Blog Tour & Review: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

block 46 blog tour poster

I’m delighted to be part of today’s blog tour for Block 46. Not only is it an excellent book but it is also my first blog tour for the publisher, Orenda Books. Every book of theirs that I have read have been special in some way, and they are definitely a publisher worth watching.

My Review:

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Block 46. I know that the publisher has an incredible record of giving us great books but from the blurb, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be French Noir as the author and the main character are French, or Nordic Noir as most of the book is set in Sweden, or would it be historical fiction as some of the book takes place in Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944?

I have to be honest here, I do not read historical fiction, it just doesn’t appeal to me but I do often think that I might be missing out, and this book has confirmed that I probably am. At first, I had absolutely no idea how what happened in Buchenwald could have anything to do with a spate of gruesome murders taking place in the present time but as I got further into the books the chapters that I enjoyed reading the most were those set in the horrors of a German Concentration Camp. Although distressing to read, the story of Erich touched me in a very moving and emotional way, especially when the full story of Erich became clear as the book progressed.

But in the present day, Alexis finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation when a good friend is murdered in Sweden, she begins to work with Emily, a well known profiler who has been working on the murders of little boys in London that somehow seems linked to the murder in Sweden.

How are the murders in London linked to the murder in Sweden? And how does all of it link to one man trying to survive the horrors of the holocaust? Well, of course, I’m not going to tell you that, you will need to read the book and find out for yourself, but do read it. It’s a very well written, with strong and believable characters and plenty of twists and turns. It was definitely not what I had been expecting, but I am delighted that it is book one of a new series featuring Alexis and Emily, I look forward to part two.

Thank you to the publisher, Orenda Books, for a copy of Block 46. All thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

BLOCK 46 COVER AW.indd

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir. WINNER: Nouvelle Plume D’Argent 2016 For fans of The Missing, Dominique Manotti, Camilla Lackberg, Stieg Larsson

About the Author:

Johana Photo

Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

Block 46 is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blog Tour: The Book of Air by Joe Treasure.

Today I have a second stop on a blog tour, this time for Joe Treasure, author of The Book of Air. He has stopped by to tell us what inspired him to write his book.

What inspired the story of The Book of Air?

Inspiration is a mysterious process. You can start with a fragment of an idea so insubstantial that you can’t explain, even to yourself, why it holds your attention. I’m fascinated by the way random things survive destruction and get passed on and acquire meaning. I have a diary that my mother kept for a couple of months when she was 14, living in another country in a time of political upheaval. There’s rioting, mass arrests, guns are fired in the street and she’s caught up in it. Meanwhile she’s fighting with her teachers and helping with the birth of a baby nephew. It reveals only a tiny fraction of her life out of all that I’ll never now discover, but it opens a door on a lost world.

In the far-future section of The Book of Air almost everything that constitutes our world in 2017 has disappeared, including most of the human population. People hold on to the objects from the past. Some of them have practical value, like knives and spades. Some are useless, meaningless even – a microwave oven, a laptop. In Agnes’s village, their most treasured possessions are three books. One of them, the most substantial, is Jane Eyre. Alongside the tough physical work of tending crops and animals, some of the villagers make time to study, specifically to copy passages from Jane Eyre. They have no practical use for literacy. They don’t write letters or shopping lists. They don’t make laws or keep the minutes of meetings. They have no concept of consuming stories for pleasure. They read and write for this purpose only – to keep alive the knowledge of the books. It’s irrational, but it’s also creative. It’s irrational in a very human way.

I hadn’t thought of this until I began writing this piece, but perhaps unconsciously it was the memory of my mother’s diary that prompted me to begin The Book of Air with 15-year-old Agnes writing an account of her life. In Agnes’s mind, this is an almost blasphemous act, to misuse valuable ink and to put herself somehow on a level with Jane Eyre herself, her only model for this kind of writing. It’s a community built on elaborate rules. And in the very first sentence of the story a rule is broken, which will lead to danger and to radical questions.

To understand how Agnes’s village came to exist in this unusual form, I realized I had to tell another story, set just a few years in our future – the story of the contagion that destroys civilization. So I invented Jason, Agnes’s ancestor, who experiences the strange symptoms of the virus, and survives. I resisted writing this half of the book. One of interesting things about writing fiction is that one thing leads to another and you find yourself pushed into uncomfortable territory. The logic of the plot makes demands on you. But what bubbles up out of the unconscious in response to that pressure is unpredictable.

