The Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan #BookReview #BlogTour (@GerHogan) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @VickyJoss1 @NetGalley #NetGalley #ThePlaceWeCallHome

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Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills…

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…

Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills, until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.

Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.

Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.

Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.

Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan today. My thanks to the author for asking me to take part and to Vicky Joss at Head of Zeus for my digital copy of the book, received via NetGalley. I have reviewed the book honestly and impartially.

We ran out of heating oil on Saturday (due to a combination of a monitor on the blink and the distraction of Christmas – don’t ask.) As a result, our house has been freezing, just as Storm Brendan blew in. Brrrrrr!

Why am I telling you this? Because the one thing that has warmed me through while I’ve been waiting for a fuel delivery is reading this charming novel. It has left me with a happy glow, a bit like the Ready Brek kid from the advert, and I was both loathe and happy to get to the gorgeous ending.

Many of my favourite authors are Irish. Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Emma Hannigan, Marian Keyes all have pride of place on my bookshelf, because their writing is full of life and passion and warmth and real life characters. Faith Hogan is the latest name to be added to my list of go-tos when I am looking for a warm and genuine story full of Irish charm. This book brings Ireland to life within its pages, filling the story with the countryside, scenery and community of rural Ireland and its people. It tells the story of a village, the woollen mill that has put in on the map and kept its populace in jobs, and the family whose responsibility it is to keep the mill running. The story is told across dual timelines as we discover Meredith’s struggles with her grown children now, and her story growing up in Ballycove as a child and young woman, and how the repercussions from events then have shaped the future.

There is a great and realistic mix of characters in this book, not all of whom were likeable. In fact, I was surprised to read a couple of reviews of this book which said that the readers loved all of the characters, because I did not. (Just goes to show how we all react so differently to the same story!) Despite this, they were all believable, because not everyone in real life is likeable after all! I was fully involved in all of their stories from the beginning and, despite wanting to slap some sense into a least one of them, I was happy with the way everything played out in the end, and the very last paragraph made me sigh with happiness.

If you are looking for a gorgeous, feel-good read, with a good depth of story (someone else has referred to this as a saga, and I think it could indeed be classed as a mini version of such), set in a beautiful landscape with characters and a community you can care about, look no further. You absolutely will not be disappointed.

The Place We Call Home is out now and you can get a copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour too, for more reviews and other great content:

About the Author

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Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.

She writes crime fiction as Geraldine Hogan – Her Sisters Bones is available now!

Faith gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
Connect with Faith:

Website: https://faithhogan.com

Facebook: Faith Hogan Author

Twitter: @GerHogan

Instagram: @faithhoganauthor

Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar #BookReview (@KileyDunbar) @HeraBooks #ChristmasAtFrozenFalls

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Sylvie Magnusson is going to be lonely this Christmas. Instead of jetting off for her honeymoon, she’s freezing at home in Cheshire. Guess that’s what happens when your fiancé dumps you a week before your wedding…

Sylvie’s best friend, Nari, plans a trip to see the Northern Lights and get Sylvie’s mojo back. But as their Lapland getaway approaches, Sylvie realises that Frozen Falls is the hometown of Stellan Virtanen, her dreamy Finnish ex-boyfriend, the one that got away.

When they meet, Stellan’s still gorgeous – and her heart is warmed when he shows her the romantic delights of Lapland (as well as some adorable Husky puppies). But when she returns to England, can she really leave Stellan behind? Or will she find that her heart belongs in the frozen North?

I know the time has passed for many people for reading Christmas books, but some people read them all year round (including the author of this one!) and, if you don’t, you need to add this one to your list for next year before you forget.

This might be the most perfect Christmas romance book I’ve ever read. It has every ingredient that you need in the recipe for a wonderful Christmas story. Girl miserable/jilted/disappointed at Christmas? Check. Trip to idyllic wintery setting? Check. Hot but brooding man to provide love interest for under the mistletoe? Check. Numerous, seemingly insurmountable hurdles to romance? Check. Fun but wise best friend to provide sounding board/sage advice? Check.

