Friday, 27 January 2017

Blog Tour - Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie


THE BLURB


The charred body of an enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found in the burnt-out shell of his car on the Southend sea front.

Meanwhile, a vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.

As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery of their colleague's death, dark, dangerous secrets begin to surface. Can they solve both cases, before it's too late?


Mark Hardie's stylish and gripping debut introduces a brilliant new detective duo to the world of crime fiction, weaving together two suspenseful stories that end in a breath-taking finale.



'An accomplished debut' The Sunday Times


MY REVIEW


A new police procedural series is always exciting. The reader gets to know the characters from the get-go and follow them on their journey through the world of murder, investigation and discovery. Their individual personalities come alive and the reader can form a bond, book by book.  This is the first in the DS Pearson and DC Russell series, from Mark Hardie, and the protagonists are based in Essex. Investigating the murder of a fellow police officer, who was the victim of an arson attack, it leads them to question their colleagues private life and his work ethic.  Alongside this narrative is the troubled teen, Donna, who is mourning the death of her friend, Alicia. Both girls were just out of the care system and had bonded through their difficult experiences. She does not believe her death was an accident and is searching for answers.  

The novel is broken up in to past and present, with alternating voices. Some of the time frames are blended into the one chapter, which demands a little more concentration than an average crime thriller. The story moves at a steady pace and there are nuggets of personal information relating to the characters dotted throughout. DS Pearson comes to life fairly quickly, with DC Russell taking a bit longer. Their partnership is in the early development stage and the chemistry is a work in progress. The pathology scenes are immaculate and are eerily compelling.  Donna and her side-kick, Malcolm, are two teens that you would recognise from any small town or big city. Both are victims of circumstance and unsure of their futures.

Pearson and Russell are a new duo on the crime fiction scene, and I look forward to seeing their personalities and partnership develop over the series. This would make a fantastic TV drama, with the Essex Police Major Investigation Team becoming a weekly favourite. Let the casting begin...



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mark Hardie was born in 1960 in Bow, East London. He began writing full time after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction.

Mark lives with his wife Debbie in Southend-on-Sea.





Burned and Broken is published by Sphere and is available in ebook format, with PB release on 4th May 2017. You can order your copy via amazon link below:


Thursday, 26 January 2017

Exclusive Cover Reveal - 'Our Little Secret' by Claudia Carroll.



I am so honoured to be the first to reveal the cover of the latest release from Bestselling author, Claudia Carroll. Published in TPB in Ireland (ebook version in the UK) on 23rd March. It is a sparkling story about what happens when you let someone into your life… but they turn out to want more than you’d bargained for.  I also have a little giveaway, to celebrate. Every girl deserves a treat, right? Details at the end of the page...


THE BLURB

Sarah Keyes has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all? When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is. But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And could this be a good deed that goes further than expected? Claudia Carroll does it again with a sparkling new novel about what happens when your life becomes up for grabs…



PRAISE FOR CLAUDIA CARROLL


 ‘Claudia Carroll is a master of creating a great story . . . A brilliantly readable, funny novel. Highly recommended’ Fabulous magazine

‘An emotional roller-coaster . . . asks some probing questions about relationships and keeps the reader wondering until the very end’ Irish Independent

‘I’ve just spent a gloriously sunny weekend delving into Tess Taylor and Kate King’s lives and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m a massive fan of Claudia and her books and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. It was modern, warm, insightful and filled with characters that felt like friends at the end.’ Emma Hannigan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Claudia Carroll is a number one bestselling author in Ireland and a top ten bestseller in the UK,  She was born in Dublin where she still lives and where she has worked extensively both as a theatre and stage actress. She now writes full-time. Her 2013 novel ME AND YOU was shortlisted for the Bord Gais Popular Choice Irish Book Award. Her previous novel ALL SHE EVER WISHED FOR spent 12 weeks at the top of the Irish charts





Our Little Secret is published by Harper Collins in TPB on 23rd March 2017 and will also be available in ebook format. You can pre-order your ebook HERE.

Exclusive Cover-Reveal Giveaway




There is a chance to win this mini-pampering package, including travel-sized luxury face mask, hand cream, bath and shower gel, moisturiser and hair mask, on facebook.com/bleachhouselibrary or twitter.com/margaretbmadden 

Just see pinned post/tweet for entry details. Giveaway ends on Fri 3rd February. Good Luck!




Thursday, 19 January 2017

Blog Tour - 'English Animals' by Laura Kaye. Review and Giveaway.



Thanks to the publishers, I have two copies of English Animals to giveaway. To be in with a chance of winning one, just enter via rafflecopter link below. Good Luck!



