[BLOG TOUR: Q&A] The Body in the Castle Well by Martin Walker #BodyInTheCastleWell @QuercusBooks @MillsReid11

I’m very pleased to share with you a Q&A with Martin Walker, the author of The Body in the Castle, the newest book in the Bruno, Chief of Police series!

SYNOPSIS:

A rich American art student is found dead at the bottom of a well in an ancient hilltop castle. The young woman, Claudia, had been working in the archives of an eminent French art historian, a crippled Resistance war hero, at his art-filled chateau.

As Claudia’s White House connections get the US Embassy and the FBI involved, Bruno traces the people and events that led to her death – or was it murder?

Bruno learns that Claudia had been trying to buy the chateau and art collection of her tutor, even while her researches led her to suspect that some of his attributions may have been forged. This takes Bruno down a trail that leads him from the ruins of Berlin in 1945, to France’s colonial war in Algeria.

The long arm of French history has reached out to find a new victim, but can Bruno identify the killer – and prove his case?

Q&A 

Q: How long did it take you to write this book and was the writing process hard compared to your previous works?

A: The first draft took about 4 months, after 2 or 3 months planning and research which is about the usual pattern. This was a little easier than most books because I knew the site of Limeuil so well.

Q: How often do you write?

A: Every day, either a wine column or or some other journalism and for the new cookbook or a non-Bruno novel. As a journalist most of my life I am accustomed to writing every day.

Q: Did you always know you were going to write a book (become a writer) or was it something that came spontaneously?

A: I already knew from childhood that I wanted to write. I used to follow my mum around the house reading out to her poems or little stories I had written.

Q: Do you relate to the main character Bruno?

A: I wish I could cook and play tennis as well as he does. But although he was inspired by my village policeman, who is also my tennis partner, Bruno is an invention but I always liked the idea of a friendly and helpful policemen who see himself as a good neighbour as well as a cop.

Q: I love the title The Body in the Castle Well – were there any alternatives or were you set on this title from the beginning?

A: I’m never good with titles so my UK editor chose it, my working title was ‘the girl in the castle well’.

Q: What are some of your favourite books and what are you reading at the moment?

A: I always love Sherlock Holmes and Maigret, I am currently reading Adam Roberts on Napoleon and Gegard Fayolle’s ‘Les Trentes Glorieuses’.

Q: Do you have a routine of writing at a certain time for a couple of hours or do you do it spontaneously?

A: Once I start writing a book I have to write 3 pages – or 1000 words – every day until I am done.

Q: What authors have influenced you and made you fall in love with reading and eventually writing books?

A: Conan Doyle, Chandler, le Carre, Carlyle, Dickens, Mailer, Saul Bellow and Trollope.

Thank you s much to Martin as well as the publisher for making this Q&A possible!

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Add ‘The Body in the Castle Well‘ 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.

Martin Walker is the U.S. bureau chief for The Guardian (London), a regular commentator for CNN, and a columnist for newspapers in the United States, Europe, and Moscow. A published novelist and poet, he lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, the novelist Julia Watson, and their two daughters.

Find him on: Website and Goodreads.

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[BOOK REVIEW] Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy #SuspiciousMinds

When I saw this book on Twitter I just fanboyed so hard and had to request a copy! My wish was granted which I’m so grateful for! I love Stranger Things as a TV show and was very excited to read Suspicious Minds because of that reason.

Suspicious Minds is set in Hawkins, Indiana, in the summer of 1969. We are introduced to Terry Ives, who finds out that her friend Stacey is going to a mysterious lab to be a subject in an experiment. Stacey doesn’t want to do it anymore because it’s very weird and she doesn’t like it so Terry volunteers to do it in her place and see what it’s about. The experiment she’s taking part in pays enough for her to be even more motivated to join in. Terry gets signed into the experiment and has the privilege of being a part of something great but that ‘something great’ has a cost she’ll soon find out about. In Hawkins Laboratory she’ll meet people who will become very important part of her life:  Alice, Gloria, Ken, Kali (008) and Dr. Martin Brenner. Each of the named characters play an important role in this experiment. Soon, Terry finds out that this experiment isn’t what it seems and she begins questioning why has Dr. Brenner said almost nothing about the experiment. Terry with the cast of her new friends will have to find out what secrets Hawkins Lab and Dr. Brenner are hiding.

