Creak On The Stairs Blog Tour

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When a 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.

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of this novel from one of Icelandic fiction’s rising stars, Eva Aegisdottir and would like to thank Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Random Things for the tour invitation otherwise I might never have discovered this original, gripping and unforgettable read. It’s given me yet another reason to thank the good Lord that I discovered Orenda Books and that I’ve been able to sample such a wonderful range of translated fiction through their list!

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If Iceland is only in your mind because of hot springs and wonderful knitwear then you are in for an amazing surprise once you get hooked on its crime fiction. It really is unique in its flavour and once you’ve started, you’ll be totally hooked. Start looking through Orenda’s back catalogue to find other writers that you’ll be as captivated by as Eva. This novel has a very different feel than some of the other Scandinavian crime fiction I’ve read and  I loved the way that it mixed the elements of the crime novel with Elma’s domestic details and personal life so credibly which really appealed to me as a reader.

I love reading novels that confound my expectation – that turn out to be something totally different to the novel that I thought that I was going to be reading. The Creak on the Stairs is one of those novels. It transported me to Iceland right alongside Elma and her team and it just immersed me in the case. I don’t think I’ve read a novel recently that kept me on my toes as much in terms of ‘solvability’ – it seemed like each new piece of information pointed me at a new culprit and I was absolutely kept on the hook until the end. I really enjoyed this clever writing and rather than waiting for a ‘big twist’ it felt like I was unravelling clues with the team and trying to get to the bottom of this in tandem with them.

 

This is an absolutely immersive read, it’s as rich in setting as it is in  plot, allowing you to be swept off to the austere beauty of the Icelandic landscape and see it for yourself. It had never been somewhere that I’d have been desperate to see – but I found myself browsing online for holidays ‘once this lockdown is all over’ and trying to see some of these places for myself as they sounded so stunningly beautiful. I found myself re-reading certain parts of it – especially the parts featuring the Lighthouse itself–  just to experience them again as I was so caught up in the feeling that I wanted to see it for myself one day.

white lighthouse near calm body of water

 

The Creak on the Stairs blends together three very distinct narratives into a tale that is very much more than the sum of its parts.   Elma’s return to Akranes and her trying to move on after a failed relationship, which is incredibly astutely drawn, the development of her new team with colleagues Sævar and Hörður, as they try and solve this mystery together and the element if the long-hidden crimes that begin to be uncovered through their investigation. To me, these three elements come together to provide a highly satisfying read as they are woven together so seamlessly in exactly the right proportions that make for an absolutely engrossing read that holds you tight as you get drawn int the mystery for yourself.

Akranes is almost a character in its own right and I felt like Eva Aegisdottir really brought the stunning Icelandic landscape vividly to life – blending its remote beauty with the personality of its inhabitants and making us think about the fact that even in the most gorgeous areas, murders can happen and that sometimes there can be just as much violence, hatred and revenge bubbling beneath the surfaces of small-town life than any big city on the planet.

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Eva Aegisdottir is a talented and original writer whose characters spring off the page and come to life for you as you try and work for the answers alongside them. Elma’s character is unforgettable – she is a woman trying to start again and we absolutely empathise with her as she has her own life to navigate as well as the murder to solve during this investigation. I enjoyed the aspects of her life that we get to see and look forward to discovering more about her as the series evolves, particularly her emerging friendship with Sævar and wondering how that will unfold…

The Creak on The Stairs is a superb blend of skilful plotting with a character-driven novel that I’ll be recommending to everyone. It stands out to me due to its deft manipulation of the reader and the way it keeps us guessing as well as its strong sense of place. Iceland springs to life as a character in its own right and makes you long to see some of these locations for yourself as you are reading.  Eva Aegisdottir is an exciting voice in fiction that I’ll definitely be looking out for in future, I loved her voice and the characters that she brought so vividly to life in this book.

Buy yourself a copy of this fantastic and unique read here, you definitely won’t regret it.

The Creak on the Stairs by [Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, Victoria Cribb]

‘Fans of Nordic Noir will love this moving debut from Icelander Eva Bjork Aegisdottir. It’s subtle, nuanced, with a sympathetic central character and the possibilities of great stories to come’ Ann Cleeves

‘An exciting and harrowing tale from one of Iceland’s rising stars’ Ragnar Jonasson

 

Writer On The Shelf

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.