A funny, subversive and poignant debut novel from an exciting new writer, perfect for fans of Cold Comfort Farm,
I Capture the Castle and Nina Stibbe.

I took off my belt and moved between the seats to look. We were at the top of a big hill. Below were squares and diamonds of green and brown fields all the way to the sunset. Then I saw the house. It was more perfect than the one I had been dreaming about. A red cube in the middle of the land, like someone threw a dice. I could not believe that I was going to live there.


When Mirka gets a job in a country house in rural England, she has no idea of the struggle she faces to make sense of a very English couple, and a way of life that is entirely alien to her. Richard and Sophie are chaotic, drunken, frequently outrageous but also warm, generous and kind to Mirka, despite their argumentative and turbulent marriage.

Mirka is swiftly commandeered by Richard for his latest money-making enterprise, taxidermy, and soon surpasses him in skill. After a traumatic break two years ago with her family in Slovakia, Mirka finds to her surprise that she is happy at Fairmont Hall. But when she tells Sophie that she is gay, everything she values is put in danger and she must learn the hard way what she really believes in.



My Thoughts on English Animals

This is an absolutely stunning literary debut that hooked me from page one, as Mirka approaches her new life in England. Landing in the midst of a strange environment, with an eccentric English couple she finds herself surrounded by tension, temptation and Taxidermy. The prose is both delicate and insightful as the author has chosen a protagonist who does not speak English as her first language. Sophie and Richard manage to make Mirka feel welcome yet an outsider; helpful but surplus to requirement and  yet she blends in like a piece of their quirky furniture. Creaky floorboards, dripping taps and rusty taps are balanced out with diverse personalities and a sense of claustrophobia. The art of taxidermy is Mirka's escape from the craziness and yet Sophie is a constant drug, flowing through her veins.  
This is a debut that deserves a lot of attention. Sublime storytelling from a new literary voice. Highly recommended.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Laura Kaye is a graduate of Goldsmith's Creative Writing MA and did a further year of study under the mentorship of MJ Hyland at the University of Manchester. When she isn't writing, Laura works on music and arts documentaries for the BBC including Flamenco: Gypsy Soul, Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany and Songs of the South.  She lives in Hackney. English Animals is her debut novel.
www.laura-f-c-kaye.com


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Book Review - 'Through the Barricades' by Denise Deegan


Guest Review from Emma Crowley


I’ll readily admit I haven’t read a Denise Deegan book in a long time. I think Turning Turtle must have been the last book I have read from Denise but when I saw a few people talking about this new young adult book Through the Barricades and saying how good they were finding it I knew I wanted to give it a try. I love historical fiction and although this was released late last year it places the spotlight on the events of 1916 which were the focus of major attention here in Ireland during 2016 as the 100th anniversary was celebrated. The cover for the book  made me want to get stuck straight into the story all the more. I know this was a young adult book but I do think anyone could read it and take just as much if not more from it. At times I did think would it be a little too detailed for young teenagers. I was thinking in particular sixth class as I teach in a primary school. It was quite a long book and I felt if a class were to read it their attention may waver ever so slightly. Saying that this was a very good, eye opening read and it was evident Denise Deegan had undertaken plenty of research into the years of the residents living in Dublin leading up to 1916 and in to World War One where our main male protagonist finds himself fighting on the enemy lines. I did find the book quite slow to get going and wondered what direction it would eventually take but when we reached part two I felt the pace and the general development of both the plot and the characters picked up significantly and it needed to do so to keep the reader engaged as my attention had begun to wander by this point. But I was glad I persisted because if I had not I would have missed out on interesting historical story combined with a riveting romantic element.

The book opens with a brief prologue in 1906 as a fire engulfs the home of Maggie. Her father throws her out the window to safety saying’ Make a difference in this world Maggie’. This is a motto/advice that Maggie lives by throughout the course of this story and in times of desperation and struggle she remembers the words her beloved father told her and carries on no matter how tough the situation is that she may find herself in. Part one of the book follows Maggie and Daniel as their paths converge on the streets of Dublin as Maggie battles with a flat bicycle tyre. Right from that first point of contact the reader can sense that although they may be from different class backgrounds they have a connection, a spark which will weather many storms and obstacles yet at all times their affinity and respect and eventual love for each other shine through even at the most despairing of times. I felt the first part of the book was a slow and gentle introduction leading up to more wider events taking place in the coming years. It did give the reader a good insight into the lives of people living in Dublin at the time and how they were dealing on a daily basis with the repercussions of the Lockout. Maggie and her mother volunteer in a soup kitchen and here is where the character of young Lily is introduced and soon taken under the family’s wing. There wasn’t a huge amount of interaction between Daniel and Maggie at this point. Yet Daniel was always there hovering away in the background. He would do anything for Maggie and never wanted to see any harm befall her. It was wonderful to see such compassion in someone so young. He too volunteered at the soup kitchen which would have been frowned upon if his lawyer father had discovered this but to me it showed the love despite his age that Daniel had for Maggie. That he would do anything to be near her even if it meant going against his parents and keeping things hidden from them. I did think it’s sad that in today’s society that we could say that soup kitchens are very much in use in Ireland today and it makes one wonder have we really come all that far in some ways as a country since 1916?

