Zodiac Cover Reveal

#Lovebookstours

When investigator Sergiu Manta is handed the investigation into a series of bizarre murders, he can’t sure what he’s getting involved in as he has to work with regular detective Marius Stanescu, who has his own suspicions about the biker he has been told to work with and wants to get to the truth. The twists and turns of their investigation take them from the city of Bucharest to the mountains of rural Romania, and back.

Buy yourself a copy here

Corylus Books

 

Corylus Book is a new venture aiming to publish fiction translated into English. The people behind the company have very different backgrounds, but what brings us together is a deep appreciation of crime fiction and a strong interest in books from countries that so have been under-represented in English.

It took a while before it turned out that everyone’s thoughts had been on similar lines – that we wanted to take a chance on presenting some of the great European crime fiction that wouldn’t normally make its way into English. With a mixture of language, translation and other skills between the four of us, it seemed the logical next step to take.

The first Corylus books are a pair of Romanian crime novellas, Living Candles by Teodora Matei and Zodiac by Anamaria Ionescu.

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There’s more to come in 2020 – starting with Romanian novelist’s Bogdan Teodorescu’s Sword, a powerful political thriller that has already been a bestseller in Romania and in its French translation. Sword will be available in May and will be followed later in the year by the first of two books by Icelandic crime writer Sólveig Pálsdóttir. The Fox will be available in the second half of this year, followed by Shackles in 2021

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Photo by Eddie Edwards on Pexels.com

@ami2ro @CorylusB @Lovebookgroup #Lovebookstours 

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

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In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

What will you find from his story?

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo, is one of the most moving and memorable books I’ve ever read and even though it’s only January, it’s going to be one of my favourite reads of 2020, I can already tell. It gives a voice to the disenfranchised and desolate and allows us a real insight into the many thousands of people across the world who are prepared to lose everything,  flee their homes to seek safety and a better life into the unknown.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo allows us an unforgettable insight into the lives of husband and wife, Nuri and Afra, whilst we see at close hand the devastating impact the war has had on their day to say lives. Aleppo is wonderfully depicted as a place full of people living their lives, busy with art, beekeeping, family life and the stunning setting that they are surrounded by. Nuri is a beekeeper and this motif holds the book together as the way that bees build their communities and the way that we do cannot avoid being compared.  All of their peace, security and love is decimated by the war and the dangerous journey to a place of safety begins.

The unforgettable Sunday Times bestseller

The characters in this book spring to life from the page and remain in your heart long after you’ve finished–  it’s impossible to close the final page of this book and  not feel a strong connection to these characters as you know that all the time you are reading it that there are thousands of Nuri and Afra right now on their own journeys and that even though this book is fictional, it is undoubtedly full of real stories that are still happening.  The power of the narrative with its simple lyrical words to convey such powerful truths is an important part of why this novel has stuck with me and why I really think that you should read it too. The book it reminds me of in terms of my engagement with it is The Kite Runner and just like that book, these characters are very much still alive in my mind and I can’t forget their emotional as well as their literal journey.

This is an important read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. A powerful insight into the reasons why people give up everything and set off into the unknown. Atticus Finch says that you can never understand a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes and I urge you to walk these miles with Nuri and Afra.

Heather Morris

Buy yourself a copy here

A redemptive tale of hope in the midst of shocking adversity, Irish Independent

A book of darkness and light, of horrors and hope, and of the true power of the human spirit, Culturefly

Christy Lefteri has crafted a beautiful novel, intelligent, thoughtful, and relevant. I’m recommending this book to everyone I care about. So, I’m recommending this book to you, Benjamin Zephaniah

Heartbreaking at times, this story of fear, loss and survival gives an emotionally charged insight into what life is like for refugees facing the depravity of predators and needing the compassion of strangers, Candis Magazine

she has created a convincing and harrowing novel about the will to survive- and the enduring power of loveSunday Mirror

Writer On The Shelf

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Brought up in London, Christy Lefteri is the child of Cypriot refugees. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Brunel University. The Beekeeper of Aleppo was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a Unicef supported refugee centre in Athens.

Wild Spinning Girls Blogtour

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If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.

And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left…

It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.

