On her path to a career in general practice, she worked at supermarket checkouts, typed manuscripts in Russian, and spent years as a hospital doctor.
Following a string of popular health books as well as an award-winning medical textbook, Carol turned to writing fiction. Her first two novels were contemporary tales set in London. Ever a believer in writing what you know, she mined the rich material of her childhood for The Girls from Alexandria.
Carol lives with her husband in Cambridge and Hampstead. She has three grownup sons and three stepchildren.

#Blogtour Bound by Vanda Symon @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Bound

Bound by Vanda Symon Orenda March 4th 2021

The passionate, young police officer Sam Shephard returns in a taut, atmospheric and compelling police procedural, which sees her take matters into her own hands when the official investigation into the murder of a local businessman fails to add up…
The New Zealand city of Dunedin is rocked when a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman is murdered in his luxurious home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, they discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.
The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas. Weighed down by her dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and by complications in her relationship with Paul, she needs a distraction, and launches her own investigation. And when another murder throws the official case into chaos, it ’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect.

My Review

Hello Detective Sam Shephard, welcome back into my headspace, back to take me into the murky underworld of beautiful Dunedin. This time it was the murder of a wealthy businessman, who took our attention, his wife tied up and left until discovered by their teenage son.

As if a murder wasn’t enough, Symon didn’t spare us Sam’s complicated personal life which added that perfect balance, that human emotive touch so often missing from many crime novels. I loved that her relationship with fellow detective Paul, as her little defences broke down and the realisation that it wasn’t just a fling but something so much more. There was also her family, a dying father, a mother forever critical as Symon heaped on the pressure. Yet Shephard was a tough cookie, resilient, and so very determined, everything you liked in a woman detective, something Symon always made sure to emphasis especially when it came to her relationship with her boss. He was a man I detested, not outwardly sexist but numerous grudges and derision that simmered just below the service in his interactions with Shephard. I so wanted Symon to give Shephard a reason to retaliate, to sock it to him, and without leaking out a spoiler let me just say she didn’t disappoint.

Lets get back to the murder, and as Shephard soon began to realise all was not as it seemed Symon added in quite a few doubts, made us and Shephard think outside the box, and widen our horizons. I admired Symon’s ability hide the clues deep within her narrative, so hard for us to guess exactly who was responsible and just where we were going to end up. It wasn’t a dramatic, shouty revealing of the answers but more a gradual unwinding, of a detective brave enough to go out on a limb against her colleagues, and stand up for herself.

The murder and its fallout may have been resolved but Shephard’s personal life still needed answers, and you felt we had reached a turning point, a new direction that Symon left us contemplating. The next novel will be extremely interesting and I am hoping we will not have to wait too long for the next instalment.

I want to thank Orenda for a copy of Bound to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New
Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and has also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel and for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

#Blogtour The Book Of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd @suemonkkidd @TinderPress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheBookOfLongings

The Book Of Longings By Sue Monk Kidd Tinder Press March 18th 2021

The Blurb

Ana is born in Galilee at a time when women are seen as possessions, only leaving their fathers’ homes to marry. Ana longs to control her destiny. Taught to read despite her mother’s misgivings, she wants to be a writer and to find her
own voice. A voice that will speak for the silenced women around her.
Betrothed to an elderly widower, Ana almost despairs. But an encounter with a charismatic young carpenter in Nazareth awakens new longings in her, and a different future opens up. Yet this is not a simple love story. Ana’s journey will bring both joy and tragedy, but it will also be enriched by the female friendships she makes along the way.
The Book of Longings is an exquisite tale of dreams and desire, and of the power of women to change the world
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My Review

I read the afterword at the end of the novel just to get an idea of the authors thoughts and what made her decide to write about a fictional wife of Jesus. It seemed it took her sometime to put pen to paper, declaring ‘I couldn’t muster quite enough audacity’

When Kidd finally did take that leap it was in my opinion a brave one, to challenge, even though fictitious, the possibility that Jesus had a wife. In The Book Of Longings her name was Ana, a beautiful, intelligent, educated daughter of Herod’s head scribe. She was the opposite of women of her time, keen to marry for love not to merge and increase the status and wealth of a family, and from the start she was a veritable fire ball, opinionated, stubborn, determined and brave.

From their first accidental meeting in a crowded market, you knew it was fate, their destiny to be together, but Kidd didn’t make that journey easy and the heartache and hardships were almost a training ground for what was to come.

Their eventual marriage was one based on pure love, a love that endured during the many years of trouble and separation. Kidd used Ana’a eyes to tell the story of Jesus as we know it but also the consequences it had for his family, the added danger it placed Ana in. It was an extremely clever technique one that made me view those bible stories I had read a little differently. I saw Jesus as a normal man, one who had his own desires but wasn’t afraid to follow his inner voice, to run into danger for a greater cause.

