Category Archives: Book blog

#OnMyLife by Angela Clarke #MustReads #BlogTour @TheAngelaClarke @MulhollandUK

Today I’m delighted to be sharing my review of On My Life by Angela Clark, this book is definitely a “must read” for those who enjoy a prison drama. Read on for my thoughts…….

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Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it…

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do: Clear her name, Save her baby, Find the killer, But can she do it in time?

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Hells bells what an exciting and engrossing read On My Life by Angela Clarke turned out to be. If you love a prison drama, then look no further, it’s definitely dramatic, the vivid prison scenes depicted by the author give a sense of malevolence that radiate from its pages, it’s a book that’s fraught with tension. The author’s depiction of  HMP Fallenbrook is so convincing it doesn’t take much imagination to sense the claustrophobic feel of the prison, the constant noise, the lack of privacy, a world where violence and fighting for survival going hand in hand. This book is more than a crime thriller, it’s a searing account of one woman’s journey through a failed Justice system. This book maybe fictional, but once you read the afterwords by the author you realise there are so many parts of this book that are based on alarming facts, facts that will make you angry and force you to question the failures of a justice service that treats pregnant woman.

On My Life tells the story of Jenna who appears to have it all, loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home, but then Jenna is accused of the murder of her 14-year-old stepdaughter and the disappearance of her fiancé. Placed on remand at HMP Fallenbrook, she finds herself fighting for her freedom, is she innocent? Who and why would someone go to such lengths to have her incarcerated? The answers are deftly revealed by the author, with numerous shocking moments along the way.  The beauty of this story is the contrast between Jenna’s life prior to the murder and her life as a prisoner, the author reveals the good, the bad and the ugly in equal measures, she doesn’t leave any stone unturned.

As Jenna steps through HMP Fallenbrook she catches her first glimpse of prison life, the author expertly describes Jenna’s thoughts and feelings and captures the fear that shrouds the prison I found myself becoming more and more anxious for her. The scenes are brutal, and yet there are also the scenes that are emotionally charged and heartbreakingly sad, and made me question my own assumptions of the treatment of women in prison.  As you would expect in a prison drama,  pack mentality rears its ugly head and usually in a book of this nature the protagonist comes out on top, but that isn’t the case for poor Jenna, because of the nature of her crimes she’s vilified by her fellow inmates, bullied and treated shockingly by the guards. 

On My Life moves masterfully between the present and Jenna’s past, although this gives an insight into her current predicament, it also explores her difficult childhood and her relationship with her fiancé and his family. I would be lying  if I said I didn’t guess the mystery of the “who” but you know what? this really didn’t matter,  as it was to the “why” I couldn’t fathom out and kept me so engrossed in this book, I must admit when the big reveal came I gave a very satisfied sigh. On My Life is a riveting, character driven novel, which is superbly plotted, this is definitely one book I will be recommending to anyone and everyone. 

  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books (7 Mar. 2019)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Angela Clarke is an author, playwright, columnist, screenwriter and broadcaster. Her debut crime thriller Follow Me was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month January 2016, longlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library 2016, and shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Page Turner Award 2016. Watch Me is the second instalment in the Social Media Murder Series. Angela’s memoir Confessions of a Fashionista is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. Her play, The Legacy, enjoyed its first run and rave reviews at The Hope Theatre in June 2015. She hosted the current affairs show Outspoken on Radio Verulam for six months in 2014, and has appeared on the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, BBC Three Counties and more. Her journalist contributions include: The Guardian, Independent Magazine, The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, and Writing magazine. In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers’ Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing. She volunteers with Womentoring, and the RSA Meet a Mentor scheme, and others, to help encourage and support marginalised artists into the industry. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Angela lives with her husband and far too many books.

