4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The River by Peter Heller. @wnbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheRiver

Today it is my pleasure to kick off the blog tour for The River by Peter Heller. I read the blurb for this book and really wanted to read it, and then I saw the amazing cover and knew that I had to read it. So thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. I received a copy of The River by Peter Heller from the publisher via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

First I have to say how much I love the cover for the UK version of this book, it’s stunning and really drew me to wanting to read this book.

I love books like this, a fight for survival when you’re in the middle of nowhere with nobody other than yourself and your travel companions to get you out of there. And I love books set in the wilderness where I’m taken to a whole other world that I will likely never go to myself. So this book was already winning in my eyes.

Wynn and Jack are best friends who love spending time in the outdoors together, they have done so many times over the years they have been friends and so they know each other so well they barely need to speak as they navigate a dangerous river.

They had expected the rapids to be the risky part of their trip, but they were wrong and it quickly becomes clear that this trip will be one where they will have to fight to survive.

One thing that struck me as I read The River was how it read differently to many books, I kept thinking that I was reading a book written many years ago and then Wynn and Jack would suddenly talk about satellite phones and I was reminded that this book is set in the present and not the past.

The writing is very descriptive, I really felt as though I could see the river, hear the birds and smell the smoke as I read. The pace is slow at first and then suddenly, BAM, you’re sucked in and desperately reading to find out what was going to happen. The chapters are very long but I quite liked that and found that it fitted well with the story.

There were many things to like about The River by Peter Heller, it was a different read but one that felt so real and made so much sense. The author clearly has a vast amount of knowledge about rivers, camping and surviving in the wild and this enhances the readers experience when reading the book.

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely read more from the author.

Blurb:

TWO FRIENDS
Wynn and Jack have been best friends since their first day of college, brought together by their shared love of books and the great outdoors.


THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME 
When they decide to take time off university and canoe down the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate the ultimate wilderness experience. 


No phones. No fellow travellers. No going back. 


A HELLISH RIDE
But as a raging wildfire starts to make its way towards them, their expedition becomes a desperate race for survival. And when a man suddenly appears, claiming his wife has vanished, the fight against nature’s destructive power becomes a much deadlier game of cat and mouse.

THE RIVER by bestselling author Peter Heller is a gripping thriller about the beauty of the great outdoors and the dangers of the wild with a page-turning story that builds up to a shocking finale and keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

About The Author:

Peter Heller is an award-winning adventure writer and the author of four bestselling novels, including the New York Times bestseller THE DOG STARS, a Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle andAtlantic Book of the Year. Born and raised in New York, he attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where he became an outdoorsman and white-water kayaker. He has travelled the world as an expedition kayaker, writing about challenging descents in the Pamirs, the Tien Shan mountains, the Caucuses, Central America and Peru. A keen adventurer, he has navigated some of the most dangerous rivers in the world, including the Muk Su River in the High Pamirs of Tadjikistan. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received an MFA in fiction and poetry, and won a Michener fellowship for his epic poem ‘The Psalms of Malvine’.

The River by Peter Heller is out now and is available from Amazon UK

book extract, extract

#Extract Turbulent Wake by Paul E Hardisty. @OrendaBooks @Hardisty_Paul #RandomThingsTours #BookBlogger

Today I’ve got an extract from Turbulent Wake by Paul E Hardisty. I haven’t managed to get this book to the top of my overflowing tbr pile, but it sounds brilliant and I must read it soon. I hope that the extract will tempt you to read it too!

Blurb:

A bewitching, powerful and deeply moving story of love, loss and
grief. This extraordinary departure from the critically acclaimed
thriller writer Paul E Hardisty explores the indelible damage we
can do to those closest to us, the tragedy of history repeating
itself and ultimately, the power of redemption in a time of
change. Paul drew on his own experiences of travelling around
the world as an engineer, from the dangerous deserts of Yemen,
the oil rigs of Texas, the wild rivers of Africa, to the stunning
coral cays of the Caribbean.
Ethan Scofield returns to the place of his birth to bury his father,
with whom he had a difficult relationship. Whilst clearing out the
old man’s house, he finds a strange manuscript, a collection of
vignettes and stories that cover the whole of his father ’s turbulent
and restless life.

