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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

 

Follow the blog tour:

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The Cardinal's Man

Published 11 July 2017

 

Description:

A SPELLBINDING TALE SET IN CARDINAL RICHELIEU’S FRANCE

With enemies advancing on all sides and Cardinal Richelieu’s health failing, France is at breaking point. Yet salvation may arrive in the most unlikely form…

Born into poverty and with terrible deformities, Sebastian Morra is a dwarf with the wit of Tyrion Lannister and three foot, four inches of brazen pluck. Through a mixture of brains and luck, he has travelled far from his village to become a jester at the royal court. And with a talent for making enemies, he is soon drawn into the twilight world of Cardinal Richelieu, where he discovers he might just be the only man with the talents to save France from her deadliest foes.

My Thoughts & Review:

Historical fiction is a genre that I slip in and out of easily, and sometimes depending on my mood, it can be the only thing I want to read.  From the moment I read the book description my interest was piqued, however with little knowledge of Game of Thrones, the Tyrion Lannister reference was a little lost on me.

Set during the times of The Thirty Years’ War in France, the author lays out the foundations of a very well written debut with great detail.  The wonderful use of atmospheric descriptions for the locations evoke a wonderful sense of the period.  And it is clear from the depth of the writing that the author has done his research, yet he still manages to keep the writing light and entertaining in places.  Sebastian Morra is an fascinating character, he oozes wit and charm but there is a considerable wealth of knowledge hidden behind this.  Being born with dwarfism, his career choices are limited.  From playing jester in Louis XIII court he becomes a spy for Cardinal Richelieu in order to gain the notorious Cardinal’s protection after making one too enemies at Court.

Despite being set in an era I’m not overly familiar with, I still managed to pick up on the tensions that would later escalate to the troubles of the French Revolution.  But unfortunately this book just didn’t grab me as I’d hoped it might.  An interesting read and for the most part enjoyable just perhaps not my era.

 

You can buy a copy of The Cardinal’s Man via:
Amazon

Wordery

My thanks to Lina Langlee at Black & White Publishing for the opportunity to read this and to take part in the blog tour.

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Welcome along to my Friday post to celebrate Indie Publishing!  Today I am delighted to bring you a wonderful book from Black & White Publishing and share my review The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin.


Book Feature:

Published: 4 July 2017

Description:511muvjzs5l-_sy346_

Connie Carter has lost everybody and everything dear to her. To help nurse her grieving heart and to try and find answers, she moves from her home in America to Ludlow Hall, deep in the Irish countryside. All she knows about Ludlow is that her late husband spent all their money on the house – without ever mentioning it to her. Now Connie needs to know why.

At Ludlow Hall, Connie befriends Eve and Hetty and is introduced to the somewhat curious Ludlow Ladies’ Society. But can Connie ever reveal her hurt? And, more importantly, can she ever understand or forgive? As the Ludlow Ladies stitch patchwork memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is a story of friendship, resilience and compassion, and how women support each other through the most difficult times.

My Thoughts & Review:

I was lucky enough to win an early copy of this book through a blog giveaway over on Bleach House Library , pop over and check out Margaret’s reviews sometime.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society sounded like the perfect read to take on holiday with me, the sort of thing that I could pick up and put down (if I had to) and generally sounded like a nice change of pace from my usual crime reads.  But when I started reading this book I realised I had underestimated the pull it would have on me.  Soon I was caught up in the stories of these women, invested in each of their heartbreaking tales of hardship and struggles and feeling so connected with this book.  Various of the members of the Ludlow Ladies’ Society has a secret hidden in their past that they’ve tried to overcome, or have kept hidden for one reason or another.  Ann O’Loughlin carefully lays bare each of their pasts, shares their dark secrets and allows the reader to come to terms with the deep sadness that each of these women has endured.  Whilst I found some of the tales saddening, I also felt pride that the women reached forms of closure in order to move on.

The way the sewing group is woven through the book is wonderful, this community of women supporting each other and their friendships and loyalty keeping each other going at times of hardship.  The idea that they create memory quilts to commemorate events in their village or the people within it is a lovely one, but some of the memories unearthed are not the most pleasant.  The ladies decide to create quilts for the exhibition in the town hall with the first prize being the chance to meet Michelle Obama and show their exhibits at a special show.  The emails that are interspersed throughout the narrative with the progress of the group and their task make for some brilliantly funny reading, the chairwoman, Kathryn Rodgers comes across as trying to be professional but failing slightly in her attempts which just makes this even funnier.

On the whole, I found this to be a very enjoyable read and found I was reaching for the tissues occasionally (honest it was my hayfever!), it is a story rife with emotion and spirit.  It’s the sort of book you read and find you’ve become invested in the characters, you begin to care what happens to them and care about what has happened to them.  When an author can evoke this level of emotion and attachment from the reader then  you just know the book is a special one, I will be sure to look out for more books by this author as I enjoyed her style of writing.

You can buy a copy of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society  via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to Margaret Madden at Bleach House Library and Lina Langlee at Black & White Publishing for the opportunity to read an early copy of this.


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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page.

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summoning-the-dead-cover

Published: 6 October 2016
Reviewed: 24 November 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by author in return for an honest review

 

Description:

“We have a dead child, and a crime scene that has been remarkably well kept for us.”

A young child lies mummified in a barrel. His hands, cable-tied, appear to be locked in prayer. As forensic officers remove the boy they are in for an even bigger shock – he is not alone.

With his near-fatal stabbing almost a memory, DI Bob Valentine is settling back into life on the force but he knows nothing will ever be the same. Haunted by unearthly visions that appear like waking dreams, he soon understands he is being inducted into one of Scotland’s darkest secrets.

When the boy in the barrel is identified as a missing child from the 1980s, it re-opens a cold case that was previously thought unsolvable. When further remains are unearthed, the facts point to a paedophile ring and a political conspiracy that leads all the way to the most hallowed corridors of power.

Summoning the Dead is a fast-moving mystery that eerily mirrors current events, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Angela Marsons and Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I initially started this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, the subject matter didn’t sound like it would be the easiest book to read – the death of a child is always a tough topic to read about but I had faith in Tony Black’s abilities as an author and so dipped my toe into the murky abyss that awaited.

Summoning The Dead is actually the third book in the DI Bob Valentine series, but thankfully this can be read without having read the previous books (Artefacts of the Dead and A Taste of Ashes) but after reading this book I will be downloading the other ones on to my kindle asap.  Black ensures that there is enough detail in the book so that a reader can enjoy this without feeling that they have missed salient points from previous stories.

Weaving together stories from present day and from 1980s, the reader is witness to  the investigation into the discovery of a body of a young boy in a barrel which reopens a cold case from over 30 years ago.  But this shock discovery and the subsequent investigation leads to the unearthing of a complex web of child abuse and scandal that beggars belief.

The fact that this book deals with topics such as paedophilia and child abuse make it one that some readers will feel caution towards, however I do believe that Tony Black has written with sensitivity and care.  The plot is otherwise brilliant, it’s intriguing and cleverly twisted so that the reader can try and guess what is happening but does not always manage to second guess the author.

DI Bob Valentine is a wonderful character, and he is developed well throughout this novel.  The descriptions of him form a fantastic mental image, he’s weary from work and home life, he’s recovering from a near fatal stabbing but he’s still determined to solve his cases.  He comes across as a humble man, and he has an ability/gift to connect with the victims of the cases he works on, call it psychic powers, call it old fashioned “copper’s gut instinct”, it makes him a special character that is more connected to the cases he works.  His relationship with DS McCormack is so well played out, there is a great dynamic between the pair.  Her support to him with his gift/ability means he has someone he can speak openly with without fear of seeming foolish.

Short chapters make this a quick read, the writing itself is clever and a joy to read.  The marvellous descriptive nature of the writing really made me feel like I was there in the book, it’s never easy to describe Scottish weather – horizontal rain tends to receive questioning looks but in this book it works well!

I have a bit of a soft spot for tartan noir, and have been a fan of the genre for many years, and I can honestly say that I will be adding Tony Black to the bookcase alongside my prized copies of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid and Ian Rankin’s books.

You can buy a copy of Summoning The Dead here

About the Author:

Tony Black is the author of 13 books, most recently A Taste of Ashes, the second novel in his DI Bob Valentine series. He has been nominated for six CWA Daggers and was runner up in The Guardian’s Not the Booker prize for The Last Tiger.

He has written three crime series, a number of crime novellas and a collection of short stories. His next crime title is DI Bob Valentine 3, Summoning the Dead in summer 2016.

For more information, and the latest news visit his website www.tonyblack.net or follow him on Twitter @TonyblackUk

 

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