[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] Who I Am by Sarah Simpson @sarahrsimpson @aria_fiction

I was invited by the author to join the blog tour for Who I Am and after reading the synopsis of it I had to say yes because – twisted friendship, twisted characters YES.

“You never know do you, people’s backgrounds, how much it impacts on them? The choices they make because of it.”

Who I Am follows two characters Andi and Camilla who upon meeting at University become best friends and quickly share their secrets and pour their souls to each other. The story is set to two different timelines 2000’s and 2017. In 2017 we see Andi as an adult with children, living almost an idyllic life but not everything is what it seems. She is haunted by what happened one night at the beach which changed everything and soon she becomes stalked by someone who knows what happened and is blaming her for it. Who is out there to get her?

I have to compliment the design of this book because it’s so good. Well done, book designer! From the first two/three chapters you can already sense that this story won’t be the usual ‘friendship’ one because it contains dark elements that make you all tingly inside because you know it will be a fun ride. The author’s background as a psychologist shows throughout the book and I love how in-depth her characters were and how you could analyse their actions. I also learned what Korsakoff’s syndrome is which I haven’t heard of before. Towards the last 150 pages of the story Simpson introduces a few more characters which I found to be very interesting and loved reading their POV. This book is very dark and is unlike other toxic friendship stories as I’ve mentioned before. It contains some trigger warnings (e.g. alcohol abuse) which may not suit every reader. I especially enjoyed how unreliable Andi’s characters was because I began second guessing her intentions and her role in that awful night at the beach. What I found lacking in Who I Am is that sometimes I felt the story going somewhere and losing my interest – but that wasn’t a huge part because I did enjoy the story a lot. I found Eve’s character to offer more info on Andi [which I appreciated] but she didn’t feel very necessary to the story for me. From my experience with Who I Am I can say that Simpson knows how to write dark characters and twisted stories. I was captivated throughout the book and although I found some small parts to lose my interest I absolutely enjoyed spending my time with Who I Am.

If you enjoy reading dark and twisted stories with unreliable narrators then you’re in for a treat with Who I Am.

I would like to thank the author Sarah Simpson as well as the publisher Aria Fiction for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘Who I Am‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Who I Am‘ here:

*I am in no way compensated by this site. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Sarah Simpson has a business degree and a first class honours degree in psychology with appropriate post-graduate qualifications. Her background, working privately within mental health for many years; within the collaborative family law arena and with additional experience within the family court system has gifted her an invaluable understanding of life and people. Thus, Her Greatest Mistake is a cocktail of professional and personal experiences stirred vigorously by the imagination.

She is relatively late to the writing scene, despite a love of books and writing from when she was very young, it wasn’t until 2016 that she sat down to put pen to paper. Her Greatest Mistake was then some twelve months in creation, followed by some vigorous re-writing. In June 2017, she signed with her current agent Broo Doherty and shortly after was offered a three book publishing contract with Aria, Head of Zeus…

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

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[REVIEW] A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley @QuercusBooks

I first heard of this book from Instagram and Twitter but mostly from Ana [who works at Quercus] who loved this book a lot. What I found amazing is that Quercus gave a copy of A Different Drummer to their employees and gave them a morning off to read it which shows how they feel about it. I am so glad and grateful I had this book sent to me.

‘I mean it seems horrible that the most you can do for people you love is leave them alone.’

In a fictional town called Sutton, one black man, Tucker Caliban, throws salt on his fields, shoots his horse and cow, sets fire to his house and departs Sutton. Along with him other black towns folk follow. From this point the story is told from white towns folk perspective – whether it be male, female, adult or child.

‘It was that gradually, going back as far as I can remember, they kept saying less and less to each other until the time came – this is the time I’m talking about – that they didn’t say anything at all to each other . . . except maybe at night when I guess married people feel most alone, when they realize how little they have in common, and how much they’ve lost.’

