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Archive for September, 2017

I am so excited to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for “99 Red Balloons” by Elisabeth Carpenter (stop singing the 1980s pop song by Nena!) and share an extract from this gripping thriller!

Description:

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Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

This is a gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist that will take your breath away.

You can buy a copy of “99 Red Balloons” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository


Extract: Chapter 20 p.105-107

The bingo restarts, but I still can’t concentrate. Without saying, Jim has taken over my next card. I look at him from the corner of my eye. He never was a looker, bless him, but he looks better now he’s older. What’s it they say about growing into your face? It must be the case with Jim. I think about what’s happened over the last couple of days and I don’t know what I’d have done without him.

‘Come on then, let’s get your winnings,’ he says.

‘They can’t have played three games already.’

‘They have indeed. You’re away with the fairies. But I don’t blame you. You’ve enough on your plate.’

Jim’s up and ready in seconds. He kept his coat on the whole time we’ve been here. He must have cold bones these days. He stands waiting, patiently. I know I’m being slow, but there’s something about that woman that unnerves me. I’m in no rush to get to her.

He almost drags me there; my feet are so heavy. She watches us while we walk and stands when we reach the table.

‘It’s nice to see you, Maggie.’

She holds out her hand. I’ve never seen her before in my life. Her hair is too dark for her age; she must dye it – there’s not a grey in sight. She’s wearing a velvet blouse in maroon that reminds me of my great-grandmother’s curtains.

‘Do you two know each other?’ asks Jim.

‘I’ve never met you before,’ I say to her.

‘Sorry about that, love,’ Jim says to the stranger. ‘Not one for niceties, isn’t Mags.’

‘That’s okay. Sorry,’ she says. ‘I could’ve sworn we’d met before.’

She sits back down. I look at the table and what I thought were playing cards have strange pictures on them, rimmed with gold.

‘I’ll just get your prize ready.’

She counts out five ten-pound notes and puts them in an envelope. Before she seals it, she puts in what looks like a business card. She looks up. ‘Just in case you need to contact me.’

I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous. Why would I need to contact her?

Jim rubs his hands, again. ‘I’m just off to the gents while we wait for the taxi. Won’t be a min.’

I want to follow him, but that would be a little undignified.

‘I’ll wait in reception,’ I say, trying not to look at her.

I only get a few feet away when I feel a hand grab my elbow.

‘Wait, Maggie.’

I turn slowly, knowing it’s her. ‘How do you know my name?’

She glances at the floor, before looking me straight in the eye.

‘I’m sorry,’ she says. ‘My name’s Dee. I remember you from years ago. When your poor granddaughter went missing.’

‘Right.’

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before, but strangers haven’t approached me for years. I knew they meant well, but it was mortifying, heartbreaking. It was why we hardly went out.

‘I’d better be going,’ I say.

‘Maggie, please wait a minute.’

‘Hang on. Why do you keep calling me Maggie? I was always Margaret in the newspapers.’

She comes closer to me; I step back.

‘I know you probably think I’m insane – I get that a lot. But . . .’ She takes a few breaths and taps her chest. ‘Zoe’s still alive.’

 


I don’t know about you, but that’s got be seriously intrigued and desperate to know what happens next!

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour:

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Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s Elliott & Thompson in the spotlight!   Today I have a review of What’s Your Bias? The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do by Lee De-Wit.


Description:

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Pundits, pollsters and politicians are queuing up to tell us, but do they really know? More importantly, do we really know?

Psychologists have been studying how we make political decisions for years, and the truth is we’re a lot less rational than we think we are; sometimes we vote for reasons we’re not even consciously aware of.

Delving into the science and psychology of politics, What’s Your Bias? gets under the skin to reveal what really drives us – whichever way we vote. In this absorbing book, psychologist and neuroscientist Lee de-Wit explores the subtle – and often surprising – factors that could be influencing our votes, from our personality traits and unconscious biases to our susceptibility to campaign targeting and fake news.

Whether we’re debating nationalism, immigration, welfare or equality, psychology can help us to better understand the decisions we make in modern politics. If you want to know more about yourself, your friends and family, or the bigger political picture, this is essential reading.