So what makes this one different? Makes it stand out from the crowd? Well, if I knew the answer to what makes one Christmas book rise above the others, I’d be writing best-selling festive romance books myself, instead of reviewing other people’s, wouldn’t I? No, but seriously, it has a certain magical ingredient that has just made everything come together perfectly to produce a book that will give you the warm fuzzies and imbue you with that delicious, happy Christmas glow that we are all looking for when we pick up a book like this.

Kiley’s characters are warm and likeable, but not too perfect, and she puts them in situations which are extreme but not beyond the realms of our empathy. The setting is rich in every detail of a perfect winter getaway. Log cabins, roaring fires, snow, reindeer, wintry forests, northern lights, hot chocolate – but the attention to detail is marvellous and she remembers all the little touches that are the glittery icing on the Christmas cake. The book is also rippled through with a frisson of sexual tension that will warm even the frostiest of hearts under those thermal undergarments.

Chuck in a precipice of despair for tension, and you have yourself a winning formula. Any lover of Christmas romance should be asking Santa to slip this into their Christmas stocking next December – if you can bear to wait that long.

Christmas at Frozen Falls is out now and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Kiley Dunbar is the author of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places. Shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award for Debut Romantic Novelists 2019 for One Summer’s Night.

Kiley is Scottish and lives in England with her husband, two kids and Amos the Bedlington Terrier. She writes around her work at a University in the North of England where she lectures in English Literature and creative writing. She is proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a graduate of their New Writers’ Scheme.

Connect with Kiley:

Facebook: Kiley Dunbar Author

Twitter: @KileyDunbar

 

Friday Night Drinks with…. S. M. Stevens @SMStevens17 #FridayNightDrinks #HAHG

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Delighted to welcome to the blog tonight for Friday Night Drinks author….S. M. Stevens.

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Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

A vodka gimlet with fresh lime juice. Thanks for the invite. I look forward to a scintillating night of libation and conversation. 

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Oh, high expectations, let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint! If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’m not choosy about my drinking establishments, but a pub or wine bar where we could actually hear each other talk would be nice. It’s hard to get to know each other over throbbing bass beats and thunderous conversations!

I agree, I think maybe that’s an age thing! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Reese Witherspoon, because I really want her Hello Sunshine! Book Club to choose my novel. And Keith Richards because, well – just because.

That would be a party, I think. I absolutely love Reese Witherspoon. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I am in the throes of promoting my first traditionally published novel, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades. It’s the story of two women struggling with past and present demons, meaning childhood incest for Shelby, and workplace sexual harassment for Astrid. 

The book was prompted by the #MeToo movement. I was fascinated and appalled by the parallels between workplace sexual harassment and childhood incest, specifically how society asks many of the same questions of both types of victim. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades is my way of answering those questions.

There are a handful of workplace harassment-themed novels available today (with many more to come, I’m sure!), but I believe mine is the first in which the heroines are in their 20’s. This to me is the logical age for such a story, because that’s when most women embark on their careers and first learn about corporate hierarchies and power plays. 

Despite the heavy themes, it’s also a fun, uplifting coming-of-age story, or so my reviewers tell me.  

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Proudest moment: Having an early reviewer of my Horseshoes and Hand Grenades manuscript tell me it prompted her to reveal to her husband her own sexual harassment experience. I hope the novel starts many such conversations.

Biggest challenge: Getting publishers to take note of a story that is not “extreme”. They seem to think that’s all that will sell – extreme poverty, extreme alcoholism, extreme abuse… But in fact, there are so many more readers out there who identify with less extreme life situations. That’s who I wrote this book for. (Almost counts in more than horseshoes and hand grenades.) And thankfully, TouchPoint Press saw the value in this, too.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!

I guess that would have to be landing a major interview or endorsement of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades. Not because I want to be in the limelight — I’ve been a PR person all my career so I can put other people out front. But I really want the book to reach as many victims of sexual abuse as possible – regardless of the “severity” of that abuse — so they can validate their experiences and start to heal. A major interview or endorsement would be a marvellous way to make that happen.

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

It’s still just an idea stewing in my brain, but I would love to write a story with a transgender or gender-fluid hero.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Favourite place: Any tropical beach.

