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BBNYA Spotlight – Silenced – Jennie Ensor

It’s time for another BBNYA spotlight this afternoon. Now, I am sure you all know from my previous posts just what BBNYA is, but here’s a recap, just in case you missed it.

This year, the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) is celebrating the 50 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 10 finalists and one overall winner.

If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA Website https://www.bbnya.com/ or take a peek over on Twitter @BBNYA_Official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.

Today’s spotlight is on Silenced by Jennie Ensor – here are all the important details.

BLURB:

A teenage girl was murdered on her way home from school, stabbed through the heart. Her North London community is shocked, but no one has the courage to help the police, not even her mother.

It’s DI Callum Waverley’s first major case as a senior investigating officer – can he break the code of silence that shrouds the case?

This is a world where the notorious Skull Crew rules through fear. Everyone knows you keep your mouth shut or you’ll be silenced – permanently.

This is Luke’s world. Reeling from the loss of his mother to cancer, his step-father distant at best, violent at worst, he slides into the Skull Crew’s grip.

This is Jez’s world too. Her alcoholic mother neither knows nor cares that her 16-year-old daughter is being exploited by V, the all-powerful leader of the gang.

Luke and Jez form a bond. Is it friendship, love or fear that brings them together? Can Callum win their trust, or will his own demons sabotage his investigation? And can anyone stop the Skull Crew from ensuring all witnesses are silenced?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Londoner with Irish heritage, Jennie Ensor writes emotionally-charged psychological suspense and thrillers, and darkly comic fiction.

She began her writing career as a journalist and loves to tackle controversial issues in her novels: Islamic terrorism, Russian gangsters and war crimes in Blind Side (a thriller set in the year of London’s 2005 terror attacks), abuse and sexual exploitation in The Girl in His Eyes. Not Having It All is a darkly humourous novel about love and relationships, not having children and the perils of family life.

Jennie’s fourth book Silenced published December 2021 with Hobeck Books – a crime thriller with a strong psychological element that ventures into the shadowy world of teen-exploiting gangs and police corruption.

Ms Ensor lives with her husband and an Airedale terrier. She writes short stories and poetry as well as novels, her poem Lost Connection placed second in its category in the 2020 Fish Lockdown Prize. In her spare time (?) Jennie reads widely, sings choral music, practices yoga and cycles the punishing local hills. Evenings, she’s often collapsed in front of a TV crime drama with a bar of chocolate/glass of strong alcohol.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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Book Review

Reading Challenge Update – February

I can’t believe that’s another month gone already! I just ticked a couple more books of my challenges this month – it was more a month of catching up on reviews and reading for relaxation than picking challenge books this month. The books I did read for the challenges this month though are all firm favourites of mine.

The Island – Victoria Hislop

This was my choice for the “read a book inspired by a place in a movie you’ve watched and enjoyed.” I am pushing things a bit here because I chose the setting of Crete taken from the “In-Betweeners” film, which I didn’t love, but the location was beautiful and I have been meaning to reread The Island for a while to refresh my memory before reading One August Night.

The Embroidered Book – Kate Heartfield

This little beauty is my selection for “a book with a magical element.” To be honest, I could have chosen any number of books off my shelf for this prompt as magical books are my “go to,” but I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of this gorgeous book by the publisher as part of the blog tour, so I just had to include it. You can read my full review HERE.

Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

I choose this as my “book that makes me happy.” I read this during a power cut in aftermath of Storm Eunice when I really needed a comfort read. I first read this book years ago, and have been meaning to re-read it for ages to jog my memory before diving into the rest of the trilogy, and honestly, I had forgotten how much I loved it.

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E Frankl

This was my “book that is a memoir” selection, and is a book that was recommended to me years ago, but that for some reason I had never got round to reading. I am only halfway through, so I will share more in next month’s round-up, but for now I can just say that it is a very powerful book.

OTHER BOOKS READ THIS MONTH:

The Millionaire Murders by Rachel McLean

The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn (read review HERE)

The Stone Monkey by Jeffrey Deaver

Rock Paper Killers by Alexia Mason (review coming soon)

The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (review coming soon)

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

The Butterfly Garden – Dot Hutchinson

Sparks and Shadow – Ceara Nobles (review coming soon)

In case you would like a reminder, here are the challenges that I am following.

