Yesterday by Felicia Yap
Summer is the time when we all tend to relax with a good book, well I am now going to let you in advance of a book that is hitting the bookshops in a few weeks’ time that is going to be THE thriller of the summer. Those that follow my Twitter feed will know that I have been talking of the stunning debut thriller Yesterday by Felicia Yap. This is a name that you will be hearing a lot more about.
The premise for this book is ‘How do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday’ and this is where the title of the novel comes from. This is a future world with two types of people, Mono’s those that can only remember yesterday and the more elite group of people called Duos who can also remember the day before yesterday. I world were iDiaries are the must have for everyone as this is the only way of knowing what you have been doing on a daily basis, just imagine every night before bed if you were a responsible adult you completed your iDiary filling in your day’s activities. Welcome to a dystopian mystery that is just brilliantly written with such unique characters unlike any I have come across in a thriller.
In this engrossing novel we have two central characters in Claire who is a mono (can only remember yesterday) and is married to Mark a Duo (remembering two days). This is a couple with their own personal marital problems which are all too plain to see from the opening pages. Then a young beautiful woman is found dead in the River Cam she has been murdered and the detective is standing on the doorstep of Claire and Marks home. It appears that on the dead woman’s I Diary she claims that she is Mark’s mistress and now Mark is the prime suspect in her murder. So we go back to the premise of the novel in ‘How do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday.’
We now find Claire trying to piece together the days leading up to the murder of the young woman and the story is told from the perspective of all four of the leading characters and a story so well thought out and told, an incredibly well balanced debut thriller based in a future world were memory really is short term. There are many twists in the story to keep you on your toes and some you will not expect.
Great characters are important to me in novels and in Yesterday Felicia Yap has created some very strong characters that make this an unforgettable book and one that you will not forget easily. I was lucky enough to meet Felicia Yap earlier this year at a get together at the publishers and learnt more of the story from her directly. One of my major books of 2017 and one I know many people are going to be reading on the beaches through this summer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you to Millie Seaward for the advanced review copy.
Yesterday by Felicia Yap is published by Wildfire on 10th August and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
Malice by Hugh Fraser
Hugh Fraser returns with Malice the third in the series following up from Harm and Threat also back is Rina Walker in 1960’s London and if you have read and loved Hugh’s first two then you are in for a real treat. This is an action packed thriller that packs a punch from the first page and will keep you gripped to the very last.
1960’s London was well known for gangs and its leaders and we love a hero who will take them on, in this series we have a heroine in Rina a complex character and she fearlessly takes on the ‘bosses’ and hunts down those she needs to. There is violence as you would come to expect in this series. Rina is a gritty woman and one you would not pick a fight with, a gritty and determined leading character.
This time around Rina is hired to ‘take out’ a rival gangland leader who is threatening George Preston’s patch. But what Rina does not realise is that dealing with one problem will unleash more danger and revenge. The violence is at times graphic as the story takes us from Soho to the Midlands and then to the Spanish Coast. Like the previous two in the series I raced through this as it is a fast paced addictive read. If, however you have not read the first two in the series fear not as they can be read on their own. Be warned though, read on and you will want to read the entire series. One day a screenwriter will read one of these and will see just how dramatic they are and will want to transfer to the small screen. It would make for dramatic television viewing.
Thank you to Matthew at Urbane Publications for the advanced review copy of Malice.
Malice by Hugh Fraser is published by Urbane Publications and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
The Other Twin – L V Hay
Take a bow Karen Sullivan founder of Orenda Books yet again she has found yet another outstanding writer and one to watch for the future. L V Hay may not be a name you are familiar with but this may be about to change as with her debut psychological thriller The Other Twin was released earlier this month and if you are heading for a Summer holiday then this is one book you may want to seriously consider packing this in your case as one of your holiday reads. It really is a wonderfully layered thriller.
Where do it start with this review apart from telling the world that they must read The Other Twin? Poppy wakes from a night that she can barely recall and with the hangover to go with it, she finds her mobile and the battery is lifeless finally finding the charger she heads off for a shower to wash away the night before. When she finally gets to access her phone there are many messages from her mother and the tone concerns Poppy. The call she makes gives her some shocking news her sister India is dead! How could this have happened? The two sisters may not have been close in recent years but she is her sister and Poppy finds herself heading on the next train to Brighton to be at the family home. India has taken her own life by jumping from a bridge onto a railway. But still the question will not go away as to what really happened to India to make her take her own life?
For Poppy she is not convinced by what she is being told by officialdom and decides to begin her own investigations. There are secrets out there and the more Poppy digs the more she begins to find the tangled web of secrets. Now she must access India’s laptop and she thinks there could be information that could be more than just useful. A name crops up from here and that is Jenny but who is she and what exactly is Jenny hiding? Clearly India was on to her? This is a brilliantly crafted thriller that takes the reader on a journey in and around Brighton and tackles many current themes. The Other Twin is packed with tension with some uneasy moments. A complex and addictive storyline mixed with the fresh writing talent from a new name that I am looking forward to hearing more in the future.
Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the advanced review copy.
The Other Twin by L V Hay is published by Orenda Books and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
How to follow the Blog Tour for The Other Twin by L V Hay
The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
There are many out there that love Rachel Joyce and her books and the characters she creates I count myself as being a big fan. How many of you read and loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey or the wonderful collection of short stories A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Now finally the wait is over and it seems to have been a long wait. Released today (13th July) is The Music Shop (Doubleday). This is a story that will lift your soul and capture your heart.
This is a beautiful story set during the late 1980’s and as the title suggests is based around a music shop where we meet Frank who is more than just loves music it is in fact his life and his passion. Frank’s music shop has just about every possible genre of music so long as it is on vinyl that is. If you were looking for a piece of music, then Frank was your man. Just a few years before the first CD’s hit the record shops but for Frank the idea of selling music on a CD did not go well with him despite everyone around him telling him it was time to move with the times. It was the beginning of the end of vinyl as we knew it.
Then one day something happened it was just like any other day except outside Frank’s music shop there was a woman dressed in a pea green coat. Her name is Ilse Brauchmann This German woman seems a mystery to everyone including Frank but all Ilse wishes is for Frank to teach her about music. Frank is lonely and to escape this he throws himself into his music shop and making sure his customers leave with the music they are looking for. Here through the chapters of this touching and wonderful novel we find out more about Frank’s past and also about Ilse Brauchmann.
There is something warm and cosy about The Music Shop could it be the characters that Rachel Joyce creates or is it the memories we have the nostalgia aspect of the story. The past plays quite a role here and some are quite painful and for Frank the wounds do not heal easily and what was the reason for Ilse stopping by that day to the music shop. As you would expect music plays a major part in this story and in the relationship between the two characters the story. There is some humour here but also some real sadness but above all there is a message of hope. When souls are broken they need help to be put back together. Music has power to deliver on many fronts it can bring hope and it can heal. As the words to the song goes “Music was my first love and it will be my last.” Fans of Rachel Joyce will delight in this tender, wonderful and uplifting novel and just is just so beautifully written. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you to Alison Barrow for the advanced review copy of The Music Shop
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce is published by Doubleday on 13th July and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Alex Preston & Neil Gower
The year was 1972 and my love affair with birds and the natural world was born. I was only ten years-old but I was hooked. All these years later I still stand and watch as Goldfinches move from one thistle seed head to another. Like many others my first bird book the wonderful Observers Book of Birds which still to this day takes pride of place among the many natural history books. There is one more book to add to bookcase and that is As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Alex Preston and Neil Gower.
Alex Preston (Writer & Author)
Words are provided by the writer and author Alex Preston and the truly wonderful plates are from the internationally acclaimed graphic artist Neil Gower and are just wonderful. The whole ethos of this book is to celebrate birds and how authors down the years have used birds to grace the pages of their own books, interspersed with this what you could say is part memoir as Alex Preston recounts his love of birds and birdwatching. Each chapter celebrates one unique bird and with a plate by Neil Gower. We have authors, writers and poets that fill this wondrous book with writings and memories, when you read each chapter and the notes provided I can only imagine the research that must have gone into this book.
Neil Gower (Graphic Artist)
Poetry and birds seem to have gone hand in hand through since we started writing poetry may be that is why since my childhood days I have loved both birds and poetry writers down the years have written about birds and incorporated them. Birds have played a part in all our lives and each of us has our own memories. Then there are the great nature writers those that fill my bookcase and from time to time I sit and lose myself in some of the most outstanding writings. For Alex Preston his love of birdwatching had to be hidden away when he was fifteen due to his peers and he spent his time reading books on birds that kept his love of birdwatching alive so that all these years later he pours his heart out through his writing and those writers and authors and poets that brings our love of birds to pages. As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a book that celebrates birds in writing and poetry and personal memories. A book to love now and in the years to come. A celebration of our feathered friends whether that is the gardeners friend the Robin or the haunting sight ghostly sight of a Barn Owl hunting at dusk. This is a book to be loved and cherished and so beautifully illustrated. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you to Grace Vincent for the advanced review copy of As Kingfishers Catch Fire.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Alex Preston and Neil Gower is published on 13th July by Corsair and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
To Kill the President by Sam Bourne
Many will know how much I enjoy reading and writing about thrillers so it will come as a surprise that I have not read any of Sam Bourne’s thrillers before now and what a way to start. Just imagine the United States elects to power a President that is disliked by the majority of the world and whom they see as impulsive to say the least. Well in Sam Bourne’s latest blockbuster To Kill the President that is exactly what has happened.
Many who pick up this thriller will very quickly come to the idea that this is really a novel based on the current ‘real’ Commander in Chief and it is not difficult to understand why. Here in this fast paced thriller the President of the United States is in a war of words with the North Korean regime and the world is plunged into fear that the President will launch a nuclear attack on North Korea. The world is on a knife edge and at any moment the world could be plunged into WWIII. What’s more this tyrannical president is backed by his chief strategist Crawford McNamara.
He we have a president that feels he can do anything he wants and is liable to react without thinking through the consequences for the world. Something must be done to stop him. Enter Maggie Costello she served the previous president and she is wise and soon discovers that there is a plot to assassinate the President. Now here is the dilemma. She serves the president so does she do something to raise the alarm or bearing in mind the lunatic in the oval office does she keep quiet and hope the plot succeeds.
I soon realised after just a few pages just how close to reality this novel is based. The world has held its breath a number of times with Donald Trump as president and here in To Kill the President a novel that is just a little to scarily real. The characters are believable and have egos to match their inflated personalities. Gripping thriller that lasts from the first page through to the last and will keep the ardent thriller fan entertained. A thumping good read with a little twist and if you are following the current ‘real’ Commander in Chief’ then you may want to read this sinister page turner.
Thank you to Emilie Chambeyron for the advanced review copy of To Kill the President.
To Kill the President by Sam Bourne is published by Harper Collins and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
How to follow the To Kill the President Official Blog Tour
Exquisite by Sarah Stovell
Exquisite the debut psychological thriller by Sarah Stovell is not just as the title says but this just exceptional. It is a precise and powerful thriller set among the rolling fells of the Lake District. It is a terrifying novel that is intended to keep you turning the pages long into the night until you get to the end.
I like nothing better than to curl up with a taught, dark and compelling thriller, and when I first heard of Exquisite and that it was set in the Lake District, I was already hooked, but as soon as I opened the first page I realised this was going to be an extraordinary debut. My goodness it delivers on fronts. It does everything you want a good thriller to give the reader.
I really enjoyed the way that Stovell has created her main characters in this thriller. Bo Luxton a successful author and mother of two children and married to a man some years younger than herself. The family live near the beautiful setting of Grasmere and surrounded by the fells of the Lake District. Then we meet Alice Dark who is desperate to succeed as a writer, she is in her twenties and seems to bounce from one job to another. The two meet at a writing retreat and they seem to hit it off instantly they have after all a love of writing. But this sudden friendship is destined to have dramatic and more frightening consequences as they embark on a relationship.
Both women had very difficult childhoods and may be this is why this was always going to be a fatal attraction. Both are flawed characters living lives that are so different, one very successful and living a life that that many could only dream of. But sometimes all that glitters are not gold. Sometimes the truth is somewhat different. A story of obsession and desire and truth and lies that some people live. This is a fast paced thriller that will have your pulses racing until the very last page. Not one to put down.
The setting is just stunning and the story-line is chilling. Exquisite is a thriller that is unforgettable and I am already looking forward to seeing what Sarah Stovell has in-store for us next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you to Karen Sullivan for the advanced review copy.
Exquisite by Karen Sullivan is published by Sarah Stovell and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
Conflicts of Interest by Terry Stiastny
Here is a writer that is already making a name for herself with her political thrillers, Terry Stiastny’s debut novel Acts of Omission won her the Paddy Power Political Fiction Book of the Year for 2015, now she returns with her second novel Conflicts of Interest that will really appeal to those who like the thrillers with a political twist.
I have to say just how much I really enjoyed this thriller, why I really enjoyed Conflicts of Interest is that there are no murders, no real high octane crime thriller this is just a real gripping political thriller that just moves along at a steady pace and keeps the reader glued to the storyline. What really helps here is Stiastny’s very clever writing and plotting.
What is have is wonderfully created characters and a story that is believable, as we move through the storyline we start to uncover a real scandal that is starting to come through. With the trapping of becoming a Lord comes all the trappings and at the same time all the seedier goings on and in this story that is actually what is happening. It is something we all know has happened and we all know it goes on. Lawrence Leith is a former TV Journalist and now retired living a peaceful life in Provence. Close by his former producer lives and this is where the story now focuses as Martin Elliott is about to become a Lord. Just how did this all come about? The story never changes pace as it moves along steadily with enough to entertain. The real star is Terry Stiastny and how she writes with just wonderfully crafted prose a novel written so beautifully. A novel of corruption and how its tentacles can spread far and wide. This is not a fast paced thriller by any means but how this really entertains is down to the authors skill in using the right words.
Thank you to Katherine Burdon for the advanced review copy.
Conflicts of Interest by Terry Stiastny is published by John Murray and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith
Hailed by The Bookseller as one of the Rising Stars of 2016 Mahsuda Snaith’s debut novel The Things We Thought We Knew is a story of a young Bengali woman is who confined to bed with chronic pain since an accident some years previous. Here she now reflects on the past.
Ravine has not left her bed in the last decade, confined to the council flat in Leicester since her best friend Marianne disappeared. She has just celebrated her 18th birthday and with a bleak future ahead of her, she cannot leave the flat because she is in so much pain her mother as you can imagine is desperate for her daughter to try and make an effort ‘Will you at least try’ are the words from her mother. There is a sense that coming through the story that Ravine is using the pain as she is not in any hurry to make any effort. Her mother gives her a notebook to use as a pain dairy and then we journey back through the years as Ravine uses the diary to open her heart about her best friend Marianne and her disappearance. What really happened that day? As Ravine writes the reader is pulled into an intriguing journey and a story on an affecting friendship. It is clear that Ravine is hiding from the outside world even scared and hiding beneath the duvet provides her with security.
An intriguing coming of age story that will keep the reader guessing as to what really happened to Ravine’s best friend. This outstanding debut novel has some great characters that are so believable that weave through the story. With Mahsuda Snaith writing the initial novel when she was only sixteen. Impressive writing from a new and exciting author. From here I look forward to future books from Mahsuda Snaith.
Thank you to Doubleday for the advanced review copy.
The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith is published by Doubleday and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
You can follow the official The Things We Though We Knew Blog Tour
A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall
Just once in a while a book will land on my door mat for review and I know this is going to be something rather special. The wonderful A Thousand Paper Birds out now by Bloomsbury is the debut novel by Tor Udall. This is a novel that is to be cherished like a very rare plant specimen to hold and to cherish time and time again. Just look at the cover design it is a thing of real beauty. Then you start reading the book itself. Your heart is stolen.
A Thousand Paper Birds is a novel that is incredibly moving and poignant. It explores love and grief as well as the beauty that nature can only bring. There is a very special place that is close to my heart and never did I believe that one day a novel would be written with Kew Gardens at its very heart. This is not just a book it is the purest of love songs.
Loss is incredibly painful and so very personal and for Jonah he cannot let go and pain is beyond anything imaginable his wife, his love and best friend Audrey died suddenly leaving just memories. For Jonah and Audrey together they shared a love and friendship and also a love of Kew Gardens, now Jonah is alone with the memories of their visits. He is trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife and trying to understand the world around him and of his own life which now feels empty. There is a void in his life or maybe he thinks that his own life now seems pointless without Audrey.
As Jonah retraces their steps they took together through the gardens the reader is introduced to a number of Characters, all play a part in Jonah’s life and the life of Kew Gardens from the intrepid and always busy head gardener, there is Chloe the artist that is just a bit different and there in the back of Chloe’s memories is on an incident within the gardens that will not go away and there is Milly the child who loves to smile and loves life and the gardens who finds beauty around every corner. What happened to Audrey is so tragic and sudden, one minute there, and then she was never to come home never again to be held by Jonah.
Through the pages of Audrey’s diary, we get to know her so much better which just adds to the poignancy of the story. So has Jonah ever read the pages of her diary or would it be just too painful? The raw emotion pouring out of this beautiful book just left my heart aching. At times I had to put the book down just to think about what I was reading and to compose myself.
There is so much to love within the pages of this story that at times it leaves you breathless in the Udall’s writing. This is poetic writing at its best. Tor Udall has managed to bring the majestic beauty of Kew Gardens and weave the most beautiful of stories through it. Through a window given to you by the writer you enter people’s lives and see how they are linked together. It is at times so very raw yet at the same time compelling. You never want to reach the last page as with the very best books you never want them to end. So the window closes but does it really? The gardens are real and now this very special place for me will now be just that more precious. This is a book for all the seasons a book that will not leave you in a hurry and you will not forget it. A Thousand Paper Birds is without doubt my book of 2017. Delighted to HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Thank you to Philippa Cotton for the advanced review copy of A Thousand Paper Birds.
A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall is published by Bloomsbury and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.