One Way Ticket to Paris by Emma Robinson @emmarobinsonuk @bookouture #NetGalley #bookreview #blogblitz

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to the first day of the blog blitz for One Way Ticket to Paris by Emma Robinson! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invite and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Emma Robinson
Title : One Way Ticket to Paris
Pages : 279
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 31, 2018

aboutthebook

When I was a kid and I’d lost something, my dad always said ‘Go back to the place you last had it’. The problem is that what I’ve lost is… me.

Kate loves her family more than anything, but recently she has started to feel invisible. Lying awake at three a.m. as her husband snores, panicking about shopping lists, birthday parties, and the school bake sale…

She finds herself in the kitchen, gulping water, staring at a postcard of the Eiffel Tower from Shannon, her best friend.

Paris, with its red wine, slippery cobbles and curly lampposts. Where the scent of freshly-baked croissants hangs in the air, and Kate last remembers feeling like herself.

The postcard is a year old. It has just one line on it: When are you coming?

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I’m sure many of us are familiar with sleepless nights, when the brain just won’t shut down long enough for you to relax, when you maybe start to feel a little punchy and even the most stupid idea suddenly seems like the best one ever.

It is during such a sleepless night that Kate realises she’s lost her way. Married to Luke and a stay-at-home mum to two children, she seems to have forgotten who she truly is. Her dad always told her that when you lost something, you needed to go back to the place where you last had it. So to find herself again, Kate books a one way ticket to Paris to see her best friend, Shannon.

Shannon is having problems of her own though and Kate couldn’t have picked a worse weekend to show up unannounced. Because Shannon suddenly finds herself in a position she’s desperately been trying to avoid. On the Eurostar to Paris, Kate meets Laura and thus, the scene is set for a memorable weekend.

These three women find themselves at a crossroads in their lives. Feelings need to be discussed, secrets need to come out in the open and decisions must be made. One Way Ticket to Paris is a wonderfully entertaining story about love, friendship and how sometimes in the midst of the chaos life throws at us, all you need is some time to just breathe and be yourself again.

This isn’t exactly the type of genre I normally go for but I do enjoy Emma Robinson’s writing. Her characters always come across realistic and believable and I have no doubt some of the things Kate, Shannon and Laura deal with are entirely relatable to some readers. From men with commitment phobias, to dealing with pushy mums at your children’s schools yapping on about bake sales and the like, to not having a minute to yourself, which means a clean and quiet bathroom in a hotel suddenly feels like paradise on earth.

With a few chuckles along the way, likeable characters to sympathise with and root for and a healthy dose of romance, this feel-good story is sure to warm your hearts.

One Way Ticket to Paris is out today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Emma Robinson thinks of herself as one of the ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – who are now grown up and having children – and writes novels for women who feel the same.

She also has a blog, Motherhood for Slackers, which takes a humorous look at parenthood, and includes poems such as ‘Dear Teacher’ about her son starting school which has been shared around the world. Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.

Author links : Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website

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The Little Orphan Girl by Sandy Taylor

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Author : Sandy Taylor
Title : The Little Orphan Girl
Pages : 358
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : September 24, 2018

aboutthebook

Ireland, 1901: For as long as six-year-old Cissy Ryan can remember, she has been a workhouse girl. Living amongst the other orphan boys and girls, dreaming of a family that might come and choose her for their own.

But the day her real mammy finally comes to claim her is not how Cissy imagined. An unfamiliar woman takes her to a tumbledown cottage in the rural Irish countryside to meet her gruff granddaddy. Settling into the isolated and poverty-stricken village is tough. But Cissy’s blossoming friendship with Colm Doyle and his horse Blue show Cissy the kindness and laughter is possible, even in the hardest of times.

As Cissy grows up, she finds that the world around her is ever changing. When she goes to work at prestigious Bretton Hall, she begins to realise that not everyone has an honest heart…

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We first meet Cissy Ryan when, at the age of six, she leaves a workhouse holding the hand of a woman claiming to be her mammy. The workhouse for orphans is the only home Cissy has ever known and her mammy isn’t quite the kind of mother she expected. In fact Cissy was sure her name was Martha and she didn’t even have a mammy. Nevertheless, Cissy moves in with her mammy and her grandfather, a grumpy old man, in a tiny cottage. Life is suddenly very different but there is a silver lining and his name is Colm Doyle.