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Follow the blog tour………

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#CoverReveal The Girl In Red by John Nicholl @nicholl06 @BloodhoundBook

Today I’m thrilled to be one of many book bloggers taking part in the cover reveal for The Girl In Red by John Nicholl. The Girl In Red is a stand-alone novel

Before I share the fabulous cover for The Girl In Red, here’s the book description to pique your interest……

Kathy thought she’d met her soulmate. But Police Inspector Michael Conner’s behaviour changes on the day of their wedding.

Showing his true colours for the first time, Conner becomes increasingly manipulative, controlling and cruel as the months’ pass. 

When Kathy tries to escape, Connor does his best to convince everyone that she is mentally ill. But Anna, Kathy’s identical twin sister, doesn’t believe it.

After a tragic event, Kathy decides enough is enough and elicits Anna’s help to rid herself of Connor for good.

But will Connor simply let Kathy walk away or have the sisters bitten off more than they can chew

Has the book description caught your attention? I must admit it certainly sounds like my kind of read. Anyway it’s now time for that all important cover reveal

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Well what do you think? I must admit I love it..

About the author

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John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller.

John’s books are set in the UK and have a strong Welsh flavour. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.

John has publishing deals with Bloodhound Books, W.F. Howes Ltd, and Hungarian publisher – konyvmolykepzo. His latest novel, Anonymity, will be published by Bloodhound Books in November 2018.

Author website: http://www.johnnicholl.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.nicholl.988

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13795294.John_Nicholl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicholl06

Agent: http://tma-agency.com

The book review café Book Of The month **February 2019**

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Whohoo It’s the 1st March, hopefully spring is just around the corner, I’m really not a winter person, bring on the lighter nights and lots of sunny days 😎.  Now we’ve got the weather out the way it’s time to choose my book of the month for February 2019, my god this was a hard one I could have chosen at least FOUR books this month but then I remembered the promise  I made last month on my blog, see below ⬇️

As only one who follows my blog will know I’m rubbish at narrowing it down to one book and more often than not I’ve chosen two or in some months three! I have had a srtrict word with myself, and this year I’m going to try and keep to just the one book of the month as the title suggests, let’s see how that goes 😂

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So after a couple of sleepless nights, and much toing and froing I came to my final decision, are you ready? I read some fabulous books in Febuary, but there is one book that really stood out. It’s a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page. It’s also one that rekindled my 🖤 Of horror. So without further ado here is my ONE book of the month…….

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Turn The Other Way by Stuart James

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I read so many books that promise that “big twist” and I’m sorry to say but many of them fail to deliver, but not Stuart James, there’s twist upon twist, each one darker and more twisted than the last. It takes a lot to shock or surprise me but OMFG Turn The Other Way surpassed anything I was expecting. You know the saying “revenge is sweet”? This book is more a case of “revenge is dark, disturbing, and extremely painful”. Would I recommend this book? “It’s a hell yes” especially to those who love a horror thriller. See my full review here……..Turn The Other Way by Stuart James @StuartJames73 #MustReads #Horror #Thriller #Crime #MustRead

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After more thought and deliberation there was no way I could much choose one book

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So here is my joint winner for the book of the month

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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The author sure knows how to weave a tangled web, and then keep the reader in his clutches with a well- plotted story. It’s one that pulls you in from the shocking opening chapter and keeps you captivated all the way to it’s explosive conclusion. I literally read this book in a day, the tension mounted as each chapter ended making this an impossible book to put down. Mark my words this book is going to be a HUGE hit.

You can read my full review here…….

#TheSilentPatient by Alex Michaelides (@AlexMichaelides @OrionBooks) #2019MustReads @BenWillisUK #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

Full reviews can be found in the links below……..

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #MustReads

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQstories #MustReads

#DeadMemories by Angela Marsons #MustReads @WriteAngie @Bookouture #BookHangoverAward

You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury **BlogBlitz** #BookReview @#MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

The Nowhere Child by Christian White #BookReview @CWhiteAuthor @MinotaurBooks

Books I’m hoping to read in March

 

 

 

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQstories #MustReads

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan. A must read for those who love a psychological thriller. Before I share my review here’s the book description……..

