Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Hunter's Chase by Val Penny


Hunter's Chase by Val Penny
First published in the UK by Crooked Cat Books in February 2018.

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : from £7.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £9.16 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $1.30 / £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Hunter's Chase to your Goodreads

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman's life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter's perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taut crime thriller.

Meet the author:

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, 'Hunter's Chase' set in Edinburgh, Scotland was published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. The sequel, 'Hunter's Revenge' will be published on 09.09.2018.

Author links: 
Website ~ Twitter ~ FacebookGoodreads




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Books by Val Penny / Crime fiction / Books from America

Monday, 30 July 2018

Boy On The Beach by R D Maddux + #Giveaway

Boy on the Beach by R.D. Maddux

Category: Adult Fiction; 304 pages
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Publisher: Ezekiel 12 Publications
Release date: March 11, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There are implied sex scenes but no graphic descriptions of lovemaking. There is one scene with some violence.)

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

Add Boy On The Beach to your Goodreads

Andrew Foster, a real estate developer in San Diego, is a man suddenly haunted by his past. Memories, like specters from his former life of sex, drugs and rock and roll have come crashing into his current world of business in this sunny coastal city. The ominous, repeated appearance of a black SUV at the beach where he meets his sister each week, has triggered fears that it’s payback time for a bad choice he made years ago.

To add to his frustrations, his hopes of a big breakthrough in the San Diego real estate market haven’t come to pass. He’s starting to wonder if his visions of success will ever come true when an investor offers to finance his dream project. Soon things start to fall into place for Andrew in business, life, and even love. He starts dating the beautiful and business-savvy Nicole but even with her at his side he can’t seem to shake the ghosts of his past. As the relationship with Nicole deepens, Andrew opens up to her about the many loves and adventures that have taken him from the crazy days of living in Big Sur and Joshua Tree to business success in San Diego. Her wise insights help him face the character flaws that have caused him to fail in his past relationships.

Rounding out his social life is his once-a-week task of assisting his sister with her nanny job watching a young boy named Chandler. They build sand castles on the beach and enjoy the beauty of nature together. But the now ominous weekly appearance of a strange car at the beach has awakened Andrew’s fears. Is the boy in danger? Or worse, has an enemy from Andrew’s past come seeking revenge and now Chandler’s caught in the middle?

A strange twist of events threatens to destroy Andrew’s dreams, but as he searches for answers, a sudden revelation offers hope of a future he never imagined.

To follow the tour and read reviews, please visit R.D. Maddux's page on iRead Book Tours.

Watch the book trailer:



Meet the Author:


R.D. Maddux has story telling in his blood. Since he was young he’s always loved a good tale. He’s been writing seriously since he was in high school and college. His novels range from Mystery and Intrigue to Sci-fi/fantasy. With Boy On The Beach he’s set the story in modern America, to be exact, on the West Coast of California. He’s a native of the golden state and has been a resident of San Diego since 1987. Before that he grew up in northern California and lived in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area with sojourns in some of the beautiful parts of our state.

Living in California for over 60 years he couldn't help but watch the way things have changed in our culture and the impact this coast makes on the rest of America and the world. So even though Boy On The Beach is fiction, like most serious novels, it is not without a context and comment on issues we all face in our changing world. It takes place in real locations that are very familiar to him and its characters, which are fictional, no doubt have their counterparts in the real world. Boy On The Beach is a story of intrigue, suspense, revenge, love and redemption with flashbacks to the era when sex, drugs and rock and roll set our culture on it's inevitable journey to our present day. This idea has been rattling around in his heart and mind for a decade and it's finally coming to the page.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Enter the Giveaway!
Win a print or ebook copy of Boy on the Beach by R.D. Maddux (print for USA only, open internationally for ebook and GC - 5 winners will also get a $15 or $10 Amazon GC - 7 winners total)
Ends Aug 25, 2018


a Rafflecopter giveaway





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Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall


The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall
Published in the UK by Choc Lit on the 17th July 2018.

