Book Review: Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey ~ #BookReview #WhistleInTheDark

Book Reviews

whistle in the dark

Whistle in the Dark

by

Emma Healey

 

 

How do you rescue someone who has already been found?

Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed. The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.
With her daughter increasingly becoming a stranger, Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days. But will Lana ever reveal what happened?

 

 


 

 

 

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My Review:

 

 

 

 

Fifteen-year-old Lana goes missing for four days. The news spreads like wildfire and the police are called in to investigate. Her mother and father, Jen and Hugh, go out of their minds with worry, desperately searching for their daughter in the smallest details around them. But clues are sparse and with the days stretching into one another, their shrinking world dons a cloak of darkness and desperation notches up to all new heights. When a farmer finds Lana, bloodied and frozen, on his property, she tells them she lost her way. And when they ask how she received her injuries, she tells them she can’t remember. Despite the relief Jen feels, cracks have shuttled through her heart. Why, when she looks at her daughter, is she afraid? Why, if she is relived, does she feel dread stirring in her mind? As Jen and the police try to tempt answers from Lana, Lana refuses to let them in. What really happened to her over those four days? And why is she so different from the girl she was before?

 

 

Jen and Lana’s relationship had been on rocky ground long before what happened in the Peak District and the ensuing chaos. But now their bond has been stripped back to slamming doors and arguments. A poor imitation of what it was. And despite Jen’s somewhat clunky attempts to bridge their lives back together, Lana remains distant, reticent, different. Jen is under a lot of stress, not only with Lana but with her eldest daughter, Meg, who is heavily pregnant. Usually a tough cookie, reluctant to ask others for help, she now seeks Jen’s advice and comforting arm for the daunting journey she’s on.

 

 

Jen’s household is suspended in a chaotic state. Lana is a different person now, susceptible to sudden bouts of rage and phases of near silence where Jen’s tumbling emotions are a constant white noise in her head. Lana looks different, behaves differently, even her voice has changed. As Jen tries to gauge her feelings and determine what really happened and why it has washed away her old daughter for a new one to settle in her place, the tension climbs and climbs, which subconsciously made me read just that little bit faster.

 

 

Whistle in the Dark is a mystery with so much emotion poured into the pages. I loved author Emma Healey’s debut Elizabeth is Missing. It had all the ingredients to cook up a beautiful recipe. The writing is sublime, story compelling and characters unforgettable. Whistle in the Dark is just as brilliant! An emotional, intriguing and mysterious novel that will resonate with a lot of readers. I’m so looking forward to reading her third book. I don’t have a doubt in my mind it will be another absolute cracker!

 

 

Compelling. Intriguing. Fabulous.

 

 



 

To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository

 

 



 

About Emma Healey

 

 

emma healey

 

 

Emma Healey wrote her first short story when she was four, told her teachers she was going to be a writer when she was eight, but had learnt better by twelve and had decided on being a litigator (inspired entirely by the film Clueless). It took another ten years before she came back to writing. She grew up in London where she went to art college and completed her first degree in bookbinding. She then worked for two libraries, two bookshops, two art galleries and two universities, and was busily pursuing a career in the art world before writing overtook everything. She moved to Norwich in 2010 to study for the MA in Creative Writing at UEA and never moved back again. Elizabeth is Missing is her first novel.

 

You can find Emma on Twitter here!

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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Huge thanks to Jennifer Acton for my review copy!!

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Blog Tour! Review of Meet Me At the Museum by Anne Youngson ~ #BlogTour #BookReview #MeetMeAtTheMuseum

Blog Tours, Book Reviews, RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my spot on the blog tour today! I’m thrilled to share my review of Meet Me At the Museum by Anne Youngson!

 

 

 

museum

Meet Me At the Museum

by

Anne Youngson

 

 

Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are

When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.

When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.

They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.

Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.

Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.

Can their unexpected friendship survive?

 

 


 

 

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My review

 

 

 

Tina Hopgood writes a letter to an elderly professor in the hopes of receiving a response and some form of clarity to smooth away her woes. Tina is a sixty-year-old wife, mother and grandmother who suddenly realises that her life has flown by, dictated not by her hand but by those around her. Now, ‘forever’ has shrunk and she is no longer a young girl pottering about with friend Bella, the bright future awaiting them. But her greatest regret could become her greatest gift. When she receives a response not from the professor but the curator of the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark, a spark of something small yet profound ferments between them. Gradually their letters lose their formality and their words soften to words spoken as friends. And perhaps, even more.

 

 

Anders Larsen, the curator, is a lonely widower with two grown-up children, and any reminder of his wife is a silent torment. And in Tina, he finds a friend, a companion, a comfort that sews the distance between them and heals their wounded hearts. For Anders, happiness is just a wisp of a thing in his past that he can’t reach to reclaim. That is until Tina writes a letter to Professor Glob, an archaeologist responsible for discovering The Tollund Man, and he responds with a letter of his own. What follows over the course of a year, is a discovery, a friendship, and a love unlike any other.

