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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

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:

Print

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.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour:

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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.

 

Follow the blog tour:

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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

 

Follow the blog tour:

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cover

Published: 1 September 2017

 

Description:

One mistake could change your life forever.

Tara has it all. Married and about to move into her dream home, she can’t explain why she is tempted by one last fling with her ex before she settles down.

David would do anything for Tara. So when he finds her with another man, his world starts to crumble around him.

Ryan isn’t prepared for the punch David throws at him. Stumbling, he slips over the balcony and falls three storeys to the patio below.

In one split second a man will be killed. In one split second David and Tara’s life will change forever.

How far would you go to save everything you have?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

S.D. Monaghan is a new author for me, and when you hear great buzz about an author and their book from trusted bookworms you just know you have to check it out!  Thankfully the wonderful folks at Bookouture (Noelle and Kim) were running a blog blitz for this book and were kind enough to give me the opportunity to read an early copy.

With such an impressive opening, readers will be going into this book holding their breath in anticipation of what lies ahead.  Without rehashing the plot I will say that this is an interesting idea for a book, the two main characters David and Tara moving into their dream home, happily married and their first child on the way – sounds like something that would feature at the end of a Disney film with the tag line “And they lived happily ever after”…. but one decision changes this idyllic scene into something from a nightmare.
Although the pace is initially quite slow, this is necessary to build the tension and give the reader a chance to find out more about David and Tara, explore their histories and generally set the scene for this psychological thriller.
Once the pace picks up this does turn into one of those books you don’t want to put down, you end up reading “just another chapter” and before you know it, it’s 3 in the morning and you’ve to get up at 7.

The style of writing is enjoyable to read, and I did enjoy that some chapters were left with a bit of a cliffhanger, making me need to read on to find out what happened next.  Whilst neither of the main characters were particularly likeable, I think that this worked well with this plot.  Something about less than favourable characters woven together with a twisted and complex plot makes for quite a satisfying read.

I can’t wait to see what S.D. Monaghan writes next!

 

You can buy a copy of “The Accident” via:

Amazon UK
Amazon US 

 

My thanks to Noelle and Kim at Bookouture for the chance to read an early copy of this and for inviting me to be part of the blog blitz.

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