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Bucket list: My dream holiday would be somewhere in African to see gorillas in the wild. (Shameless plug: If you love travel, you should check out my daughter’s budget travel blog.)

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Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I was the goalkeeper for my high school field hockey team. I loved sports but was hopefully uncoordinated and slow. I hated running laps to get in shape. But I found my niche in the comfort of the goal where I managed to not embarrass myself and even contribute to the team’s success! 

My youngest daughter currently plays in goal in field hockey! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Well, here’s something different for you. I’m currently reading The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild by Craig Childs. His descriptions of animals and nature are completely unexpected but perfectly put together.

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Whether recalling the experience of being chased through the Grand Canyon by a bighorn sheep, swimming with sharks off the coast of British Columbia, watching a peregrine falcon perform acrobatic stunts at 200 miles per hour, or engaging in a tense face-off with a mountain lion near a desert waterhole, Craig Childs captures the moment so vividly that he puts the reader in his boots.

Each of the 40 brief, compelling narratives in THE ANIMAL DIALOGUES focuses on the author’s own encounter with a particular species and is replete with astonishing facts about the species’ behavior, habitat, breeding, and lifespan. But the glory of each essay lies in Childs’s ability to portray the sometimes brutal beauty of the wilderness, to capture the individual essence of wild creatures, to transport the reader beyond the human realm and deep inside the animal kingdom.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Ha, I do have a secret weapon for that! I discovered years ago that my migraine pills also cure, and prevent, hangovers! Now if only the health insurance company wasn’t so stingy with them. ☺

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Assuming I’m a bit drained after our late night, I would take my shepherd/collie mix Korra for a bracing walk in the crisp autumn air, and she would not harass any other dogs for once! Then, having been productive for an hour, I’d give myself permission to veg on the couch with my boyfriend watching a movie, preferably with rain drizzling down outside the window.

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What a gorgeous dog! Susan, thank you so much for coming on the blog, it has been a joy and I am really looking forward to taking part in the blog tour for Horseshoes and Hand Grenades soon.

S. M. Stevens’ latest book, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades is out now and you can buy a copy here. I will be reviewing the book as part of the author’s blog tour on 31 January, so do check back then to see what I thought.

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Shelby Stewart is damn sure “mild” childhood sexual abuse by her stepfather—a respected teacher and revered coach—didn’t change her. She succeeds at her new PR job in 1980s Boston but sucks at romance, sabotaging relationships with men her friends insist are not good enough for her.

Shelby’s co-worker, Astrid Ericcson, says she wrote the book on How to Get Ahead by Flirting. But when her boss’s innuendoes escalate to not-so-subtle touching and under-the-table footsie, she finds both her career and her safety at risk.

Together, the women try to build their careers, friendships and romances while facing their respective demons. Will they succeed? Or will they spiral out of control?

S.M. Stevens began writing fiction during back-to-back health crises: a shattered pelvis (from a horseback riding fall) and ovarian cancer. Her other books are Middle-Grade novel Shannon’s Odyssey and the Bit Players Young Adult series. She has lived in the U.S., U.K. (twice) and Italy, and currently resides in the New England region of the U.S. When not writing, she markets solar energy.

You can find out more about Susan and her work on her website,  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Please join me back here, same time next week, when I will be having Friday Night Drinks with my friend and debut author…Giulia Skye.

New Beginnings at Rose Cottage by Erin Green #BookReview (@ErinGreenAuthor) @Headlinepg @RNATweets #NewBeginningsAtRoseCottage

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One glorious summer brings the chance to begin again.

When solo travellers Benni, Emma and Ruth find themselves holidaying together at charming Rose Cottage in Brixham, Devon, they are initially disappointed to be sharing with strangers of a different age group.

But ‘friendship and home comforts’ are guaranteed at Rose Cottage and soon a bond blossoms between the women, who each have valuable life lessons to share.

As the summer unfolds, Benni, Emma and Ruth begin to realise that age is just a number. Before their time at Rose Cottage ends, will they take the chance to grasp the dreams that are now within their reach?

