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

Flowers over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti | @orionbooks @wnbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Flowers over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti today. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Ilaria Tuti
Title : Flowers over the Inferno
Series : Teresa Battaglia #1
Pages : 360
Publisher : Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication date : February 7, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

In a quiet village surrounded by ancient woods and the imposing Italian Alps, a man is found naked with his eyes gouged out. It is the first in a string of gruesome murders.

Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, a detective with a background in criminal profiling, is called to investigate. Battaglia is in her mid-sixties, her rank and expertise hard-won from decades of battling for respect in the male-dominated Italian police force. While she’s not sure she trusts the young city inspector assigned to assist her, she sees right away that this is no ordinary case: buried deep in these mountains are whispers of a dark and dangerous history, possibly tied to a group of eight-year-old children toward whom the killer seems to gravitate.

As Teresa inches closer to the truth, she must also confront the possibility that her body and mind, worn down by age and illness, may fail her before the chase is over.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Well, this is a novel experience. After all the Scandi-Noir that’s flooding onto the crime fiction market, Flowers Over The Inferno leaves Scandinavia far behind and takes us south. To Italy, as a matter of fact. Although, the setting is in the Alps so you know, it’s still cold and there’s still snow. But still.

There we meet Detective Teresa Battaligia. If you’re a wee tired of the stereotypical detective in your crime fiction, you’ll absolutely love Teresa. She’s not your average spring chicken being as she’s in her sixties, slightly overweight, definitely a diabetic and also struggling with some other health issues she’s not yet quite ready to face when we first meet her. But Teresa has decades of experience, knows a thing or two about profiling, and is an indomitable force to be reckoned with.

A naked man is found dead in the forest with his eyes gouged out. Teresa’s instincts immediately tell her this is no ordinary case but can she catch the killer before they strike again? A young city inspector, Marini, is assigned to her team to help out but Teresa isn’t sure about him. Despite Marini’s various attempts to win over his new boss, she seems to think he’s the most incompetent person ever.

Most of the action plays itself out in the present day but we also get glimpses into events from the past that are rather harrowing from the get-go. I don’t want to say anything else about that but suffice to say someone’s dark and tragic past will heavily influence the present. These bits of information are fed to the reader throughout the story, always immensely enticing but not giving away too much information so I was trying insanely hard to pick up clues somewhere along the way and true to form, failing miserably. It’s not the easiest of topics and in a somewhat odd way, I was left to sympathise with the wrong characters.

Flowers over the Inferno is intense, gripping and incredibly addictive. It’s easy to see why this introduction to Teresa Battaglia was the biggest debut of last year in Italy. It’s not only the investigation into the murder that keeps the reader’s attention, it’s also the fabulous character that is Teresa herself. While her health may make her vulnerable, she refuses to give in, which makes her someone to be admired and someone you root for.

This is the first instalment in a trilogy and I absolutely can’t wait for the next book and an opportunity to catch up with Teresa again.

Flowers over the Inferno is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

ILARIA TUTI lives in Friuli, in the far north-eastern part of Italy. FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO, her debut novel and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy, was a top 10 bestseller on publication and the biggest debut of 2018 in Italy.

The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald @DMacDonaldAuth @bookouture #blogblitz

Delighted to join the blog blitz for The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation to join and for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

40125217

Author : Dee MacDonald
Title : The Getaway Girls
Pages : 314
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : July 30, 2018

aboutthebook

Connie McColl is finally free to make her own decisions for the first time in decades. And when she meets glamorous Gill and downtrodden Maggie, at a rather dull flower arranging class, it seems that she’s not the only one dreaming of adventure. The three very different women all agree it’s about time they had a holiday to remember.

