QUICKREADS 2022 COVERS REVEAL #coverreveal #QuickReads @readingagency @midaspr

QUICK READS 2022 COVER REVEAL

THE READING AGENCY REVEALS QUICK READS COVERS AND HOW THOUSANDS OF FREE ‘BUY ONE, GIFT ONE’ BOOKS ARE SPREADING THE JOY OF READING

14 April 2022 | www.readingagency.org.uk #QuickReads | @readingagency

The Reading Agency has unveiled the eye-catching covers for the Quick Reads stories publishing on 14 April 2022, written by M.W. Craven, Paula Hawkins, Ayisha Malik, Santa Montefiore, Kate Mosse, Graham Norton, Lemn Sissay and Alex Wheatle.

Forming part of the life-changing literacy programme tackling the UK’s adult literacy crisis by helping less confident readers start reading, these eight, new short books will also be included in the World Book Night 2022 list.

The Reading Agency has also shared the many ways in which the 36,000 copies of this year’s Quick Reads titles donated as part of the 15th anniversary ‘Buy One Gift One’ campaign have reached those who struggle with reading or have limited access to books.

From August to October, tens of thousands of free books were distributed to local authorities, libraries, prisons, adult learning organisations and community-based charities around the country. The ‘Quick Reads’ short stories by best-selling authors Louise Candlish, Katie Fforde, Peter James, Caitlin Moran, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Khurrum Rahman have been encouraging new readers at food banks, homeless shelters, literacy classes, refugee groups as well as those in prison, to find the pleasure and benefits that come from reading.

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: ‘Thanks to the support and generosity of our Quick Reads publishers and the close collaboration of our many partners, including the generous support of Jojo Moyes, tens of thousands of these transformative stories have been put directly into the hands of those who need them the most helping progress of our mission to break down barriers to reading, and spread the joy of books to new audiences.’

‘Buy One, Gift One’

This year’s ‘Buy One, Gift One’ campaign helps The Reading Agency to get copies of these transformative books into the hands of those that need them most, particularly those who have experienced acute hardship throughout the pandemic. This year, thousands of free books are being distributed in partnership with libraries and other organisations who are providing frontline support, including homelessness charities, food banks, prisons, and Young Offender Institutions.

Libraries in Newham, an east London borough facing significant problems in poverty and inequality, are gifting books to services supporting young people experiencing mental health issues and running functional skills courses. These include local Youth Zones, Newham Youth Offending Team, Supported Living, Adult Learning Services, the Newham Food Alliance and Colleges of Further Education.

Councillor Charlene McLean, Deputy Mayor and Lead Member for Resident Participation and Engagement, Newham Council said: ‘Here in Newham we are really excited to be gifting The Baby is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite, through our Adult Learning Service, Supported Living Schemes, Youth Zones and Youth Offending Teams. By gifting through these routes we aim to reach those adults and young people who would benefit most from a Quick Read, discovering, perhaps for the first time, a book that is accessible end engaging with no pressure to read it and no one judging their reading ability. We really hope that by gifting the right book, for the right person at the right time, our donations will help our selected residents to develop a love of reading and further improve their literacy skills.’

Krystal Vittles, Head of Service Delivery, Suffolk Libraries, said: ‘At Suffolk Libraries’ we decided to gift from our static libraries as well as through our prison libraries to ensure these fantastic books made an impact, and hopefully spread a little joy. We also worked with our partners at Suffolk County Council to gift these books through local foodbanks as a gift for people who are experiencing tough times. We believe that reading, literacy and access to books is a fundamental human right and so we’re always keen to be part of initiatives like this to spread the love of reading.’

Oldham Libraries have distributed copies to the Oldham Council Emerging Communities Team, the Local Authority Asylum Support Liaison Officers, the Oldham Lifelong Learning Centre – who deliver literacy skills courses – and the Oldham Street Angels, who provide food, clothing, shelter and support to Oldham’s homeless.

Jacqueline Widdowson, Senior Library Officer, Oldham Libraries, said: ‘We plan to work with our local homeless charity, The Street Angels. Many of Oldham’s homeless people already use our libraries and are big readers. It will be nice to encourage both current and lapsed readers to enjoy the escapism and warmth of taking yourself outside of your current experience through reading.’

About Quick Reads 2022 Titles (14 April 2022)

M.W. Craven, The Cutting Season (Hachette, Constable)

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals… M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country. www.mwcraven.com

MW Craven said: “In my sixteen-year career in the probation service I witnessed the devastating impact of illiteracy and low-level literacy on an almost daily basis. From the first-time offender being unable to read the community order he was being asked to sign, to the coping mechanisms and the myriad excuses used to avoid reading out loud on the offending-behaviour courses we ran. Many of these men and women had basic reading skills, but little to no confidence, and that is why the Quick Reads programme is such a wonderful thing. Reading is such a vital part of communication and I couldn’t say yes to being involved fast enough.”