A Testament of Character

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A suspicious death… A missing person…
A journey across America in search of answers

In fear for his life, American millionaire Daniel Cartwright changes his will, appointing his old friend Rowland Sinclair as his executor. Soon murder proves that fear well founded.

When Rowland receives word of Cartwright’s death, he sets out immediately for Boston, Massachusetts, to bury his friend and honour his last wishes. He is met with the outrage and anguish of Cartwright’s family, who have been spurned in favour of a man they claim does not exist. Artists and gangsters, movie stars and tycoons all gather to the fray as elite society closes in to protect its own, and family secrets haunt the living. Rowland Sinclair must confront a world in which insanity is relative, greed is understood, and love is dictated; where the only people he can truly trust are an artist, a poet and a passionate sculptress.

Fans of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series will love the Rowland Sinclair novels in which Sulari Gentill expertly weaves real events into her tension-fuelled murder mysteries. Rowland Sinclair and his friends are destined to become long-haul companions for lovers of mystery fiction and world history.

I absolutely adore Golden Age Crime Novels – and this exciting and atmospheric read drew me in from the very first paragraph and kept me entertained and engrossed both by its setting and characters until its very final page.

Eccentric millionaires, dying wishes,a journey in search of the elusive truth and a cast of intriguing characters from movie stars to gangsters and their molls – I mean – what’s not to love? These were some of the many reasons that I was drawn to A Testament of Character and why I’m so grateful to Anne Cater for inviting me to participate in this blog tour – as this book was one I hadn’t heard of yet it definitely held my attention during my time at home.

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I love immersing myself in a historical read and this is set in one of my favourite eras and it is wonderful to hear that this is part of a series of books that I can now enjoy at my leisure.

Because you’re definitely in a safe pair of hands, with a writer who clearly knows and loves this period,  you feel like you can totally surrender to this reading experience and spend a few days in a totally different world!  I really felt like I could imagine this vividly realised world and found it very difficult to detach myself from it, allowing me to plunge back in time and re-live this era for myself…

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Is anyone else like me and love to go online and immerse themselves in the period of the book that they’re loving, to try and really place themselves in the characters’ world? I love doing it and I found myself scrolling through pages and pages of tales of fabulous excess, decadent society events and mysterious benefactors and it was a wonderful opportunity to escape from everything that’s going on in the world at the moment

It was lovely to lose myself in a fantastic historical read after a few months where I’ve been mostly reading contemporary writing and non-fiction.  It’s funny that I get into reading zones and I’m now on a real Historical Fiction mission and have been drawn to exploring a few Agatha Christie’s after becoming hooked on this fantastic podcast and losing myself in another of my favourite era’s darker sides. I am trying not to give any spoilers at all as I do not want you to lose a single element of the twists and turns of this gorgeously readable historical treat.

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The host of eccentric characters and their convoluted situations in this  fast-paced read allowed me to travel back in time and meet them through its pages.  I really loved the way that Sulari Gentill draws the reader in and keeps them connected with the twists and turns that beset Rowland Sinclair and his compatriots. The way that all of these characters’ stories interconnect and collide with one another was one of my favourite things about this book and it certainly does a fine job of not allowing you to put it down as it gives you a solid case of ‘one more chapter’ as you wonder whatever is going to happen next!

This was the perfect Lockdown read for me – and if you’re isolating and feel like everything is too much for you and you just want an escape from it all –  then this would be a perfect book to lose yourself in.  Fans of  Golden Age novels will also have hours of entertainment reading the rest of Sulari’s books and getting transported somewhere very different from the times we’re currently living through.

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If you love an enjoyable and intelligent read, with a real insight into another era with memorable and fascinating characters , nods to real events and people and a plot that will  keep you gripped then you’ll enjoy A Testamemt of Character a great deal and  should treat yourself to a copy

I definitely enjoyed this book much more than I’d been expecting to and I’m sure that it would appeal to lots of my bookish friends too. I  enjoyed the fact that I was savouring my journey to another time and place with Rowland and this memorable cast of characters and could really dedicate some relaxing hours of reading to it.  I enjoyed the feeling of being immersed in a totally different time and place and am looking forward to reading more about Rowland’s adventures soon.

