Category Archives: Fiction

The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap

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The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap

There was something about The Rules of Seeing the debut novel by Joe Heap that just attracted me even before a copy had arrived and I am so pleased a copy did arrive. One of the best debut novels I have read this year. Just sometimes a book will come along and give you a jolt and this is that book.

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They say never judge a book by its cover and this is one, I thought I was going to have a good idea of how this was going to play out. I was wrong. In the end I loved it more.

Nova is blind, in fact she has been blind since birth. But that has not stopped Nova from fulfilling her life. She accepted being blind and got on with life. Then there is Kate, but she is suffering in a very different way at the hands of her abusive husband Tony. One day both Nova and Kate unintentionally meet at the hospital. Nova has surgery that is giving her something that she thought she would never have. Sight. Kate is at the hospital but in complete denial. She is hurt but of course it was nothing to do with Tony.

Two people’s lives are now connected as Nova is an interpreter for the Police and of course she knows Kate’s husband. The first part of the book is told by both Nova and Kate as the story starts to build from halfway. This is an incredible story of two women whose lives have suffered in one way or another.

The Rules of Seeing is a story so full of emotion. The characters of Nova and Kate are strong and yet Tony who is the ultimate of two faced character representing the law and the thug at home. The horrific abuse Kate has to suffer is shocking.

I loved this book for many reasons it is thought provoking. I have not come across a story of one person who is blind and then able to see after pioneering surgery. It made me think. One woman blind from birth but another woman blind to the horrors she faced daily at home.

I remember that tingling feeling when I have read an extremely great debut novel. I had that very same tingling feeling after I finished reading The Rules of Seeing. Congratulations Joe Heap.

416 Pages.

Thank you to Felicity Denham at Harper Collins for the review copy of The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap.

The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap is published by Harper Collins and published today 9th August 2018 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

@joe_heap_     #TheRulesofSeeing

 

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The Last Thing She Told Me – Linda Green

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The Last Thing She Told Me – Linda Green

Delighted to bring an early review for the ebook release of The Last Thing She Told Me (Quercus Books) by Linda Green. The ebook is released today (26th July) with the book being issued March 2019. This is the story of the families and secrets that come to life and then a grisly discovery.

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This is basically a death bed confession story of a family that clearly had their problems. Nicola is sitting by the bedside of her grandmother who is close to dying. But what happens next completely takes Nicola’s breath away. Her grandmother whispers some words and then slips away. But it is those words that will shape the entire storyline. “There are babies at the bottom of the garden”. What on earth was her grandmother saying.

Nicola decides she is not going to rest until she investigates further and then a grim discovery. Her mum wants her to leave things alone and that spooks Nicola. Now the police have arrived and the story takes a sinister turn for the worst. Nicola’s mum now severs ties with her. Why? What could possibly have been going on in that house? The neighbourhood is full of quiet talk of all sorts of terrible stories.

Nicola is not the sort of person to leave things as they are and she knows she must get to the bottom of the story. But now she is being threatened but she does not know who is threatening her. These are dangerous moments for her and her own family. The past may hold the key to the story and this is where Nicola must delve into. There are so many questions and the answers must be found.

There are a number of twists and turns along the way and some may surprise you. Some of the story-line was a little predictable but overall I found this to be a really enjoyable and at times absorbing.

384 Pages.

Thank you to Milly Reid at Quercus Books for the review copy of The Last Thing She Told Me by Linda Green.

The Last Thing She Told Me by Linda Green was published by Quercus Books and was published via an early eBook on 26th July 2018.

 

Do No Harm – L V Hay

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Do No Harm – L V Hay

I loved The Other Twin, which was the stunning debut novel by L V Hay last year. Now Hay is back with another gripping page turner. Do No Harm (Orenda Books) and is just a wonderfully crafted psychological thriller that will have readers glued to every page.

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Lily has left her husband Maxwell after what was a pretty awful marriage and she has taken their son Denny. She has been in a relationship with Sebastian and now the wedding is about to take place and better life. Well you would think so wouldn’t you? That is for happy endings in other novels. Not this one. For Hay now takes the reader on a twisty journey were you just do not know what is going to happen next. Happy honeymoon later they couple return home, but when they arrive home they find one hell of a mess. The house has been ransacked. Nothing is working. What has happened. The memories of a happy wedding and honeymoon now fade as their lives are literally turned on their head.

