Thursday, 22 June 2017

Joyride to Jupter by Nuala O'Connor. Review and Giveaway.



Thanks to New Island Books, I have a copy of Joyride to Jupiter to Giveaway. Just enter via rafflecopter link below. Open INT. Ends 30th June. Good Luck!

A maid in Manhattan; two mismatched tourists in Naples; a grieving couple in Cáceres; a pair of lovers searching for the right spot in Ireland. This collection of short stories, from one of Ireland's finest writers, is a glimpse into the thoughts and narratives of many.

In Joyride to Jupter a man watches his wife deteriorate into the folds of dementia and his heart breaks a little more each day. In Napoli Abú, the forced friendship between two women leads to the realisation that not every book can be judged by its cover. The family home is the subject of a rift between two brothers in Tinnycross and a seaside bench is the catalyst for friendship in Squidinky.
While each story is different to its predecessor, each tale has a powerful aftertaste.

There are nods to everyday life: homelessness, emigration, post-celtic-tiger losses, the scandals of the catholic church, infertility; some written in the present day; some in the past. The characters are ripe and bulbous, ready to hop into the readers consciousness, and take hold. Landscape and atmosphere are the focus of many stories and O'Connor describes the sky with fluid and memorizing clarity.

 The collection contains tales of redemption, presumption, forgiveness and grief and the prose has a petal-like feel. These are delicate yet sturdy stories. Each one deserved of its place on the page. 
 There is something special to be found in each of the nineteen works and the characters stall in the readers minds, hanging on with determination. The pieces vary in length and depth yet are equal in their importance. This is a book that can be picked up, again and again, with the certainty of pleasure. Highly recommended.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nuala O’Connor AKA Nuala Ní Chonchúir was born in Dublin, she lives in East Galway. Her fifth short story collection Joyride to Jupiter appears from New Island in June 2017. Penguin USA, Penguin Canada and Sandstone (UK) published Nuala’s third novel, Miss Emily, about the poet Emily Dickinson and her Irish maid. Miss Emily was shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Eason Book Club Novel of the Year 2015 and longlisted for the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award. Nuala’s fourth novel, Becoming Belle, will be published in 2018. www.nualaoconnor.co


Joyride to Jupiter is published by New Island Books and is available in PB and ebook format.
You canorder your copy with 12% discount, and Free Worldwide Postage, HERE. The ebook can be ordered via amazon link below:


To be in with a chance of winning a copy of this stunning collection of short stories, just click on the rafflecopter link below:


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Book Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.



One text message. That is all it takes to dredge up the past. Isa knows something is terribly wrong when she receives a message from an old school friend. Throwing essentials into a bag, she grabs her baby daughter and boards the first train back to Salten, where Kate waits for her three best friends. "I need you" is all the message said, but the girls know she would not summon them without reason. Their boarding school days and The Lying Game come back to haunt them...

Ruth Ware thrilled readers with her previous novels, In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman In Cabin 10, and this one is just as sinister. Isa was late to the foursome, after joining their boarding school in fifth term. They soon find themselves embroiled in The Lying Game and ditching their dorms for the bohemian pull of Kate's home, situated in the isolated Reach area near their school. The house is accessed by trawling through marshy sands and the girls enjoy the freedom that Kate's father allows. They can drink, skinny dip and ignore all the usual restrictions afforded to teenagers. It is not too long before all the freedom catches up with the girls and they find themselves tangled up in a web of lies. 

Now, many years later, Isa travels back to the Reach and the secrets it contains. Kate is cagey and the atmosphere is tense. The house is literally crumbling away and Kate seems broken. When human remains are discovered, the village of Salten is awash with rumour.  Isa struggles between fleeing back to London with her daughter, or staying to help herself and her three friends confront the past. The past refuses to stay buried, despite the girls best attempts:

"The memories are no longer gentle little 'do you remember?' taps on my shoulder, they are slaps, each one an assault. Even away from the crowd they keep coming."

The chapters fly along, dipping from the days of boarding school, back to the present day.  Isa's role as an attentive mother is juxtaposed against Kate's refusal to be responsible for anyone. 

