Friday, 24 June 2022

Nothing Else by Louise Beech BLOG TOUR @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #NothingElse #JubilantJune #BookReview

 


Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.

But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.

When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night … coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

An exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma, about the unbreakable bond between sisters, Nothing Else is also a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything.




Nothing Else by Louise Beech was published in paperback on 23 June by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this Blog Tour 



I have read everything that Louise Beech has written and have been a fan since book one. What is so special about this author is her ability to write beautifully in different genre. Whether a psychological thriller, or a romance or a ghost story, she never fails to engage her readers with her beautiful prose and carefully created characters. 

It's very difficult to categorise Nothing Else into genre; it's contemporary fiction that deals with the effects of a broken home on the most innocent of victims. With a dual timeline that seems effortless, the author introduces her two lead characters whilst also detailing their earliest and formative years. 

The use of music throughout this novel is wonderfully done, and it is the character's ability to lose themselves in the sounds of Chopin, Beethoven and more contemporary composers that adds so much to the story.

Heather Harris is divorced with no children. She lives in the dockside in Hull and teaches the piano, she also plays small gigs in local pubs. Heather's life is far from complete, she is haunted by the memory of her younger sister Harriet who she last saw almost thirty years ago. After the tragic death of their parents, Heather and Harriet were taken into care and one day Harriet disappeared. Heather was never told where she went and despite being brought up by a loving couple, she has always felt that a part of her is missing. Often imagining that she sees and hears Harriet. 

When Heather makes the decision to take a six weeks contract playing piano on a cruise ship, she is excited, yet frightened of the unknown. However, this trip will change her life completely. She's applied for her care records and they arrive just as she's leaving home. Stuffing them into her bag, she decides to read them whilst she's away. Although the records don't tell her a lot, she finds a hidden cutting nestled in the back and what she finds out, changes everything that she believed about herself, and her parents. 

Beech allows her readers to meet and get to know Harriet too in a clever structure style that works really well. However, for me, it was the descriptions of the girls early life that really resonated, the absolute love for their mother and the total fear of their father is so precise and so strong, it is heartbreaking in parts. 

Beech deals with quite a few complex and serious issues within Nothing Else, and these are sensitively done. The cruise ship setting is very realistic, with the descriptions of life below deck and the glamour and glitz experienced by the passengers contrasting so well. 

Tender and emotional, with a strong cast of female characters, this is an evocative and stylish story of the strength of the sisterly bond. 





All six of Louise Beech’s books have been digital bestsellers. 
Her novels have been a Guardian Readers’ Choice, shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award. 

Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. 

Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull. 

Follow her on Twitter @louisewriter









PRAISE FOR LOUISE BEECH

‘An atmospheric, haunting and beautifully written page turner!’ C L Taylor

‘With secrets, lies and plenty of twisty turns... eerie and evocative’ Fionnuala Kearney

 ‘EXTRAORDINARY – tense, twisted and utterly compelling’ Miranda Dickinson

‘Superb storytelling ... claustrophobic, unsettling and intense’ Prima

‘Haunting, provocative, and true to Beech’s style: packed with pain and heart’ Jack Jordan

'It’s a gentle book, full of emotion and it’s similar in tone to The Book Thief’ The Irish Times

 ‘Moving, engrossing and richly drawn, this is storytelling in its purest form ... mesmerising’ Amanda Jennings 

'Quirky, darkly comic, but always heartfelt’ Sunday Mirror

‘Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine will love it' Red Magazine

‘A powerful and moving story’ Madeleine Black






Thursday, 23 June 2022

We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry @JaneCorryAuthor @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks #WeAllHaveOurSecrets @EllieeHud #BookReview

 


Two women are staying in Willowmead House.

One of them is running.

One of them is hiding.

Both of them are lying.

Emily made one bad decision, and now her career could be over. Her family home on the Cornish coast is the only place where she feels safe. But when she arrives, there's a stranger living with her father. Emily doesn't trust the beautiful young woman, convinced that she's telling one lie after another. Soon, Emily becomes obsessed with finding out the truth...