So, I was a little slack on the blog towards the end of last year, due to NaNo and Christmas (and many other excuses which I could give you but really amount to laziness) and there were quite a few books that I didn’t review. I’m letting some slide, but there are a few that I want to catch up on, so you’ll have to forgive me for bombarding you with reviews until I am up speed again. The first of those that I want to share with you is New Beginnings at Rose Cottage by Erin Green.

I was initially drawn to this book by the setting of Brixham in Devon. (Am I the only person who gets a craving for crabmeat where I hear the name of this town mentioned?) I am a sucker for a coastal setting in a novel, but I’ve never read one set here before and it is a place I have always wanted to visit, so what could be better than travelling there vicariously by book? The author brings the setting vividly to life through her writing, I could picture the town and the harbour and the lives of the locals quite clearly in my mind’s eye as I read. Unfortunately, this book did not satiate my desire to visit Brixham, it simply exacerbated it!

When I picked this book up, I thought it was going to be a straight-forward romance and, whilst romance is a big part of the book, the driving relationships in this book are the ones between the three women who are the heart of the story. This is a book about female friendship, the transformative power it can have on our lives and how it is never too late to make changes to improve your life. I really loved the fact that the three women in this book who come together as strangers in the beginning are all from different generations and backgrounds and with different life experiences, but these differences are no barriers to their friendship, or to being able to understand and support one another through the challenges that have brought them all to this cottage at the same time. It is really refreshing to see a book in which not all of the protagonists are young, as those of us in middle age know that life does not stop being interesting in your twenties and some of the most exciting changes in life can happen later on.

Not all of the characters are equally likeable, I found Emma in particular a little abrasive and edgy, but this is the genius of the author’s writing. Her characters are real people, not fluffy caricatures that I think some people can expect to find in this genre of novel. This is one of the ridiculous preconceptions about women’s fiction, that the characters are unrealistic and the storylines improbably upbeat. It takes skilled writers such as this to produce believable stories where people clash and get on each other’s nerves, make bad decisions and don’t resolve everything into a happy ever after, to change that belief and produce stories that mirror real life while still leaving us with the ‘feel good’ afterglow that is the reason we love these books. Women are complex creatures, both in and out of books! Erin Green treads this line with skill and panache, and anyone who enjoys women’s fiction that rises above the fluffy will love this book.

This is a warm and satisfying read with a great portrayal of realistic relationships and female friendship set against a picturesque back drop. What more could any romance lover ask for? I highly recommend it, especially in these dull days of January to put a little pep in your step.

New Beginnings at Rose Cottage is out now and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Erin was born and raised in Warwickshire. An avid reader since childhood, her imagination was instinctively drawn to creative writing as she grew older. Erin has two Hons degrees: BA English literature and another BSc Psychology – her previous careers have ranged from part-time waitress, the retail industry, fitness industry and education.

She has an obsession about time, owns several tortoises and an infectious laugh!
Erin writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. Erin is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Connect with Erin:

Website: http://www.eringreenauthor.co.uk

Facebook: Erin Green Author

Twitter: @ErinGreenAuthor

Instagram: @erin_green_author

Tempted by….Books From Dusk Till Dawn: Long Road From Jarrow by Stuart Maconie @susanhampson57 @StuartMaconie @EburyPublishing #LongRoadFromJarrow #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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Three and half weeks. Three hundred miles. I saw roaring arterial highway and silent lanes, candlelit cathedrals and angry men in bad pubs. The Britain of 1936 was a land of beef paste sandwiches and drill halls. Now we are nation of vaping and nail salons, pulled pork and salted caramel.

In the autumn of 1936, some 200 men from the Tyneside town of Jarrow marched 300 miles to London in protest against the destruction of their towns and industries. Precisely 80 years on, Stuart Maconie, walks from north to south retracing the route of the emblematic Jarrow Crusade.

Travelling down the country’s spine, Maconie moves through a land that is, in some ways, very much the same as the England of the 30s with its political turbulence, austerity, north/south divide, food banks and of course, football mania. Yet in other ways, it is completely unrecognisable.

