Category Archives: Headline
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.
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.
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.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Imagine for a moment that you were told the exact date that you were going to die? If you believed what you had just been told, how would that change you as a person and the life that you would lead? Indeed, would it actually change anything at all?
Author Chloe Benjamin has done just that with her mesmerising novel The Immortalists (Tinder Press) and the four young siblings that take a trip on a summers day that will have profound effects on the lives that they will lead.
It is a Summer’s day in 1969 and Simon (Seven), Klara (Nine), Daniel (Eleven) and Varya (Thirteen) take a trip that unbeknown to each of them will change how they live their lives from this moment on. They take a trip to see a fortune teller who they hear has the power to inform of the exact date a person will die. One by one they learn of the date but they do not share this information with each other but try to understand what they have just been told.
From this day forward their lives will be forever linked with this moment and the piece of information that each was given. So now what happens to the siblings after they find out the date they will die?
The book is broken down to cover each of the siblings and starts with Simon to runs away to San Francisco where he is free to live the life he has chosen within the gay community and his life that he fulfils is lit up with the people he mixes with and as he trains to be a ballet dancer. For Klara her dream is to be a magician and show the world the magic that is around them. Daniel joins the military and the daily strict guidelines that this brings but all does not bode well for Daniel and his story is one of sadness. As for Varya she has dedicated her life to science and the longevity research. Was this anything to do with the meeting with the fortune teller but her Jewish faith seems to bring her comfort.
The real beauty of this book is how Chloe Benjamin tells the story of each of the individuals. Each story is just beautifully told and with a degree of sensitivity that it deserves. Each story they share with the reader their intimate lives with love, loss family bonds and death. We all have a destiny but how do we each shape our own destiny over time, here in The Immortalists Benjamin has crafted a superb novel that will ask questions of each of the family members and is thought provoking. At times I did think the information passed on by the fortune teller started to erode members of the family and in the end their own families as time went on.
Plenty of room for talking about this novel and it would make a terrific Book Club choice as the questions that it asks through each of life’s journey’s for the siblings.
Thank you Caitlin Raynor (Headline) for the advanced review copy of The Immortalists
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin is published by Tinder Press and was published on 8th March and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
I am absolutely delighted to welcome Karen Hamilton to my Blog to write a Guest Post as part of the Blog Tour for her sensational debut novel The Perfect Girlfriend which is released on 22nd March through Wildfire. A terrifying and compelling read about an obsession and pure hatred go hand in hand at 40,000ft. Welcome to Juliette’s world. A must-read thriller for the Spring.
GUEST POST BY KAREN HAMILTON
The Perfect Girlfriend will be published nine years after I decided to take writing seriously. It was always ‘the dream’ but I only ever dabbled over the years, as I loved my job as cabin crew and enjoyed travelling. When my middle son was a year old, I decided to set myself a word count of one thousand words a day, which I stuck to (as much as possible) and began to enter competitions, attend literary festivals and author events. A big boost was when I came second in a first chapter competition for a magazine and this spurred me on.
I wrote a (really bad) book, but at least it taught me what I didn’t want to write. I wrote a second novel however; it wasn’t good enough to attract the attention of agents. I joined a local creative writing group and it was here that I first found the courage to read my work out loud.
In 2014, having left my flying career I went on the Faber Writing a Novel course. On the first evening, our course tutor suggested that we experiment, so I decided to write about a character who had been hanging around in my subconscious for a while, someone who came to me when I was changing out of uniform one day before travelling on public transport. I had already started writing the book in the third person, but switched to the first person and this seemed to bring Juliette’s character alive. I received such support and encouragement from our tutor and everyone else on the course, that it gave me the confidence to carry on, develop Juliette’s character and finish the first draft.
At the end of the course, students are given the opportunity to read their work out loud to a roomful of agents and editors (extremely nerve-wracking) but as a result, I am now represented by a wonderful and insightful agent. The Perfect Girlfriend is the result of many drafts, and a lot of edits, but I’m so thrilled. There have been a lot of the inevitable ups and downs along the way, but seeing the cover and, this week, holding my book for the first time have been a total dream come true. I feel very grateful for all the support I’ve received from so many passionate, dedicated people.
I’m currently writing my second novel and this time it feels very different. It’s another psychological thriller with a damaged woman at its heart, but this one is not set in the airline world, so I’m involved in a lot more research. I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft as one of my favourite parts of writing is editing; it’s the time when I become totally immersed in the book and try to shut out ‘real life’ as much as possible.