From these humble beginnings, we follow Cissy as she grows up and goes out into the world to work at prestigious Breton Hall. Here Cissy learns all about the divide between the poor and the rich and that some people aren’t honest or even nice. Their sense of entitlement is remarkable as they go through life without a care in the world for the people who work for them or their circumstances.

Cissy is an absolutely delightful character and I warmed to her immediately, even though she sometimes came across as a little too good to be true and quite naive. Growing up in early 1900’s Ireland was tough and I feel the author really brought that era to life. From poverty to prejudice to the stigma attached to unwed mothers, these weren’t exactly happy times.

The Little Orphan Girl is a beautifully written, though not entirely surprising, historical fiction story about family, love and friendship. Full of wonderful characters, it will have you rooting for them all the way and wishing for a happy ending. Despite the certain level of predictability and the fact that I quite prefer my historical fiction with a bit more depth to it, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Cissy and following her on her journey.

The Little Orphan Girl is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck @HeidiAmsinck1 @MuswellPress @Mono80 #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #extract #excerpt

Good morning and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join.

Last Train to Helsingør is a collection of scandi-noir short stories and today, I have an extract of one of those stories to share with you but first, here is the all-important bookish information.

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Author : Heidi Amsinck
Title : Last Train to Helsingør
Pages : 216
Publisher : Muswell Press
Publication date : February, 2018

aboutthebook

Copenhagen is a mysterious city where strange and sinister things often happen. Menacing and at times darkly humorous there are echoes of Roald Dahl and Daphne du Maurier in these stories, many of which have been specially commissioned for Radio 4.

From the commuter who bitterly regrets falling asleep on a late-night train in Last Train to Helsingør, to the mushroom hunter prepared to kill to guard her secret in The Chanterelles of Østvig.

Here, the land of ‘hygge’ becomes one of twilight and shadows, as canny antique dealers and property sharks get their comeuppance at the handsof old ladies in Conning Mrs Vinterberg, and ghosts go off-script in The Wailing Girl.

extract

Room Service,
a story from the collection Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck

Introducing the story:

A blizzard sweeps across Copenhagen. Warm and secure in the hotel kitchen, Bent spends his night shift as he always does, mostly drunk, mostly asleep – until a peculiar call from the hotel’s penthouse suite disturbs him from his boozy slumbers. 

***

“Bent had finished most of the bottle and was nodding off in the head chef’s chair when the ringing began. He stared at the telephone on the desk in front of him, but the ringing was coming from further away, an old-fashioned sound he had never heard before.

He emerged unsteadily from the cubicle into the gleaming white of the kitchen, scratching his head. 

Perhaps it was coming from reception? He knew the night manager had not been able to come in because of the snow. 

Whoever it was sounded impatient. As soon as the ringing stopped, it started again.

He went through the corridor with the red carpet gingerly, for the long-dead dignitaries observing him from their frames on the wall made him uncomfortable. He wasn’t supposed to stray from the kitchen.

But the ringing was not coming from reception. The light was turned down low, the room deserted and silent. 

Bent pressed his forehead against the door to the street, breathing vodka mist onto the window pane and drawing a face with his finger.

The snow was heavy in the cone of street light. There was no sound but the wind. No cars outside, no buses, no people, just a silvery penumbra rimmed by darkness, the buildings across the square as obscure as a distant forest.

It must have been the wind he heard, whistling around the corners of the hotel. That was the trouble with the drink, you couldn’t trust your ears, your own eyes. He yawned, scratched the stubble on his scalp, and headed back to the kitchen.

On the radio they were talking about the blizzard as though it were the end of the world. Not since 1978, they said, had the country seen snow like it. 

He had just settled back down when the ringing started again. He swore under his breath, switched off the radio and listened hard, hands behind his ears: he heard the water gurgling in the ancient pipes, the humming of the giant fridge, the dripping tap in the pastry section, but still he could not place the sound. 