Throw in Sebastian’s mother, and a long standing friend Triss and an ex jealous husband who wants to win back his family at any cost and you have the recipe for a superb knife edge thriller being played out right in front of your eyes.

For Lily and Sebastian, the fight is on to save everything they both wanted which was a happy and peaceful life. We get to hear from three people in the storyline two I am sure you can already guess but who is the third person. This you can decide for yourself. It is so brilliantly character driven and Hay’s writing is enough to keep you guessing and gripped. I felt so badly for Lily out of a disaster of a marriage and wanting the perfect life but someone wants their marriage to collapse. Ordinary people leading ordinary lives then all hell is breaking loose. Riveting stuff unless it is happening to you. You will be hooked.

300 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) and Anne Cater for the review copy of Do No Harm by L V Hay

Do No Harm by L V Hay was published on 20th July 2018 by Orenda Books and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

#DoNoHarm @lucyvhayauthor @orendabooks

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The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith – eBook cover Re-launch

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I am delighted to share Mahsuda Snaith’s debut novel The Things We Thought We Knew and is being re-launched with a new eBook cover. 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.

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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 Thomas Hill at Transworld for the opportunity to share the new cover for Mahsuda Snaith and The Things We Thought We Knew in eBook.

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith is published by Transworld Digital and Here

The Lost Letters of William Woolf – Helen Cullen

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The Lost Letters of William Woolf – Helen Cullen

 

Have you ever wondered what happens to letters that may not reach their intended destinations? Well they end up at the Royal Mail’s Dead Letters Depot. Welcome to the wondrous debut novel by Helen Cullen just released. The Lost Letters of William Woolf (Michael Joseph). This particular Dead Letters Depot is in East London and this is where William Woolf and the team try and solve the mystery of those letters that for one of many reasons don’t make it through the letterbox. But there is more to this love letter to the written word. And oh what a divine cover. I am not sure who designed it but they need congratulating.

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I have to say, when I first heard of the premise of this novel I was already sold even before a copy of the advanced review had arrived. I was simply going to love the idea of lost letters.

For William who works at the depot, he always wanted to be a writer but never made it. He is married to Clare after they met at university, their relationship is just ticking along as the fire that was there has diminished. Clare’s hopes for William have not come to fruition. William clearly enjoy solving lost letters. Their relationship is drifting like a boat on an open ocean not quite sure where they are heading or why. They are lost. Can they be found before it is too late, or is already too late?

One day William discovers a lost letter, that is addressed ‘My Great Love’ and William then discovers that is has been sent by someone called Winter. William is now hooked and more of the letters start to find their way into the Lost Letters Depot. For William he now is starting to think that she is looking for him and that the letters are actually meant for him to find. Is William the great love that Winter talks of?

I have to say I loved the characters in William and Clare, they have their problems in life and for William some may think that he is just dreaming or living a fantasy. Either way it is utterly compelling and wonderful. The art of letter writing is not dead after all. There is hope contained within the pages of this moving novel. I was lost in the beautiful lyrical prose of Helen Cullen’s The Lost Letters of William Woolf. The perfect book for Summer.

 336 Pages.

Thank you to Gaby Young at Michael Joseph for the review copy of The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf is published Michael Joseph and was published on 12th July 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 The Lost Letters of William Woolf – Blog Tour

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Take Nothing With You – Patrick Gale

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Take Nothing With You – Patrick Gale

I have been so very lucky to have read many great books ahead of publication a number spring to mind and now joining this list is Take Nothing With You (Tinder Press) by Patrick Gale. Why oh why is this the first book by Patrick Gale that I have read. I know that many are going to fall headlong into Patrick’s latest on publication. It is just beautiful in every sense of the word.

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Because I am writing this sometime ahead of publication I do not want to give too much away. The story is about Eustace who has fallen in love again but now he is suffering from Cancer. Life is a little complicated for Eustace the man he has fallen for is not aware of how he feels.

