Friday, January 11, 2019

The Murder Pit by Mick Finlay

The Murder Pit is the second book in Mick Finlay's fantastic Arrowood series. The series is narrated by Barnett, assistant to Arrowood; a detective based in South London in the mid 1890s. Arrowood sees himself as a rival to Sherlock Holmes, so Holmes and Watson are referred to in passing in the stories. Holmes even sends a haughty letter to Arrowood in this novel but they move in very different worlds.While Holmes and Watson might solve mysteries for the wealthy and the titled Arrowood and Barnett are brought cases that will see them visit the backstreet pubs, the workhouses and the asylums. The author has a background in psychology and his insight and research into the history of the treatment of those suffering from mental illness and learning disabilities serves to create some fascinating and heartbreaking detail. Arrowood, despite his habits and temperament making him less than likable on occasion is at heart desperate to help those less fortunate then himself and Barnett's observations on the ups and downs of his employer's character make him a compelling narrator. In this instalment the men are tasked with finding out what has happened to a young woman who has recently married and cut off contact with her parents. The parents are very worried and eager to reconnect with their daughter. The detectives are tasked with visiting the farm where young Birdie now lives with her husband, but they soon discover all is not as it seems. These books are a must for fans of Sherlock Holmes but will also appeal to anyone who has an interest in stories set in Victorian London. You can check out my review of the first book in the series HERE

The Murder Pit is available in paperback, e-book and audio book from HQ now.

Thanks to Joe at HQ stories for a copy of the book and a chance to take part in the blog tour.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy

I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for B. M. Carroll's The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy. This is the author's first psychological thriller having previously written contemporary fiction as Ber Carroll. The story revolves around Sophie who following a horrific car crash which caused multiple injuries and left her in excruciating pain, is slowly trying to rebuild her life; at work for a major insurance firm and at home with her boyfriend. The story is told through multiple viewpoints, Sophie herself, her father Richard who will do anything to help his beloved daughter, her mother who fears that Sophie has an unhealthy hold over her father, her partner Aidan, his ex Chloe and daughter Jasmin and Hannah who works for Sophie and knows a secret about her past. The varying viewpoints help to build a picture of who Sophie really is and as various secrets, past actions, thoughts and behaviours are slowly revealed the reader will begin to question just how much of a victim Sophie really is. Hannah a single Mum who desperately needs her job to pay the many bills that are mounting up is finding that new boss Sophie is very demanding, but having always been timid she is afraid to accuse her of bullying. Chloe is struggling with daughter Jasmin's sleep problems especially since husband Aidan and she have split. Aidan is determined to make things work with new partner Sophie especially as he was the one who caused her accident. Richard wants to see Aidan pay for what he's done. Jasmin is convinced that her Dad's new girlfriend really doesn't like her. This is a fantastically page turning book, which kept me awake late into the night as I read on desperate to know what the next chapter would reveal. It's a fantastic study in character and emotional manipulation. Perfect for fans of Claire Allan, Catherine Ryan Howard or Liane Moriarty. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Paperless Post

The lovely people at Paperless Post kindly invited me to try out and use this website. It's a fun way to send cards, invitations and greetings for all kinds of events. I sent a cute Birthday card to one friend and a New Home congratulations to another. You can add your own photos and design, mix and match the text and templates to create a design as individual as you are. 

Follow the link here to check out Paperless Post for yourself. 

Please note this post was sponsored by Paperless Post

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Burning House by Neil Spring Blog Blast

I'm delighted to be taking pat in a one day blog blast for the release of The Burning Room by Neil Spring. The kindle edition goes on sale tomorrow and the paperback will follow in Spring. If you are looking a spooky, chilling read then The Burning House is the book for you. Following the success of his Ghost Hunters series and the standalone The Watchers, Neil Spring has once again used real events and locations to inspire some dark and mysterious fiction.

Clara is an estate agent desperate to shift the spooky and overpriced Boleskine House on the shores of Loch Ness. She has made a new life for herself in Scotland and a sale is essential. So Clara makes a decision that will have massive consequences for her and for her future. The new owner of the house is a strange young man who tells Clara he has come to Boleskine to die and that he needs her help. Clara has heard some of the stories that the locals tell about the house, though not all, but she is beginning to believe that there is a sinister presence at work there. Can a house really be evil? Can it really do harm? Clara doesn't want to believe it, but when a young man is reported missing in the area, a man who was reputed to have an obsession with dark magic and with Boleskine House Clara knows that something dark is visiting this quiet Scottish community.

This is a chilling slice of horror fiction perfect for dark winter nights. If you are a fan of Alison Littlewood or Stephanie Merritt's While You Sleep then this is definitely the thriller for you.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Shadow of the Fox by Julia Kagawa Blog Tour

Shadow of The Fox is the first book in a brand new series from New York Times Bestselling YA author Julia Kagawa. An amazing and compelling fantasy tale infused with Japanese Folktale and legend. Blending the tale of a demon hunting samuri; Tatsumi a member of the mysterious and secretive Shadow clan and a young kitsune girl raised by monks. I was enthralled by this page turning tale, with demons, ghosts, warriors and royalty all caught up in the search for an ancient scroll which is hunted down every thousand years, for the holder of the scroll will have the power to call the great Kami Dragon. It is a time of upheaval and change and Yumeko is thrust out of her ordinary life forced to take on a great challenge and to trust a boy she knows to be a killer. Tatsumi is forced to make an alliance with a girl he believes beneath him, but they both have a lot of living and learning to do. I highly recommend this wonderful story and can't wait for book two.

Julie was kind enough to answer some questions about her research and her inspiration

Q1 Shadow of the Fox is the first book in a new series. Did you have to do a huge amount of research into Japanese mythology and folktale before your started?

A bit, but much of my research in Japanese mythology comes from years of watching anime and reading manga. In anime, especially, you see a few special creatures pop up time and time again: kitsune, oni, kappa, tengu, tanuki. The beautiful, silver haired kitsune boy is such a popular figure nowadays, I can name at least five anime that features one.

Q2. You have used myth and folktale in your writing before, is it a constant draw for you? Do you have any favourites from around the world?

Yes, I love myth and legends. No matter where they're from, be it European fae, Norse gods, or Japanese yokai, I love all mythological creatures. Though my favorites would have to be dragons (any variety) and kitsune.

Q3. What is your writing process like do you outline and plan in detail? Any advice for beginner writers?

My daily goal is to write at least 1,000 words. I'm not a very heavy planner; most of my ideas come to me as I write, though I do have to have an ending in mind before I can get started. My advice for beginning writers is just to sit down and write. Think of it as a skill that you have to practice to get better at, and just keep writing.

Q4. Do you have a favourite character that you found more fun/ easier to write? Do you have a favourite character from all of your books?

Yumeko was quite fun to write, as she is very innocent and naive to the world, but also a bit of a prankster due to her kitsune nature. But I think my favorite character from all my works would be Ash, as he was my first broody bad boy love interest, he went through so much, and I still have a special place in my heart for him.

Q5. What are your biggest influences? TV/Movies and especially books. what stories do you revisit? or find solace in?

A lot of anime and video games were huge influences for me. Anime like Inuyasha, Princess Mononoke, Gundam Wing, and my favorite, Fushigi Yugi, had brilliant characters and beautiful storylines, and made me want to write like them. Video games are where a lot of my inspiration comes from, and a few that were hugely influential to my writing were the Final Fantasy series, Assassin's Creed, Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age and Kingdom Hearts, though the list goes on.

Thanks so much to Nina Douglas and HQ for a copy of the book and to Julie for answering my questions.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Body in the Boat Review and Giveaway

The Body in the Boat is the final book in the Hardcastle and Chaytor mystery series from A. J. McKenzie; the pen name of writing duo and husband and wife team Marilyn Livingstone and Morgan Witzel. The book opens with Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor attending a birthday party thrown by Mr Munro; a respected local banker for his wife. Just days later Mr. Munro is found dead. Of course the Reverend in his position as magistrate must investigate and as always he is assisted by the very capable and unflappable Mrs Chaytor. The mystery involves links to a band of local smugglers as well as rumours that the East Weald and Ashford Bank where Mr. Munro was a partner might be in trouble. This is an intriguing mystery with plenty of twists and turns. The series takes place at the end of the 18th Century during a period of almost constant conflict with France, as well as fears of French invasion. While the Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs. Chaytor may be firm members of the middle class their investigations take them to a wide variety of places and because of this the authors are able to paint a broad picture of Georgain life. There is a wonderful cast of characters from the Reverend's novel writing sister Calpurnia to the laudanum addicted business woman Mrs Redcliffe to the fishermen, smugglers and thugs and the local gentry protected in their grand houses. The Kent landscape is beautifully described and I felt the writing really brought the historical and rural setting to life. This is a thoroughly enjoyable historical mystery. If you have yet to discover this series I highly recommend it particularly for fans of Antonia Hodgson, Andrew Hughes or Andrew Taylor.
The Body in the Boat is available in paperback from today published by Bonnier Books UK. Thanks to Ellen Turner for a copy. Bonnier Books are also providing one copy to give away to readers of this blog.

To enter simply contact me on twitter @LisaReadsBooks and tell me the name of Reverend Hardcastle's sister. This giveaway is UK and Ireland only.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Night Raven by Sarah Painter

I have read several of Sarah's previous books and she very kindly sent me a copy of her latest novel The Night Raven which is a bit of a new direction for the author. Sarah's previous work has included magical realism, dual time fiction and romance. The Night Raven is the first book in a brand new urban fantasy series. The setting is much more urban than Sarah's previous novels and helps to give the book a gritty realism. Lydia Crow has taken a break from her job as a Private Investigator in Scotland and returned to London where her family history stretches back generations. Her uncle has given her the use of a flat he owns and asked for her help in finding her teenage cousin; Maddie, who has gone missing. Lydia has always believed that unlike the rest of her family she has no magical ability but when she discovers that she is sharing her new flat with a ghost it becomes obvious that she has some talent. Lydia feels wary of her powers. She knows that The Crow family are one of the four magical families of London but her parents have always kept her out of that world. Lydia knows that her family are a bit dodgy and she tells her uncle that she doesn't want to know or be involved with that side of things. She is determined to just find her missing cousin and get back to her old life. It's just not that easy though because the pull of magic and of her family is strong and though there has been a truce between the magical families it soon becomes clear that the truce is strained to it's limits. I raced through this book, it's thrilling, fast paced and  full of adventure and intriguing characters. I cannot wait to read more about Lydia so I'm delighted that this will be a series and that there will be more stories about the Crow family. The Night Raven is perfect for fans of Anna McKerrow, Laura Laakso, Ben Aaronovitch and V. E. Schwab. The Night Raven is available in paperback and e-book.