A thought came to him. There was bound to be a telephone in the dining room, though who could be ringing it at this time of night, in this weather?

The room was vast, and the empty chairs seemed to glare at him disapprovingly, making him nervous. Snow was trickling down the window panes, drawing strange patterns on the walls, the white tablecloths and the arched ceiling with the artificial sky. Blue light twinkled in the chandeliers, the crystal glasses and the silver, as though the entire room were under water. Bent had to lean over for a while, with his elbows resting on his knees.

In the end, he found the telephone in the pantry, next to the dumbwaiter they no longer used. It was an old-fashioned telephone mounted on the wall with a sign above it saying Penthouse. It began to ring again, urgently, as he stood there looking at it. Bent did not know the hotel had a penthouse. 

Hesitantly, he lifted the receiver. ‘Hello?’

The voice on the other end was faint, scratchy and female, barely audible over the yapping dog in the background. It reminded Bent of something, lost in the depths of his memory.

‘I wish to place an order, and make it quick.’”

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If this has whet your appetite and you’d like to read more, Last Train to Helsingør is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Heidi Amsinck, a writer and journalist born in Copenhagen, spent many years covering Britain for the Danish press, including a spell as London Correspondent for the broadsheet daily Jyllands- Posten. She has written numerous short stories for radio, including the three-story sets Danish Noir, Copenhagen Confidential and Copenhagen Curios, all produced by Sweet Talk for BBC Radio 4, which are included in this collection .

A graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, Heidi lives in Surrey. She was previously shortlisted for the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. Last Train to Helsingor is her first published collection of stories.

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Weekly Wrap-Up (October 28)

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Strap yourselves in for the most awesome weekly wrap-up ever! And by awesome, I mean boring. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! It’s going to be wild!

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Books I’ve read this week

Get ready!

Boom!

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Yes, that’s right.

One.

Need a moment to let that sink in? It’s okay. I understand. I’ll wait.

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We talked about it on last week’s wrap-up. (By the way, apologies for replying to your comments so late!) I just knew this reading slump was around the corner so I’ve been doing what I had planned to do in December. I watched The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, spent a massive amount of time on YouTube and just generally had a blast. Shout-out to Karen, Janel, Kate, Rachel and Zoë for the laughter this week. Reading slumps do not need to be a big drama. Yes, I’m getting in trouble with my schedule but it is what it is. And when you’ve picked up and started five books, only to put them down again after barely 20 pages, it’s time to admit defeat and do something else.


Books I’ve bought this week

Well.

Nothing.

Hm. Do you think there might be something wrong me? 🤔

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ARC’s received via Netgalley

Two for blog tours, two I was invited to view.


Bookpost that landed on my doorstep this past week

Apart from two pre-orders (The Reckoning by John Grisham and Tombland by C.J. Sansom), this lovely ditty arrived. The book obviously, not the bear. With thanks to No Exit Press! And a few other things but I’ve been seriously slacking on taking pictures and updating Instagram. This slump is clearly all-encompassing.

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On the blog this past week

Wednesday : Joined the blog tour for Closer by K.L. Slater

Thursday : Hosted stops on the blog tours for The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond and Love Punked by Nia Lucas

Friday : Closed down the blog tour for The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers

So weird.

Next week on Novel Deelights

Monday : Blog tour | Extract | The Last Train to Helsingor by Heidi Amsinck

Tuesday : Don’t know 😄

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | One Way Ticket to Paris by Emma Robinson

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Keep Your Friends Close by June Taylor

Friday : Not a clue

Saturday : Possibly nothing

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up (which will hopefully be way more exciting than this one!)

Why yes, I do still need to read those blog tour books. Oops. 🙄

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Question of the week : This week’s question is all about re-reading books. Quite a few of you mentioned last week how re-reading an old favourite might sometimes avoid a reading slump. Re-reading is a completely unfamiliar concept to me. I’ve never read a book twice in my life. But I am actually gearing up to do so next week with The Hobbit.