Writer On The Shelf

Sulari Gentill is the author of the award-winning and best-selling Rowland
Sinclair Mysteries, the Greek mythology adventure series The Hero Trilogy, and winner of the Best Crime award at the 2018 Ned Kelly Awards, Crossing the Lines.

She set out to study astrophysics, graduated in law, and then abandoned her legal career to write books instead of contracts. Born in Sri Lanka, Sulari learned to speak English in Zambia, grew up in Brisbane and now lives in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW.

You can follow Sulari on Twitter at @SulariGentill

In Plain Sight

In Plain Sight TW (2)A child’s life is at stake. Which of the residents of St Andrews is hiding something – and why?

When a baby girl is snatched from the crowd of spectators at a fun run, the local police have a major investigation on their hands. DI Clare Mackay and her team are in a race against the clock when they learn that the child has a potentially fatal medical condition.

As Clare investigates she realises this victim wasn’t selected at random. Someone knows who took the baby girl, and why. But will they reveal their secrets before it’s too late?

The second instalment from an exciting new Scottish detective series. Perfect for fans of Alex Gray, Rachel Amphlett and D. K. Hood.

As a real fan of a Scottish read, I was intrigued by the premise of this book featuring the town of St Andrews that I lived and studied in for four years. I was delighted to be invited on the tour by the Tracey Fenton and couldn’t wait to virtually travel back to Fife and immerse myself in the town whilst trying to solve the mystery with D I Clare Mackay.

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This book definitely did not disappoint, it grabbed me and pulled me right into the story. I was really intrigued by the premise of the book: that this will be a race against the clock where we definitely are not hearing the full story and this really added to the suspense for me. Clare’s own circumstances have had a massive impact on the way that she perceives events and her coping mechanisms start to unravel as the novel unfolds.

Scotland, St Andrews, Monument, Gateway

Even though In Plain Sight deals with a familiar situation – like a child’s disappearance, it does it in an original way which makes the story linger at the edges of our consciousness even when we aren’t reading it. The characters all feel very much like real people – rather than mechanisms to explore an issue – which I’ve often found in novels which want to look at the way we respond to trauma or tragedy. Clare is a fully-formed character whose warmth and humane approach ensure that we are rooting for her, even if her superiors aren’t…

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Marion Todd is a writer to watch and I’ve really enjoyed both of her Clare Mackay stories – it’s hard to talk about this novel without spoilers, so I’ll just need to tell you that you must read it for yourself. You will be caught up in this story and want to know exactly what’s being withheld from us and why as Clare tries to solve this disappearance with nothing but obstruction and misdirection from the people who should be trying to help her. It’s not one of these ‘keep looking for the big twist’ stories that people are getting a little bored of now, but a sustained and plausible tale that will draw you in and engage you emotionally as you root for Clare and her team to find out the truth even though it feels like everything is stacked against them at times.

Road, Rain, Wet, Scotland, Mirroring, Away, Raining

 

In Plain Sight is a book that I know I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally immersed in its characters, its pace and the way it drew me in and engaged my emotions as well as increasing my heart rate. I can’t wait to see what Clare Mackay does next. The idea that life in rural Fife can be a lot darker than you might think on the surface is a very intriguing one – it’s clearly a rich mine of intrigue, drama and deception.

It’s made me desperate for the lockdown restrictions to be lifted so that I can travel back to my old stamping ground, walk along the beach and think about what Clare and her team will come up against in the future. I’m looking forward to the publication of her third book Lies To Tell and recommend you preorder it here

Buy yourself a copy here and definitely go back and treat yourself to See Them Run too

Scotland, St Andrews, Cathedral, Substantiate, Ruin

 

‘In Plain Sight, second in the DI Clare Mackay series, echoes the themes of See Them Run, Marion Todd’s debut crime novel: vivid sense of place, strong female lead, authentic police procedure. The protagonists’s love interest whets the appetite for more. I look forward to Book 3 in the series.’ Claire MacLeary, author of Cross Purpose

‘This is becoming one of my favorite police procedural series.’ Reader review

‘A truly gripping and thoroughly entertaining read. I’m already looking forward to the next in the series….

Writer On The Shelf

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A native of Dundee, Marion studied music and worked for many years as a piano teacher and jobbing accompanist. A spell as a hotel lounge pianist provided rich fodder for her writing and she began experimenting with a variety of genres. Early success saw her winning first prize in the Family Circle Magazine Short Story for Children national competition and she followed this up by writing short stories and articles for her local newspaper.