I don’t tend to read these stories often but when I do I really appreciate them because I love learning something new from them. When I say ‘these stories’ I mean stories tackling race issues – where I live there are not many black people and it’s predominantly white but I have always been raised to view everyone as equal which I’m grateful for. I found A Different Drummer to be such an interesting read that I teared up a few times while reading it. The ending of the book left me broken because of how people can be cruel and selfish.  I love the idea of telling the story from white people’s POV because it is very fascinating. I have actually raced through at least 200+ pages in a day and finished the book because I found it to be so compelling and the story-telling to be excellent. William Melvin Kelley shows great writing skills and I would absolutely love to read the rest of his works. The story felt and is relevant today and I think more people should get to know this author better by reading A Different Drummer. This is the kind of book that makes you dissect it after you’ve finished it. I honestly don’t know what else to say about this book except that I found it to be so well written considering that the author was 23 at the time.

Read it.

I would like to thank the publisher Quercus Books (Riverrun) and Ana for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘A Different Drummer‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘A Different Drummer‘ here:

*Purchase ‘A Different Drummer‘ with free international delivery here: 

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

William Melvin Kelley was a prominent African-American novelist and short-story writer. He was educated at the Fieldston School in New York and later attended Harvard University (class of 1960), where he won the Dana Reed Prize for creative writing. William Melvin Kelley has been a writer in residence at the State University of New York at Geneseo and has taught at the New School for Social Research. He currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. In 2008, he won the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award.

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[BLOG TOUR: BOOK EXTRACT] Who I Am by Sarah Simpson @sarahrsimpson @aria_fiction

Today is my stop on the WHO I AM blog tour. I am sharing an extract from the book and will soon post a review of the book.

BOOK EXTRACT

‘Yes, you could, it’s Christmas and I’d really like you to stay on. I’ll be leaving tomorrow.’

A worried expression shot across her face. ‘Oh? What leaving Uni? For good?’

I laughed, feeling flattered, she appeared genuinely upset. ‘No, course not. For Christmas I mean. I’ve the rest of next year to get through yet. How about you, what year are you in, you didn’t say?’

‘Yeah, the same. Well it should be anyway, but the way things are looking, what with the accommodation,’ she shrugged, ‘I might not be graduating at all.’

I curled my arm around her and squeezed. ‘Try not to worry. Thing’s always turn up, there’s always something to be worked out.’ It felt like a silly thing to say. Why do we say these things? ‘Come on choose your cocktail. I’m buying, I insist.’ It’s funny, I hardly know Camilla, but sitting here I feel a real affinity to her, there’s a sadness behind her eyes, something unsaid, but also there’s – life and excitement.

My head spins, my legs have other ideas, when I stand to make my way to the ladies, stumbling back, I collapse on to Camilla’s lap. ‘Woah, sorry,’ I giggle, ‘these cocktails are potent.’ With Camilla’s help I lever myself back up, the room wobbling around me, ‘I’d better come with you,’ she laughs.

Clara gathers herself to stand, ‘I’ll go, I’m used to her atrocious drink tolerance,’ she practically spits at Camilla.

‘It’s fine, Clara, stay put, I’m hardly blotto, just stood up too quickly.’ I tell her, as soon as the words leave my mouth, I realise I’ve offended her in some way. Camilla smiles at her warmly, then arm in arm we make our way across the room. Pushing our way through the heavy bathroom door into a woman, giggling at her affronted face as we pushed past her in the doorway.

‘It’s Christmas. Tis the season to be merry.’ Camilla calls after her. Her tongue finally loosening as she relaxes. Practically falling through the second door into the spacious bathroom, gilt mirrors and floral displays in abundance, a strong whiff of pot pourri. ‘Wow,’ I hear through the cubicle door, ‘these loos are better than anything I’ve ever lived in.’ I can’t help but laugh out loud. ‘Think I could stay here next year? D’you think they’d notice if I moved my stuff in?’ When I exit the cubicle, she’s padding around in wonderment before turning her attention to the complimentary toiletries. ‘Look at this stuff. It’s really expensive, wish I’d brought a bigger handbag now.’

I giggle at her expression through the elaborate gold-leaf mirror as I wash my hands. ‘You’re hilarious Camilla, you’ve not been here before tonight then?’

She bolts herself upright. ‘Of course I have, only pulling your leg.’ She throws her hands up. ‘I’m not kidding you, am I?’ She nods. ‘This is the first time, and it’s completely amazing. But, I’ll definitely be coming back, that’s for sure. As often as I can.’