I can see, now the book is complete, that there’s an interest in communities running through it. Agnes’s village is just one kind of community. When she ventures beyond the village, she finds more freedom but also more chaos. Jason’s story involves a number of communities, some benign, some isolated and cultish. People cluster together, or are pushed together by circumstances, and work out ways of living. When Jason escapes from London with his young nephew Simon, he finds squatters in his house, two women who already know how to live without electricity or running water. The women nurse him through his sickness. Meanwhile three other people turn up who have met on the road. They have nothing in common except the need to survive.

As Jason thinks back on what has brought him here, and what has brought the world to this desperate state, he remembers other communities – including the travelling band of Christians with whom he spent part of his childhood, and the various groups that his younger sister Penny, Simon’s mother, got entangled with during her short life.

I think it’s no accident that I’ve written this book at a time when there’s a lot of anxiety floating around, a strong sense of existential threats, political or environmental. How do we cooperate and remain open to each other in the face of such dangers? I didn’t set out knowingly to write about these things, but I think the book is a response to them, even so.

The Book of Air

Retreating from an airborne virus with a uniquely unsettling symptom, property developer Jason escapes London for his country estate, where he is forced to negotiate a new way of living with an assortment of fellow survivors.

Far in the future, an isolated community of descendants continue to farm this same estate. Among their most treasured possessions are a few books, including a copy of Jane Eyre, from which they have constructed their hierarchies, rituals and beliefs. When 15-year-old Agnes begins to record the events of her life, she has no idea what consequences will follow. Locked away for her transgressions, she escapes to the urban ruins and a kind of freedom, but must decide where her future lies.

These two stories interweave, illuminating each other in unexpected ways and offering long vistas of loss, regeneration and wonder.

The Book of Air is a story of survival, the shaping of memory and the enduring impulse to find meaning in a turbulent world.

 Purchase of Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Air-Joe-Treasure/dp/1911525093

About Joe Treasure

Joe Treasure Photo

Joe Treasure currently lives in South West London with his wife Leni Wildflower. As an English teacher in Wales, he ran an innovative drama programme, before following Leni across the pond to Los Angeles, an experience that inspired his critically acclaimed debut novel The Male Gaze (published by Picador). His second novel Besotted (also published by Picador) also met with rave reviews.

Website – http://www.joetreasure.com/

Twitter: – https://twitter.com/joetreas

 

Blog Tour: The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World by Richard Daniel Curtis.

 

I’m quite excited about this blog tour, being a parent and facing a whole new world that did not exist when I was a child can be a bit scary so I am pleased to be able to share some Do’s and Don’ts for parenting in the modern world.

The top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Modern Parents

Taken from The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World

By Richard Daniel Curtis, The Kid Calmer

The modern world is full of new threats that many parents never had to encounter when they were growing up.  It’s overwhelming at times and causes all sorts of parenting headaches, especially when your children can out-talk you on technology.  I talk to hundreds of parents each year and understand the dichotomy of trying to keep them on the straight and narrow, whilst also not ruining your relationship.  So here’s the top 10 do’s and don’ts from the book when it comes to raising a teen or soon to be teen.

Do’s

  • Be the friendly, non-judgemental ear for your child. They will encounter sex, drugs, alcohol, pornography, and bullying whether you like it or not – it’s far better for them to have you to turn to when they do.
  • Share your teenage experiences with your teen, without giving them all of the gory details; help them to understand that you were teenage too.
  • Only give your child a smartphone when they are mature enough to be able to talk to you about bullying issues.
  • When it comes to using the internet leave them with an understanding that even if they are on a dodgy site they can come to you for support or advice without being judged.
  • Get your child to check links on suspicious emails by checking the from address matches the company and also hovering over the links and looking at the link address (often in the bottom left of the browser) to make sure they match.
  • Be open to talking about how easy it can be to crack default passwords and why you should change them.
  • As your teen starts to use social media, teach them to always stop and think before posting comments, photos or videos.
  • Teach your child to report inappropriate posts or comments and to be able to ignore them.
  • Invest in tech insurance and protectors!
  • Finally make sure your child knows that you will never be angry with them and that you are there for them to turn to when they experience problems.