For now, his very best friend Naomi is his closest friend and he chooses to let Naomi in on his feelings. At this time of his life and successful in his career, he is starting radiotherapy treatment and it is his Cello music that he is listening to put together by Naomi that suddenly takes Eustace on a journey back through his life to the 1970’s and Weston-Super-Mare and when as a young boy Eustace was signed up for music lessons. Eustace is struggling to find himself and he starts to learn the Clarinet but as time passes he knows this is not for him. But then he discovers the Cello and his world is changed. The overwhelming power of music. He is at one with his Cello as this becomes his escape from the problems within his family which is at best difficult. It is around this time that Eustace is now discovering his true self and his own inner feelings regarding his sexuality. At this time Naomi arrives in his life and their friendship is destined for a lifelong friendship. The trust that builds between the two is heartfelt. Patrick’s writing of Eustace’s life is so beautifully handled and told. The characters are rich and many. Each add to the story in their own way from the music teacher to school to his home life and friends. Eustace will come up against many barriers and at times this is extremely sad, but through the book there are many laughs to be found.

If I say anymore I will be giving the story away. All I will say is that I love this book so much it practically hurts. The story moves at a constant pace so that the reader will cherish every word. It is beautiful, tender and moving. If you have read any of Patrick Gale’s previous novels you are going to love Take Nothing With You.

352 Pages.

Thank you to Go Georgina Moore for the review copy of Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale

Take Nothing With You was published by Tinder Press and will be published on 21st August 2018 and is available to pre-order Waterstones, Amazon and also through your local independent bookshop.

Patrick Gale is on tour from July through to November with Take Nothing With You.

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The Woolgrower’s Companion – Joy Rhoades

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The Woolgrower’s Companion – Joy Rhoades

I have always liked to share reviews from new writers and I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Woolgrower’s Companion the debut not from Joy Rhoades.

This moving story is set in 1945 New South Wales, Australia. Kate Dowd lives with her father on their Sheep farm, life is pretty tough, there is a drought and Kate’s husband, Jack is overseas with the army. Her father’s health has been in decline for some-time. But there is worse. The farm is struggling and the bank are hovering like vultures. It is sink or swim against a raging tide for Kate.

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This is where Kate now has to find the resolve to save the family farm. Kate’s father fought in WWI and the memory of the awful time has been kept alive as he named the farm ‘Amiens’. There is the arrival of two Italian POW’s who are sent to help on the farm as nearly all the young men are overseas fighting the war. Vittorio and Luca, but their arrival on the farm has an unsettling effect on the other people who work there. Kate has to keep focussed on trying to save the farm now that her father’s health is getting worse. But for Kate she finds herself drawn like a magnet to Luca. Now Kate receives the wort news as the bank has given her just eight weeks to turn things around or they will repossess and they will lose everything.

With the backdrop of the historical mistreatment of the aboriginal people of Australia, Kate turns to her Aboriginal helper, Daisy for moral support and help. I loved the premise of this historical story, with a host of sub-plots in the background, this I found was an epic and compelling read. Does Kate become unfaithful to Jack while he is away in the army or does she resist Luca?

There are many themes that Joy Rhoades brings to the reader of this moment in history for Australia, which makes The Woolgrower’s Companion so readable. The harsh landscape in the midst of one of the worst droughts in memory makes life incredibly hard for Kate who is trying to keep the banks away. It is not just their way of life it is the family home. So beautifully written and evocative. At the back of the book there are some recipes of the time and these would have been what Kate would have baked in the family kitchen and all of them sound just amazing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

416 Pages.

Thank you to for the review copy of The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades

The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades was published by Vintage and was published on 28th June 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks

Call of the Curlew

Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks

The first thing that will draw your attention to the book is the incredible cover design. This is down to the magic of Leo Nickolls. Just one of the best covers this year.

Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks is set on the bleak windswept Tollbury Marshes, eighty-six-year-old Virginia Wrathmell has spent all her life here, but she knows the end is near. It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and as she stands looking out over the bleak marshes holding the skull of a Curlew she is remembering something that happened many years ago. A powerful and evocative story of loss and of guilt and the how the past can live with you forever.

 

Elizabeth Brooks

Virginia was adopted by Clem and Lorna as the war arrived in 1939. But Virginia has been haunted by an event during those early days of WWII that has loved with her all these years and now as New Year’s Eve 2015 has arrived she knows that this will be her last day.

During those early days of WWII, a German aircraft crashed on the marsh and Clem attempts to rescue the pilot. From that moment life for Virginia has changed forever. No clues from me here as to what happened but I have to congratulate the author on a quite superb atmospheric and haunting novel. There really is something about  Call of the Curlew that will attract readers of novels by the

Brontë’s indeed Elizabeth Brooks call her novel “her homage to immersive and evocative writing of Charlotte Brontë”. Marshes have real character I speak from much experience here, and this plays a real part of this outstanding story. An ever changing part of the landscape through the seasons but also one of real and present danger. I totally loved Virginia the main character. But the other characters you will meet Elizabeth Brooks weaves them so brilliantly into the storyline. Some you will warm to others you may not. Call of the Curlew is a story that I totally loved and one that I know many are going to love just as much as I have done.

 320 Pages.

Thank you to for the review copy of Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks

Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks will be published by Doubleday on 28th June 2018. You can pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

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Falling Short by Lex Coulton

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Falling Short by Lex Coulton

 

Falling Short (John Murray) is the debut novel by Lex Coulton and has two central characters’ in Frances and Jackson. Frances is 39-years-old and teaches Shakespeare to a class of six former’s at a North London School, so there is a hint of Shakespeare coming through at times. She harbours a memory of her father that when she was very young was told that he was ‘missing’ at sea but this has led to lots of questions. She also has real concerns about her mother and her eccentric behaviour, but is there something else behind this behaviour? We also hear from Jackson who is a work colleague of Frances and they were good friends but it pretty clear reading both their stories that both are two very fragile characters and building and keeping relationships is something that both are not great at.

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The story of Frances’s father really does bring the story to life and makes this a very readable debut novel. This is very much a character driven novel and it is so important that the characters are believable and have a voice. I am pleased to say that Lex Coulton has done just that in Falling Short. For Jackson he recounts his younger life back in his native South Africa and what brought him to the UK. In both Frances and Jackson, they are imperfect people but you did feel for both throughout the story for different reasons. When you realise that someone close to you is suffering from an illness that you know that there so little you can do is so difficult and you feel alone and desperate. This is Frances’s story. At times this book is warm and funny then there are moments that you feel really sad. The desperate search for real happiness can be a lonely search. Lex Coulton is a new and exciting voice in writing and I am interested to see what comes next from Coulton.

384 Pages.

Thank you to for the review copy of Falling Short by Lex Coulton

Falling Short was released on 14th June by John Murray and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

America Über Alles by Jack Fernley

America Uber Alles Cover

America Über Alles by Jack Fernley

What an incredible idea for a storyline, April 1945. Berlin and the Russians are closing in on Hitler and the war seems lost or is it? Hitler brings in General Robert Ritter Von Griem and the flying ace Hannah Reitsch. Hitler has a new weapon. One that will change the course of history.  America Über Alles by Jack Fernley (aka: Wayne Garvie) is an intriguing book that I was not sure about before I started and now I am already looking forward to book two.

Wayne Garvie

So what would happen if Hitler could go back in time and change the course of history and one of the allies fighting against Germany in WWII would be on the opposite side. That is quite a scenario for a storyline and Jack Fernley pulls this off quite brilliantly.

Now go back to 1776 George Washington and his army are struggling in the War of Independence against the British. Now there is a German influence on the side of George Washington in the form of a large group of German mercenaries. Now the war is beginning to turn in favour of Washington’s men but at what price. Who are these Germans fighting for Washington and what is their ultimate ambition? The course of history could be about to change forever if two of the leading Germans get their way at any cost.

This book was a complete surprise to me, in the way that it was nothing like I thought it was going to be. Thoroughly readable and thought provoking. Jack Fernley has pulled a master stroke with America Über Alles.

368 Pages.

Thank you to Unbound and for the review copy of America Über Alles by Jack Fernley (aka Wayne Garvie)

America Über Alles was published by Unbound and was published on 3rd May 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

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