So they make a pact for this summer to be their best yet – and drive off into the sunset together…

As they meander their way along the beautiful beaches of France and onto the glorious delights of Italy in their luxury campervan, the new friends have plenty of fun and frolics in the sunshine. But the vacation isn’t quite what they expected…

Gill will do anything to have one last holiday romance, Connie has a surprise inheritance awaiting her in Italy, and Maggie has a secret that is going to catch up with them all…

In the end, all three women discover that the journey they thought would be their last really is just the beginning…

mythoughts

Three years after events from the previous book, The Runaway Wife, Connie is starting to feel a little restless. Time for another adventure then. So when she finds a box that seems to show her paternal grandmother originally came from Italy, Connie decides that’s where she will go.

Joining her on her road trip are two ladies she met in a flower arranging class, Maggie and Gill. These two couldn’t be more different if they tried. Gill is lonely and desperate for a new man after two failed marriages. Maggie would like nothing more but to feel free. Somehow these three ladies strike up the most amazing friendship on their journey to Italy in a motor home.

There will be lots of amazing experiences, new people to meet and even Cupid may make himself known at some point. The adventure isn’t all plain sailing though. Maggie is carrying a secret around with her that may catch up with them all. And what will Connie find out when they reach their destination? Whatever it is, this trip will change their lives forever.

This story made me incredibly nostalgic for all things Italy, which has always felt like home to me. It was huge fun to recognise so many places I’ve visited myself. But more than anything, it made me envious as I’d love to do something like this. Just jump in a motor home or a car and take off, not necessarily knowing where you’ll be spending the night or even if you’ll be coming back to the life you’ve left behind.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these three amazing women. There’s something to admire and like about each and everyone of them. I can only hope that I’ll be as healthy, adventurous and fun as they are when I am that age. This is a truly inspirational, delightful and uplifting story with plenty of chuckles but also rather moving at times.

A heartwarming, entertaining and perfect summer read! I loved being a part of another one of Connie’s adventures and I do so hope there will be more to come. After all, it’s never too late for another adventure and you’re never too old to live life to the fullest!

The Getaway Girls is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | GoogleplayiBookstoreKobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

The Runaway Wife is Dee’s first (published) novel but in fact she wrote her very first book – at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘was good at’ in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.

Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep., and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.

She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

page-divide_12_orig

07302018_getaway

That Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina @Bookollective #blogtour

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for That Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina! My thanks to the publisher for my review copy and to Aimee at Bookollective for the invitation to join the tour!

39291948

Author : Valeria Vescina
Title : That Summer in Puglia
Pages : 303
Publisher : Eyewear Publishing
Publication date : March 12, 2018

aboutthebook

Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years but a young private investigator, Will, has tracked him down. Tommaso asks him to pretend never to have found him. To persuade Will, Tommaso recounts the story of his life and his great love. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief. Now he’s being presented with a second chance – but is he ready to pay the price it exacts?

mythoughts

Thirty years ago, Tomasso left Italy for England. He’s been living under the radar ever since, not wanting anyone to know where he is. But now, a young private investigator has tracked him down. Tomasso asks him not to divulge his whereabouts to anyone but in order to convince the private investigator, he’ll need to tell the story of his life and the reasons he left his home.

Most of the events are set in 1980’s Italy and the author really brings that setting to life. I could see myself sitting on a bench in the Piazza, smell the espresso in the air while watching the villagers go about their daily lives, disappearing into narrow alleys. Tomasso’s parents are property developers and they live in a villa outside the village, with glorious views all around. Again, the beautiful descriptions transported me straight there, from the olive trees to the scent of the flowers.

That summer, Tomasso meets Anna and they fall in love. This will set in motion a sequence of events that will affect Tomasso for years to come. At its heart, That Summer in Puglia is a love story but it’s so much more than that. It is a relatable character study full of complexities that oozes atmosphere.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The way we react to certain things in the heat of the moment can have a huge effect. It isn’t until later on, that we maybe think “I could have” or “I shouldn’t have”. As a nineteen year old boy, Tomasso makes some dubious decisions based on very little but sheer perception. Did he make the right choices? That’s up to you to find out when you read this novel.