Don’ts

  • Compare the pressure your child is under to what you experienced; today’s world is very different.
  • Deny your child the emotions they are feeling as they experience social problems, your child is unlikely to have learnt that they will fade and they will feel very real to them.
  • Be judgemental, it’ll only make them move further away from
  • It’s impossible to block out the impact of terrorism on the modern world, it’s far better to educate your child so they don’t pay an unhealthy interest or become anxious.
  • Let your child take their phone in their room overnight.
  • Rely on your internet blocking set up. Education is far more important than dependency on software, as the moment they no longer have the software they will struggle to cope.
  • Avoid the conversations; your child will come across malware, trolling or pornography at some point online, it’s better to have given them the tools to choose to avoid it.
  • Be heavy handed with taking away tech as your child does their homework; if they’re used to flicking between things they’ll need a gentle approach to getting used to more focus.
  • Minimise the emotional and physical sensation of the experience of games, the technology is so advanced it can provoke the same reactions as though they went through it, your child may need your support to cope with the after-effects.
  • Assume your child will know when to use technology; they’ll want to consume it. Teach them to make decisions about whether it is the best thing to use.

 

The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World

Raising a child in the 21st Century is scary! There are so many threats to your adolescent that you worry about what they are up to in their bedroom, let alone when they are out with their friends.

The world is so different than when we grew up, young people nowadays have different expectations about life and use so much technology. It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed at times. Even things that were simple have got more complicated, issues like gender identity or sex. It’s hard to know where to start with technology, every time you feel you have a grip on what your child is into, they talk about something else you’ve never heard of.

Life as a parent is overwhelming!

The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World gives you the answers to the worries you haven’t even realised you have. Starting with a section on how your child’s brain develops and explaining why their personality changes so much during puberty. It even helps you to structure any difficult conversations you need to have with your teen or soon to be teen.

The book then goes through over thirty different aspects of the modern world, telling you about the risks associated with each, plus the dos and don’ts for you as parents. Following this, part three focusses on the predictions for the world your child will be an adult in; helping you to understand the things you can do now to give them the best chances in life. Finally, the book contains a handy glossary of terms your young person might be using.

Worried about how to help your child understand these risks? Why not buy them the sister book The Young Person’s Guide to the Modern World.

Purchase on Amazon UK  here.

About Richard Daniel Curtis

Richard Daniel Curtis

Based in Southampton with his partner and their young son, Richard Daniel Curtis is an internationally renowned behaviour expert and futurist passionate about helping people understand mindset and psychology. A former teacher, and mental health support worker, Richard is known for his impact with turning round some of the most extreme behaviours and is consulted about adults and children around the globe, even having two assessments named after him. He has founded The Root of It -an organisation of qualified professionals available to support schools and individuals with behavioural difficulties- for which he was awarded the Gold Scoot Headline Award in 2015 and Best New Business in 2014. Most recently he launched The Mentoring School to train the psychology related to mentoring people of all ages. For his work and expertise he has been interviewed for the BBC,ITV and Sky News TV and various international print media and radio. His previous titles include: 101 Tips for Parents, 101 More Tips for Parents and 101 Behaviour Tips for Parents (2014) and Gratitude at Home (2016).

Website: The Kid Calmer

Twitter: @thekidcalmer

Facebook: #thekidcalmer

 

 

 

Blog Tour & review: An Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound.

 

animpossibledilemma

An Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound.

 

I first read this book almost two years ago. I don’t know about you but I suspect that if you showed me a list of books that I read two years ago I’d have a hard time remembering much about most of them, but I would definitely be able to tell you a good deal about An Impossible Dilemma by Netta Newbound as it is a book that has stayed with me. I’m a big fan of the author and I’m delighted that publishers, Bloodhound Books, have decided to publish this previously self-published book, so when I was asked whether I wanted to take part in the blog tour and post my review I jumped at the chance. However, reading the review now I am going to change it, it seems that two years of writing reviews have, hopefully, improved my review writing somewhat, and because I remember the book so well I feel confident that I can give a review that it deserves.

My 5* review:

How far would you go to save your daughter? Would you sacrifice another person in order to save her? That is the question posed by An Impossible Dilemma.

I am a big fan of Netta Newbound, she has a way with writing that sucks the reader in, her characters are believable and although the situation that Victoria finds herself in is anything but normal, I could always understand her actions, even if I don’t think that I could have done the same.

I actually read this book two years ago, but it has stayed with me and despite that and reading many other books in that time, I still remember clearly how I felt reading this book. Newbound once again crafts a gruesome tale, she really does have a way with words and an imagination that is, I think, unrivalled within the crime writing scene. There are a few scenes in An Impossible Dilemma that stay with me to this day.