Did I think he was selfish? In some ways yes, when you thought about his mother, and more importantly his wife, but that was where it stopped, as Kidd gave Ana her own purpose, her own cause. She was there to support Jesus, to trail blaze for other women within society, to stand up to the inherent brutality present with men. Her writings were her outlet, a historical text for the future, to the point I did wonder if Kidd was suggesting that maybe she was part author of the New Testament. I may be totally and utterly wrong but wouldn’t it be wonderful to think a woman had a hand in its creation, and it was a thought I clung to throughout the second half of the novel.

One thing that did stand out, was the vividness of Kidd’s narrative, the brilliant portrayal of the Romans and the Jews, the society they lived in and the tensions and rivalries that existed. It was a veritable maelstrom of actions and events that culminated in the inevitable ending, and the ensuing scenes were hugely poignant and emotional.

What endured above all was Ana, her capacity for love and forgiveness, her fight to read, to write, to be treated as an equal, a shining beacon of light and hope.

The Book Of Longings, was never the novel you expected, and all credit and heaps of admiration to Sue Monk Kidd for having the audacity to put pen to paper, to challenge the reader, and dare to create an alternative to a story we all grew up and know so well.

I would like to thank Tinder Press for a copy of The Book Of Longings to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Sue Monk Kidd is the author of The Secret Life of Bees, one of the most beloved novels of the 21st century. It spent 2.5 years on the New York Times bestseller list, and has sold over 8 million copies worldwide. It was long-listed for the Orange Prize (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction) and made into a film starring Sophie Okonedo, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson. Sue’s subsequent novels,
The Mermaid Chair, The Invention of Wings and now The Book of Longings, were all New York Times bestsellers.
Sue is also the author of several non-fiction books including the New York Times bestseller Travelling with Pomegranates, co-written with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. Sue lives in Florida.


http://www.suemonkkidd.com

@suemonkkidd

#Blogtour The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner @si_penner @Legend_Times #TheLostApothecary

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. Legend Press

The Blurb

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.


Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.


With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

My Review

I adored The Lost Apothecary, I loved being in the back streets of 17th Century London before being brought headlong into present day London and its maze of alleys and skyscrapers.

What I loved even more were Penners fantastic cast of characters, limited in number but what an impact they made. Nella, the 17th century apothecary who sold potions to women with everyday maladies, but underneath the darker tones of poison, of potions designed to kill the men that suppressed them, that engaged in extra martial affairs, ruined house maids to sate their own desires. She was aged, ailing, troubled and scared by the man she thought loved her, her mothers legacy somehow despoiled by divergence into the dark arts. A loner until Ella came in through the door and how I loved Ella, a fearless twelve year old who stole my heart. Penner’s portrayal of her was one of the highlights, her fierce determination to learn but also her respect for Nella, her maturity in seeing something in Nella that pained her, that needed to be brought to the surface and confronted so brilliantly translated in Penner’s narrative.

And then we had Caroline, an American in present day London, who reeled from her husbands affair, who sought alone time to think, to decide her future. What she didn’t reckon on was her reawakening of her love of history, of mudlarking on the Thames and the discovery of a glass vial, the imprint of a bear and the crazy journey it would take her on.

It was the intertwining of the past and the present and the distinct voices of those three women that stood out. The similarities between the suppression of women in the 17th century somehow no different to present day. The woman deemed less important, Caroline’s dreams cast to one side to stay by her husbands side, to support his career, the anguish of that other woman, yet forgiveness expected, the norm restored. Nella, deeply hurt by her love, cast aside, mere collateral in his life. Eliza, the housemaid, fair game for the master of the house, the wandering hand, the entitlement to take what he wanted when he wanted.

It was their determination to fight back, to look within themselves to discover who they were really were that gave Penner so much to work with. She didn’t stop until she had wrung every last drop of emotion and anguish from them and indeed from me as the reader. I was with Nella and Eliza as they battled to save The Apothecary, ran from authorities, explored the poisons dispensed, the reasons, the women that knocked at door, desperate for a quick fix. For Caroline, I empathised with her loss of identity and the fight to reclaim who she was , could relate with my own personal life experinces.

Penner didn’t forget that we also wanted intrigue, mystery, that thrill of wondering what would happen next. She built it slowly, laid the foundations with some fantastic historical detail, left hints of past anguish as she rushed us headlong to a fast and heart stopping climax. We were left with questions that I needed answers to, and Penner didn’t disappoint with the answers, answers that were surprising but somehow satisfying.

As you can probably tell I loved The Lost Apothecary, and will be waiting with baited breath for whatever Penner has in store in her next novel.

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

About the author

#Blogtour The End Is Where We Begin by Maria Goodin #MariaGoodin @Legend_Times_ #TheEndIsWhereWeBegin

The End Is Where We Begin by Maria Goodin. Legend Press March 16th 2021

The Blurb

Jay Lewis is a troubled soul. A single father, just trying to keep everything together, he knows he sabotages any real chance of happiness. Tormented by nightmares and flashbacks, he can’t forget the events from one fateful night that steered the course of the rest of his life. Struggling against the crushing weight of guilt, Jay knows there are wrongs he needs to put right.

Determined to get closure, he seeks out old friends and a past love. But in his quest for a more peaceful future, is he ready to face the trauma of his past?