Book Review

Sick Girl Secrets – Anna Russell

I did a lot of reading last year, but lost my reviewing mojo a little. As such, I have quite a few reviews that I had written, but had not formatted to share. My goal for the first couple of months of 2022 is to catch up on all of these, and I am starting with Sick Girl Secrets by Anna Russell. Many thanks to West 44 Books for my copy of this book which I received via NetGalley.

BLURB:

Hi-Lo, written in verse.

Sometimes in high school, all you want is to be invisible. Being invisible might be the biggest problem of all for Natalie. She has a disability that causes chaos to her body on the inside but leaves her unmarked on the outside. She’s learned to hide her pain so well that you would never guess she’s not the same Natalie as she was before she got sick. But after having surgery, Natalie must return to school in a wheelchair. Now, Natalie has to decide if the painful consequences of pretending to be healthy are worth keeping the last of her sick girl secrets.

REVIEW:

As a chronic illness sufferer, I was drawn to this book from the second I saw it, and being a zebra myself, I loved the dedication.

This book broke my heart a little. I was lucky enough to get through school before my own body decided to go into meltdown, but Natalie’s feeling of wanting to be seen as “normal”, telling everyone she is fine when she isn’t, really resonated with me.

While I loved Riley’s fire, and wish I had even an ounce of it, Mr Wilson, on the other hand, made my blood boil!

I really enjoyed the concept of a novel written in verse, and found that this style made Natalie’s story even more powerful and emotive, leading to a book that really touched my soul.

Book Review

Sew On The Go – Mary Jane Baxter

It is my stop on the blog tour for Sew On The Go by Mary Jane Baxter. Many thanks to Mary Jane and Unbound for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.

BLURB:

  • Have you ever dreamed of quitting your job and setting off on the open road to pursue your creativity? In 2016, Mary Jane Baxter did exactly that.
  • Sew on the Go is an inspiring road trip and a practical guide to crafting wherever you find yourself, and is packed with easy, step-by-step instructions for craft.
  • From decorating your own budget conscious bolthole, to achievable projects including clothes and fashion accessories, beautiful gift ideas and child-friendly makes, this book is the ideal companion for those who dream of devoting more time to their craft.

In 2016, Mary Jane Baxter quit her job at the BBC, rented out her flat and headed for the hills. Her home for the next few months was an upcycled 1986 Bedford Bambi campervan with a top speed of 60mph. She raided skips for vintage wallpaper and scoured second-hand emporiums to source stylish vintage accessories, creating her own travelling craft studio, packed with everything necessary for crafting on the road. She then set off around Europe searching for inspiration, travelling from Belgium right down to the Cinque Terre in Italy, then around France and up to Scotland.

Armed with her trusty hand-cracked Singer, she spent the summer sewing on the go. Like creatives the world over, she decided to see where her travels would lead her and returned with a head full of new projects. Fortunately, there’s no need for you to give up your job, wave goodbye to your family and rent out your house in order to reignite your own creativity; Mary Jane has done all the hard work for you. Sew on the Go is her guide to carving out more creative space in your life.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Sew On The Go Cover

REVIEW:

Taking off on a European craft adventure sounds wonderful and I must admit, Bambi’s unusual decorative style appealed to the quirkier side of me, although the bathroom situation puts me off more than a little – I am definitely more of a hotel kind of girl!

Although I would possibly only have a go at about 50% of the projects included in this book, there is something here for crafters of every level of experience, and working with many different techniques. The projects that did catch my eye though were wonderfully varied and the materials used for them would result in some deeply personal items.

I would have preferred a little more detail on the artists and crafters that Mary Jane encountered on her journey, and a little less about her wild swimming adventures, but this aspect is probably something that stronger swimmers than I am would enjoy greatly.

I loved reading about all the different places that Mary Jane visited on her adventure – the fairs and markets, visiting different artists and museums. Sew On The Go has left me with a long list of creative types whose work I want to investigate further and take inspiration from, and an even longer list of places to add to my travel bucket list.

Sew On The Go Graphic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Jane Author pic

Mary Jane Baxter used to work as a BBC news correspondent and producer. In 2016, she set off on a crafting adventure across Europe in a mobile studio. She is the author of Chic on a Shoestring and The Modern Girl’s Guide to Hatmaking, and has presented on fashion and craft for the BBC, most notably bartering her sewing skills for board and lodging in a series of films for Newsnight. She lives in London and is available for interview, events, and to write pieces on commission.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in this tour.