This story isn’t completely linked to Stranger Things [it doesn’t follow the original cast] but it does feature a well-known character Dr. Martin Brenner. Suspicious Minds could be described as a prequel to the whole Stranger Things franchise. I’m honestly very surprised that this book has a 3.50 rating on Goodreads because it’s actually quite an enjoyable and quick read. The chapters are not that long and keep your attention as well as the story. I found myself feeling very attached to Terry, Ken, Gloria and Alice and found their friendship to be quite awesome. My only critique would be that although chapters were short and quick to read, there could’ve been more to them. I appreciated the shortness of the chapters but wanted to stay longer on certain parts of the book. Bond makes a great story-teller and I enjoyed her writing. I especially loved how towards the end Bond linked Suspicious Minds to Stranger Things [I fanboyed!]. Being a Stranger Things fan I must say that this was a good read – although different from the original. I was reading this book a week before exam chaos started and it provided me an amazing escape and my mind was racing through it because I was so invested in the characters’ lives.

If you’re a fan of Stranger Things then it’s a no-brainer that this one should be on your TBR!

I would like to thank the publisher Century (Penguin Random House UK) for providing me with a review 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 ‘Suspicious Minds‘ 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.

Gwenda Bond is the author of many novels, primarily for young adults. Among others, they include the Lois Lane trilogy, which brings the iconic comic book character front and center in her own YA novels, and the Cirque American trilogy, about daredevil heroines who discover magic and mystery lurking under the big top. She and her husband author Christopher Rowe also co-write a middle grade series, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service. Her first mystery project for adults, Dead Air, a novel and podcast written with Carrie Ryan and Rachel Caine, is out now, and in 2019 she’ll release a Stranger Things prequel. She co-hosts the weekly podcast Cult Faves.…more.
Find her on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter

[BOOK REVIEW] In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids by Travis Rieder @TNREthx @HarperBooks

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that I tend to read non-fiction books on a variety of different topics. I genuinely enjoy reading non-fiction because I learn a lot of new things about e.g. science, biology, personal struggles of memoir writers etc. What first attracted me to In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids was the cover – it’s just so powerful and bang on in showing what the book is mainly about. I just love that! Of course, a reader mustn’t judge a book by its cover but…. it helps when a book has a cool cover you can stare at for hours. Now, for all of you who like short reviews…. well…. this won’t be one BUT I’ll try and make it as on-point as possible.

Let’s begin with what the book is about – In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids by Travis Rieder is about [you guessed it] Travis Rieder, who winds up getting in a motorcycle accident which lands him in a hospital having to endure a number of surgeries to fix his foot. While staying in hospital he has to take medication to keep his pain away – the medication is a blessing but after several months of being under their influence he realises that something’s not right. Following his doctor’s order he begins to get off the medication – most of us would think ‘Great, now I’m off the meds and I’ll be able to function better’ but that’s not what happened. Rieder went under opioid withdrawal  which caused him a lot of pain and suffering. Rieder and his family try every door to get help but every single one seems to be shut. What most doctors suggest to  him is that he should go back to the medication and try to get off them later but having endured what he has Rieder knows that it’s not a good idea to go back, instead what he does is something that’s very brave and something that made him a stronger person. What this painful and exhausting experience sets off in Rieder is the search for answers and loopholes in the American healthcare system.  What he does in this book is a result of meticulous research on history of opioids, the production of opioids, the effects of opioids, healthcare system and how it’s failing when it comes to prescribing medication and giving needed information to its users and more.

What I loved a lot in this book was that even before writing about his experience and other things the author writes a note to the reader saying that he asks of the reader to go into his book with an open mind because some people won’t like what he states in the following pages and some might even disagree.What’s most important is that you go into In Pain without any prejudice because while reading the book you’ll see in what way Rieder presents the subject matter he discusses in each chapter.

You can find some talks about his book here and Travis’ TED Talk here.

In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids will be out on June 18th 2019. I’ve put links where to pre-order it and add it to your TBR below in the Get the book section.

So, this is my review in short for those of you who don’t like long reviews – if you wish to know more in the following I’ll be discussing the chapter structure and what each chapters deals with. Thanks for reading and please let me know your thoughts on whether you think you’ll add this one to your TBR!

