Showing posts from March, 2013

Smuggler's Kiss by Marie-Louise Jensen

This is Marie-Louise Jensen's sixth novel for children. I have read all but one of her previous books and she never disappoints. If you enjoy strong heroines, historical settings and thrilling adventure then you will love her novels. Smuggler's Kiss delves right into the action with heroine Isabelle about to throw herself into the sea, we don't learn why until she reveals her story later on. However we do discover that Isabelle is rather a spoiled brat, rescued from the sea by smugglers they contemplate throwing her overboard but despite her haughty attitude she might prove useful after all. Forced to help with smuggling lace from France Isabelle finds admiration for the risk the smugglers take and the dangers they face and more than a passing interest in one smuggler in particular. Will Isabelle take the chance to escape, will she be discovered or will she find that the dangers are worth the risk for the chance of a smuggler's kiss. If you are a fan of Historical rom…

In a Moment by Caroline Finnerty

This is another debut, this time for young Irish author Caroline Finnerty. Caroline entered the Poolbeg write a bestseller competition with this book and while she didn't win, the publishers were so impressed they offered her a publishing contract, now the Kildare mum of three is working on her second novel. Caroline pulls off a rather daring narrative trick in the structure of this novel because she begins by introducing the main characters after the terrible moment of the title takes place. Adam and Emma are a young married couple nursing awful grief and pain which is driving them apart. Adam is plagued by nightmares and Emma is avoiding her home and her husband. Their close friend Zoe knows that the situation is getting desperate. In the second part of the novel we meet Jean and we learn of her struggle to raise three children alone and the violent behaviour that her eldest son is now displaying. Finally the moment which brought the characters together is revealed. I can't…

Blackwood by Glenda Bond

Blackwood is the debut novel from a talented new voice in YA fiction. Gwenda Bond has taken as her inspiration America's oldest mystery. In 1587 114 men, women and children settled an English colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. As supplies ran low John White one of the founders returned by ship to England, caught up in the war against the Spanish, White could not return until 1590. He returned to Roanoke to find it deserted and the disappearance of the 114 people including White's granddaughter; Virginia Dare the first English child born in America remains a mystery. Gwenda Bond's tale begins with Miranda Blackwood who from an early age develops an obsession with this mystery and works backstage at the Waterside theatre in Roanoke on a re-enactment ofThe Lost Colonyfor tourists. During a performance one night Miranda sees a strange shadow ship. That’s just the first of a series of strange events as once again 114 people go missing from the Island, including it seems …

Housewife with a Half-Life by A.B.Wells

A.B.Wells is the not so secret pen name of Alison Wells who has been shortlisted for a number of literary awards including the Hennessy and Fish awards. Alison has also been published in a number of e-zines and anthologies. Housewife is her first novel published last year and launched in Hughes & Hughes; the novel can be purchased through Amazon and in selected bookshops. In her A. B Wells persona Alison has crafted a witty, weird and wonderful book that is almost impossible to pin down with anything as mundane as description. The basic premise is that housewife Susan Strong is a harassed mother of twin boys who lives a life of cooking, cleaning, bath time and general drudgery when one day she is visited by a strange man who claims to be her Fairy Godfather or Fairly Dave as he likes to be called. Dave explains that Susan is losing pieces of herself and he wants to help. As Susan and her twins Rufus and Pluto are dragged through weird dreams and strange alternate realities they di…

Follow up to Grave Mercy

One of my favourite books of last year was Grave Mercy and the sequel Dark Triumph is out in e-book on 2nd April and in paperback on 6th June this year. Here's a peek at the book trailer on you tube

Bookselling at Waterstones Drogheda

Some of you may know that as well as running this blog and writing fiction I also work part time as a bookseller at my local Waterstones. Here are some pictures of some of the things I've been involved with at Waterstones over the last few years.

Here are some of my favourite ghostly tales which I used in the Lisa Loves promo along with fellow bookseller Lisa Corr. You can find reviews for the books pictured above here on the blog.
More recently myself and fellow Children's Bookseller Maera Black, put together this fab display of Irish Fiction titles for kids of all ages.
Here is a picture of Bippi the Book Bear. Bippi and I do the weekly storytime event every Saturday. Here Bippi is in vampire/ fortune telling garb but I can assure you he is usually much friendlier looking.

Some other events which I have run or organised include author events with Eithne Massey, Erika McGann,  Shiela Kiely, Joe Murphy, Helen Moorhouse, Shirley Benton, Michelle Jackson, Claudia Carroll, Nicol…

Some pics of the endless TBR pile.

This shows some of the mess in the office where I write, read and review. I have since tidied up; a bit.

Watch Over Me Pocket Edition

Publishing tomorrow 14th March is a pocket edition of one of my favourite books of the last few years. Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti.
Last month I reviewed her newest book Tide; which is the second book in the Sarah Midnight trilogy. However Daniela is a prolific author and wrote a wonderful paranormal romance Watch Over Me which was my first taste of her writing style. This is an irresistible book, you won't be able to put it down.

My original review of January 2012

I adored this beautiful, haunting and romantic tale set in the Scottish highlands. Eilidh is heartbroken after losing a baby and ending her marriage and finds solace in the quiet village where she had spent time with her grandmother as a child. Reconnecting with the slower pace of village life and with old friends including single Dad Jamie, Eilidh begins to heal. I loved the idea of the spirit of Jamie’s mother Elizabeth match-making from beyond the grave; it is a unique idea which encapsulates the spirit of the…

Books I Can't Wait to Read

Head of Zeus are publishing Dana Stabenow in the UK and Ireland for the first time. I have wanted to read this series since my favourite author Diana Gabaldon recommended them.
From their website: KATE SHUGAK is a native Aleut working as a private investigator in Alaska. She's 5 foot 1 inch tall, carries a scar that runs from ear to ear across her throat and owns half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt. Resourceful, strong-willed, defiant, Kate is tougher than your average heroine - and she needs to be to survive the worst the Alaskan wilds can throw at her. A COLD DAY FOR MURDER: Somewhere in twenty million acres of forest and glaciers, a ranger has disappeared: Mark Miller. Missing six weeks. It's assumed by the Alaskan Parks Department that Miller has been caught in a snowstorm and frozen to death, the typical fate of those who get lost in this vast and desolate terrain. But as a favour to his congressman father, the FBI send in an investigator: Ken Dahl. Last heard from two wee…

Literary Heroines

I am very excited to have received copies of these two new biographies about two of my literary heroines. Both of them talented and both of them died too young. Mad Girl's Love Song by Andrew Wilson is out now from Simon & Schuster and The Real Jane Austen by Paula Byrne is published by Harper Press

Carnegie and Women's Prize for Fiction announced

There are some great titles on both lists, so I am hoping to read as many as I can from each. I was quite surprised  to see that Maggie O'Farrell was not nominated as I thought Instructions for a Heart Wave was outstanding.

Here is the list for TheWomen's fiction Prize

Kitty Aldridge
A Trick I Learned From Dead Men

Jonathan Cape

Kate Atkinson
Life After Life


Ros Barber
The Marlowe Papers


Shani Boianjiu
The People of Forever are Not Afraid


Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl

Weidenfeld & Nicolson   (I have read this and loved it.)

Sheila Heti
How Should A Person Be?

Harvill Secker

A.M Homes
May We Be Forgiven


Barbara Kingsolver
Flight Behaviour

Faber & Faber

Deborah Copaken Kogan
The Red Book


Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies

Fourth Estate

Bonnie Nadzam


Emily Perkins
The Forrests

Bloomsbury Circus

Michèle Roberts


Francesca Segal
The Innocents

Chatto & Windus

Maria Semple
Where’d You Go, Bernadette


Mumstown Books Expert

I have some news I have become the "Books Expert" for Ireland's premier parenting website, I   am delighted to be involved in a fantastic website which helps parents to connect across Ireland and I hope to help generate discussion about books for all ages, adults and kids.

Here is a link to the Books Forum on Mumstown but you may need to be logged in to see this post or to reply.

Here is the text of my mumstown update

Hi all,
This is my first every article as the new Books Expert for Mumstown. However I have been here as Bookwitch right form the beginning, can you believe that Mumstown is now 6 years old? Some of you living in or around Drogheda may already know me as Lisa Doyle-Redmond. I have worked in bookselling now for twelve years, having worked for Dubray Eason and Waterstones. For the last couple of years I have also been reviewing books on my blog and occasionally …

Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald is a brave new voice in children's literature, she has written academic books before but this is her first book for children and it is assured, strongly written and totally engaging. The protagonist is Cosmo a young boy coming to terms with the accidental death of his brother a few years earlier and his mother's desertion of him to take a job on the other side of the world. Cosmo lives with his grandparents whom he adores but right from page one we know that something is wrong as his grandfather begins to act strangely and forget things. Cosmo tries to help by googling memory loss and using different techniques to help his grandfather remember. However everything comes to a head when social workers and doctors become involved and Cosmo is told that he will have to stay with his uncle Ted for a while. In a moment of clarity his granddad gives him a rusty old key and tells him to go to Blackbrick Abbey. Sneaking away in the middle of the night Cosmo manage…

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

Maggie O'Farrell was born in Northern Ireland and moved in early childhood to Wales and then Edinburgh, when asked in interviews whether she feels Scottish, British or Irish she usually replies all of the above, although Scotland is home. She has written some fantastic novels set in Scotland but with Instructions for a Heatwave she has finally written a story about an Irish family with some events taking place in Ireland. In a recent interview she said that she hadn't written about Ireland before, as she had left at such a young age, so perhaps she had nothing new to add. She couldn't be more wrong. The book is a carefully crafted exploration of the lives of the Riordan's a London Irish family coming to terms with their father's disappearance in the heatwave of 1976. Gretta is the matriarch, a gloriously written Irish Mammy that many readers will find instantly recognisable, unusually for a Maggie O'Farrell novel there are laugh out loud moments as Gretta quest…