blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Who We Were – B.M. Carroll*

If you looked the other way, should you be punished?

Twenty years after they went their separate ways, friends and enemies are coming together for their school reunion. Katy, who is desperate to show that she’s no longer the shy wallflower. Annabel, who ruled the school until a spectacular fall from grace. Zach, popular and cruel, but who says he’s a changed man. And Robbie, always the victim, who never stood a chance.

As the reunion nears, a terrible event that binds the group together will resurface. Because someone is still holding a grudge, and will stop at nothing to reveal their darkest secrets…

My thoughts:

This was a juicy thriller, with people’s terrible secrets popping up all over, threatening the images they’ve chosen to present to the world.

High school for some is the high point of their lives – a sad fact, but often very true. For some of the characters in this story it’s also very much the case that they’re hanging onto who they used to be in the face of their disappointment at who they are now.

Cleverly plotted and suitably twisted, this book reminds you it’s not always a good idea to look back.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Creak on the Stairs – Eva Björg Ægisdottir*

The first in the electrifying new Forbidden Iceland series, The Creak on the Stairs is an exquisitely written, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric debut thriller by one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents.

When the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area. Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day…

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel.

Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland. Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel.The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller.

Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.

My thoughts:

What starts as a fairly straightforward police procedural develops into a complex and knotty plot, moving back and forth between the present and thirty years before as the detectives attempt to unravel the mystery of who would want this apparently unassuming woman dead and why.

Small towns hold many secrets and people have long memories, some with more to lose than others. As Elma and her team travel back in time and try to extract information from some very tight lipped people, they discover a tragic history, the kind you never really let go of.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Saracen’s Mark – S.W. Perry*

The third instalment of The Jackdaw Mysteries. A tale of conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London and dazzling Marrakesh.

Betrayal has many guises…

London, 1593: Five years on from the Armada and England is taking its first faltering steps towards a future as a global power. Nicholas Shelby – reluctant spy and maverick physician – and his companion Bianca Merton are settling into a life on Bankside. But in London there is always a plot afoot…

Robert Cecil, the Queen’s spymaster, once again recruits Nicholas to embark on a dangerous undercover mission that will take him to the back alleys of Marrakech in search of a missing informer. However, while Nicholas hunts for the truth across the seas, plague returns once more to London – ravaging the streets and threatening those dearest to him.

Can Bianca and Nicholas’ budding relationship weather the threats of pestilence and conspiracy? And will Nicholas survive the dangers of his mission in a hostile city to return safely home?

S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. His debut novel, The Angel’s Mark, was listed for the CWA Historical Dagger and was a Walter Scott Prize Academy Recommended Read 2019. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife.

My thoughts:

This series just gets better and better. This time Nick is off to Marrakech on the service of the Cecils but closer to home conspiracy threatens Bianca and the Jackdaw crew and plague looms.

It was fascinating to read, especially the Marrakech episodes which remind me yet again of how backward a lot of Western thinking has been – if only we’d spent more time studying the advances of the Arab world than the Greco-Roman ones, maybe it wouldn’t have taken so long for women to become doctors and for hygiene to be recognised as vital to recovery.

Sorry, rant over.

Clever writing, a real sense of time and space (Bankside really comes alive), engaging characters and sophisticated plotting make this the best yet.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Secrets of Sunshine – Phaedra Patrick*

Mitchell Fisher has said a firm goodbye to romance. He relishes his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to his hometown’s famous ‘love story’ bridge. Only his young daughter Poppy knows that behind his prickly veneer, Mitchell is deeply lonely – and he still grieves the loss of Poppy’s mother.

Then one hot summer’s day, everything changes when Mitchell bravely rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but then she disappears. Desperate to find the mysterious woman, Mitchell teams up with her spirited sister Liza to see if she’s left any clues behind. There’s just one – a secret message on the padlock she left on love story bridge…

My thoughts:

This is a heartwarming slow burn love story. Mitchell is still all tangled up in his head with his late partner, mother of his daughter Poppy. His job in bridge maintenance means destroying other people’s love stories by removing their locks from the town’s bridges.

Mitchell is a good man, he dives into the river to save a woman, and then tries to help her sister find her. He’s made mistakes in the past and is determined to be a better man.

His relationship with Poppy is delightful, she’s the huge heart of this book, and the stumbling adventures her dad goes on are sweet and gentle.

This is a warm hug of a book and perfect for curling up with on the sofa.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Tour: The Book of Koli – M.R. Carey*

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.
Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.
Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is — what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

My thoughts:

It took me a while to get into this book, the faux naive dialect it’s written in grated at first but once the plot got going and Koli was no longer just explaining things and was actually on his way in the world it definitely improved.

That can be the problem with the first book in a series which has to explain how much has changed from our reality – The Book of Koli is set in a future Earth after nature has revolted against humanity and become murderous, though not quite in a Day of the Triffids way.

It will be interesting to see how the story progresses through the rest of the trilogy.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Carer – Deborah Moggach*

James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands.

But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss.

Then something extraordinary happens which throws everything into new relief, changing all the stories of their childhood – and the father – that they thought they knew so well.

Deborah Moggach, OBE is an English novelist and an award-winning screenwriter. She has written nineteen novels, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever, These Foolish Thing, Heartbreak Hotel and Something to Hide. She lives in London.

My thoughts:

This book did not go where I thought it would, with a heck of a twist, or two, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book where family hides a dozen secrets and revealing them can change everything.

The writing is warm and engaging, the characters realistic and relatable, the plot clever and shows what a skilled writer can do.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Forgotten Sister – Nicola Cornick*

1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn, Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape—one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries…
Present Day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.

My thoughts:

The past and present mirror each other in this fantasy tinged historical novel with a twist.

Lizzie is drawn into the secrets of the Robsart family’s history following the death of her best friend’s estranged wife. Coupled with her own strange gifts, she seeks the truth of Amelia’s tragic death and also that of noble woman Amy Robsart, wife of Elizabeth I’s favourite Lord Dudley.

Mixing historical fact with fiction, Nicola Cornick suggests Lady Dudley’s death was a bit more complicated that history suggests and reflects it down through the ages, until it comes into contact with Lizzie Kingdom.

A clever examination of fame, friendship and family ensues.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.