Extract:

March 5th. On the plane, flying to London

You never really know anyone. Especially the ones you love.
I push the stack of papers into the seatback pocket and take a deep breath of pressurised air. Seven miles below, the checkerboard prairie stretches away like a looping dream, one where you’re stuck in a place and you can’t get out, even though you know it’s a dream and if you could just wake up it would be over. Except, of course, it’s not. It’s my life, laid out before me in endless miles of iced-over prairie, a recurring pattern of abandoned hope and gutted wilderness that unspools at the terminal edge of a horizon that once held so much promise. The brother I didn’t get a chance to know. The mother who disappeared. The father who pushed me away. The wife who got sick of me and found someone else. And now, apparently, the uncle I never even knew I had.
If family defines you, then I am perilously fucking close to indeterminate.
And this is how he decides to tell me.
I went my whole life thinking that I had my old man pegged. Sure, he’d travelled some, even taken me with him a few times when I was younger, when my mother was still around. But my strongest memo- ries are of him arriving and leaving, going away for hours at a time, returning red-faced and covered in sweat, and then for days and weeks for work, always on his way to the airport or coming back from it. Occasionally, he’d bring me something home: a stuffed baby alligator the time he went to Louisiana; a tiny woven prayer mat from Jordan (for a six-year old?); a Calgary Flames hockey jersey from Canada (now, that was cool). Most of the time, though, he was just absent, even when he was home. Usually, it was me and Mum and my brother, and then later just me and Mum, in whatever place he’d dragged us all to at the time. Now, it’s just me.

Everything about my old man was from another time. The clothes he wore. The way he spoke and acted around other people. The stories he told. I mean, what kid who has grown up with access to the internet wants to hear stories about steam trains and writing love letters (the old-fashioned kind with paper and pen and envelopes and stamps) and getting places by ship, making calls from phone boxes and using fax machines and typewriters and all that old museum stuff. I can remember now, looking back, just tuning out when he started one of his stories. Not that he did it that often; just every once in a while. Usually when he’d had a couple of whiskies after dinner – when we still sat down, the four of us, and ate dinner as a family – he’d start into one. And then, well, I’d just sit there watching his mouth move and the way his neck would tense up as he spoke and that stupid way he’d furl his brow for emphasis, and I never heard a word. Now, I wish I’d listened.

No wonder he left all this shit behind.

The funeral was a pretty lame affair. Not many people showed up. A couple of his old friends came, guys with old names like Robert and Paul and Tobias, looking like they were planning to follow him in the not-too-distant future, with their thinning grey hair and grey beards and those watery, faraway eyes that weep regret. Makes you wonder. A whole life lived, and I bet not even those old guys with their burst-blood-vessel faces and dodgy, shuffling gaits had the slightest idea who he really was, what was really going on inside that head. I mean, I as sure as shit never did. And I know my mother never did either.

The funeral home did a crap job. I regret doing it that way, now. The pastor or whatever he was started out calling him Walter. Did it three times, Walter this and Walter survived by such and such. The prick didn’t see me waving at him till he’d blown it three times, me sitting there in the front row, mouthing Warren. Warren, for fuck’s sake. It wasn’t how he would have wanted it, I know. Mostly because he wouldn’t have wanted anything. ‘Just throw me over the side so the sharks can get me’, I remember him saying once, somewhere – was it on that last sailing trip we all took together, me, my brother Rhys, Mum and Dad, in the Greek Islands? I must have been eight, seven maybe. I still have vivid memories of some of it: the dolphins riding our bow wave that time, the way they looked up at me with those dark, knowing eyes; the view from the highest point on one of the islands – I can’t remember the name of the place now – looking out across the sea and all those pretty white buildings along the shore; rowing back to the boat one night in the dinghy, Dad at the oars, Mum in the bow laughing at something he’d said, the lights from the village dancing on the dark water all around us like stars.

She was beautiful, my mother. Everyone said so. I don’t have many photographs of her, or of him for that matter. In one of the few that have somehow survived, they are sitting under an old stone archway. The sea is faded blue behind them. Mum is in a short skirt. Her long legs are folded elegantly to one side, her honey and rosewood hair blows around her face. She is smiling. She had great teeth, a big mouth, high cheekbones, a ski- jump nose that was a little too big for anyone to call her looks perfect, but she was beautiful in a strong-looking kind of way – robust and healthy and symmetrical with lovely blue eyes. In contrast, he looks flawed. A nose broken one too many times. An inverted arch of teeth that left dark gaps on each flank of his rarely seen smile (other than his two front slabs and molars, his top adult teeth never came in, so the small baby teeth were still there). He is unshaven, his hair longish, sea-and-sun waved, unruly. Dad is holding Mum’s hand. In that moment, they look happy. He was never in her league, and I know for a fact that he knew it, too. He told me once, I can’t remember when or where. ‘Son,’ he said, ‘always marry up in the gene pool. I sure did.’