Sew On The Go BT Poster

Book Review

Dragonfly Girl – Marti Leimbach

I am joining the blog tour for Dragonfly Girl by Marti Leimbach today. Many thanks to Marti, and Katherine Tegen Books for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

BLURB:

In this spellbinding thriller and YA debut from bestselling author Marti Leimbach, Kira Adams has discovered a cure for deathand it may just cost her life.

Things aren’t going well for Kira. At home, she cares for her mother and fends off debt collectors. At school, she’s awkward and shy. Plus, she may flunk out if she doesn’t stop obsessing about science, her passion and the one thing she’s good at . . . very good at.

When she wins a prestigious science contest she draws the attention of the celebrated professor Dr. Gregory Munn (as well as his handsome assistant), leading to a part-time job in a top-secret laboratory.

The job is mostly cleaning floors and equipment, but one night, while running her own experiment, she revives a lab rat that has died in her care.

One minute it is dead, the next it is not.

Suddenly she’s the remarkable wunderkind, the girl who can bring back the dead. Everything is going her way. But it turns out that science can be a dangerous business, and Kira is swept up into a world of international rivalry with dark forces that threaten her life.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Dragonfly Girl cover

REVIEW:

Dragonfly Girl is a fascinating book exploring scientific discovery that to my very unscientific brain seemed beyond the realms of possibility. The idea of being able to bring something previously dead back to life planted this book firmly in the sci-fi genre in my mind. Imagine my surprise then when, halfway through this book, I stumbled across a news story about doctors successfully transplanting hearts that had effectively died into teenage patients. This blew my mind, and made me read parts of this book through very different eyes. 

Although it is pretty heavy on the complex science at times, I still found this book an easy read and my lack of understanding of the intricacies of the science didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the larger story. Whilst I wasn’t, for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, overly keen on Kira herself, I loved the quirky supporting cast of characters, particularly poor, damaged Dimitry and rat-loving April.

Dragonfly Girl is a fast-paced YA thriller that sucks you in from the very start and leaves you wanting more at the end. I hope it won’t be too long before we see a sequel being published.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marti Leimbach Author picMarti Leimbach’s latest novel is DRAGONFLY GIRL, a YA action/thriller about a high school girl with a gift for science who discovers a “cure” for death and ends up embroiled in an international rivalry. It is published by Harper Collins in February 2021.

Marti Leimbach is known for her bestsellers, Dying Young, made into a film starring Julia Roberts, and Daniel Isn’t Talking. She is interested in neurodiversity and has shared the stage with young inventors at the Human Genome Project (Toronto), the National Autistic Society, and the University of Oxford.

She teaches on the Masters Programme in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. Dragonfly Girl is her eighth novel, but her first for young adults.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour to read more about Dragonfly Girl.

Dragonfly Girl BT Poster

Book Review

Wild Skies – Lexi Rees (Audiobook)

I have the pleasure today of taking part in the one day blog blitz for the audiobook of Wild Skies, book two in the Relic Hunters series by Lexi Rees. Many thanks to Lexi for providing me with a copy of this audiobook, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the blitz.

BLURB:

After delivering the pearl, Finn and Aria thought life would return to normal.

But with the survival of the clans still in peril, they must continue their quest.

Can they find the next relic before the forces of evil?

Not everyone is who they appear to be, and time is running out …

PURCHASE LINKS:

Audible UK

Audible US

Wild Sky audio cover

REVIEW:

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Lexi Rees and her Relic Hunters series, and have previously read and reviewed Wild Skies in ebook format. You can read my review here. As much as I enjoy reading these books myself, there is something about them that just clicks for me as an audiobook. Whether it is experiencing the sense of adventure brought to life from the page, or nostalgic feelings of when my parents used to read me a bedtime story, I can’t say, but something about it just makes me feel warm and comforted.

Lexi Rees incorporates her own love of sailing and horse riding across the Relic Hunter series, and her passion for these activities really shines through.

Once again, Chris Devon brings the characters alive beautifully, and I particularly loved his characterisation of Rahfi. Rahfi was a particular favourite of mine when I was reading Wild Skies, and Chris just seemed to capture his essence perfectly.

I am eagerly awaiting the next instalment of the Relic Hunters adventures and know that I will be both reading and listening to it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south. She writes action-packed adventures brim full of witch-doctors, fortune-tellers, warriors and smugglers, combining elemental magic with hints of dystopia. She also writes fun activity books for children.

Her fantasy adventure, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids. The sequel, Wild Sky, is available now.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her Creative Writing Skills workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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GIVEAWAY:

Win the children’s adventure series, the Relic Hunters, on Audible, including both Eternal Seas PLUS Wild Sky. Total listening time of almost 8 hours.