My Thoughts & Review:

This is a book that jumped out at me after reading the blurb, I’m not sure why really as it’s not something I would normally pick up and I tend to leave books that are more politically based alone, but there was something about this book that grabbed my attention enough to make me want to give it more attention.

From the opening pages this takes on a easy to read stance, the author stating “I’m not intending to offer an academic overview of political psychology…” helped to allay my worries that this would turn out to be “too high brow” for me to understand or enjoy.
I found this to be quite a thought provoking read, and regularly pulled my head out of the book to quote passages to my (long suffering) husband, finding that some sparked interesting debate between us or gave information on things we’d wondered about but never thought to research personally.
The chapter titled “Silent Majority” was one that I read with much interest, voting turn out is always something I look at when election results have been declared – for no other reason than it fascinates me.  I enjoyed that the author wrote from personal perspective throughout this book but especially in this chapter.  “One of the most common explanations for low vote turnout is that people are lazy or apathetic.  As a psychologist, I struggle with this explanation.”  This gave me the impression that the author actually cared about the research carried out and  wanted to address misconceptions as well as expand upon the psychology of the politics being discussed.

Breaking down the science behind voting makes this quite informative and does give great food for thought, and offers information to help understand the concept of nationalism from the perspective of those who support it.  It won’t necessarily change your mind about it, but it might just help you see the idea from another angle.
It is interesting to see that the author chooses to give examples from both UK and American politics to emphasise his points or illustrate them, there have been plenty instances both sides of the Atlantic Ocean recently.

I would say this is a good book to start with if you want to look into the psychology of politics and voting, it certainly offers plenty to facts to whet the appetite of the audience.

You can buy a copy of What’s Your Bias? The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

My thanks to Elliott & Thompson, especially Alison Menzies for sending me a copy of this book to read and enjoy.

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white lies final

 

** My thanks to Sarah at Bombshell Books for the opportunity to read this book and inviting me to be part of the blog blitz **

 

Description:

Lydia knows first-hand that ‘having it all’ isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. As far as she’s concerned, when it comes to job versus family, it’s a case of one or the other. And whilst most women her age have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, she’s made a career out of bagging her perfect man. Now nearly thirty and still single, Lydia wonders if she’d made the right choice.

Realising the time has come to take stock, she goes against her family’s wishes and goes travelling in the hope of finding a new direction. At least that’s the plan.

So when Sam comes along, she decides to tell a little white lie, re-inventing herself as a professional chef – not exactly the best new identity for a woman who can’t cook. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long and when her family show up unexpectedly things go from bad to worse…

Can Lydia find love? Will she ever learn to cook?

Little White Lies and Butterflies is a heart-warming comedy about finding your place in the world.

My Thoughts & Review:

After reading Suzie Tullett’s previous book The Trouble with Words I was delighted to be offered an early review copy of her next book by the publisher.
Despite this being only the second book that I’ve read by this author, I definitely have a new name to add to the list of go to authors for when I need a book to pick me up or offer an escape, she’s right there alongside Holly Martin, Darcie Boleyn, Rachel Griffiths and Jenny Colgan.

I won’t go into the ins and outs of the plot, that’s something for you to discover on your own, preferably with a hot cuppa and a chocolate biscuit or two.  But I will say that I loved how the story flowed so easily in this book, the way it all wound perfectly together despite the madcap escapades of certain characters.
Lydia, wants to find her soul mate, her perfect match, the one…..and in doing so she has a strict list of criteria she is looking for and not willing to deviate from it.  But with this mindset she is potentially missing out on perfectly nice men in search of a mythical man that might not exactly exist.  There were times I could sympathise with her, if you were to settle down you would want it to be with someone special, someone who is the chocolate to your digestive, but there were also times that I wanted to give Lydia a shake and tell her to stop being so quick to judge.  To open her eyes and see what was right in front of her, see who was in front of her.