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2.65 / £1.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add The Daughter Of River Valley to your Goodreads

Cornwall, 1861
Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she has been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.

Brought together by unknown circumstances, and fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?

Meet the author:

Victoria Cornwall can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels.

Victoria’s writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and her debut novel reached the final for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.

Victoria likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Author links: 
Website ~ Blog ~ FacebookTwitter ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Victoria Cornwall / Historical fiction / Books from England

Saturday, 28 July 2018

The Invisible Case by Isabella Muir + #Giveaway + Excerpt


The Invisible Case by Isabella Muir
First published in the UK by Outset Publishing on the 30th June 2018.

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : from £6.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £9.57 (PB)
Waterstones : from £6.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $1.31 / £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add The Invisible Case to your Goodreads

The Invisible Case
A shocking death turns a homecoming into a nightmare. 

It's Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, and for one family the first Easter of a new decade brings a shocking tragedy. Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and looking forward to spending time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.

As time runs out on Luigi as prime suspect for murder, Janie has to use all of her powers of deduction in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the facts. Why did Luigi come to Tamarisk Bay? What is the truth about his family?
As Luigi's story unfolds, tragedy seems to haunt the past, present and unless Janie acts fast, possibly what is yet to come.

Excerpt


It’s Easter 1970 and Janie Juke is looking forward to her aunt’s homecoming.  Jessica has been travelling around Europe for the last nine years and has now returned to Tamarisk Bay from Italy, with a friend in tow.  She arrives at her brother’s house and is welcomed by an effusive niece, but later that day Janie finds that, Luigi, her aunt’s friend has been poking around in her father’s bedroom.  The more she discovers about the stranger, the more ill at ease she feels…


Chapter 4

Thursday - Summer Guest House

The next morning, Janie’s mind was not at rest.  Soon after breakfast she pushed the pram round to Philip’s house.  As she walked she mulled over Luigi’s behaviour again, trying to decide how to frame the conversation she planned to have with her aunt, with her dad out of earshot. 
Luck was on her side.  She arrived to discover Philip out, giving Charlie his morning walk.  Jessica was washing up, her hands full of suds.
‘Good timing, you’ve given me the excuse I needed to stop,’ she said, drying her hands.
‘We should come straight out and ask him what he was doing.’  Jessica said, once Janie had explained her concerns to her.  ‘Why would he be nosing in your dad’s room?  I’ll admit he’s been a bit fixated about meeting Phil, asking me questions about his time in the war.  Then your dad offers him hospitality and he repays him by snooping.  I’m going to say something to him.  I’ll admit I hate confrontation, but the more time I spend with him, the more I doubt him.’
‘Don’t worry, I’ve had an idea.  Let’s see if Rosetta has a room free.’
‘Rosetta?’
‘She’s lovely and she’s Italian.  It couldn’t be more perfect.  She runs a little guest house down on the seafront.’
‘You sure we’re not just moving the problem onto Rosetta?  It hardly seems fair.  And how are we going to justify kicking him out after just one night?’
‘We can explain that the room we’ve put him is so tiny and was only ever intended as a quick stop gap for his first night, which is true.   It’s been dad’s box room for years.  I stuffed everything up in the loft when we found out you were bringing a friend.  Anyway, when he discovers the Summer Guest House is run by someone from his home country I’ll bet he’ll jump at the chance.  And don‘t worry about Rosetta, she’ll keep him in check.’
Jessica smiled.  ‘Do you approach everything with such positivity?’  Then, hearing the front door open and the sound of Charlie’s feet approaching, she quickly added, ‘One thing you haven’t thought about is money.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘I’m guessing Rosetta doesn’t let her rooms for free, out of the goodness of her heart?’
‘Good point.  But she’ll give us the best deal, I’m sure.  Anyway, Luigi won’t have expected to stay here for nothing, would he?’  Janie tried to read the expression on her aunt’s face, but failed.  ‘I’ll tell him if you like, it might be better coming from me.’

