[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup @MichaelJBooks #TheChestnutMan

I was very excited when I opened Twitter and saw a message about joining the blog tour for The Chestnut Man. Having loved The Killing TV series I couldn’t wait to dive into this one and I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed!

The Chestnut Man follows Naia Thulin and Mark Hess in their quest to solve the mystery and murder of Laura Kjaer, whose murder appears to be routinely executed but upon looking at the details both Thulin and Hess begin to see that something isn’t right. We are also introduced to Rosa Hartung who is a Minister for Social Affairs and who carries a horrible loss behind her. Rosa’s loss is the murder of her daughter whose killer has been caught but his testimony doesn’t make sense. Laura Kjaer’s murder contains a piece of evidence which is linked with Rosa‘s horrible loss – this discovery sets both Thulin and Hess in search of the truth behind the Chestnut Man.

Reading the first few chapters I felt shivers because of how dark and gruesome they were! What an opening! From the beginning we are introduced to Naia Thulin, a detective in the Homicide’s Murder Squad who feels like this job isn’t thrilling her and challenging her anymore so she plans on moving to the Cyber Crime Unit. Mark Hess has been kicked out of Europol for causing many issues and has made his way to Homicide’s Murder Squad. We can see that Hess doesn’t want to be there at all and already has plans to move quickly. Hess and Thulin have been partnered together in solving the case of Laura Kjaer and although not standing each other they have to do their best in solving it. Sveistrup has an amazing ability at writing gruesome scenes because I felt unsettled whenever I stumbled upon them. Naia Thulin’s character has to be my favourite because of how interesting she is and how her psyche worked. In the beginning Mark Hess wasn’t someone I liked but throughout the book we saw his flaws and that gave him depth and a somewhat understanding of why he is who he is. There are many voices in this book and at times I did feel lost because it didn’t keep my attention. Compared to the first part of the book the last part kept me much more entertained and although I found it a bit weak at times I felt that the ending made up for that. Sveistrup is someone who can write and I got reminded why I love these sort of books.

The Chestnut Man is a fantastic debut I highly recommend you pick up if you like dark and interesting thrillers.

I would like to thank the publisher Penguin Random House UK (Michael Joseph) for inviting me on the blog tour and providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Make sure to check out other book bloggers’ reviews on this tour!

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Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman. Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.

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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:  

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*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.

[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.

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

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.

[BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY] #RandomThingsTours Ladders to Heaven by Mike Shanahan @unbounders @annecater

Today is my stop on the Ladders to Heaven blog tour hosted by the amazing Anne Cater. Since today is the paperback publication day for LTD I am hosting a giveaway on Twitter and will also share it on Instagram so more people can enter. How to enter? Click on the link below About the Book.

ABOUT THE BOOK

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Ladders to Heaven tells their amazing story.

Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles in the dawn of civilisation. They feature in every major religion, starring alongside Adam and Eve, Krishna and Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. This is no coincidence – fig trees are special. They evolved when giant dinosaurs still roamed and have been shaping our world ever since.

These trees intrigued Aristotle and amazed Alexander the Great. They were instrumental in Kenya’s struggle for independence and helped restore life after Krakatoa’s catastrophic eruption. Egypt’s Pharaohs hoped to meet fig trees in the afterlife and Queen Elizabeth II was asleep in one when she ascended the throne.
And all because 80 million years ago these trees cut a curious deal with some tiny wasps. Thanks to this deal, figs sustain more species of birds and mammals than any other trees, making them vital to rainforests. In a time of falling trees and rising temperatures, their story offers hope.

Ultimately, it’s a story about humanity’s relationship with nature. The story of the fig trees stretches back tens of millions of years, but it is as relevant to our future as it is to our past.

GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]:

The publisher has been kind enough to allow me to host a giveaway for a paperback copy of Ladders to Heaven. It will be UK only and you can enter by RT-ing this tweet.

Add ‘Ladders to Heaven‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Ladders to Heaven‘ here:

*Purchase ‘Ladders to Heaven‘ 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.

Mike Shanahan is a freelance writer with a doctorate in rainforest ecology. He has lived in a national park in Borneo, bred endangered penguins, investigated illegal bear farms, produced award-winning journalism and spent several weeks of his life at the annual United Nations climate change negotiations. He is interested in what people think about nature and our place in it. His writing includes work published by The Economist, Nature, The Ecologist and Ensia, and chapters of Dry: Life without Water (Harvard University Press); Climate Change and the Media (Peter Lang Publishing) and Culture and Climate Change: Narratives (Shed). He is the illustrator of Extraordinary Animals (Greenwood Publishing Group) and maintains a blog called Under the Banyan.

Find him on: BlogFacebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

(BLOG TOUR)[REVIEW] Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett @JoFletcherBooks @robertjbennett

Robert Jackson Bennett is an author I’m familiar with because I bought his first novel City of Stairs two years ago for my birthday so when I saw that he had a new trilogy coming out I jumped at a chance to see what his writing is all about. I’ve yet to read City of Stairs but after Foundryside I am sure I’ll be reading more of him.

I don’t usually read fantasy books but I am always interested in trying new genres and seeing how I’ll like them so this since this is my first fantasy in a long time. Read the synopsis below:

She thought it was just another job. But her discovery could bring the city to its knees . . .

The city of Tevanne runs on scrivings, industrialised magical inscriptions that make inanimate objects sentient; they power everything, from walls to wheels to weapons. Scrivings have brought enormous progress and enormous wealth – but only to the four merchant Houses who control them. Everyone else is a servant or slave, or they eke a precarious living in the hellhole called the Commons.

There’s not much in the way of work for an escaped slave like Sancia Grado, but she has an unnatural talent that makes her one of the best thieves in the city. When she’s offered a lucrative job to steal an ancient artefact from a heavily guarded warehouse, Sancia agrees, dreaming of leaving the Commons – but instead, she finds herself the target of a murderous conspiracy. Someone powerful in Tevanne wants the artefact, and Sancia dead – and whoever it is already wields power beyond imagining.

Sancia will need every ally, and every ounce of wits at her disposal, if she is to survive – because if her enemy gets the artefact and unlocks its secrets, thousands will die, and, even worse, it will allow ancient evils back into the world and turn their city into a devastated battleground.

Considering that this is my first fantasy book in a while I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed being lost in the world that Robert Jackson Bennett has created. What I liked the most is how skilled the author is at world-building and how he describes certain things. I find the author to be hugely creative and loved reading his descriptions but at times I did feel like they were long and tiring. Our main character Sancia Grado is such a good one because of her strength and resilience – what I loved most about her character is her intelligence. Oh I have to mention Clef! Oh how much I adored Clef (Mr. Clef :D)! He was so funny and I loved the bond that Sancia and he made because it added more depth to the story. I loved the whole magic system that Bennett has created and its complexity. There are also many other characters in this book who are smart, brave, crafty, some who are pure evil! who will enrich your reading experience. The beginning of the book grabbed me because it started off with a heist and it was so action packed that you couldn’t look away. There were parts where I felt the book dragged and that made me frustrated at times but the last two-hundred pages were very fast-paced and action packed. This is the first book in a trilogy called Founders and the book leaves a satisfying ending and also leaves us with something more to look forward and discover in the second book.

What can one say? Foundryside is a very good action-packed, cleverly written and thought out book that every fantasy lover should read.

I would like to thank the publisher Jo Fletcher Books for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and haven’t been influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Add ‘Foundryside‘ to your TBR:  

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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.

Robert Jackson Bennett is a two-time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original, and is also the 2010 recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence. His fifth novel, City of Stairs, is in stores now. He lives in Austin with his wife and son.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

(BLOG TOUR)[REVIEW] Kill For Me by Tom Wood @LittleBrownUK

When I was approached by a publicist from Little Brown UK to review this book I was thrilled because I haven’t read a thriller in a while and I was very excited to check Kill For Me and see how I’ll like it.

Victor is an assasin who gets hired by a variety of people to do the dirty work for them but what they don’t know is that Victor isn’t a regular assasin – he’s a highly intelligent and dangerous one. A war is taking place in Guatemala between two sisters who are drug lords. Both want to dominate the drug ‘scene’.  One of the sisters, Heloise, calls Victor and hires him to kill the other, Maria,  in order for her to rule the kingpin. From this point on we are taken on a whirlwind of events – from plotting a murder to Victor having another killer on his back. All of this takes place in Guatemala where every move has to be carefully calculated.

Kill For Me is the eighth book in the Victor the Assasin series by Tom Wood. I haven’t read the previous books in the series but can say with certainty that this book can be read as a standalone – you needn’t worry that you’ll miss something. Although at times there are a few events that reference past books a vast majority of it is very much new and it’s not confusing. Victor is such a interesting character and what makes him interesting is his profession – a killer you can hire to murder someone for you. It was very fun getting into the mind of this character and see how he operates as well as perceives the world and people around him. Victor is a very, very intelligent character and I assume that his past experiences gave him more insight into people and how they operate. He is manipulative, calculative, cunning and very dangerous. I seriously wouldn’t want to be his enemy!! What I found interesting in this book was the detail in it, the story was very complex and it gave the book life. At times there were other POVs which were great and gave more information to the reader. I rarely read these kinds of books but after this one I definitely need to read more of them! One thing I must say is that people might find Victor to be annoying, full of himself but that’s just who he is even though he did sound very pretentious at times.

I would recommend Kill For Me to every thriller/action genre reader because they won’t regret picking this book up. Tom Wood will take you on a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride into Guatemala and the dangers that lurk there.

I would like to thank the publisher Little Brown UK (Sphere) as well as Millie Seaward for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and are not influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Tom Wood is a full-time writer born in Burton-on-Trent, and who now lives in London. After a stint as freelance editor and film-maker, his first novel, The Hunter, was an instant bestseller and introduced readers to a genuine antihero, Victor, an assassin with a purely logical view on life and whose morals are deeply questionable. Tom is passionate about physical sport, being both a huge boxing fan and practising Krav Maga, which has seen him sustain a number of injuries. He has not, however, ever killed anyone.

Find him on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.

[BLOG TOUR: GUEST POST] Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen @annecarter @orendabooks

Hello everyone, today I am very excited to share a guest post by the editor for Orenda Books, West Camel.

When PI Varg Veum is approached to find a missing girl, by a half-sister he barely knew, his investigation takes him deep into the dark web, and some personal history he’d rather forget…

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

Guest post by Orenda Books Editor, West Camel

In a typical Varg Veum novel, Gunnar Staalesen invites the reader inside the office of his private investigator, and from there she accompanies him as he seeks out the truth of whatever case has been brought to his door.

It is a classic crime-fiction format: the reader is privy to as much information as the investigator, follows his thinking and has the opportunity to pit her wits against him … or can just sit back and admire as he untangles the plot. However, Staalesen also uses the form to create an intimate relationship between the reader and VV. Over the course of twenty books we have come to know his strengths and failings, the delights and tragedies that have shaped him, and, probably most importantly, the unique mind of one of the most compelling characters in crime fiction.

But how can English-speaking readers become as acquainted as Norwegians with such a specific person – a Norwegian man in late middle age, specifically from Bergen, sometime alcoholic, father, quasi-widower, ex-social worker, justice seeker and lone wolf (‘varg’ means ‘wolf’ in Norwegian)?

The answer is through a close working relationship between Staalesen, his translators – most recently, the great Don Bartlett – and his editors, of which I am one.

Staalesen has invested Varg with idiosyncratic spoken and internal dialogue. To lose any of this would itself be a crime; so it is up to Don, in conversation with Gunnar, and with the editor alongside, to recreate the flavour of the original Norwegian. The closing lines of the first chapter of Big Sister is the perfect example of how this works. Varg is musing on the renovations to his Bergen office, and how, while the building has changed considerably, his work and his attitude towards it hasn’t.

Everyone was welcome to bring whatever they had on their minds.It took a lot to surprise me. Unless they came from Haugesund and said they were my sister.

Thus, with characteristic deftness, economy and quiet humour, Gunnar introduces the main theme of the novel, creates narrative tension and gives us a completely new angle on his protagonist. And all of this has to be transmitted in English. In my conversations with Don, I’ve discovered he does this by getting to know Varg intimately – in the same way the reader ultimately will:how the voice reads in English is guided by Don’s understanding of Varg the man.

Varg Veum also has a close knowledge of his city, his country and its people, and has a clear take on social issues. Much of this comes from Staalesen himself. But he is writing for Norwegians, so a kind of shorthand is inevitable – Norwegians don’t need the finer points of their country’s welfare system, open tax records, drinking culture, or religious history explained to them. English speakers might be baffled though. And this is where the discussions between the editor and translator can become quite fervent.

In Big Sister a key character is resident at an institution run by something called the Inner Mission. This is an evangelical Christian group, originally from Germany. While it’s widely known in Norway, in the UK, other similar Christian groups are more prominent. My suggestion as an editor was to offer the reader a little explanation – in order that English readers were apprised of the religious nature of the group at the same point Norwegians were. For the translator too long an explanation sounded patronising: surely readers would grasp what the Inner Mission was – it’s well known in Norway, and in the US too. Elegant compromise – what much of translating and editing is about – was achieved. Two words of explanation were added to the text (see if you can find them!).

Big Sister represents Gunnar Staalesen at the peak of his powers. In my view Don Bartlett has done his usual sterling job of recreating this bravura performance … and I hope my input has helped it reach the hands of the English speaking reader intact.

I would like to thank West Camel for taking the time out of his schedule to write a guest post for Breathing Through Pages!

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

Find him on: Website and Goodreads

[BLOG TOUR: GUEST POST] The Gathering by Bernadette Giacomazzo @annecarter @bg_writes_stuff

Hi guys! I am very happy to be a part of the blog tour for The Gathering by Bernadette Giacomazzo and share with you a guest post by the author!

S Y N O P S I S

The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.

In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — BasilePerrinault and KanoaShinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.

The Gathering: The Soundtrack To My Book

By: Bernadette Giacomazzo

Different writers, no doubt, have different ways of getting inspired to write. Some work in perfect silence, some work with the radio on, some work with the television on, and still others work amidst the chaos and the rubble of typical city life.

For me, however, writing my book The Gathering – the first in a six-part dystopian fiction series called The Uprising series – involved listening to some music that shaped, not only the soundtrack of my life, but the direction of the book itself.

Before I wrote The Gathering, I was known as a non-fiction writer. Specifically, I’d made my name as an entertainment journalist, with my work featured in the likes of People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The NY Post, and a whole lot more.

But even before all those lovely credentials, I got my “big break” on the New York City rock music scene, and it was here that I heard some of the best music I’d ever heard in my life…music that holds up to this day, nearly 20 years after the fact. (Am I dating myself here?)

It was this music that I listened to as I wrote this book, and I even make some references to the music throughout the book.

For your reading – and listening! – pleasure, I’ve enclosed some of the songs here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Fixer – Home Again

Fixer was a four-piece rock band from New York City that played some “balls-to-the-wall” rock’n’roll that was a mix between Guns N’Roses and the New York Dolls. They would frequently close their concerts with this song, and it’s easy to see why.

https://www.shazam.com/track/58007582/home-again

Fixer – Tuxedo

When they didn’t end their show with “Home Again,” they would end it with this song. Incidentally, this song first premiered in an acoustic setting back on November 29, 2000 –my 23rd birthday – at CB’s Gallery, which was the acoustic offshoot of the legendary CBGB’s, and was literally right next door to the venerated rock venue.

https://www.shazam.com/track/58007580/tuxedo

Status Joe – Water to Wine

As good as Fixer was at the straight ahead rock’n’roll songs, they weren’t as good at the love songs. So, in the book, when Jamie/Ivan is singing his heart out to Angelique, he’s referencing this song from Long Island based band Status Joe. (Incidentally, the lead singer, Phil Richards, has a new band called Crash Transit.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJCIYSngJzM

I would like to thank Bernadette for taking the time out of her schedule to write a guest post for Breathing Through Pages! Make sure to check out other book bloggers on this blog tour!

Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen VoguePeopleUs WeeklyThe Los Angeles TimesThe New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.

Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.

Find her on: Website and Twitter

(BLOG TOUR)[REVIEW+Q&A] The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

While scrolling through Twitter I stumbled upon a picture of a proof copy that had an interesting cover, it had no text but only a photograph of a house which made me very curious and immediately interested in it. I went on GoodReads to read the synopsis and I was SOLD. I sadly wasn’t able to get the proof with the house on the cover but managed to get a digital copy of the book with the amazing US cover. This is a really special memoir which still haunted me even after I finished reading it.

courtesy of panmacmillan

UK proof copy of ‘The Fact of a Body’

You’re out of Law school, you have decided to take on a summer job at a law firm to help defend men accused of murder, you have made this decision with a clear mind but upon reviewing the case video tapes of the man you’re supposed to help defend you freeze and something inside you changes and what comes to your mind now is hate and instantly you want this man to die – this is exactly what happened to the author of this book, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. At that moment she begins questioning everything that happened in her life, focusing on her past and how it has shaped her as a person as well as reviewing the case more and more and trying to find out the reason why this crime happened. That is basically all you need to know before getting into this book.

‘Grief takes root inside people.’

The story alternates from the past and the present as the author tries to paint a character study of Ricky Langley, his childhood, his adolescence and what drove him to commit this heinous crime. We also get the authors story as she revisists her past and focuses on the things that have left an impact on her today life. I have to say that the way Marzano-Lesnevich makes you feel somewhat empathetic towards Ricky, particularly the way his mind works, is very well done because she doesn’t make him a monster but a human being whose mind and emotional stability are fragile (but still twisted). The authors struggles and the trigger that Ricky Langley pulled into her mind which made her question her past were very raw and honest and they made this story even more gripping. A lot of themes are discussed in this story which I feel like I’ll ruin if I reveal them so go get this book and read it. After I finished reading the book I googled Ricky Langley and seeing a video of him describing his crime made me realise that this story is very real and has made an impact on many lives.

‘I have come to believe that every family has its defining action, its defining belief. From childhood, I understood that my parents’ was this: Never look back.’

This is a haunting story which in a way is very personal and that’s what makes it a compelling read and a book which any true crime/mystery/thriller lover should read.

***Warning: This memoir features child abuse and child molestation which may be a heavy/hard read for some readers. 

I would like to thank the US publisher (Flatiron Books), NetGalley and the author (Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich) for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

Check out other blog tour posts forThe Fact of a Body‘:

The Belgian Reviewer
Grab This Book
Keeper of Pages
Crime Worm
Liz Loves Books

You can read the first chapter of this book by clicking here.

Add ‘The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir‘ onto your TBR pile:  goodreads-logo-square

*Purchase ‘The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir‘ with free worldwide shipping: the_book_depository-svg

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

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, which will be published by Flatiron Books (Macmillan) in May 2017. It is also forthcoming from publishers internationally. A National Endowment for the Arts fellow and Rona Jaffe Award recipient, she has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Her essays appear in The New York Times, Oxford American, Iowa Review, and many other publications, and were recognized “notable” in Best American Essays 2013, 2015, and 2016. She earned her JD at Harvard and now teaches at Grub Street and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Find her on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

Click the ‘continue reading’ to read the Q&A with Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich plus the newspaper article images as well as other images from the case. Continue reading