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Archive for January, 2019

Today I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Will Dean’s second book Red Snow which was published on 10th January 2019. Here’s my review from October 2018, when I was lucky enough to get an early copy to review from the publisher.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

The Quiet Knitter

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** My greatest thanks to the publisher and author for my very early review copy of this book **

Description:

Red Snow is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Dark Pines, selected for ITV’s Zoe Ball Book Club

TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

My Thoughts:

The much anticipated…

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Today’s Celebrating Indie Publishing features a review of a book that’s not yet published. It’s a book that I was extremely lucky to get an early copy of, and for that I am very grateful to Karen at Orenda Books for this.

Call Me Star Girl is the fifth book from Louise Beech, and it’s the first psychological thriller she’s written. Publication date of the ebook is 18th February 2019 and can be pre ordered now!

Description:

Tonight is the night for secrets…

A taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller, reminiscent of Play Misty for Me … from the critically acclaimed author of Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …
What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

My Thoughts:
Everyone has a go to author, one you turn to when you need ‘that’ book, the one that will fill your heart with hope, or have your mind spiralling with the endless what-ifs and for me that author has become Louise Beech.

With a flowing writing style, I can easily be led into the worlds of her books without a second thought. Her vivid descriptions conjure the fictional settings so clearly, the characters are more than just names on pages, they become read. They take on a multidimensional feel, you become connected to them, invested in them….

Call Me Star Girl is Beech’s first foray into the dark world of psychological thrillers and I will admit, I was somewhat hesitant to delve into this. Louise Beech writes beautiful literary fiction, ones filled with human interest, brimming with emotion, characterisation and some of the most powerful writing I’ve had the pleasure of reading. But was I ready for her writing to turn dark? I put my faith in Louise and her writing and followed her into the world of murder and night-time radio.
The plotting of this novel is superb, so taut and clever. No matter how many times I tried to guess ahead or make a connection that wasn’t ready to be made, Louise craftily denied me the knowledge or threw me with some brilliant misdirection.

There’s something addictive about the way this story is told, the flicking between perspectives allows readers to see events from the view of someone else connected to it, and although we may not agree with their actions or mentality, it does give a shred of understanding to why they take the path that they do. Following events through the eyes of Stella and Elizabeth, is a startling look upon reality. The situations of past and present moulding these characters into the women they became.

As well as being a psychological thriller, this is also an exploration of the fragile nature of relationships and vulnerabilities. Delving into the fabric of what makes up the levels of relationships/connections between individuals, readers witness just how far people are willing to go to for another, what sacrifices they are willing to make and what secrets they are able to keep to protect others around them.
Watching the evolution of the relationships in this book, seeing how the power shifted, how things changed, makes for fascinating reading and does have a reader questioning how they might react in those circumstances, something intrinsically vital in Louise’s writing.

Would I recommend Call Me Star Girl? Absolutely! It’s a gripping and thrilling read, one that puts the reader on the edge of their comfort zone and asks for their trust as Louise Beech carefully and expertly leads them into the oft complex and dark world of relationships.

I raise my hat to Louise Beech for another brilliant book and word is that she’s already scribbling furiously on book number six!

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** My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and to Anne at Random Things Tours for my invite to take part in the blog tour **

Description:

From the author of THE UNSEEING comes a sizzling, period novel of folk tales, disappearances and injustice set on the Isle of Skye, sure to appeal to readers of Hannah Kent’s BURIAL RITES or Beth Underdown’s THE WITCH FINDER’S SISTER.

‘A wonderful combination of a thrilling mystery and a perfectly depicted period piece’ Sunday Mirror

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.

My Thoughts:

I love folklore and tales, I love historic fiction and I absolutely love Scottish settings so this book just screamed “read me!” when I found out about it.

Mazzola is adept at spinning a tale that is so wonderfully rich in characters, detail and atmosphere, if you’ve not read any of her books before, I would implore you to do so, they are exceptional!

The use of folklore and island history make for an intriguing thread to the plot, and without a doubt the attitudes and beliefs of those who grew up hearing these tales make for mysterious and exciting reading. But unfortunately for Audrey, gaining the trust of the people on the Isle of Skye proves harder than she might have imagined. Even with her position of collecting the tales, songs and myths on behalf of Miss Buchanan, she still struggles to find acceptance of the local community, relying on good words from servants and suchlike to get her into closed gatherings.

Audrey is an interesting character, who I have to admit to being slightly hesitant about initially. Initially she appeared aloof, closed off, and not someone I could really connect with. However as the story develops, Mazzola slowly brings Audrey’s story out into the open, revealing more about her and giving readers an insight into what drives her, what lead her to the Isle of Skye.

Details are an important part in any historical fiction novel and I have to say that the ones in The Story Keeper are carefully and effectively used. Readers get a clear image of the settings used in this book, the damp, the dark, the cold, the arduous journeys … it’s all so evocative and realistic. The dialogue felt natural and befitting for the period, and so when combined with the brilliantly mysterious plot, this book becomes utterly addictive reading.

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