 

 

Tina and Anders lay their heartache and loneliness across the page as easily as their love and joy. Memories are shared, hopes and fears exchanged. Descriptions of their pasts and loved-ones allow one another a glimpse into their lives. Meet Me At the Museum is told through the letters written by Tina and Anders, their worlds unfolding. Before reading this book, I had not come across The Tollund Man. I looked him up straight away, completely fascinated. Anne Youngson has written a gloriously emotive and evocative novel about the facets that can only be gleamed through two lonely people finding one another.

 

 

Meet Me At the Museum is a powerful debut novel which explores the opposing shades of loneliness and love. Anna Youngson’s portrait of these two strangers is utterly exquisite. I was swept up in their letters, their loving descriptions and their shared discovery – not perhaps of something like The Tollund Man but something in some ways far more beautiful.

 

Lyrical. Exquisite. Emotive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below

Amazon UK

Book Depository

 

 


 

 

 

About Anne Youngson

 

 

Anne Youngson 1

 

 

Anne had a long and successful career in the motor industry after finishing a degree in English from Birmingham. She most recently worked for Land Rover, as Chief Engineer, Defender replacement and, finally, MD of the Special Vehicle Operations. Having taken early retirement, she worked as an Enterprise Advisor to schools, before joining a small consultancy team, working on major skills development programmes for a range of clients.

After leaving the motor industry, she began to take writing more seriously. She did an Undergraduate diploma at the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education and an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes, achieving a distinction in both. She co-wrote two books on the Motor Industry with ex-colleagues: WHEN ROVER MET HONDA, a collection of case studies on collaborative working with the Japanese, and BRITISH LEYLAND MOTOR CORPORATION 1968-2005, published in 2015.

Anne is married, with two adult children and one grandchild to date – two more on the way. Her husband ran a plant nursery until recently, and she has a 2-acre garden open to the public through the National Garden Scheme. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for professional writers, until it lost its Arts Council funding.

She is now studying for a PhD at Oxford Brookes. The creative part of the qualification will be stories which explore how to begin. Her debut novel MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM will be published by Transworld on 17th May 2018.

 

 


 

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Huge thanks to Hannah Bright, Alison Barrow and Anne Cater for my review copy and blog tour invite!

Blog Tour! Review & Guest Post! Juliet & Romeo by David Hewson! #BookReview #GuestPost #JulietAndRomeo

Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Guest Posts, The Dome Press

Welcome to my spot on the blog tour today! I’m thrilled to be able to share my review of Juliet and Romeo as well as a fabulous guest post from author David Hewson!

 

 

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Juliet and Romeo

by

David Hewson

 

 

About The Book:

 

Two young people meet: Romeo, desperate for love before being sent away to study, and Juliet facing a forced marriage to a nobleman she doesn’t know. Fate and circumstance bring them together in a desperate attempt to thwart their parents with a secret marriage. But in a single fateful week, their intricate scheming falls terribly apart.

 


 

 

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My Review:

 

 

Juliet Capulet is sixteen-years-old. She is adored by her parents and servants and admired by everyone else in Verona. Including Count Paris, a nobleman intent on having her as his wife. A man Juliet’s father urges her to accept. But Juliet is made of sterner stuff and the wealth and stature that would come with their betrothal does not tempt her into a life of loneliness with a man who is nothing more than a stranger. She is adamant she will not marry him despite her parents reproach. When her father holds a ball for her and Count Paris to meet again, Juliet escapes to the gardens of the palazzo, away from attempts to steal away her choice and make her a prisoner, shackled in a loveless marriage.

 

 

 

Romeo Montague is eighteen-years-old and madly infatuated with a young girl called Rosaline. But she does not reciprocate. And soon he will be sent to Bologna to study law. In the meantime, he fills his days with books and poetry, dreading the day when he will have to leave Verona and begin anew. On a warm evening, buoyed by happiness and the joviality of his friends, he disguises himself and sneaks into the home of his neighbours, the Capulets who are holding a ball. There he sees a young woman slip out into the garden and follows her. Juliet and Romeo. Capulet and Montague. Two warring families are swiftly altered by their meeting.

 

 

 

This retelling sits the character of Juliet firmly at the helm. She drives the story with her fierce determination, courage and independence. Whereas, Romeo is a little more quiet and unsure, Juliet is confidant and very intelligent. I really felt for her because she lives in a world dominated by men and she’s in turmoil, fighting against the future building brick by brick around her. She is appalled by the prospect of marrying Count Paris because she will just be a new piece of property. A bird in a cage. She is determined to keep her grasp on her freedom and independence because it is her life and hers alone.

 

 

 

David Hewson captures 1499 Verona on the page in a startlingly visceral, beautifully described portrait, bringing to life the location, the food, the sounds, the people, their dialogue, everything. I loved Juliet and Romeo. David Hewson has taken an age-old tale of love and retold it with a bold, unique flourish. Superb!