But should some secrets stay buried forever?




We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry is published by Penguin Viking in paperback today; 23 June 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 


Ahh, secrets! Secrets make the best stories don't they? Jane Corry has taken a trio of characters and given them all the most devastating of secrets and created a mystery that intrigues and perplexes right up until the final chapters. 

Our two lead female characters are Emily and Françoise and both are totally unreliable. Corry gives them the opportunity to tell their individual sides of this story in their own chapters, cleverly allowing the reader to make judgements, only to have those opinions blown away when reading the alternative side of things.

Emily is a midwife in London. She loves her job, but is struggling at the moment. When a terrible mistake is discovered, Emily is put under investigation. She flees to Willowmead House, her childhood home by the sea where her elderly father Harold still lives. When she arrives, she is greeted by Françoise; a beautifully groomed French woman who claims that she is Harold's carer and that she answered his advertisement for help. Emily is shocked and stunned. Harold has never in the past accepted the need for help, and not only that, the relationship between Harold and Françoise makes her very uneasy. She's jealous of their closeness and feels that Harold is favouring her. 

Harold is not a nice man. He's a retired solicitor and everything he says must be correct. He's grumpy, manipulative and sometimes violent. He seems to take great pleasure in hurting Emily, even though she's his only child.

Françoise's own story is intriguing, but the reader is never quite sure just what is the truth, it's story that exposes many lies and secrets, but also raises many questions. 

I have to admit that I didn't really like any of the characters, especially in the first half, but as the novel progresses and seems to turn away from a thriller and become more of a family drama, I began to understand their behaviours. 

Nestled between the modern-day story are snippets from Harold's time during the war in France and I really enjoyed this aspect of the tale, I would have liked more of this and these past stories certainly explained some of Harold's current behaviour. 

Part thriller, part family saga, the author explores many themes within the story. At times it felt a little rushed towards the end, yet the middle part also dragged a little, but it is certainly an enjoyable read with a conclusion that I certainly didn't anticipate. 




Jane Corry is a writer and journalist (Daily Telegraph and women's magazines) who worked for three years as the writer in residence of a high security male prison. This experience helped inspire her Sunday Times Penguin bestsellers 'My Husband's Wife', 'Blood Sisters', 'The Dead Ex', 'I Looked Away' 'I Made A Mistake', 'o Tell The Truth' and 'We All Have Our Secrets'. She has now sold over a million copies of her books world-wide.

Jane also writes short stories as well as a weekly digital column about being a granny for My Weekly. As well as this, she speaks at literary festivals all over the world. Many of her ideas strike during morning dog-jogs along the beach followed by a dip in the sea - no matter how cold it is!

Jane's brand-new thriller 'We All Have Our Secrets' is  published on June 24 by Penguin Viking. 

You can find Jane on Twitter at @JaneCorryAuthor and on Facebook at JaneCorryAuthor as well as Instagram. See website for details of events. www.janecorryauthor.com.




Surf, Sweat and Tears by Andy Martin BLOG TOUR @andymartinink @RandomTTours #SurfSweatandTears #BookExtract

 


This is the true story of Ted, Viscount Deerhurst, the son of the Earl of Coventry and an American ballerina who dedicated his life to becoming a professional surfer.
Surfing was a means of escape, from England, from the fraught charges of nobility, from family, and, often, from his own demons.
Ted was good on the board, but never made it to the very highest ranks of a sport that, like most, treats second-best as nowhere at all.
He kept on surfing, ending up where all surfers go to live or die, the paradise of Hawaii.
There, in search of the “perfect woman,” he fell in love with a dancer called Lola, who worked in a Honolulu nightclub.
The problem with paradise, as he was soon to discover, is that gangsters always get there first.
Lola already had a serious boyfriend, a man who went by the name of Pit Bull.
Ted was given fair warning to stay away.
But he had a besetting sin, for which he paid the heaviest price: He never knew when to give up.