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Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Jane Goodwin has spent years building her picture-perfect life in the quiet town of Ashdon.

So when the girl next door, sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards, is found murdered, Jane knows she must first protect her family.

Every marriage has a few white lies and hers is no exception. Jane’s worked hard to cover up her dark secret from all those years ago – and she’ll do anything to keep it hidden…

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Ever since I read Phoebe Morgan’s debut novel The Doll House (which I really enjoyed)I’ve been eagerly awaiting her second novel The Girl Next Door, and my god it was definitely worth the wait. If anything, I enjoyed this devilishly twisted psychological thriller more; I enjoy a book where the author misdirects the reader at every given opportunity and the author certainly managed to do just that! If I had to choose just one thing I loved about this book, it would have to be the amount of surprises that were hidden within its pages, I’m trying to keep away from the “T” word (Twist in case you were wondering) as it seems to be the “buzz” word for all psychological thrillers, but hell yes it’s definitely got those “twists” all psychological thriller readers love. 

Perfect wife, perfect mother, Jane Goodwin, is married to the local GP, living the dream in an affluent street with their three children. When the girl next door sixteen-year-old Clare, is found dead in a field nearby, Jane’s first thought is to protect her family from the gossip and scaremongering that follows. Jane was a difficult character to like, but also fascinating, she’s one of those people whose “all about the appearance”, quick to judge those less fortunate than herself. Jane is a woman who prefers to bury her head in the sand than deal with real-life issues, her mindset is one where if you don’t talk about it, it isn’t happening, but appearances can be deceptive, as the author scratches the surface you come to the realise that behind the cool exterior is a very troubled woman.  Numerous characters come under suspicion In The Girl Next Door,  some rouse more suspicion than others and although I worked out the killer about halfway through, it did not distract from my enjoyment of this book as I couldn’t fathom out their motive, which made the read all the more riveting. 

Phoebe Morgans location is perfectly depicted, a small town where unsolicited rumours, pointing fingers, and mistrust building amongst the local community all add an unbearable sense of tension to the read. The Girl Next Door is narrated from three characters POV, DI Madeline Shaw, who leads the investigation into Clare’s  murder, Jane the perfect mother, and Clare herself. The chapters told from Clare’s POV give an insight into the secretive teenager’s life, her dreams, her fears all add a dimension to her character that I wasn’t expecting. DI Madeline Shaw doesn’t take centre stage which I found made a refreshing change, there are so many thrillers that feature troubled detectives it can sometimes get a little weary. For me the second half of this book is the part I enjoyed the most, darker in tone, there were chapters I found genuinely chilling. The Girl Next Door is a fascinating read that delves into toxic relationships, the secrets, the lies but it also explores the lengths a mother will go to, to protect her family. Highly recommended to those who enjoy a dark psychological thriller. 

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (21 Feb. 2019)

Buying  link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

The author also wrote a guest post for the A day With Author……. feature that I ran back in 218, here’s  the link if you’re  interested…….

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/11/16/a-day-with-author-phoebe-morgan-phoebe_a_morgan/

 

#BehindTheBooks with Karen Sullivan @OrendaBooks #BookPublisher #TeamOrenda.

Today I’m thrilled to have the fabulous Karen Sullivan pop by the book review café and take part in my latest feature #BehindTheBooks. Karen is the owner of Orenda Books and I’m sure most book bloggers would agree Karen publishes some of the most compelling books I’ve had the pleasure to read. I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I did putting it together……

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Good morning Karen I’m so excited to have you finally visit the book review café, first thing first tea or coffee? 

Coffee all the way. I don’t speak to anyone in the morning until my Nespresso machine has done its business! Being Canadian, I never really ‘got’ the tea thing, and shhhhhhh don’t really like it!

What made you decide to set up a publication business?