Poe’s just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon… Hanging from a hook in a meat packing plant isn’t how Washington Poe wants to spend his weekend. He’s been punched and kicked, and when the Pale Man arrives it seems things will soon go from bad to worse. The Pale Man is a contract killer, and he and his razor are feared all over London. But Poe knows two things the Pale Man doesn’t. And now things are about to get interesting…

Paula Hawkins, Blind Spot (Penguin Random House, Transworld, Doubleday)

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before writing her first book. Paula was born and brought up in Zimbabwe. She moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. Her first thriller, The Girl on the Train, has sold 23 million copies worldwide. Published in over forty languages, it has been a Number 1 bestseller around the world and was a box office hit film starring Emily Blunt. Paula’s second thriller, Into the Water, and her latest book, A Slow Fire Burning, were also instant Number 1 bestsellers. 

Paula Hawkins said: “I jumped at the opportunity to write a Quick Reads. Reading is such a joy for me – it has been since childhood. Books have formed the cornerstone of many of my friendships; they connect me to people and places I might never go. They’re fundamental to my understanding of the world. But I’m acutely aware that, for all sorts of reasons, people might struggle with reading, so it’s a great privilege to be invited to write a Quick Reads. I can only hope that Blind Spot will help someone else discover the pure pleasure that can be found within the pages of a favourite book.”

‘How can you say things like this? How can you be so blind?’ Since they were kids, Edie, Jake and Ryan have been the closest of friends. It’s been the three of them against the world. Edie thought the bonds between them were unbreakable. So when Jake is brutally murdered and Ryan accused of the crime, her world is shattered. Edie is alone for the first time in years, living in the remote house that she and Jake shared. She is grief-stricken and afraid – with good reason. Because someone is watching. Someone has been waiting for this moment. Now that Edie is alone, the past she tried so hard to leave behind is about to catch up with her…

Ayisha Malik, Sofia Khan: The Baby Blues (Headline, Review)

Ayisha Malik was born and raised in South London and is a lover of books (obviously), and writer of contemporary fiction. A former publicist at Penguin Random House, turned managing editor at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, turned full-time writer. Her debut novel, Sofia Khan is not Obliged, and its sequel, The Other Half of Happiness, (Zaffre), were dubbed as the ‘Muslim Bridget Jones.’ Her latest novel, This Green and Pleasant Land, (Zaffre) is out now. She has also contributed to the anthology, A Change is Gonna Come, (Stripes Publishing), and upcoming collection, A Match Made in Heaven, (Hope Road Publishing). Malik is also known for ghost-writing Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain’s, adult books. www.ayishamalik.com

Ayisha Malik said: “Growing up, reading was such a huge part of my understanding of the world and myself. That experience should be available to everyone and Quick Reads is a brilliant way of trying to make that happen. I’m honoured to be a part of something so crucial, and to have had such fun with the story along the way.”

Sofia Khan is going about everything the wrong way. At least, that’s what her mother, Mehnaz, thinks. Sofia is twice-divorced, homeless and – worst of all – refusing to give up on a fostered baby girl. Sofia’s just not behaving like a normal woman should. Sofia doesn’t see it like that. She’s planning to adopt Millie, and she’s sure it’ll be worth it. (Even if it means she and Millie have to stay at Mehnaz’s place for a while.) And as Sofia finally begins to live the life she’s chosen, she finds both romance and happiness start to blossom.But then someone comes back from the past – and not even Sofia’s own past. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice. To do what’s best for those she loves, Sofia might have to break her own heart. And she might find herself needing the last person she expected…

Santa Montefiore, The Kiss (Simon & Schuster)

Santa Montefiore’s books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and have sold more than six million copies in England and Europe. She is the bestselling author of The Temptation of Gracie and the Deverill series, among many others. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London. santamontefiore.co.uk

Santa Montefiore said: “The main reason that I write is to entertain. It gives me enormous pleasure to know that people enjoy my stories. It’s what drives me and propels me from book to book. However, I’m aware that there are many people out there who might find my novels too long or perhaps too densely written for their tastes. That’s why I agreed to write a story for Quick Reads. It gives those readers who wouldn’t normally pick up one of my novels the opportunity to give me a go. With this in mind, I wanted to write something special for them. I know how much my readers love stories based in Italy, so I set mine in Tuscany, and I made sure that I added all the things they enjoy, like romance and mystery, into the mix. It was a story, based on a true story I had heard, that I had been sitting on for a while and wasn’t sure what to do with. So, in a way, Quick Reads benefited both me as well as their readers, because I was able to use this gem of an idea which was too small for a larger book. I thank Quick Reads for inviting me to write for them, and my readers, longstanding and new, who enable me to do what I love doing best.  I really hope they are entertained and perhaps, if they are, I might have the opportunity to write for them again.”

Sometimes your biggest mistake can also be a blessing… Madison has always known she had a different father to her siblings. But it wasn’t until she turned eighteen that she learned his name. And now she wants to meet the man who shares her fair hair and blue eyes: Robert. Robert is a very lucky man. A big house, beautiful wife, three handsome sons. Eighteen years ago, he made a mistake. A brief fling that resulted in a daughter nobody knows about. Robert must finally tell his family the truth. Will they ever be able to forgive him and accept Madison as one of their own?