Marion has also worked as a college lecturer, plantswoman and candle-maker and now is a full-time writer, penning the DI Clare Mackay series of crime fiction novels set in St Andrews.

Marion lives now in North East Fife, overlooking the magnificent River Tay. When she’s not writing she can be found tussling with her jungle-like garden and walking her daughter’s unruly but lovable dog.

Marion is represented by Northbank Talent Management and her crime novels are published by Canelo.

Stay up to date with upcoming releases from Canelo by signing up to receive a newsletter on their website and by following them on these social media accounts.

Thank-you to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for my spot on the In Plain Sight Blog Tour.

Website |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |

Little Whispers

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You shared a secret with the wrong person.

Janey Markham is thrilled to be moving with her family to Buckingham Crescent, the smartest address in a desirable suburban town.

Worried she’ll be excluded by the glossy local mothers, Janey is thrilled when she meets Tanya, the kind of woman she has always looked up to. Tanya takes Janey under her wing, and her teenage daughter Angel is amazing with Janey’s little boy. As Janey and Tanya grow closer, Janey feels she can finally leave her troubled past behind.

But then everything changes…

In a weak moment over a bottle of wine, Janey finds herself telling Tanya her most shocking secret. Why wouldn’t she trust her new friend?

The following day, Janey sees Angel, with a man old enough to be her father, pushing someone into a car. The next day a body is found and police appeal for witnesses – and share a picture of the same car…

When Janey tells Tanya she is going to the police, Tanya turns threatening. She’ll stop at nothing to defend Angel, even if her daughter is guilty. If Janey says anything, Tanya will make sure that her dark secret gets out.

Janey faces an impossible choice. Stay quiet about what she saw that terrible day. Or speak up, and destroy the family she has worked so hard to protect…

From million-copy bestseller K.L. Slater comes this twisty and absolutely unputdownable roller-coaster ride of a read. Fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will be totally hooked on Little Whispers.

A big thank you to Sarah Hardy & Bookouture for inviting me on the blog tour, I loved The Silent Ones and I’ve devoured the rest of her books as soon as I could get my hands on them and I absolutely could not wait to get stuck into Little Whispers – and let me tell you, I got so engrossed that I’ve lost a fair bit of sleep myself across lockdown as I could not stop reading til I found out the truth…

 

Little Whispers introduces us to Janey who is trapped in a nightmarish world of lies and deception where any false move could harm the ones she loves in this compelling and gripping read. Janey has moved back to Buckingham Crescent in the hope that her life will change for the better, only to find herself caught up in events that are far far worse than she could ever have imagined.

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If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I absolutely love books that pacey and full of twists and turns and seek them out whenever I can. That’s why I love K.L Slater’s books It’s the sensation of being totally caught up in the story and suspending disbelief as you get caught up in the main character’s situation and not being able to rest until you know what happens and you reach the resolution. 

 

Whe Janey decides that Buckingham Crescent will be a fresh start for her, she hopes that the only baggage she brings will be in her suitcase. Little could she ever have anticipated encountering someone like Tanya and being caught up in such a web of hostility and blackmail. If you are a fan of K.L Slater, you will know that her characters often believe that they know what’s best for them, only to discover to their peril that the truth is very far from their initial estimation, and Janey runs true to form. As her peace of mind begins to unavel and she begins to see behind Tanya’s facade, it becomes apparent that the truth behind her new friend’s motives might be very different that she first presumed, and it seems to Janey that she’s become trapped in a nightmare that she just can’t see a way out of…

woman hugging boy on her lap

 

I loved the way that K.L Slater recreates the alpha mums of Buckingham Crescent and brings us into their world before some of the facades begin to slip and we wonder exactly how much we can trust what we are hearing –  we all know that her novels are full of twists and red herrings so it added a dimension of intrigue as I navigated myself through the stepping stones of the story, picking my way forward carefully just like Janey does as it is increasingly hard for her to know exactly whose truths to believe and how to keep her family safe in a situation she definitely no longer feels in control of.

 

Janey’s dreadful ordeal and the way we are constantly kept on our toes means that you’ll race through Little Whispers at a breakneck pace.  I hate spoilers, so all I’ll say is that you won’t be disappointed. This is sure to please her legions of fans and bound to win her a few more! Get yourself a copy here and enjoy a rip-roraring good escapist read.