She reminds me of an awestruck child, so refreshing and charming, makes me feel as though I’m missing out on something special, too much in my life taken for granted. ‘Are you serious then?’ I ask, reaching for the folded cotton hand towels. Camilla spins on her heals, all eyelashes. ‘About not having anywhere to stay next year, I mean. Surely, you won’t really need to defer, will you?’

Twinkling dark eyes cloud, ‘deadly,’ she says. ‘I can’t pull the funds together, so I can’t see that I’ll have a choice. I’m trying not to think about it but it’s a strong possibility.’

‘So what about your student loan?’

She regards the vanity size moisturiser in her hand, ‘ah well, that’s another story. Probably not for tonight, I don’t want to burden you with my crap, I mean bad stuff, it’s not fair.’

‘No, go on, please. I’d like to understand.’

‘Nothing to it really. I’ve used up all my allowance, so, can’t afford to support myself. Simple as that.’ She sighs heavily, shoulders noticeably slumping. ‘I’m all, as they say – spent up. Skint.’

‘How come? Sorry, do you mind me asking? You don’t have to tell me, if you think I’m being nosey.’

‘It’s fine, feels like I’ve known you for ages anyway,’ I smile at her, I totally understand what she means, it does. ‘Thing is, I had to pay for my dad, he’s sick, really sick, in a home he is.’

As she hangs her head, I could kick myself for making her feel so dejected on a night like this, I brush her hand, ‘I’m sorry, Cam, I’d no idea things are so bad, I shouldn’t have pushed you, feel awful now.’

‘It’s fine really. It’s his own fault really, Dad, I mean. Korsakoff’s syndrome they call it?’ Her voice rises as if she’s uncertain. ‘Dementia to me. That’s how I get my head round it.’

‘Korsakoff’s? Isn’t it associated with too much alcohol?’ God, I wish I hadn’t guzzled all those cocktails, in particular that I hadn’t practically forced them on Camilla too.

‘Yeah, he’s a pisshead basically,’ she cups her mouth with a delicate hand. ‘Excuse my language,’ she says, ‘but, he always has been – a drunk. You’ve heard of it then, can’t say I ever had before. Could hardly even pronounce it, never mind understand it. The doctor tried to say, it isn’t always caused by the booze, but we both understood, in Dad’s case, it was. I’m gob-smacked you’ve even heard of it.’

‘Only because we had a talk on the long term effects of alcohol last year. Think they were trying to dry some of the students out. Warn them off with a list of potential deadly outcomes. Wasting their time, obviously. I don’t really understand the full ins and outs of it, other than it’s a really cruel illness, as dementia always is. I’m so sorry, that’s really tough on you too.’

‘Hmm. Like I said, it’s his own fault. But anyhow that’s where my money went. All of it. But what was I to do?’

‘What about your mum?’ Words I wished I could rein back in on noticing her physically congeal.

‘Dead.’ She says.

I gasp out loud before I can stop myself, then grab her hand and squeeze, words failing me.

‘Same way, before you ask.’ She gives a reciprocal squeeze then releases my hand, to place the moisturiser back in the basket next to her. ‘Not the Korsakoffs stuff, but still a… drunk, amongst other stuff. Again, all her own doing.’

Despite now feeling completely sober, I feel my legs quiver. ‘Look, I appreciate you hardly know me, so please tell me if I’m offending you. But the three of us,’ I nod towards the bathroom door, ‘me, Clara and Jo, we share a house in Stockbridge, Daddy rents it for us, then we share the rent. My bedroom is huge, plenty big enough for two and I’ve a spare bed already in there, you could always share with me, until you sort yourself out at least.’

‘But…’

‘No, you don’t need to say anything, not just yet. Have a think about it. I’m off back home tomorrow, won’t be back until January, so you’ve some time to mull it over. Please don’t feel obliged or anything though, it’s only a thought.’ I pick up our bags and hand her hers as we walk towards the exit door. ‘You have my mobile number so let me know, any time.’ The raucous laughter hits us as we push at the door, joyfulness and drunken exchanges circling the domed ceiling. I pull her back before we reach our table. ‘Please tell me – I haven’t offended you, been a little too forward. I didn’t mean to be. I only want to help if I can.’