The Lying Game is a dark and multi-layered novel, with an eerie feel. It has the Gothic atmosphere of Bronte's Wuthering Heights, the slow-building and taut suspense of Apple Tree Yard and the tension of Alfred Hitchcock classic movies. A gentler pace than Ware's previous novels, but the thrills are subtle and effective. 

The Lying Game is published by Harvill Secker and is available in HB and ebook format. You can order your copy, with 20% discount and Free Worldwide postage, HERE. The ebook can be ordered via amazon link below:

Monday, 19 June 2017

Book Review: Love In Row 27 by Eithne Shortall.



Airline check-in agent, Cora Hendricks, is the queen of match-making. With the help of online research, she sees potential mates and brings them together on board Aer Lingus short-haul routes. Row 27 has been earmarked by herself and her cabin-crew friend, Nancy; where the unsuspecting singles are seated together and given some on-board VIP treatment. Not all the matches are successful, but Cora and Nancy cross their fingers and wait for the magic to happen. Meanwhile, Cupid's arrow seems to have flown right past Cora and she despairs at ever meeting Mr. Right. 

The search for the perfect summer read ends here. Eithne Shortall has written a wonderfully fun and uplifting tale, with Cora at its heart. Based in London Heathrow, the world of human interaction is temporarily restored when self-service and online check-in are suspended for a time. The days of queuing at an airline desk and chatting to the agent ceased back in the late 1990s and air travel lost a bit of its wonder. Staff become almost invisible and match-making opportunities were all but gone. By suspending passengers ability to ignore check-in, the story is given wings that would otherwise have been clipped. Cora's co-workers are a mixed bunch and the banter between all departments in the airport is just as real as it is in real-life. Ground crew; Cabin crew; baggage handlers; airport security; concession staff; they all work in the climate controlled, permanently busy airport. There is never a dull day and no two passengers are the same. 

Cora's mother is suffering from early on-set dementia and has been placed in a care-facility. Visits can be difficult and memories are becoming harder and harder to grasp. Nancy is hoping for promotion and to be seen more than just the 'coffee or tea? girl. A host of other airline staff are ever-present and the new-found fame of one of the gang leads to some hilarious antics in front of a TV crew. As the passengers board flights, they are unaware of the bigger story.  Female fiction doesn't get much better than this. Love in Row 27 is a refreshing and rewarding read, definitely worth packing in your suitcase. Highly recommended.

Love in Row 27 is published by Corvus and is available in PB an ebook format. You can order your copy, with Free Worldwide Postage, HERE. The ebook can be ordered via amazon link below:


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Conclave by Robert Harris: Guest Review from Liz McHale.


Big thanks to Liz McHale for her guest review of the bestselling title, Conclave.  Here are her thoughts:


From the moment I started reading this book I could not put it down. Robert Harris draws you in from the start, you really feel you are there.


118 Cardinals come together to elect a new Pope. Simple? Anything but!
Central to the unfolding story, Cardinal Lomeli, confidant to the late Pope and Dean of the College of Cardinals struggles to make sense of the death of the Pope and the enormous task of organising the Conclave.

The wonderful descriptions of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and the surrounding buildings guide you through the heart of the Catholic Church and the hierarchy that dwells within.
There are ego's, friendships, alliance's, secrets and the appearance, at the last minute, of a new member to vote. 

"I'm afraid there's nothing simple about it" 

Some are pure of heart, some wallow in a sense of their own importance, some have secrets only a few are privy to. All this leads to a very organised and not so pure system of voting. Will the most deserving become the next Pope or the one others are afraid to stand up to. As the voting begins you find yourself taking sides also. 

I was so disappointed when I came to the last page as I wanted the story to continue, but.....the last page gives the biggest surprise of all !!

Liz McHale



*We received a copy of this title, via the publishers, in return for an honest review.


Conclave is published by Arrow and is available in paperback and ebook format. Available from all good bookshops and via the amazon link below:

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Book Review: All At Sea by Pauline Lawless.