Maconie visits the great cities as well as the sleepy hamlets, quiet lanes and roaring motorways. He meets those with stories to tell and whose voices build a funny, complex and entertaining tale of Britain, then and now.

So, it’s back, the feature where I highlight the persuasive power of book bloggers to drive book sales by showcasing books that my fellow bloggers have cajoling me into buying with their honeyed reviews. At the same time, I get to draw your attention to some of the magnificent blogs I follow and tell you what I love about them and why I trust their judgement in recommending books.

A word of warning, this feature stalled a couple of times last year for a variety of reasons, so some of these recommendations go back while. However, I believe that book recommendations age well, like a fine wine, rather than go off like fruit, so their enticing power still remains.

So, for the new year, I am telling you how I was Tempted by…. Books From Dusk Till Dawn to buy this copy of Long Road From Jarrow by Stuart Maconie. You can find the review that persuaded me to buy the book here, written by the lovely Susan Hampson who runs this blog.

Why was I drawn to this book? Well, I do like to read some non-fiction in amongst all the fiction I read, and I am particularly drawn to books of social commentary, which this is. I like the sound of a comparison between how the country and the places have changed in the 80 years between the original Jarrow march and Maconie’s recreation, and I think the book is particularly relevant given the recent upheavals and seismic changes taking place in this country over the past few years. I have read several of Stuart’s other books and I like his narrative style. I was particularly drawn by the personal connection than Susan said she felt with the book.

If you like the sound of Long Road From Jarrow, it is available in all formats by following this link. I also highly recommend that you pay a visit to Susan’s blog which you can find at Books From Dusk Till Dawn. The reason I love Susan’s blog so much is that she has a really interesting mix of books on there, not just the mainstream titles, and her reviews are always detailed, personal and mature.

This feature will be moving back to Mondays from next week, so do check out the next one.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary Narrated by Carrie Hope Fletcher & Kwaku Fortune #BookReview #audiobook (@OLearyBeth) @QuercusBooks @CarrieHFletcher @KwakuFortune @audibleuk #TheFlatshare #freereading

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Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met….

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rule book out the window….

I’m probably one of the last people to get round to reading (or listening) to this marvellous book, so I will be preaching to the choir here but, OMG, why did I wait so long to get to it? Now I understand what all the hype has been about and why the book has won awards, I absolutely blooming’ loved every second of it.

If you are one of the very few people who have not yet got to this book (and I advise you to correct that immediately), let me try and explain just what is so special about it. Firstly, of course, there is the genius premise behind the story. What would happen if a man and a woman were sharing a flat and a bed, but never meet? How much can you find out about someone just by sharing their living space? How intimate can you become with another person without actually ever seeing them face to face? On the audio version of this book which I listened to, Beth O’Leary explains how she came up with the idea behind the novel, and it was fascinating to hear what sparks a story idea and the process behind the story development, and I really thought it was a gorgeous story to hear and leant a new dimension to the book. The plot is so clever and unique, this is the first great thing about it, this is a love story that you’ve never heard before.

Secondly, the characters. Oh, how I love them. Tiffy is the kind of person you completely want as your best friend. Warm and open and caring. Scatter-brained and clever and creative and funny. She will worm her way into your heart immediately, and you will want to take care of her, hug her and make everything alright for her from the off. Then there is Leon. Also caring, but cautious and guarded and quiet and reserved. Careful not to give his heart away. Reticent, but warm and loving underneath. You know he and Tiffy are perfect for each other from the beginning, but how can they fall in love if they never meet, and will circumstances and other people get in their way. You will be desperate to know, desperate to help but THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO except hope and listen as the story unfolds. The author gives them such distinct and individual voices, it is always clear who is telling the story at any time throughout the dual perspective narrative and she perfectly conveys their personalities through their speech. There is also a supporting cast of friends and foes to round out the story, each one perfect for their role. I absolutely adored or loathed all of them as required.

The book is beautifully paced, funny, moving, engrossing and appealing all the way through. Not a scene, not a word is wasted. Things happen at exactly the right moment to propel the story on and keep the reader interested but the tension up. It is perfectly balanced and executed and, if I had read this book a month earlier, it would have made it into my Top 10 books of 2019 list. It is already a strong contender for 2020.