Free UK or UK audible code.

https://kingsumo.com/g/adafwc/join-the-relic-hunters

Book Review

The Big Chill – Doug Johnstone

Continuing a run of returning authors that I seem to be having at the moment, I have the honour today of joining the blog tour for Doug Johnstone’s latest book, The Big Chill, book two his The Skelfs series. Many thanks to Doug, and to Orenda books, for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour.

BLURB:

Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver ’s shadowy life.

While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.

But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears, and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves immersed in an unbearable darkness – but could the real threat be to themselves?

Fast-paced, darkly funny, yet touching and tender, the Skelf family series is a welcome reboot to the classic PI novel, whilst also asking deeper questions about family, society and grief.

The Big Chill Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

REVIEW:

The Big Chill sees us join the three Skelf women in the aftermath of the events of A Dark Matter, as each finds their own way to come to terms with what happened. Once again, the book moves between chapters told be each of Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah as they battle their own demons whilst dealing with an ever growing case list for their private investigation business, and an ever growing body count for the funeral business.

The book gets off to a dramatic start as one of Dorothy’s funerals is interrupted by a police car chase, resulting in both their first case to investigate and new body to bury. Although each of the cases investigated this time round tugs at the heartstrings for different reasons, I found this case to be particularly moving, and really quite emotional as the truth began to be revealed.

Proving he is a master of suspense as well as emotion, Doug Johnstone juggles the delicate new cases with thrilling drama as past events come back to haunt Jenny and her family. Johnstone’s writing moves seamlessly between these two areas, and in doing so made sure that I was entirely immersed in all the elements of the book.

In the Skelfs, Johnstone has created a wonderfully rich family of entirely believable characters, and I think everyone will be able to relate to at least one of these women at some level. The supporting cast round out the picture perfectly. Bring on book three so I can find out what happens next!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Doug Johnstone Author PicDoug Johnstone is the author of more ten novels, most recently Breakers (2019), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and A Dark Matter (2020), which launched the Skelfs series. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home, which he drew on to write A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

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Don’t forget to visit all the other amazing blogs taking part in this tour.

The Big Chill BT Poster

Book Review

Hunter’s Secret – Val Penny

As you will all know by now, I am a fan of the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, so I am thrilled to be joining the blog tour for Val Penny’s fifth book in the series, Hunter’s Secret. Many thanks to Val, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?

Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase Here

Hunters Secret Cover

REVIEW:

Having read all of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries so far, I have always found Hunter Wilson to be something of an enigma, much more difficult to fathom than the rest of the characters. Discovering more about Hunter’s past in this fifth book, and witnessing his first encounter with both a dead body and the police, explains both a lot about the man he became and about the animosity between him and Myerscough (old Myerscough that is, not young Myerscough who I will confess to having a bit of a crush on). It was interesting to see a more vulnerable side to Hunter, and see beneath the tough exterior that he presents to the outside world.

As ever I was delighted to see the return of Jamie and Frankie. I love their dynamic, and their efforts to remain on the straight and narrow (ish) always add some light relief to the story. The second Jamie was spotted on his “walk” you just knew that the hapless cousins were about to find themselves right in the middle of something big again.

The motivation behind the perpetrator’s crimes in this book is shocking, and whilst I had my suspicions about who was behind the mysterious missing bodies, the reasons for their actions came as a surprise to me.

The character relations on both sides of the law are as incestuous as ever in a way that always make Val’s books feel like returning to a familiar community. It is these relationships that draw me back to each new book as it is released.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hunters Val Penny 2

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.

Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published is available now.

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Giveaway to Win a .mobi of Hunter’s Secret by Val Penny (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the tour for more information and reviews.

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Book Review

The Mechanical Maestro – Emily Owen

I have something a bit different for you today as historical fiction meets steampunk in The Mechanical Maestro by Emily Owen. Many thanks to Emily for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.

BLURB:

London, 1857.

Brothers George and Douglas Abernathy are clockmakers who are barely scraping a living in their family’s shop. They are also brilliant inventors with a sideline building custombuilt androids and other technology ahead of its time. Their sixteen-year-old sister, Molly, is also a genius, specialising in transformative plant biology, but earns her keep by sewing.

The Abernathys’ fortunes improve dramatically when the brothers invent a clockwork automaton composer named Maestro, whose musical artistry takes London by storm. But there are those who believe Maestro is a fake, and others who think him a monstrosity.

