Down to the Sea by Sue Lawrence ♥ | #LoveBooksGroupTours

Hello, bookworms! Another book review for your today – I missed the original date then I was supposed to publish for the tour, I’ve not been around this weekend and all those alerts on my phone that I snoozed, didn’t help either.

Genre: Historical fiction
Year Of Publication: Feb 2019
Publisher: Contraband
Pages: 256
My rating: 3.5 ⭐⭐⭐

“Historical mystery set in Newhaven, Edinburgh with a dual timeline. One strand is set in the present day and the other in the 1890s, when superstitious fishwives blame a young girl for the deaths of their menfolk at sea, and she is forced into the Newhaven Poorhouse.”

In historical Newhaven, we follow Jessie who is sent to the poorhouse because of the mark she has on her cheek which branded her as a witch during those superstitious times. I could tell that there was a lot of research that went into this book and really appreciated how Jessie’s world came alive under my eyes. I am not going to say too much about it because I do not want to spoil anything.

The novel is told in dual narration/perspectives in two different time periods in Newhaven; one in the present day, one in the past. The novel is extremely atmospheric and I felt transported in the book, feeling what the characters were feeling. I am easily scared so I was concerned that I would be spooked by the contents, but rest assured that it’s nothing nightmare-inducing.

In the present day, during the 80’s, we follow a married couple who just purchased Wardie House with the intent to transform it into a high end caring facility for the elderly and I really enjoyed exploring these characters. I felt a lot more of a connection with them, maybe because it is more “present” day than Jessie’s.

All I will say about this book, as I do not want to spoil anything, is that it left me with a good feeling at the end. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t the best read of the year, however there was dedication for the story and characters within the pages, subjects that mattered to the author. The plot twists were quite predictable, especially for a more seasoned reader, but I still really enjoyed it and recommend it!

Xoxo
Jane

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#BlogTour: The Silver Moon Storybook by Elaine Gunn, illustrated by Megan MacPhie | #LoveBooksGroupTours

Hello, again bookworms. I am delighted to be part of another book tour, albeit later than the date scheduled as I thought it was the 16th today and the 16th was yesterday… oh, donkey! I am not even surprised that I messed up the days again, but anyway, today I wanna talk to you about this gorgeous book, The Silver Moon Storybook by Elaine Gunn, illustrated by Megan MacPhie.

Genre: fantasy
Pages: 221
My rating: 4 stars

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IG: Jane_Kelsey

“What darkness lies in the past of a little witch, cursed into the shape of a giant? Who will save a magical unicorn, imprisoned for generations in the castle of a tyrant? As the silver moon rises in the sky, an enormous clown and a powerful siren join a humble weaver and other enchanting characters in these haunting tales of illusion, discovery and love.

An exquisitely illustrated bedtime story for the age of #MeToo, The Silver Moon Storybook transforms themes of modern feminism into touching fables full of the magic and shadows of traditional fairy tales.” [Goodreads blurb]

 

The silver moon storybook is a collection of seven short stories: The Little Witch; The Weaver; The Enormous Clown; The Changeling; The Unicorn; The Strong Man; The Sea Queen. Each of these stories has a feminist, modern twist on fairytales. They are unique, sweet and engaging for people of all ages. I really enjoyed that some of the stories were interlinked which gave it a nice sense of continuity. These tales are meant to empower women and girls and I really appreciated that.

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I was really impressed that the reader is able to colour in the book if they so wished. The illustrations from Megan MacPhie are beautiful and help the reader immerse in the story. The writing was also very beautiful and lyrical.

I recommend this for readers of all ages.

Author Info
Elaine Gunn has been writing more or less constantly since she first picked up a pencil in primary school. Years of unpublished literary genius languish in handwritten journals, high school English portfolios, corporate banking reports and various awful pitch documents full of impeccably-written digital marketing jargon. 

#BookReview: The killing state by Judith O’Riley| #LoveBooksGroupTours

The killing state by Judith O’Reilly is a fast-paced thriller packed with twists and turns in a race to survive a corrupt, political world where murder is the answer to everything. The killing state is addictive, fast-paced and hard to put down.

WHAT IF THE PERSON YOU’RE ORDERED TO KILL IS THE WOMAN YOU WANT TO PROTECT?

Michael North, assassin and spy-for-hire, is very good at killing bad guys. But what happens when his shadowy bosses at the dark heart of the post-Brexit British government, order him to kill an innocent woman and North can’t bring himself to do it?

The woman is a rising political star, Honor Jones, MP.  She has started asking dangerous questions about the powerful men running her country. The trouble is, Honour doesn’t know when to stop. And, now that he’s met her, neither does North…

Genre: thriller
Year Of Publication: 07/03/2019
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 496
My rating: 5 stars

Thanks to the publisher and #LoveBooksGroupTours for a copy of this novel. My views are my own.

The killing state… A gripping thriller that you’ll struggle to put down!

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IG: @Jane_Kelsey

I was hooked from the first line: “This morning for Honour Jones MP was unremarkable, except in one respect. She was going to die.” As opening lines go, this is a great one and the best part is that it promised without disappointing!

North is trained in the art of killing and his paycheck is secured by The Board, a national UK organisation dealing [which means killing] national security threats. North is ex-military, but a bullet stuck into his brain means that his death can be imminent and his services in the force were no longer needed. Honour Jones MP is a high-security threat and North gets the order to eliminate her, but when he starts doubting and asking questions, he finds that “no” is not an answer The Board is willing to accept. Against all odds, North and Honour have to find answers before it’s too later before it is all lost, when everything and everyone is against them.

North and Honour are worlds apart but may have in common more than just an enemy and I loved how their character development and I felt drawn into their lives, caring about what happened to them and this goes hand in hand with the beautiful quality of the writing and the structure of the plot. The scenes are well structured and arranged in such a way that it makes the reader ever more curious, propelling every turn of the page without much (apparent) effort. I was invested from start to finish.

I truly liked Honour as a character, she was strong and defying, but not against her better judgement, not against the promise of death; Honour Jones was scared for her life. North is not a good guy and he knows and we all know it, but I still loved him. Even as an assassin, he has principles and the more we get to know him and his past, the more emotionally attached I got to him. He was also extremely hilarious, made me laugh on plenty of occasions with his sarcasm and wit. He is by no means perfect as his job and I thought his flaws were refreshing.

The killing state by Judith O’Reilly takes you prisoner in this corrupt world and does not let you go until you reach the end.

Happy reading,
Jane

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#BlogTour: The mausoleum by David Mark | #LoveBooksGroupTours

Hi, book dragons! Tonight I am going to share something a little bit different! The Mausoleum by David Mark is being released in the UK today (HORRRAY!) so I’ve got Mark discussing how he found his inspiration for his newest thriller!

Happy reading!

The Mausoleum - David Mark Cover ImageFull Synopsis:
1967. In a quiet village in the wild lands of the Scottish borders, disgraced academic Cordelia Hemlock is trying to put her life back together. Grieving the loss of her son, she seeks out the company of the dead, taking comfort amid the ancient headstones and crypts of the local churchyard. When lightning strikes a tumbledown tomb, she glimpses a corpse that doesn’t belong among the crumbling bones. But when the storm passes and the body vanishes, the authorities refuse to believe the claims of a hysterical ‘outsider’.

Teaming up with a reluctant witness, local woman Felicity Goose, Cordelia’s enquiries all lead back to a former POW camp that was set up in the village during the Second World War. But not all Gilsland’s residents welcome the two young women’s interference. There are those who believe the village’s secrets should remain buried . . . whatever the cost.

David Mark Author PictureBest-selling novelist DAVID MARK discusses how a fascination with places ‘on the edge of things’ helped him find the perfect location for his new literary thriller, The Mausoleum.

“I’m fascinated by edges. There, I’ve said it. God, that felt good.

I know, it’s a dangerous interest. I should probably wean myself off and be satisfied with the myriad possibilities of middles, but I’m afraid ‘edges’ is where it’s at.

For the past few years, I’ve been writing about Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy – a gentle bear of a man who catches killers in and around Hull.

Hull, as Larkin famously said, is a city on the edge of things. It has its back to the sea: hunched and scowling, gargoyle-faced, back into Yorkshire. That gives the people a certain quality – a defensiveness; a carapace seasoned with salt-water. It gives the people, quite literally, an edge. I know how to write about such people. Three or four years back, I began to wonder whether I could write about other people too.

I’m from Carlisle. Carlisle is, broadly speaking, on the edge of England. Sure, it’s landlocked, but it’s only a few miles from the Scottish border and suffers from the same kind of slightly miffed remoteness so common in towns and cities where it costs the locals a week’s wages to get a bus to London. It qualifies as an edgeland – to me at least.

For those of you who are still reading, I’d like to reassure you there’s about to be a point. And this is it. I grew up hearing stories about the debatable lands – the blood-soaked strip of England and Scotland separated by the remains of the Roman Wall. I grew up hearing tales of the Border Reivers – clans with feared names who sortied and stole and pillaged and killed in pursuit of cattle and crops and land.

My grandfather, on my dad’s side, was a great one for pointing out of the window of his Vauxhall Cavalier and saying ‘that’s where they reckon Old Tam Armstrong was skewered on a branch’; or ‘if you don’t tell your mam, I can show you the rock that Hadrian used to bash in the skull of the soldier who stood on his toga’.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I’ll accept that Grandad Joe was making this stuff up. But there’s no doubt that the area either side of the Border has run red with blood and has a fascinating history. In fact, for a chap looking for the perfect location to set a mercurial novel about friendship and lies and community cover-ups, it might be considered a gift.

There are castles and forests and tumbledown old buildings whose iron railings have twisted into rusting spears. Every now and again a farmer will churn up a Saxon weapon or the skull of a Roman legionary.

Let me tell you a little about a place called Gilsland. It’s on the very edge of Cumbria and the edge of Northumberland, split in two by the wall that used to divide England from Scotland. If ever there was a place suffused with the liminal qualities of an edgeland, this is it. Moreover, there’s a certain otherworldliness to much of the history. Chat with a local and you’ll hear about the mysterious qualities of the water and the obscure obelisks placed in the water at strategic angles by some long forgotten hand. They might tell you about the Spa hotel that served as a home for expectant mothers from Newcastle during the war – a place where they might be a little safer from the Luftwaffe.

Stay a while longer and pop along to the churchyard in the tiny hamlet of Lower Denton. Read the names on the graves. You’ll spot a couple of formidable-sounding ladies who each lived for more than a hundred years and whose Riever connections were as old as the land in which they lie.

Then there’s RAF Spadeadam – the airbase at the centre of an ancient peat-bog where the British space programme was conducted at the height of the Cold War. The older residents will tell you how the windows rattled and their fillings hurt as Blue streak broke the sound barrier time and again.

Most of all, make it your business to ask about the Prisoner of War camp where Nazi prisoners were housed after capture – becoming very much a part of the local landscape as they mended walls and built fences and helped work the land.

You could ask about all of the above. Or you could read my new book, The Mausoleum, which takes these gifts of landscape and history and turns them into a canvas for a tale of friendship, secrets – and murder.

Don’t let me down. I’m a man on the edge …..”

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