Kate Mosse, The Black Mountain (Macmillan, Pan Books)

Kate Mosse is an award-winning novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer, the author of six novels and short story collections, including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and number one bestselling Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter. Her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and published in more than forty countries. The Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, she is also the Deputy Chair of the National Theatre in London. Kate divides her time between Chichester in West Sussex and Carcassonne in south-west France. www.katemosse.co.uk

Kate Mosse said: “I wrote my first Quick Read in 2009 and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my writing life.  Meeting new readers, many of whom were just starting to fall in love with stories on the page, transformed how I thought about storytelling, about language and about the barriers some people face to engaging with fiction.  It made me question how I wrote, and why I wrote, and I’ve been grateful for everything I learnt because of it. The programme is exceptional – always innovative, always exciting, always finding ways to support literacy but also to give emerging readers access to the widest possible range of books.  It genuinely changes lives and it’s an honour to be part of the 2022 list.”

It is May, 1706. Ana, a young Spanish woman, lives in a small town on the north-west coast of Tenerife with her mother and twin younger brothers. The town is in the shadow of a mighty volcano, which legend says has the devil living inside it. However, there has been no eruption for thousands of years and no one believes it is a threat. One day, Ana notices that the air feels strange and heavy, that the birds have stopped singing. Tending the family vineyard, a sudden strange tremor in the earth frightens her. Very soon it will be a race against time for Ana to help persuade the town that they are in danger and should flee before the volcano erupts and destroys their world. Will they listen? And Ana herself faces another danger…

‘A powerful storyteller with an abundant imagination’ Daily Telegraph

Graham Norton, The Swimmer (Hodder, Coronet)

Graham Norton is one of the UK’s most treasured comedians and presenters. Born in Clondalkin, a suburb of Dublin, Norton’s first big TV appearance was as Father Noel Furlong on Channel 4’s Father Ted in the early 1990s. He then secured a prime time slot on Channel 4 with his chat shows So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton. Known for his quick wit Graham began hosting a variety of talent shows on BBC One from Strictly Dance Fever and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? to The Eurovision Song Contest and BAFTAs. Graham was soon approached by the BBC to front his own self-titled chat show The Graham Norton Show in 2007. Graham Norton has won 9 BAFTAs for Best Entertainment Performance, and Best Entertainment Programme. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, a show on BBC Radio 2 every Saturday, and is a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Norton won the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards in 2017. Graham’s third novel will be published in hardback, eBook, and audiobook in October.

Graham Norton said: “Being involved with Quick Reads was a huge pleasure as well as a real challenge. I loved the discipline involved in shaping a story that was accessible at the same time as being exciting, emotional and hopefully rewarding. Books and stories are an extraordinary escape for so many and I am thrilled to work with Quick Reads in helping to unlock the world of words for new readers.”

Helen is a retired teacher living on the Irish coast. She enjoys the peace and quiet – despite the burden of Margaret, her unpleasant sister. Margaret arrived three years ago for a short holiday, but somehow managed to stay and worm her way into Helen’s life. One day, Helen sees a man struggling in the sea and decides to investigate. She doesn’t quite know what it is, but something about it feels very strange…

Lemn Sissay, My Name Is Why (abridged) (Canongate)

Lemn Sissay MBE is a BAFTA nominated international prize winning writer. He was awarded an MBE for services to literature by The Queen of England, The Pen Pinter Prize and a Points of Light Award from The Prime Minister. Google “Lemn Sissay” and all the hits will be about him. There’s only one person in the world called Lemn Sissay. www.lemnsissay.com

Lemn Sissay said: “This is why I wrote My Name Is Why. Family is a collection of stories between one group of people over a life time. For some it is an anthology of disputed tales over a lifetime.  Families can uphold what they believe to be a fact which is in fact pure fiction. What matters most of all is harmony: the truth has little to do with it. The same could be said for storytelling. I wrote My Name Is Why because no member of my family knew who I was or what I had been through. I have found an extended family in the readers of my book and I am thankful to every one of them.”

An abridgement of his bestselling memoir of the same name.  How does a government steal a child and then imprison him? How does it keep it a secret? This story is how. This story is true. My Name Is Why is a true story about growing up in care and fighting to succeed despite the cruelty and failures of the care system.

Alex Wheatle, Witness (Serpent’s Tail)

Born in 1963 to Jamaican parents, Wheatle spent much of his childhood in a Shirley Oaks children’s home. He wrote lyrics about everyday Brixton life. By 1980 Wheatle was living in a social services hostel in Brixton, South London. He participated in the 1981 Brixton riots and aftermath. While serving time in prison he took to reading. His first novel, Brixton Rock, was published to critical acclaim by BlackAmber Books in 1999. Following the publication of his second novel, he turned his attention to writing YA fiction and has won a number of awards, including the 2016 Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. www.alexwheatle.com

Alex Wheatle said: “I may have been nominated and short-listed for many awards, but I believe my greatest success in this old writing game is when a school librarian informs me that one of their students, who has never picked up a book before, cannot put an Alex Wheatle book down. ‘They have found a story they can finally relate to,’ I am often told. Reading for pleasure is a crucial gateway to all learning.  If I can engage a reader with my characters, my narratives and the themes that are important to me, then I believe I’m passing on my humanity.”

