Showing posts from August, 2014

A Crack in Everything by Ruth Frances Long

I was very excited when I heard that Ruth was publishing a YA Fantasy title with O'Brien Press and not just one book but a trilogy. I loved Ruth's previous YA book The Treachery of Beautiful Things which was based on English folktale and myth and this book does not disappoint as it too blends myth and fantasy. This time it is the Sídhe who take centre stage and Angels are also a major force as the front cover hints (just a little). I have been reading this book on holidays and tweeted Ruth a picture of my daughter sneaking a peek on Dublin bus. I had the book in (and out of ) my bag as I travelled all over Dublin on my holidays which was cool as the book is set in Dublin and Dubh Linn the Sídhe city which overlaps and intertwines our own. Somehow Izzy finds herself on an ordinary summer afternoon in Dublin pushed into the Sídhe world and rescued by a silver studded and incredibly attractive Cu Sídhe called Jinx. When Izzy realises that she's been followed home by strange …

You By Joanna Briscoe

Having first read Joanna Briscoe when I reviewed her most recent novel Touched I knew I had found a writer whose writing utterly enthralled me and I had to discover her back catalogue so I picked up this novel from 2011. The story is told by mother and daughter Dora and Cecilia in two periods; the 1970s when Cecilia was growing up the second child in Dora and her husband Patrick's chaotic bohemian household with damp walls, hippy lodgers, music, books and running wild on the moors, and now as Cecilia returns to the moors with her own family after years in London to look after her mother who is ill. This book drew me in from the first line "IT'S HAUNTED, she thought" this is Cecilia returning to her childhood home and finding that her past is here waiting for her. She has been estranged from her mother and she needs answers. Dora meanwhile is feeling vulnerable delighted that her daughter has returned and that she will have time with her grandchildren she is also kee…

Last Kiss by Louise Phillips

Last Kiss is the third crime thriller from award winning Irish writer Louise Phillips. I met Louise last year when she came to talk to my book club about her first two books. I really enjoyed both of Louise's previous books but this third one is even better and proves that she is absolutely at the top of her game. Last Kiss like the previous novels is told from multiple view points including the killer which is unusual but doesn't in any way detract from the mystery and the desire to read on. Louise's stories are whydunnits not whodunnits because it is the psychological aspect that interests her and the main protaganist is psychologist Dr Kate Pearson. While this book is the third in a series and I recommend you read the rest of the series in order to understand Kate and the police officers that she interacts with, you could read this book without having read the previous two. In this novel Kate is coming to terms with the disintegration of her marriage, feeling guilty ab…

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

This review originally appeared as a guest review on Shaz's Book Boudoir

Letters from Skye is the debut novel from Jessica Brockmole. She was inspired by a trip to Skye with her family while she was living in Edinburgh a couple of years ago. The story began as scribbled notes that she wrote just for herself. The story is told entirely through letters between the main characters which I loved and it takes place during both World Wars which I also loved. Beginning in 1912 a young student Davey Graham writes a letter to a poet he admires Elspeth Dunn and she replies and a warm and loving friendship begins. In 1940 the adventurous Margaret writes to her mother and her friend Paul a pilot in the Royal Air Force desperate to discover more about her mother's mysterious past and learn who her father could be. Alternating the two storylines means that the reader cannot resist reading on desperate for m…

A little note on last week's launch

At the launch of Last Kiss, Louise held a competition for anyone who wanted to sign up on the night to have their name used as a character in Louise's next novel and I won. I have borrowed the photo above from Louise's Facebook page, I hope she doesn't mind. I am delighted to have won and maybe I'll get to be a baddie. I have finished reading Last Kiss and it's amazing will write a proper review soon.

Launch of Last Kiss by Louise Philips

Last Night was the launch party for Louise Phillips' third novel, already an award winning crime author this book has been hugely anticipated and the turn out was enormous. Eason on the Green was packed and despite the intense heat Louise read the prologue aloud and it was chilling stuff. I cannot wait to read the book. Louise is a wonderful warm and modest person. I first met her when she visited my book club for an author evening at Bleach House Library

The launch was a huge success and featured gorgeous Last Kiss cupcakes

I also met lots of lovely authors and book peeps.
Here is (l-r) Clodagh Murphy, Carmel Harrington, Jennifer Burke, Hazel Gaynor and Caroline Finnerty.

and here is Margaret Madden, Maria Duffy, Bob Johnston and Arlene Hunt.

and finally looking splendid in red is Louise herself, signing my copy of the book.

The Secret of Kit Cavenaugh by Anne Holland

Published in hardback last October Anne Holland's  wonderful biography is a thrilling read and a testament to a remarkable Irish Woman. The book is written in an informal and novelistic style bringing us right into the action. It never feels overly academic and yet the research and attention to detail are meticulous. Anne Holland has done a wonderful job of bringing the story of Kit Cavenaugh to life. Born in 1667 Kit grew up in Leixlip, daughter of a farming family, her father also ran a successful Dublin brewery so although her parents may not have been high born they certainly built up respectability. Kit was given a good quality education though she generally preferred being out on the farm and horse riding. Kit was impetuous from childhood and managed to involve herself in a minor scuffle as a young woman when to rescue her mother she hit a local sergeant in the calf, she was called before the magistrate but she must have made a persuasive plea as the case was dismissed. Alt…

The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

I have mentioned Hazel Gaynor quite a lot on my blog, so it's about time I reviewed her book, don't you think? Firstly a little history, I first heard of Hazel when I saw her interviewed on TV3 about her parenting blog. I also followed her writing posts on and I was delighted when she announced that she had a book deal and her novel would be published in April this year. I was determined to go along to the launch and a few weeks before hand when I was in New York with my brother I saw The Girl Who Came Home on a table in Barnes & Noble so I couldn't resist it. I made it to the launch details HERE and I also interviewed Hazel HERE and finally I invited Hazel and her good friend Carmel Harrington to do a signing event at Waterstones Drogheda before spending the evening with Hazel at my blogging friend Margaret's house details HERE
The Girl Who Came Home is a novel about the Titanic and that was enough to get me interested but it was even more enticing as i…

The Lost Garden by Kate Kerrigan

The Lost Garden is the tale of Aileen Doherty who travels away from her beloved island of Ilaunmor for the first time to spend a summer in Scotland potato picking with her father and brothers. Onthe way she meets another migrant worker Jimmy Walsh who charms her with his quick wit and friendly way. In Scotland the pair quickly fall in love as they work together. However any dreams of happiness are cut short by a tragic accident and Aileen returns home feeling lost and lonely. Aileen begins to work on an overgrown garden on the island that had been part of the "Big House" and in bringing life to the plants and flowers she finds hope and redemption, but can she ever find love again?
I won't spoil the ending for you as this is a wonderful story that will have you enchanted from page one. Based on real events which you can read about in an author's note at the end. Kate Kerrigan also known as Morag Prunty is the author of a number of bestselling novels including New Yor…

Interview with Nuala Ní Chonchuír

Unlike with the majority of the interviews I do I was able to meet Nuala and chat in person. Any errors of fact or otherwise are entirely mine. 
Q1 Who are the biggest influences on your writing? 
Edna O'Brien, Flannery O'Connor and Anne Enright, they all write about women's experiences in an honest and brave way and they are not afraid of the colloquial. 
Q2 Have you always wanted to write? I wrote poetry as a child and came second in a national competition at the age of nine for a poem I wrote at school.  
Q3 Your five favourite novels? Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Silk by Alessandro Baricco, The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien and Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor
Q4 Favourite Book/Author as a teenager? The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, The Classics; Somerset Maugham, DH Lawrence, 
Q5 Your writing advice to new writers? Read alot, write alot, don't worry about what others are doing, take your time, find your own voice, remember to take time out for yourse…

Interview with YA author Caroline Healy

Caroline Healy is an award winning writer of literary and Young Adult Fiction her new book Blood Entwines is published by Bloomsbury as part of the Spark Imprint this August. Blood Entwines is the story of Kara Bailey who receives a blood transfusion after an accident and finds that her senses are heightened and she has a new found strength. At school she is drawn to a dark stranger and it seems that they are connected through the blood they share. You can find out more about Caroline at her website Caroline Healy. Caroline kindly consented to answer some questions about her reading and writing life.
1. Your favourite childhood books/authors and why?
I don't have a favourite children's book but I do have fond memories of my mum reading stories to me at bedtime and it was magical. I was an avid reader and used the local library religiously. Over summer holidays I would max out my card. I read everything in the children's section and I remember the first book I borrowed from …

Rebecca Newton and The Sacred Flame by Mario Routi

Rebecca Newton and the Sacred Flame is a high fantasy, high octane adventure for Young Adults which will apppeal to those who have read and loved the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and the Starcrossed books by Josephine Angelini as Mario's book is also set in the world of Greek Myth. The story features gods and monsters, immortal beings and mythical creatures and a battle between the forces of good and evil. The world building in this novel is vast in scope and takes a while to establish. The action mostly takes place in the Land of the White Sun which was built by the ancient Gods who live in the Elysian Fields and who also built Tartarus where demons and Titans dwell. Rebecca has grown up on earth unaware that she is an Orizon, a child of the Land of the White Sun but it is clear that she is an exceptional young woman from our first introduction to her; as she communicates fearlessly with a hungry lion. Rebecca journeys to the land of her ancestors and trains in fighting …

Apologies, Updates and Literary Rendevouzes

So Sorry not to have blogged in so long. I have really missed blogging, twittering and connecting with other bloggers. I am way behind on everything and  I feel like I have missed so much. I have been working like mad this month, at my book selling job rather than my writing and blogging which is good for the pocket but not quite so good for the soul. Also my own writing has taken a back seat which makes me jittery and puts me in a bad mood.

Nevertheless this July I have had the opportunity to attend some great literary events, some I organised myself, some organised by a great friend and fellow blogger Margaret Madden of Bleach House Library. Margaret invited three authors to visit her wonderful library to talk about their books, their writing and to meet her book loving friends including me. This month we had a wonderful dinner with Lyn Marie Hulsman find out more about her HERE. Lyn Marie is a wonderful lady, an author of cookbooks and romantic comedies who told wonderful stories …