A Caribbean cruise is fairly high up on everyone's wish-list, right? Escaping from the Irish weather; the daily commute; the housework and the sameness of everyday life. Three sets of Irish passengers board the Liberté in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, not realising the impact the trip could have on their individual lives.

The McElroys are led by their matriarch, Bunny, who gathers her flock with distinctive style. Herself and husband, Richard, have treated their grown children to the luxury cruise and the vision of an ideal family trip is not shaping up as they imagined. 

The Jordans are on on their 'second honeymoon', yet Cassie is unaware that Declan's bit-on-the-side is also embarking.  Alix is determined to get her man, no matter who gets hurt along the way.

The Kennys are escaping the exhausting family routine of Christmas and think a cruise is an ideal way to avoid stress and strife. While their young adult children make the most of their surroundings, Ann and Tony drift further and further apart. A lonesome passenger becomes Ann's ally, while Tony creates his own fun.

Pauline Lawless had hit the summer blockbuster market with a bang. The story is full of sun, sea, sex and scandal. The younger passengers are not the only ones making the most of the all-inclusive drinks and on-board entertainment. The over-powering Bunny is outrageously overbearing and her youngest daughter, Sarah is a self-centered, spoiled brat who needs to be given a good life-lesson. Recently separated Jess is not much better and completes the family tradition of frightful women. Declan is the atypical mid-life-crisis kind of man; full of a newly discovered sex-drive and a veritable briefcase full of lies. His wife Cassie is naive and taken for granted. A similar tale is told via Tony and Ann Kenny. Another middle-aged man; another downtrodden wife. Their two kids are bland and wholesome, yet manage to find their perfect matches. The overall tone does not portray women in a particularly good light. It implies that all men can be 'controlled' by a bit of forward planning and making them think they are actually the boss:

"Jess couldn't but admire her mother's scheming mind. She certainly knew how to manipulate her husband. Women who could do that always seemed to get what they wanted. Jess took note."

While two wives suddenly discover they don't need their husbands to survive, both seem to have only noticed this after said husbands had been caught cheating. I think us women deserve more credit for knowing what makes us happy, and what doesn't. 

This is a novel that is destined for holiday carry-on luggage as it is a complete package of escapism. It is like an episode of The Love Boat mixed up with the story lines of Dallas and Dynasty; all with Irish characters. Not for everyone, but sure to delight many. 

All At Sea is published by Poolbeg and is available in paperback and ebook format. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor: Exclusive Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Thanks to Harper Collins in Ireland, I have the pleasure of the revealing the UK/IRE cover of The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor, published on 7th September 2017. There is also a chance to win a limited edition ARC. Just enter via the rafflecopter link below. Open INT and ends on 5th June.

Drum Roll Please...



The Blurb


The New York Times bestselling author turns the clock back to a time when two young girls convinced the world that fairies really did exist…

 Cottingley, Yorkshire, 1917: When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, announce they have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when the great novelist, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, endorses the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a sensation; their discovery offering something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war.

One hundred years later: When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript and a photograph in her late grandfather’s bookshop it sparks a fascination with the story of the two young girls who mystified the world. Delving deeper into the past, and the truth behind an innocent game that became a national obsession, Olivia begins to question her own beliefs. And as she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, will Olivia find a way to believe in herself? 


Praise for The Cottingley Secret


The Cottingley Fairies
“I adored The Cottingley Secret. Gaynor has penned in majestic prose an enchanting and enthralling tale of childhood magic, forgotten dreams, and finding the parts of ourselves we thought were lost forever." - Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale

"There is real magic in these pages. And beauty. And heart." - Nicole Mary Kelby, author of The Pink Suit