Cornell is having a bad time. Kicked out of school for a fight he didn’t start, he finds himself in a Pupil Referral Unit. Here he makes friends with one of the Sinclair family. You just don’t mess with the Sinclairs, and when Ryan Sinclair orders him to come with him to teach a rival some respect, Cornell witnesses something that will change his life. Torn between protecting his family and himself, Cornell has one hell of a decision to make. Witness is Alex Wheatle at his best: a thrilling story about street violence, friendship and making the right choices. 

About The Reading Agency & Quick Reads

The Reading Agency is a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. We work closely with partners to develop and deliver programmes for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Reading Agency is funded by Arts Council England.  www.readingagency.org.uk

Quick Reads, a programme by The Reading Agency,aims to bring the pleasures and benefits of reading to everyone, including the one in three adults in the UK who do not regularly read for pleasure, and the one in six adults in the UK who find reading difficult. The scheme changes lives and plays a vital role in addressing the national crisis around adult literacy in the UK, engaging the one in three adults who do not regularly read for pleasure and the one in six adults who find reading difficult. Each year, Quick Reads works with UK publishers to commission high profile authors to write short, engaging books that are specifically designed to be easy to read. Since 2006, over 6 million books have been distributed through the initiative, 5 million library loans (PLR) have been registered and through outreach work hundreds of thousands of new readers each year have been introduced to the joys and benefits of reading. From 2020 – 2022, the initiative is supported by a philanthropic gift from bestselling author Jojo Moyes. The titles are available for just £1 at bookshops and are free to borrow from libraries. They are used across the country in colleges, prisons, trade unions, hospitals, and adult learning organisations.

#bookreview THE FELL by SARAH MOSS #newrelease @camillaelworthy @picadorbooks #TheFell

Many thanks to Camilla Elworthy for another great proof from Picador Books and another wonderful novel from the author Sarah Moss. This time the author looks at life in lock-down and again, as in her last novel Summerwater, packs an awful lot into relatively few pages.

The Fell by Sarah Moss

Published November 11th 2021

Publisher Picador Books

Pages 192

Hardback Cover

SYNOPSIS

At dusk on a November evening in 2020 a woman slips out of her garden gate and turns up the hill. Kate is in the middle of a two-week quarantine period, but she just can’t take it any more – the closeness of the air in her small house, the confinement. And anyway, the moor will be deserted at this time. Nobody need ever know.

But Kate’s neighbour Alice sees her leaving and Matt, Kate’s son, soon realizes she’s missing. And Kate, who planned only a quick solitary walk – a breath of open air – falls and badly injures herself. What began as a furtive walk has turned into a mountain rescue operation . . .

MY THOUGHTS

This is the third novel by this author I have read now and I have pledged to myself to read her older previous books like Cold Earth, Night walking, Bodies of light etc. I found this yet another masterful piece of writing.

Set in near present time, hence during the pandemic, we follow Kate and her teenage son, as Kate has been told to self isolate following close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid. She is a real outdoors person and is struggling with staying inside the same four walls. We also hear from her son who I found a wonderful character and also their neighbour Alice, who has had cancer, and has therefore been shielding for some time.

When Kate feels she can’t cope with the isolation she decides to go for a quick walk. She won’t meet anyone and won’t be long, just a quick stroll. Alice sees her leave from her window, she knows Kate is meant to be isolating but has an understanding of her and why she may feel the need to be outside for a bit, so doesn’t do anything. But then as her son realises she has left the house (there is no note) and probably should have returned by now, he becomes concerned and not knowing what to do or wanting to get his mum in some kind of trouble, he decides to knock on Alice’s door.

Before I go any further with my thoughts on this book I just want to make one comment.

BOY! Can this woman write rain!!!!!

The descriptions, words and imagery she conjures up to describe good old British rain are amazing. As I sat reading this story, as I did in Summerwater too, I could feel the coldness, the damp and wet in my bones. Just the way she might describe a hood being pulled over the head bring it straight to the readers mind. Fantastic!

This novel for me explored a snap shot of what these particular characters experience, during this particular time of the pandemic. Always a hard topic to address as it’s phases seem to move along and change so quickly, when looked back on, the longer we spend within this strange time., but again for me it was her focus on the small things that make her writing a delight.

The suspense within this story and the overwhelming feeling of dread, fear and anxiety I got from the character of Kate’s son is what I remembered most after finishing this book. They felt so real, I just wanted to give him a hug, but of course, we can’t.

#bookreview LIBERTY TERRACE by Madeleine D’Arcy @Doirepress #newrelease @Midaspr

Delighted to share with you today my review for a new title from Doire Press, Liberty Terrace by Madeleine D’Arcy. Many thanks to Midas PR for bringing this title to my attention and for sending me an EBook copy to read and review.

ISBN: 978-1-907682-86-5| Pages: 200 | Published: 28th Oct 2021 Available from Doire Press

Liberty Terrace by Madeleine D’Arcy

SYNOPSIS

Liberty Terrace features a bevy of characters who reside in a fictional area of Cork City in the period 2016 to 2020. The inhabitants of Liberty Terrace come and go, and their lives occasionally intersect in stories that are sometimes funny, sometimes dark, often both. The cast of characters includes retired Garda Superintendent Deckie Google, a young homeless squatter, the mother of an autistic child working part-time as a Census Enumerator, the dysfunctional Callinan family, an ageing rock star, a trio of ladies who visit a faith healer, a philandering husband, as well as a surprising number of cats and dogs. These stories shed light on how we lived before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, on what we care about and on what, if anything, we can truly count on.