So, are you a re-reader? Does it take a certain book? What I mean is, if you take one of those psychological thrillers with a twist you won’t see coming (groan 🙄), surely that’s not worthy of a re-read? Because you know what’s coming, right?

For me, yes, I watched The Hobbit this past week and I read the book many, many moons ago so I remember very little about it and I think it will be interesting to read it again now, being older although possibly not wiser, and make comparisons with the movie along the way.

What sort of books lend themselves to being re-read? The classics? Anything and everything? Is there a book you’ve read more than twice? What is it about it that makes you keep coming back to it? Does it ever freak you that there are so many other books you’ve never read and may not get to now? 😄

Let’s discuss!

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And that’s it this week. Treat yourself to something nice or yummy for sitting through this entire post. 😂

Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

 

The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers @steph2rogers1 @BooksManatee @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour #TheDarkPlace

Welcome to the final day of the blog tour for The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

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Author : Stephanie Rogers
Title : The Dark Place
Pages : 266
Publisher : Manatee Books
Publication date : September 27, 2018

aboutthebook

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

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Oooh, this is a dark one! You know, in case the title didn’t give you a clue. 😉

When Issy takes her own life, her parents’ lives are turned upside down. Not only do they need to deal with their grief, but they’re also raising Issy’s young son. Jon and Mel don’t for a second believe Issy would leave little Noah behind and they are determined to discover what really happened to her. Did she really commit suicide or was it an accident? And if she did mean to die, why? It soon becomes apparent Mel and Jon didn’t really know their daughter at all.

I must say this didn’t at all turn out the way I expected it to but that was a good thing! For some reason, I was thinking this story would be predictable and it really isn’t. I soon found myself fascinated by the family dynamics, watching Mel and Jon deal with their grief in their own ways and wondering how things would develop and if their lives would fall apart completely. But it’s not just Issy’s parents that are affected. There are an aunt and uncle, cousins and a lorry driver who was present at the scene where Issy died.

I wasn’t at all prepared for the range of emotions I went through reading The Dark Place. From anger and a sense of disbelief to having a massive lump in my throat and shock. The kind where you just have to sit back for a minute and go “shiiiiiiiit”. The journey Mel and Jon go on to find out the truth about their daughter isn’t a pleasant one. Issy was hiding some incredibly dark and disturbing secrets. Some of the sensitive topics may be uncomfortable to some readers. But I felt the author did a fabulous job tackling them.

This is a gripping, compelling and intense story about family, loss, grief and how well we know the people that are closest to us. It’s a harrowing read for sure and it had me second-guessing everything and everyone. This is a tense and sadly all too believable scenario and I will definitely not be forgetting Issy’s story in a hurry. What a remarkable debut from Stephanie Rogers.

The Dark Place is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UKGoodreads

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Love Punked by Nia Lucas #BooksNia @rararesources #blogtour #LovePunked #YA #YoungAdult #guestpost

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Love Punked by Nia Lucas today! My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me along. Nia joins me on the blog today to share what she would tell her teenage self if she could. But first, here is what Love Punked is all about!

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Author : Nia Lucas
Title : Love Punked
Pages : 438
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : July 21, 2018

aboutthebook

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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One of the greatest things about writing, one of my absolute favourite parts of the luxurious creation of worlds and people who have only lived in your head until fingertip prods key, is the fact that parts of your own world can be woven secretly and seamlessly into the fabric of the thing you create. I love the ‘Secret Squirrel’ part of writing, dropping flakes of truth into the casserole of fiction, changing the flavour without anyone being able to put their finger on what exactly the ingredient was. I like to chuckle like a moron when the people who know me best raise an eyebrow and murmur, “Isn’t that bit about that time when you……?”. Simple pleasures. 

Yet this truth sprinkling brings with it reflection and on occasion, pain and sorrow for things gone by. It also brings smirks, snorts and eye-rolling embarrassment and on that note, I have some advice to share.

Lessons from a misspent 90’s youth: Things I wish I’d tell my teenage self.