There were so many moments in this that I found I was chuckling out loud, seeing little white lies becoming huge whoppers that snowballed cataclysmically made this such a humorous read.  However, this book has more to offer than just light-hearted comedic read, it has romance, and some enthusiastic family members that cause embarrassment and panic.  But ultimately it has an important lesson to share – everyone has their own place in this life, it may not be apparent if you are quick to judge and only see one perspective, look deeper and try to appreciate what’s around you.

I absolutely love Suzie Tullett‘s style of writing, it flows beautifully and it feels like it transports you into the book.  The descriptions of the Greece were mesmerising, the beaches became such clear images in my head, the sights and smells (especially food) felt so rich and authentic.  One of those books that’s perfect to lose yourself in for an afternoon.

You can buy a copy of Little White Lies and Butterflies via:

Amazon

Why not check out the other blogs involved:

BLOG BLITZ

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37 hours

 

** My thanks to Noelle & Kate at Thick as Thieves Book Publicity and Promo for the opportunity to read and review this book, and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

 

Description:

The only way to hunt down a killer is to become one.
Imprisoned by MI6 for two long years in solitary, Nadia suddenly finds herself free again. But there is a price to pay for her release. Another dangerous and near impossible mission – retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her old nemesis, the deadliest of terrorists.
But he is always one step ahead, and soon Nadia finds herself at the front line of preventing London from disappearing into a cloud of ash. Only this time, she is ready to pull the trigger at any cost.
And with the clock counting down from 37 hours, time is running out…
My Thoughts & Review:
You know that feeling when you finish a book and cannot wait to get started on the next one in the series?  Well that’s a tiny bit like the anticipation I had for this book, 37 Hours is the second in the Nadia Laksheva series and it begins with a bang that sets the pace throughout.
For readers new to this series, you can read 37 Hours straight away, there is more than enough information included in the narrative to explain who people are and the connections between them, but I would highly recommend reading 66 Metres first as the writing is fantastic and the small details you will pick up from that book will absolutely enhance your enjoyment of 37 Hours.
As always, I won’t say too much about the plot, there is a blurb above to give you some idea of what goes on in this book, and suffice to say Nadia seems to be back in the middle of a dangerous situation that will push her to the limits of her abilities and mental capacity.
When I read 66 Metres I was astounded by how strong a character Nadia is (you can read my review here) and this instalment has firmly cemented my liking of this character.  Her tenacity in the face of danger is almost chilling, she’s calculating and careful in some aspects, but at other times she will take risks which increase the tension and enjoyment of the book.  Her strong connection to her family makes her that little more relatable, often a female protagonist such as this ends up being portrayed in a less realistic way.
I am a big fan of Kirwan’s writing style, it’s easy to follow despite it covering some topics I have no knowledge about.  I don’t profess to know anything about diving and yet I was able to read this book and not feel that I was missing any details because of the care that the author has taken to ensure that all of his readers will be able to grasp the facts of what is happening.  The vivid images I could conjure of scenes were down to the wonderful descriptions included, and for me this makes a book more enjoyable as I feel that I can “see” everything as it plays out.
Now to wait patiently to see what happens next……….
You can buy a copy of 37 Hours via:
 
About the Author:

In his day job, J. F. Kirwan travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! So when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters. It was the only way he could carry on diving! But as the story and characters grew, he realised it was not one book, but three…

You can connect with the J. F. Kirwan via:
Follow the blog tour & pop over to my tour buddy’s blog to check out what Meggy has to share with you at  Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles
37 Hours Blog Tour

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** My thanks to Abbie at Farrago Books for the opportunity to read this book and be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

The new Miss Seeton mystery – the first in almost 20 years!

It’s practically a Royal Marriage. The highly eligible son of Miss Seeton’s old friends Sir George and Lady Colveden has wed the daughter of a French count.

Miss Seeton lends her talents to the village scheme to create a quilted ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ of local history, inspired by the wedding. But her intuitive sketches reveal a startlingly different perspective—involving buried Nazi secrets, and links to the mysterious death of a diplomat and to a South American dictator . . .

Serene amidst every kind of skulduggery, this eccentric English spinster steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles, armed with nothing more than her sketchpad and umbrella!