MY THOUGHTS

A fantastic set of interconnecting short stories based on the residents of a fictional area of Cork City.

Each short tale is a stand alone read but as you will find as you read along, are linked in different ways by the different characters mentioned throughout the book. The stories are varied, some heart warming, others a little darker, but all with a wonderful human emotional connection that allow the reader to really feel for the characters involved.

Young and old, families which are together and some which are apart all made for a great selection of themes and topics. Deftly detailed and effectively written meant I was quickly immersed into each new story allowing me to get the most out of each short look into the life of the characters. Packed to the rafters with emotion and showing this author has a great talent at portraying the everyday life of those who’s life isn’t necessarily always everyday. I really liked the way they were all interconnected making the book feel more of a whole.

An author that I will certainly keep an ear out for further works.

About Doire Press

Doire Press was founded in the autumn of 2007 in Connemara by Lisa Frank, with skills and experience in editing and publishing, and by John Walsh, who had just received a publication award from the Galway County Council Arts Office to publish his second poetry collection, Loves Enterprise Zone. 

Since then, Doire Press has continued to blossom, finding its niche in publishing new and emerging writers who give voice to what it means to be Irish in a changing Ireland. Authors include Madeleine D’Arcy, Edward Boyne, Gerry Galvin, Susan Millar Du Mars, Adam White, Breda Wall Ryan, Willian Wall, Eamon Carr, Stephanie Conn, Simon Lewis, Amanda Bell, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, and Rosemary Jenkinson.

Doire Press gratefully acknowledges the support of the Arts Council of Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland which have funded many of our publications.

About Madeleine D’Arcy

MADELEINE D’ARCY is an Irish fiction writer. A former solicitor, she lived in the UK for 13 years before returning to live in Cork City with her husband and her son in 1999. Madeleine’s first Doire Press short story collection ‘Waiting for the Bullet’ was awarded the 2015 Edge Hill Readers’ Prize’ from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. In 2010 she received a Hennessy X.O Literary Award for First Fiction as well as the overall Hennessy X.O Literary Award for New Irish Writer. Her stories have been short-listed and commended in many competitions, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen Short Story Competition, Fish Short Story Prize, the Bridport Prize and the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition. Madeleine has been awarded bursaries by the Arts Council of Ireland and by Cork City Council. Madeleine was a scholarship student on the inaugural MA in Creative Writing 2013-2014 in University College Cork. Waiting for the Bullet is Madeleine’s debut collection of short stories.

#bookreview #newrelease ON THE EDGE by @AuthorJJesmond @Verve_Books #OnTheEdge #publicationday @hollieeeem

cover

SYNOPSIS

Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes – the riskier the better. Both her work and personal life revolved around it. Until she went too far and hurt the people she cares about. So she’s given it all up now. Honestly, she has. And she’s checked herself into a rehab centre to prove it.

Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a ‘family emergency’ takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.

Once safe, the real challenge begins. Jen must face her troubled past in order to figure out whether something triggered a relapse to this risky behaviour, or if there is a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown. Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and fraught relationships will she be able to piece together what happened – and trust herself to fix it. 

MY THOUGHTS

This debut novel from Jane Jesmond has certainly introduced me to a new author to add to my list.

This action packed and wonderfully atmospheric read kept me gripped throughout.

Jenifry Shaw, known as Jen, has been climbing her whole life. Running free along with her brother Kit, through the wild landscape of Cornwall and with a renowned mountaineer father, it’s in her blood. But adrenaline has become a drug and as her climbing became more and more risky, and after one climb ends with catastrophic outcomes she replaces the adrenaline with real drugs.

We first meet Jen in a rehab centre that she has entered voluntarily, but equally can not wait to leave. She receives a call from her brother, whom she hasn’t spoken to for some time, asking for her help. He is in serious financial difficulty after months of renovating their old family home into a holistic conference centre. Issues with their mother not also helping matters.

Arriving late and exhausted, and putting off having to meet her brother and any locals, she checks into the small hotel. The next things she knows, she awakens, finding herself tied to the outside of the lighthouse, dangerously dangling over the edge! Has she taken something that means she would have placed herself in such a situation without remembering so? Or has someone drugged her and left her to die? Who??? And Why????

As she tries to consider whether her life is in danger from herself or someone else, she starts to stubble upon the many secrets harboured by her home village.

With dramatic and superbly vivid descriptions of the Cornish weather and landscape and a well written and pacy plot, I found this a very engaging and enjoyable mystery. With a cast of characters feeling like they all have something to hid and a not overly reliable main character with problems of her own, the story line is full of twists and turns and mysterious red herrings that really ds keep the reader ‘on the edge’.

Fast moving action, yet full of characters, story lines, and back story information, this is a tightly, efficient and effective written thriller, and it’s the first in a series with more to come! Can’t wait!

Huge thanks to the publishers for the proof copy of this book and a great new find!

