[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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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] 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.

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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

[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:  

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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.

[REVIEW] Wanderer by Sarah Léon, translated by John Cullen @OtherPress

Other Press is one of those publishers you love because of their ability to choose and publish brilliant new voices in fiction as well as non-fiction. Wanderer by Sarah Leon was such an interesting and thought-provoking read but not a perfect one.

Wanderer by Sarah Leon is set in France, in a small territory near Bourbonnais Mountains, where we are introduced to Hermin Peyre, a composer who has decided to isolate himself in order to spend his time composing a piece dedicated to Schubert. One wintry night Leonard Wieck, Lenny, shows up on his doorstep after ten years of not having any contact with him. This event will put years of unspoken words and frustrations out in the open for both Hermin and Lenny. They must revisit their past together in order to better understand what happened between them and what kind of damage has been done. What happened between the two? What lies behind their silence?

‘’The fabric of his life had slowly worn itself out during those years of virtual solitude.’’

Leon having written this book at the age of twenty-one amazes me. Not only because of the fact that she was twenty-one but because of the way she crafts sentences and how she perceives certain things. The way music and certain musical pieces were intertwined within the story was beautiful and Leon combining music with winter made me feel like I was right there with Hermin and Lenny. Both characters are very flawed and interesting. Our story is told from Hermin’s POV which revisits the past and the present in each chapter so we get almost a full picture of what happened. Since the book is told from Hermin’s POV and since Lenny is his guest, Leon makes us a part of Hermin because we experience everything from his perspective – it feels as though we have welcomed a long lost friend into our home and are experiencing all of the consequences that this brings. What I found most enjoyable was the language in the story and the way Leon creates them which are all wonderfully translated from French by John Cullen. The translator did a fantastic job! The story is something I found to be weak – although the ‘ghosts of the past’ came to haunt both characters I felt as though the story could’ve been thought-out better. I get the decision behind bringing Lenny back after ten years of silence but I felt dissatisfied in a way because of the way the story went. I hope this makes sense to people who have read it but the story felt predictable to me. Wanderer being Leon’s debut novel shows to me that she has a lot of skill and I’m excited to see what she comes up with in the future. I feel like what Leon fell short on [for me] she made up by the way she wrote this novel.

‘’I’d looked at him helplessly. I’d never had any gift for consoling people – I could listen to them talk about their trouble, sure, but then how to find the right words? And this particular case seemd to be precisely the sort about which there was nothing to say; no phrases would have the power to cushion the blow that had just struck him. But in spite of all that, I was required to say something…’’

Wanderer explores the psychological effects of what long periods of silence do to a friendship and what damage they may cause.

If you’re someone who likes their reads to be more on the psychological side then I definitely recommend this book.

I would like to thank the publisher Other Press (NY) for providing me with a review 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 from the publisher.

My rating: 

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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.

Gérard Cambon-Éditions Héloïse

Sarah Léon was born in 1995 and studied literature and musicology at the École normale supérieure in Paris. She won the 2012 Prix Clara for her novella, Mon Alban.

Find her on: Publisher’s 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:  

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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.

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

[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:  

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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.

[REVIEW] The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon @ViragoBooks

What caught my attention to The Incendiaries was the hype around it which was huge and everyone seemed to be talking about it. I wanted to check what all the hype was about, of course.

The Incendiaries is told from three voices although it mainly focuses on Will Kendall, who is a scholarship student who juggles both work and studying and whose life is quite hectic. Our second ‘narrator’ is Phoebe Lin, who we get to meet but no in the same amount as Will. Third person is the cult leader called John Leal whose craziness we get to read in half-page chapters. The story revolves around Will and Phoebe and their relationship which begins like any other but it changes when she becomes acquainted with John Leal. Phoebe has a tragic past which she’s secretive about even to her boyfriend Will, but as she joins the enigmatic John Leal she begins to open up  – not to Will – but to Leal and other cult members. Will begins to see changes in Phoebe and decides to find out what is making Phoebe distracted and distanced from him. When bombings of several abortion clinics happen and Phoebe vanishes he refuses to believe that she’s the one responsible.

I have to say that I enjoyed Kwon’s writing in this novel the most. I just liked the way she crafted sentences because they felt magical at times. Now, since this novel is about two-hundred and ten pages long I have to say that I felt some of the characters weren’t developed fully and I would’ve liked to see their POV deepend – e.g. Leal and Phoebe. The characters weren’t likable to me at all but I did feel for Will towards the end of the novel. The beginning of the book confused me because the author shifted from first person to third person but once I got used to it I didn’t mind it much. Onto what I liked in The Incendiaries – the way Kwon described Leal and his manipulation effects on Phoebe is something I liked because you can see how easily a wounded and broken person can fall under someone else’s power.  The psychology behind that was point on because it often happens that way – lost souls are always in need of guidance and light. There wasn’t an appeal to Phoebe’s character for me nor did I feel sympathy for her because of the way she was crafted although I wish we got to see more from her POV in the book –  that would’ve given her more dimension [if that makes sense] and depth. I liked Will’s willingness to save Phoebe from the dangerous world she was entering because that shows how far a person will go to save someone he/she loves.

I found The Incendiaries to be a well written debut novel with quite an interesting story but it did fail when it comes to other characters in it – whether it was intentional or not I found it to be something missing. I would recommend reading this book because it will make you think as well as get you out of a reading slump if you’re in one because of the great writing.