 

 

 

Thrilling. Fast-pace. Glorious.

 

 


 

 

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Guest Post from David Hewson

 

 

What writers can learn from actors.

Confession time: I used to think actors had it easy. I mean… what do they do except learn lines and say them? I was an idiot. When you work alongside them you realise how a big part of their job is making the very hard look very easy. And for a writer it’s well worth watching how they go about their work too because dramatic skills are key to story-telling and story-telling, more than ‘writing’, is what mainstream fiction is all about.
Richard Armitage is probably best known for Thorin in The Hobbit, the scary Francis Dolarhyde in Hannibal and for British viewers Spooks. But he’s also a formidable stage actor and one of the best narrators of audiobooks on the planet.
I was lucky enough to have him perform the audio rewrite of Hamlet I produced with my co-author A.J. Hartley a few years back. Richard’s work on that was stunning and deservedly won us a nomination for an Audie, an audiobook Oscar.
So it was a great relief to hear he was coming on board to do the same for the version of Romeo and Juliet which I was writing, on my own this time. Fast forward several months later and I’m in a studio in London’s Soho watching him get down to work, speechless behind the glass sitting next to the director.
Richard doesn’t read material, he performs it. For hours on end he was bent over the mike, reading the script from the iPad, moving from voice to voice, quiet and determined for Juliet, raucous Brummie for her Nurse, old and broken for Capulet her father. It was astonishing to watch, and even more astonishing to see Richard break after a couple of hours, take a sandwich then get back to work. I felt exhausted just watching him.
There, and later in New York where recording ended, we chatted about the project and Shakespeare in general – remember he’s worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company along the way.
One of the first things he asked me was, ‘When’s the book coming out?’ And to be honest I didn’t have an answer. I wrote the audio original as a kind of one-man play, specifically with Richard in mind for his range of voices. It was a script, not a book. It wouldn’t work without considerable changes, not least the reversion to my original title for the work, Juliet and Romeo.
Like me, Richard saw Juliet as the principal figure in this story. After all she’s the one in most jeopardy, facing a forced marriage she regards as a death sentence. While Romeo’s a nice enough lad, but not that bright and merely facing the prospect of being jilted.
Something else I was able to learn from Richard too was the importance of theatrical against literary dialogue. No dialogue is ‘real’, in the sense that it matches everyday speech with its interruptions, umms and ahhs, and non sequiturs. But in books dialogue tends to be more formalised. Questions that are asked are usually answered. As an author you tend not to leave things hanging in the air.
At that time in New York Richard was in a fantastic play, Love, Love, Love, by the British writer Mike Bartlett (of Doctor Foster fame on TV). The dialogue here is very precise in its imprecision, full of unanswered questions, overlapping sentences, silences and broken phrases. It’s not ‘real’ but it feels that way. So I learned a fair bit from that, and some of the other comments Richard kindly made, then set about turning the script I wrote for him into a novel.
How different is it from the audio original? In general form not much at all. Some scenes have been added, others changed, and parts adapted into novel format to make them easier to understand. Good audio depends upon simplicity, linear structure and clarity of point of view and dialogue. But you could say the same about mainstream fiction too so it wasn’t hard to go in that direction. A warning though: you can’t follow the stories word for word as you normally can with audio versions of a book. It is too different for that.
Richard’s an incredibly generous chap and was good enough to provide a foreword for the book too. His many fans around the world are always asking me: will you work with him again? I hope so, but then everyone who’s ever worked with him seems to feel the same way. He is the busiest actor I know. If he’s not on a film or TV set somewhere you’ll usually find him in front of the mike in a studio recording an audiobook or drama.
But I hope we cross professional paths again. I learned from a master listening to him turn my words into something else altogether. And a writer’s always learning.

 

 


 

 

That was fabulous!! Thank you so much David! Below is a behind the scenes video of actor Richard Armitage talking about Juliet & Romeo!

 

 

 


 

 

 

To purchase a copy of the book, you can follow the links below

Amazon UK

Book Depository

 

 


 

 

About David Hewson

 

 

David Hewson Headshot

 

David Hewson is the author of more than 20 published novels including the Pieter Vos
series set in Amsterdam and the Nic Costa books set in Rome.
His acclaimed book adaptations of The Killing television series were published around the
world. His audio adaptations of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Hamlet with A.J. Hartley,
narrated by Alan Cumming and Richard Armitage respectively, were both shortlisted for
Audie Awards.
A former journalist with the Sunday Times, Independent and The Times he lives in Kent.
His first book with The Dome Press, Juliet and Romeo, will be published in May 2018.

Social Media:
Twitter: @David_Hewson
Website: http://www.davidhewson.com

 

 



 

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Huge thanks to Emily Glenister, David Hewson and The Dome Press for my review copy, blog tour invite and the wonderful guest post!

Blog Tour! Review of Kismet by Luke Tredget ~ #KISMET #BookReview #BlogTour

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Welcome to the blog! I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour today for Luke Tredget’s wonderful novel, Kismet!