ON THE EDGE IS PUBLISHED TODAY!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

On The Edge is Jane Jesmond’s debut novel and the first in a series featuring dynamic, daredevil protagonist Jen Shaw. Although she was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, raised in Liverpool and considers herself northern through and through, Jane’s family comes from Cornwall. Her lifelong love of the Cornish landscape and culture inspired the setting of On The Edge. Jane has spent the last thirty years living and working in France. She began writing steadily six or seven years ago and writes every morning in between staring out at the sea and making cups of tea. She also enjoys reading, walking and amateur dramatics and, unlike her daredevil protagonist, is terrified of heights!

#bookreview SORROW AND BLISS by Meg Mason @wnbooks #SorrowandBliss #cheltlitfest @midaspr

Delighted to share with you today my review for Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason. I have seen so much love for this book of late, that I was thrilled when the lovely people at Midas PR sent me a copy to read and review to celebrate The Cheltenham Literature Festival which takes place between 8-17th October.

The author will be taking part in the festival on Saturday 16th October and will be talking to Clare Clark via live link from her home in Sydney.

The Cheltenham Literature Festival Oct 16th

L242 Meg Mason: Sorrow & Bliss
Quickfind L242
Sat 16 Oct 10:30am – 11:30am
Cheltenham Town Hall, Pillar Room

SYNOPSIS

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift, her mother once said, not everybody gets.

So why is everything broken? Why is Martha – on the edge of 40 – friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave?

Maybe she is just too sensitive, someone who finds it harder to be alive than most people. Or maybe – as she has long believed – there is something wrong with her. Something that broke when a little bomb went off in her brain, at 17, and left her changed in a way that no doctor or therapist has ever been able to explain.

Forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, bohemian parents (but without the help of her devoted, foul-mouthed sister Ingrid), Martha has one last chance to find out whether a life is ever too broken to fix – or whether, maybe, by starting over, she will get to write a better ending for herself.

MY THOUGHTS

Brilliantly paced and wonderfully observed, the new novel by Meg Mason, released in hardback back in June, is a brilliant story about a women and her struggles with her mental illness and the impact it has on her life and those closest to her.

Martha is married to Patrick, who she has known since a teenager when her first symptoms appeared and we follow her in present time and via flash backs from this time up to her 40th year, as she experiences more and more episodes of depression and watch as her family, in particular Patrick and her wonderful sister Ingrid, try their best to support her and help her through these times and beyond, often with not a lot in return from Martha herself.

The book explores not just the impact of mental heath issues but also family relationships and motherhood, more precisely a decision to have or not have children. Tender and also brutally written accounts of her day to day life over a 20+ year period with fantastic characters meant I really didn’t want to put this book down and just carried on reading.

Sometimes a slightly unlikeable character, Martha’s sadness is ever present in the novel but this book is full of comic touchers and super one liners, especially from Ingrid, that makes it, in my opinion, a fantastically warm read. Characters like Patrick, Ingrid and Martha’s Aunt Winsome add such a ray of hope and love to the story that stops it becoming a saddening read, also Martha’s relationship with her older friend and mentor Peregrine shows that there is love still within her. In fact I found the book almost a love story, not just between Martha and Patrick but between Martha and herself.

The author chooses not to name the condition Martha has, stating at the end of the book that her symptoms and treatment are fictional. Although at first I was a little confused by this I felt that it was a wise move. So many conditions including mental illness can vary between one sufferer to another that it stops a reader possibly shelf diagnosing or comparing it too closely to their own experiences.

A fantastic read who’s characters have long stayed with me since finishing the book.

#bookreview A Thousand Tiny Disappointments by Sarah Edghill. @EdghillSarah @BloodhoundBooks

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Delighted to share my review with you today for a new novel called A Tiny Thousand Disappointments. I was contacted by the author herself asking if I would like to read a copy in exchange for a review. I said I would be happy to and I’m so glad I did! It is a wonderfully written debut novel and has received some great comments from some great authors.

A Tiny Thousand Disappointments is published by Bloodhound Books and was released on September 21st. It is available to buy on Amazon.

Release date: 21st September 2021

Published by Bloodhound Books

Available in paperback and EBook (as I write the kindle version is available at just 99p)

SYNOPSIS

Martha is being pulled in too many directions, trying to be a good mother, a loving wife, and a dutiful daughter. Despite it all, she’s coping. But then her elderly mother is rushed to the hospital and dies unexpectedly, and the cracks in the life Martha is struggling to hold together are about to be exposed.
 
When she discovers her mother has left her house to a stranger, she’s overwhelmed by grief and hurt. Getting no support from her disinterested husband or arrogant brother, Martha goes on to make some bad decisions.

If she were a good daughter, she would abide by her mother’s final wishes. If she were a good daughter, she wouldn’t destroy the evidence . . .

MY THOUGHTS

An extremely well written debut about a woman called Martha and her day to day struggles and situations brought about by events in her life over the last few years.

After the sudden death of her mother, she soon discovers that neither herself or her brother have been left her mother’s house, and although neither of them ‘need’ it financially, they expected it and they can not understand why their mother would make such a decision. On finding this information, Martha has to make a quick decision on how to handle the matter. This act later fills Martha with regret and in doing so, along with the lack of support from family and friends, makes Martha question her role as a daughter and re-evaluate her life and herself.