He would have hated it, today, the funeral. I don’t know why I did it. Seemed right at the time – to mark his passing somehow. I’ve always hated that use of the word: passing. Just call it what it is. Death. The End. And we never talked about it, of course, at the end. Not like we didn’t have the time. I went to see him, of course – more than once – but he didn’t want me there, made that very plain. ‘Don’t you have some- thing better to do?’ he said to me. I mean, what does a guy say to that? Fact was, I did have better things to do. So in the end you get what you get, Dad. Not like it makes any difference. Not one bit.

And I suppose it makes finding all this stuff that much more of a mystery. I hadn’t been inside the place for ages, not since the year I moved to London, the year I met Maria and everything was so great – before it all started to go to shit. But that’s another story. From the outside, my dad’s place looked much the same, the caragana hedge out front that much taller, the paint on the shiplap siding peeling, the blue spruce we planted that spring when I was a kid, huge now, towering. I’d only gone to have a quick look, figure out what it would take to have someone come in and clean the place out, so I could put it on the market. I was only in town for a couple of days. I had to organise the funeral, sort out stuff with the lawyers, and then get back to London for an important work meeting. I knew the place would be a mess, but I was totally unprepared for what I found.

About The Author:

Canadian Paul E Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners of out Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science AIMS). The first four novels in his Claymore Straker series, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear, Reconciliation for the Dead and Absolution all received great critical acclaim and The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and was a Daily Telegraph Thriller of the Year. Paul is a sailor, a private pilot,
keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.

Turbulent Wake by Paul E Hardisty is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor @deboc77 @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheDangerousKind #1in100People

I was on the blog tour for Deborah O’Connor’s first book, My Husband’s Son quite early on in my blogging life and it was one of the best tours that I’ve done and it turned out that the author was absolutely lovely and very grateful for the blogger support. So when she had book number two out I really wanted to read it and jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour. I received a copy of The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor from the publisher, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

Wow. Having read the author’s first book, My Husband’s Son, and thoroughly enjoying it I was very keen to read her second book. While I enjoyed book one it didn’t blow me away but it was good and I was excited to see what the author was going to do next.

I was right to be excited! The Dangerous Kind is a very impressive book and I was amazed by the jump from book one to book two, this book would not have been an easy book to write but it is solid in its writing, confident in its storytelling and brilliantly clever.

I loved the idea of the radio programme that the main character, Jessamine, works on where they look at a different crime each week. But when she agrees to look into a missing mother things start to go wrong for Jessamine.

There are a few threads to this story that slowly come together and some are really not easy to read. There is a fair amount about characters who are being sexually exploited as young teenagers, this is hard to think about and could be triggering to some.

It all comes together in the end and is very cleverly done but you can be fairly sure that the road will be bumpy and difficult and at times, heartbreaking.

The book does not make the BBC look good, highlighting their history of covering up for sexual predators who worked for them. It is hard reading and adds a sense of realism to the story.

Although hard to read at times I enjoyed reading The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor and I will definitely be reading her third book!

Blurb:

One in 100 of us is a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. We all know them: these charmers, liars and manipulators. The ones who send prickles up the back of our neck. These people hide in plain sight, they can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family.

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear?

About The Author:

Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer. Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course. She lives in London with her husband and her daughter. She has not worked at the BBC.

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, funny, guest post

#BlogTour #GuestPost 10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe @BernardOKeeffe1 #RandomThingsTours #backablogger

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for 10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe. I have yet to read the book but it sounds great and that’s why I wanted to be part of the tour, even though I didn’t have time to read the book yet. Instead the author has given us a fun list of things about it that will make you laugh.