My Thoughts & Review:

I was intrigued when I first read the blurb of this book, especially the part about it being the first book in almost 20 years!  I was assured that I would be able to read this without having read the previous 21 books so decided to give it a go as change of pace from my current gritty crime thrillers.
I will admit that I did have to take my time reading this one to get a good grounding of the characters and the stories surrounding them, and with so many different strands to the plot it did take a wee bit of concentrating to keep up but once the story moved on I found I got into the book more than I had expected and was less confused about who people were and what was going on.

Miss Seeton is a strange character, and I mean that kindly.  She is renowned in the village of Plummergen for psychic drawings that aid the local police in their investigations, a big fan of yoga and always carries her trusty umbrella with her.  But over all she is an endearing character that will appeal to fans of cosy mysteries like those penned by Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton.
The plot revolves around some secrets that involve German spies, hidden radios, a painting of Henry VIII and a quilt.  The scandal and gossip surrounding Miss Seeton does add some light humour to the plot, providing some light relief for readers as they try to follow the clues to solve the mysteries of the book.

Initially slow to begin with, but once I got used to the style of writing and once the plot picked up this did turn into an enjoyable enough read, I think I might have perhaps fared better if I had read one or two of the previous books to get a better grasp on the village and it’s cast of characters.  A good example of the cosy crime and mystery genre that should delight fans of Miss Seeton.

You can buy a copy of “Miss Seeton Quilts the Village” via:

Amazon

 

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House of Spines front

** My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of this wonderful book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour ***

 

Description:

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

My Thoughts & Review:

For anyone not familiar with the superb writing of Michael J Malone I would thoroughly recommend acquainting yourself with one of his books as soon as possible, a skilled author with the ability to make readers shiver and feel the coldness that flows from the pages of his books.

With writing that is almost poetic in nature, this is beautifully written book that keeps readers guessing throughout.

Ran McGhie is an interesting character that I could not help but feel for him.  His life has been far from easy or straightforward and the way that Malone captures the subtle nuances of Ran are spectacularly spellbinding.  As Ran’s life begins to take on some major changes, Malone cleverly but subtly charts the slow descent into something not being right (I won’t call it madness, that seems to abrasive a word to use, but at the same time perhaps this character does become a little “off kilter” and lean towards a form of madness….I’ll let you decide).  Inheriting a huge house in a wealthy part of town would probably be a dream come true for most people, and here Ran is no different.  Initially he is awed by the library and the books that his great uncle has bestowed upon him, but soon he feels a haunting presence and begins to question what happens around him.
I am loathe to say more about the plot, I hate spoilers and think that readers experience the full impact of the plot on their own.

This has all the hallmarks of a great read, it’s creepy and leaves the reader questioning whether that was just a shadow they caught out of the corner of their eye…but it also makes you feel a little uncomfortable as you slowly follow Ran into the darkness of uncertainty.  With the mental health issues that the protagonist suffers being incorporated into the plot, it becomes almost impossible to be certain whether Ran is suffering from delusions linked to his condition or whether these events are actually happening.
On top of all this, the descriptions of Newton Hall are utterly spectacular and I think that Malone has really outdone himself here.  I could feel the looming menace that lurked within the house, I was aware of a feeling of claustrophobia while Ran was in the house, although there was splendour and beauty it was also a place of unknown danger and mystery.

There’s a feeling of safety with a book published by Orenda Books, each book has made an impression on Karen Sullivan and in turn she and her team have lavished love and attention on each page of a manuscript  before delivering a book to readers that will wow and delight.  When I initially saw this book being dubbed a “modern day horror story with a twist” I was a little hesitant, I don’t read many horror stories, they just don’t do anything for me.  But I had faith in the publisher and the friends who recommended this book to me and I was not disappointed.

You can buy a copy of “House of Spines” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Orenda eBookstore

 

Follow the blog tour:

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Welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year, “Angels in the Moonlight” by Caimh McDonnell.  I am delighted to be able to share my review of this fantastic book with you, and even more excitingly I have a wee interview with the Caimh too!


Book Feature:

Description: ANGELS IN THE MOONLIGHT cover

For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.

It’s 1999 and his hard won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny’s finally been given a crack at the big time. He’s set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbery gang in Irish history. So the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.

Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn?

Angels in the Moonlight is a standalone prequel to Caimh McDonnell’s critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, and it is complicated.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Angels in the Moonlight is a vastly different addition to the Dublin Trilogy in that it features Detective Bunny McGarry in a different light.  Yes, he is still the wise cracking, dangerous looking Cork man.  Yes his behaviour often leaves a lot to be desired, but there is a side to him that betrays the hard man image and it is written so beautifully that readers might forget for a moment who they are reading about.

From the opening pages of this book readers quickly fall into step with the wisecracking and quick witted detective as he takes on the role of negotiator with a vulnerable individual, granted he may not be everyone’s idea of the best person for the role, but he brings his own flair to the situation (as well as some manky sandwiches!) and I soon found I was laughing like a lunatic at what was written on the pages in front of me (a side note, this is perhaps not the best book to read when your other half is sleeping beside you, trying to hold in laughter will cause injury and or choking).

With a gripping and thrilling plot, readers are soon delving into the world of drugs, corruption and vendettas.  DI Fintan O’Rourke and the ever charming Bunny are up against one of the most skilled armed robbery gangs in Ireland, a case that will prove to be one of the most daring and dangerous they’ve worked together.
This case coupled with Bunny’s attempts to woo Simone, a jazz singer come bar manager makes for some brilliantly entertaining reading.  It is through his contact with Simone that we see a distinctly different side to Bunny.  He has a heart, a caring side and a softness about him that he would probably prefer to keep hidden. His coaching of the St Jude’s Hurling Team is a great example of one of the many sides to this character, his devotion to keeping the young lads away from crime is enriching to see, even if his methods are somewhat questionable.  By opening up this side of his main character, Caimh McDonnell takes this book to another level.  Each book of this trilogy has been superb, but there is something special about this one, it is more than just a police procedural, more than a crime caper, it’s a book with themes of friendship, history and heartache intricately interwoven throughout.

As it says above in the blurb, this book can be read as a standalone, but why would you want to deprive yourself of this series?  The writing is tremendous; Caimh McDonnell has a gift for storytelling and leads his readers on a merry journey through his books, regaling them with humour and wit.  The descriptions of each character and their traits allow readers to conjure some wonderfully vivid images, and I know that I’ve a clear idea in my head of Bunny McGarry, both sight and sound.  There are a wonderful array of personalities in this book, even a young Paul Mulchrone and Phil Nellis make an appearance (fans of the previous books will make the connection here), but for me Bunny McGarry stole the show.

 

I would urge you to buy copies of all books in the Dublin Trilogy, it’s a series you do not want to miss out on!

You can buy a copy of “Angels in the Moonlight” via:

Amazon

My absolute heartfelt thanks to Elaine Ofori and Camih McDonnell for the opportunity to read an early copy of this immensely hilarious book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.


Author Feature: caimh

Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

He is a man who wears many hats. As well as being an author, he is an award-winning writer for TV, a stand-up comedian and ‘the voice’ of London Irish rugby club. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces was released in 2016 and it is the first book of the Dublin Trilogy series. The follow-up, The Day That Never Comes was published in 2017. Both books are fast-paced crime thrillers set in Caimh’s home town of Dublin and they are laced with distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

Caimh’s TV writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh

Facebook: @CaimhMcD

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Being in control! For about a decade, I had sitcom scripts optioned by several different TV companies in Britain and you spend your time constantly making changes – some you agree with, some you don’t. Often times, you can find that what originally made an idea attractive to all concerned in the first place, can get lost under the weight of notes about notes. With a novel, while I have editors and readers whose opinion I of course value highly, ultimately, I’m the one in control and I can decide what I think works or doesn’t work. Only a TV writer knows how precious a thing that is.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  

Being in control! In particular, the proofing stage. Again, I’ve got a couple of great editors and a fantastic proof reader but ultimately as an indie author, you have to be the one to go through the final manuscript and be responsible for every last dotted I and crossed T – and in a 100,000 word novel, there is a lot of them. If I never see another semi-colon, I would die a happy man!