  1. If you are in Clair’s Accessories, back away. Find the exit. Now. Coating yourself in pink, sparkly tat will not transform you into an ironic, Courtney Love-esque sophisticate. Nope. You will look like a tit. A tit in a cheap plastic tiara but a tit nonetheless. 
  1. That undercut and those baggy black jeans with the massive red pockets on your bum will not make you look cool. You will look like a follically-challenged baboon. 
  1. Instead of allocating two hours a day to experimenting with ‘Berry Spice’ lipstick on the off-chance that you will bump into the lads from the band ‘Jesus Jones’ in Swindon town centre, spend those hours on revising your German vocab. You will never meet ‘Jesus Jones’, they will disappear into obscurity but you will get stuck in a Prague Police station with some passive-aggressive officers a few years down the line and decent German might prevent that trip to the British Consulate at 2am. 
  1. Your figure is incredible. Genuinely incredible. Wear as many crop tops, bikinis and hotpants as you can. Stop worrying about your legs or your belly because in twenty years time, as you stare down the barrel of an ankle-to-neck Spanx bodysuit (into which you will become wedged and have to be wrestled out of by your inebriated best mate in truly tiny toilets), you will weep tears of bitter regret for the immaculate teenage figure that you never appreciated. Wear anything. You have the figure for it. Bloody babies will destroy it soon enough. 
  1. Be so, so careful girl. In an ill advised escapade, you meet two lads, two incredibly funny, damaged and dangerous boys, who lure you into a world you inhabit oh-so-briefly but one which you never forget. These boys disappear into the cogs of the Criminal Justice System, evaporating from your life like ghosts but it’s their haunting that leads you to write your first book twenty years later. Be careful. Be safe. Listen to the voice in your head because she’s pretty sound (although ignore all of her tips on clothing choices).  
  1. You were entirely right all along, your suspicions spot on. You really do never need to use vectors outside of Mrs. Spinks’ Maths classroom. Absolute waste of your time. Spend your time learning how to jump start a car instead. You will need those skills.
  1. You will never regret being voluntarily teetotal. Not once. You’ll be tested on this decision, innumerable times in the coming years but stay strong. You will be the girl who has the best nights out, whose sobriety inhibits her craziness not a jot and she remembers every bloody minute of it. Thanks to that lucidity, you will also be the girl with the most incredible blackmail material against your mates. Carry on.
  1. Don’t bother with the driving lessons. Spend the cash on that AMAZING lace dress with the coordinating UV bra and hotpants that you will eternally regret not buying. Driving lessons are a waste of your time until you are 21. Why? Because you are a complete and absolute liability on the road, you fail innumerable tests (one of which is failed because you crash into the Test Centre wall with the examiner screaming beside you) and you only get a clue a few years down the line. GET THE DRESS INSTEAD.
  1. That rave in Milton Keynes is a truly terrible idea. You end up in Leicester at 2am aged sixteen, you have no money, you get so close to being found out by your parents that even now, the memory makes you sweaty and you are lucky not to have ended up as a Crimewatch Special. DO NOT GO. You still owe that Policeman a box of chocolates by the way. 
  1. Love every bloody minute of being a teenager in the 90’s. There are these things now called Mobile Phones which are surgically attached to people’s hands. They have cameras built into them. Which people take on every night out. Can. You. Imagine. You will forever feel gratitude that you are an Xennial, whose misspent youth is undocumented. You’re safe. Well, you were……..in about 2016 you decide to start writing books…….you’d better watch yourself madam, nothing stays secret for long……..

[Some truly wonderful lessons to be learned there. I can definitely relate to the last one. I often think those of us who grew up before all the gadgets and social media were very, very lucky indeed. Thanks so much for this fab post, Nia, and good luck with Love Punked!]

abouttheauthor

I am a UK based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.

Author links : BlogFacebook | InstagramTwitter

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The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond @GaryRaymond_ #blogtour #guestpost #TheGoldenOrphans #damppebblestours

It’s an absolute pleasure to join the blog tour for The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond today! My thanks to Emma Walton for the invitation to join the tour!

Gary Raymond joins me today to talk about what he thinks makes a good literary thriller. But first, here is all you need to know about The Golden Orphans.