Guest Post:

  • I am Irish-Italian. This means two things – Catholicism and a huge temper. I don’t often lose my temper but when I do, Vesuvius and Etna spring to mind.
  • My favourite book is ‘Not Now, Bernard’. This is because 
  • It features my name in the title
  • I read it to both my children when they were babies
  • I, like Bernard, feel I am often being ignored
  • It’s about an enormous child-eating monster.
  • I can’t drive. I tried, but it just wasn’t for me. Of the tests I failed, two involved the examiner grabbing the wheel to steer the car away from parked vehicles – in one case this was about ten seconds into the test. 
  • When I was teaching I found my ability to make two sounds very useful. The first was being able to whistle very loudly with my fingers. It’s a skill that’s served me well in all kinds of places (football matches, concerts) but a really loud whistle can have a great effect in the classroom. I can also do a very good impression of a clucking chicken. A well-timed chicken cluck can be both amusing and terrifying. 
  • Before I became a teacher I worked in advertising and was nearly recruited as a spy. Had I become one I already had a name sorted out – agent Double O’Keeffe/ OOKeeffe
  • I am named after a nun. My cat is named after the country singer Emmylou Harris
  • I hated writing school reports. I only ever wrote one I was pleased with. It was about a pupil who hadn’t been doing particularly well. It read – ‘ X has not only taken his foot off the pedal – he has got out of the car and abandoned the vehicle’.
  • I taught the banjo player in ‘Mumford and Sons’, three members of ‘Noah and The Whale’ and two members of ‘Crystal Fighters’
  • I am a huge fan of Leonard Cohen and a QPR season ticket holder – two things which reflect my willingness to look for moments of joy and hope amongst the gloom. One of my favourite Leonard Cohen lines is ‘there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’.
  • One of my most embarrassing moments (up there with my driving tests) was an appearance on a TV quiz show. It was called ‘Masterteam’ and it was on BBC in the late 1980’s hosted by Angela Rippon. The question was ‘Of what was Senator Joseph McCarthy talking when he said ‘it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and  quacks like a duck’. The answer was ‘communist’ but for some reason I pressed the buzzer and said ‘a duck’, Everyone laughed. Angela Rippon laughed. The audience laughed. My team laughed. 

Blurb:

Ruby has had a difficult year to say the least. Just before she started Sixth Form, her father died from a heart attack. In the difficult months that followed Ruby became so depressed that she attempted suicide. She missed a lot of school, but now she’s about to go back and she’s worried. Is she well enough to get through her final year? Will the depression return? Should she apply to university? The night before term begins, Ruby finds something that makes the prospect even more daunting: an envelope addressed to her in her father’s handwriting. Inside is a list: ‘Ten Things I Hope You Do Before You Leave School’. It makes no sense. She can’t understand why he’d want her to do these things, let alone whether she’ll be able to do them. As Ruby navigates her way through UCAS, parties, boyfriends and A-Levels, she decides to give the list her best shot, but her efforts lead her into strange situations and to surprising discoveries. Will Ruby survive her last year at school? Can she do the ten things on The List? Will doing them make any difference?

About The Author:

After graduating from Oxford, Bernard O’Keeffe worked in advertising before training as a teacher. He taught for many years, first in a North London comprehensive, then at Radley College, where he was Head of English, and most recently at St Paul’s School in London, where he was Head of Sixth Form. 

He has reviewed fiction for Literary Review and The Oxford Times and, as an editor of The English Review, has written over a hundred articles for A Level students on subjects ranging from Nick Hornby and Roddy Doyle to Jane Austen and Shakespeare. In 2013 he published his first novel, ‘No Regrets’.

Website: http://www.bernardokeeffe.com/

Twitter : @BernardOKeeffe1

Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe is available from Amazon UK.

blog tours, guest author, writing

#BlogTour The Savage Shore by David Hewson talks about How To Research A Book. @blackthornbks @david_hewson #TheSavageShore #BookResearch

It’s always exciting when a new imprint bursts onto the scenes, especially when it is an imprint that focuses on crime fiction, which is my favourite genre. So I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for the first two books by Black Thorn books. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to squeeze in reading either of the books, although I really did like the sound of them both. Thankfully David Hewson, author of The Savage Shore was kind enough to write a guest post for us, about how to research a book. I’m sure that it will be interesting to those who are writers and those that aren’t. Thanks David for stopping by!