Thank you Becky Hunter at Headline for the advanced review copy of The Perfect Girlriend
The Prefect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton is published by Wildfire Books and is published on 22nd March 2018 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
How to follow The Perfect Girlfriend Blog Tour
The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements
As we are still in the winter months The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements is just the perfect ghost story for those chilly dark evenings set in the 17th century among the bleak and dark Yorkshire moors.
The year is 1674 and the focus is an isolated Manor House and farm on the misty and eerie Yorkshire Moors. Scarcross Hall is the manor house and the coffin path that leads to the house. They say the manor house is haunted and that there is something evil that lurks there.
The story follows Mercy Booth; she is not at all bothered about the stories of hauntings. Scarcross Hall is owned by her elderly father and the property is now pretty dilapidated, but she knows that one day her father will die and that Scarcross Hall will belong to her. Enter the story a man by the name of Ellis Ferriby who now will work as a farm hand and now the story takes on a whole new twist. The narration moves between the two people. Events now start to take effect on the main characters and also those around them. Mercy starts to feel rather uneasy at the home. Strange noises and also creaks coming from her home. Her father’s health has declined. Many stories of the house being cursed, could this now be true and will this now start to affect her and what of the farm workers. Now as winter sets in and the bad weather mutilated sheep start to appear on the farm. Strange goings on with some of the staff at Scarcross Hall and items that just seem to mysteriously disappear. What are those strange creepy sounds coming from deep within the Hall?
There is something about Ellis and he is hiding his true reason for being there, and now Mercy is beginning to think that everything that is going on is her punishment. Who really is Ellis and what does he want from Scarcross Hall? The pace continues and then your pulse rate quickens.
A true gothic ghost story that is superbly told by Kathrine Clements that is rich in historical terms. Both the main characters are interesting and you have the feeling that there could be something between them but then the ending comes along. A chilling and engrossing creepy tale that I really enjoyed. Perfect Winter reading.
My thanks to Caitlin Raynor for the review copy of The Coffin Path.
The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements is published by Headline and was published on 8th February 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops
The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
It is my great pleasure to host my day on the Blog Tour on publication day for The Feed by Nick Clark Windo.
An incredible post-apocalyptic debut novel set in in a futuristic world where life as we know it has completely collapsed. So what is The Feed, it is fact Social Network, but this is a Social Network that is everything, everyone’s real life and everything you do and even buy is through this medium. This is not the Social Network as we know it today. It is everything, it drives your every moment. Lives are lived purely by it and through it. But what if you don’t or try to avoid?
Fast forward six years and the world has ceased as we knew it then. For the main characters Tom and Kate, they used Social Network but for Tom he was different from everyone else and fought back as he resisted its addictive power. But now everyone eyes him with concern. Why would they not? After all it was his own father that was the creator of the being that was The Feed. So why was Tom so keen to avoid it? Both Tom and Kate have survived The Feed’s collapse and with it the world as a whole. Now ordinary people who lived by The Feed now have to fight like wild animals to survive from one day to the next, not just to feed but to avoid being ill as this now kills. Cures have been lost now and suddenly the fight for survival meant if you were weak you did not survive.
So now trust comes to the fore and just who can you trust? Tom and Kate have a six-year-old daughter and now Bea has gone missing, she is nowhere to be seen and who is going to help find the precious daughter, with all the modern trapping of the type of technology that could help locate the missing daughter now gone, hope is fading and now they have doubts over even if they trust each other let alone anyone else that is out there.
The Feed is a dark and intensely satisfying novel that will test your senses and also at the same time will you also doubt the key characters of Tom and Kate? Just how far will technology take us into the future, this was my question to myself after reading The Feed. My answer is one of worry. Technology is a great tool, but in the wrong hands it can destroy are very fabric of society. This is a book that will ask you so many questions. Nick Clark Windo’s writing really captures the time in the future and there is a genuine likeness of the main characters and your pulse rate will be quite high at times as this is fast paced novel brilliantly executed dystopian novel.
Thank you Katie Brown at Headline for the review copy of The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
The Feed by Nick Clark Windo is published today 25th January2018 by Headline and is published on 2018 and is available NOW through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops
How to follow The Feed Official Blog Tour
Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen
In early February I was very fortunate to have been invited to Headline’s Blogger Night to meet a number of the publisher’s authors for 2017. I can honestly say it was a great night and a privilege to have been invited. Little did I realise that I was going to meet a writer who lives on the Wirral and just a short walk from the very road I was born. That writer is Mary Torjussen and her debut psychological thriller Gone With A Trace which has just been released through Headline.