Newly perfectly painted lips turn upwards. ‘No, of course you haven’t,’ she reassures me, ‘but obviously, I’ll need to think it over. It’s very sweet of you but I like to pay my way usually and it’s all a bit embarrassing. I’ve always been a believer, nothing is free in life, everything comes with a price list. Something Dad did teach me.’

‘Accept good friendships, Cam, they shouldn’t come at a cost. I know we’ve only just met but like you said, feels more like we’ve known each other for ages. If I can help you, you’ll let me know, won’t you?’

‘Thanks Andi, I’ll think about it, promise.’ She rubs my arm.

Maybe, I’ve lifted some of the weight sitting incongruently on a petite frame. Life can be so unfair sometimes, so cruel and as Grandma always told me, there but for the grace of God go I.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this extract. Make sure to check out my review which will be posted soon.

Add ‘Who I Am‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Who I Am‘ here:

*I am in no way compensated by this site. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Sarah Simpson has a business degree and a first class honours degree in psychology with appropriate post-graduate qualifications. Her background, working privately within mental health for many years; within the collaborative family law arena and with additional experience within the family court system has gifted her an invaluable understanding of life and people. Thus, Her Greatest Mistake is a cocktail of professional and personal experiences stirred vigorously by the imagination.

She is relatively late to the writing scene, despite a love of books and writing from when she was very young, it wasn’t until 2016 that she sat down to put pen to paper. Her Greatest Mistake was then some twelve months in creation, followed by some vigorous re-writing. In June 2017, she signed with her current agent Broo Doherty and shortly after was offered a three book publishing contract with Aria, Head of Zeus…

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton @BloomsburyRaven

I have seen this book all over social media and when I say all over I truly mean all over – Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Youtube and book blogs. What first attracted me to it was the synopsis because it sounds so good and unique. I’m sure that the synopsis of Seven Deaths will intrigue every lover of mystery books (if one could classify it as such).

The story revolves around one woman called Evelyn Hardcastle who upon attending a party thrown for her by her parents gets murdered. This happens every night and the quest of saving Evelyn falls upon one man called Aiden Bishop. Aiden re-lives this whole day through the eyes of different guests and what he’s tasked with is solving the mystery around Evelyn’s death. But solving her death is very tricky and Aiden must give his all in order to find out the truth behind her death[s].

I have kept this synopsis short and sweet because it’s all you need before going in. The first question that pops into my mind is – is Seven Deaths worth the hype it got and still gets? I would say that it is because it offers something unique and something I haven’t read before. The story is complex and interesting and very rich in terms of characters and happenings. Because I’ve been busy with tests/exams I’ve been reading it for a longer period than usual but I have to note that I’ve read around 400 pages in two days which says something about the book as well as Turton’s writing. I found the characters as well as different timelines to be confusing at times because a lot of stuff happens in it. I enjoyed the mystery around Evelyn as well as Aiden’s attempts at trying to figure out what exactly happens every night. The last one-hundred pages were so good and fast-paced that I couldn’t look away so even though I was in class at one point I just kept reading instead of paying attention [sorry professor]. I love the complexity of the story Turton has created because even when I was trying to guess what Aiden was missing, Turton managed to add a new layer to the story and point to a different direction. I found the conclusion to the book to be very interesting and wanted at least twenty more pages just so I could see what happened! What bothered me the most and what I mentioned at the beginning are the characters and switching timelines but other than that I found the book to be such a strong mystery.

If you’re someone who gets sort of distanced when it comes to hyped-up books I can assure you that with this one you won’t be disappointed because it will thrill you, mislead you and entertain you. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle stands as a strong mystery book and one of the most interesting ones I’ve read in a while.

I would like to thank the publisher Bloomsbury UK (Raven Books) for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book free from the publisher.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle‘ here:

*Purchase ‘The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle‘ with free international delivery here: 

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Stuart Turton lives in London with his amazing wife and daughter. He drinks lots of tea.

What else?

​When he left university he went travelling for three months and stayed away for five years. Every time his parents asked when he’d be back he told them next week, and meant it.

Stuart is not to be trusted. In the nicest possible way.

He’s got a degree in English and Philosophy, which makes him excellent at arguing and terrible at choosing degrees.