A slightly awkward conversation and a phone call later, resulted in Janie leading Luigi along the seafront to the Summer Guest House.  Just as Rosetta Summer finished vacuuming the guest bedrooms, the front doorbell rang.  By the time she had run down the three flights of stairs and made her way into the hall, it rang again.
‘Aspetta, vengo. I’m coming,’ she called out, brushing a stray hair from her face.
‘Rosetta, this is Luigi,’ Janie said, nudging him forwards into the hallway.  ‘Sorry, we’re a bit early.  It’s just that I need to get straight back to Michelle.  I’ve left her at dad’s.’
‘Come in.  Piacere, it’s very nice to meet you.  Someone from home to talk to, very wonderful.’
Luigi stepped forward, holding out his hand.  ‘Thank you, Signora Summer, but we are in England.  We should speak English, don’t you think?’
Janie raised an eyebrow, noticing Rosetta’s smile fade.  ‘We’re grateful you have a room free.  Being Easter, I wasn’t sure how busy you’d be.’
Tamarisk Bay had long been a holiday destination for people making the short journey from London and its surroundings.  Visitors were attracted to the long promenade and open-air bathing pool and several new cafés and restaurants had opened up recently, creating a real buzz about the place.  
Summer Guest House was at the western end of the seafront in Tamarisk Bay.  Built around the turn of the century its red brick facade gave it a homely appearance, although much of the wooden paintwork was suffering as a result of the sea air that blasted through, regardless of the season.  For the last few years Rosetta had taken in long-term lodgers, but this year she had decided to take advantage of the growing tourist trade.  
The inside of the guest house was just as homely, despite its tired decorations.  All the rooms would have benefitted from a fresh coat of paint, but that meant spending money that Rosetta didn’t have.
Rosetta gestured to them to follow her into the amply-sized dining room, which was sandwiched between the sitting room at the front of the house and the kitchen in the rear.   The only windows in the dining room looked towards the east, over a little strip of land that lay between Rosetta and her neighbour.  It seemed as though no-one owned this piece of wasteland, which was a tumble of weeds and brambles.  As if to compensate, the dining room wallpaper was a colourful pattern of large and small bouquets of cut flowers and any thoughts of tired paintwork were soon forgotten.  The design brought such gaiety to the room it felt like walking into a flower shop.


Meet the author:

Isabella Muir is the author of Janie Juke series of crime mysteries - all set in Sussex. 'The Tapestry Bag' is the first in the series, followed by ‘Lost Property’. Now - 'The Invisible Case' - the latest in the series is available for pre-order from Amazon.

The 'Janie Juke mysteries' are set in Sussex in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian with a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries. Isabella has also published 'Ivory Vellum' - a collection of short stories.

She has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing - she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Author links: 
WebsiteTwitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads


And now it's time for the Giveaway!
Win a signed copy of The Invisible Case
(Open Internationally until the 31st July)

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

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Friday, 27 July 2018

Identity Unknown by Karolina Wojciak


Identity Unknown by Karolina Wojciak
Published by Rozpisani in Polish as Tożsamość nieznana in Poland in June 2017. English language translation by Anna Basara published by Karolina Wojciak in February 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

WARNING: This story contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some readers, reader discretion is advised.

The bestselling novel by Polish author Karolina Wojciak is now available in English. Two contrasting but mysterious, twisted and touching stories about love, sacrifice and second chances.

After the tragic death of his mother, sixteen-year-old Krystian lives in poverty in Warsaw, Poland, with his violent, alcoholic father. Their fights grow more intense until finally his father throws him out. Homeless and fighting for survival, Krystian has to put aside his sensitive nature and become a criminal.

Lena, after a freshman year spent away from home, returns to the seaside town of Sopot between semesters, convinced that it will be another boring summer with her despotic father, a powerful lawyer. Instead, new friends show her what it feels like to make her own choices.