Here is a bit more about Black Thorn before the post itself. Enjoy!

blackthornbooks.com

Independent publishing powerhouse Canongate has announced the launch of its new crime fiction imprint, Black Thorn. From psychological thrillers to police procedurals, and from historical detective dramas to heart-thumping suspense stories: Black Thorn intends to seek out and publish compulsive, high quality crime thriller fiction.

Officially launching in May 2019 with 4 titles, Black Thorn will focus on a variety of crime thriller audiences, providing them with compulsive titles from both new and old authors. On 2nd May, crime master David Hewson will launch The Savage Shore, the latest instalment in his tremendously popular Nic Costa series alongside debut American author Catherine O’Connell’sThe Last Night Out. Then on 6th June master of the modern who-dunnit Simon Brett will launch The Liar in The Library and Caro Ramsay, author of the critically acclaimed DI Anderson and DS Costello series, will present The Suffering of Strangers.

How To Research A Book by David Hewson.

Before I became a novelist I was a journalist. Research – hunting down facts, sometimes ones that don’t want to be found – is second nature. I’ve written more than 30 novels over the last quarter of a century and every one of them has involved extensive research. This isn’t because I want them to be ‘true’. They’re not. They’re fiction. Even on the rare occasion I’ve included real-life characters from history I’ve never pretended they’re accurate portrayals. Writers of fiction rarely do that. Even Shakespeare mangled the truth to a huge degree in depicting Macbeth, Richard III and other historical figures in his drama.

No, research is there to provide the bedrock of a story. To kid the reader into thinking your lie is really a version of the truth. That becomes so much easier if you can talk them into becoming a part of a world they may already know just a little, then convince them they’re meeting a bigger, more colourful version of it through the cleverness of an author who knows his or her stuff.

Research, then, is a fundamental part of building the world behind a story. After all these years I have a very practical and well-established way of going about.

First… read.

Yes, writing depends on reading, something a few budding authors tend to forget. If you don’t consume the work of authors you won’t begin to understand structure, style and craft, all the things you need to write yourself. The Savage Shore is set in Calabria, the toe of Italy, a part of the country few people know, even many Italians from other regions. That made the research for this story even more interesting. I perused history books, an old academic tome about the strange society of the communities dotted away in the mountain region of Aspromonte. Then a publication from the EU which investigated the background of the local shadowy crime organisation, the ’Ndrangheta. Some tourist guides, naturally, and a century-old travelogue of the area, Old Calabria, written by a dodgy English writer, Norman Douglas, who was to die in a religious hospital Capri in 1952 after a rather scandalous life,  uttering the timeless last words, ‘Get those fucking nuns away from me.’

Head filled with facts I then start visiting my target area. You can’t fly directly to this part of Italy from the UK. The closest you can get is Lamezia Terme from Stansted with Ryanair (who lost my luggage the first time out and couldn’t give a damn). Several trips later though I had a notebook filled with ideas about locations I could pillage and a copious file of photos. Pictures are important to me because I tend to think visually. Calabria is a natural place for this. Much of the action in The Savage Shore takes place in the part which overlooks the Strait of Messina, with Etna looming in Sicily across the water. At night, in the hills, you can see the glow of the volcano. During the day eagles soar effortlessly in the breeze down to the coast. The fields are full of a fruit you’ll scarcely see anywhere else in Italy – the bergamot, a citrus used for perfume and the scent of Earl Grey tea. The Calabrians live in one of the poorest parts of the country, but they are immensely proud of what is theirs. Another local delicacy too is the swordfish which gather in the strait during summer and are hunted by harpoon using techniques centuries old, a practice which Nic Costa will face himself during the course of the book. 

Lastly, I will always take a run through local cemeteries snapping headstones. A book needs names, and there’s no better to find ones for your local characters than on a grave.

Pictures, thoughts, notes, facts, names. Those are the building blocks of a book’s world for me. Until I have them I can’t write a word because the characters I work with and the story that follows must emerge from that world, and be unique in the sense that the tale I tell could happen nowhere else.

That is definitely true of The Savage Shore. From the bergamot plantations in the hills to the harpoonists looking for swordfish in the glittering blue sea, from the hidden mountain chapels to the grimy criminal corners of the city of Reggio, this is the Calabria I wanted to portray.

Is it ‘true’?

Some of it. Not that external truth matters in fiction, only the inner: does this world feel real to the reader? Am I transporting them to a place they’ve never known, but one they can see and smell and feel and hear?