The characters within this book and the relationships Martha has with those characters are so believable and somewhat relatable, that this story soon placed itself into my imagination, enabling me to become quickly and utterly absorbed. Her emotions and thoughts are marvellously described by the author as are the actions of others, particularly the character of the brother-in-law who had me inwardly raging at one point in the book. Although both Martha and her brother are comfortable off and perhaps because of this, it really makes you think about the whole issue of inheritance and if parents are expected to leave what they have to their children.

There are two other very key elements to this story and that is Martha’s marriage and her son. I won’t go into these major parts of the book, as it will give too much away, but they are key to how Martha responds to things and the overall outcome of the story. The inclusion of the character of Martha’s friend is also a very interesting addition to Martha’s story.

I very much enjoyed this novel, and although moving and poignant, I found it an uplifting read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

THE AUTHOR

Sarah Edghill worked as a journalist for many years, writing for a range of newspapers and magazines, before turning her hand to fiction.

She is an alumna of the Faber Academy Novel Writing course and her work has won prizes and been short-listed in novel and short story competitions.

She lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, three children and far too many animals.

Sarah can be found on Twitter at @EdghillSarah or www.sarahedghill.com.

#quickbookreview MRS MARCH by Virginia Feito @4thEstateBooks @netgalley

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SYNOPSIS

George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.

A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of
olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book –
a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.

One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one
that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.

MY THOUGHTS

What a dark, unsettling yet totally engaging read. I found myself unable to put this book down.

Written in the third person, (you don’t know her first name until the very end), but reads in a way you feel totally inside her head, Mrs March tells the story of it’s character and her spiral towards a breakdown. Convince her husband’s new book’s main character, a sex worker, is based on her, we read as her daily interactions become smaller and smaller as she ‘imagines’ (or does she?) that people are talking about her.

Crippled by status, appearances and an already deep need to appear just so, her life and mental state start to fall apart. Along side this are her suspicions of her husband and his possible cheating, flash backs to her younger self and her ‘relationship’ with her young son all make for a read that is a mix of an intermit look at a women’s mental health, phycological thriller, and an engaging mystery. Sprinkled with dark humour, an utterly unreliable main character and an ambiguous time setting, I found it a totally absorbing read.

#blogtour #bookreview FALLING FOR A FRENCH DREAM by Jennifer Bohnet @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources

It’s my stop on the blog tour today and I am delighted to share with you my review. Many thanks to Rachel Gilby of Rachel Random Resources for my invite and stop onto the tour and for the advance readers copy via Netgalley.

SYNOPSIS

After tragically losing her husband, Nicola Jacques and her teenage son Oliver relocate to his father’s family’s olive farm in the hills above the French Riviera.

Due to a family feud, Oliver has never known his father’s side of the family but Grandpapa Henri is intent that Oliver will take over the reins of the ancestral farm and his rightful inheritance.

Determined to keep her independence from a rather controlling Grandpapa, Nicola buys a run-down cottage on the edge of the family’s Olive Farm and sets to work renovating their new home and providing an income by cultivating the small holding that came with the Cottage.

As the summer months roll by, Nicola and Oliver begin to settle happily into their new way of life with the help of Aunts Josephine and Odette, Henri’s twin sisters and local property developer Gilles Bongars.

But the arrival of some unexpected news and guests at the farm, force Nicole and Aunt Josephine to assess what and where their futures lie.

*This book was previously published as The French Legacy.

MY THOUGHTS

This must be the fifth book of Jennifer’s I have read now, and she never disappoints in whisking me away to a sun drenched, idyllic French setting no matter what her characters have thrown at them!!

After Nicola and her son Oliver receive the news that her estranged husband has died, it leaves her with very mixed emotions. Sad for her son and for the loss of the man she did once love, but also with hope that now they could possibly begin to mend some bridges with her husband’s family in France. Relatives that Oliver barely knows. Following a request from farther-in-law Henri to come out to the farm in France to sort matters out, Nicola and Oliver head out there, but Nicola isn’t naïve, she is more than aware that she needs to be strong as Henri can be a controlling patriarch at the very least.

On arriving there Nicola is surprised with an ultimatum from Henri in regards to Oliver’s inheritance and makes a rushed and bold decision to move out to France. Buying a run down cottage very close to the farm means Oliver can be close to his new family, which he does appear to get on very well with, yet holding on to some of her independence and privacy, an added bonus is that she can return back to her love of gardening and the possibility make some money in doing so.

With the story line following them settling into their new lives, introducing the reader to Henri, Aunts Josephine and Odette and other characters, what follows is another charming and wonderfully set story from this author and again one that’s also full of back stories and other twists that gives the story mystery and suspense keeping the reader engaged and longing to find out the outcome for the characters involved.

As always beautifully set, this time in the surrounding countryside of the South of France, the novel wonderfully evokes the senses as you read with the sounds, smells and tastes of France plus of course with the sprinkling of possible romance making this another enjoyable and delightful read.

This book was previously published as The French Legacy.

Purchase Link  – https://amzn.to/35Z7KdX

LINKS AND AUTHOR BIO

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 12 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063527178184

Twitter https://twitter.com/jenniewriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jenniewriter/

Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/JenniferBohnet

Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-bohnet

#bookreview #giveaway #newrelease THE DUCHESS by WENDY HOLDEN @Wendy_Holden @welbeckpublish @CBGBooks #TheDuchess

Today is publication day for The Duchess by Wendy Holden ‘The second in the bestselling historical fiction series about ‘difficult women’ in the House of Windsor casts an unprecedented and sympathetic light on the story of Edward and Wallis Simpson.’

I’m delighted to post my review after receiving my wonderful early copy of the book plus hosting a giveaway for you to be able to win a copy too.

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SYNOPSIS

Love can change the course of history…

Arriving in 1928, Wallis was a divorced, penniless, middle-aged foreigner with average looks and no connections. Yet, just eight years later, a king renounced his throne for her.

How did a woman from nowhere capture the heart of the world’s most glamorous bachelor? Wendy Holden tells the amazing story…

MY THOUGHTS

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the author’s previous book The Governess, I was thrilled to receive a copy of her next book in the series of women in the House of Windsor. This new book looks at Wallis Simpson. The American divorcee who went onto marry Edward VIII, causing him to abdicate from the throne.

Again Wendy Holden does a fantastic job of combining fact and fiction to produce yet another enjoyable and engaging read.

Divorced from her alcoholic and abusive first husband, we meet Wallis as she has recently moved to England with her second husband Ernest Simpson. A kind man but one with a very different personality and future outlook to Wallis she becomes desperate to find the kind of life she craves.

Using friends of her sister-in-law and other acquaintances at first to fill her days and make life a little less boring, she finds herself in the orbit of David, Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions Beyond the Seas, Emperor of India.

The book is divided between the ‘present’ when Wallis returns to England for the funeral of her late husband and their meeting, romance and the build up to the Duke’s abdication.

It was not only very interesting to read more of a point of view of Wallis but also to see Edward portrayed as a rather lonely individual.

Wendy Holden does yet again a marvellous job of writing a fictional take on a true life story and again as in The Governess, one which has been much talked about and publicised over the years. I loved how the book gave a real feel to the time with Wallis’s passion for style and interior design and the inclusion of famous names. I knew nothing about David’s beloved Fort Belvedere and loved reading of the parties and dinners held there and found the moments leading up to the funeral moving.

Hugh thanks once again to the publishers Welbeck for both my copies of The Governess and The Duchess and I under the third book titled The Princess is about Princess Diana which I’m sure will be much anticipated.

As mentioned the publishers have kindly offered me a copy of The Duchess to give away, so do please check out my Instagram page for this.

#bookreview #newrelease 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard @CorvusBooks @cathryanhoward @AtlanticBooks #56Days #publicationday

Publisher Corvus Books

Published in Hardback and EBook August 19th

Number of pages 424

I was totally thrilled when a copy of this book came through my letter box. I really enjoyed Rewind and thought The Nothing Man was a fantastic read, so I really couldn’t wait to dive into this new one.

Huge thanks to the author and the publisher for my gorgeous hard back copy. I love the cover and the broken glass effect really jumps out. Continue reading for my review.

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SYNOPSIS

No one even knew they were together. Now one of them is dead.

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?

MY THOUGHTS

Oliver and Ciara meet just before the first lockdown in Dublin Ireland. Not wanting to be apart but also wanting to comply to the rules and regulations set by the lockdown period, they decide to move into together. It suits them well, even at this early stage, as neither seem keen to share this new relationship with any friends or family. Living in Oliver’s apartment, but keeping Ciara’s on, as it’s only for 2 weeks…..right?

Catherine Ryan Howard perfectly uses the pandemic and lockdown experience in this new utterly gripping thriller.

56 Days is a great blend of fully realised and believable characters, well thought out plot and story line, a police procedural and thriller genre and brilliant twists and suspense to make this another unputdownable read.

My first read where the recent lockdown is used in the story and I felt the author pitched it just right. Wonderfully describing that first experience of empty streets, queues for the supermarket, empty shelves and isolated living but without making it too full on, on fear of the virus etc, to want not to read a book like this just yet. The way it is weaved within the story line, making it a large devise of the plot works fantastically.

As the synopsis tells us, we are aware of a dead body found in Oliver’s flat at the very start of the book, but we do not know who it is until much later on. Investigations begin, by Detective Inspector Leah Riordan and Detective Sergeant Karl Connolly (loved these characters) and with the book divided up into chapters from the perspective of Oliver, Ciara and Leah we are slowly revealed the true story behind these two main characters. Chapters are headed today, and various times from just before and during the lockdown. As the different time settings switch back and forth the story grows and so does the readers understanding of the back stories of Oliver and Ciara. Along with this the suspense and wonderful tension created in this novel kept me totally absorbed.

This author always has the ability to grab my attention right from the very first chapter, but most importantly holds it there until the very end. My third of her books now and I loved the mention of The Nothing Man slipped into the pages of this new one.

A recommended read from me and if you haven’t read any of Catherine’s books before, do! Grab one, any one! You won’t be disappointed.