If you love a historical epic, then Wild Spinning Girls might be your new favourite read. I love books that carry me across time, weaving skilfully between the past and the present and Carol Lovekin manages this superbly, leading us between the past and present of Ty’r Cwmwl and allowing yourself to immerse yourself in the history and present day intrigues of the House of Clouds

I love books that transport me in time and place and I read this during the turbulent stormy weather that we’ve just had across our half term break – totally losing myself in the welsh scenery as Carol Lovekin’s fantastic sense of place is so deftly realised in this immersive read.

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But even beautiful Ty’r Cwmwl is no refuge from the past and now in the present day, Ida has to face up to things that she might prefer to forget. Her new tenant – Heather Esyllt Morgan is a wonderfully realised character and you will feel like you are there with them as they circle one another in this  battle for possession of their domain.

This book is set in two very diverting periods and I felt that they were both drawn with equal attention to detail and I happily moved between them in the novel.  I really enjoy it when books let me see  historical periods through the eyes of the same characters and the fact that we see Ty’r Cwmwl from several different perspectives was fascinating and really kept me engrossed.

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Wild Spinning Girls opens with Ida travelling back to Wales and into her family’s past after the loss of her parents.  Their complicated relationship means that it is never straightforward for her to come face to face with things tat take her back and confront her with things which happened so long ago.  But as Ida discovers, sometimes the past refuses to be neatly laid to rest.

Each of the succeeding episodes in the novel drip freed us more information about  what Ida might have experienced in her youth – and how the past bleeds pervasively and beautifully with the present day – in so many small details in this beautiful and mysterious house. This narrative form was very more-ish and several nights kept me up much later than I’d intended with a real sense of ‘just one more chapter…’ as I was caught up in the house’s history and wondering where exactly its future lay.

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The strong plotting and skilful characterisation combine to draw you into a story bursting with secrets and the stunningly evocative setting – where you could swear that you can hear the candles guttering and the cocks ticking in the hallways for yourself all combine to keep you turning the pages.

I really liked the way that we are left to discover things for ourselves and the novel credits the reader with a bit of intelligence, rather than spelling everything out straight away as we follow events to their evocative and satisfying conclusion. It’s hard to write about Wild Spinning Girls with no spoilers, but I’ve tried really hard as this is a book that you really need to experience for yourself.

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If you like beautifully written and evocative fiction , you’ll love this book and I know that my mum’s definitely going to be pinching it from me for her holidays. I’d like to thank Random Things Tours & Anne Cater herself for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a fantastically enticing Spring read that will be hard to tear yourself way from once you get started.

Buy yourself a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

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Carol Lovekin is the author of three novels published by Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press. She writes about mother/daughter relationships, family dynamics & her stories are rooted in the Welsh landscape. They touch on the Welsh Gothic & its most powerful motif: the ghost.

Her first novel, Ghostbird (2016) was a Waterstones Wales and Welsh Independent Bookshops Book of the Month, a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2016 & in the same year was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize. Snow Sisters (2017), her second novel, was chosen by the Welsh Books Council as their October Book of the Month (for independent shops.) Her third novel, Wild Spinning Girls is available now. 

 

Twitter: @carollovekin

Facebook :  Carol-Lovekin

Website : carollovekinauthor.com

The Snakes Blog Tour

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Family secrets can be deadly…

Newly-weds Dan and Bea decide to escape London. Driving through France in their beaten-up car they anticipate a long lazy summer, worlds away from their ordinary lives.

But their idyll cannot last. Stopping off to see Bea’s brother at his crumbling hotel, the trio are joined unexpectedly by Bea’s ultra-wealthy parents. Dan has never understood Bea’s deep discomfort around them but living together in such close proximity he begins to sense something is very wrong.

Just as tensions reach breaking point, brutal tragedy strikes, exposing decades of secrets and silence that threaten to destroy them all.

Bea and Dan are living in the first flush of married life together at the outset of this compelling and memorable read.  Dan is living a double life – he’s struggling artist who’s working as an estate agent whilst Bea is a hardworking and dedicated psychotherapist. They make do, living in a tiny London flat – cutting their coat to suit their cloth – without much spare cash.

Their only buffer to hardship is ‘The Cushion’ – their sacred savings account that they can comfort themselves with when things get tough.  After Bea’s unpleasant incident in the local charity shop and sensing Dan’s rising unhappiness at work, they decide to use some of the cushion to go travelling. They buy a decrepit old banger and set off on a roadtrip to France – deciding to begin their travels by dropping in to stay with Bea’s brother Alex in Burgundy.