I was given a heads up about the story-line by Mary when I met her and the thought of a novel based in and around my home really had me excited. Well when I started reading I did wonder about where this story was going to take me. I need not have worried because Mary Torjussen has written a debut thriller that will have you wondering from one page to another.
The story starts as Hannah is returning to her Wirral home and is very excited with the news she has for Matt her boyfriend. Hannah has just been appointed a director for the company she works for, she even stops off to buy a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Then as she opens the door to her home it is in complete darkness and the silence is deafening and a sense of foreboding comes over Hannah, something is not right. She is right. Something is very wrong. Matt is not there to greet her and in fact it is as if Matt has never existed at all, any trace of him living there has been removed. His clothes have gone, he has even turned the house back to as it was before he moved in and set up home with Hannah. The clock has really been turned back for Hannah, Matt has just vanished into thin air. All trace of their relationship has been removed. But where is Matt? More importantly why has he just gone without a trace. Even his telephone number has been removed and is no longer working all the text messages have gone. Something is very wrong. There is a real chilling feel to this part of the story and Torjussen has played a real blinder here with her leading characters. It raises the hair on the back of your neck.
As the reader is taken along with Hannah as she tries in vain to try and find out where Matt is and why he has just vanished. There is no real sense as to what has just happened and there were no signs of any impending break up of their relationship. This is an addictive storyline and you are trying to second guess what is coming next. There are doubts about Hannah and her friends that will appear to you as this story really gets going not to mention the tension that is palpable. This is a truly gripping debut novel that has a leading neurotic character that you just are not too sure about. It felt like a real crime thriller with so many suspects coming into view. Then the ending just left me open mouthed. Many thrillers will keep you guessing but in Mary Torjussen’s debut she has you on the edge of your seat hanging on for dear life. Just think about that the next time you arrive home from work as you put the key into the lock and open the door.
Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen is published by Headline and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
Tenacity by J.S. Law
The Last Word Review
Over many years I have read countless crime books, now comes along one debut crime novel set 200 metres beneath the surface on board a Royal Navy Submarine. This is a first for me and Tenacity by JS Law delivers on all fronts and impressive debut that is totally addictive and authentic down to the last detail from a man who actually served in the Royal Navy and ended his career serving on submarines.
A sailor has been found hanged in the engine room on-board HMS Tenacity did Stewart ‘Whisky’ Walker take his own life just a few days after his wife was found brutally murdered or is there another story?
We are now introduced to Dan (Lieutenant Danielle Lewis) from the Royal Navy’s investigation team which has the title of ‘Crimes Involving Loss of Life Division.’ Dan is tasked with the job of confirming that it was suicide. The last thing a crew of a nuclear sub needs is a killer on the loose. As the tag line of the book says 200 metres beneath the surface there is nowhere to run.
Many questions face Dan as she goes about trying to understand why Stewart would take his life on-board Tenacity. The more she sees the more she believes there is something more sinister going on. This is a fast paced thriller that actually makes you feel rather Claustrophobic. No-one likes to be investigated but Dan has no choice but to look to the crew and she feels hostility growing and she is right eyed with nothing but suspicion even the Captain does not like her presence aboard Tenacity. Dan has a job to do and she will not be deterred by anyone and justice must be seen to be done and when Tenacity is given orders to set sail Dan decides she will continue with her investigations.
Tenacity is a stunning and exceptional debut crime novel that takes the reader to a place were no previous crime novel that I know of has been before down to deep dark depths below the surface. It is chilling and highly detailed with many twist and turns that will keep the reader guessing from one page to the next. I dare you to put this one down.
Dan is an extremely interesting character, and credit to the author for adding some mystery to the leading figure in the story, she faces not just sexism in her role but also real danger while aboard Tenacity and she arrived with a lot of personal baggage and these come back to her as she investigates the death of the sailor.
Now imagine being aboard the cramped confines of a nuclear submarine you are a stranger among a ‘tight’ crew the eyes of the crew on firmly fixed on you now try and investigate a crime, many of us would not last five minutes on a submarine a long way from home never knowing where you are at any-one time. There really is nowhere to hide let alone run.
The more you read the more you get to like Dan as she goes about her role and you want her to be successful and that is why you will struggle to leave this book alone.
As you go deeper into Tenacity the tension is palpable as we head towards a gripping ending. In Lieutenant Danielle Lewis we have a new heroine and I can only just hope this is the start of a series of novels featuring Dan. A full five star crime thriller that many will enjoy reading.
Thank you to Ella Bowman for a review copy of Tenacity.
Tenacity by J.S. Law is published by Headline and is now available in paperback through Waterstones and all good bookshops.