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Totally blown me away!… A twisty story which was full of intrigue, many lines of suspicion and an intense thriller!… That secret being kept for so long was just a huge tease! I was itching to find out what it was! I have to say that this is going to be so bloody hard to beat!’ Netgalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘I’m a huge fan of this author and they did not disappoint at all. They totally blew it away once againTwists and turns and the ending was brilliant.’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

WOW!… It had me hooked from the beginning, I was suspicious of everyone in this book but had no idea it would end the way it did… this book exceeded my expectations!’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year and I loved it. It was a great read that kept me on the edge of my seat… had some great twists that I did not see coming. I highly recommend this one!!’ Goodreads Reviewer⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was an epic thriller that had all the goodness you’d expect from KL Slater… The ending was superbly crafted with shocking caliber!’ The Secret Book Sleuth, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Writer On The Shelf

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents but never made it off the slush pile. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

Twitter  / Facebook / Website

Ash Mountain

FINAL Ash Mountain BT Poster

Single-mother Fran returns to her sleepy hometown to care for her dying father when a devastating bush fire breaks out. A heartbreaking disaster-noir thriller from the bestselling author of The Cry.

Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.

She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer. As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…

If you love a novel you can really get caught up in that will make you think about its characters long after you’ve finished reading it, then Ash Mountain is definitely a read that will captivate you and draw your thoghts back to Fran and her family long after you’ve closed the final page.

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I’m always a sucker for any book that’s got the slightest connection to real life events and I was really drawn in by Fran’s story in particular after the horrendous photographs and reports from the forest fires that ravaged so many thousands of miles in Australia earlier this year. I love books that transport me in time and place and I read this on a rainy and chilly Scottish weekend – totally losing myself in Fran’s experiences being back in small town Ash Mountain and enjoying Helen Fitzgerald’s fantastic sense of atmosphere in this immersive and enjoyable read.

Ash Mountain’s depiction of a range of generations, from Fran’s own experiences, mingled with her dying father and her truculent teenage daughter made for a very more-ish reading experience. This generational mixture is exactly what many of are living through during the lockdown and it is equally interesting here to see what intergenerational perspectives emerge when people with very different life experiences live through the same set of traumatic and challenging  events. The narrative form was very addictive – with its mixture of sharply observed moments and laugh out loud ascerbic humour  and kept me up much later than I’d intended with a real sense of ‘just one more chapter’ until I’d finished.

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The strong plotting and skilful characterisation combine to draw you into a story bursting with sharply observed moments, combined with a compelling crime angle too and the combination of domestic detail and darkness are used to strong effect. Helen Fitzgerald has a deft and snappy turn of phrase and recreates distinct speech patterns very skilfully in order to make these eclectic characters come to life in these pages. This is a really satisfying read;  the pace never lets up as you plunge into the past and the dark long-held secrets begin to bubble to the surface once againand leach into the present day events with a sustained sense of menace.

I enjoyed the skilfully developed atmosphere in Ash Mountain and the addictive sense that you are only ever seeing part of the picture as we follow events to their tense and nail-biting conclusion. It’s hard to write about Ash Mountain with no spoilers, but I’ve tried really hard as this is a book that you really need to experience for yourself. I loved the rest of Helen’s books and was really looking forward to plunging into this one and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed.

 

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If you want a darkly hilarious and wonderfully tense read that asks you to think for yourself and plunges you into the lives of a range of fully-formed characters that you’ll absolutely believe in then you’ll love this book and I know a few book-loving friends who are definitely going to be pinching it from me once they’ve read this review I’d like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour, and as ever recommending the best readds that a blogger could hope for

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Pick yourself up a copy here and lose yourself in an unforgettable mixture of absolute hilarity and on-the-edge-of-your-seat-tension – you’ll love it!

 

‘The plotting is intricate and beautifully handled, and the narrative pace is absolutely breakneck … a wonderful, energetic, hard-hitting and deeply funny novel’ The Big Issue

‘Shocking, gripping and laugh-out-loud hilarious’ Erin Kelly

‘The main character is one of the most extraordinary you’ll meet between the pages of a book’ Ian Rankin

‘A dark, comic masterpiece which manages to be both excruciatingly tense and laugh out loud funny at the same time’ Mark Edwards

‘Outrageous, extremely funny and ultimately devastating’ Ambrose Parry

‘Fabulously transgressive and completely unique’ Mark Billingham

‘The classic thriller gets a hell of a twist’ Heat

‘FitzGerald writes like a more focused Irvine Welsh or a less misogynist Philip Roth’ Daily Telegraph On The Shelf

Helen Fitzgerald

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1.

Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.

Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

The Strange Book of Jacob – Blog Blitz

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A spiralling obsession. A missing wife. A terrifying secret. Will he find her before it’s too late?

When Dr Jacob Boyce’s wife goes missing, the police put it down to a simple marital dispute. Jacob, however, fears something darker.

Following her trail to Spain, he becomes convinced that Ella’s disappearance is tied to a mysterious painting whose hidden geometric and numerical riddles he’s been obsessively trying to solve for months.

Obscure, hallucinogenic clues, and bizarre, larger-than-life characters, guide an increasingly unhinged Jacob through a nightmarish Spanish landscape to an art forger’s studio in Madrid, where he comes face-to-face with a centuries-old horror, and the terrifying, mind-bending, truth about his wife.

 

An amazing read by Tom Gillespie – thanks so much to Kelly @LoveBooksGroup for introducing me to it and inviting me onto the blog blitz

Grab yourself a copy here and enjoy this intriguing and very unique read!

Writer on The Shelf

Tom Gillespie grew up in a small town just outside Glasgow. After completing a Masters in English at Glasgow University, he spent the next ten years pursuing a musical career as a singer/songwriter, playing, recording and touring the UK and Europe with his band.

He now lives in Bath with his wife, daughter and hyper-neurotic cat, where he works at the university as an English lecturer. Tom writes long and short stories. His stories have appeared in many magazines, journals and e-zines.

He is co-author of Glass Work Humans-an anthology of stories and poems, published by Valley Press.

Visit Tom at tom-gillespie.com

He started It – Blog Tour

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No-one knows you better than your family.

They know the little things that make you smile. Your proudest achievements. Your darkest secrets.

Sure, you haven’t always been best friends.

But if it seemed as though someone was after you, that you might be in danger, then you’d be on each other’s side.

Right ?

No-one is more dangerous than the ones who know you best…

There is nothing closer then family – and after being locked down with them for the last eight weeks, the thought that your nearest and dearest might drive you mad at times will be more than credible to most of us at the moment. This second novel by Samantha Downing, whose novel My Lovely Wife was a huge favourite of many lovers of domestic noir, is as twisty and skilful as any you’ve read this year. I guarantee that you’ll think twice before setting off on a road trip after lockdown any time soon after devouring this twisty, skilful and original take on family values…

man driving straight on pathway during day time

This novel has a pretty original premise as these siblings and their partners set off on a pretty unusual road trip, inspired by their grandfather at the start of this story. None of them are the sort of peiple that even individually you’d want to spend a lot of time coped up with and this is definitely no National Lampoon’s voyage to Wallyworld. If you love domestic noir, you’ll absolutely love the way this starts to unravel as these ‘companions’ turn out to have their own agendas, allegiances and game plans as the miles roll by.

thriller

This road trip is a character almost of its own and was one of my favourite parts of the book as some of the places that they visit are so outlandish that you think they must be fictional – but I was so fascinated by the idea of them, I ended up spending far too much time online resresching the locations themselves. My personal favourite was the museum of barbed wire in Kansas which got me going down a whole new rabbit hole of fascinating roadside atractions in America and provided me with hours of entertainment during the lockdown.  The road trip’s twists and turns ensures that the plot zips along at a cracking pace and some of their escapades make you glad that you’re not part of this  dysfunctional family ‘outing’

My lovely wife

I’m no fan of books being painted as ‘The next…’ and we’re all sick I’m sure, of seeing books compared with The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. This definitely isn’t trying to be anything else, it’s perfectly happy being its own off the wall and readable self.  I’d actually love to see it on screen and will be dragging people along with me to see this journey and its fallout in the flesh! Their interactions will certainly keep you entertained as you make your way through this novel – all too quickly, I might add and you will definitely be unprepared for that ending…

closeup photo of black metal bobwires

You know that I hate spoilers so I’ve tried hard to avoid mentioning exactly what starts to emerge once their wheels begin rolling – but suffice to say, there’s never a dull moment as their long held grudges and thinly veiled agendas begin to emerge