I was an author for years (non-fiction), and got a bit bored writing about the same things (raising children, emotional health, discipline, nutrition, etc.), particularly as my boys got older. I took what was ostensibly a one-day-a-week job in a little independent, writing jacket copy and advance information sheets/press releases, etc. It soon turned into more than full time, and when my boss was sacked and a new group of shareholders brought in, who clearly didn’t understand the ethos of the list or the company, I decided it was the to leave. It took me 24 hours to decide to start Orenda Books, and I haven’t looked back!

What genre of books do Orenda Books publish?

We publish literary fiction, with a heavy emphasis on crime thrillers, about half in translation. What defines the list is the superb writing!

What makes Orenda Books unique from other publishers?

That’s a good question. It’s a small list, and our authors come from 14 countries around the world, so there is immediately a big international element to Orenda. We work hard together, as Team Orenda, and all of my authors are as approachable and engaged as they are talented. My goal was to publish beautiful, unforgettable books … and create a brand identity that would mean readers picking up the next Orenda book, regardless of its provenance or genre, on the basis that they KNOW it will be good. We work super hard at all stages of editing to make sure that happens! We really believe that if someone wants to buy a physical book, they want something gorgeous. So we have great covers, and use excellent-quality paper, with neat little design touches; for example, a little ornament or illustration in the runnings heads.

 

 

What would you say has been your biggest success so far?

I think getting this far is probably my biggest success! It’s a crowded, noisy market, and it’s not easy being a little guy! In terms of books, Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series has been far and away our bestselling titles, with over a million copies sold in various territories around the world. Amanda Jennings, Matt Wesolowski, Louise Voss, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Lilja Sigurdardottir, Thomas Enger and Antti Tuomainen have also been strong sellers. All of them have done well, really!
We publish a lot of debut authors, and it can take some time to get them established, but sales are up across the board for everyone! One of the nice things about being small and working so closely with authors is that we build very strong relationships. We are completely committed to all of our authors, and growing them with the company, regardless of how long that might take.

Which brings me to my next question, What has been the biggest challenge?

 The biggest challenge will always be trying to compete with the big players. We don’t have the marketing budgets that they do, or teams of creatives, and can’t generate the same type of hype for books. Sometimes I want weep when I see heavily hyped books getting all the attention (and publicity and sales) when I know that ours are much, much better! I also struggle with the growth of the 99p digital publishers, who are doing great damage to the industry as a whole … the value that books are perceived to have, an author’s ability to earn a living. As a matter of principle, we refuse to discount without a retailer-supported promotion, but it is very hard to compete against publishers offering books so cheaply. But we chose to play with the big boys, so we have to get on and do it. I give a lot of books away, but I do get frustrated when people are always want everything free or cheaply. I feel a huge weight of responsibility for my authors, and they have to be able to eat! I wish sometimes book buyers would understand how hard it is to do this. If they don’t support independent publishers, buy their books, and actively choose them over some of the over-hyped big-company titles, a lot of fabulous books will never be published and we will lose the vibrancy of the community, the variety of literature available. This has become one long rant!

You must get hundreds of submissions from authors, how do you choose which books you will publish? 

 

 

We get so many submissions, it’s almost terrifying! We have a reader who has worked with from the very beginning, and she knows exactly what will excite me! So she acts as a filter, and gives me a yes, no, maybe response, and a full report for every book. She has NEVER been wrong yet! Sometimes I may revisit a ‘no’, but I haven’t ever seen anything that she has missed. Then it comes to me and my editor, and we both read it. So the process is long … particularly because we are so busy with the day-to-day running of the company and keeping books going through. If I absolutely LOVE a book, I might offer for it. But the list is tiny, though, and we can’t publish that many new titles a year … having made a commitment to existing authors to grow them! I sometimes read fantastic submissions that are just a little to close in style or plot to something we already publish. One thing I definitely want to do is make sure that every single book/author is completely different. So we might have several police procedurals or psychological thrillers, but they share nothing apart from their genre or sub genre.