Having trained for no particular career, he has dabbled in most of them. He stocked shelves in a Darwin bookshop, taught English in Shanghai, worked for a technology magazine in London, wrote travel articles in Dubai, and now he’s a freelance journalist. None of this was planned, he just kept getting lost on his way to other places…

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

[COVER REVEAL + TITLE] Millennium Series: Book VI by David Lagercrantz @QuercusBooks #TheGirlWhoLivedTwice

I’m very excited to be one of many book bloggers who are participating in revealing the cover and the title for the Millennium book VI. Without further ado here’s the title and the cover for the sixth book:

THE GIRL WHO LIVED TWICE

 

Doesn’t it look stunning!? Let me know your thoughts on it below in the comment section.

*You can pre-order The Girl Who Lived Twice by clicking on this link –> 

*I am in no way compensated by this site. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

David Lagercrantz, born in 1962, is a journalist and author, living in Stockholm. His first book was published in 1997, a biography of the Swedish adventurer and mountaineer Göran Kropp. In 2000 his biography on the inventor Håkan Lans, A Swedish genius , was published. His breakthrough as a novelist was of the Fall in Wilmslow (Fall of Man in Wilmslow) , a fictionalized novel about the British mathematician Alan Turing. In David Lagercrantz ‘writing you can thwart see a pattern: the major talents who refuse to follow the convention. He has been interested not only in what it takes to stand out from the crowd, but also in the resistance That Such creativity inevitably faces.

Find him on: Website and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] The Parting Gift by Evan Fallenberg @OtherPress

When it comes to books that feature LGBTQ+ themes I’m all ears so getting a chance to read The Parting Gift was very exciting for me. Oh boy, was this book brilliant! I have to mention the hardcover copy and how brilliantly it was designed. Wow, just wow. Well done Other Press!

The story centers around an unknown narrator who upon coming back from Israel crashes in his friend’s apartment and the book is written in a form of one long letter addressed to that friend, Adam. Since our narrator has found a new location to live in he decides to leave an explanation as to why he came to crash at his place for four months. Our narrator tells Adam the story of Uzi, a spice merchant he met during his trip as well as meeting Uzi’s family, of love, of obsession, of dedication and more.

I think that my summary is enough to read before going in and that’s why I kept it short. I’ve no idea what’s happening lately because I’ve been reading fantastic books – let’s not jinx this because I want to read more fantastic books in the future. I read The Parting Gift in a day because it was so fast-paced and so good that I couldn’t look away. I just made breaks to make more cups of tea. Fallenberg writes so masterfully and keeps your attention at all times and the way he crafted this tale was fantastic. I love how he created the characters in it especially our unknown narrator who is so fascinating and whose psyche I loved examining throughout the book. Unknown narrator is so interesting and his actions made me question many things about him. The story is developed very well and there’s no dull moment in it. If I was to compare this book to other ones I would definitely say that it reminded me of Gone Girl in a way – now I know everything is compared to Gone Girl nowadays but this book really left me with that impression. When I reached the end of The Parting Gift I found myself wanting more and exactly this ability the author has to make the reader want more is what amazes me. I honestly don’t know what else to say because I fear I’ll ruin your experience with this book so just do yourself a favour and pick this book up.

The Parting Gift is a fascinating tale of love, paranoia, jealousy and deviance set in a in a small town north of Tel Aviv.

I would like to thank the publisher Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Parting Gift‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘The Parting Gift‘ here:

*Purchase ‘The Parting Gift‘ with free international delivery here: 

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Fallenberg is a graduate of Georgetown University and the MFA program in creative writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts and has lived in Israel since 1985. He is coordinator of fiction for the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University; coordinator of literary translation in the Department of English Literature at Bar-Ilan University; and an instructor in the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at City University of Hong Kong. The recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, Fallenberg serves as an advisor to several literary prizes, including the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. He is the father of two sons.

Find him on: Goodreads

[BLOG TOUR: Q&A] Deliver Me by Karen Cole #DeliverMe @QuercusBooks @QuercusUSA

Today is my stop at the blog tour for Deliver Me by Karen Cole and I am very pleased to share a Q&A with the author with you.

ABOUT DELIVER ME

A gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Teresa Driscoll’s I Am Watching You and C.L. Taylor’s The Fear.