That’s the test of my kind of book. I put a lot of work in to try to make it happen. If you find your way to The Savage Shore I hope you get the scent of bergamot and the salt tang of that wonderful stretch of the Mediterranean as it runs along the ragged coastline of Calabria. It’s a magical place to be… and to write.

Detective Nic Costa finds himself a stranger in a strange land when he’s sent to infiltrate the mob in a remote part of southern Italy. 

Roman police detective Nic Costa has been sent undercover to Italy’s beautiful, remote Calabrian coast to bring in the head of the feared mob, the ‘Ndrangheta, who has offered to turn state witness for reasons of his own.

Hoping to reel in the biggest prize the state police have seen in years, the infamous Butcher of Palermo, Costa and his team are aware the stakes are high. But the constant deception is taking its toll. Out of their depth in a lawless part of Italy where they are the outcasts, not the men in the hills, with their shotguns and rough justice, the detectives find themselves pitched as much against one another as the mob. As the tension rises, it’s clear the operation is not going to plan. Is Nic Costa getting too close to the enemy for comfort – and is there a traitor among them …?

About the Author:

David Hewson is a former journalist with The TimesThe Sunday Times and the Independent. He is the author of more than twenty-five novels including his Rome-based Nic Costa series which has been published in fifteen languages, The Savage Shore is the latest instalment in this critically celebrated series. He has also written three acclaimed adaptations of the Danish TV series, The Killing.

The Savage Shore by David Hewson is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Picture of Innocence @Sabah_K @tessjstimson #PictureOfInnocence @AvonBooksUK


Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Picture of Innocence by TJ Stimson and published by Avon Books. I do love a good twisty book that keeps you guessing!

I received a copy of Picture of Innocence by TJ Stimson from the publisher, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I do love a good psychological thriller, especially when it involves families and children. Picture of Innocence by TJ Stimson isn’t always an easy read as the family the story focuses on suffer the loss of their little baby.

The question is, how did baby Noah die?

It really isn’t all that simple, Mother Maddie is distraught and sure she didn’t hurt her son, but is it possible that she did? The husband wasn’t home when it happened and it seems he is the only one in the family that escapes being questioned and blamed.

And then there is Lydia, a young girl who did something terrible, but how does she fit into the story? And who did Lydia grow up to be?

I didn’t really like Maddie as a character, although I felt sorry for her she just didn’t seem to be that nice. Although then sometimes she was. I don’t know, but perhaps that is the point, given that this book makes us questions everyone and everything as we try and work out what is really going on.

Lydia is an interesting character, the abuse she suffered is not easy to read, but was that why she did what she did? Is evil born or is it made?

Picture of Innocence was nearly a brilliant book, it just didn’t quite get there somehow, which is a real shame. But I enjoyed reading it and I wanted to know what happened and how things were going to work out. Did I guess the ending? Well, kinda. I got some of it right but not all, it was clever and gave me something to think about and I love a book that does that. What would I do in that situation?

This book is well written, has well formed characters who are surprising and unpredictable. And I love how it made me think, are we born evil or does something make us that way?

Blurb:

My name is Lydia. I’m 12 years old. I’m not an evil person, but I did something bad.

My name is Maddie. I’d never hurt my son. But can I be sure if I don’t remember?

With three children under ten, Maddie is struggling. On the outside, she’s a happy young mother, running a charity as well as a household. But inside, she’s exhausted. She knows she’s lucky to have to have a support network around her. Not just her loving husband, but her family and friends too.

But is Maddie putting her trust in the right people? Because when tragedy strikes, she is certain someone has hurt her child – and everyone is a suspect, including Maddie herself…

The women in this book are about to discover that looks can be deceiving… because anyone is capable of terrible things. Even the most innocent, even you.

This is the story of every mother’s worst fear. But it’s not a story you know… and nothing is what it seems.

About The Author:

T J Stimson is the pen-name of British author Tess Stimson, who has previously published ten novels, including top-ten bestseller The Adultery Club, and two non-fiction books, which between them have been translated into dozens of languages.

Her first “proper” job after graduating from St Hilda’s College, Oxford (where she read English) was as a news trainee with ITN (Independent Television News).

She reported and produced regional and world stories, travelling to hotspots and war-zones all over the globe.