Surf, Sweat and Tears takes us into the world of global surfing, revealing a dark side beneath the dazzling sun and cream-crested waves. Here is surf noir at its most compelling, a dystopian tale of one man’s obsessions, wiped out in a grisly true crime.



Surf, Sweat and Tears by Andy Martin was published on 21 May 2022 by OR Books. I'm delighted to share an extract from the book with you today as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour




Extract from Surf, Sweat and Tears by Andy Martin 

This is how Rabbit thought Ted had died:

It was one of those fall days with a foretaste of the winter
to come. A big day at Sunset. Obviously Ted had to go for it even if he knew he shouldn’t. And he deserved respect for that. If he really was in as bad shape as they said he was, then he was a hero every time he paddled out. He could die at any moment in the water.

The pre-winter swell sparked off breaks all along the North Shore, but none more so than Sunset. Sunset was known for hoovering up every passing swell, something to do with the configuration of the reef. A storm way up in the Aleutians thousands of miles away and now, in the middle of the Pacific, the same pulse was cranking out perfect waves, almost like a machine. Of course there was no such thing as a perfect wave, there was only ever the wave that was in front of you, and if you surfed it then it was about as close to perfection as you were ever liable to get. On this particular day, Sunset was like an enthusiastic young dog you threw a stick for, jumping and leaping way up in the air, off the leash, running free, bounding up and down for sheer joy. But, by the same token, unpredictable, erratic, out of control.

And Ted was part of it. He was always part of it. He was a little bit like that young dog. Or a flying fish, glinting in the sun. He thought of Sunset as his wave now. And he couldn’t not turn up on a big day. Especially this early in the season. It would be a dereliction of duty. He would be like a deserter, chickening out under fire. Ted would never chicken out. The more anybody told him to go back and retreat, the more he would go forwards and push on even unto death. That was his way. He had, after all, only just turned forty. He wasn’t dead yet. So he paddled out. He would always paddle out, come what may. That was the thing about Sunset, it almost sucked you out regardless. The rip was like a conveyor belt, carrying you out into the great maw of the wave, all you had to do was hop on. A few effortless strokes and you were right out there, way out the back, beyond the impact zone, where all these superb unbroken waves stacked up like planes over an airport waiting to descend. All you had to do was select which one you wanted to ride. Sunset had the feeling of inevitability.

Maybe it appealed to Ted’s sense of history. In a way, this was about as primitive as you could get. As long as there had been oceans and islands, waves like these ones had slammed up against the shore. The ancient Hawaiians had surfed these very same waves–centuries before Captain Cook ever set sail, in the golden age before evangelical Puritans persuaded them to put some clothes on–and Ted was only carrying on an immemorial tradition. He really felt that. Like an Olympic athlete taking firm possession of a baton, passed on from one man to another, for ever and ever. A gentle offshore breeze pinned the waves back and groomed them neatly and held the door open long enough, just for you, almost like the elevator in a classy hotel, so you had time to get in properly before dropping down the face.

The set of the day manifested itself on the horizon. Wave after wave reared up out of the blue like humpback whales breaching. Not too many guys out on this glorious morning. Ted had the rare feeling that it was just him out here and the ocean. He could take his pick, like pulling a card out of a whole pack that a conjuror had fanned out in front of him. And lo!–this one was his wave, no question about it. He positioned himself right on the peak, wind- milled his arms, leapt to his feet, and without even thinking carved an effortless line down the face. He cranked out a bottom turn and then pulled up into a high line looking for a way in to something that did not yet exist. And suddenly there it was.

Behold the tube, the relentless, spinning, grinding core. The curl, like an immense quiff, arced out right over his head, and Ted found himself inside the “barrel,” the elusive, ellipti- cal waterfall formed by a breaking wave. Notwithstanding all the high-performance acrobatics of the younger generation, this was still surely the quintessence of surfing. If surfing had a soul it was right here, right now. Ted kept on driving down the line. With his right hand he scribbled a message over the face of the wave, instantly erased all over again as the wave kept on spinning, like the wheels of an immense one-arm bandit. The curtain came down over Ted. Maybe he went too high, because the next thing he knew he was tumbling around in the vortex, dragged up and flung down again. They call it the snake’s eye, when the cylindrical core of a wave closes with someone inside. The eye blinked shut. On Ted. The evanescent architecture that is the interior of a wave–the “green room”–collapsed. Like a tall building being demolished by a wrecking ball. With Ted inside.

Which is when, Rabbit thought, he would have had the seizure and therefore drowned. Unconscious plus underwater equals death in fairly short order. Sometime later the body was recovered and he was cremated and then they paddled out for him on a serene day at Sunset and formed a circle and all held hands and said what an all-time surfer he had been and this is the way he would have wanted to go and then scattered his ashes out on the water where he would always be remembered.

This was pretty much how Rabbit Bartholomew, world champion pro surfer, had seen Ted’s last wave, as he told me when I met him in Coolangatta, in Queensland. It was a scene that had replayed itself in his head, from time to time, over the last twenty years. He’d had it direct from Bernie Baker on the North Shore. Never questioned it. It was a good story. Made perfect sense. Ted would do just that, come what may.

Except that it didn’t happen quite like that. In fact, nothing like that at all. Rabbit had been severely misinformed. Not that I blamed him. The North Shore, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, was like a myth machine. Dreams and delusions proliferated like waves. Not too many of the inhabitants cared about the more complicated truth. Everybody lied, to themselves and others. And they had good reason, in cer- tain circumstances, to avert the gaze. The code of omertà. The North Shore could legitimately lay claim to some of the greatest breaks on the planet. But it was for sure a place of heartbreak too.









Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Love and Missed by Susie Boyt @SusieBoyt @ViragoBooks #LoveandMissed #Competition #Win #Prize #Giveaway #SignedBooks #Champagne


'I was in the story, feeling everything. I cared about every character . . . She writes beautifully. It was a total pleasure' Philippa Perry, author of The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

Susie Boyt writes with a mordant wit and vivid style which are at their best in Loved and Missed.
When your beloved daughter is lost in the fog of addiction and you make off with her baby in order to save the day, can willpower and a daring creative zeal carry you through ?
Examining the limits, disappointments and excesses of love in all its forms, this marvellously absorbing novel, full of insight and compassion, delights as much as it disturbs.

'She takes the study of love into uncharted territory and every sentence has its depth and pleasure' Linda Grant
'I am so moved: it carries a huge emotional power... I ache for them all. Poignant, witty, lyrical and perceptive' Joan Bakewell




Love and Missed by Susie Boyt was published in paperback by Virago on 16 June. I read and reviewed this one when the hardback was published and adored it. It was one of my top books of last year.

You can check out my review below.  I'm also delighted to offer a very special giveaway to celebrate the paperback publication. I have three signed copies of the book as prizes, and one lucky winner will also win a bottle of champagne!

Entry is simple. Just fill out the competition widget in the blog post. UK entries only please!



My review of Love and Missed by Susie Boyt


Love and Missed is a short novel at just under two hundred pages, but it packs a massive emotional punch to the reader. This is a beautifully perceptive story, character led and touching on some dark issues. 

Ruth is a school teacher. She brought up her daughter Eleanor on her own. Their bond was always strong, with a deep love shared between them. Just before Eleanor turned fourteen, she changed. She began to stay out at night, she didn't connect with Ruth anymore, the relationship was broken.

The novel begins as Ruth rescues Eleanor's baby daughter Lily. She takes her away from Eleanor and her boyfriend Ben who are both addicts. Their home is dirty and filled with unsavoury characters. It's not a place for a child. 