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The hotel – and Alex – are not quite what Dan was expecting. The hotel has seen a better day and Alex seems distracted an more than a little odd.  There seem to be no other guests in sight and – terrifyingly – there is a nest of snakes in the attic above their heads.  Griff and Liv, Bea’s parents turn up for an unannounced visit and things slowly begin to unravel in a very disconcerting and slow motion sense of dread way.

Dan comes to a dawning realisation that Bea’s distance from her family – which is something he has never really questioned – has kept quite a lot from him. One thing that she’s never shared at all is how absolutely stinking rich they are. He is faced with their unutterable wealth in glorious technicolour almost as soon as they arrive. Their vileness comes to light in every sense when a tragedy occurs and their dream trip takes on the colours of a nightmare and everything starts to unravel before their eyes…

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Sadie Jones has created a really memorable couple in Be and Dan. The seem so well-matched and happy at the start of the novel but there is a catch. As we read in The Canterbury Tales ‘Radix Malorum est Cupiditas’  – the love of money is indeed the root of all evil. And wealth keeps recurring in this cleverly constructed read, even when some of the characters try to avert their eyes from it.  Bea, in rejecting her family wealth, has decided to strive for a ‘real’ life away from the taint of wealth – but Dan finds it harder to turn his back from the lure of gold once he’s glimpsed its shiny promise and that’s where everything begins to become unstuck.

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This truly is a stunning read, but that doesn’t make it an easy one either. I think the twists and turns of the snakes overhead, mirror the sinuous and unsettling atmosphere of this book – and I just couldn’t get enough of it.  Dan, Bea and her family are vividly captured by Sadie Frost and you truly feel like you’ve lived through these events alongside them. The parents are some of the most ghastly fictional characters that I’ve met this year and felt like real people that you might have met – and perhaps even wish you hadn’t…

The Snakes rises to a chilling and shockingly memorable crescendo. That way where you can’t lift your eyes from the page as it’s so compellingly awful. The feeling of mounting dread stays with you until you reach an ending that will definitely leave you feeling dumbstruck. Truth be told, It was one of those endings that leaves you not really able to speak about it or process it fully for a good half an hour. This is definitely a book that stays with you for a very long time after you’ve read it. It’s by no means an easy read, but it’s all the better for that. It’s haunting and horrifying in the best possible way – because it’s profoundly real rather than other-worldly and its awfulness is all rooted in the terrible things that human beings rather than supernatural beings are capable of.

The Snakes, Sadie Jones, The Outcast

A five star read that’s perfect for a dreich winter afternoon. Get the fire lit, pour yourself a gin and get stuck in. I can’t wait for my sister to finish it so that we can mull it over together. Treat yourself to a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

Sadie Jones

Sadie Jones  is a screenwriter and a #1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Her first novel, The Outcast won the Costa First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Sadie also wrote: Small Wars (2009), The Uninvited Guests (2012) and Fallout (2014). Her fifth novel, The Snakes, was listed as ‘March book of the month’ in The Bookseller.

A Curious History of Sex

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This is not a comprehensive study of every sexual quirk, kink and ritual across all cultures throughout time, as that would entail writing an encyclopaedia. Rather, this is a drop in the ocean, a paddle in the shallow end of sex history, but I hope you will get pleasantly wet nonetheless.

The act of sex has not changed since people first worked out what went where, but the ways in which society dictates how sex is culturally understood and performed have varied significantly through the ages. Humans are the only creatures that stigmatise particular sexual practices, and sex remains a deeply divisive issue around the world. Attitudes will change and grow hopefully for the better but sex will never be free of stigma or shame unless we acknowledge where it has come from.

Based on the popular research project Whores of Yore, and written with her distinctive humour and wit, A Curious History of Sex draws upon Dr Kate Lister s extensive knowledge of sex history. From medieval impotence tests to twentieth-century testicle thefts, from the erotic frescoes of Pompeii, to modern-day sex doll brothels, Kate unashamedly roots around in the pants of history, debunking myths, challenging stereotypes and generally getting her hands dirty.

This fascinating book is peppered with surprising and informative historical slang, and illustrated with eye-opening, toe-curling and meticulously sourced images from the past.

You will laugh, you will wince and you will wonder just how much has actually changed.

If you think you are totally unshockable, then this is the book for you. Not in a maiden aunt way, but you’ll be shocked at how much your 21st century attitude to sex seems positively stuffy and old fashioned compared to the libidinous and licentious romps of the past.