With beautiful descriptions and well-developed rich characters, Valeria Vescina takes us on a moving journey through Tomasso’s life. That Summer in Puglia is a brilliantly written, poignant, thought-provoking character-driven story about young love, loss, grief, family and second chances. An absolutely wonderful debut by Valeria Vescina.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Valeria Vescina is an author, reviewer and creative writing tutor.  She’s from Puglia (Italy), was educated in Switzerland and the UK, and has lived for years in London.  After a successful career in management, she gained an MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Her first novel, That Summer in Puglia (Eyewear Publishing), had its debut at the FTWeekend Oxford Literary Festival 2018

Author links : Twitter | Website

page-divide_12_orig

05242018_puglia

Spotlight on : Kill The Angel by Sandrone Dazieri @sandronedazieri @EmmaFinnigan @simonschusterUK @annecater #blogtour #spotlight #RandomThingsTours

Buongiorno and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Kill The Angel by Sandrone Dazieri, the second instalment in the Caselli and Torre series. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things tours for the invitation to join.

36152686

Author : Sandrone Dazieri
Title : Kill The Angel
Series : Caselli & Torre #2
Pages : 480
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Publication date : April 5, 2018 (first published in 2016)

aboutthebook

A high-speed train from Milan draws into the station in Rome, and an horrific discovery in one carriage rocks the city. Preliminary investigations are put in the hands of Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli.

The police receive a message claiming responsibility for the act and announcing more murders to come, and they duly turn their attention to a small terrorist group of Islamic extremists. But investigator Dante Torre does not believe this angle. For him, this feels like a smokescreen concealing the actions of a killer who has a far more terrible motivation to continue.

The trail leads to Berlin and Venice, where the waters of the Venetian Lagoon will turn blood red …

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

Praise for Kill the Angel:

‘A high octane thriller’ Keeper of Pages
‘Fast, furious and a killer ending’ The Booktrail
‘Do not sleep on this series’ Where The Reader Grows

abouttheauthor

Sandrone Dazieri was born in Cremona (Italy) in 1964. He graduated at San Pellegrino Terme hotel-management school and worked as a cook for years, all around Italy. After having moved to Milan he started working in a number of jobs, from seller to porter, and played a very active role in the italian anti nuclear movement.

In 1992 he got closer to publishing working as freelance journalist ad expert of underground culture and cyberpunk fiction.

In 1999 he achieved his first popular success with the thriller “Attenti al gorilla” (Watch Out For The Gorilla), the first in a best-seller series, where the main character is a sort of doppelgänger of Dazieri himself, living the nightlife in Milan with all the ensuing troubles. Dazieri’s books are renowned for the rocambolesque adventures in which Sandrone (the main character has the author’s name too) is continuously involved, in an irrefrenable but never fatalistic destiny. It is in fact Sandrone’s personality that always drives him to assist the weak and derelict, those who have lost all hope for help but for the Gorilla’s saving hand. Among a thousand contradictions, he’ll confront all sorts of dangers, in the best tradition of hardboiled thrillers, and aided by his alter ego called Socio (the rational side of Sandrone, in a split-personality condition), our hero will happily finalise and conclude many chilling and hair-raising situations.

Dazieri wrote many other noir novels, kids novels, comics and short stories.
He is also a scriptwriter for cinema and tv. His most successful serie is “Squadra Antimafia” (Antimafia Squad) now optioned by ABC.

With Italian film director Gabriele Salvatores and producer Maurizio Totti, Dazieri founded in 2004 the publishing house Colorado Noir.

From 2000 to 2004 he was also the chief editor of the crime series Gialli Mondadori (Mondadori Thrillers) and the catalogue for young readers Libri per Ragazzi Mondadori (Mondadori Books for Youth). He is currently a literary consultant to the Mondadori Publishing House.

He is vegetarian and testimonial for many nonprofit organization.

Author links : Twitter

page-divide_12_orig

05122018_killangel