The book is easy to read and will definitely grip you and suck you in, and it is bound to give you a lot to think about. If you’re a thriller fan then you are sure to enjoy this and if you have yet to read any books by Netta Newbound then this book is sure to convert you. I’m also sure that you will never look at pigs in the same way again!

Blurb:

An Utterly Compelling Psychological Thriller From a Best-selling Author

Would you choose to save your child if it meant someone else had to die?

Victoria and Jonathan Lyons seem to have everything—a perfect marriage, a beautiful daughter, Emily, and a successful business. Until they discover Emily, aged five, has a rare and fatal illness.

Medical trials show that a temporary fix would be to transplant a hormone from a living donor. However in the trials the donors die within twenty four hours. Victoria and Jonathan are forced to accept that their daughter is going to die.

In an unfortunate twist of fate Jonathan is suddenly killed in a farming accident and Victoria turns to her sick father-in-law, Frank, for help.  Then a series of events present Victoria and Frank with a situation that, although illegal, could save Emily.

Will they take their one chance and should they?

A Sinister and Darkly Compelling Psychological Thriller Novel, this book is intended for mature audiences and contains graphic and disturbing imagery.

Netta Newfound is the best-selling author of The Watcher.

An Impossible Dilemma is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

You can read my review of The Watcher, also by Netta Newbound, here.

 

Blog tour & review: Winterscroft by Anita Waller.

winterscroft

I was so excited when I heard that Bloodhound Books were publishing another book by Anita Waller. I had read and really enjoyed one of her previous books, 34 Days, and so I really wanted to read Winterscroft. As is often the case when I read books by authors that I’ve previously read and enjoyed, I didn’t know anything about the book, only that it was by an author that I’ve previously enjoyed and published by a publisher that I trust to release good books.

My 4* review:

Having read and enjoyed the author’s previous book, 34 days, I was keen to read this one. I started it without knowing anything about the book, I hadn’t read the blurb, which is something that is often the case when I read books by authors that I’ve read before. I quite like it that way, I have no expectations and can just enjoy the journey that the book will take me on.

I’m especially pleased that I hadn’t read the blurb for Winterscroft because if I had, I’m not sure that I would have read the book. I don’t believe in ghosts, or unsettled spirits coming back to seek revenge and so I expect that had I read the blurb I probably wouldn’t have read this book.

So I am pleased that I hadn’t read the blurb as I did enjoy this book. I did have to just go with the book and not think too much about how unbelievable it was. This was generally easy to do as it was such a good read, and I loved the characters. Lavender’s family were genuinely lovely, believable and interesting characters who I enjoyed reading about and spending time with.

The author writes well, weaving the story and sucking the reader into the lives of the characters within the book. I liked them, I wanted to read more about them and although I thought that it was all a little bit silly, I wanted to know what was going to happen. In fact, I was very frustrated when the book finished as I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how the family would move on from the events in the book. And, having finished the book, I have found myself thinking of them quite often and wondering how they’re doing. Definitely a sign of a good book and believable characters.

Thank you to Bloodhound books for my copy of Winterscroft by Anita Waller. All thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

When the beautiful Lavender is killed in a tragic car accident her family and fiancee Matt are left devastated. As the year’s pass and wounds begin to heal Matt, who has remained close to Lavenders family, meets Beth and falls in love again. When the happy couple announce their engagement it sparks a series of bizarre and disturbing events. Then when Matt and Beth make plans to wed at Lavenders family home, Winterscroft, the frightening truth becomes apparent. Lavender is back. And she is not happy. From the bestselling author of 34 Days comes a tale of love, death and revenge.

About the Author:

anitawaller

Anita was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and has lived all her life there. She has three adult children and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 9 months to 21 years. Anita and Dave have been married almost 49 years!

She wrote Beautiful in 1985 and had it accepted for publication. They were the contract stage when the publishing house went into liquidation.

Like many another book it ended up in the loft until two years ago when she resurrected it, retyped all 100,000 words (it was orginally written on an Amstrad 8256 and all she had was a hard copy!) and sent it off to Bloodhound Books.

She is now retired from my life of being a Patchwork Tutor and HGV driver’s wife and concentrates on patchwork for the pleasure of it and writing. She started writing at around the age of 8 – she clearly remembers writing ‘novels’ at that age which were actually short stories split into chapters!

Anita’s genre is murder – but murder with a good reason behind it!

Winterscroft is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blog Tour & Review: No Safe Home by Tara Lyons.

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My 4* review:

I have to admit that I haven’t read the first book in the DI Hamilton series, In The Shadows, but I don’t feel that this mattered. I quickly got into this book and its characters. I have read The Caller which Tara Lyons co-wrote with M.A. Comley which I really enjoyed (and am still waiting for the next in the series, nudge nudge), so I was keen to read more by the author.

As a single parent, I think that the premise of No Safe Home got under my skin, my home is my sanctuary and the thought of someone coming in and hurting myself and/or my children is frankly horrifying.

The story of No Safe Home focuses on Katy, a single mother whose home is no longer her safe place. Thankfully she fought off her attacker but now she needs to face her past and learn to trust others in order to save herself and her son.

I really liked the characters in this book, the investigation team trying to help Katy and solve the horrific murders were all interesting and the newcomer, Rocky, particularly so. I hope to read more about him in the future as I think that he’s a great character. DI Hamilton, as leader of the team he showed us why he is the leader, but that he also had his Achilles heel, something that makes him feel more human and interesting.

The author writes well, creating believable characters and an engaging storyline. I will for sure be reading In The Shadows and look forward to reading more from Tara Lyons. Definitely an author to look out for.

Thank you to Bloodhound books for a copy of No Safe Home by Tara Lyons.

Blurb:

Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is haunted when the suspicious death of a teenage girl triggers suppressed memories. With a stalker targeting vulnerable women in Central London, and his team rapidly diminishing, Hamilton must conquer his emotions before another family is destroyed.

In a sleepy town in Hertfordshire, Katy has worked hard to rebuild her life after leaving behind everything she knew. But when her past catches up with her, and her young son’s life is threatened, Katy must admit her true identity if she has any hope of surviving.

A home should be a safe place, shouldn’t it? But sometimes it is hard to know who you can trust…

London’s murder investigations team returns in the second novel from the bestselling author of In the Shadows.

 

No Safe Home by Tara Lyons is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blog Tour & Review: The Watcher by Netta Newbound.

thewatcher

My 5* review:

If you have read any of Netta Newbound’s books then you will know that she is a master at writing a gripping and tense read. This book certainly doesn’t let the side down! In fact, I think that she surpassed herself with The Watcher.

Hannah is a really likeable character, she loves her parents and is great at her job but when she gets an amazing opportunity she takes a chance and moves away from the small, quiet village that she grew up in and heads off to start a new job in Manchester. She settles in quickly and makes friends with her neighbours, she loves her new job and when she starts falling for her boss she can’t believe that he feels the same way about her. Life seems pretty much perfect.

Of course, things are never that simple. Unknown to her, Hannah has attracted the attention of someone else, someone who is determined that she will be his and he will stop at nothing to get her.

Soon, Hannah finds her life changing. One of her flatmates is murdered and Hannah is sure that someone has been moving her stuff, even in her own home. She doesn’t know what is going on but feels uneasy. I found this part of the book so tense, I could feel my body reacting to what I was reading and I am sure that there were many parts that I didn’t breath at all and I stayed up far too late reading The Watcher, desperate to know what was going to happen.

The author also has a way with words, she is able to describe things in an incredibly visual way, this can make her books quite gruesome which is something that doesn’t bother me, but I know some struggle with. Don’t let that put you off, you’d be missing out on a great read if you did, and I’m sure that you can skim over the bits that you want to.

I really like how we, the readers, know who the baddie is from the start. This helps build the tension as we read about Hannah interacting with him without knowing who he really is. It’s a bit like the movies where you want to shout ‘he’s behind you’ at the character who was totally oblivious to the danger!

I really enjoyed reading The Watcher, it is well written with great characters and the coldness of the baddie is chilling. I have little doubt that if you read this book you will be wanting to read the authors other books.

Thank you to Bloodhound books for my copy of The Watcher by Netta Newbound.

The Blurb:

Life couldn’t get much better for Hannah. She accepts her dream job in Manchester, and easily makes friends with her new neighbours.

When she becomes romantically involved with her boss, she can’t believe her luck. But things are about to take a grisly turn.

As her colleagues and neighbours are killed off one by one, Hannah’s idyllic life starts to fall apart. But when her mother becomes the next victim, the connection to Hannah is all too real.

Who is watching her every move?

Will the police discover the real killer in time?

Hannah is about to learn that appearances can be deceptive.

The Watcher is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.