As I have mentioned the book for me was slow to begin with and then as Maggie and her family and even Daniel become embroiled in events in Dublin and the build up the Rising of Easter 1916 the history buff in me loved every aspect of this and it was great to see the story we have read about in history books since primary school come to life in a fiction book but in a way that became more easy and accessible the further I read. My only worry would be would readers from outside Ireland get everything connected with 1916 and the fight engaged in by both Maggie and Daniel for freedom? Yes there may be readers not from Ireland but who take a keen interest in Irish history and would know the background to the story but maybe others would just read the book for the love story involved. I suppose everybody would take something different from it. As events in Eastern Europe began to make headlines in 1914 the cosy relationship between Maggie and Daniel took a different turn and therefore resulted in different sides of our two main characters emerging. Both were pushed to the pin of their collar and tested in more ways than one. Yet Maggie was a character who showed unbelievable strength and tenacity and she wanted to be out there doing her bit even if the general belief held by many was that a woman’s place was in the home behind closed doors. It was almost as if she could sense times were changing and she wanted to be at the forefront of everything and I suppose she did have the words of her father echoing in her ears. 
As Daniel finds himself signing up for the war effort and far from home the author never spared any details about life on the battle front and even though this may have been a young adult novel I felt the detail needed to be there. The horrors of war should not be spared at all and the later half of the book would not have had the same impact on me if they had not been present. Daniel does an awful lot of growing up pretty quickly yet I felt his deep longing for Maggie and in one way I wanted to tell him why put yourself through this? Why have a forced separation from the one you love and in turn put them through so much agony and heartache? Yet maybe he felt obliged deep within his soul to do his best for his country and the wider world. I kept reading eagerly to see how all the events would lead to a big climax to the story. Denise Deegan should be proud of Through the Barricades. She has written an excellent story with plenty of historical fact mixed well with a beautiful love story that aims to endure for as long as possible despite all the barriers and hurdles placed in its way. I did feel the ending left room for a sequel and heading into the 1920’s and the setting that could be possible with another book would make for another great read. Through the Barricades was an honest, emotional and at times intense read but it is one I am glad I took the time to read. I would urge you to do the same.

Through the Barricades is available in PB and ebook format. You can order your copy via amazon link below:

Monday, 16 January 2017

Blog Tour - 'Relativity' by Antonia Hayes. Review and Giveaway.



Thanks to Corsair Books, I have a copy of relativity to giveaway to one lucky reader. Enter via rafflecopter link below. Open INT. Good Luck! 

My Review


Twelve-year-old Ethan lives with his mother, Claire, and has never met his father. An unusually gifted child, he has no idea of the circumstances surrounding his fathers absence. When he discovers a letter from his father to Claire, it leads to a fascination and journey to discover just why his father left and how he can reunite the family. Using his unique scientific logic, Ethan believes he can re-visit the past and change the futures outcome. But the past is suddenly a scary place to visit and leaves many questions unanswered. Can he trust his father or did he really do what they say he did?

Claire is a woman trying to keep her son safe. Safe from bullies, safe from the harsh realities of traditional expectations and safe from the truth of his near-death experience as an infant. She gave her life as a ballerina to raise her child and each day is filled with protecting him and keep sane herself. When Mark lands back in their lives, she needs to examine her limited memories of the most horrific days of her life; a night of shock, fear and a nightmare dash to the hospital. What really happened that day? Would Mark really have hurt his own son, like they said he did? Has she ever really believed what the jury found him guilty of? What is the truth?

Antonia Hayes has written a story which will touch the hearts, souls and emotions of its readers. The divided family is riddled with uncertainty, lack of trust and fear of addressing the past. Ethan is a delightfully different child. His love of physics is introduced from the very start of the book and shows he is way beyond any other child of his age. He is socially awkward and has few friends. School is basically wasted on a child like Ethan. The love that Claire feels for Ethan is easy to feel and the author drip feeds information about the past, leading to the fateful day that saw the family divide. Beautifully descriptive and an emotional journey, this is a strong debut that deserves attention. Don't be put off by the first few pages, which are loaded with Ethan's attempts to understand the relativity between time and space. He is really just trying to find his own relativity to the world we live in. You will struggle to forget Ethan.  Sharp, astute and emotional, this is a highly recommend read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Antonia Hayes, who grew up in Sydney and spent her twenties in Paris, currently lives in London with her husband and son. Relativity is her first novel.