Can Krystian escape his difficult start in life? Will Lena choose her family or her freedom? Do youthful mistakes mean there’s no chance for a good life?

I didn't realise until I came to write up this review that Identity Unknown is self-published. I love the cover art which is what first attracted me to the novel, and the whole publication is very professional. What let this book down for me though is, unfortunately, Wojciak's writing style. One the one hand, this is a thriller so I expected lots of action which we do get, however I also wanted at least a little description and this is almost completely absent.For example, I have no idea what most of the locations looked like. I also struggled to understand much of the main characters motivation. Identity Unknown is written from three points of view, with two of these - Krystian and Lena - taking it in turns to speak directly to us for the majority of the story. Lena is a spoilt, bratty rich teenager who frequently irritated me with her entitled attitude and complete lack of empathy. Krystian is harder to pin down. He finds himself drawn to a criminal life but, even despite his own experience, seems not to have any understanding of the consequences of his actions. In a lot of ways, I found both as exasperating as each other!

The narrative keeps up a good pace throughout so I easily read the whole book in an afternoon. This isn't an especially pleasant read, but it did keep my attention. There are lots of violent scenes including rapes and child abuse, most of which aren't graphically described but the callousness of most of the characters does make such episodes difficult to stomach. I didn't like the flippant way violence, particularly sexual violence, was often dismissed and grossly sexist remarks don't seem to warrant notice. If I had been reading a fifty-year-old novel, I could have perhaps have understood such attitudes, but instead I felt quite angry. For example, at one point a young girl has been repeatedly sexually assaulted. We learn that she will be put into foster care, at which point Kristian sees fit to tell us that she will get therapy so everything will be okay and that's that. Subject changed!

I think people who like pacy action stories and aren't prone to asking 'how' or 'why' as they read will probably enjoy Identity Unknown. Despite the violence, it is very readable - up until the point where the two stories intersect anyway (After that it does get less believable). I wanted more details though, especially regarding why Krystian and Lena behaved as they did. There's a lot of telling in this book, but not much in the way of showing or explaining so I'd advise  potential readers to go along for the ride, and read fast enough that you don't find yourself questioning the whys!


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Books by Karolina Wojciak / Thrillers / Books from Poland

Thursday, 26 July 2018

The Girl In The Gallery by Alice Castle + #Giveaway


The Girl In The Gallery by Alice Castle
Published in the UK by Crooked Cat Books in December 2017.

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : from £6.49 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.63 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $1.30 / £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add The Girl In The Gallery to your Goodreads

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…
It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery. 

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation. 

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich. 


I appreciated being able to return to Beth Haldane's Dulwich in this second volume of the London Murder Mysteries. Alice Castle again vividly evokes the affluent and entitled 'village' with its cliques and fashions. Characters such as Belinda - who must always be at the very centre of everything - are fun to read about although in this story a similarly self-proclaimed arbiter of taste performs a much more cynical function. I like how Castle engineers her stories to show both sides of a coin. The Girl In The Gallery has social media as both a benefit and an evil. The way in which the teenage group that are the story's focus are manipulated reminded me very much of another recent read - H A Leuschel's Manipulated Lives - and it was scary to see again just how vulnerable people can make themselves simply for the sake of fitting with the In Crowd.

I didn't feel that the murder plot here was quite as strong as for Death In Dulwich and I would have liked more believable policing from Harry Yorke. His role as Beth's romantic interest is still cute but I did wonder at some of his professional decisions! There were perhaps too many convenient coincidences for my taste, but overall The Girl In The Gallery is an entertaining story with a great sense of place.


Meet the author:

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer.

Author links: 
Website ~ FacebookTwitter


And now for the Giveaway!