My Review

A cryptic title that posed many questions. Had our main character, Jay, got to the end of his story, were we going to follow him back to the beginning to how he got to his ending? Or did it mean his life could restart at year one after years of anguish?

I was interested to find out and the story that unfolded was a complex one, one that Goodin told with great introspection, perception and compassion. The opening was poignant, a dad celebrating his teenage sons birthday, the everyday celebrations of blowing out candles, watching them disappear to celebrate with friends. Yet we knew that Jay wasn’t coping that something lay behind the panic attack, the inability to feel joy and freedom.

We were sent back in time, to a childhood with friends, to school life, the divide between public and private the differing expectations that somehow didn’t seem to matter to Jay, and his little group. That was until an incident we only got glimpses of where we made assumptions and more importantly where Jay and his friends lives appeared to fall apart.

Goodin excelled at getting deep into Jay’s mind as she pushed him into meetings with old friends, made him face upto his and others actions, his role as a father and the modern issues of parenting a teenager.

Goodin touched on so many themes, of mental health, love, trust, social media that in less skillful hands could have been piece meal, a random flitting between past and present but it wasn’t. It was utterly engaging not only from an emotional aspect but we had the added intrigue of the real happenings of that one fateful night one that Goodin slowly unraveled, hints dropped into the narrative, fleeting images that left you guessing right until the end.

It could have been all darkness but chinks of light and warmth crept in as Jay reconciled feelings, thoughts and actions, as you hoped a way forward seemed more possible. Was a new life a possibility, could love be within his reach? And finally did the title justify the content and the ending? That is not for me to say but for you to find out.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of The End Is Where We Begin to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Maria Goodin.jpg

Maria Goodin’s debut novel Nutmeg was published in 2012 and sold into the US, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Australia. The End is Where We Begin is her second novel. Maria lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two sons. Maria’s writing is influenced by her experience working in the field of mental health, and by an interest in how people process traumatic events.

 Instagram: @mariagoodin_author

#Blogtour Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz @ohneklippo @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #HotelCartagena

Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz Orenda March 4th 2021

The Blurb

Twenty floors above the shimmering lights of the Hamburg docks, Public Prosecutor Chastity Riley is celebrating a birthday with friends in a hotel bar when twelve heavily armed men pull out guns, and take everyone hostage. Among the hostages is Konrad Hoogsmart, the hotel , who is being targeted by a young man whose life – and family – have been destroyed by Hoogsmart’s actions. With the police looking on from outside – their colleagues’ lives at stake – and Chastity on the inside, increasingly ill from an unexpected case of
sepsis, the stage is set for a dramatic confrontation … and a devastating outcome for the team … all live streamed in a terrifying bid for revenge.
Crackling with energy and populated by a cast of unforgettable characters, Hotel Cartagena is a searing, stunning thriller that will leave you breathless.

My Review

There is always that moment before you open the first page of a new Chastity Riley novel, where you held your breath and got ready for what Bulchholz was going to throw at her. Hotel Cartegena started out quietly as Riley went to meet friends and colleagues to celebrate a birthday in a plush hotel. Now this is something we were definitely not used to, Riley in a posh hotel, not in one of the backstreet bars of Hamburg? You could sense Riley felt just a tad uncomfortable not just about her surrounding but also the people she was about to meet, her love life the usual disaster zone that we had become used to.

Just as she settled down, eyed everyone up, bang they were now hostages, and Riley, after cutting her finger felt decidely dodgy. What would she do? Would we have an action packed overwhelming of the hostage takers? The answer to that question was a no as Buchholz changed tack and instead concentrated on the ring leader, his character and the reasons behind his actions.

Henning, brought up in the harshness of Hamburg, who escaped to Columbia intent on a new and trouble free life, but this was a Bulchholz novel and you knew that was just not going to happen. Henning may have been inticed into the world of Columbian drug smuggling, and the lure of cash, but Bulchholz didn’t make me dislike him, he wasn’t outwardly violent, he was just a man who wanted a better life. Even when tragedy struck, it was the quiet, determined way in which he exacted revenge that I liked and in some ways Bulchholz made me admire him even more. That revenge was somehow satisfying and grotesque, drawn out and slow, and so not what you would have expected which was just typical of Bulchholz.

Now we may not have had a lot of dramatic action but that doesn’t mean to say there wasn’t any, it was just that Bulchholz knew how to make us readers wait, to slowly build up to that moment.

The flitting backwards and forward between past and present, between Henning and Riley, meant Bulchholz built up that tension, had us waiting, watching, wondering when that explosive moment would finally happen. You could sense Riley’s impatience, her lack of control, her muddled thinking on how she could resolve the situation, until it just happened, Riley for once sidelined, an onlooker.

I got the feeling, Bulchholz wanted to show us a different Riley, maybe one with some of the edges rubbed off, not at her best, but just simmering below boiling point before something more lay in store. It was almost as if it was a stepping stone for Bulchholz to change some of the old, wether that be thoughts, feelings or more importantly people.

The ending certainly left me curious, impatient and wanting more.

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

About the author

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.