THE NIGHT SHE DOESN’T REMEMBER WILL BE THE ONE SHE CAN’T FORGET

When Abby’s doctor tells her she’s two months pregnant she doesn’t believe him. She can’t be – she hasn’t had sex for over a year. But to her astonishment and dismay, multiple tests confirm it’s true.

Desperately searching for an explanation, Abby recalls New Year’s Day – the terrible hangover, the hole in her memory where the night before should have been and the inexplicable sense of unease – and realises that this baby must have been conceived at her best friend Danny’s NYE party.

Horrified that someone would have taken advantage of her intoxicated state, Abby enlists the help of Danny to find out which of the party guests assaulted her. But, when she starts to receive anonymous messages, it seems that while she has been looking into the father of her baby, someone has been watching her…

Published in ebook by Quercus on 1st November, £1.99

Q&A WITH KAREN COLE

First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer a few questions for Breathing Through Pages.

Breathing Through Pages: Your novel Deliver Me has such an interesting premise – tell me, what inspired you to write Deliver Me?

Karen Cole: The original premise came to me in embryo form, years ago, when I was pregnant with my first son and I thought, what if…? But I didn’t develop it until much later.

BTP: Has your degree in psychology inspired any part of your novel?

KC: Not directly, no. But I’m fascinated by motivation and memory and I think some of that knowledge and interest has probably seeped in to the book.

BTP: What is your writing process like?

KC: I don’t really have a process. I tend to write early in the morning. I don’t overplan as ideas seem to come to me as I’m writing.

BTP: How long did it take you to write this novel?

KC: Hard to say. The actual writing probably took about a year but as I mentioned the idea had been evolving for some time before that.

BTP: Do you have any strange writing habits?

KC: I don’t think so!

BTP: By reading the synopsis of Deliver Me the reader can see that assault plays a big part in it – Was there a particular scene which you found hard to write (spoiler-free if possible)?

KC: I think writers always have to draw on unpleasant memories and emotions for distressing scenes but there was no one scene that was particularly hard to write.

BTP: Which character in your book do you most relate to?

KC: It has to be Abigail though I don’t think I’m at all like her and I tried to keep my own personality out of the book as much as possible.

BTP: Are you an introverted or an extroverted person?

KC: I’m quite introverted. I think writers have to be happy in their own company as it comes with the territory.

BTP: What authors have influenced you and made you fall in love with reading and eventually writing a novel?

KC: Too many! I’ve read and enjoyed so many psychological thrillers over the years. Some authors that stand out are Gillian Flynn, Nicci French and Rosamund Lupton. But my first love and the deepest is of course the queen of Crime fiction, Agatha Christie.

BTP: If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what book would it be?

KC: Actually, it would probably be a big, thick non- fiction book like Bill Bryson’s ‘A short History of Nearly Everything’ or ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari. Books that make you see the world in a new light and imagine that you understand it a little more.

BTP: I love finding new books so I want to ask you what are your favourite books?

KC: This is an impossible question to answer. I love so many books. Classics would include any Jane Austen, Crime and Punishment andWatership Down. Recently I’ve enjoyed and would recommend ‘Good me bad Me’ by Ali Land,‘Longbourne’ by Jo baker and‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman.

BTP: What are you currently reading?

KC: A book of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates called ‘The Female of the Species.’

BTP: Are you currently working on a new book?

KC: Yes, I’m currently working on a psychological thriller set in Cyprus, where I live.

BTP: Thank you.

KC: That was fun. Thank you!

Add ‘Deliver Me‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Deliver Me‘ here:

**I am in no way compensated by this site, I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Karen Cole grew up in the Cotswolds and got a degree in psychology at Newcastle University. She spent several years teaching English around the world before settling in Cyprus with her husband and two sons, where she works at a British army base as a primary school teacher. She recently completed the Curtis Brown writing course where she found her love of writing psychological thrillers.

Deliver Me is her debut novel.

[REVIEW] Little by Edward Carey @BelgraviaB

Until I find a hi res cover of the book this will be up.

Seeing Little all over Twitter made me very curious about it plus the art inside. I was lucky enough to get a copy of it to review and I absolutely adored it.

