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Showing posts from April, 2014

The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements Review and Competition

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Katherine Clements debut novel reads like the work of a much more experienced author, it is a literary piece that remains utterly readable; vibrant and deftly plotted it is filled with incredibly rendered sentences. The Seventeenth Century is my favourite historical era as it is filled with political and religious upheaval and it is a time when ordinary people including women begin to express themselves through the burgeoning printing presses. Katherine's novel is set mid century and features a young heroine searching for a place in the world, after her mother is brutally hanged having been accused of witchcraft. Ruth's mother had been a healer and midwife and Ruth seeks her fortune in London taking nothing but her mother's book of remedies and her crimson ribbon. On her journey she meets a young soldier Joseph Oakes. Joseph is also haunted by his past but each one keeps their secrets at first. Joseph finds work as a printer's apprentice and Ruth becomes a maid to a r…

The Dead Ground Blog Tour Review and Q&A with author Claire McGowan

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The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan is the second book in the Paula Maguire series. Paula is a forensic psychologist working with the missing persons unit in Ballyterrin a Northern Irish town close to the border with the Republic. It is a town full of secrets and uneasy alliances. It is also Paula's home town and she has a personal interest in finding missing people as her own mother disappeared when Paula was a teenager. In the previous book The Lost, Paula had investigated the disappearances of two teenage girls and was also briefly involved with her married boss and her ex Aidan now she is pregnant and doesn't know who the father is or even if she plans to keep the baby. The town is held captive by heavy snow and ice and gripped by fear as a baby is taken from the local hospital and a local doctor who helps arrange abortions for women  is also missing. There is a strong theme of babies, mothers and of course death running through this novel and of course the religious and mor…

Interview with Elizabeth Kerri Mahon author of Scandalous Women

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Lisa: What made you want to write about history's scandalous women?

Elizabeth: I’ve always been a history geek, ever since I was a child. I used to actually read my history textbooks for fun. Growing up, I was introduced to so many interesting women in history through historical fiction, Anya Seton’s Katherine, That Winthrop Woman, Jean Plaidy’s novel ‘Mine Enemy, the Queen’ about Elizabeth I’s cousin Lettice Knolly’s, that it seemed a natural fit for me to write about scandalous women. And by scandalous, I mean, women who were outside what was considered normal for the time. Today, we might not consider Amelia Earhart or Ida Wells-Barnett scandalous, but they were pioneer, pushing the boundaries of what women were seen as capable of doing. Of course, some of the women that I have written about were truly scandalous in every sense of the word!

Lisa: Do you have any favorite women from history? 

Elizabeth: That’s a tough question. There were some women who I found absolutely fascinati…

New York, New York

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I am away for a few days exploring the sights, sounds and most importantly books and culture of New York City. I am very excited and I will be doing some themed reading on my way there and during my stay. I am taking Kate Kerrigan's Ellis Island, a place I hope to visit and also set in the 1920s Laura Moriarty's The Chaperone, For some thrills and spills from the 1840s I have Lyndsay Faye's The Gods of Gotham and finally bang up to date with children's book Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew. I hope to finish them all if only so that I have the excuse to buy more books. (All women you will  notice to keep up the Read Women theme)
When I get back I have some reviews, interviews and blog tours planned I will be featuring The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements, Fever by Mary Beth Keane, Spare Brides by Adele Parks, An interview with author of Scandalous Women Elizabeth K Mahon, The Dead Ground blog tour with Claire McGowan and a review and Q&A wit…

Ghostwritten

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This is the first book by Isabel Wolff that I have read and what an introduction. This book blew me away, it is a fantastic sweeping saga of family, war, friendship and love. Jenni is a ghostwriter, her job is to tell other people's stories and she is happy with that. However she is haunted by a tragic event in her past that she has told no-one about. When she is invited to a small village in Cornwall to write the story of a friend's mother, she jumps at the chance especially when she discovers that Klara has led a fascinating life having grown up as a Dutch ex-pat on Java and been in a Japanese POW camp. When Jenni learns that Klara lives in the pretty seaside village of Polvarth she is conflicted because it was here that the tragic accident took place during her childhood. Jenni decides that it's time to face her demons and as Klara tells her story together they put the past to rest. This is my favourite kind of book; two storylines in different decades and two strong f…

Beyond Grace's Rainbow

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Carmel Harrington's first novel was a self publishing and e-book bestseller and award winner before the author secured a book deal with Harper Collins. The book is now available in paperback in Ireland, the US and the UK look out for it in stores now. I will warn you that you might need tissues for this one, nonetheless this is a wonderful book with a flowing chatty style that kept me turning the pages. Grace has a wonderful little boy, a dream job as an interior designer and a wonderful, supportive group of friends but she has been dealt a cruel hand by fate as a cancer diagnoses means that she urgently needs a bone marrow transplant. Grace has already had hardship in her life; her adoptive parents died when she was still a teenager and her son's father Liam; an alcoholic left her before Jack was even born. However Liam returns determined to stand by Grace and be part of his son's life. I don't want to ruin the story but it is romantic, thrilling and  full of fabulou…

Unravelling Oliver

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Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent is one of the most beguiling and intriguing debut novels I have read in a long time. Liz is well established as a writer for television and radio but she has certainly not played it safe with her first novel; with multiple viewpoints and a charismatic but horrifyingly nasty protagonist she invites us all into the mind of a monster. With each chapter told through the eyes of many different people in his life we come to know Oliver as layer by layer the truth of his childhood and the dark secret he carries are revealed. The book opens with the stark line "I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her." It soon becomes clear that Oliver has beaten his wife Alice so badly that she is in hospital and unconscious. The facade of a charmer, a dreamer, an artist is over and Oliver is exposed. The novel then reveals his life through his story and the stories of those who knew him or thought they did. Perfect if you enjoy a dark psychological …

Friday Books and Stuff News Round-up

Virginia Woolf in Portraits Exhibition Follow the link to the guardian article about a new exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery in London about this enigmatic and fascinating woman and her circle.

This week saw Cumann Na mBan finally being honoured for their part in the 1916 Rising, one hundred yearsafter their first meeting in Wynne's Hotel. Here is a link to the Irish Independent article about the ceremony.
Irish born writer Fionnuala Kearney has signed a book deal with Harper Fiction details from the Bookseller. Fionnnuala's book deals with a marriage imploding after the husband's indiscretions are revealed.
It has also been announced last night that Katherine Rundell has been chosen as the winner of WCBP 2014 that's the Waterstones Children's Book Prize in case you didn't know. Katherine won for her wonderful book Rooftoppers in the 5-12 age group as well as winning the overall prize. The Picture Books Prize went to illustrator Nicola O'Byrne for Op…

Book Haul

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I got a fantastic amount of books the other week (more have arrived since) and I am really looking forward to reading these. Books pictured are: The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark (Two Roads) The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements (Headline Review) The Boy that Never Was by Karen Perry (Penguin) Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall (Titan) Falling Light by Thea Harrison (Piatkus) The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull (Hodder&Stoughton) The Road to Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead (Granta) That Touch of Magic by Lucy March (Piatkus)

I have had trouble with taking pictures and sharing them here, (technophobe) so a few other great titles have arrived since and some came before (I took pictures but couldn't share them at the time) How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis (Chatto&Windus) Fallen by Lia Mills (Penguin) The Moon Field by Judith Allnatt (Harper Collins) Ghostwritten by Isobel Wolff (Harper Collins) Before the Fall by Juliet West (Mantle) India Black by Carol K C…