The author then details Ruth and Lily's life together, their incredible relationship is a joy to read about, but the spectre of Eleanor is always around. Whilst she does not physically feature in the story so much, her presence is always felt, especially by Ruth. Ruth is a woman who has no feelings of self-worth. Despite the fact that Lily adores her, and that she is respected by her colleagues and has a handful of friends, she feels as though she is of no use. Her overwhelming feelings of failure when thinking of Eleanor overshadow everything else in her life. Except, that is, for Lily, who becomes her life. 

Boyt's control of language and her pacing of the story is immaculately done. Her words are sparse but written with passion and so much meaning. The incredible love of these female relationships shine so brightly from the pages, along with the heartbreaks, the disappointments and the ultimate sadness. 

The author's insight and perceptions are startling at times, and the reader will urge both Ruth and Lily along, desperately hoping for reconciliations and happiness. We are often disappointed, along with the characters, but it is always so beautifully and sensitively handled. 

An utter joy to read. A book that touched me deeply and one that I highly recommend. 




Win 3 Signed copies of Love & Missed by Susie Boyt and a bottle of Champagne






Susie Boyt is the author of six acclaimed novels and the much-loved memoir My Judy Garland Life which was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize, staged at the Nottingham Playhouse and serialised on BBC Radio 4. 

She recently edited The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories by Henry James and writes columns and reviews for publications ranging from the Financial Times to American Vogue. 

Boyt is a director at the Hampstead Theatre in London. 

She also works for Cruse Bereavement Care. 

She is the daughter of Lucian Freud and the great granddaughter of Sigmund Freud.

Twitter @SusieBoyt






Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister @GillianMAuthor @MichaelJBooks #WrongPlaceWrongTime #BookReview

 


It's every parent's nightmare.

Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger.

You don't know who.

You don't know why.

You only know your teenage boy is in custody - and his future lost.

Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don't have a choice but to find them . . .



Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister was published in hardback on 12 May 2022 by Michael Joseph. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Quite possibly one of the hardest book reviews I've ever tried to write. To talk about the plot is far too difficult, it's complex, intriguing and structured so cleverly that anything I say would just confuse you! It's a crime novel, it's a time-slip story and it's a stylish and precise look at the strength of a mother's love and the impact that long kept secrets can have on a family.

I was able to read this in almost one sitting. It's not a short novel, there are over 400 pages. I started this as I sat in the airport waiting for a flight, I continued it as we sat on the tarmac for almost two hours, waiting for a slot to take off, and finished it during the three hour flight to Corfu. Absolutely no 'delay stress' from me, I was totally entertained throughout, hardly raising my gaze from this compelling and extremely clever story. 

Jen witnesses her teenage son Todd stab and kill a man. She is horrified and cannot believe that her usually mild mannered boy has done such a violent thing. Jen knows that Todd will go to prison for this and she has no idea which way to turn. 

The next morning, Jen wakes and it is the day before the murder happened. Todd is in his bedroom, slightly bemused by his mother's anxiety, having no idea what she saw happen. And so it continues, each day Jen wakes and she's further and further back in the past, and what she learns will turn her whole life on its head. 

I was totally and utterly transfixed by this story, it's clever and unusual and each reveal shocked me just a little bit more. It did take a while to settle into the style, but once you are in, you are in!

I have no idea how Gillian McAllister kept on top of her plot, it's seamlessly done. Really skilled writing, something a little bit different and highly recommended by me. 








Gillian McAllister is the Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling author of Everything But The Truth,
Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions, The Evidence Against You, How To Disappear and the Richard and Judy book club pick That Night.

Her latest release is Wrong Place Wrong Time, available now and selected for the Radio 2 book club.

All of her novels are standalone and can be read in any order. She is published in ten countries around the world. The Good Sister is her US debut, released by Penguin USA, and is the American title for No Further Questions. The Choice is her second American release which is the US title for Anything You Do Say.

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gillianmauthor. She also blogs at http://www.gillianmcallister.com.