Relativity is published by Corsair and is available in paperback and ebook format.
You can order your copy, with Free Worldwide Postage and 18% from kennys.ie. The ebook can be ordered via amazon link below:





Saturday, 14 January 2017

Blog Tour: 'The One' by John Marrs. Review and Giveaway.




Thanks to Ebury and Dead Good Books, I have an ARC of The One to giveaway to one luck reader. To be in with a chance, just enter via rafflecopter link below.  Good Luck!

Scientists have discovered that each and every one of us has a gene which is shared with one other person. Our soulmate. Our perfect match. All you need is a simple DNA test to discover who you should be with.  Sending a swab off in an envelope is now the way to fulfill your destiny. But what happens if you are already with someone you love and care for deeply? Are you prepared to take the test, in the hope of proving you are already with your destined partner? Are you prepared to travel the world to meet your match? And are all soulmates as perfect as they seem?


MY REVIEW

The concept is simple. You sign up to a website which has millions of DNA results on its database. You provide a mouth swab, return it in a pre-paid envelope, and sit back and wait for the email which reveals your perfect match. The One.  What could go wrong?
Mandy has been matched and begins her research online. Finding his facebook profile gives her access to photos and details of his life and she is suitably impressed. So far, so good.
Jade chats with her match on a daily basis and her friends can't figure out why she can't just bite the bullet and travel the thousands of miles to meet him face-to-face. Can she pluck up the courage for such a journey?
Nick is engaged to be married and is more than content with his current partner.  She, however, wants him to take the test and confirm that they are indeed meant for each other. Nick is highly amused when he is matched with a man. There has obviously been a mix-up. Right?
Ellie is the founder of of the DNA-match website and is wealthy, powerful and determined. When she finds she herself has been matched, she wonders if she should take the plunge herself. She's not getting any younger and the evenings are quite lonely without that special someone. But how can she hide her identity when her face is so famous?
Christopher receives his email a few months after registering and thinks the timing might be just right. He is after getting away with murder, after all.

Five DNA matches; five stories. Each of the five are given equal space and the overall story moves along at a powerful pace.  The chapters are short, sharp and end with mini-cliffhangers. This is one of those books that has the reader gagging for more.  Definitely a 'just one more chapter' book, that sees you reading well into the night. I read it in one sitting and was completely lost in the craziness of DNA matching and all the moral, ethical and potential life-changing issues that could arise from its concept. The added tension of a serial killer at large was a bonus. The challenges that the killer encountered by meeting his match, whist in the middle of a killing spree, gave the character more depth and even likability.
  John Marrs has created a narrative that is frighteningly feasible and entirely compelling. By the end of this novel, you will definitely find yourself wondering if you would be the type to take the test, or not. This may be the most enjoyable thriller I have read in years. A complete page-turner, a razor-sharp concept and short, sharp, addictive chapters all make for an absolutely cracking psychological thriller.  Read it and let me know; would you take the test? 

The One is published in ebook format on 26th January 2017 and in paperback on 4th May 2017. You can order your copy via amazon link below:




Monday, 9 January 2017

Book Giveaway - 'The Truth Will Out' by Brian Cleary.


A new name in Irish Fiction, Brian Cleary has kindly offered two giveaway copies of his debut thriller, The Truth Will Out.  To be in with a chance of winning a copy, just enter via rafflecopter link below.  Good Luck!


THE BLURB

The novel is set in Ireland. The friendship of Jamie, Shane and Mary Kate is tested to the limit after Mary Kate is brutally raped and lies in a coma. The evidence against Jamie is overwhelming and is compounded by the fact he maintains he cannot recall what happened that night. However, the one secret that Jamie has never disclosed can prove his innocence.

Corrupt guards, a narcissistic film director and his mercenary private detective, an ex-girlfriend, a serial killer and an inept solicitor all weave a complicated compelling plot with twists and turns right to the end. A gripping read.

************************************************


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Brian Cleary was born in 1966 in Dublin, Ireland where he lives with his wife, two kids and two dogs.

Brian began writing this novel in the 1980's but only got so far and didn't re-visit it until 20 years later. In 2007 he started again but, this time, fate was to intervene. He had written the first chapter on the computer and, unknown to him, his then seven year old daughter showed it to the babysitter, Brian's mother Maureen!

She was impressed and encouraged him to finally complete the story. Nine years later, here we are! 


http://www.brianacleary.com/



The Truth Will Out is available in Easons nationwide and via amazon link below:




Popular Posts