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Author : Gary Raymond
Title : The Golden Orphans
Pages : 155
Publisher : Parthian Books
Publication date : June 30, 2018 (ebook)

aboutthebook

Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…

Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…

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Gary Raymond’s new novel, THE GOLDEN ORPHANS, a dark, twisting thriller set on the island of Cyprus, has been getting great reviews so far. Here he writes about what he thinks makes a good “literary thriller”?

For a start, let’s not get bogged down too much in the terms of reference. We all know, in a roundabout sort of way, that “literary” means you’re getting something more than just a simple thrill ride, more than a series of set-pieces designed to make your head spin and your heart pound. (Nothing wrong with either of those things, by the way). And “thriller” doesn’t just mean “to thrill”, but that there are certain genre-defined expectations. That’s what those two terms mean to me, anyway. So from a writer’s point of view, I went into THE GOLDEN ORPHANS wanting to hit those two marks. THE GOLDEN ORPHANS is about ideas that preoccupy me as a writer, and, away from writing (if that is possible) things that just preoccupy me as a person (same thing, really). Genre tropes might mean structural conservatism, but it can also mean you have a stable framework within which you can really shake things up. And so THE GOLDEN ORPHANS both follows certain lines familiar to thriller readers, but also then throws in some serious twists and turns. 

The premise – that a down-on-his-luck painter goes to Cyprus for the funeral of a friend and gets mixed up with the Russian mafia – is part of a tradition in British writing of “the Englishman abroad”. Graham Greene was a big influence on this book, and he used that idea time and time again as he used his own experiences of being that Englishman abroad to craft fictional stories. (I have done the same thing, really – I lived in Cyprus for six months in 2006, and this was the basis for my book). 

There are also other tropes in the book – red herrings, femme fatales, clandestine operations going in etc. (there are many more) – and I really enjoyed employing them. Graham Greene’s masterpiece of this type, THE POWER AND THE GLORY (1940), is a snappy little novel about faith and betrayal and what it means to have a relationship with God, all wrapped up in the garments of a chase story. And it is just that. A corrupt and obsessive police chief chases the last catholic priest in a mid-purge Mexico across the country. But inside that tension, that rawness, is a book about human frailty, and human strength.

In THE GOLDEN ORPHANS, I wanted to do what Greene had done, and find a way to excite the reader, to be cinematically urgent, while at the same time not letting up on the fact literature is the greatest space in which to explore ideas. And so my narrator is caught up in intrigue, and there are a few gunfights, and there are villains, and building moments of peril leading to a (hopefully) big pay off at the end – but he is also discovering things about himself and the world around him, about his relationship to others, about what it’s like to live in a society that operates under a shadow (in this case the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974), and what such a shadow can do to a country. 

That’s what a “literary thriller” does – it excites, but it also attempts to contribute to ideas, to thinking, and to debates. I hope THE GOLDEN ORPHANS has managed to hit those two marks.

[I’d say the many good reviews you’ve been receiving so far, Gary, must mean you’re doing something right! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and I wish you the best of luck with The Golden Orphans and whatever project is next for you!]

The Golden Orphans is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Nook | Waterstones | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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Closer by K.L. Slater @KimLSlater @bookouture #bookreview #Closer #NetGalley

It’s always a pleasure to join a blog blitz for one of K.L. Slater’s books! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley. Here is what Closer is all about!

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Author : K.L. Slater
Title : Closer
Pages : 331
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 24, 2018

aboutthebook

I know my daughter better than I know myself and if there’s one thing I know for sure at this moment: it’s that Maisie is not ok.

My ex-husband Shaun and I are still friends.
We would do anything for our beautiful little girl, Maisie.
But now Shaun has moved in with Joanne and suddenly, Maisie has a brand new family.
And there’s something not quite right about it…I know Joanne isn’t everything she says she is. Yet no-one will listen.
I need to discover what she’s hiding.
Because if I don’t, my daughter will be in terrible danger.

mythoughts

And the award for some of the most unlikeable and infuriating characters ever goes to …. well, pretty much everyone involved in this story except for ten year old Maisie. I dare you to read this and not feel incredibly sorry for her. I just wanted to wrap her up in great big bear hug and keep her safe from harm.