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Oh, that’s a toughie. I think I’d have to go with Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane – he is a stunningly good writer and for me, I think that is his best work. As a writer, you’re always aware of a plot and predicting where the story is going to go – be it in a novel, TV show or film. It is very hard to switch off and enjoy something without analysing it on some level. The ending of Gone Baby Gone completely blindsided me but at the same time, made perfect sense. It takes a special kind of genius to make an ending seem both surprising and yet feel totally right in hindsight.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

As my wife is always pointing out, I have no hobbies. Everything I like to do I’ve effectively made into a job. I’m still very much a professional comedian which is a nice change of pace from writing, and I’m also the announcer for my second-family, aka the professional rugby team London Irish. As I write, I am just back from our triumphant return to the English premiership in Twickenham. Frankly, that is my favourite thing to do. I get to work with my heroes and while on one level it is stressful, on another level, I’m ultimately not in control of anything. While I announce the scores, I’m not responsible for going out and making them.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

Through trial and error, I’ve discovered I can’t write on my rather lovely Mac with the enormous screen that’s nice and easy to read. I need to work on a laptop, with the internet blocked and Brain.fm’s specially designed music for concentration playing on my headphones. I get distracted very easily so to get the work done, I try and shut myself off from any and all opportunities to forget what I’m supposed to be doing. I do often catch myself casually wondering if I ended up in prison, would they let me have a laptop? If they did – think of all the work I’d get done! I’d miss London Irish though of course, and my wife.

 

A huge thank you to Caimh for joining me today and sharing a little about himself, it’s been a blast!

 

Angels in the Moonlight Poster

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Mário de Sá-Carneiro: The Ambiguity of a Suicide by Giuseppe Cafiero and share a guest piece written about Mário de Sá-Carneiro.

Description:

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The apparent suicide in 1916 of the writer Mário de Sá-Carneiro causes his friend, the poet Fernando Pessoa, great distress. Pessoa feels compelled to trace Sá-Carneiro’s final movements, to understand what could have caused him to lose all hope.
Exploring byways of the imagination and ambiguity with the investigator David Mondine and Dr. Abílio Fernandes Quaresma, solver of enigmas, the three men decide to uncover the conclusive certainties which led Mário to poison himself.
These suicide investigators travel to Lisbon – Mário’s birthplace – and to Paris, talking to strangers and friends who might shed light on the poet’s mysterious and sudden decline. As the city wrestles with the grief and tumult of war, the men hold court at the cafes and bistros Mário would have frequented. Their witty, enigmatic and sometimes obscure conversations illuminate the friendship between Mário and Fernando Pessoa, their poetry and their literary ambitions, revealing the tragic end of one of the founders of Portuguese modernism.

 

You can buy a copy of Mário de Sá-Carneiro: The Ambiguity of a Suicide via Amazon


Guest Post:

Mário de Sá-Carneiro with his chronic oddities. Mário who went about Paris in melancholy and shy solitude. Mário who believed it necessary to inflict heartache upon himself to atone for his dark irreverences. Mário who played the part of a fashionable anti-conformist. Mário who was so self-absorbed that he seemed to live in a constant dreamlike delirium. Mário who seemed to want to be surrounded by an atmosphere of non-involvement and thus to enjoy his disquietude. Mário who was afraid to retrace his steps because nothing could ever be the same as before. Mário who wallowed in his contemplative ecstasy because the rest was extraneous to him. Mário who complacently felt that he did not belong to any city or country. Mário who was extremely concerned about the dark sensations of his instinct. Mário who considered his mind able to create an inappropriate reality disturbing to the society he was compelled to endure. Mário who complained of a nostalgia which, in truth, he did not feel because no nostalgia could satisfy him. Mário who wasted time in remembrances that responded to memories recovered from a reality experienced in a distorted manner and never loved. Mário who wished to construct a world in his own image and likeness, even though an innate discontent forced him to presume that there could never be a world in his image and likeness. Mário who was tirelessly seeking a fictitious gratification of his intimate desires which seemed to him impossible on account of that kind of apathy in which he delighted in living. Mário who seemed to have a poor ability to reflect realistically about himself and his fantasies because he was a simple dreamer who did not wish to realize any dream. Mário who exhibited, according to many who knew him, a strong affective deficit and a smug reluctance to establish cordial friendships. Mário who seemed to feel the irrepressible desire to influence the world, to be a protagonist as a poet and playwright. Mário who had a true servile propensity for Pessoa, for which he was ready to satisfy any request or desire merely to please him.