Thanks so much to Sriya Varadharajan for sending me this book to review for the blog tour – I absolutely love taking part in her tours and enjoyed reading what the other bloggers thought too. If you haven’t bought yourself a copy yet, you can treat yourself here

Harlan Coben Alice Feeney Lisa Gardner

‘My Lovely Wife was one of my top books of 2019. He Started It is even better!’ C.J. Tudor, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalk Man

‘Whip-smart, lean, deliciously dark and addictive. One of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time’ Ali Land

‘Wow! It’s dark, it’s twisted and it’s going to be your new favourite book! 5***** reader review

‘Chilling, thrilling, twisty, fast paced, riveting, tense, dark & scary… My favourite book this year’ 5***** reader review

 

Writer On The Shelf

Samantha Downing is the author of the Edgar Award-nominated novel My Lovely Wife. Amazon Studios and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films have partnered to produce a feature film based on the novel.

Her most recently published book is called He Started It – released in 2020. She currently lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away on her next novel.

 

 

 

8 1/2 Stone

8 ½ StoneBlog Tour - final

When I reach eight and a half stone:

  • I will be able to shop in Topshop. If only I could fit in a size 10 or an 8, just walk in a shop and not even have to try it on because let’s face it I will be straight up and down, then everything would slot neatly into place, completing the easiest jigsaw puzzle in the world: all straight edges.
  • I will be able to go swimming and not displace all the water and create a tsunami.
  • I will fit in changing rooms, without banging my elbows or exposing the moon of my arse through the curtain when I bend over.
  • I will be able to fit behind the narrow benches at Ronnie Scott’s to listen to jazz instead of being offered a chair, at the end.
  • I will be promoted and not have my desk moved to inside the stationery cupboard.

 

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I am a confirmed fan of Liz Jones. I have read her columns for years and never ceased to be amazed at her almost unbelievable honesty, self-deprecation and lack of a filter.  I was SO excited to be emailed and invited on the tour for #8andahalfstone I can’t even tell you and I am so thrilled to be part of it.  I don’t think you have to be a serial dieter to recognise the truth of some of these moments and I think that every woman will find something in this laugh out loud funny novel to connect with

person standing on white digital bathroom scale

I’d like to thank Martina Ticic from Midas PR  for inviting me on the tour and recommend that you follow it and see what all the other fab bloggers had to say about this book as there is something to be said about finding something to laugh at during these stressful days of Lockdown when we are all stuck at home.

 

Writer Allison Pearson has said “Liz Jones is a fearless, funny truth-teller about the female condition. 8 and a half stone will bring comfort and joy to fans of her column and to anyone who ever removed their contact lenses to weigh less as they step on those tyrannical scales.”

I literally could not put this book down, I was so caught up in the awfulness and brutal honesty of this book and  I’m sure you will be too. This book retains all of the familiar Liz Jones qualities that you might have loved in her column and adds some new ingredients into the mix for good measure.

There’s surely a lesson for all of us here as we can all tend to believe that things would be better if we  – lost that last half stone, had that great pair of shoes or could afford that amazing new handbag – this book pulls no punches and lets us see that this very relatable character has real-life struggles coping with all of these ideas, but get on with life as she does.

chopped chocolate

This book definitely isn’t just for Liz Jones fans though, there is lots here that you’ll recognise in many women you’ve met in real life – whether you buy into the idea of the body beautiful or not.  Buy yourself a copy here and be prepared to snort a lot in recognition at many of the scenes Pamela presents us with -you have been warned!

 

 

Writer On The Shelf

Liz Jones Goddess (@LizJonesGoddess) | Twitter

Liz Jones has millions of readers across the world and was shortlisted five times in the last six years as Columnist of the Year at the British Press Awards and Columnist of the Year 2012 at the BSME awards.

Liz Jones, former editor-in-chief of Marie Claire — where she ran a high profile campaign to ban skinny models — fashion editor at the Daily Mail and now a columnist at the Mail on Sunday, grew up in Essex and suffered from eating disorders from the age of 11 until her late thirties.

#EightAndAHalfStone

Into The Darkest Day

QnHfN4nAShe had to step outside and hold the paper up to the moonlight to read it, but when she was able to make out the words, her heart felt as if it would drop right out of her chest. Because the message was in German.

1944, London:
When Lily meets enigmatic GI Matthew in war-torn London, she doesn’t expect to fall in love. While her sister starts a reckless affair with another GI, Lily tries to hide her growing feelings for Matthew.

But Matthew has a devastating secret. One that could change their lives forever.

Present day, USA:
Abby lives a quiet life on an apple farm in Wisconsin. Tormented by survivor’s guilt after the tragic deaths of her mother and brother, Abby leaves the orchards as little as possible, keeping her life small, peaceful and safe… Until she is contacted by Englishman Simon Elliot, who arrives nursing a heartbreak of his own, and bearing a World War Two medal that he claims belonged to Abby’s grandfather.

Together they begin to piece together the heartbreaking story of their relatives’ war. But as the story brings Abby and Simon closer—tentatively beginning to lean on one another to heal—they uncover a dark secret from the past.

And like Lily and Matthew nearly eighty years before them, it will make Abby and Simon question whether you can ever truly trust someone, even when they have your heart…

A heartbreakingly powerful, epic love story about courage, friendship and broken trusts, Into the Darkest Day is an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Nora Roberts, Kristin Hannah and The Notebook.

This gripping novel takes us back in time to World War Two and was a perfect read as we have been celebrating the 75th Anniversary of VE day this month. It tells the tale of two sisters, Lily and Sophie Mather who fall in love with two handsome American soldiers, Matthew Lawson and Tom Reese. The situations that they each encounter have enormous ramifications and you cannot fail to be pulled into their stories as you read on and uncover what befalls them across the sweep of this novel’s historical arc.

The novel is written in two individual sections, which I really enjoyed –  The first section is written during the war and describes their courtships from Lily’s perspective as she feels like the ‘plain Jane’ sister compared with confident and glamorous Sophie and finds it much harder to get through the war – her job writing letters to bereaved families takes its toll on her and this gave a loving insight to the toll of the war from an unusual perspective. Everything changes for the two sisters when they meet the two GI soldiers and enigmatic Matthew steps into her life

How American soldiers proved a festive hit with British families ...

The second section gives us an insight into Abby’s life who is living on her remote farm living with her grief and remaining detached from the world. This is broken with the arrival of Simon who claims to hold secrets from her past and brings her medals from her grandfather, sparking an exploration of the war that changed everything and how that connects their stories together.

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I really love a novel where you explore events from more than one perspective.  I think that Kate Hewitt is equally skilled at portraying the characters from both the past and the present and these characters come to life for the reader as you get tangled up in the intriguing events of the novel.  She paints a vivid portrait of their struggles during a turbulent time in history. I hate including spoilers so all I’ll say is that their characters definitely put them in situations in this historical period that will draw you in and keep you turning the pages to see what connects the past and the present and how our histories can take turns we might never have expected.

60 + 1 Heart-Warming Historical Pictures That Illustrate Love ...

The way that this novel brings the war and its effects on human lives so vividly to life on the page made me totally lose myself last week and I loved the fact that there was so much on TV and the radio about VE day as I was reading it. I just couldn’t tear myself away from their stories.  The fact that my school is a military one where we have just celebrated our centenary lent Into The Darkest Day an added poignancy for me and made me reflect on the idea that even though this is a novel, the stories it tells were very much a reality for thousands of people between the wars – who found themselves in a world where everything certain had altered forever leaving them in an unfamiliar world where their sense of navigation was no longer quite as useful as it had been.

Meet the GI brides: Life wasn't the romantic dream for Brit women ...

If you love a historical read that brings this fascinating and often overlooked period vividly to life and enjoy being totally immersed in a powerful and vivid narrative then you’ll love Into The Darkest Day It’s a powerful story and I found myself quite bereft as it drew to a close, knowing as I did that even though Abby and Lily were fictional characters, they’d really lived for me whilst I was lost in the book.  I will definitely look out for more from Kate Hewitt as the balance of historical detail and wonderful characterisation was a winning combination for me.

Buy yourself a copy here

I would like to thank Sarah Hardy for inviting me to participate in the blog tour –  I’ll definitely be looking through the other blog posts to see what my fellow bloggers thought of this immersive and memorable tale.

Writer On The Shelf

Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.

Website: https://www.kate-hewitt.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateHewittAuthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1269244.Kate_Hewitt
Twitter: https://twitter.com/katehewitt1