A final word about the audio version of this book. As this is a dual perspective narrative, from the alternating voices of Tiffy and Leon, it is read by two different narrators and it works beautifully. Both of them completely embody the characters they are portraying and they really bring the book to life. One of the things that really works for me about this novel is getting to see both sides of the events that happen in the book from the perspective of each protagonist and I think, having two different voices narrating these events in the audiobook, really brings this contrast to life and probably enhanced my enjoyment of the story. Audiobooks have become a big thing for me over the past 8 months (after being unable to read physical or ebooks for a period last year) and I am consuming more and more of them. This one is a particularly wonderful example and if you are a fan of audiobooks, this is one that is worth the investment.

The Flatshare is out now in hardback, ebook and audiobook, and will be published in paperback on 20 February. You can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being in reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.

She is now writing novels full time, and if she’s not at her desk, you’ll usually find her curled up somewhere with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

Connect with Beth:

Website: https://betholearyauthor.com

Twitter: @OLearyBeth

Instagram: @betholearyauthor

When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick #BookReview #BlogTour (@helensedgwick) @PtBlankBks @OneworldNews @annecater #RandomThingsTours #WhenTheDeadComeCalling

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A murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where long buried secrets threaten a small community

When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, the local police force set out to investigate. It’s not long before they uncover a maelstrom of racism, misogyny and homophobia.

But there’s worse to come. Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband Fergus, DI Georgie Strachan soon realizes that something very bad is lurking just below the surface. Meanwhile someone – or something – is hiding in the strange, haunted cave beneath the cliffs.

My first blog tour of the new year and I am delighted to be reviewing When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This was a crime book with a difference, quite unlike anything I’ve read before. I have to say, for quite a large chunk of the book I wasn’t’t really sure what was going on. We meet a first person narrator who is hiding out in a sea cave, but it is unclear who this person is or whether the things they are seeing are real until almost the end of the book. There are a series of crimes which no one quite knows whether they are connected or not, or what the motivations are behind them for a long time. It struck me that this is quite likely the closest feeling to how real investigations unravel, but it was an unusual construct for a novel and I was feeling my way through it quite confusedly for much of the time. I suspect this may put some, particularly impatient, readers off, but it is worth sticking with it.

The main reason I suggest you want to stick with this book is the pure beauty of the writing. The author has a masterful voice, the writing is lyrical and descriptive, truly invoking the starkness, remoteness and hostility of the book’s isolated location and imbuing it with the despair and menace that is the bedrock of the story. I could feel the sea spray, smell the seaweed, feel the decay, it was all immersive. On top of this, the book has an eerie, dream-like, ethereal quality which, again, mirrors and enhances the storyline. The line between reality and imagination are blurred and unclear throughout, questions are left hanging, not everything is explained. This is really a very unusual and exciting twist on a crime novel and it has made me very keen to see what will come next in the series.

This book will not appeal to everyone because it is so different. The pacing is not quite as frantic as some may expect from crime books, and it is a curious mix of the straight-forward and the mystic. However, the issues addressed are current, relevant and compelling, the characters diverse, well-rounded and interesting and the crime suitably violent, complex and baffling. I think it is a book that will reward a repeat read to draw out all of the subtleties and nuances of the story and that rewards readers who are curious and adventurous. I recommend it for those who enjoy beautiful writing, clever plotting and something a little out of the mainstream.

When The Dead Come Calling is out tomorrow and you can buy a copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour, you can follow via the poster below:

When The Dead Come Calling BT Poster

About the Author

Helen Sedgwick Author Photo

Helen Sedgwick is the author of The Comet Seekers, selected as a best book of 2016 by the Herald, and The Growing Season, shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year in 2018. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University and won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award.

Before she became an author, she was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University. She now lives and writes in the Scottish Highlands.

Connect with Helen:

Website: http://www.helensedgwick.com

Facebook: Helen Sedgwick Author

Twitter: @helensedgwick

Instagram: @helensedgwickauthor

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