Little follows Anne Marie Grosholtz later to be known as Madame Tussaud. We follow Marie from the minute she’s born and then into her old age. Marie’s life is full of adventure, pain, loss, happiness, excitement. At a young age [and after the death of her parents] she becomes apprenticed to a wax sculptor called Doctor Curtius who sees potential in her because she’s not the one to shy away from looking at the ugly side of life. By chance they move their residence to an odd house where she meets a widow and her strange son who become entangled into the wax world and leave a mark upon Marie. Doctor Curtius’ wax figures attract attention and one day Marie meets a princess who hires her to be her ‘art teacher’ and teach her everything she knows. She forms a bond with the princess but things slowly change because something’s beginning in Paris – something that will change Marie’s life forever.

Congratulations, you have survived my terrible summary of Little! Moving on – what can one say about this book except that it’s magical, fantastic and brilliantly written? There’s a quote on the back of Little that stayed with me throughout the book and that’s one author saying that the book is written ‘with surgical precision’ which I have to completely agree with. I loved Carey’s writing style and how he managed to bring Marie, Doctor Curtius, Edmond and other characters to life. The book contains drawings made by the author which compliment the story so well. I am in awe of Carey’s talent in both fields – writing and drawing. The story kept me entertained, made me feel sad towards the end and happy because I loved following Marie and her adventures. I can honestly say that Little is a book I won’t forget and that it will stay with me for a while.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction and stories that stay with you long after you finish them – Little is definitely the book for you.

I would like to thank the publisher Belgravia Books (Aardvark Bureau) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Edward Carey is a writer and illustrator who was born in North Walsham, Norfolk, England, during an April snowstorm. Like his father and his grandfather, both officers in the Royal Navy, he attended Pangbourne Nautical College, where the closest he came to following his family calling was playing Captain Andy in the school’s production of Showboat. Afterwards he joined the National Youth Theatre and studied drama at Hull University.

He has written plays for the National Theatre of Romania and the Vilnius Small State Theatre, Lithuania. In England his plays and adaptations have been performed at the Young Vic Studio, the Battersea Arts Centre, and the Royal Opera House Studio. He has collaborated on a shadow puppet production of Macbeth in Malaysia, and with the Faulty Optic Theatre of Puppets.

He is also the author of the novels Observatory Mansions and Alva and Irva: the Twins Who Saved a City, which have been translated into thirteen different languages, and both of which he illustrated…

Find him on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

[BLOG TOUR: GUEST POST] The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond #TheGoldenOrphans @GaryRaymond_ @parthianbooks

Today is my stop at the blog tour for The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond and I’m excited to share a guest post with you! Thank you very much to Emma (@damppebbles) for inviting me to join the blog tour as well as a huge thank you to the author for taking the time to write a guest post for Breathing Through Pages.

ABOUT THE BOOK

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…

The Golden Orphans offers a new twist on the literary thriller.

Published by Parthian Books on 30th June 2018

GUEST POST

Gary Raymond explores how he turned his own experiences in Cyprus into a fast-paced literary thriller.

My latest novel, The Golden Orphans (Parthian Books), is a fast-paced literary thriller, about a seen-better-days artist who finds himself getting mixed up in the very strange world of a Russian gangster when he goes to attend the funeral of his former mentor on the island of Cyprus. It’s a dark, peculiar story, in which I consciously evoke some of my favourite writers, like Patricia Highsmith, Dorothy Hughes, and particularly Graham Greene. To some extent it’s a genre novel, but then again it shares a lot in common with my earlier work. But whatever it is, The Golden Orphans, is my best piece of fiction, and certainly marks a bit of a watershed moment for me. Let me tell you why I think that is.

For some writers, it’s easier to write about things outside of your own story than it is to draw on autobiography. For some of us, there is such a thing as being too close to home. My new novel, The Golden Orphans, was me finding a way to explore my own experiences. I lived in Cyprus, where the novel is set, for a short while in the mid-00s, and for a decade or so I had never considered using that time as the basis for a book. It sounds counter-intuitive; by I was interested in writing about things beyond my experience. But there came a time, pushed by my publishers, where my Cypriot adventures began to move into a place in my mind where aspects would had a role to play in my fiction. When my publisher said, “Write about those people you met in Cyprus,” I was neck deep in the works and craft of Graham Greene, who was teaching me a thing or two about constructing fiction out of real life. Greene frequently used real people to populate his stories of intrigue, and the more I began to understand how – and why – he did it, the more I felt I had something to work with.