The book is set out in fascinating sections that provide you with much for for thought as you learn to open up your mind and realise that our forefathers were much more open minded and frisky than you ever could have imagined.

The accompanying photos add much to the conversation and I was struck by how modern some of them felt. It was really interesting to consider how much attitudes towards sex have fluctuated and changed over the years, particularly regarding same sex relationships and what people find erotic. This is a book you can dip into and will want to read aloud to people at many points as some of the stories and anecdotes are just SO fascinating. Maybe not one for reading aloud on the train tho!

I love reviewing non fiction and I’ve been sent some amazing non fiction reads on eclectic subjects from earthquakes to serial killers – but I do have to say I found this one of the most fascinating and informative books of them all.

I recommend this book to people who love delving back into the past and finding out things that both surprise and delight them. If you follow Whores of Yore on Twitter, then you’ll bloody love this book, and if you don’t already, then you definitely should!

Treat yourself to a copy here and enjoy a slice of Kate Lister’s fun, frisky and fabulous read for yourself. It’s totally unputownable and will educate as much as it entertains. A five star February read for those who like a bit of edification with their slap and tickle.

The Only Living Witness – Blog Tour

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Charismatic. Articulate. Evil. Killer.

Two journalists with unprecedented direct access speak to Ted Bundy and those closest to him – friends and family.

What follows is a candid and chilling full account of the life and crimes of the most notorious serial killer in history.

What Bundy had to say in over 150 hours of face-to-face interviews is as relevant today as it was at the time.

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of true crime and true crime podcasts too – and this book feels like the very best of them. 

This is SUCH a topical read as – unless you’ve been living under a stone – you can’t have missed the massive online interest in Ted Bundy over the last 18 months. Between the Netflix series, newspaper articles and the controversial casting of heartthrob Zac Efron as the charismatic killer, he’s literally been everywhere.

That’s why I was so excited to be contacted by Mel from Mirror books and asked to review this non-fiction book, revealing him from the perspectives of those closest yo him, I literally bit her hand off – and I was definitely not disappointed…

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Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought-provoking, this is a totally unforgettable read, taking you to places you will never, ever forget. I adored Anne Rule’s – The Stranger Beside Me – and this is a fantastic companion to Anne’s story as it goes into the perspectives of those people around him, who really knew him and it’s the closest you’ll ever get to spending time with him – with the added bonus of being far less dangerous too.

 

After receiving this in the post,  I could not wait to dive in after enjoying the Netflix production so much. These writers have a real talent for grabbing you by the lapels and pulling you right into Ted’s story and I literally barely looked up until I’d turned the final page.

I’m a real true-crime junkie and Ted’s tale definitely filled the gap that Cold, Swindled and Bear Brooks have left in my life. I have always been intrigued by Ted’s ‘charismatic psychopath’ reputation and this book lets you meet him and decide for yourself what you think of him.  I really felt like I’d come to know him by the final page and although I’m firmly convinced that he was totally psychopathic, I am glad that I wasn’t one of the people who were manipulated and deceived by his abundant charm  I can’t wait to have a good chat with someone else who’s read this book so that we can mull over it together and talk about what a fantastic insight it is to a compelling and disturbing character.

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The fact that this is such a topical read also got me really excited as I thought about the fact that once I finished it, I could re-watch the Netflix series as I really can’t emphasise how much I was fascinated and compelled by this book.  I can’t wait to see how he comes across in the fictional representation as well as the Netflix show and I am really looking forward to comparing notes with my sister – another person who’s fascinated by Bundy’s story and his reign of terror. If you loved the whole Bundy story – you absolutely HAVE to read this book, it’s a whole new insight into the person you thought you knew…

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Ted Bundy is a character that is hard to forget – even though on a conscious level I know that he is an evil and disturbed man, I absolutely love the way that these perspectives allow us to see parts of him we have never formerly had access to – and that in itself is totally fascinating to me.  As I’ve said, I am a huge fan of  True crime and loved the way that Ted feels absolutely real in every way throughout this book – so much so that I almost feel like I am ‘hearing’ the book that I’m reading like  I’m there listening to these people tell me about Ted– it really is so  skilfully written

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There is enough room for us to ask ourselves questions about what version of Ted we might have met and why that makes this book such an involving and ultimately rewarding experience.  I found myself genuinely being convinced to see things from a constantly shifting perspective as we heard so many different and intriguing perspectives and I just could not stop turning the pages…

I’d like to thank the lovely Mel for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, it is always such a privilege to shout about books that I’ve really enjoyed reading – and I think that you can definitely tell from this review that this was both a compelling and fascinating read and one that I absolutely recommend for anyone who wants to get right to the heart of Bundy’s story and hear from the notorious killer himself.