Emma and her husband are separated but still live in the same house for the benefit of their young daughter. Everything seems to be going well until Shaun falls in love with Emma’s boss, Joanne. Talk about making things complicated. But the person suffering the most in these new circumstances is ten year old Maisie. It becomes clear to Emma quite quickly that her daughter is not okay. But who’s responsible for the change in Maisie?

This is quite the slow burner. For the longest time, it felt as if little was actually happening when in fact, the scene is set perfectly for what is to come. With references to events from both Emma’s and Joanne’s past and flashback chapters by an unknown character, K.L. Slater kept me guessing until the end about how things were connected or how they would pan out. There are some incredibly dark secrets to unravel and the tension builds up slowly to quite the shocking conclusion.

Did I mention the unlikeable characters? Joanne irked me from the moment she was introduced to me. And let’s not even waste words on her dreadful daughter, Piper. However, the one I wanted to slap fiercely more than anything was Maisie’s father, Shaun. Either he’s ridiculously oblivious, blind or just stupid. I haven’t quite decided on that bit just yet. I do know he was utterly infuriating.

Full of suspense, this had me hooked from start to finish. Although I must admit it has left me with a few unanswered questions, making me think I missed something along the way. I’ve come to expect solid psychological thrillers from K.L. Slater and this one is no different. In a genre that’s often up and down, K.L. Slater manages to remain absolutely consistent!

So is Emma a reliable narrator or just paranoid? What’s lurking in Joanne’s past? Will Shaun open his eyes? But more than anything, will Maisie go back to the wonderful girl she used to be? If you want to know the answer to these questions, there’s only one thing to do.

Buy your copy of Closer right now as it’s published today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents and a book deal which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer, has one grown-up daughter, Francesca, and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

She also writes award-winning YA fiction for Macmillan Children’s Books, writing as Kim Slater.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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Weekly Wrap-Up (October 21)

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I’m sure you’re all glad to know I’ve had a much better week than last time. Staying away from social media really helps. Who knew?!

The weather is still incredibly mild for this time of year. Yes, the leaves are falling and yes, it feels quite crisp in the early morning. But I also still have lovely flowers blooming in my garden and I’m still only wearing the two layers, whereas normally around this time of year that would be three. At least. 😂

I’ve also been trying to mix up what I read a bit more since I’ve actually been able to for a bit, as I have committed to less blog tours for a change. This has also very much brought home the need to make a change. Finally, I hear you say 😄. But yes, I had almost forgotten what it’s like to just read for fun as opposed to reading to a deadline and my determination to take on less tours has only grown.

So, what I have read this week?

Books I’ve read this week

Tear Me Apart will not be reviewed as I was incredibly disappointed with that one. It surprised me as I really enjoyed J.T. Ellison’s previous book. I’m on the tour for The Lingering in late November so you have a bit of a wait for that review but it’s fabulous! And I really, really enjoyed Dracul as well so look out for that review. At some point. 😉


Books I’ve 
bought this week

Requires a bit of an explanation. Technically, Keeper and A House of Ghosts were pre-orders. However, they never arrived as my carrier sent the package back because it had been damaged. After receiving a refund, I had to buy them again. So they don’t count.

For the eagle-eyed among you, yes, The Wicked Boy is a non-fiction book. Which has been added to my ever-growing list of buddy reads with Janel at Keeper of Pages.


ARC’s received via Netgalley

One for a blog tour, one not for a blog tour but for that same list of buddy reads I mentioned above.


Bookpost what landed on my doorstep this past week

Why, yes, I did read those immediately. I was far too excited to leave them on my shelf. With thanks to Orenda Books and Transworld.


On the blog this past week

Ah, a quiet one. I regret nothing 😂

Monday : Kicked off the blog tour for the fabulous The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul

Tuesday : Nothing!

Wednesday : Shared my Week in Books

Thursday : Zilch!

Friday : Shared my publication day review for Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons

Saturday : Nada!

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Bet you can’t remember the last time that happened! Neither can I. 😄


Next week on Novel Deelights

Can I keep things up?