Looking back it sounds extremely naïve of me. Here I was with a stable of characters – gangsters, misfits, miscreants, tragic figures – at my disposal, and I had never really thought of using them. I see the writing of The Golden Orphans now as a major step in me becoming the writer I was destined to become. I found, when looking back at these characters, that I could construct a narrative that explored the themes that interest me in fiction, and yet have a thrilling page-turner at the same time. Writing The Golden Orphans was… shock horror… enormous fun to do, and I’m told that translates to the reading experience.

Almost every character in The Golden Orphans is based on a real person who I met during my time there. I have just given them a fictional story in which to roam about in. I have pushed many of them to the brink, given them different backgrounds, extreme motivations, but at the same time I have tried to retain that sense of oddness and mystery that I felt was integral to my time in Cyprus. Cyprus is, you see, a uniquely curious place; a place that attracts a certain kind of outcast – and I have no doubt I was one myself back then, in my mid-twenties at the time, looking for a role in life – struggling to become a writer without ever really believing I would become one. I was there working for a friend, who was himself a crook avoiding the attentions of some “business associates” back in England. It was through this friend that I was introduced to the underground of Cypriot society. And that Cypriot experience is one not easily described in a form such as this, but one that can be captured in fiction. Graham Greene of course mastered this kind of looking around corners in his novels – he did it with Cold War Europe, with Africa, Asia, Haiti and other places. After finishing the first draft of The Golden Orphans and sending it off to my publisher with mixed feelings about what I had produced, I found an essay on Greene by Christopher Hitchens (sitting the whole time on my bookshelf for 10 years or more, and never previously noticed), in which he begins by reminiscing a time when he was sat in a sweaty taverna in Nicosia, Cyprus’ capital, in 1974, just after the Turkish invasion, and looking around and wondering how on earth Graham Greene had never written a novel set there. So, in a very small way, I felt like I have maybe followed Greene’s hand, and put something out there that he may have approved of.

Again, thank you very much to Gary for taking the time to write a guest post for Breathing Through Pages.

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Gary Raymond

Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review, and has been editor since 2014. 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, and is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’ The Review Show.

Find him on: Twitter and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] The Hurtle of Hell by Simon Edge @EyeAndLightning

This is the second title from Eye/Lightning Books I’ve read and I can honestly say that both have been such great and enjoyable reads. I especially enjoyed reading The Hurtle of Hell which I found to be very funny as well as very entertaining.

The Hurtle of Hell is about Stefano (Steven) Cartwright who has an NDA (near death experience) while swimming at the beach. What he sees in a few brief moments while being under is an white tube and an eye – which he believes is the eye of God. Stefano is an atheist who doesn’t particularly care about religion but after this event his perception of religion and God changes. We have one more POV in the book and it’s from God who sees Stefano through his tube and starts wondering how and why that happened. From then on the story continues with Stefano and we see how this experience changed him as well as what God does with this new information.

I tried to provide a synopsis that doesn’t reveal too much so I think that the information you read here is enough before starting The Hurtle of Hell. The book itself is written with style that just flows and makes you read on. The book discusses many themes such as religion and how its perceived, homosexuality as well as the debate between heaven and hell SO keep this in mind if you’re a very religious person because the author does play with the role of God. Being an agnostic myself, I found this book to be very interesting and loved that Edge included God’s perspective in it because it provided something fresh. In this universe God is a somewhat distant being who doesn’t have much knowledge as well as contact with the species in it which is very interesting. As I’ve mentioned before The Hurtle of Hell is very funny and the comedy in it shines through because of the characters.

If you’re someone who loves reading funny books from time to time then look no further because The Hurtle of Hell is the one for you.

I would like to thank the publisher Eye/Lightning Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Hurtle of Hell‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘The Hurtle of Hell‘ here:

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Simon Edge is the author of The Hopkins Conundrum, a tragic comedy about Gerard Manley Hopkins and five shipwrecked nuns, (Lightning Books, 2017) and The Hurtle of Hell, an atheist comedy featuring God and a confused young man from Hackney, (Lightning Books, 2018).
Find him on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.