Monday, 20 June 2022

The Botanist by MW Craven @TheBotanist @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @BethWright26 #PoeandTilly #TheBotanist #BookReview

 


This is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe's life...

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he'd still have his thumb left. There's the guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. Insanely brilliant, she's a bit of a social hand grenade. He's known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.

And then there's Estelle Doyle. Dark and dangerous and sexy as hell. It's true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street, but has she gone too far this time? Shot twice in the head, her father's murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints. Since her arrest she's only said three words: 'Tell Washington Poe.'

Meanwhile, a poisoner called the Botanist is sending the nation's most reviled people poems and pressed flowers. Twisted and ingenious, he seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice given to his victims, and regardless of the security measures taken, he is able to kill with impunity.

Poe hates locked room mysteries and now he has two to solve. To unravel them he's going to have to draw on every resource he has: Tilly Bradshaw, an organised crime boss, even an alcoholic ex-journalist. Because if he doesn't, the bodies are going to keep piling up . . .



The Botanist by M W Craven was published in hardback on 2 June 2022 by Constable / Little Brown. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 


Well, welcome back Poe and Tilly, it's been a long year without you!  The Botanist is number five in the Washington Poe series. I have devoured every single one of this series, they get better and better. The Botanist is another gripping, darkly funny in places and tense crime thriller from one of the very best crime authors out there. The creation of the partnership between Washingto Poe and Tilly Bradshaw must surely be one of the best things ever to happen in crime ficton. 

Whilst you could, at a push, read this as a stand alone story, I'd really advise people to go back and start from the beginning of the series. That way, you get to see the characters grow and you'll realise just why they do the things that they do.

So, back to the plot of The Botanist. Once again Poe and Tilly find themselves at the centre of suspected serial killer case, but this time, they have more than one case on their hands. One of their team, Estelle Doyle, much respected pathologist has been arrested. Her father was found shot dead at his home and Estelle's hand are covered with firearms discharge residue. Poe is convinced that Estelle is innocent but the evidence is totally stacked against her. Meanwhile, in what appears to be a totally separate case, high profile celebrities are being slain, but these are people that the public love to hate. Misogynists, racists, cheats ... the serial killer dubbed The Botanist is beginning to get a cult following and whilst Poe may agree that the victims were not nice people, his job is to stop the killings. 

There's some really grim and warped events in this story which could make it too dark, however Mike Craven absolutely excels at the dark humour and some of the Tillyisms uttered throughout the story are laugh out loud hilarious. It's great touch and reveals the humanity of the police force and civilians who are immersed every single day in the horrors that humans can create. 

Myself and my husband both read The Botanist whilst on holiday in Corfu, we both chuckled in the same places, we both cringed and we both were left open mouthed by the intricate plotting and the total unexpected series of events that are so cleverly and masterfully outlined. 

Bring on the next instalment!


M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the
tender age of sixteen. 

He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. 

Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. 

Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .


M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

Website: mwcraven.com

Twitter: @MWCravenUK




Friday, 17 June 2022

My Chronicle Book Box - Book Subscription Box @MyChronicleBB #DiscountCode #BookBoxSubscription

 


I am delighted to share my thoughts about the latest Chronicle Book Box selection here on Random Things today.

The lovely Louise who owns and runs My Chronicle Book Box kindly sent over a complimentary May box to me and she's also offering a 15% discount for followers of Random Things 

To get your discount of 15% off your first box subscription, just use the code LETTERBOX15 when you check out



Louise runs My Chronicle Book Box from rural Yorkshire and began the business in 2017, alongside her day job. 
By the following year the company was flourishing and were featured in The Independent as one of their top book subscription boxes. Louise left her job and now concentrates on the business, as well as looking after three daughters. 







Each one of the quarterly book subscription boxes contains three hand-picked and gift-wrapped new releases, author content, exclusive bookish goodies and personalised letter

Just choose your favourite genre and they will send the boxes to you or a loved one every three months in February, May, August and November 


CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE 




So, what was in my May box??