As Maestro tries to make sense of the world of London’s high society which he is thrown into, he incites the interest of sinister figures who would go to any lengths to discover what makes him tick.

Immerse yourself in the world of three brilliant siblings and their musical automaton, Maestro.

The Mechanical Maestro is the first book in an upcoming series following the adventures of the Abernathy family and their clockwork creations.

This novel is sure to delight fans of historical fiction, steampunk, music lovers and engineers alike.

The Mechanical Maestro Front cover

REVIEW:

When you pick up The Mechanical Maestro, you enter a beautifully detailed world, and meet a cast of extraordinarily colourful characters. Alongside this, you have a story of discovery and intrigue as people plot to get their hands on the titular Maestro.

The eccentric Abernathy family are instantly appealing, George and Douglas with their incredibly advanced automata, and Molly with her (sometimes out of control) botanical experiments. I was particularly fond of Douglas and Molly, but George is a character I found a little harder to fathom – I look forward to getting to know him better in the upcoming books in this series. In my mind their home and shop is a higgeldy-piggeldy affair full of nooks and crannies and strange contraptions. It felt like the kind of place you could spend hours exploring and still not discover all of its secrets.

As well as being story about the talented Abernathys, The Mechanical Maestro is also a tale of their most advanced creation to date, the wonderful Maestro himself, and I was delighted to see that there were chapters in the book told from his point of view. As I was reading, I could almost here the music he composed, and it created a kind of ache to hear it for real. Watching him discover the world and his place in it, and his attachment to Douglas was incredibly endearing.

Emily Owen’s writing has a charm to it that put me in mind of both The Binding and The Toymakers in different ways, and I know she is an author I will return to time and again.

The Mechanical Maestro Back Cover

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Since completing her Masters by Research, Emily Owen has worked as an Archives Assistant at the University of Huddersfield. She lives in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

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Book Review

Hinton Hollow Death Trip – Will Carver

It’s time for another Orenda published book, as I join the blog tour for Hinton Hollow Death Trip, by Will Carver. Many thanks to Will and Orenda for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.

Making them steal.

Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Hinton Hollow Death Trip Cover

REVIEW:

I have grappled with writing this review for some time – in fact it has been twelve days since I finished reading to now where I find myself finally ready to put words into sentences. This is not because I didn’t enjoy the book by any means, just that it is one of those books that is so totally brilliant in its construction that it completely blows your mind. Even now, I am fairly sure that whatever I say here simply won’t do the genius of Will Carver justice.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip marks the return of Detective Sergeant Pace, a character who I first met in the equally brilliant Nothing Important Happened Today although this is in fact his third outing. I really need to backtrack and read Good Samaritans, the first book in the series, although that said if you haven’t read the series, this book stands up perfectly well as a standalone.

The short disjointed sentences make for snappy reading, and although there was a part of me that wanted to heed Evil’s warning and turn away while I still could, there was a larger part of me that felt compelled to keep reading and find out just why I was being told to run for the hills!

Our narrator for our brief sojourn to Hinton Hollow, Evil himself, is a curious character. He feels almost reluctant to enact his true nature, wishing humans could be better, kinder, so that he needs to cultivate less evil to create a balance. However, in a world where genuine goodness is rare, and what was normal is now good and what was bad is considered normal behaviour, he feels compelled to create worse and worse acts, and this is not something that seems to sit comfortably with him. Although the innate evil of the human race is chilling, there is a dark humour to Evil’s observations and narration, and he has a surprising amount of empathy and a strong sense of justice. Over the course of the book, I found myself seeing not, as expected, a character to dislike, but instead one that I grew rather fond of in a strange way.

Hinton Hollow is a book full of uncomfortably truths, and Carver once again proves that he is an expert at tapping into the human mind, and getting right under the skin of his readers.

The worrying thing is that Hinton Hollow could so easily be the town I have lived in for my whole life, right down to the finer details of the cash machine theft, and reading it made me wonder just how far we had slipped from the safe, friendly place of my childhood.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is not a light read, not a particularly comfortable one, but it is this that make it such a great book. It is far too near the knuckle to be easy reading, but it is a fascinating look at how little ripples can change people and entire communities forever. As unsettling as it was, it was totally gripping and I couldn’t put it down.

Anyone else who has read this book already, please feel free to get in touch. I have things I need to discuss that I cannot mention here without spoilers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Will Carver 2Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

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