Monday, 1 September 2014

The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar - Blog tour!

Summary from Goodreads

Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start.

Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream.

Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village. Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic, who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave? Plus Will's behaviour is severely testing the bonds of trust.

Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. But as she starts to unbury a terrible crime, she realises she can no longer do that without putting everything she's ever wanted at risk.

But if she does nothing, the next victim could be her . . .


Praise for Louise Millar’s novels 

‘I started reading and couldn't stop . . .’ Sophie Hannah 

‘'A well-paced psychological thriller with more than a hint of Minette Walters about it' Sunday Express 

‘Quietly creepy and expertly crafted. Add it to your book club reading list now’ Stylist 

‘Millar is a genius at capturing the complicated emotions of parenthood, and her taut, suspenseful plot makes this an unputdownable read’ Marie Claire

Published by Macmillan on 28th August 2014, £7.99 paperback original. Also available in eBook

PROLOGUE

They are coming.
They are on their way.
I can taste them in the air like sand in sea-wind.
Starlings flit, a handful of stones thrown at the sky.
A plane swims through the clouds towards Ipswich.
‘The apples fall down one by one
And with a crack they hit the ground
And with one chop, a head falls free
Under the rotten apple tree’
I lie on the floor and wait.
I stretch my arms above my head, and push my feet far away.
I try to push them all the way to China. ‘The apples fall down two by two
And roll under my leather shoe
And with one chop, a head falls free
Under the rotten apple tree’
If I could touch both sides of this room, I would be a giant.
I know what a giant would do.
A giant would wait till they came.
Then it would lift up its feet and do this . . .
STAMP! STAMP! STAMP!

CHAPTER ONE

‘Where the hell are we?’

Will and Hannah’s car slammed to a halt at a crossroads, forcing the removal van to brake sharply behind them. Hannah looked up from the map and peered ahead. No signposts, for the fifth time today. She made an apologetic gesture out the window to the driver, and ducked back before he could lock eyes with her.

‘Weren’t we here a minute ago?’ Will said, grabbing the map off her.

‘The driver looks like his head is going to blow off,’ she said.

‘Sod him.’ Will’s hair fell forward, obscuring his face, as he checked the map. ‘Why isn’t it on the satnav? What’s the point of having a fucking satnav if it doesn’t have tiny places on it?’

She said nothing. Instead she tried to spot landmarks to help him. It was difficult. The bare branches of the trees that lined this tiny sliver of Suffolk lane clasped in the middle like witches’nails, blocking out much of the late-afternoon March light. It didn’t help, either, that through the gaps the land beyond was featureless. Flat mud, spreading aimlessly. She recalled their last visit, nearly six months ago. The sky had been chalk-blue. Heavy green boughs waving in the late-summer breeze. A pale golden shimmer across the fields. How long was it again till summer? She counted the months.

Will tapped the dashboard. ‘Right, so we came left from Thurrup, right at Snadesdon and . . .’

Hannah kept her mouth shut. Half an hour ago, old, Childish Will had appeared. She would wait for Grown-up Will to return. She’d told Barbara about this tactic when they’d had to describe how they resolved their arguments. Barbara had declared herself ‘impressed’ by Hannah’s ‘strategy’.

Will threw the map back on her lap. ‘Let’s try right.’

‘Didn’t we do that last time?’

He banged the steering wheel. ‘What do you want me to do, Han?’

‘Just stop stressing out, and hurry up,’ she wanted to say, but didn’t. This time, however, for no obvious reason, turning right and then left worked. Ten minutes and two more pin-narrow Suffolk lanes later, a faded sign saying ‘Tornley’ appeared out of the dusk, shortly before a terrace of three traditional pink cottages. Will shot Hannah a conciliatory smile, but she was too excited to respond. This was it.

Bending forward, she tried to catch glimpses through the bare branches as Will took the last bend – although, if the countryside looked this different in winter, what on earth would the house look like? She steeled herself.

A snatch of chimney appeared first, through bristles of hedge. Then a red-brick Victorian gable. And then it was rushing towards them: Tornley Hall, standing side-on to the road as if it had been abandoned for so long it had given up waiting for new owners and had turned away to stare wistfully at something in the distance. Hannah fell very still. Actually, it did look a bit different.

She tried to refocus her mind on a sight that was both familiar and unexpected. She realized, surprised, that the facade of the house had altered dramatically in her head during the long wait to exchange contracts since their last viewing: it had widened and softened and become more beautiful. The reality was thinner and taller. Shabbier, too. The windows were filthy from the long winter, and there was a rash of moss across the roof tiles, two of which were missing.Quickly she reminded herself of the surveyor’s report.

‘Tornley Hall is a solid house in need of a lot of love.’ As long as it looked presentable to Barbara in two weeks’ time – or, more precisely, thirteen-and-a-half days – that’s all that mattered.Will pulled over by the wooden five-bar gate.

The lane behind was empty.

‘Where are they?’ Hannah asked.

‘Probably stuck behind that lad in the tractor who pulled out after us.’

‘Oh God, they hate us.’

Will banged the steering wheel again, but more softly. ‘I used to know these fucking roads like the back of my hand . . .’

His Salford accent always returned when he was tired. Fookin’ roads. On days like these, being responsible and dependable in a crisis always seemed to drain every ounce of energy Will had. She knew a hug would revive him. So she did her best, and grasped his left hand in her lap.

‘What?’ Will said.

‘Go on then.’

‘What?’

‘Describe the back of your hand.’

Will made an unamused face at her, and she replaced his hand firmly on the wheel. To be sure it stayed there, she opened her door. ‘I’ll get the gate.’

‘Don’t go far. We might need your hostile-environment training when they get here.’

She held up her fists like a boxer, then jumped out, relieved. Grown-up Will was back, making jokes to ease the tension. She shivered. It must be five degrees colder in Suffolk than it had been in London this morning. Hugging her coat to her, she peered over the gate. The garden was pretty unrecognizable, too. The grand oak trees that lined the driveway on their previous visits now appeared naked and undignified, as if someone had stolen their bath-towels. Their leaves lay long-discarded on the gravel in rotting heaps. Up ahead, the freshly trimmed side-lawn from last summer was a sea of weeds. An acrid smell drifted into Hannah’s nostrils. Below her lay something tiny and dead, its guts claret-red and bursting out. A mouse or a bird. She kicked it into the bushes, then wiped her boot on the grass.

OK. Well, this was unexpected. She hadn’t even thought about the garden. Would two weeks be enough to get Tornley Hall ready, inside and out? Hannah lifted the gate catch. As she walked forward, the gate rebounded, trapping her hand

.‘Ow!’

The wood was swollen, and threaded with tiny cracks. Instead of sanding and fixing it, someone had clearly sloshed tarry black paint over it. Now it was warped. It no longer fitted the space between the posts. There was a roar behind her and the removal van shot round the bend, coming to an abrupt halt, bumper-to-bumper with Will. All of a sudden, Hannah’s own patience slipped. She had waited too long. The gate was one obstacle too many today.

She kicked the bottom, hard. The gate battered into the bushes. She waved both vehicles through, avoiding the van driver’s glare, then shut the gate and forced the latch down. It was only as she went to walk up the driveway that she realized she was still standing in the road.

‘Han?’ a shout came. Will had got out of their car and was retrieving the keys his cousin Laurie had left under the plant pot by the front door. ‘What are you doing?’

A thought came to her from nowhere. Will looked ridiculous out here. In his red skinny T-shirt and jeans, his curly musician hair and leather wristband, he looked more like a member of an indie band on his way to Latitude Festival, not the owner of this big country house. Hannah lifted the latch again, wondering why she’d shut the gate before entering. Then, as she closed it behind her, she knew. She had dreamt about Tornley Hall every night for eight months. The dream had kept her going. The minute she crossed the threshold, reality would be waiting to pounce again.

Three minutes later Hannah’s first impressions of Tornley Hall did nothing to reassure her. The implications of buying a house that had stood empty for two-and-a-half years were becoming quickly apparent. After its third winter unoccupied, and with the previous owners’ furniture removed just yesterday, the inner hall was as unrecognizable as the garden. There was a strange odour, too; an unpalatable mixture of antiseptic, a sickly chemical flowerscent and, most unpleasant of all, foot-rot.

‘Kitchen’s in the back, thanks,’ Hannah said to the removal men, averting her eyes from the ghostly picture-frame marks and hairline plaster cracks that criss-crossed the walls. Now that the Horseborrows’ vast Oriental tapestry had been removed, the absence of a yard-long chunk of picture rail had been revealed.

Grown-up Will had disappeared again. Childish Will was back with a vengeance, and appeared to have gone into shock. The last few days had been so hectic, with working late in the studio, and packing up and cleaning the London flat, that he hadn’t shaved. The three-day stubble made his naturally tan skin look sallow.

‘We knew it would look crap when everything was gone,’ she said.

Will’s pissed-off expression told her that was an understatement.

She tried again. ‘Remember when we moved into the flat, and there was that massive burn hole in the carpet that they’d hidden with a rug?’

No reaction.

Giving up, she tried the sitting-room door. Houses always looked bad when you moved in. There was no time to sulk. They had too much to do. The handle rattled uselessly in her hand.

‘This is locked. Will, can you see a key?’

They checked on the windowsills, in the understairs toilet and in the side-alcove with the stained-glass window at the back of the hall.

No key.

Will tried the door opposite. ‘Study’s locked too.’

‘That’s annoying.’

‘Where do you want this?’ asked a removal man, heaving a sofa through the front door with his partner.

‘Just here, please, for the moment.’ Hannah waited till the men had dumped it – a little unceremoniously, she thought – then mouthed to Will, ‘If we don’t find the keys, they’ll leave everything in the hall.’

That cheered him up.

Hannah peered through the sitting-room keyhole and saw nothing but black. She tried to look in from the garden, but the shutters were tightly closed on the three tall picture windows.

‘Dining room?’

‘I’ll go,’ Will said, grit in his voice.

‘I’ll try the kitchen,’ she said, trying to create the illusion of teamwork between the two of them – for herself, as much as the smirking removal men.

The sight in the kitchen stopped her in her tracks. This room had taken centre-stage in her dreams since last summer. It ran along the back of the house, and also had picture windows overlooking the small back garden. On their previous visits, rails of shiny French copper pans had hung from the ceiling, and a grand pine dresser decorated with bright crockery had added cheer to the room. Flower watercolours and landscape oils had hung on the walls, gingham curtains at the windows. Cleared of these homely charms, the dank, bottle-green walls emerged like ghouls.

‘God, they really took everything,’ she said.

Will walked in. ‘Clue’s in the name.’

‘Hmm?’

‘House-clearance.’

‘Funny. No luck?’

‘Nope.’

When the search around the old, built-in cupboards proved fruitless, too, they tried the little scullery at the far end.

‘Oh, good. They remembered to leave it,’ Hannah said, opening a tall, old-fashioned fridge. ‘And look what Laurie’s left. That’s nice,’ she said, unconvinced. On a shelf was a plastic-wrapped tray of bright-green apples, a pint of milk, cheese, a sliced loaf, spread, a large tray of pasta bake bobbled with black olives, and a bottle of cava.

‘Coffee table?’ came a shout.

‘Hall . . .’ Will called back curtly. Hannah shot him a look.

‘ . . . please.’

‘I’ll see if I can catch Brian.’

Their estate agent’s phone, predictably, went to voicemail. Having managed to offload the keys onto Laurie on his way to the airport this morning, he’d be halfway to his brother’s wedding in Italy by now. Hannah turned and saw Will staring at the high Victorian wall ten yards behind the kitchen window. His hands were clasped behind his head.

‘What?’ Hannah asked, not really wanting an answer.

‘Nothing.’

She tried to think of something to humour him, then gave up. This was not the time. The balance between them was too off-kilter, like the old brass scales that had sat on the counter here on their previous house-viewings with Brian. There would be plenty of time to fix things later. What mattered was that they were finally in.

The countdown had started.

Two weeks – or thirteen-and-a-half days – to go.

Hannah pulled an A4 whiteboard and a red marker from her bag. Two-week Countdown! was written at the top. Underneath was a list.

Day 14: Saturday, REMOVAL DAY, the first entry said. She crossed it out. That was one done, at least. She considered the entry for tomorrow. Day 13: Sunday, PAINT SITTING

ROOM. Not without the keys, they couldn’t. Hannah scored out SITTING ROOM and replaced it with KITCHEN. They had to be practical. She scanned the putrid walls and wondered if one day was optimistic. A quick glance through the list of everything else they had to do told her it would have to suffice. They didn’t have a choice. They’d just have to do the best job they could. She started to turn.

‘So I was thinking that we should start on the kitch—’

She stopped.

Will had left the room so quietly she hadn’t heard him go.

Forty-five minutes later, gravel shot up as the removal men hurtled back to London, clearly eager to escape this rural hellhole with its tight horse-cart lanes and slow tractor drivers.

‘Right,’ Hannah said, shutting the front door. The hall waspacked with the sitting-room and study furniture, including their sofas, four sets of Will’s record shelves and forty boxes of his vinyl.

‘Shall we get the bed made up first, and put up the bedroom curtains?’

Will surveyed their pile of belongings, faint menace in his eyes. She knew if she put her arms round him he would soften; lean into her, and cheer up. Instead, she picked up a rogue box of clothes to take upstairs.

Will took his jacket from the banister. ‘When I get back.’

‘From where?’

‘Snadesdon. I’m going to get some beer and milk, before the shop shuts.’

‘But Laurie’s left us a pint – and some cava.’

Will opened the door. ‘We’ll need more milk for tomorrow. You have the cava – I fancy a beer.’

Beer. She said nothing. Tonight wasn’t the night to argue about it. ‘Want me to come?’

His expression softened a little. ‘No. Why don’t you see if theoven works, and put on that food that Laurie left. I won’t be long.’

‘OK.’

Will leant towards her. The movement was so unexpected

Hannah recoiled.

‘It was just a kiss, Han.’

She touched his arm. ‘Sorry. I know. I’m just tired.’

‘OK. Right. I’ll be back in half an hour. If . . .’

‘. . . you don’t get lost.’

‘Yup.’

‘Good luck.’ She waited for him to smile, but he didn’t. Will went to the car. Music pounded as the engine started, and he drove away. Hannah wandered out to the garden, wincing at the pot of saccharine-sweet pink polyanthus that Laurie had left on the

doorstep. They’d have to keep them, to be polite. Will’s red rear lights streaked along the hedge, then disappeared up the lane. Why couldn’t he just be patient? Hannah sniffed. The air was so fresh. She took a deep breath, not quite believing they were finally here. Phase One completed. Phase Two to begin tomorrow. Tall weeds dipped and danced in the breeze along the edge of the front lawn before disappearing into the black night. How on earth would they cut these back in time for Barbara’s visit? Hannah inhaled again, smelling rotting leaves and damp earth nurturing the first blossoms of spring. She stretched her arms up, to ease off the ache from moving boxes. The temperature was dropping again, but the breeze was pleasant. She felt it reviving her after their long day. Hannah looked around. The depth of the darkness was astounding. It was that thick, berry blackness that you didn’t see in the city. Through the bare trees that bordered the far end of the garden she saw the distant glow of half a dozen houses and farms in Tornley. To her left she made out the slope-roofed garage that would become Will’s studio one day.

His mood had been difficult today. She reminded herself that he had worked all week and was exhausted. He was probably dreading the commute back to London on Monday, too. At least one of them didn’t have to worry about work any more. She could manage the decoration of Tornley Hall and just give him jobs to do in the evenings. That should take some pressure off.

Hannah decided to take Will over to the garage after dinner. It might encourage him to look beyond the cracks – to the future, and what this house would bring to their lives. She let her head fall back and shut her eyes. This was idyllic. No sirens or buses; no voices from the fried-chicken shop on the corner; no drum and bass from passing cars, or taxi engines running outside the pub.

She swayed a little, and picked out the distant bray of an animal and a soft hiss, and wondered fancifully if it might come from the sea, across the marshes. To her left, there was a rustle in the bushes. Hannah opened her eyes. There was a second rustle, this time further away.

‘Hello?’ she said, feeling silly. The nearest property must be fifty yards behind the high wall at the rear of the kitchen. Hannah scanned the darkness. The rustling stopped. A rabbit, or a fox, probably. That would be part of the joy of this place. Nature right on their doorstep.

A stronger, colder wind buffeted the tall weeds. She picked one, and ran its spiky stem through her finger. Their schedule for Barbara coming was already tight. Only thirteen days from tomorrow to finish the whole house. Tidying the garden would steal at least one of those days, now. Hannah imagined seeing this scruffy lawn through Barbara’s eyes.

You’ve taken on an awful lot here, Hannah. Maybe we should wait

another few months?

She felt a flutter of panic and shook her head.

No. Not a single month more. She couldn’t bear it.