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

My rating: 

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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.

R.O. Kwon’s first novel, The Incendiaries, is published by Riverhead (U.S.) and forthcoming from Virago (U.K.) in September 2018. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, BuzzFeed, Time, Noon, Electric Literature, Playboy, San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Omi International, and the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony. Born in South Korea, she’s mostly lived in the United States.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton @MantleBooks

If you haven’t heard of Kate Morton then what you need to do is: Open a new tab in your browser -> type in: goodreads.com -> in the search box type: Kate Morton -> voilla you can now investigate every book of hers and see which one you like the best and pick it up ASAP. I’m sure most people have heard of Kate Morton but this is written to save a life in case someone hasn’t. You can imagine my delight when I got an early copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter, the newest book from Kate Morton.

‘They remain, as they age, the people that they were when they were young, only frailer and sadder.’

The Clockmaker’s Daughter has a great synopsis on its Goodreads page so I am going to copy it here:

‘In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor in rural Oxfordshire. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?’

I honestly couldn’t write a better synopsis because I would spoil the book and reveal too much – with reading only the synopsis above I believe that the reader will get enough information before they dive into The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

‘All human beings crave connection, even the introverts, it is too frightening for them to think themselves alone.’

Kate Morton is someone whose books are an excellent escape into a world filled with mystery and wonderful settings. I loved reading about the Birchwood Manor and Morton has managed to capture this place in a magical way which made you picture it vividly. The story is told from multiple perspectives – we have Elodie, Birdie, Juliet, Tip, Lucy etc. – which give the reader a complete picture on all happenings in the book. The writing is what you can expect – lyrical, gorgeous – from Kate Morton. I have noticed that Morton is a great psychologist when it comes to human nature as well as perception. The way Morton writes makes you want to read more and get lost in the world her imagination has created.  The characters in this novel were wonderfully crafted and I especially liked Lucy and well as Lily (Birdie). Although I’ve enjoyed this book it a lot, this isn’t her best one – you still feel that satisfaction of going back into her world and getting lost in it but the story, for me, didn’t have a ‘wow’ factor. I have expected more of the magic that she puts in it but sadly I didn’t feel it with The Clockmaker’s Daughter. The first one-hundred pages were very slow and I couldn’t wait to get past them because I knew it would pick up. I believe that other Kate Morton fans will relate with me about these issues but who knows I might be the only one.. If anyone is on the edge about reading this book just know that after I read half of the book I couldn’t put it down and read more than three-hundred pages in a day.

‘..And so she avoided love. That is, she avoided the complication of locking hearts with another human being.’

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is nothing short of a great summer read which will transport you to a beautiful world of mystery, art, love and into the amazing place called Birchwood Manor.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter will be out on September 20th 2018 published by Mantle.

I would like to thank the publisher Mantle 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 Clockmaker’s Daughter‘ 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.

Kate Morton was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim…

Find her on: WebsiteInstagram, Facebook and GoodReads.

(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: 

Make sure to follow other bloggers on this blog tour!

Add ‘Kill For Me‘ 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.

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.

[REVIEW] The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks

I have seen this book on Twitter and saw that it’s LGBTQ+ so I immediately had to get a copy of it and read it! I found the synopsis of the book to sound very interesting because of different settings the story takes place in.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a book about two people, Ben and Andrew, who seem to meet each other in unusual circumstances and quite often. From the moment Ben sets eyes of Andrew [in a library] he falls for him and something gives him courage to leave his number in a book Andrew was reading. Fast forward to some more coincidence-meetings and they start a relationship with each other. They spent much of their time together, hanging out at Ben’s place, going to the circus etc. Ben’s father is a peculiar being who drinks a lot, Ben is afraid that his father wouldn’t accept his sexuality so he keeps it quiet. During their relationship Ben and Andrew learn a lot about each other, Ben shares that he always wanted to travel to Africa and take care of lions while Andrew shows Ben a wish box he believes is magical. Ben goes to Africa, but why has he gone? What happened between Ben and Andrew?

I love that this book is LGBTQ+ because I feel like it would’ve been boring if it wasn’t. I found The Lion Tamer Who Lost to be an interesting read filled with heart and great writing but I did have some issues with it. My issues with it are based on my tastes (of course) and some may disagree with me but this bothered me: I found the book to be predictable at times and felt that there were cliches in it. I have to keep this review spoiler free so I can’t get into exactly what bothered me but I can say that the tragedy in the book was something I found to be okay for this story [meaning it compels you to read on] even though I didn’t find it necessary. Ben and Andrew’s love story is something I loved reading about and the author made them come to life with her writing. The chapters alternate between past and present and we have a number of parts which are titled BEN and ANDREW. Out of both main characters in this book I found Andrew to be most likable and so sweet. I loved Andrew and enjoyed reading his parts the most. Aside from my issues with it I believe that many people will enjoy picking this book up and I salute Louise for writing an LGBTQ+ book because we need more of them in the world.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story between Ben and Andrew that  begins as a series of meet-cutes which eventually forms into a love story that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very end.

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

My rating: 

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Louise Beech knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her debut novel was a Guardian Readers’ Pick for 2015. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She was also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show for three years.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.