If I sent a book I wrote to you how long would it take you to review and respond?

I’m almost embarrassed to say that it could take six to eight months … just because of the sheer volume!! And we do like to read everything!

What would put you off reading my book I sent to you?

Poor spelling, a cliched plot or characters. Weak writing. A submission letter that isn’t personalised (i.e., Dear Sirs).
Lots of things can be fixed in books (and are) but an author needs to be a great writer to be published here and bring something fresh and distinctive.

If you accepted my book how long is the process from accepting a manuscript to final publication? And what does the process involve? 

 

 

Usually about a year, but it depends upon what time of year it’s signed. What we do first is a structural edit … loads of editorial notes that send the author back to his/her writing desk to get the bones of the book … the plot, characters, timeline, continuity, atmosphere, setting. It might go back and forth several (or even dozens of) times before it’s ready for copyediting. This is the line edit, and the copyeditor always finds more things that need addressing, and the prose is polished at this stage. The author then answers queries and checks the edits to make sure he/she is happy. During the process, we write a blurb, commission a jacket, get it up for pre-order, pitch to the sales teams around the world, discuss marketing and publicity approaches, etc. Once the book is in good shape, it is typeset. We usually print uncorrected proofs at this stage (about five/six months before publication), and these go out to the press, booksellers, other authors for jacket quotes, the sales teams, and some of the bloggers. The book is then proofread by author and an outside proofreader. Then a couple of months before publication, we print the final book! It takes a while…

You have some fantastic covers for your books, how do you choose a cover?

We have the MOST AMAZING jacket designer – Mark Swan. I give him a detailed brief … basically what the book is about, the kind of images we might be looking for, or the approach … and he delivers a series of roughs. It’s honestly VERY hard to choose. He is a genius! Sometimes the jacket we choose doesn’t meet with the approval of the retailers, so we go back to the drawing board. Usually there is another rough in the bunch that fits the bill. Jackets DO have to stand out, and we spend a lot of time getting them right.

Are there any books you are publishing this year you are really excited about?

Hand on heart, I am absolutely thrilled to be publishing every single book on the list. Quite a few authors are on their third or fourth books, and they just get better and better. It’s such a delight … a source of huge excitement … to get this list of books out there to readers. I am probably as nervous and excited as the authors themselves. In terms of new authors, however, we have a WONDERFUL book from Norway, A Modern Family, by Helga Flatland, who we are calling the Norwegian Anne Tyler. It’s so exquisitely written and moving … and it will resonate with anyone who has EVER had a sibling! It’s out in June. We’ve also got Paul Burston’s new psychological thriller, The Closer I Get, which revolves around the world of social media, where a follower becomes a little obsessive. These are authors who are new to Orenda. Others are making their return with books that quite simply smash it out of the park!

 

 

As for the marketing of your books, what have you found works best for Orenda Books?

A combination of things! We do a lot of giveaways, and Anne Cater organises the most incredible blog tours (sometimes with over 80 bloggers involved in each), which really give a book a nice headstart with some fabulous reviews and a great buzz. We do promotions with retailers, and place ads in online sites and in some print media (a lot more in the USA/Can than here). We are very active on social media, and have just started our ‘Orenda Books at Bedtime’, which is a series that goes out every Sunday night at 8pm. An author reads from his/her book from the comfort of their own home, and it’s really taking off. I absolutely think that the best marketing imaginable is to get authors in front of readers, so the ‘online’ intimate bedtime story is definitely a good way to do that. Our authors did over 300 events last year between them, including loads of festivals, and most also took part in our Orenda Roadshow, where we visit four bookshops across the country in four days. We have big launches, and parties, and try to make readers and anyone who reviews our books or shares the book love feel like part of the team. Our book trailers have been a surprising success. We also have a newsletter that goes out via the Crime Lounge every couple of weeks!

Can you tell us a little about a typical day at Orenda?

I don’t think there is any typical day! One day I might work from 7am till after midnight on edits, or I might spend a whole day trying to organise events, pitching for festivals. I might have sales meetings, or be on the road with authors for days on end! We could be preparing books for press … chasing up praise and getting the final cover designed. Spending time on social media, checking sales figures, writing a press release or jacket copy, reading submissions, crying at cash flow, rewriting metadata for online retailers (particularly for ebooks), coming up with strategies for marketing or publicity, looking at reviews for blog tours, in the press, on goodreads or Amazon. Talking to the sales team, or Sophie, who helps with PR. Updating the website. Working out why something isn’t selling as well as expected, perhaps, and finding ways to give it a boost. Talking to my editor, West Camel, and Cole, my son, who now works for us as an assistant everything! I’m getting a little better at delegating. There are hundreds of emails every day, too!

I am up at seven, get my youngest off to school, and then work well into the night (stopping to cook dinner!). I go to lots of launches for authors from other publishers, too, and am away a LOT a book fairs, author events, festivals, international sales conferences, etc. Every day brings something new and maybe that’s partly why it is so much fun. Although there are a lot of extremely boring administrative tasks, I can always do something else if I start to lose my mind!

 

 

One final question can you sum up Orenda Books in five words?

Well, our little ‘tag line’, which I thought up in about 20 seconds when I started the company is: Beautiful Readable Unforgettable. I’m not sure I could actually top that! Just Team Orenda?
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About Orenda Books

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Karen with author Thomas Enger

Orenda Books was founded by publisher Karen Sullivan in late 2014 to specialise in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, about half in translation. The company has fast made a name for itself, being shortlisted for the IPG Nick Robinson Newcomer Award, shortlisting for and winning a clutch of awards, including CWA Daggers, Authors’ Club First Novel Award, the Petrona Award, the Glass Key and the Dead Good Reads Awards. Karen was also named as a Bookseller Rising Star for 2016.

My thanks to Karen for taking time out of her hectic schedule to take part in this feature.

 

 

 

 

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #MustReads

Today I’m thrilled to be able to share my review for Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech. This book is a ‘MUST’ read for those readers who love a character led psychology thriller with a dark 🖤

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Tonight is the night for secrets…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

With echoes of the chilling Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly… 

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Louise Beech is such a versatile author, each of her books has made for an original read, each one has been different in tone, characters and plot, which for me means the author’s books are a “MUST” read. This is the author’s first foray into the psychological genre, but never fear yet again the author has written a book that has all her trademarks, a compelling plot, steeped in emotion, beautifully written, and yet within its covers lie a dark and disquieting read. Call Me Star Girl is a book that is guaranteed to haunt you long after you reach the last page of this all-consuming dark psychological thriller.

It’s Stella McKeever’s last ever radio show, and she wants to make sure it’s her best one yet, so decides to ask her listeners to share their secrets and in return she will share hers, which immediately gave me a sense of foreboding, we all know what happens when secrets are shared, right? Emotions are stirred, long buried memories are disturbed, a baring of the soul rarely ends in a ‘happy ever after’ for anyone.  Throw into the mix the fact a local girl has been found murdered in an alley, and the scene is set. Louise Beech weaves a complex tale featuring flawed characters, layered in oodles of tension that made this novel such an unsettling but fabulous read.

I must congratulate the author on creating the perfect setting for this novel, As the reader it takes little imagination to summon up the radio station at night,  a place where every shadow, and every noise adds a sense of trepidation to to the read, is someone hiding in the shadows? Or is Louise Beech toying with the reader?  The authors characters have the ability to consume your every waking moment, they may be flawed, they may not be likeable, they may even be untrustworthy but I can guarantee their story will enthral you, you will eagerly turn the pages, looking to find how the pieces of this finely tuned puzzle fit together.

Told from the POV of Stella and Elizabeth the mother who abandoned her, you will experience feelings and emotions you never thought possible, their stories will pull at your heartstrings when you least expect it. The author explores themes of abandonment, sacrifice and love, and in doing so has written a tense and atmospheric read. In my humble opinion this is the author’s best book yet and a must read for those who love a riveting psychological thriller that’s very much character led but with a dark heart. It’s  definitely a book that will be on my top reads of 2019 at the end of the year, and that’s a fact!

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Orenda Books in paperback  (18 April 2019) available on kindle NOW

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

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The Haunting Of Henderson Close Catherine Cavendish #Extact #BlogTour @Cat_Cavendish #RandomThingsTours @annecater @FlameTreePress

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in The Haunting Of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish blog tour. Like many book bloggers I’m snowed under with books waiting to be reviewed, so I haven’t been able to read the book but I must admit after reading the extract from the book (see below) I’m really intrigued and now desperate to read the whole book.

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PROLOGUE

November 1st, 1891

The tall woman lifted her skirt as she crossed the filthy, narrow street. Her nose wrinkled at the stench of human waste, rotting fruit and vegetables and all manner of foul remains that sloshed their way down the gutters of the open sewer that was Henderson Close, deep in the squalid heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Henderson Close. The very mention of the name sent shivers down the spines of most of the woman’s acquaintances. They couldn’t understand why she did this. Helping those too feckless, in their eyes, to help themselves.

A second-floor window rattled open. “Gardyloo!” Along with everyone else in the vicinity, the woman scurried for safety, just in time before a torrent of stinking night waste splashed onto the street. The stench hit her with a renewed force that made her eyes water and her stomach heave. Breathing through her mouth, the woman hurried on. The sooner she reached her destination, the sooner she could complete her mission and return to the safety of her cosy, lavender-scented flat in the more prosperous New Town.

As she quickened her step, she passed poorly dressed humanity of all ages. Children in little more than worn-out rags, on such a cold day as this too. She pitied them their filthy bare feet, pockmarked with chilblains, and scabs that wouldn’t heal for want of a decent diet. She averted her eyes from the young girls, barely in their teens, who cradled their swollen bellies. The woman knew what went on. Some of these girls knew the fathers of their unborn babies all too well. They were closely related to them. Others wouldn’t be able to pick the right one out of a police line-up.

She passed old women with no teeth and sparse grey hair. Yet most of them were probably barely past forty. Her age in fact. With her gloved hand, she adjusted the wire-rimmed spectacles a little higher on her nose, and arrived at number seventeen.A now-familiar clutch of apprehension tugged at her and she glanced around. No, everyone on the street was going about their normal business today.

She stared up at the dilapidated tenement, nine stories high, as she had done many times before. With land at such a premium in Edinburgh’s teeming Old Town, they built upward, as high as the foundations would stand, and through lack of proper maintenance these old buildings sometimes collapsed, killing and maiming hundreds of inhabitants. Number seventeen was no better nor worse than any of its neighbours. Doors, and any remaining windows that weren’t boarded up, had once been painted in a long-forgotten colour, now chipped and flaking off, revealing the rotten wood beneath. It used to be that the richer you were, the higher up you lived. Those at the top of the building could see the sky and were furthest away from the stinking street below. But, for the past century or more, the well-to-do had moved away to the elegant streets of the Georgian New Town. No noxious odours for them.

The woman shook her head. Back to the purpose of her journey. The family she had come to see – the McDonalds –lived a wretched existence on the ground floor, barely able to afford the single room the mother, father and the youngest five bairns all shared. And the mother had another on the way. It had been like this all the years the woman had known them. Babies came. Babies died. More babies arrived. Mrs. McDonald must be in her late thirties or even older. Still they came. Her older ones were off her hands now. Her oldest.…

Well, with any luck, at least what she had brought them would ensure food in the family’s bellies for the rest of the week. That’s why she came in the morning, when she knew the man wouldn’t be there or, if he was, he’d be sleeping off the last of the previous night’s ale. Not that Mr. McDonald was such a bad sort. At least, so far as she knew, he didn’t beat his wife or the children and, when he was sober, he would do anyone a kindness, but she couldn’t take a chance on the money getting into his hands. Too much temptation.

So lost in her own thoughts was she that she was unaware of the three youths who had formed a semi-circle behind her. As she raised her hand to knock on the worm-eaten door, they grabbed her. A fourth assailant – older, in his twenties – seized her. Shards of pain shot through her shoulders. She cried out as the four of them manhandled her round the corner into an alleyway. The older one spat at her, threw her to the ground and kicked her. “Give us the money, woman!”

She tried in vain to curl into a foetal position as the four boys threw kicks and punches. Fists slammed into her face, knocking off her glasses. Blood poured from her nose. A sickening snapping noise and screaming pain tore through her jaw. She closed her eyes and prayed for them to stop. Pain burst through her chest as her ribs cracked. She pleaded for merciful death to release her. A man’s roar. The oldest thug stamped on her hand, breaking her fingers. He tore the purse from her broken arm and made off. Hobnail boots thundered as men pursued them.

Through the red mist of her agony, the woman recognised a familiar voice. Mr. McDonald was home, sober and here to help her. She felt him kneel beside her. He cradled her head. Shetried to open her eyes but they were already swollen shut. Or the effort was simply too much. She tasted blood, felt it drip down her cheeks, mingling with the tears that cascaded down her face, and the muddy, stinking wetness of the ground beneath her face.Mr. McDonald stroked her forehead. “Oh Miss Carmichael,what have they done to ye?”

Other voices joined his. Mrs. McDonald tried to wipe the blood off with the ragged hem of her rough wool skirt. “Lord preserve us. Who would do such a thing? Miss Carmichael too. All she ever does is out of the goodness of her heart.” The voices floated to the dying woman on echoing waves through the pathways of her mind, becoming fainter and fainter. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald leaned closer as Miss Carmichael struggled to speak. It was no more than a whisper, barely possible with her fractured jaw. “I am so sorry. They took it. Every penny.” A final tear tracked its way down Miss Carmichael’s face as the darkness enveloped her for the last time.

* *

In the shadows, a well-dressed young man moved, unnoticed by the crowd gathered over the dead woman. A smile creased his lips as he walked away.

The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: FLAME TREE PRESS; New edition edition (10 Jan. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1787581020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1787581029

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Book description

Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…

In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released. Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face?

The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real. The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

http://www.flametreepublishing.com/

About the author

 

(From www.catherinecavendish.com)

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Hello, my name’s Catherine Cavendish and I write horror fiction – frequently with ghostly, supernatural, Gothic and haunted house themes.

Out now – from Flame Tree Press – THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE. Ghostly horror set in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Available now from Kensington-Lyrical – the NEMESIS OF THE GODS trilogy: mWRATH OF THE ANCIENTS, WAKING THE ANCIENTS and DAMNED BY THE ANCIENTS – set in Egypt and Vienna and featuring the sinister Dr. Emeryk Quintillus whose obsession has stayed with him past the grave.

My novellas COLD REVENGE, MISS ABIGAIL’S ROOM, THE DEMONS OF CAMBIAN STREET, THE DEVIL INSIDE HER and THE SECOND WIFE have now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.

My novels THE DEVIL’S SERENADE and SAVING GRACE DEVINE have also been released in new editions by Crossroad Press, as have my novel of the Lancashire Witches – THE PENDLE CURSE – and my novellas, LINDEN MANOR and DARK AVENGING ANGEL.

I live with a long-suffering husband and a delightful black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Who am I to argue?

When not slaving over a hot computer, I enjoy wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

Twitter : @Cat_Cavendish

Follow the blog tour…….

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