Hannah stamped her feet to shake off the day’s fatigue. Thinking about it, Day 14 wasn’t actually over yet. She returned inside, picked up her marker pen, thought for a moment, then rewrote the first entry. Day 14: Saturday, REMOVAL DAY/START KITCHEN. She found a box in the hall, and went to rip it open. Just before she did so, however, she rattled the sitting-room door handle again, in case it was just stiff. Nothing happened. This was so annoying. She put her nose to the keyhole and sniffed. That was weird. She could swear she smelt petrol.

Giveaway

After reading that excerpt I'm sure you're dying for more...I know I am! Lucky for you we have 1 copy to giveaway - thanks to Pan Mac! This giveaway is open to Europe and it is being handled by the publishing house. The winner will be contacted via e-mail and details will be passed along to the guys over at Pan. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Friday, 29 August 2014

A Dark Inheritance by Chris D'Lacey - Blog Tour!

 Summary

Michael Malone’s life has not been the same since his father
disappeared three years ago. Determined to find him, Michael gets unwittingly drawn into supernatural organisation UNICORNE, who claim to have vital information for his quest. But they want something in return.

Something that is hidden in Michael’s very bones …


Paperback: 288 pages 
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd (7 Aug 2014)

A Dark Inheritance by Chris D'Lacey, out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)




Interview with Amadeus Klimt, a high-profile member of the UNICORNE organisation


Tell me about your name. It’s rather unusual.

Is it?

Yes.

Very well. It is a combination of the middle name of the composer, Mozart, and the second name of the artist Gustav Klimt.

A combination? You didn’t…inherit the name then?

It was given to me by my…father. Is that uncommon?

No, it’s just… You hesitated on the word ‘father’. Why was that?

Let us just say that my upbringing was complex. Shall we move on to something more interesting?

Okay. Basics. You run an organisation called UNICORNE.

No, that is incorrect. I do not run it. I serve the director.

That’s an odd word to use, ‘serve’.

I find it appropriate – for the role I play.

And what would that be?

The business of UNICORNE is to explore what is sometimes called ‘the paranormal’. I believe the common phrase is, ‘Things that go bump in the night’. When an unusual incident occurs, I assign an agent to investigate, then monitor their progress.

To what end?

End? I do not understand this question.


What do you do, Mr Klimt? What is UNICORNE’s purpose?

You do not find the paranormal stimulating?

Of course. What I meant was, when you discover something, what happens next? What do you do with the information?

We record it in a file.

[LAUGHS]. You’re being evasive.

Our work is highly-classified. It would not be appropriate to share our discoveries with…the world at large.

So UNICORNE is a secret organisation?

Yes. And secret organisations, as I am sure you will appreciate, are, by their nature, secretive.

Touché. All right, let’s wind back a little. UNICORNE is an acronym for UNexplained Incidents, Cryptic Occurrences and Relative Non-temporal Events. What does that last part mean exactly?

A relative non-temporal event refers to anything outside the normal spectrum of human experience.

Sorry? Can you clarify that?

Ghostly sightings. Astral projection. Past-life regression. Telekinetic ability. Remote viewing. Our most recent case involved the phenomenon of cellular memory.

That’s when people who’ve received an organ transplant take on the personality of the donor, isn’t it?

Correct.

Can you tell me about it?

No.

You promised me an in-depth interview, Mr Klimt.

Then ask about…my hobbies. I enjoy mathematics and mathematical conundrums. Would you like to know how fast I can solve the Rubik cube?

I’m sure it’s impressive.

It is.

You’re playing games, Mr Klimt. Tell me about the missions – the UFiles I think you call them. Give me something exclusive for my blog. If you want money…?

I want nothing but the price of your secrecy.


You have it. This tape won’t be heard by anyone else.

[PAUSE]

Yes, I believe that will be so. Very well. I will share a UFile with you. My youngest agent, Michael Malone, has just solved an intriguing case. He was sent to find out why a dog was running loose at the edge of a cliff. This led him to a classmate who was having…visitations from a girl called Rafferty Nolan.


Hang on. I’ve read about this. Wasn’t Rafferty Nolan the girl who came off her bike a few years ago, struck her head on a rock and died?

That is the official version of events, yes.

And this Michael kid has discovered…what?

That the death of Rafferty Nolan was not an accident.

Wow. How?

Through the phenomenon of cellular memory. Tell me, is your recording device digital or analogue?

Digital, of course.