Check out the rest of the Mirror Books and see what other fantastic reads are on offer and coming up soon – there are so many good ones to choose from!

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Beast Matt Wesolowski – Orenda Blog Tour

 

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Continuing the unique, explosive Six Stories series, based around six podcasts comes a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention. Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return …

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East ’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged cult, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, and the tragic and chilling legend of the Ergarth Vampire …

If I were to tell you that I was over the moon to be receiving the next installment of #SixStories it’d seriously be a huge understatement. I absolutely loved this original and compelling series and Beast was every bit as gripping as the previous books and absolutely lived up to my level of anticipation. Matt Weslowski has a remarkable and sustained talent for grabbing you by the lapels and pulling you right into the middle of each of these fascinating tales and I barely looked up until I’d turned the final page.

I love the way that Matt’s books give us a diverse range of voices so that we build up a steady accumulation of detail, just like you would in real life. I’m a real true-crime junkie and this definitely filled the gap that #Mindhunter and #TheClearing have left in my life. Scott is such a fantastic character that you really feel comes alive as he uncovers more and more details about this story.  In the same way that I felt a strong connection with Adnan after reading Serial, I really felt like I’d come to know these characters by the final page and although I’m firmly committed to my ‘No Spoilers’ rule, I can’t wait to have a good chat with someone else who’s read Beast so that we can mull over it together and talk about what a fantastic creation it is.

It’s even the kind of book that is a physical pleasure to read – the strikingly beautiful design means that Beast appeals to all of your senses at once – it’s not just the story that made me love it so much but the book as an actual physical object. Just look how beautiful it is – I mean, these are the kind of book covers that you’d want to frame as a set, they’re so stunning. And the writing itself is just as memorable and striking as that cover…

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Opening up a new ‘Episode’ of Six Stories also got me really excited and I really can’t emphasise how much I loved this dark and delicious read. The quotes on the cover are definitely not hyperbole as terrifying is not the word for some parts of this book. The fact that my new house is in the middle of a wood meant that some nights, I was actually considering sleeping with the light on as the part I’d just read had given me the absolute shivers.

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Scott King is a fantastic character – even though on a conscious level I know that he is a device to keep the story going and to stitch all of the interviewees’ perspectives together I absolutely love the way that his questions coax the truth/s out of his interviewees. I am a huge fan of podcasts in general and particularly true crime and murder podcasts. Six Stories feels absolutely real in every way and I almost feel like I am ‘hearing’ the book that I’m reading like a podcast in the night – it really is so evocative – and several ‘episodes’ in, I’m no less fascinated to see where each tale will take me.

I also liked the way that like the very best True Crime podcasts – Weslowski allows space for our own feelings and responses. The young people of Ergarth’s actions are not tied up in a neat little package with the ‘why’ on top tied up with a pretty pink bow. There is enough room for us to ask ourselves questions about how we’d behave in similar circumstances and why that makes Beast such an involving and ultimately rewarding experience.  I found myself genuinely being convinced to see things from a constantly shifting perspective as the novel bore me towards the conclusion and this was a rollercoaster ride that I definitely didn’t want to get off…

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This book has a little bit of everything – mystery, social commentary, a ‘true crime’ feel, a fresh and captivating narrative structure, credible characters and a real sense of chill and menace.

As you can probably tell, I loved Beast every bit as much as Matt’s previous books and have urged almost everyone I know to buy it after reading it. It is a book that you’ll want to pass on to other people so that they’ll have had the same experience you did, reading it for the first time. If you haven’t read any Matt Weslowski before – First of all, why NOT? And secondly, make sure you check him out as he could be your favourite new writer. Buy Beast here so that you can find out how brilliant it is for yourself

I’d like to thank the lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, it was such a privilege to spread the book love for a book that I loved reading so much. Karen from Orenda told me herself about hearing Matt’s pitch for the first time and yet again, her unerring feel for discovering unmissable writing talent hits the bullseye.

I bloody love this whole series and cannot recommend it enough. Get out there and experience it for yourself as soon as you can!