My rating:

I’ll be getting into more detail about the book below. Continue reading

[BOOK REVIEW] Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James #BlackLeopardRedWolf

First of all I’d like to note that I’m not a fantasy reader and this book was out of my comfort zone and that’s why I chose to read it. I pride myself on writing honest reviews that reflect my experience with each book I read so this one will be no exception.

As I’ve mentioned above I’m not a huge fantasy buff but I do like to include a few fantasy books into my TBR and read more ‘widely’ because I like expanding my mind with different genres. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a novel which I’m sure every person who’s familiar with the book world will have heard of. The novel is book one of a trilogy called The Dark Star trilogy which will include two more books written from different perspectives on the same happenings. The first book Black Leopard, Red Wolf follows Tracker, a hunter known for his excellent sense of smell which has given him quite a reputation. Tracker is put on a quest to find a missing boy and along this quest he’s got many creatures much different than him, one of them being a shape-shifting creature called Leopard. Tracker’s quest to find the missing boy leads him to many ancient cities, forests and many dark places with much darker creatures who are not so welcome. What Tracker must do is find out who exactly is the boy and why do so many people want to find him?

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is such a unique book in every sense of the world. As I’ve said – I’m not that big on fantasy but of all the fantasy I’ve read this book has to be the most unique with its world-building and characters as well as the language. What I found interesting in this book were James’ characters and how peculiar they were. I have to admit that the first two-hundred pages were the most fun for me and then the rest kind of lost me. There are some very memorable scenes which stayed with me still – little background: I’ve been reading it since the beginning of March and have paused quite a few times because of Uni – and I actually really liked that because it shows that James has amazing skills as a writer. I found myself lost at times while reading, perhaps because it was a bit ‘too fantasy’ for me? I’m used to reading books that are quickly engaging and where the story flows but BLRW is one complex behemoth of a book. In order to successfully get through it you need to take your time with it and follow it slowly. I would very much like to read/hear the experience of a well-read fantasy genre lover when it comes to this book because I’m sure they would appreciate it more and find more meaning in it. I’ve been pondering for a while on how I should rate this book and I honestly don’t know because I feel like my experience with it wasn’t full.. I wouldn’t say it’s a book you should definitely avoid because you’ll be missing out but I’m also not intent on saying it’s the best of the best and you should grab a copy immediately. What I’ll say about Black Leopard, Red Wolf is that if you wish to experience something unique and have the time to solely focus on it then go ahead and get it from your local bookshop, online or from your library and enter the world that the mind of Marlon James has created.

I would love to hear other people’s opinion on Black Leopard, Red Wolf so if you’ve read it please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on it with me!

I would like to thank the publisher Hamish Hamilton for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book for free from the publisher.

Add ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf‘ 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.

Marlon James is a Jamaican-born writer. He has published three novels: John Crow’s Devil(2005), The Book of Night Women (2009) and A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014), winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Now living in Minneapolis, James teaches literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents who were both in the Jamaican police: his mother (who gave him his first prose book, a collection of stories by O. Henry) became a detective and his father (from whom James took a love of Shakespeare and Coleridge) a lawyer. James is a 1991 graduate of the University of the West Indies, where he read Language and Literature. He received a master’s degree in creative writing from Wilkes University (2006).

Find him on: Goodreads

[BLOG TOUR: BOOK EXTRACT] Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin @MichaelJBooks @GarethRubin

I’m excited to share an excerpt from Liberation Square with you as part of my blog tour stop! Hope you like it!

BOOK EXTRACT

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Add ‘Liberation Square‘ to your TBR: 

*Purchase ‘Liberation Square‘ 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.

Gareth Rubin is an author and journalist who has written for most British national newspapers. He lives in London, and Liberation Square is his first novel.

Find him on: Publishers website, Goodreads and Twitter.

[SOCIAL MEDIA BLAST: BOOK EXTRACT] The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary @QuercusBooks #TheFlatshare @OLearyBeth

Today is the publication day of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary! As part of my social media tour stop I’m sharing the first chapter with you! Yay!

BOOK EXTRACT

This tour involves many book bloggers! Make sure to check them out!

Add ‘The Flatshare‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘The Flatshare‘ 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.

Beth O’Leary studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.
You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).
Find her on: Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas @FaberBooks @BevThomas20

A Good Enough Mother is Faber’s lead debut which comes out on 4th April. When I got the blog tour invite I jumped right in because after reading that synopsis I couldn’t resist! It ticks all the boxes when it comes to a book for me.

What’s it about? A Good Enough Mother follows Dr. Ruth Hartland who is a director in a well-known trauma unit. Ruth’s job consists of seeing different patients and helping them through their traumas and she’s quite a good therapist. Our main character Ruth has a few issues of her own – her son Tom disappeared without a word and that is something that haunts her daily [understandably so]. On one particular day Ruth is assigned a new case, a boy called Dan Griffin who resembles her son a lot. This is where the line between professional and personal intertwine. Ruth, who has years of experience in her practice knows what is to be done in these scenarios but something in her is stopping her from doing the right thing. She cannot get the likeness out of her head and so she begins treating him. Was that the right choice or the greatest mistake? Well, you have to read the book to find out..

Whenever I come across a book where our main character is a therapist or someone in the field of mental health I immediately add it to my TBR because I can’t resist those books. I love finding out about human psyche and what influences most of our behaviour. The author of this book, Bev Thomas, was a clinical psychologist who worked for the NHS and who’s now a consultant when it comes to mental health. I love how her knowledge as well as many years of practice influenced the book and she even mentioned Winnicotts theory of ‘Good Enough Parent/Mother’ which I wasn’t familiar with before. The characters in the book were well crafted and Ruth’s character had a lot of flaws which made her relatable. Now, when it comes to Ruth’s decisions I wanted to yell at her a few times but I have to take into account that she has went through hell with Tom’s disappearance and that’s something very very stressful and can cloud someone’s judgement. I did find issues with a few of her decisions that I couldn’t credit to her trauma and I seriously wanted to shout ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOOOING!!? NOO!’. The book is very readable and it has a nice pace so you can actually fly through it and experience a lot of emotions. Did I feel for Dan? No, I didn’t. I just didn’t like him as a character although I understood Ruth’s ‘pull’ towards him. This book doesn’t jump straight into the action so if you’re someone who wants a fast-paced read you won’t find it here [although the end is wild]. It’s a slow burner which I enjoyed and I especially loved finding out about Ruth’s job and what she did. Although I didn’t like Ruth’s decisions I enjoyed this book a lot and the last few pages were quite hopeful  which was a bonus for me.

A Good Enough Mother is an interesting look into a life of a therapist who while battlng her own demons tries her best to help her patients and a good study of what happens when personal and professional  lives mix.

I would like to thank the publisher Faber & Faber for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book from the publisher.

My rating:

Make sure to follow other bloggers on this tour!

Add ‘A Good Enough Mother‘ 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.

Bev Thomas was a clinical psychologist in the NHS for many years. She currently works as an organisational consultant in mental health and other services.  She lives in London with her family.

Her upcoming novel A Good Enough Mother will be published by Faber & Faber in Spring 2019.

Find her on: Goodreads and Twitter

[BLOG TOUR: BOOK EXTRACT] She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge @MichaelJBooks

Today is my stop on the She Lies in Wait blog tour! I am delighted to share the first chapter with you! Let me know your thoughts on it below!

BOOK EXTRACT

Thanks for visiting! Make sure to follow other book bloggers on this tour!

Add ‘She Lies in Wait‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘She Lies in Wait‘ 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.

Gytha Lodge is a multi-award-winning playwright, novelist and writer for video games and screen. She is also a single parent who blogs about the ridiculousness of bringing up a mega-nerd small boy. She has a profound addiction to tea, crosswords and awful puns. When not writing, she heads up a copywriting team at a global translation firm, where she generally tries to keep all the video-game writing to herself. She studied English at Cambridge, where she became known quite quickly for her brand of twisty, dark yet entertaining drama. She later took the Creative Writing MA at UEA. She has signed with Penguin Random House worldwide for the first three books in her crime series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens

Find her on: Goodreads and Twitter

[BOOK REVIEW] Women by Mihail Sebastian transl. by Philip Ó Ceallaigh @OtherPress

Women follows Stefan Valeriu who has just finished his medical studies in Paris and who has decided to go to the Alps on a vacation. The reader follows Stefan’s life in which three very different women enter – some as lovers, some merely as, so called, subjects whom Stefan observes. The story is often told from the point of view of Stefan and through him we get a glimpse of divergent relationships.

What initially attracted me when it comes to Women was how the reader who embarks on the journey of reading this novel will experience many stories told by the same man. The stories presented to the reader are about a variety of things – love, passion, regret and most of all life. I especially enjoyed the feel that this novel has because I often read more ‘modern’ fiction and I feel like people [including me] should go back to classics at one point just to cleanse their palette. Women by Mihail Sebastian was such a refreshing read – from the writing to the wonderful translation by Philip Ó Ceallaigh – which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. As I’ve said earlier the novel weaves many themes [empathy, passion etc] and that’s exactly what I found most enjoyable as well as fascinating. The writing is so gorgeous and I found many wonderful quotes about different things that this novel discusses. I especially enjoyed the chapter narrated by/titled Maria as well as the last chapter titled Arabela. The last chapter although short amazed me by how much it actually had in itself – especially the transition from having something in terms of wealth to having nothing and making something out of a bad situation.

‘It terrifies me to think that something can be completely obliterated, that a thing or a person or a feeling or even just something familiar can disappear overnight.’

Women by Mihail Sebastian is truly a rediscovered classic because it offers a gorgeous glimpse of 1930s life and one man’s take on different women who passed through his.

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 the fact that I got this book for free from the publisher.

My rating:

Add ‘Women‘ 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.

Mihail Sebastian was born in Romania in 1907 as Iosif Mendel Hechter. He worked as a lawyer and writer until anti-Semitic legislation forced him to abandon his public career. Having survived the war and the Holocaust, he was killed in a road accident in early 1945 as he was crossing the street to teach his first class. His long-lost diary, Journal 1935-1944: The Fascist Years, was published to great acclaim in the late 1990s. His novel For Two Thousand Years was published in English in 2016.

[BLOG TOUR: BOOK REVIEW] Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson @FaberBooks @PeterSwanson3

Whenever I see a new Peter Swanson book coming out I immediately get excited. Swanson is that author you just love and whose writing pulls you in – he’s seriously one of my favourite thriller writers ever. When I saw that he had a new book coming out I got so excited! When I see a Swanson book I just get so excited because his books are something I love getting lost in.

Before She Knew Him follows Hen who moves in with her husband Lloyd to a new home. One night at a neighbourhood party Hen and Lloyd meet Matthew and Mira Dolamore, a couple with who they can most relate since they’re the only childless couple in the neighbourhood. Both couples agreed to meet up one night for dinner at the Dolamores so they can get to know each other better. While staying at dinner Hen gets a tour of the house from Mira and sees something that shocks her – a fencing trophy. She immediately gets chills because it can’t be! From this point on Hen starts suspecting that Matthew – a seemingly normal professor – is hiding a dark secret. Hen tells her concerns to her husband who dimisses this insane thought but she isn’t sure she’s being irrational in this situation. Hen begins getting interested in Dolamores more and more and this obsession will spark up an unusual bond with Matthew.

Before She Knew Him is out now in both US and UK! Swanson has a way of engaging the reader when it comes to his books. I have to say that of all the works I’ve read by him nothing can top The Kind Worth Killing which amazed me and made me fall in love with Swanson.

Before She Knew Him is such a fast-paced book and I loved spending every hour and every minute reading it. The characters in it have depth and even the side-characters are given a voice which I found to be excellent when it came to this story. I love how Swanson created Hen who even though has mental health problems still stays true to what she believes and doesn’t let it stop her from finding out the truth. The Dolamores as characters were amazing especially Matthew whose mind was so complex. When it comes to the plot I just loved it – especially the last twenty pages which had me gasping! Now, since I’m on the subject of the ending I kind of felt that it was rushed and would’ve loved that it was more thought-out because the whole idea was so amazing but cut abruptly. Something I love about Swanson is the Hitchcock-ian feel that he adds to his stories and this one had that as well – I mean that twist at the end! As I’ve mentioned, the characters are something I loved finding out more about and Swanson did that perfectly [getting into their psyche] but the ending felt a bit rushed for my taste. Although I had an issue with the ending of this book I still found it thoroughly enjoyable and something I would definitely recommend you pick up if you’re a fan of brilliant psychological thrillers!

I would like to thank the publisher Faber&Faber 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 the fact that I got this book for free from the publisher.

My rating:

Add ‘Before She Knew Him‘ to your TBR:  

*Purchase ‘Before She Knew Him‘ 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.

Peter Swanson is the author of four novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year; and his most recent, All the Beautiful Lies. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.