 

My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Authoright for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

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Cover9

 

Description:

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane has her hands full, with a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own, and bills to pay. She loves her little home in plush London suburb Dulwich, but life here doesn’t come cheap.

She is thrilled to land the post of archivist at top local school Wyatt’s – though she secretly fears she’s not up to the job. But even Beth couldn’t have imagined how badly things could go, until she discovers a hideous crime and finds herself prime suspect.

Setting out to clear her name, Beth encounters a cast of characters who will follow her through the London Murder Mystery series, proving along the way that the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.

My Thoughts & Review:

Sometimes a cosy crime read is just what you need on a rainy day, and this book is just the ticket with a cuppa and a sneaky chocolate biscuit!

Beth Haldane turns amateur sleuth when she discovers a dead body on her first day at her new job at the local school Wyatt’s.  Unfortunately for Beth, sleuthing becomes a necessity when she finds herself the prime suspect.
Beth is a character that I think most readers will connect to, she is strong and determined, she doesn’t give up easily and won’t let the killer get away.

The setting of Dulwich makes for interesting reading, the exclusivity and snobbery around the local area is a reality that many face and I think the author really set the scene with the descriptions of the parents at drop off/collection times of the schools.  A bit like an iceberg, you only see what is on the surface, the picture perfect society.  However, underneath there is something more sinister afoot, and people acting suspiciously always makes for a longer list of suspects.

As with other cosy crime novels, the writing is inkeeping with that you would expect with the genre.  The key is in the subtleties, no graphic descriptions of blood and gore, instead a focus on the investigation (not always carried out by the police).
Having Beth as the investigative force makes this quite an enjoyable read, although there were moments I felt like shouting at her to leave it to the police.  I found it quite a quick read, being able to curl up on the sofa in the evening with my Kindle and ignoring the ironing pile in favour of trying to piece the mystery together with Beth to find out who the killer was.

You can buy a copy of “Death in Dulwich” via:

Amazon

My thanks to Emma Mitchell and Alice Castle for my copy of Death in Dulwich and for having me as part of their blog tour.

 

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Cover Spread Dr Jekyll fin 20.8.indd

Published: 1 September 2017

 

Description:

Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr Henry Jekyll. Only Mr Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor – because Jekyll was Hyde. But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming his estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life … and questioning his own sanity.

My Thoughts & Review:

First thing I have to say about this book is will you look at that cover – it’s beyond gorgeous!

Following the mysterious death of Mr Edward Hyde and the disappearance of Dr Henry Jekyll, lawyer Gabriel Utterson found himself named as the beneficiary of his good friend’s last will and testament.  Utterson decides to wait the seven years legally set out so that Dr Jekyll can be declared dead, and in turn inherit the state of the declared deceased.  However the arrival of an imposter claiming to be Dr Jekyll throws a spanner in the works.

Having not read the original book by Robert Louis Stevenson for some years, I can still remember the tale (somewhat hazily) and I feel that O’Neill has taken great time to ensure that readers new to the Jekyll and Hyde tale will have enough detail to understand the finer details of the story as well as elucidating wonderfully on small points for readers already knowledgeable about these characters.

The way that O’Neill writes is wonderfully poetic and descriptive, readers cannot help but feel transported to the era, envisioning the chimney sweeps scampering across rooftops, the dapper appearance of gentlemen of the time in their outdoor attire including ornate walking canes etc.  The descriptions of the foggy London setting conjure clear images in my head of the murky and gritty streets that Utterson walks at night as he tries to catch out the imposter.

A well written and clever addition to the Jekyll and Hyde classic tale, that I found to be an intriguing and beguiling read.

Many thanks to Black & White Publishing for my advanced copy to read and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

You can buy a copy of “Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

 

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