 

Writer On The Shelf

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care.

Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie CreatureSelfies from the End of the WorldCold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013.

Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller. Changeling, book three in the series, was published in 2019.

Twitter: @ConcreteKraken
Facebook: @Matt-Wesolowski
Instagram: @MattJWesolowski
Website: https://mjwesolowskiauthor.wordpress.com

The Year Without Summer #RandomThingsTours

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1815, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia

Mount Tambora explodes in a cataclysmic eruption, killing thousands. Sent to investigate, ship surgeon Henry Hogg can barely believe his eyes. Once a paradise, the island is now solid ash, the surrounding sea turned to stone. But worse is yet to come: as the ash cloud rises and covers the sun, the seasons will fail.
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In Switzerland, Mary Shelley finds dark inspiration. Confined inside by the unseasonable weather, thousands of famine refugees stream past her door. In Vermont, preacher Charles Whitlock begs his followers to keep faith as drought dries their wells and their livestock starve.
In Suffolk, the ambitious and lovesick painter John Constable struggles to reconcile the idyllic England he paints with the misery that surrounds him. In the Fens, farm labourer Sarah Hobbs has had enough of going hungry while the farmers flaunt their wealth. And Hope Peter, returned from the Napoleonic wars, finds his family home demolished and a fence gone up in its place.
He flees to London, where he falls in with a group of revolutionaries who speak of a better life, whatever the cost. As desperation sets in, Britain becomes beset by riots – rebellion is in the air.
The Year Without Summer is the story of the books written, the art made; of the journeys taken, of the love longed for and the lives lost during that fateful year. Six separate lives, connected only by an event many thousands of miles away. Few had heard of Tambora – but none could escape its effects.
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I’d like to thank Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and introducing me to a new writer to enjoy during these cold wintry evenings

The fact that this novel is rooted in fact really adds to the reading experience and introduced me to another historical period and set of characters that I didn’t know that much about and left me feeling intrigued and desperate to go and find out more about the events of 1816 for myself

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I love investigating the real history and characters found in the books I’m reading and Guinevere Glassford does an amazing job of transporting you back in time and reliving this turbulent and fascinating part of history, told from the perspective of Henry whose voice gives us a fascinating insight into his experiences and allows us to travel back in time with him and witness these events unfolding – as well as getting the wider impact of these changes from some very famous contemporaries indeed…

 

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This is a really engrossing read. Glasford has an excellent mixture of characters in this novel, from the famous characters above, to some much more ordinary folk – which really shows the reader that these turbulent events had an impact on life whoever you were and whatever your situation, providing much food for thought about human rights, independence and morality during this period for a 21st-century readership. Like her previous novel, The Words in my Hand, you start to forget that you’re reading a novel based on real events and start to feel like you have been transported back to this time and are living through this period alongside Henry, Sarah, Hope and the others.

 

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I think that Glasford is just as skilful in writing about domestic matters as she is about the history or the politics at this time and the way that the impact of these events was so vividly depicted was a real strength of this novel. And as usual, I spent a lot of time online after finishing it, looking up Mary Shelley and falling into a bit of a rabbit hole as she was SUCH a fascinating character in her own right…

 

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Fans of Guinevere Glasford will love this beautifully written novel and I hope that it also brings her new readers who love period fiction and strongly written literary narratives. I really enjoyed this journey to 1816 and heartily recommend that you too delve into this fascinating period in British history and find out more about it for yourself.

Buy yourself a copyhere

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‘SUPERB…BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN…UNFORGETTABLE’ FT Weekend
‘SKILFUL’ Sunday Times ‘RICH, INTRICATE, IMPRESSIVELY REALISED’ Observer
‘VIVID, VIBRANT, HARD TO PUT DOWN’ Hilary Spurling
‘INGENIOUS AND ABSORBING’ Kirsty Wark ‘ASTONISHING, RIVETING, MASTERFUL,
POETIC’ Emily Rapp Black ‘A WORLDWIDE CANVAS BROUGHT TO LIFE IN VIVID,
HEARTBREAKING DETAIL’ Marianne Kavanagh

Writer On The Shelf

Guinevere Glasfurd was born in Lancaster and lives near Cambridge with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, The Words in My Hand, was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa First Novel Award and Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and was longlisted in France for the Prix du Roman FNAC. The Year Without Summer was written with support from the MacDowell Colony Foundation. Awarded grants from the Arts Council England and the British Council for her novels, her writing has also appeared in the Scotsman, Mslexia and The National Galleries of Scotland. She is currently working on her third novel, a story of the Enlightenment, set in eighteenth-century England and France.