Win signed copies of Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery (UK Only).
Ends 30th July 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




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Books by Alice Castle / Crime fiction / Books from England

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Lightness by Catherine Meurisse


Lightness by Catherine Meurisse
First published in French as La Legerete by Dargaud in France in 2016. English language translation by James Hogan and Matt Madden published by Europe Comics in June 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from £8.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

In the aftermath of the murderous attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7, 2015, cartoonist Catherine Meurisse struggles with the trauma of losing her friends and looks for a way to move forward with her life and her art. She soon enters a dissociative state where she loses her memories, especially those associated with esthetic experiences. This leads her on a quest to seek beauty and lightness in the world around her with the help of guiding lights including Proust, Stendhal, Baudelaire, and two provocative graffiti artists. Throughout the book, Meurisse uses her limber cartooning and dynamic writing to weave a tapestry of raw emotion and philosophical reflection laced with a strain of wry humor.

I vividly remember the proliferation of 'Je Suis Charlie' in the months immediately following the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and still sometimes spot the slogan as we travel in France. For those of us not directly affected, life has moved on. Catherine Meurisse however, would probably have been killed in her Charlie Hebdo offices on that day had it not been for the chance combination of oversleeping and a missed bus. In this graphic novel memoir, she shows us her immediate shock and her lengthy process of attempting to come to terms with both the loss of her long-time colleagues and her own survival.

At the beginning of Lightness, I was disappointed by the simplistic cartoon self-portraits of Catherine. I hadn't seen any of her work before so was expecting a richer style - more common to graphic novels - rather than that of a newspaper cartoon. As the story progresses, I felt the flexibility of this simple style did suit the tale especially when it contrasts with detailed representations of classic artworks or embellished with colour sweeps that beautifully evoke the natural world.

Lightness is a memoir about struggling through grief so it is never a light read, even though there is humour dotted through its pages. Meurisse drew me into her experiences and I felt more emotionally involved than I had expected. Where I felt disconnected though was in a lack of knowledge about classic literature and art. I haven't (yet!) read Proust or Stendhal and I am not sure if I have ever studied a Caravaggio painting either. I understood how these works were vital to Catherine's personal journey and recovery, but did find myself distanced her memoir at those points. I think Lightness is an important addition to our understanding of survivors' experiences, especially in this genre where it is likely to appeal to people who might not read a traditionally written memoir.


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Books by Catherine Meurisse / Graphic novels / Books from France

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

He Kills Coppers by Jake Arnott


He Kills Coppers by Jake Arnott
Published in the UK by Sceptre in January 2001.

How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.63 (PB)
Waterstones : from £7.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $2.99 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

During the long hot summer of 1966, a senseless murder shocks the nation and brings the World Cup euphoria to an abrupt end. Yet it marks a beginning for three men, who are inextricably linked to the crime and its consequences: an ambitious detective struggling with his conscience; a tabloid journalist with a nose for a nasty story; and a disaffected thief, haunted by his violent past.

Spanning three decades of profound social change, this gripping novel explores corruption on both sides of the law and at the very heart of the state.

(I read this book in Dec 2014.) I loved both The House of Rumour and The Long Firm by Jake Arnott and so had high hopes for He Kills Coppers. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The novel has a similar London underworld setting to The Long Firm and a few characters make cameo appearances, otherwise it could have been written by a completely different author. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the previous book is absent as mostly are Arnott's descriptions and interesting characterizations. Two main characters, a journalist and a policeman, take turns speaking through first-person viewpoints but their voices are so similarly portrayed that I frequently had trouble trying to distinguish which was which. Much of their language is incredibly hackneyed and there are a lot of unexplained acronyms and jargon words that don't add authenticity, merely irritation. There is also a third-person viewpoint of a murderer on the run. His odd actions are often not really explained so it was difficult to try and build up any sense of him as a person.

He Kills Coppers is a particularly blokey book I think. Attempts at atmosphere and describing emotion are haphazard and often missing altogether leaving the emphasis on action alone. Therefore during later chapters where not much happens, it all got a bit dull. I also noticed spelling and typo errors increasing towards the end of the novel suggesting that perhaps the proof reader had gotten bored by then as well!