Monday : Nothing planned.

Tuesday : There may be a review but it’s not written yet so who knows.

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | Closer by K.L. Slater

Thursday : Blog tour | Guest post | Love Funked by Nia Lucas
Thursday : Blog tour | Guest post | The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers

Saturday : Nothing

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Okay, well, not as quiet as last week and I accidentally double booked as well. 🙄

Still, baby steps, eh? 😂

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Question of the week : Reading slumps. We all have them. As you know I had a massive one while on holiday. A time when I usually read close to 15 books. But this time around managed barely two. I’m still not over that 😂.

So, what do you do when you’re in a reading slump? When you pick up book after book and within the first five pages decide it’s just not working for you. When suddenly doing household chores seems like the most fun thing to do. Do you just go off and find something else to do? Do you stubbornly persist and hope that, even if it takes going through 50 books, you’ll finally find one to settle on? Do you aim for a Best Drama Oscar and declare your life is over?

I would normally go on a Netflix binge or catch up on tv shows (I’m looking at you, Supernatural!) or watch older shows and movies again on DVD like Game of Thrones. I’ve been meaning to watch The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies for months but there’s that pesky thing called “lack of time”. I am determined to do this in December and I’m so looking forward to it.

And that’s it for another week! Wishing you all a great one and lots of happy reading! xx

Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture #bookreview #mustread #recommended #FatalPromise #publicationday #NetGalley

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Author : Angela Marsons
Title : Fatal Promise
Series : DI Kim Stone #9
Pages : 385
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 19, 2018

aboutthebook

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, DetectiveKim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident.

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?

mythoughts

If you’ve been following my reviews, then it should no longer be a secret that I am a massive fan of Angela Marson’s DI Kim Stone series and as soon as the opportunity comes my way to read a new instalment, I immediately drop whatever it is I’m doing and start reading.

But when it comes to writing these reviews, I always find myself at a loss for words because it seems I’ve used them all before. Corker, belter, humdinger, wow, whoa, you have to read this, buy it now! Quite frankly, I’m not sure what more I can add.

In Fatal Promisethe team is dealing with the aftermath of events from the previous book that I won’t mention in case you haven’t read it yet (therapy still available for those who are struggling 😉). The team dynamics are shifting and the arrival of a new colleague, whom despite totally feeling like an intruder I couldn’t help sympathising with, doesn’t exactly go smoothly. But there is work to be done and Kim and her team are going to have to find a way to work together.

There are two cases to solve, which I absolutely love. It feels more realistic somehow. The main case is an exciting race against time. There’s a killer on a mission and once again Angela Marsons somehow manages to put me in the slightly uncomfortable position of almost sympathising with them. Their pain is almost palpable and it made me feel like giving them a big hug. Which is just utterly wrong! Meanwhile, Stacy is devoting every moment of her spare time on investigating a case of a missing girl, which is also completely heartbreaking. This is what I love so much about this series. The opportunity to explore the psychology behind certain characters’ actions is incredibly fascinating and compelling. Apart from loving this team to bits, it’s the complex characters that keep me coming back for more.

I say it with every Kim Stone book and I’m going to say it again this time around. Here comes. Best … one … yet! These characters are like family. They hurt, I hurt. They smile, I smile. They get on my nerves, I want to slap them. But more than anything, I feel Angela Marsons’ writing keeps improving as well. This is the ninth book in a series and it is still as engrossing as the very first one. There are no signs of slacking off or of sticking to some proven formula. Angela Marsons has no qualms whatsoever about taking her team right to the edge. Or over it.

Fatal Promise is a tense, addictive and incredibly compelling serial killer thriller and another absolutely fabulous addition to this series. Like I said at the start : corker, belter, humdinger! In case you wondered, I loved it and you have to read this series now! Bring on book 10!

Bonus points for using the word “discombobulating”. One of my favourite words and a feeling I often end up with when reading a DI Kim Stone book.

My thanks to Bookouture for the review copy!

Fatal Promise is published TODAY! Happy publication day, Angela! xx

Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads