Sins of the Fathers by Les Cowan | @LionHudson @MidasPR | #LesCowan #SinsOfTheFathers #excerpt

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Sins Of The Fathers by Les Cowan. Today, I have an extract to share with you all but first, here is what the book is all about.

Author : Les Cowan
Title : Sins Of The Fathers
Series : David Hidalgo #3
Pages : 300
Publisher : Lion Fiction
Publication date : October 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Father Ramón was a priest with a problem. How can a normal healthy young man cope with both the demands of the priesthood and his attraction to women? Appealing to the bishop doesn’t help. Do what you must but make sure I don’t find out, was the astonishing reply.

Fifteen years later, Ramón comes out of prison. Instead of feeling guilt and remorse, he is now bent on revenge against those who testified against his shocking exploitation of children. Most are easy to find but there is one last piece missing in his puzzle: Andrea has moved to Edinburgh.

David Hidalgo continues to pastor his church. Nowadays, this includes an English chat group for the many young people leaving Spain and looking for work in Edinburgh, people like Andrea. As Andrea slowly realises her past has terrifyingly become her present, once again David Hidalgo finds himself in the middle of a problem he wasn’t looking for. Can David help halt Ramón’s revenge or will there be further casualties.

| EXTRACT |

Chapter 1
CAFÉ CÓRDOBA – FOLLOWING SPRING

Andrea Suaráz Morán did not like the way the guy at the corner table was looking at her. She carefully set down the tapas he had ordered – sardinas a la plancha, pinchos morunos, albóndigas, chorizo en vino – and a bottle of San Miguel and headed back to the safety of the bar.
“¿Piensas que ese tío parece un poco raro o solo es mi imaginación?” she asked José as she wiped the tray and slipped it back with the others. “Hey, speak English, chica,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
She rolled her eyes but knew he was right. Her English had improved enormously in the six weeks she’d been in Edinburgh, but it still needed more mental effort, particularly if she was worried or tired.
“Ok,” she tried again. “Do you think that guy is a bit weird or is it just my imagination?”
“It’s not your imagination,” José confirmed, stealing a glance from under thick black brows as he dried a glass. “He comes in twice a week, orders exactly the same, always on his own, never smiles, no tip. Definitely weird.”
“And he only ever speaks Spanish. There’s something familiar about him but I don’t know where from.”
“I’ll mention it to Martin so we keep an eye on him. When do you finish tonight?”
“Ten.”
“Ok. I’m on till eleven. Just wait in the kitchen till I’m done and I’ll see you home.” “Would you?”
“Sin duda. ¡No hay problema, guapa!”
“Hey, speak English dude – that’s what we’re here for!”
She gave him a playful punch on the shoulder and glanced round, laughing. The guy in the corner was watching, not laughing, and that took the smile off her face.

In the kitchen, while she waited for José to finish his shift, Andrea pulled out a secondhand copy of Sons and Lovers she was trying to plough her way through. The language was a struggle; she’d expected that. What she couldn’t work out was why the British seemed to get so worked up – was that the right expression? – why they got so worked up about sex. Well, maybe that was just the mystery and also the fun about other cultures. People just see things differently, that’s all. Es lo que hay – that’s just how it is. She’d read that in Britain it was polite to keep your hands off the table at meals. In Spain just the opposite. If your hands weren’t in view, maybe you had a dagger under the cloth you were just about to stab your host with. Total opposites for random reasons. Attitudes to sex, religion, politics, humour, physical contact, even greeting friends and strangers – all different. Why? Because that’s just how it is.

She couldn’t concentrate with all the orders being shouted through, pots and dishes clattering, and onions sizzling, so she put her book down, leaned back against the slightly sticky wall, and dropped her mind into neutral. Having a real job, earning real money, and being independent again had all come in a bit of a rush but she was loving the sensation. It made her mind spin that so much could change in such a short time. It seemed incredible that it had only been six weeks ago she’d kissed and hugged Mama and Papa at security at Barajas Airport Madrid and got on the easyJet to Edimburgo – “Edinburgh”, as she now had to call it.
Less than a year before had been the monumental three-day end-of-degree party which, looking back, now felt like an official farewell to youth and a welcome to the real world. That had been as long-drawn-out a group goodbye as they had been able to manage.

Four years together at Complutense University of Madrid in the leafy suburbs to the north-west of the city had made them more than friends and closer than family – a few had even become lovers. Now they were simultaneously ecstatic at the thought of no more lectures and exams, terrified at landing directly on the unemployment scrapheap in the midst of the crisis, and heartbroken at the thought of losing each other. So they drank for three days straight and swore the current fate of 52 per cent of Spanish youth would not be theirs. They toasted their successful futures to come, cursed Prime Minister Rajoy and his infernal Partido Popular, blessed the new indignados protest movement, and prayed to San Isidro, La Macarena or any other god, saint or virgin open for business for good results and a real job. On the final evening, after many riojas too many, she and Jorge had slept together one last time for old times’ sake even though they’d broken up more than a year before. It seemed the generous thing to do. They kissed and swore they’d keep in touch, all the time knowing they wouldn’t. The morning after, she had packed the last of her stuff, took her Beatles, Dylan, and Lorca posters down, gathered up bits of discarded clothing from round the flat, left the pot plants for the new tenants, and took the metro from Moncloa to Atocha, changing at Sol. Finally, easing into her seat on the AVE train to Sevilla, she exhaled slowly, looked out the window, and dabbed away a tear.

If this extract has left you wanting to read more, Sins Of The Fathers is now available for preorder!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Les Cowan is a crime and thriller novelist from Scotland. He graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in English Language and Literature and has worked in the criminal justice system. Currently based in Orkney, Les has lived in Madrid, Edinburgh and Galicia, all of which are locations brought to life in his writing. His previous novels featuring David Hidalgo include Benefit of the Doubt and All That Glitters.

Celebrating #Orentober with Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver | @will_carver @OrendaBooks | #recommended

Author : Will Craven
Title : Nothing Important Happened Today
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : November 14, 2019 (UK paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Nine suicides
One Cult
No leader

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe: a decapitation in Germany, a public shooting at a university in Bordeaux; in Illinois, a sports team stands around the centre circle of the football pitch and pulls the trigger of the gun pressed to the temple of the person on their right. It becomes a movement.

A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
But how do you stop a cult when people do not know they are members?

One week after the two witnesses jump to their deaths, twenty letters are opened across London that all say the same thing. Later that day, the strangers all know to meet at Tower Bridge. The Teacher will jump first. The Detective will be last…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Holy guacamole! What … the …. flipping … hell … was … this?! 🤯

And breathe. 

Nothing important happened today. And even if it did, I wouldn’t remember because what little brain I have was blown to smithereens from reading Will Carver’s weird and wonderful new book. I don’t know what they put in his breakfast but it sure is providing us with the most exceptional and deliciously dark stories I’ve ever come across.

Nine strangers meet on Chelsea Bridge and jump to their deaths. Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of those witnesses will die next. The People of Choice are here and their movement is growing. It all feels like something from a cult. But how do you stop a cult when people do not know they are members? And how do you find their leader when it doesn’t look like there is one?

This is unlike anything I’ve read before, which I’m pretty sure I said about Will’s previous book too. I was all set to expect the unexpected but I was not prepared for the amount of “WTF’s” that went through my head. Fifty pages in, I was already panicking about having to write this review, wondering what the heck I was reading and how to go about convincing you to pick this one up as soon as you can. I often struggle with reviewing Orenda books but this one? This is the kind of book that makes you want to throw in the reviewer towel altogether and just admit you’re not good enough. WTF and exclamation points abuse seem to be the extent of my vocabulary. Or I could try to say it with emojis, which would look like this 🤨🤔😲🤯

As I’m sure you’ve noticed from the book descriptions, this is not the easiest of topics to tackle. Some of it is heartbreaking, a lot of it is hugely uncomfortable. Nothing Important Happened Today is one of the most dark and disturbing stories out there but it’s immensely compelling from start to finish. All the while, it manages to highlight some of the issues modern society deals with, or doesn’t deal with depending on how you look at it, and it all just pulls you in like a magnet and doesn’t let go. I couldn’t at all figure out what the heck was going on but I enjoyed every bloody single minute of this unique, suspenseful and tense ride.

You know what? I have no idea what else I’m supposed to say. Nothing Important Happened Today is an amazingly original and extremely shocking story of manipulation and a total WTF book from the highest WTF shelf. You should read it, that’s all there is to it. Thank me later.

Huge thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my proof copy!

Nothing Important Happened Today is available to buy in ebook format. The UK paperback will be published on November

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Celebrating #Orentober with Breakers by Doug Johnstone | @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks

Today I’m joining in the Orentober celebrations by re-sharing my review of the immensely thought-provoking Breakers by Doug Johnstone.

Author : Doug Johnstone
Title : Breakers
Pages : 230
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mother. On a job, his brother stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead—and the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt. 

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation, unless he drags her down, too.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Every once in a while, it really hits home how hard this reviewing malarkey can be. Especially when you come across a book like Breakers. While I was reading, I already realised there was no way any of the words I could possibly come up with would do this book justice.

Having only read Doug Johnstone’s previous book, Fault Lines, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Breakers but it soon became apparent Johnstone is seemingly somewhat of a chameleon who can seamlessly switch genres. In this case, from a dystopian novel to a psychological thriller. But not just any psychological thriller. This is one with a difference, incredibly original and with an amazing level of depth to it that you don’t always find in this genre.

Seventeen year old Tyler lives in Edinburgh with his mother and his seven year old sister. Life is hard in one of the most depraved areas of this city and Tyler is being bullied by his older half-brother into burgling houses of the more affluent residents. But one night, things go horribly wrong when a homeowner returns home unexpectedly and Tyler’s brother stabs her. Unbeknownst to them, this woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt, and he is not a man to be messed with.

This isn’t an easy story to read. It’s at times massively uncomfortable and immensely sad. Tyler’s circumstances are extremely heartbreaking and I really felt for him and everything he had to deal with on a daily basis. His love for his sister, Bean, and his fierce determination in protecting her and keeping her safe almost brought a tear to my eye. Stuck in this cycle of poverty, addiction and violence, Tyler goes out of his way to somehow create an environment of normalcy for his sister, a routine, all the while doing whatever he can to shield her from the things that are really going on around her.

A little beacon of light comes from a somewhat unlikely source when Tyler meets Flick. Flick is posh, goes to an expensive boarding school and drives a flashy car. She seems to have everything Tyler wants from life but looks can be deceiving. Watching their friendship develop was truly heartwarming. Flick sees Tyler the same way I, as the reader, did. As a young man who is good, who does good, but is also forced to do bad and unable to see a way out. 

Breakers is quite dark and gritty. It’s tense and constantly has this sense of impending doom. I kept feeling deep down this couldn’t end well but was utterly unable to see how things would turn out. Tyler is one of those characters you become completely invested in, one you’ll root for all the way. This gripping, compelling, raw, sometimes brutal and utterly thought-provoking novel will make you reel against the injustice, will make you feel helpless, will put your own life into perspective and appreciate what you have. Breakers is a story that will stay with me for quite some time to come and I’m secretly hoping for a follow-up to see what becomes of Tyler and Bean.

Breakers is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

This Week in Books (October 9)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Edinburgh, 1850. Despite being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr James Simpson – a whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances.

Simpson’s protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher are determined to clear their patron’s name. But with Raven battling against the dark side of his own nature, and Sarah endeavouring to expand her own medical knowledge beyond what society deems acceptable for a woman, the pair struggle to understand the cause of the deaths.

Will and Sarah must unite and plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets to clear Simpson’s name. But soon they discover that the true cause of these deaths has evaded suspicion purely because it is so unthinkable.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Deep in the woods of Maine, there is a dark state facility where kids, abducted from across the United States, are incarcerated. In the Institute they are subjected to a series of tests and procedures meant to combine their exceptional gifts – telepathy, telekinesis – for concentrated effect.

Luke Ellis is the latest recruit. He’s just a regular 12-year-old, except he’s not just smart, he’s super-smart. And he has another gift which the Institute wants to use…

Far away in a small town in South Carolina, former cop Tim Jamieson has taken a job working for the local Sherrif. He’s basically just walking the beat. But he’s about to take on the biggest case of his career.

Back in the Institute’s downtrodden playground and corridors where posters advertise ‘just another day in paradise’, Luke, his friend Kalisha and the other kids are in no doubt that they are prisoners, not guests. And there is no hope of escape.

But great events can turn on small hinges and Luke is about to team up with a new, even younger recruit, Avery Dixon, whose ability to read minds is off the scale. While the Institute may want to harness their powers for covert ends, the combined intelligence of Luke and Avery is beyond anything that even those who run the experiments – even the infamous Mrs Sigsby – suspect.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

My next read is subject to change because I’m once again finding myself in that mood where I read 20 pages of a book and put it back on the shelf, only to pick up another one. I’m just rolling with it.

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

Celebrating #Orentober with The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn | @OrendaBooks

Today I thought it might be nice to join in with Orentober. If you don’t know what that is, let me fill you in. For the whole month of October, Danielle and Kelly are putting the fabulous independent publisher Orenda Books in the spotlight. Everyone can join in so do feel free to do so, if you feel so inclined.

I thought I’d re-share my review of the unique and absolutely mesmerising The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn which, in my most humble opinion, isn’t talked about nearly enough.

Author : Agnes Ravatn (trs by Rosie Hedger)
Title : The Bird Tribunal
Pages : 192
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : July 30, 2016

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape.

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Sometimes you read something quite extraordinary and you have absolutely no idea how to put your thoughts into words. This, for me, is one of those times. However, I can already tell you now that if you’re looking for something a little different that you won’t forget in a hurry, then you should go and pick up a copy right now!

I have blind faith in the books that Orenda publishes and they’ve not let me down yet. But when I started reading The Bird Tribunal, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I may have added a few wrinkles to my forehead from all the frowning I was doing.

I think this is by far the oddest story I’ve ever read. Not odd in the sense of being completely weird, although there is something to be said for that as well, but more odd as in “I don’t have a bloody clue what’s going on!”. And yet, I was so enormously engrossed that I couldn’t stop reading.

I can’t even figure out what genre this belongs to. It is thriller-ish and has tons of suspense, drama and brilliant characterisation. It is gripping and engrossing and I soon found myself on quite a tense ride. This story is eerie, dark and haunting but fantastically well written and executed. There’s a threatening vibe that had me on the edge of my seat. Throughout the story, you know something’s coming but I had no idea what it was going to be.

It’s fair to say I’ve never read anything like it but I loved every word on every page. This story has made an indelible impression on me and I doubt I’ll ever forget Allis and Sigurd. Also, let’s not forget Rosie Hedger for the fabulous translation.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Weekly Wrap-Up (October 6)

I am behind on a multitude of things, including visiting your blogs, commenting, replying to comments that you’ve so kindly left on my own blog, fulfilling commitments I’ve offered to do for you and I do so apologise but life at Casa Noveldeelights is getting increasingly stressful.

Most of which, sadly, has to do with my wonderful doggie. I am still sleeping on the sofa, except at the weekend when the other half takes over. To say that I’m tired is a huge understatement. I constantly have to watch her during the day as her sight has deteriorated quite a bit and she tends to walk into the furniture. And now we have a vet appointment tomorrow because, for the first time ever, she had an epileptic fit and I don’t mind telling you that it freaked me out so much, I literally spent a good 45 minutes shaking like a bloody leaf and I’m now in a constant state of alarm, not wanting to avert my eyes from her for a single second.

All that to say, my time is really not my own lately. I am forced to do all thing bloggish from the sofa, with my laptop placed on the coffee table and it is not the most comfortable position. Mostly I guess I have chosen not to bother, even if that means missing out on sharing your fabulous blog posts or being unable to interact. Obviously, I don’t know what the future holds but I dare say that with a 15 and a half year old dog whose suddenly displaying all sorts of weird symptoms, it probably won’t be anything good and I imagine the upcoming months will bring some difficult decisions.

Thank goodness for books, eh? I don’t know what I’d do without them. Granted, I didn’t read THAT much this week but I got distracted by rewatching the tv series The Tudors, which despite two actors getting increasingly on my nerves and historical inaccuracies or typical American dramatisation, still remains a good show.

So, what did I read this past week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Brilliant books, all three of them. I’m also halfway through The Institute by Stephen King, which I’m enjoying fiercely!

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I really, really must stop buying books! Argh!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

Tuesday : September Wrap-Up

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday :

Friday :

Saturday :

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Hm. I think I dreamed up a post. I could have sworn I posted on Friday. 🤔

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Who knows. There will probably be a “week in books” on Wednesday but other than that, not a clue. I am really enjoying just reading without needing to worry about writing a review and I’m getting a hugely satisfying moment of glee every time I check my schedule and see it’s completely empty 😂

That’s a wrap, folks! Wishing you all a wonderful week. Until next time! xx

This Week in Books (October 2)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its Friday night ribbon-cutting.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe: a decapitation in Germany, a public shooting at a university in Bordeaux; in Illinois, a sports team stands around the centre circle of the football pitch and pulls the trigger of the gun pressed to the temple of the person on their right. It becomes a movement.

A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
But how do you stop a cult when people do not know they are members?

One week after the two witnesses jump to their deaths, twenty letters are opened across London that all say the same thing. Later that day, the strangers all know to meet at Tower Bridge. The Teacher will jump first. The Detective will be last…

As per usual, this list is subject to change because fickle reading mood is fickle. 🙄

Have you read any of these? Would you like to? What’s on your reading schedule this week? Do let me know. Happy reading! xx

September Wrap-Up

Well, hello there! Long time, no see! Hope you’re all well.

I didn’t plan on taking almost the entire month off but the post-holiday blues are strong and the blogging mojo is low. Not helped by coming from two weeks in glorious 30+ degrees temperatures to what is that awful time of year called Autumn. Ugh.

For those who don’t know, I spent two weeks in Umbria with gorgeous views of Lake Trasimeno. It’s a good thing we had that view to gaze at without ever getting sick of it since on the first Wednesday, I pulled a muscle in my back and was unable to move for three days. I have excellent timing, don’t you know. 🙄

Of course there was also yummy food, delicious wine, a 2 litre bottle of Limoncello that was mysteriously empty three hours later with dire consequences 😳 and I even went on a boat. Twice. Some of you will know what a big deal that is. 🤣

Bookish talk. I took 8 books with me, which the other half thought was way too ambitious. I laughed in his face, despite having only managed two books during last year’s holiday, and was determined to do better this year.

So I read one. And a half. I finished the other half when I was already back home again. Oops. Technically though, they were two books from the Shardlake series. One of 715 pages and the other one 706. So that’s three books, right? 🤔

Let us now take a look at the grand total of books yours truly has read during the entire month of September.

| BOOKS I READ IN SEPTEMBER |

What’s the word I’m looking for here? Pathetic! Absolutely and utterly pathetic! Even though technically, 🤣, the three Shardlake books count as 6, that is still a measly 7 which doesn’t sound that much better, to be honest.

Let’s just quickly move on, shall we.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT IN SEPTEMBER |

Ah, well, at least the book buying mojo still works!

| BOOKPOST WHAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS MONTH |

With thanks to Michael Joseph and Orenda Books.

I’m skipping the round-up of my blog posts from this month because there wasn’t all that much to see anyway.

And that may be a recurring theme from now on. I may have to seriously reconsider the weekly wrap-up posts I’ve been doing, although I love doing them and interacting with you guys. It’s not that I’m not reading. In fact, I’m about 100 pages away from finishing my first book of October. It’s that I can’t be bothered to review them. That’s bad, right?

On top of that, my determination to slow down with blog tours has really paid off. I currently have one review tour for October and two for November. Hence why I had the time to finally get caught up on the Shardlake series. I’m immensely looking forward to reading my own books and clearing my shelves because I’m running out of room and according to the other half, piling stacks of books on the floor in front of the bookshelves isn’t an option. 🙄

But I’m sure you see the problem here. If I’m not writing reviews, there will be no blog updates and thus no wrap-ups. Unless you’d all like to stare at a blank page every Sunday. I’m happy to oblige 😂

Anyway, we shall see. Right now, I’m perfectly happy about slowing down for a while and maybe catching up on my Netflix list for a change. Or maybe next week, I’ll be back to reading and reviewing like there’s no tomorrow and I’ll be left to wonder why I wrote all this stuff.

So, stay tuned, I guess. 😂

Hope everyone has a fabulous week and October is off to a great start for you all! See you next time and in the meantime I wish you all lots of happy reading! xx

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson (trs by @givemeawave | @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

Delighted to welcome you all to the final day of the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson. Huge thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the fab review copy and to Anne Cater for the opportunity to join the tour.

Author : Johana Gustawsson (trs by David Warriner)
Title : Blood Song
Series : Roy &. Castells #3
Pages : 272
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 19, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Spain, 1938

The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Teresa witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Teresa gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016

A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells, and they soon find themselves on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer, in an investigation that takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule…

| MY THOUGHTS |

I am broken. Good grief.

I apologise upfront for this review but words completely fail me and I can only hope that what little I say next will convince you that this book, and the rest of the series, is an absolute must-read for any crime fiction fan who also doesn’t mind being educated somewhat.

Few crime fiction series leave me feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut numerous times, wanting to curl up into a tiny ball under my duvet, but Johana Gustawsson manages it every single time. You’d think I would have learned my lesson from her previous books but apparently I hadn’t because I wasn’t all prepared for the emotional impact Blood Song would have on me.

Blood Song is the third instalment in the Roy and Castells series and it is even stronger than its predecessors, proving this series only goes from strength to strength. In Falkenberg, Sweden, a wealthy family is found murdered in their home. The hunt for the killer leads Roy and Castells right back to the terror of Franco’s regime in Spain.

Cue some of the most harrowing chapters I’ve ever read in my life! I wasn’t at all familiar with this devastating period in Spanish history and it made me feel remarkably uncomfortable to realise that it actually wasn’t all that long ago. I don’t want to give anything away, obviously, but I will say that some events are extremely brutal, disturbing and dark and I have no doubt whatsoever that these chapters will haunt me forever.

As if that wasn’t enough, Johana Gustawsson also tackles the topic of inferitily and the measures some people will go to to obtain what Mother Nature is denying them, while also laying bare the unscrupulous side of infertility clinics.

Basically, Blood Song left me utterly reeling and feeling completely heartbroken. I don’t have the words to do this story justice at all. It is devastating and yet, there is also a tiny glimmer of hope and a sense of empowerment of women who have dealt with the worst of the worst.

Johana Gustawsson is a remarkable talent and I continue to be absolutely impressed by the way she manages to combine modern crime fiction with some of history’s most shocking eras and the atrocious things humans are capable of. I can’t recommend this powerful read and this entire series enough and I absolutely can’t wait for more! And as always, shout-out to David Warriner for the seamless translation!

Blood Song is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production.

Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons. She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.

In The Absence of Miracles by Michael Malone | @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for In The Absence of Miracles by Michael Malone today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the fabulous review copy and to Anne Cater for the opportunity to join the tour.

Author : Michael Malone
Title : In The Absence of Miracles
Pages : 300
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 19, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood. For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about.

A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Michael Malone is an author who is not afraid to tackle the tough topics, the ones that are still somewhat of a taboo and not talked about enough, the ones that are often hard to read and make you feel uncomfortable. If you’ve read A Suitable Lie, then you know this. So, how much further could Michael Malone push that discomfort limit, you wonder? Well, quite a bit, as it turns out.

John Docherty seems like your everyday guy, dealing with everyday issues. His mother has just been moved into a nursing home and John has no option but to sell the family home to pay for the costs. But when he starts packing up the house, he stumbles upon a box which reveals a massive family secret. It looks like John had a brother. A brother who disappeared when John himself was a toddler. A brother who was never talked about again and one John can’t remember at all. What happened to this brother? John’s journey to find out reveals far more than he bargained for.

In The Absence of Miracles is one of those books that doesn’t fit neatly into just one genre. It’s part domestic noir, it’s a whole lot of suspense, it’s a bit crime thriller-ish and offers tremendous psychological insight as well. And at the centre of it all, is one of the most dysfunctional families you’ll ever meet, with characters that are put through the wringer and the reader right alongside with them. I must say I wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact this story would have on me.

As always, there is way more to this story than you’d first expect because that is something this author does extremely well. There are multiple layers that need to be unraveled, pieces of the puzzle that need to be fitted together and a mystery to solve. Throughout it all, I often vacillated from anger to sadness to frustration and back again, and ended up feeling quite drained at the end of it all and in desperate need of something fluffy.

Sometimes shocking, always haunting and immensely compelling, In The Absence of Miracles is another stroke of genius from Michael Malone. Extremely dark with a tough topic, albeit it done with the utmost sensitivity, John’s story is bound to stay with you for a long, long time. Michael Malone is one of those authors who always delivers and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

In The Absence of Miracles is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotlandand Markings

Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s CallA Taste for MaliceThe Guillotine ChoiceBeyond the Rage;The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit.

A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.