Posts

Showing posts from September, 2018

Book review: The Lion Tamer Who Lost + competition

Image
By Louise Beech
Published by Orenda Books

Synopsis: Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?

What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

How did this book end up in my hands? I was selected to participate in the blog tour for this book and I happily accepted.

Was it a page-turner? Oh yeah! I couldn’t have turned the pages any faster. This novel is addictive!

Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? My expectations were met and exceeded. The synopsis gave me the basic plot outline but the emotions that the words radiated… oh my, those are difficult to …

In conversation with... Claudia Carroll

Image
Hi Claudia! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Secrets of Primrose Square. Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Of course, and thank you so much for asking me to take part in your blog – I really am delighted! Just to tell you a little about Primrose Square, the book is essentially a number of interwoven stories based on a simple quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. 

‘A woman is like a tea bag. You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.’

So we’ve got Susan,a middle aged woman who’s out of her mind with grief. She spends night after night standing in the pouring rain outside a teenage boy’s bedroom window, determined not to let him forget what he’s put her through. But why? Then we meet Melissa, her twelve year old daughter, desperately trying to keep the show on the road and to keep social workers at bay. Next door to them on Primrose Square is Jayne, a sixty-something super-ager, who finds romance in the most unlikely pla…

Book review: The Faithful + competition

Image
By Juliet West
Published by Mantle

Synopsis: July 1935. In the village of Aldwick on the Sussex coast, sixteen-year-old Hazel faces a long, dull summer with just her self-centred mother Francine for company. But then Francine decamps to London with her lover Charles, Oswald Mosley's blackshirts arrive in Aldwick, and Hazel's summer suddenly becomes more interesting. She finds herself befriended by two very different people: Lucia, an upper-class blackshirt, passionate about the cause; and Tom, a young working-class boy, increasingly scornful of Mosley's rhetoric. In the end, though, it is Tom who wins Hazel's heart - and Hazel who breaks his.

Autumn 1936. Now living in London, Hazel has grown up fast over the past year. But an encounter with Tom sends her into freefall. He must never know why she cut off all contact last summer, betraying the promises they’d made. Yet Hazel isn't the only one with secrets. Nor is she the only one with reason to keep the two of them ap…

In conversation with... Sheena Kamal

Image
Hi Sheena! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of It All Falls Down. Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you for reaching out. It All Falls Down is about a woman’s search for the truth about her father’s death, a search that takes her from the Pacific Northwest to the gritty streets of Detroit. 

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing or did it develop before your eyes as the characters grew on the page and did something that you were not expecting?

A: For the most part, I worked off an outline for this one. There were a few little surprises in there for me, but I largely had it before I went in. 

What kind of research did you have to carry out for this novel? Which aspect of it did you enjoy the most?

A: There was a certain aspect of historical research, which is a plot point in the book, so I won’t reveal too much about it here. Aside from that, I went to Detroit and had the privilege of spending time with an…

Blog tour: The Lion Tamer Who Lost

Image
It is with immense excitement that today I join the blog tour for a novel that I have absolutely adored! 

If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that The Lion Tamer Who Lost has broken my heart. What you might not know is that I would gladly have my heart broken all over again by the story of Ben and Andrew. Again and again and again.

Without further ado, below you can find Chapter 5 of Louise Beech’s wonderful novel – followed by an exclusive commentary by the author herself. How wonderful!


Chapter 5

ENGLAND

Somehow Right


Ben’s mum assured him that there are no wrong words, only the ones we really, actually, truly meant to say. Andrew Fitzgerald, The Lion Tamer Who Lost
Andrew’s reflection was the first part of him that Ben saw. Ben had gone to pay off a library debt, and to start an essay that he wouldn’t look at again for ten weeks – he was heading home from univer-sity for summer the next day. The library was full. But a computer in the far corner was free. As Ben took a seat in front …

Book review: Quietus

Image
By Tristam Palmgren
Published by Angry Robot

Synopsis: Niccolucio, a young Florentine Carthusian monk, leads a devout life until the Black Death kills all of his brothers, leaving him alone and filled with doubt. Habidah, an anthropologist from another universe racked by plague, is overwhelmed by the suffering. Unable to maintain her observer neutrality, she saves Niccolucio from the brink of death.
Habidah discovers that neither her home's plague nor her assignment on Niccolucio's world are as she's been led to believe. Suddenly the pair are drawn into a worlds-spanning conspiracy to topple an empire larger than the human imagination can contain.
How did this book end up in my hands? A friend mentioned a book about an anthropologist from another planet coming to Earth to study the plague. It sounded intriguing but he didn’t remember neither title nor author. Thankfully, there is always someone on Twitter with an answer to all kinds of questions!
Was it a page-turner? Yes, I’d…

In conversation with... Tracy Farr

Image
Hi Tracy! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Hope Fault. Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thanks Silvia! On the surface, The Hope Fault tells the story of an extended family who come together, one rainy midwinter long weekend, to pack up, clean up and clear out their family holiday home now that it’s been sold, and to send the house (and that phase of their lives) off and celebrate with one last party. There’s more to it than that – particularly in the novel’s middle act, which plays with time, and moves away from the family in the house – but the experience of this novel begins and ends with a sense of being part of this odd family, in this odd house, doing the things that families do: eating and drinking, annoying each other, ignoring each other, worrying about each other, arguing and making up, keeping and revealing secrets.

The novel is about the whole idea of home: how we make and unmake and remake a home; and how the notion …

Book review: The Secrets of Primrose Square + competition

Image
By Claudia Carroll
Published by Zaffre

Synopsis: It's late at night and the rain is pouring down on the Dublin city streets. A mother is grieving for her dead child. She stands silently outside the home of the teenage boy she believes responsible. She watches …

In a kitchen on the same square, a girl waits anxiously for her mum to come home. She knows exactly where she is, but she knows she cannot reach her. 

A few doors down, and a widow sits alone in her room. She has just delivered a bombshell to her family during dinner and her life is about to change forever. 

And an aspiring theatre director has just moved in to a flat across the street. Her landlord is absent, but there are already things about him that don't quite add up…

Welcome to Primrose Square.

How did this book end up in my hands? I won a copy of this book ahead of publication day, which made me very happy.

Was it a page-turner? Only work got in the way. I couldn’t wait for my next break to pick up the book again. A good…

In conversation with... Tristan Palmgren

Image
Hi Tristan! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Quietus. Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you, and thank you for having me! QUIETUS is a mashup of historical fiction and space opera, set in Europe during the Black Death. Dr. Habidah Shen, an anthropologist from another universe, has come to ours to find guidance for how her people should react to a plague ravaging her own worlds. When she finds Niccoluccio, a young Carthusian monk and the only survivor of his monastery, she is unable to maintain her neutrality and saves his life. Habidah discovers that neither her home's plague nor her assignment on Niccolucio's world are as she's been led to believe.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing or did it develop before your eyes as the characters grew on the page and did something that you were not expecting?

A: It was a little of both. I outline my novels but, as time goes on and I get more com…