Why don’t you get a ticket for the Book Tour, if you fancy hearing more about this fantastic read? Coming to a Bookshop near you…

The 24 Hour Cafe blog tour

 

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Welcome to the café that never sleeps.

Day and night, Stella’s Café opens its doors to the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It’s a place where everyone is always welcome, where life can wait at the door.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They love working at Stella’s – the different people they meet, the small kindnesses exchanged. But is it time to step outside and make their own way in life?

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café, where one day might just be enough to change your life . . .

Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of The 24 Hour Cafe and it’s an actual tour today because I’m posting this from gorgeous Edinburgh this morning today. It’s wonderful to be writing about the pleasure of spending time in a gorgeous cafe when you’re sitting in one yourself – and this fantastic read will definitely have you wishing that you were joining me for a cuppa and catchup on Victoria Street this afternoon

photography of brown building during daytime

 

I absolutely loved this book. It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely draw you into its community and make you feel part of Hannah and Mona’s word as they join together to embark upon some life altering decisions…

Hannah was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. When you have a dream and a friend to share your passion with, then anything seems possible, it’s an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you will have had that feeling when you wonder what would happen if you really went for it and followed your dreams.

The way that the two friends connect through their common love of watching their customers at Stella’s as they pursue their own ambitions makes for great reading and the individual customers’ stories is again one of the highlights of this book. Libby Page has unparalleled people watching skills and the people she brings to life through her novels are definitely three dimensional characters who you’ll see right in front of your eyes whilst you’re reading.

The 24-Hour Cafe, Libby Page, The Lido, Sunday Times Bestseller, contemporary fiction

Hannah’s friendship with aspiring dancer Mona is one of the best things about this book as the two girls really did feel like people you know. You really feel their relationship bloom – drawn together by a common goal and both believing passionately that it’s okay to have a big dream and that you should never give up on making it a reality. The girls’ views of the characters that come into Stella’s every day are presented as hourly stories that really let you have a fly on the wall perspective that make the whole bunch of them seem even more interesting and you will finish the book feeling like they’ve been your regulars too..

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Libby Page wrote this book from the heart, and it shows.  It presents a picture of the places we come together in our communities and the people who love them.  I was so heartened to hear that The Lido has been optioned and will be headed for our screens in the future and I really hope the same goes for this sequel.

I can’t wait to see who will be cast as Mona and Hannah. I spent the first half of this book being pretty sure about how it would wrap up and the second half not wanting it to end and being surprised – and not a little emotional – by its conclusion. Buy yourself a copy here

I didn’t think I could love it as much as The Lido, but I’m happy to be proved wrong and am recommending this warm, feel-good read to just about everyone! Thank you to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me onto the blog tour.

Make sure you go back and check out all the rest of these fab bloggers and their reviews!

 

The 24-Hour Cafe, Libby Page, The Lido, Sunday Times Bestseller, contemporary fiction

For anyone who has ever sat sipping coffee at a table in a busy coffee and wondered about the lives of those coming in and out this moving and beautifully crafted novel about love, friendship and life is for you. Mike Gayle, author of HALF A WORLD AWAY


Like a warm hug, Stella’s Cafe draws you in and leaves you feeling that much lighter. — Jade Craddock, THE SUN

Heartwarming and stirring, this is one you’ll want to savour. ‘READ OF THE WEEK’, HEAT MAGAZINE

A warmhearted read from the author of bestselling novel The Lido… Libby has a great gift for writing characters you really root for. — Joanne Finney, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

Feel-good, examining the power of making connections and the unexpected paths life can lead you down., PLATINUM

The writing is lovely, as is the impression of the restless city and all the people it contains., DAILY MAIL

Captivating… Feelgood fiction at its best., DAILY MIRROR

Writer On The Shelf

 

Image result for libby page 24 hour Page is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Lido and The 24-Hour Café.

Before writing The Lido Libby worked as a campaigner for fairer internships, a journalist at the Guardian and a Brand Executive at a retailer and then a charity. You can find her on social media at @libbypagewrites. She also shares her swimming adventures on Instagram with her sister Alex at @theswimmingsisters.

You can follow her on Twitter on Instagram and on her website