Apparently the overall story arc is based on true events - I haven't googled to confirm this - but, if so, the blend of imagination and realism that Arnott pulled off so well before just didn't work for me this time around.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Jake Arnott / Thrillers / Books from England

Monday, 23 July 2018

May We Be Forgiven by A M Homes


May We Be Forgiven by A M Homes
Published in the UK by Granta in October 2012.

How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £7.71 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.99 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $1.00 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper. They have been uneasy rivals since childhood. Then one day George loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life.

In May We Be Forgiven, Homes gives us a darkly comic look at 21st century domestic life - at individual lives spiraling out of control, bound together by family and history.The cast of characters experience adultery, accidents, divorce, and death. But this is also a savage and dizzyingly inventive vision of contemporary America, whose dark heart Homes penetrates like no other writer - the strange jargons of its language, its passive aggressive institutions, its inhabitants' desperate craving for intimacy and their pushing it away with litigation, technology, paranoia. At the novel's core are the spaces in between, where the modern family comes together to re-form itself. May We Be Forgiven explores contemporary orphans losing and finding themselves anew; and it speaks above all to the power of personal transformation - simultaneously terrifying and inspiring.

(I read this book in Dec 2014.) I have awarded May We Be Forgiven three stars overall, but I would actually like to give the first half four stars and the second half just two. Initially the novel is a pretty fast paced descent into horror as our narrator, Harold Silver, finds himself in a family maelstrom caused by his own adultery with his brother's wife and the extreme violence that this unleashes. I enjoyed the drama and pace of these first 250 or so pages. There are darkly humorous passages and the bewilderment of our hero is both real and poignant as he attempts to repair his own life and that of his nephew and niece.

After around about the half way point though, the novel takes a bizarre shift into a surreal fantasy world which sees the introduction of international terrorism, swathes of Nixon-era political blathering, and the sort of saccharine-sweet schmaltz that the Americans can do so well but which I absolutely loathe! Logical plot progression is thrown out the window in favour of stereotyped flat characters and choreographed set pieces that don't bear much relation to each other. Our hero suddenly becomes apparently irresistible to women, patronises both needy American immigrants and South African villagers by throwing vast sums of cash at both, and finds time to adopt an extra child and an elderly couple. The pre-teen nephew and niece seem to mature by at least a decade in a couple of months and there's a lot of description of bodily functions, mostly diarrhoea and belching, but with a truly cringe-inducing phone call about a tampon. I can only think that it's all meant to be funny in a kind of Sex And The City 2 fashion. It isn't.

A very odd book that's about twice as long as is good for it.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by A M Homes / Contemporary fiction / Books from America

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder + #Giveaway + Guest Post


Letting Go Of Gravity by Meg Leder
Published in America by Simon Pulse on the 17th July 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £15.11 (HB)
Wordery : from £14.01 (HB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $13.30 / £11.37 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Letting Go Of Gravity to your Goodreads

“The anticipation and slow burn of Parker and Finn’s relationship is electric…[an] absorbing novel that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell.” —Booklist

Parker struggles to reconnect with her twin brother, Charlie—who’s recovering from cancer—as she tries to deal with her anxiety about the future in this powerful new novel.

Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites. Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful. Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please. Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved. And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got cancer. Parker didn’t.

But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology—which is why the anxiety she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.

Enter Finn, a boy who’s been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can’t stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time.

That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself.


Meg Leder talks about street art:

Back in 2000, strange messages started appearing on major overpasses in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, e.g. “TONY DANZA IS MY DAD” and “I PLAY YOGA.” Each time I saw one, I was surprised, confused, and delighted. Later identified as the work of artists Buddy Lembeck and Darius Jones, they were my first introduction to the marvelous world of street art. 

In Letting Go of Gravity, my main character Parker goes through a similar experience. When strange messages start appearing on bridges in her town, she wants to know what they’re about. Ultimately they become the first step in her journey of self-discovery.

I was really excited to work street art into a novel, because I love it. For me, it represents a disruption of the everyday, a little bit of the unexpected that asks you to stop and look at the space around you differently. Parker in particular needs that jolt to start thinking about her world in new ways. 

If you’re looking for some similar inspiration, here are some artists to check out:

Invader: An anonymous French street artist, Invader places ceramic tile compositions of old video game characters around major cities. You never know when one will appear, which makes finding them all the more exciting. There’s even an app, so you can register the ones you find, like a scavenger hunt!

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: This artist uses street art to combat harassment, creating posters with images of women and captions about their experiences being harassed. Titled “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” the project is an incredibly powerful statement about the way words are used to control women in public spaces, and how women can take some of the power back. 

Os Gemeos: Identical twin brothers from Brazil, Os Gemeos create vibrant murals inspired by folk art, hip hop, and Brazilian culture. Their creations are both dream-like and grounded in the world around you, and their appearance in the world makes you feel like you’ve discovered a little bit of magic. 

Steve Powers: Powers used to create street art under the name ESPO. Now a full-time artist, he creates word-based and iconic images under his own name. Bright, blocky letters share messages like “YOUR EVERAFTER IS ALL IM AFTER” and “LETS ADORE AND ENDURE EACH OTHER.” (Powers’ work majorly inspires the street artist in my book.) 

Jenny Holzer: Conceptual artist Jenny Holzer’s work involves using words to deliver brief truisms on billboards and walls and galleries. Each one is strange and wonderful, e.g. “Protect me from what I want” and “In a dream you saw a way to survive and you were full of joy.” Holzer’s work startles you out of the everyday, asking you to question and tease out what she means. 

These are only a few of the artists who inspire me. Are there some you love?


Meet the Author

A former bookseller and teacher, Meg Leder currently works as a book editor in New York City. Her role models are Harriet the Spy and Anne Shirley. She is the coauthor of The Happy Book, and spends her free time reading, looking for street art, and people watching. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Author links:
Website ~ Facebook ~ TwitterGoodreads



And now for the giveaway!
Open internationally until the 29th July, the prizes are 3 signed copies of Letting Go Of Gravity.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Meg Leder / Young Adult fiction / Books from America

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Hold by Michael Donkor


Hold by Michael Donkor
Published in the UK by Fourth Estate on the 12th July 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.94 (HB)
Wordery : from £10.34 (HB)
Waterstones : from £10.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $4.79 / £3.94 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Moving between Ghana and London, Hold is an intimate, powerful coming-of-age novel. It’s a story of friendship and family, shame and forgiveness; of learning what we should cling to, and when we need to let go.

‘You have to imagine. That’s how I told myself.’
‘Imagine what?’
‘Imagine that you are the kind of girl that can cope with it, even if you are not.’

Belinda knows how to follow the rules. She has learnt the right way to polish water glasses, to wash and fold a hundred handkerchiefs, and to keep a tight lid on memories of the village she left behind when she came to Kumasi to be a housegirl.

Mary is still learning the rules. Eleven years old and irrepressible, the young housegirl-in-training is the little sister Belinda never had.

Amma has had enough of the rules. A straight-A pupil at her exclusive South-London school, she has always been the pride of her Ghanaian parents. Until now. Watching their once-confident teenager grow sullen and wayward, they decide that sensible Belinda might be just the shining example Amma needs.

So Belinda is summoned from Ghana to London, to befriend a troubled girl who shows no desire for her friendship. She encounters a city as bewildering as it is exciting, and as she tries to impose order on her unsettling new world, Belinda’s phonecalls back home to Mary become a lifeline.

As the Brixton summer turns to autumn, Belinda and Amma are surprised to discover the beginnings of an unexpected kinship. But when the cracks in their defences open up, the secrets they have both been holding tight to threaten to seep out.

Hold is a difficult book for me to review because there are some aspects of it that I absolutely loved, but other aspects that didn't work for me at all. It is a novel in three sections - two set in Ghana with a London section in between. I loved Michael Donkor's depictions of both locations. Each is vivid and exciting and we get to see, hear and even smell Daban and Brixton. The linking character, Belinda, is new to each place so I liked the details she observes and the glaring contrasts, especially her shock at how successful Ghanaians live in London compared to their lives 'back home'. Donkor scatters Ghanaian expressions and phrases throughout the story - there's  glossary at the front - which strongly adds to the authenticity.

I was interested to note that the majority of Donkor's characters are female - and believably female at that - which is unusual for a male author. Belinda especially is wonderfully complex. She has had to learn quiet repression as her survival strategy and struggles to impart this lesson to either exhuberant Mary or westernised Amma. I wasn't convinced by the idea that two teenagers from such different backgrounds and temperaments would gel so deeply and so swiftly so the intense denouement of their coming together felt forced to me although I could see why it was portrayed in this way. I didn't like the open-endedness of the stories either. To me, Hold felt like it left important ideas unresolved, for two of the three girls anyway. Donkor cleverly explores ideas of belonging and identity, but then leaves his characters seemingly stranded without giving readers a sense of conclusion. I appreciated being able to share in their physical and emotional journeys, but need to know what happened next!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Michael Donkor / Contemporary fiction / Books from England

Friday, 20 July 2018

The Collision Of Grief And Gratitude by Rosanne Liesveld + #Giveaway

The Collision of Grief and Gratitude: A Pursuit of Sacred Light by Rosanne Liesveld

Category: Adult Non-fiction, 468 pages
Genre: Self-Help, Death & Grief, Grief & Bereavement
Publisher: Illuminatio Press
Release date: May 16, 2017
Tour dates: July 16 to Aug 10, 2018
Content Rating: PG (The subject of loss is explored and some of the emotions may be too raw for young children.)

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $32.95 / £57.01 (HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add The Collision Of Grief And Gratitude to your Goodreads

Day 209
"And so each day goes; the grief and the gratitude fighting for the bigger spot in my heart. The tug of war between these emotions exhausts me most days. If you see me in the grief mode, you'll think I'm a wreck. But if you see me in gratitude mode, you'll think I m doing well. Neither is 100 percent true. I am what I am most days, leaning toward finding more gratitude than grief as the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months."

After the unexpected death of her husband, Rosanne Liesveld felt a desperate need to communicate gratitude to those who helped her through the shock that death left in its wake. The day of Curt's funeral, Rosanne wrote a Facebook post expressing how, in the midst of profound grief, she found a space in her heart for gratitude. The next day, she wrote another post; then another.

Rosanne's daily posts throughout her first year of widowhood attracted hundreds to follow along on her journey. Her words inspired those who were not only grieving in some way, but those who wanted to build stronger relationships or live life with more intention and gratitude. It was messy. It was raw. And it was healing.

Rosanne's posts have been compiled into this 366-day journey and are accompanied by beautiful photos taken by Curt.

To follow the tour, please visit Rosanne Liesveld's page on iRead Book Tours.



Meet the Author:



After the unexpected death of her husband, Curt, Rosanne Liesveld went on a year-long quest to find a glimmer of gratitude each day. She posted her daily journey on Facebook. Those posts become her book, The Collision of Grief and Gratitude: A Pursuit of Sacred Light.

As a coach and teacher for more than thirty years with the Gallup Organization, Rosanne has helped people discover and lean into their strengths. She now speaks to groups about how to build stronger relationships, and live life with more intention and gratitude.

Connect with the author: Facebook


Enter the Giveaway!
Win a paperback copy of The Collision of Grief and Gratitude
(3 winners / open to USA only)
Ends Aug 18, 2018


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Rosanne Liesveld / Biography and memoir / Books from America