 

 

 

kismet

Kismet

by

Luke Tredget

 

 

 

About The Book

 

Anna is in love.
Or maybe not.
She’s a free spirit: definitely happy.
Or is it more panicked?
In any case, she is living life to the full. Or maybe to the edge.
And having a glass of wine.

With a big birthday just around the corner, an important new project at work, and a boyfriend she suspects might be about to ask her a significant question, Anna should feel like she has it all together. But somehow, she just doesn’t seem to be sure about, well, anything. So she gets out her phone and decides to download Kismet.

Will she embrace the life she has, or risk everything for the life she imagines?

With the warmth of David Nicholls and the off-kilter charisma of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, Kismet is a love story about imperfect people in a world obsessed with perfect matches.

 

 


 

 

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My Review

 

 

 

Definition:

Kismet – Fate/Destiny

 

 

Anna is adrift. She loves her boyfriend Pete but doesn’t quite feel a connection with him. She works hard but hates her job, desperately painting over the cracks and trying to fit in. She wants to travel and explore but finds herself stuck in a tide of endless days, sipping coffees and swimming in her own disenchantment for life. When she joins Kismet, a new match-making app that collects data on its users knowledge, attitudes, opinions, likes, dislikes and in some ways their thoughts and feelings all by noting their online presence, it reveals her unremarkable compatibility score with Pete. Questioning herself and everything around her, Anna is taken aback when she meets Geoff, an intelligent, handsome and charming journalist. Their compatibility is a rare and extremely high score on the Kismet app. Driven to discover for herself if they are indeed a ‘perfect match’, Anna delves into a new relationship, risking everything in the process.

 

 

 

Told in a third person narrative, Kismet’s main character Anna can’t quite fit herself, her hopes, opinions and ideals into the bracket her friends all share. They want to discuss recipes and the London house market and she wants subjects that push their perceptions and challenge their ideals. To Anna, it is her duty to make life extraordinary but she is constantly struggling to make any changes. That is until Geoff comes along and he tempts her into discovering what might happen if she throws caution to the wind. I really enjoyed seeing their relationship unfold. This book is a love story with myriad elements that make it completely unputdownable.

 

 

 

Anna was a hugely compelling character. I really sympathised with her. She’s bit of a lost soul, unsure of what she wants, who she wants to be, where she wants her future to go, which I think will hit a cord with a lot of readers. Kismet is a love story but it’s also about self-discovery and realising that perhaps there are no ‘perfect matches’. As you can probably tell, I really loved this book. It challenges the reader to observe and come to new conclusions. I was gripped from beginning to end!

 

 

 

Kismet by Luke Tredget is an original, compelling, intriguing and fascinating novel to stir up emotions and urge readers to really consider the thought-provoking themes unfurling within its pages. Wonderful!

 

 

Original. Compelling. Brilliant.

 

 

 


 

To purchase a copy of this book, follow the links below

Amazon UK

Book Depository

 


 

 

 

About Luke Tredget

 

 

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Luke Tredget works in international development for the Red Cross. His journalism has been published in the Guardian and he completed the Birkbeck Creative Writing MA in 2015. He lives in London.

Twitter

 

 


 

 

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Huge thanks to Sophie Portas & Faber & Faber for my review copy and blog tour invite!

BlogTour! Decide To Hope by June A. Converse ~ #DecideToHope #PromoPost @rararesources

Blog Tours, Promo Posts, Rachel's Random Resources

EBOOK COVER.jpg

Decide To Hope

by

June A. Converse

 

 

 

 


 

Welcome to my spot on the Decide To Hope blog tour today! I’m thrilled to share a promotional post for this stop! Decide To Hope sounds fantastic! I’d just like to say a quick thank you to June A. Converse and Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on the blog tour! Here is a little more about the book and its lovely author!

 


 

 

EBOOK COVER

 

About The Book:

 

 

An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?

For 950 days, Kathleen Conners has struggled with that choice. Behind a scarf and sunglasses, she hides from the world, from herself, from The Event, from any future with anyone.

After receiving a box of letters from his deceased mother, Matt Nelson is shoved from his predictable, controlled life to a secluded beach in North Carolina. While trying to understand his mother’s intent, he discovers Kathleen.

Matt must choose whether to follow the path his mother orchestrated or rescue the woman who has captured his heart. When the only person Kathleen blames more than herself reappears, can Matt be the strength Kathleen needs to create a new life, or will he be forced to walk away if she decides the climb is too great?