Not quite fitting into the box was a fabulous Doggy Book Rest. 
It's such a great idea and I've been using mine loads since I got it











Louise also included a fabulous glossy bookmark and a sheet of stickers that will delight any
bookworm!










The book this month is After Everything You Did by Stephanie Sowden which was published in April in hardback by Canelo.  

Now most of you will know that I own A LOT of books so I was so happy to receive this one, I don't already have a copy and it sounds amazing!

And, the book comes in its own little tote bag, so cute! 












Please do pop over to the website and have a good look



And remember, use your discount code LETTERBOX15 to get 15% off your first subscription






Thursday, 16 June 2022

Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton BLOG TOUR #LocalGoneMissing @figbarton @PenguinUKBooks @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


Everyone watches their neighbours.

Elise King moves into the sleepy seaside town of Ebbing. Illness has thrown her career as a successful detective into doubt, but no matter how hard she tries to relax and recuperate, she knows that something isn't right.

Everyone lies about their friends.

Tensions are running high beneath the surface of this idyllic community: the weekenders in their fancy clothes, renovating old bungalows into luxury homes, and the locals resentful of the changes. A town divided, with the threat of violence only a heartbeat away.

Everyone knows a secret.

This peaceful world is shattered when two teenagers end up in hospital and a local man vanishes without trace. Elise starts digging for answers, but the community closes ranks, and the truth begins to slip through her fingers. Because in a small town like this, the locals are good at keeping secrets...

Everyone's a suspect when a local goes missing.


Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton was published on 9 June 2022 by Bantam Press / Penguin. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 



I've read all of Fiona Barton's previous novels and enjoyed them. It seems ages since her last book and I was really looking forward to Local Gone Missing. I was lucky enough to read this whilst sitting in the sun in Corfu, I sped through it in a couple of days. I was invested from the start and despite having to concentrate pretty hard at times due to the number of character voices, I enjoyed the story so much. 

Ebbing is a small seaside down with an assorted mix of residents. There are those who have lived in the area for years, there are relative newcomers and there are the people who arrive on Friday and leave on Monday morning. Despite the small town feel, there's a distinct separation between the community, with the long term residents often resenting those who flit in and out. 

Elise King and Dee Eastwood are the prominent female characters in the story. Elise is a police detective, currently taking sick leave after chemotherapy and Dee is her cleaner. Dee also cleans for other households in the area and although not treated badly, she appears to be invisible. Families talk about personal things when she's in the room and she sees and hears far more than other realise. Dee is a fascinating character who just grows throughout the novel.

One of Dee's clients is Charlie Perry who lives in a caravan with his wife Pauline whilst their house is being renovated. Charlie is popular man in the community, in his 70s and well known for his kindness. His wife is a different kettle of fish though and Dee knows what is really going on. 

When Charlie disappears after a local music festival, and two teenagers need treatment after taking drugs, the community feels shockwaves. Elise cannot help herself but get involved, using her detective skills combined with her local knowledge to try to get to the bottom of what's going on. 

This is a complex tale, told from different points of view and skipping back and forward in time. You do need to keep your wits about you when reading, it would be easy to lose the thread. I was lucky enough to have the time to invest in reading large chunks with no breaks, in fact, I was loathe to put it down until I found out what happened at the end! 

The writing is sharp, the plot is involved and intriguing and the characters are well developed. A great read and one I'd recommend. 


Fiona Barton's debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in 36 countries and optioned for television. 
Her second novel, The Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Born in Cambridge, Fiona currently lives in Sussex and south-west France.

Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.
While working as a journalist, Fiona reported on many high-profile criminal cases and she developed a fascination with watching those involved, their body language and verbal tics. Fiona interviewed people at the heart of these crimes, from the guilty to their families, as well as those on the periphery, and found it was those just outside the spotlight who interested her most

Twitter @figbarton