About The Author



Hazel Gaynor’s debut novel The Girl Who Came Home—A Novel of the Titanic—was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller and was awarded the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her second novel A Memory of Violets, also hit the New York Timesbestseller list and her third, The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller. The book was also a finalist for the 2016 Irish Book Awards. Hazel is also a contributing author to WWI anthology Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War. Her novels have been translated into several languages.
Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015, was a WHSmith Fresh Talent selection in spring 2015, and the recipient of the 2012 Cecil Day Lewis Award for Emerging Writers. As features writer for national Irish writing website writing.ie Hazel has interviewed Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, Kate Mosse, Jojo Moyes and Cheryl Strayed, among others.
Following American publication in August, THE COTTINGLEY SECRET will be published by HarperCollins in Ireland in September 2017, with UK paperback publication to follow in March 2018. Later this year, Hazel’s epistolary novel LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS, co-written with Heather Webb, will also be published by HarperCollins.
Hazel lives in Kildare with her husband and two children. She is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative, New York. For more information visit www.hazelgaynor.com, @HazelGaynor on Twitter, or @hazelgaynorbooks on Facebook


  
Hazel Gaynor & Margaret Madden
Praise for Hazel Gaynor:


*‘Addictive, charming and gleaming with Jazz Age glitz’ The Lady 

*‘Sumptuous, gorgeous, authentic and surprising, Hazel Gaynor has written another hit.’ Sunday Independent 

*‘Peopled with unforgettable characters…Once begun, I dare you to put it down.’ Kathleen Tessaro, author of The Perfume Collector




The Cottingley Secret is published by Harper Collins in Ireland, in TPB and ebook format, on the 7th September and is available for pre-order HERE


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Book Review: The Woman At 72 Derry Lane by Carmel Harrington.



Rea may not have left her house in over a year, but she is well aware of what is going on next-door. Despite the sturdy walls of the houses on Derry Lane, she can hear the realities of her neighbour's marriage. But how can she help if she cannot place a foot over the threshold of her home?
Stella and Matt appear to have it all. The beautiful couple turn heads wherever they go and seem flawless. If only the truth was known.
Behind closed doors, the residents of Derry Lane have secrets. Some more dangerous than others...

The seaside town of Clontarf, Dublin, is the setting for Carmel Harrington's latest novel. A beautiful area, steeped in history and home to the affluent. But, as with many villages and towns located near a large city, the residents rarely know their neighbours. With busy lives and hectic schedules, we often find ourselves with 'wave and smile' relationships and never get to really know who we live close to. The sense of community can fade and loneliness can be a reality. Rea is alone in Derry Lane. Her family have moved on and she finds herself trapped in the confines of her home. Agoraphobia has taken over her life and she spends her days in mismatched PJs, eating food delivered to her door. A local teenager takes out her bins (for an extortionate fee) yet she craves his bravado and humour. When Stella arrives at her door, she is hesitant to let her into her life. She has heard what goes on in 70 Derry Lane and is not sure she wants to get involved. But Stella looks so lost. She invites the young woman in to her house and they immediately find solace in each other's company. The world suddenly seems wider; their friendship becomes linked through their mutual pain; the light begins to enter the rooms of Derry Lane.

Carmel Harrington is renowned for her emotional reads. She touches the reader by bringing hope, love and inspiration into their lives, through her characters and their journeys.  In The Woman At 72 Derry Lane she weaves stories from the past and present; riding on a wave of emotions. There are magical family times; laugh out loud nights with friends (with the BEST hairdresser ever!); gut-wrenching scenes of despair; tense moments of fear and pain. This novel has it all, and more. The characters are brought to life with genuine affection and their stories are mesmerizing. The author has researched her topics and it shows. There are scenes in this book that will have you holding your breath and gasping with empathy and despair. It is entirely possible that you may have a book-hangover when you turn the last page. You will most certainly realise that you need to be careful what you wish for. Sometimes all you need is right there in front of you. A compelling and emotional novel that will delight and hurt, in equal measures. Sure to be a summer sensation.  

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Follow the publication day fun using #UglyCry where there will be photos of readers reactions to the emotional scenes in #72DerryLane. @HCinIreland will have a copy of the book to giveaway to the best #UglyCry photo.


The Woman At 72 Derry Lane is published in TPB by Harper Collins in Ireland on 15th June 2017. The ebook is available for pre-order via amazon link below:
*I received an ARC of this title, for review purposes.


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