In 2002, she was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Florida and moved to the US. She now teaches Screenwriting and Journalism in Vermont, and lives with her husband, Erik, their three children, and (at the last count) two cats, three fish, one gerbil and a large number of bats in the attic.

Picture of Innocence by TJ Stimson is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview Sleep by C.L. Taylor. @callytaylor #Sleep @AvonBooksUK

Today it is my stop on the mammoth blog tour for Sleep by C.L. Taylor. The size of the blog tour is a good indication of how good the authors books are as so many book bloggers want to take part in it.

I received a copy of Sleep by C.L. Taylor from the publisher, Avon. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I have to admit that I would love to escape to a remote Scottish Island, well I think that I would but of course the reality of the escape could be very different to what I imagine it would be like. But I could totally understand why Anna decided to head to the Island of Rum when she becomes convinced that someone is stalking.

She finds a job as receptionist/general dogs body, in the only hotel on Rum, working alongside owner David who she gets on with from the start.

A group of guests arrive, each of them seeking their own escape from various things, and looking forward to hiking and exploring the island. But they all find out how remote they really are when a huge storm descends on Rum and the hotel becomes totally cut off from the outside world.

I love this premise, in many ways it could be a wonderful experience, but given that this is a book by C.L. Taylor we know that all is not going to end well for the residents of the hotel.

When Anna becomes convinced that her stalker is one of the guests in the hotel her paranoia grows and she, along with the readers, begin to question everyone. Are one of them really out to kill Anna?

I loved reading Sleep, it kept me guessing and wondering and thinking. Each of the guests had an interesting back story that added to the book and I could see why Anna was questioning who each of them really were.

I did however, feel that Anna was never really going to die and that meant that the tension wasn’t as strong as it could have been.

I didn’t guess the ending, I kind of had a fleeting guess at one point but dismissed it. It was a clever ending but I would have liked to have know a bit more about what happened after.

Overall, Sleep by C.L. Taylor is a great book. It’s fun to read and keeps you guessing and wondering and not sure who to trust which are all ingredients to make a great read. I am sure that this book would be enjoyed by many fans of psychological thrillers.

Blurb:

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

About the Author:

C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She is a four times Sunday Times bestseller and her books have hit the number one spots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play. Cally has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology. She also loves knitting, Dr Who, Sherlock, Great British Bake Off and Margaret Atwood and blames Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected for her love of a dark tale.

Her dark psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published in the UK by Avon HarperCollins in April 2014 and as BEFORE I WAKE in the US in June 2014 by Sourcebooks.

Her second psychological thriller THE LIE was published in the UK in April 2015. It became a Sunday Times bestseller and hit the #1 slots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and Sainsbury ebooks. THE LIE was published in the U.S. by Sourcebooks.

CL’s third psychological thriller THE MISSING was published in April 2016 and was another Sunday Times and ebook bestseller. THE MISSING was published in the U.S. by William Morrow in 2017.

THE ESCAPE, her fourth psychological thriller, went to number 2 in the Sunday Times paperback chart in 2017 and won the Dead Good Books Most Unreliable Narrator award.

Her fifth psychological thriller THE FEAR was published on 22nd March 2018 in the UK and was another Sunday Times bestseller. It was longlisted in the National Book Awards crime/thriller category, shortlisted in the Dead Good Book Awards for ‘Most Recommended Read’ and in the ‘Page turner’ category in the Hearst Big Book Awards. 

Her sixth psychological SLEEP will be published in ebook and hardback in the UK on 21st March 2019 and in paperback on 5th September 2019. 

THE TREATMENT, her Young Adult thriller, was the fastest selling UK YA debut of 2017. Cally is currently writing her second YA thriller which will be published in the UK in June 2020.

Her international bestselling romantic comedies (written as Cally Taylor), HEAVEN CAN WAIT and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS were both published by Orion in the UK. They have been translated into 14 different languages, and her debut was voted ‘Debut Novel of the Year’ by chicklitreviews.com and chicklitclub.com. 

In 2014 HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a feature film by JumpStart Productions. 

To download a FREE copy of THE LODGER join the CL Taylor Book Club:

http://www.callytaylor.co.uk/cltaylor

www.twitter.com/callytaylor
www.instagram.com/CLTaylorAuthor
www.facebook.com/CallyTaylorAuthor

Sleep by C.L. Taylor is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.