 



 

To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow pre-order links below:

Amazon UK 

Amazon US

 

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About June A. Converse

 

 

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June happily resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Sodapop. They have two wonderful adult children and two grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic exerciser and an accomplished cook. She and her husband enjoy hiking with Sodapop, traveling, scuba diving, trying new restaurants, concerts, and whatever other adventures they can find. Reading and a constant desire to learn keeps her busy too.
A trauma survivor who struggles with mental illness, June is continuously reaching for hope like the characters in her books. She openly discusses her personal struggles on her blog, JuneConverse.com
Decide to Hope is her first novel and relies a great deal on her own experience with trauma, choices, recovery and hope. If you’d like to discuss trauma, coping and recovery, contact her at JuneConverse.com or DecideToHope.com

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Blog Tour! Guest Post from Paul E. Hardisty ~ #BlogTour ~ #Absolution #OrendaBooks ~RandomThingsTours #GuestPost

Blog Tours, Guest Posts, Orenda Books, RandomThingsTours

 

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Welcome to my spot on the blog tour today! I’m thrilled to share a fabulous guest post from author Paul E. Hardisty! Paul’s new book, Absolution, is the latest in the Claymore Straker series. Absolution is out on the 30th May. Before the wonderful guest post, here is a little more about the book and its lovely author!

 



 

 

About The Book

 

ABSOLUTION COVER AW-1_preview

 

It is 1997, eight months since vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker fled South Africa after his explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Paris, Rania LaTour, journalist, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human rights lawyer, have disappeared. On an isolated island off the coast of East Africa, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.
So begins the fourth instalment in the Claymore Straker series, a breakneck journey through the darkest reaches of the human soul, as Clay and Rania fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, and find those responsible. Events lead them both inexorably to Egypt, where an act of the most shocking terrorist brutality will reveal not only why those they loved were sacrificed, but how they were both, indirectly, responsible.
Relentlessly pursued by those who want them dead, they must work together to uncover the truth, and to find a way to survive in a world gone crazy. At times brutal, often lyrical, but always gripping, Absolution is a thriller that will leave you breathless and questioning the very basis of how we live and why we love.

 


 

To purchase a copy of the book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository

 


 

 

About Paul E. Hardisty

 

Paul-Hardisty-feat

 

Canadian Paul 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 cafe in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.His debut thriller, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.

 


 

 

 

And now here is the fabulous guest post!

 

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Cairo Dawn

The sound of car horns and a donkey braying outside my open window wake me from a dream: familiar faces, some long dead, others still as they were so many years ago when we were very young. It takes me a few minutes to calibrate this place, set it straight, put it into the dimension where it belongs. Cairo, city of the dead and the living. For me, a city of memories, of transitions and awakenings.
I push away the sheet, walk naked to the window, feel the dust gritting my skin. I push back the peeling shutters, look out across the crumbling rooftops and canyons of Al Farouk-era buildings towards where I know the Nile is. The air is already thickening. The smells of diesel and the smouldering of burning rubbish catch me hard. On this blue-sky day, I can just make out the top of the Nasser Tower, less than a mile across the city. I smile. I am, for the first time in as long as I can remember, free.
Freedom means different things, I know, to different people. For me, now, it means being able to get up in the morning and write. It means that my time belongs to me, and not to the organisation I work for, or the people who depend on me. I am here in Egypt, this time, on my own, for myself. Every other time I have been here, at various points over the last fifteen years, it has been for work. And while much of what I saw and did during those times will find its way, one way or another, into my writing, now, here, I am free. I wash, dress, go to what passes for the lobby in this cut-rate one-star hotel in the old centre of the city, eat my boiled egg and bread, drink my cup of sweet dark tea, and return to my room. I move the small table up against the sill of the window, set out my notebook, open up my laptop, and plunge into that other world – this world, but inhabited now by characters of my own creation.
It is as if the sounds and smells and the sublime, polluted desert light and the reflections from the Nile infuse the story. The words come in torrents, as if a dam that had held all this back for days and weeks had burst, the conscious and planned merging with the entirely unconscious, some things dreamt, some not, and from it all, the story takes shape. Claymore is here. He is staying at this hotel. He is looking for Rania, the love of his life – he is starting to know this as a truth, now, that we only ever get one. She is here looking for the people who murdered her husband and son. She is alone and in danger. As I write it, it catches in my throat. It is real. This is the way it can be when each morning is free, when I can write.
Life is about priorities. For most of my life, I have not made writing a priority. For a long time, I was truly not ready. Later, I may have been able, but chose a different path – science and the environment, starting a business. And then, for many years after I knew that I was ready, and had even started to write when I could, I did not make it a priority. Looking back, it was because I was scared. And now, finally, I have left that world behind, and I have, for now, found the courage to say “I am a writer, that’s what I do”, and quit the other stuff. And now I am here, in this dusty little room in Cairo and I am doing it. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. And there is glory in it.
I write hard, non-stop, and the time disappears. I glance at my watch and wonder where the hours have gone, wish that time wouldn’t hurtle away so, for by one o’clock or so, I kmow that the dam will be empty and what flows so freely now, like a pulsing laminar muscle, will spin turbulent and sputter, and finally dry up and it will be over for the day. Then, I will walk the streets of the city, maybe today go up to the City of the Dead and the Moqqatam cliffs where, in a couple of days, Clay and Rania may finally meet after so long apart – I am not sure yet. Then I think I will go to that gym on the other side of the river where they have a local MMA club and maybe do some sparring with the local touts. Maybe. But for now, it is flowing, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.

 

PEH
Perth, April 2018

 

 

Wasn’t that wonderful?!

 


 

 

 

 

Follow the bloggers on the #Absolution blog tour!

 

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Huge thanks to Paul Hardisty for his wonderful guest post and Karen at Orenda Books and Anne at Random Things Tours for my review copy and blog tour invite!

Blog Tour! The Man on the Middle Floor by Elizabeth S Moore ~ #BookReview #BlogTour #TheManOnTheMiddleFloor #TMOTMF

Blog Tours, Book Reviews

Welcome to my spot on the blog tour today! I’m delighted to share my review of The Man on the Middle Floor!

 

 

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The Man on the Middle Floor

by

Elizabeth S Moore

 

 

About the Book

 

 

Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s who likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher who has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism. They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together. Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast growing autistic section of society, or exacerbating it.

 

 


 

 

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My Review

 

Karen is a doctor and researcher who studies the rising rates in autism and lives by herself in the top floor of a house of flats. Her life revolves around her work and despite her ex-husband’s frustration and her children’s care, she is determined to keep working towards a breakthrough. And when she does, she will have the respect she deserves. Her work is her priority, it consumes all hours of her life. If she isn’t sat in front of her laptop typing, she’s thinking about it, even at her daughter’s birthday outing. Karen was a difficult character to like. She’s very selfish and cold. Her ex-husband is at his wits end and her children are almost like strangers to her. It was quite disheartening seeing how her behaviour affected them.

 

 

Tam lives on the top floor, nursing his woes and drowning in alcohol and misery. After losing his job as a police officer, the meaning to life has slipped away from him. He started out as a young man who genuinely wanted to help and protect people. And for years, he worked hard, fuelled by passion and kindness. Now he keeps to his flat, depressed and lonely. Tam was my favourite character. I really enjoyed his chapters because I connected with him the most.

 

 

Nick is a young man with Asperger’s syndrome who lives on the middle floor. He plans out his days with a strict thoroughness and makes lists for every day of the week that somewhat ease his struggles. He lives independently but has regular visits from his mother and grandpa, who persuade him to do things out of his comfort zone. Nick’s chapters addressed some quite emotional issues that made for some surprising reading.

 

 

The Man on the Middle Floor is quite an unusual book, at times intriguing and touching, others incredibly shocking. I haven’t read anything like this before so it was fantastic to have something very unique and different to get stuck into. It will definitely stir up opinions and leave readers talking.

 

 

Surprising. Original. Thought-provoking

 

 



 

 

To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the link below:

Amazon UK

 

 



 

 

About Elizabeth S Moore

 

 

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Elizabeth S. Moore has worked as a journalist since she won the Decanter Young Wine Writer of the Year at seventeen. She has written columns and articles on restaurants, politics, South Africa and all things foodie. She comes from a family that has given her a lot of writing material and is currently finishing her second book, having written the first after completing the Faber Write a Novel course and being approached by fourteen agents after reading an excerpt of her novel to industry professionals. Elizabeth lives in London with her South African husband and has three daughters and a son as well as two lazy Labradors.

 

You can find Elizabeth on Twitter here!

 

 



 

 

Follow the bloggers on #TheManOnTheMiddleFloor blog tour!

 

 

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Huge thanks to Red Door Publishing for my review copy and blog tour invite!!

Book Review: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough ~ #CrossHerHeart #BookReview #WTFThatEnding #WTFThatWholeBook

Book Reviews

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Cross Her Heart

by

Sarah Pinborough

 

 

 

SOMEONE IS LIVING A LIE… BUT WHO?

Is it Lisa?
Haunted by a tragic past, all Lisa wants is a quiet life with her daughter, Ava. And when she meets a new man, things seem to be falling into place. But Lisa is hiding a secret so momentous it could shatter her entire world…

Is it Ava?
When sixteen-year-old Ava saves a young boy’s life, she becomes a local hero. But never in a million years could she have anticipated the fallout of her actions…

Is it Marilyn?
Marilyn has the perfect life. Her husband, her job, her house―she seems to have it all. But she could never admit to her best friend Lisa the lies she tells herself to get through the day…

One moment will change these three women’s lives forever. And the secrets they’ve been keeping could destroy them all.

 

 


 

 

 

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My Review

 

 

 

Lisa is a supportive friend. A hard worker. A woman with a burgeoning romance on the cards. She is also a loving mother to sixteen-year-old Ava and even the fear and guilt that blanket her days can’t parallel what she feels for her daughter. She has worked everyday since the moment she was born to protect her. And nothing and no one will harm her. Except, perhaps the past. Because Lisa’s secret is still very much a part of her. And it could shatter Ava’s life and fragment her future within seconds.

 

 

 

Marilyn is intelligent, determined and efficient. A strong sort of person to take charge of any situation and rein it into line. She is the perfect friend. Supportive, reliable and kind. The ten-year bond she shares with Lisa is built on strong foundations. They have been there to ease one another’s turmoil and pull each other through the tough days at work. But even after so many years, Marilyn hasn’t given Lisa a proper glimpse into her true life. A chink in the rosy world she paints for observers. There is so much more to see than what she gives the world. And who knows what would happen if it did.

 

 

 

Ava is sixteen-years-old with a big life ahead of her. One she is determined to live to the full. But it isn’t easy with her mother as over-protective as she is. They have always been close but now she is growing up and she wants some space and privacy. Freedom to hang out with her friends and have fun. Some corners of her life she wants to keep in the dark. Just for her. None more so than the secret she keeps tucked close to her chest. One that weaves a strand of joy through her days at school. But not all secrets are good ones. And soon, the three women, their three secrets will unravel.

 

 

 

With themes such as jealousy, revenge and abuse, this book is a very, very emotional read. And although these elements are a huge part of it, the courage, love, friendship and survival hit a core with me the most. I thought I had the plot sussed at the beginning but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sarah Pinborough’s red herrings are the best! She deceptively takes the reader into the story and throws twist after twist until your heart is hammering away and your mind is fishtailing into over drive.

 

 

 

Murder, betrayal, lies and manipulation and Sarah Pinborough invites you into a story which will have you gripping your seat in rapt attention. Each page strips back another layer in this wickedly clever and gloriously dark novel. I was a huge fan of Sarah Pinborough’s first book for adults, Behind Her Eyes, which divided opinions everywhere and prompted a surge of readers to take to social media with the hashtag #WTFThatEnding. Cross Her Heart is just as good if not better in a way. I think this should have the hashtag #WTFThatWholeBook! It is absolutely brilliant!

 

 

 

Startlingly dark. Wickedly clever. Absolutely incredible.

 

 


 

 

To purchase a copy of the book, you can follow the links below

Amazon UK

Book Depository

 

 


 

 

 

About Sarah Pinborough

 

 

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Sunday Times No.1 bestseller SARAH PINBOROUGH is the critically acclaimed and award-winning, adult and YA author. Her previous novel, Behind Her Eyes, has sold in 25 territories, been shortlisted for the Crime and Thriller Book of the Year at the British Book Awards and was a Sunday Times No.1 bestseller in hardback and paperback. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.

You can follow her on Twitter @sarahpinborough

 


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Huge thanks to Jaime Frost & HarperCollins for my review copy!

Blog Tour! Review of Wartime at Woolworths by Elaine Everest ~ #WartimeAtWoolworths #TheWoolworthsGirls #BookReview #BlogTour

Blog Tours, Book Reviews, EDPR

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Wartime at Woolworths

by

Elaine Everest

 

 

About the Book:

 

The Woolworths girls have come a long way together . . .

Fun loving Maisie, is devoted to her young family and her work at Woolworths. But her happy life with her RAF officer husband, their baby daughter leads her to think of the family she left behind . . . With the war now into its fourth year, what will she find when she sets about searching for them?

Sarah and her husband, Alan, are blissfully happy and long for a sibling for their daughter. But dark days lay ahead for this close family.

Freda heads home to Birmingham, to go in search of her family, back to the life she fled – far from the safety of Woolworths and her new friends.

With families’ separated by war, will the Woolworths girls be able to pull together?

 

 

 


 

 

 

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My Review

 

 

Maisie has had her fair share of heartache over the years. Now life is on the up. She is a devoted wife to husband David and loving mother to a beautiful little girl. And at Woolworths, she is a part of a team – a family – who are a joy to work with. When a new member of the woolies staff mentions an old friend is unwell, Maisie is shocked to realise that it is her estranged mother. Bidden by a sudden urgency to make amends and smooth the discord that has shrouded their relationship for years, Maisie departs Erith with friend Freda to find her mother and tie the two halves of her family together. But the war has left Canning Town a changed place. There is destruction every which way she looks. In a sudden turn of events, Maisie finds much more than she thought she would.

 

 

Ruby is a warm, sweet-hearted soul whose door is open anytime to friends and family. There, an endless supply of love, help and kindness is always on offer. Ruby gives advice and support with a wisdom she imparts readily. She is always on hand to guide her family whatever the problem. And in a time when war has filched so much from so many, her generosity is in stark contrast to the darkness you only have to walk out the door to see. When neighbour and friend Vera finds her well-ordered life beginning to fray, Ruby takes it upon herself to put it to rights. But to help, she’ll first have to persuade Vera to open up and share the secret that has changed things so drastically.

 

 

When Freda, a despatch rider for the fire service and junior supervisor at Woolworths, receives a message relating her mother’s terrible accident, she rushes back home and back into her old life. But when she arrives, she discovers things have changed in her absence. Her mother lays in hospital, recovering from a vicious attack and with no one to help her and debt piling up in her name, the responsibility falls to Freda to stay and help her mother recuperate. But what about her other family back home? What about the war efforts? What about her work at Woolworths? Freda must decide what to do. Stay or leave.

 

 

Wartime at Woolworths is the fourth book in the Woolworth series by Elaine Everest. And Sarah, Maisie, Freda and the gang return to face some of the most heartbreaking and testing challenges so far. Wartime at Woolworths is a heartwarming tale of love, loss, family and friends.

 

 

Emotional. Heartwarming. Sweet.

 



 

 

To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository

 

 

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About Elaine Everest

 

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Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy loomed.

When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can be seen sitting in the naughty corner.

 

You can find Elaine on Twitter here!

 


 

Follow the bloggers on the #WartimeAtWoolworths blog tour!

 

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Huge thanks to Bethan James, EDPR and Pan for my review copy and blog tour invite!!

Blog Tour! Extract from Mr Peacock’s Possessions by Lydia Syson ~ #MrPeacocksPossessions #Extract #BlogTour

Blog Tours, Book Reviews

mr peacocks possesions

Mr Peacock’s Possessions

by

Lydia Syson

 



 

 

Welcome to  my stop on the blog tour today! I’m thrilled to share a fabulous extract from Mr. Peacock’s Possessions by Lydia Syson! I’m so excited to read this book – the extract has definitely whet my appetite for more! But first here is a little bit more about the book and its lovely author!

 



 

 

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About the Book:

Oceania 1879. A family of settlers from New Zealand are the sole inhabitants of a remote volcanic island.

For two years they have struggled with the harsh reality of trying to make this unforgiving place a paradise they can call their own. At last, a ship appears. The six Pacific Islanders on board have travelled eight hundred miles across the ocean in search of work and new horizons. Hopes are high for all, until a vulnerable boy vanishes. In their search for the lost child, settlers and newcomers together uncover far more than they were looking for. The island’s secrets force them all to question their deepest convictions.

An intimate, intense and beautifully realised novel of possession, power and the liberating loss of innocence, this will delight fans of MISTER PIP and THE POISONWOOD BIBLE.

 


 

 

To purchase a copy of the book, you can follow the links below

Amazon UK

Book Depository

 


 

 

About Lydia Syson:

 

 

lydia syson

 

Lydia Syson lives in south London with her partner and four children. After an early career as a BBC World Service Radio producer, she turned from the spoken to the written word, and developed an enduring obsession with history, including her family history. Read more about Lydia and her books at www.lydiasyson.com or on Twitter: @lydiasyson

 


 

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Extract:

 

Mr. Peacock’s Possessions by Lydia Syson

 

Lizzie sticks a knife into the breast of the nearest mutton-bird: a vicious hiss as a stream of hot oil hits the smouldering log below. It flares up, too high, and she jumps back, shielding her face. It’s time to turn the rack, to keep things even, and ward of her mother’s chiding. Where’s Ada got to, or Billy, come to that? Out of sight and out of hearing. The smokery is built a little distance from the dwelling huts and outhouse, to save them from its powerful odours, and the vegetable gardens, where Ada and Ma were weeding earlier, lie on the other side again, on the flats above the beach. Strong as she is, Lizzie can’t shift the weight of sixty spitted chicks on her own, and they will catch if she doesn’t. She will have to move the fire instead. So she leans into the heat to spread and shift the embers with the stripped green stick she’s using as a poker.
Then Billy’s cry puts everything out of mind.
‘A sail! A sail! Have you seen?’
She turns instantly, looking out to sea, seeing nothing yet. Billy appears but doesn’t stop – and she knows just where he’s going. Abandoning fire and birds without a second thought, Lizzie scrambles down the tree-filed gully after him and up the other side to the higher bluff beyond, the look-out cliff. She moves quickly in her loose tunic, but not as fast as her younger brother, and not as fast as she’d like. At the top fist, Billy squints at the ocean, and windmills his arms at her.
‘Look!’ he shouts. ‘Right over there.’
‘Where?’ A sail is too easy to imagine, never more than when the sky and sea are bright. The sun catches the flat side of a wave at the wrong angle. A crest of foam. A whale’s fluke. From far away anything can look like a billow of canvas if you want it hard enough. ‘If you’re wrong . . . ’
‘I’m not. Look harder. Look over there.’
Lizzie’s brother lines her up behind his back as soon as she reaches him. He’ll be catching her up in height before she knows it. His warm brown hair, darkened with fresh sweat, is already at her nostrils. But though his chest is broadening too, a little, she can match him for strength still, and let him know this when she needs to. Which isn’t now. Billy pulls Lizzie’s arms down around his own shoulders so that her eyes can follow his, and together they trace the line of his arm and pointing finger.
‘You must be able to see her now.’
She can.
At last.

 


 

Wasn’t that wonderful?!

 


 

 

Follow the bloggers on the #MrPeacocksPossessions blog tour!

 

 

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Huge thanks to Cara at Midas PR and Bonnier Zaffre for my review copy and blog tour invite!