Excellent. Would you pass it to me, please?


Why? What for? What are you going to–? Oh, hello, who’s this? I thought this was going to be a one-to-one conversation?

Her name is Chantelle. She is one of my most experienced agents. In a moment, she will look into your eyes and make you forget everything you have heard.


What?

The device, please.

But…?

Thank you. I am constructed from a substance called graphene, which can conduct electrical impulses many times faster than any silicon-based computer. One of the side-effects of my speed of thought is the creation of a highly-polarised magnetic field around me, which can cause interference to digital devices.

Interference? NO! Please don’t wipe the rec–

Book Trailer


Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Seventh Miss Hatfield by Anna Caltabiano

Summary from Goodreads

Rebecca, a 15-year-old American, isn't entirely happy with her life, comfortable though it is. Still, even she knows that she shouldn't talk to strangers. So when her mysterious neighbour Miss Hatfield asked her in for a chat and a drink, Rebecca wasn't entirely sure why she said yes. It was a decision that was to change everything.

For Miss Hatfield is immortal. And now, thanks to a drop of water from the Fountain of Youth, Rebecca is as well. But this gift might be more of a curse, and it comes with a price. Rebecca is beginning to lose her personality, to take on the aspects of her neighbour. She is becoming the next Miss Hatfield.

But before the process goes too far, Rebecca must travel back in time to turn-of-the-century New York and steal a painting, a picture which might provide a clue to the whereabouts of the source of immortality. A clue which must remain hidden from the world. In order to retrieve the painting, Rebecca must infiltrate a wealthy household, learn more about the head of the family, and find an opportunity to escape. Before her journey is through, she will also have - rather reluctantly - fallen in love. But how can she stay with the boy she cares for, when she must return to her own time before her time-travelling has a fatal effect on her body? And would she rather stay and die in love, or leave and live alone?

And who is the mysterious stranger who shadows her from place to place? A hunter for the secret of immortality - or someone who has already found it?


Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 17th 2014 by Gollancz
 
My Review
 
Anna Caltabiano is a 17 year old author, which I actually found rather surprising. Her writing style is very distinctive and her voice very unique. I loved how easily she whisked me away on an immerse and very thrilling adventure.
 
Miss Hatfield is a big of a strange woman. She moves into a new house and the neighbours are instantly curious but try as they might, she doesn't invite them into her life. Until a little girl called Cynthia comes knocking....
 
Cynthia is tricked into drinking lemonade spiked with a drop from the fountain of youth. Things are quickly turned upside down for Cynthia, who now finds herself immortal with a difficult task on her hands. Miss Hatfield takes her to 16th century New York and sets her off on a mission to retrieve a painting.

I love seeing Cynthia in a totally new environment and the ways in which she had to try and blend in. I think best of all I loved the simmering love story that bubbled along nicely the whole way through the storyline, distracting Cynthia from her task - it really was quite beautifully innocent.

What this book lacked for me personally was detailing. I wanted to know so much more about the origins of the fountain of youth and a bit more of the overall back story. I had a lot of nagging questions...

The Seventh Miss Hatfield is a memorable time traveling adventure full of danger, mystery and a gorgeous love story. The characters are definitely different and I hope we get more time traveling adventures with them in the future. An all round great read.

3.5 / 5 Stars

*Special thanks to Gollancz for the review copy*


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #75


 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
 
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Upside Down (Off the Map #1) by Lia Riley


Summary from Goodreads

If You Never Get Lost, You'll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . of if they were meant to live a world apart.


Paperback: 224 pages 
Publisher: Piatkus (26 May 2015)

Why this Book?

Well that first line really got me " If You Never Get Lost, You'll Never Be Found." I think this sounds like a nice romantic tale on the surface but I think it'll have darker more serious notes. Plus Bran Lockhart the brooding surfer with the hypnotic green eyes sounds rather inviting indeed! This is a 2015 title though *sigh*.


What are you 'Waiting On'?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

Summary from Goodreads

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 19th 2014 by Indigo (first published June 17th 2014) 
 
My Review
 
Gahhh - I loved this! I also hated it...because it was the end *sniff* So, I read it nice and slowly, trying to drag it out as long as possible. I got to the middle and couldn't stop myself any longer - I read fast and I read furious and I loved every awesome second!
 
Admittedly, I wasn't instantly sucked right back into the world again at the start, but that was okay because I got to learn why I love these characters and world all over again. The slow starter very quickly picked up and gripped me so hard that I had problems putting it down.
 
In this storyline we see things coming to an end for Alina as she struggles to face up to the fact that finding and using the last amplifier could leave her as dark and twisted as the Darkling himself. She has no other choice though, pursuing the Firebird is a must. The journey is anything but smooth for Alina and her little band of followers.
 
The shockers kept on shocking and each big revelation rocked me like I was actually living it myself. I really didn't see so much coming...

I think what makes Bardugo such a first-class writer is her fantastic ability to make you love the good and also the bad in all her characters. She makes you appreciate whatever personal brand of awesome that that particular character brings to the table - I loved that. Personally I will always have a soft spot for the Darkling!

That ending *sigh* All I will say is the little note with the blue kefta had me blubbering like a total mess!
 
Ruin and Rising is an epic conclusion to a highly imaginative, deeply immersive and darkly thrilling trilogy. I recommend these books to anyone who will listen and in all honesty I will read anything Leigh Bardugo ever writes in the future. A stunningly beautiful read!
 
5 / 5 Stars
 
*I bought a copy of this book*
 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Broadchurch by Erin Kelly - Beacon Blog Tour!

Summary from Goodreads

On her first day back at work after maternity leave for her second child, Detective Ellie Miller is upset to learn that she’s been passed over for a promotion in favor of outsider Alec Hardy. He, escaping the spectacular failure of his last case, is having trouble finding his way into this tight-knit community wary of new faces. But professional rivalry aside, both detectives are about to receive some terrible news: 11-year-old Danny Latimer has been found murdered on the beach. For Ellie it's a personal blow; she was good friends with his family and Danny was her son’s best friend. She can’t believe anyone in Broadchurch would ever have harmed him. Alec considers everyone, even Danny’s parents, a suspect in his death. It’s a living nightmare for everyone involved…even before the press arrive and start stirrung up the secrets every town member keeps hidden behind closed doors.

An intimate portrait of a town and the ordinary grievances that have slowly simmered for years before boiling over in an unthinkable crime, this adaptation of the hit television show Broadchurch tells the story of a shattered family, a small town, and the two imperfect detectives trying to bring them answers.


Paperback, 448 pages
Published August 14th 2014 by Sphere
 
My Review
 
Broadchurch is the novelisation of the ITV hit series. Admittedly, I hadn't watched it but had heard great things, so I was very keen to read it. I really wasn't disappointed, Erin Kelly is a glorious writer who's descriptors are so vivid that I could very easily picture everything playing out right in front of my eyes.
 
The characters are stand-out brilliant. DI Alec Hardy is cold, calculating and assesses every situation, his counterpart DS Ellie Miller is warm, blundering in places and fails to assess every situation. They are complete opposites but together they make a great team of light and shade. I especially loved watching Alec's internal struggle and the strange detached manner in which he handles different people and situations.
 
In the small town of Broadchurch, where everybody knows everybody and the crime rate is low, the town is rocked to the core and thrust into the national spotlight when a child is brutally murdered. Local police officer, Ellie Miller is working the case alongside DI Alec Hardy, who is new to the town. Ellie must try to put her feelings to one side and work this case like she isn't familiar with the victim and his family.
 
Alec Hardy also has dark shadows lurking around in his past...that won't stay buried for long in Broadchurch!

The happy little town of Broadchurch is turned upside down by the brutal murder of Danny Latimer. The investigation unearths lots of other hidden little secrets along the way. Everyone is a suspect and nobody knows who to trust.

I suspected everyone at one point or another, but I did manage to suss it out well before the big reveal. I loved all the little twisty turns this story took and also all the little sub-plots that always pushed me in different directions.

Broadchurch is a fantastic novelisation of a T.V. series that I have now after reading watched and thoroughly enjoyed. Delving into the minds of these characters and seeing how they tick was most interesting. I loved seeing the kinks unfold and relationships shatter. Erin Kelly is a wonderful writer and I really can't recommend this enough!
 
4.5 / 5 Stars
 
*With special thanks to the publishers for providing a review copy*


 







You can check out an excerpt here: http://www.thecrimevault.com/ebooks/broadchurch/


About the Author

Erin Kelly was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. She read English at Warwick University and has been working as a journalist since 1998.

She has written for newspapers including the The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Express and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan.