#AMightyBlogTour My #Review of A Mighty Dawn by @theodorebrun @CorvusBooks by @annebonnybook #HistoricalFantasy 5*

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*
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A Mighty Dawn by Theodore Brun
Synopsis:

Sworn to honour.

Broken by betrayal.

Hakan, son of Haldan, chosen son of the Lord of the Northern Jutes, swears loyalty to his father in fire, in iron, and in blood. But there are always shadows that roam. When a terrible tragedy befalls Hakan’s household he is forced to leave his world behind. He must seek to pledge his sword to a new king. Nameless and alone, he embarks on a journey to escape the bonds of his past and fulfil his destiny as a great warrior.

Whispers of sinister forces in the north pull Hakan onwards to a kingdom plagued by mysterious and gruesome deaths. But does he have the strength to do battle with such dark foes? Or is death the only sane thing to seek in this world of blood and broken oaths?

My review:

Hakan son of Haldan, chosen son of the lord of the Northern Jutes. Is the protagonist of this EPIC novel!
Throughout the novel, he will face many challenges that will shake everything he has ever known, to the core……

The prologue opens with a prince on a hunt, he is attacked by a deer. But the attack leaves so much surrounding mystery. When have you ever known, a deer savagely attack a hunter? Are shadowy forces at work?

In the land of the Jutes and in particular, the farmstead of Vendlagard; the lifestyle and hierarchy of the Viking tribe is fully explained. There is a great feast to take place. For Hakan to finally pledge his oath to his father and the kingdom. We learn that Hakan is not a ‘picture perfect’ image of a great warrior. A man whom walks with a limp. We learn why he has such a limp and the story of his parent’s past.
At the feast we learn Hakan is in love, with his cousin Inga. They have a secret love affair of great depth, and are waiting for the appropriate time to inform Haldan of their intentions to marry.

At the feast a stranger arrives, promising tales of future wisdom. The tribe entertain her notions and listen in earnest. But she begins with riddles and curses “you will bear much pain, but you will never break”
“You will fall and rise again” she informs Hakan.
Haldan tires of her dramatics and hangs her!
This novel is accurate to historical fact. The Vikings were savage and brutal. The reader should be under no disillusions of the level of violence within this novel.
Similarly, the story of the Gods is explained. Odin, Frey & Freya, Thor, Njord, Loki, Tyr and Weyland are all covered in detail. The Vikings passion for their gods and their belief system is sacred.

At the feast, a fight breaks out between Hakan and Konur (Hakan’s sworn enemy). The fight is over Inga’s attentions and honour. But could have much deeper repercussions, for both the tribes and ultimately lead to war. At Haldan’s insistence the pair agree to shake hands. But the feud is far from over……..

Hakan awakens the next morning, to discover he is being sent on a mission to several of the external villages. His father believing, he has brought disgrace to the tribe, with his fight the night before.
When he arrives at nearby village Vindhaven, he finds a village burning. Women being shackled and stolen, the stinking air of death lingers, Hakan knows he must report back to his father immediately!

‘You’re to be a man, not a monster’

When Hakan returns, a battle is launched, to protect the tribes honour. What comes, shows the full life/death experience of a young Vikings life. But whilst Hakan battles for his tribe’s honour. Konur returns to Vendlagard and Inga is in fear for her life….

“A man cannot mourn forever. But he can remember” Haldan

When Hakan returns victorious from the spoils of war. He is met with a beautiful but shaken Inga. She informs him, that she is with child and they must ask Haldan for a marriage before the child is born. Hakan is apprehensive, he knows how the hierarchy of the tribe would organise such marriages. His father would be a fool to waste two young lives. When marriages could bring more alliances and wealth to Vendlagard.

“The summer was full of light. Now, all I see ahead is darkness. I want to run but I don’t know where. I’m afraid, Hakan” – Inga

When their love affair is exposed. Old secrets are exposed, that bring great pain and devastation to everyone at Vendlagard.
Hakan is destroyed, as a man, a lover and a Viking. He renounces his birth right. Leaving Vendlegard for good…..

‘He was a stranger. Here. Everywhere. A man owed nothing. Trusted by no one, with no one to trust’

‘In the darkness of his pain, it seemed to shine like gold. Like the first day of a mighty dawn’

This novel is brilliantly written, with incredible detail and emotion. You become heavily invested in the characters and the trials they face; in their search for a better future. For historical fiction it has incredible accuracy and I CANNOT wait to read the next instalment in the series!
It also explores the underlying theme of ‘not all kin, is blood related’.
It is a story of redemption and courage. Good vs evil. Mystery, magic and illusion will all play their part.
An outstanding debut 5*

TB
Theodore Brun
Authors links
Website: www.theodorebrun.com/home
Twitter: @theodorebrun

***The blurb on the cover recommends the novel for fans of The Game Of Thrones series. Having read all the Game Of Thrones novels in just 13 days! I can confirm that the recommendation is 100% spot on!***

Check out the other blogs on the #AMightyBlogTour

Blog tour poster final - 2.1.18

 

 

Q&A with #Author @hollyseddon @CorvusBooks @randomhouse

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Try Not Too Breathe by Holly Seddon
Synopsis:

You won’t be able to put it down.
Just remember to breathe.

Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.

Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.

Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…

DCYE packshot
Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon
Synopsis:

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I’m a British author, living in Amsterdam with my family. My background is in journalism (the softer end, I’m too wimpy for hard news) and my first book Try Not to Breathe was published in January 2016.

Don’t Close Your Eyes is my second novel and follows the story of Robin and Sarah, non-identical twins split apart in childhood through their parents’ actions, and now living fractured and frightening lives. With danger knocking on Robin’s door and Sarah experiencing unbearable loss, they need each other more than ever.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) Well, I think the path to debut publication is fairly well known. You send a synopsis and sample (usually three chapters) to agents, hopefully one or more will request a full manuscript and hopefully one or more will offer to represent you. They will then work on the manuscript with you, giving you editorial notes, and then when it’s ready, it will be submitted to publishers to see who will offer a book deal. That’s a very whistle-stop and optimistic version, but perhaps the path to second book publication is less well known?

With traditional publishers, you will generally get a two-book deal, as was the case with me. When you’re negotiating this, only one book will generally already exist but it’s quite common to include a paragraph or a longer outline of a potential book two. So the idea is often already known to the publisher, although you may end up doing a completely different book when the time comes.

I think most people have a close working relationship with their agents, and I certainly trust my agent immensely so I run ideas past her before I start to write. With Don’t Close Your Eyes, I wrote quite a detailed outline and refined it with both my agent and my editor before I started writing because there was quite a tight deadline and, with three school aged kids, a young baby and no childcare at the time, living in a brand new city, I didn’t have any cushioning to make a false start.

The fact is, as always, the finished first draft developed in its own direction a little but it had more or less followed the basic outline.

I then edited based on my agent’s notes (she has an amazing editorial eye) and then we sent it to my editor. From there, we went through several rounds of edits, chiselling away (in some parts, hacking and sawing) until it was ready. Alongside this, at the publisher, they will be looking at ideal publication dates, covers, maybe even title changes. All of my books have had their titles changed… I’m bad at titles.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Non-fiction wise, I love everything by Augusten Burroughs. I recommend starting with Running With Scissors, then Dry, then Lust and Wonder, and then anything and everything else that he’s written.

I adored Annaliese Mackintosh’s first story collection (part fiction, part autobiography) Any Other Mouth and am excited to start reading her first full novel, So Happy It Hurts.

I also really love the old mystery masters, I have a huge compendium of Sherlock Holmes stories that I’m very slowly working through.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) As a child, I read everything I could get my hands on. I loved The Famous Five, The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tile, anything with adventure or ghosts.

As an angry, grumpy, emotional teenager it’s probably par for the course than I loved 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and of course, a little before that, I loved Judy Blume. Than god for Judy Blume when you’re 13.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) When Augusten Burroughs tweeted a screenshot of my book and said nice things about it. It was out of the blue and I freaked out with excitement so much that my husband misunderstood and thought something terrible had happened. You know when a dog gets in a panic and spins around, whining and howling? It was a bit like that.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My husband has always been very supportive and encouraging, he’s always been my champion way before I did anything to merit it. And I’m very lucky with the good friends that I have, the ones that long predate any of this. I love them like family.

But I don’t think it can be understated how nourishing and rewarding and just bloody reassuring it is to have a group of writers you can call friends. People who understand exactly what each weird cycle of this mad and exhilarating process is like.

Holly Seddon bw
Holly Seddon
Authors Links:
Web site: www.hollyseddon.com
Twitter: (https://twitter.com/hollyseddon) @hollyseddon
Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/hollyseddonauthor/)
Instagram: (https://www.instagram.com/hollyseddonauthor).
Goodreads: (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9885531.Holly_Seddon)

 

 

#BlogTour #Review – #Troll by #DBThorne @Thorne_D @CorvusBooks

Troll (blog tour poster)

Troll by D.B Thorne

The synopsis:

Years ago, Fortune gave up on his daughter, Sophie, after a troubled adolescence. Now she’s gone missing, vanished without trace. And after weeks of investigation, the police have given up on her, too.

Driven by guilt, and a determination to atone for his failures as a father, he takes on the search himself. He soon finds that his daughter had been living in fear of a vicious online troll who seemed to know far too much about her. Could Sophie’s disappearance be linked to this unknown predator? Fortune is about to discover that monsters which live online don’t always stay there…

My review:

As a blogger myself I found the plot of this novel terrifying! An internet troll that relentlessly pursues and harasses a blogger. It literally screamed at me to be read! However, it is also a very thought-provoking novel on the themes of parental responsibility and harsh/quick judgements we may make towards the victims of crime.

Fortune, gave up on his daughter during her troubled adolescence. Now he is back in London searching for her! Sophie, his daughter is a young woman living a lonely and isolated existence in Hackney London. She works for a scandal type magazine and blogs similar content. Celebs drug use, affairs and mental health problems etc. Sophie isn’t frightened of the monsters that lurk online………that is until it’s too late!

Fortune is currently living in Dubai, where he works within private banking. Having flown back to the UK, he meets with Marsh the only police officer working the case to locate Sophie and ever Marsh has given up! We learn that the police have lost interest in the case, Sophie was known to have had suicidal ideation and been in trouble with the police of late. There’s no body, no leads and no one cares! I found this quite thought-provoking, do we regard ‘troubled’ people in society as less worthy? That somebody’s mental health problems would lower them in the hierarchy in society! When statistics tell us that having mental health problems, actually increases your chances of being a victim of violent crime!

Fortune investigates Sophie’s flat, her workplace and her friends. Yet he comes only across small pieces of a larger puzzle. Similarly, we read chapters from within Sophie’s blog, we become aware of ‘starry ubado 9’ an online troll sending Sophie violent and threatening messages via comments on her blog. We also learn that Sophie was attempting to take down celeb Charlie Jackson, for his known trysts with underage and often drugged up young girls. Is Charlie the Troll? When 90 Million goes missing from online accounts, oh which fortune is responsible for managing. You have to ask who is the target of the hatred Sophie or Fortune?

This is a novel where you never truly know the motives of those involved. Your second guessing every character involved and asking are they the troll? It makes for interesting reading in this modern age of social media, where we are internet and phone obsessed.
A dark yet intriguing 4* read!

DBT
D.B Thorne
Authors Links
Web:http://www.davidthornecri.me/
Twitter: @Thorne_D

New Release review and Q&A. Death Message by Kate London 5*

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Death Message by Kate London

The synopsis:

October 1987: the morning after the Great Storm. Fifteen-year-old Tania Mills walks out her front door and disappears. Twenty-seven years later her mother still prays for her return. DS Sarah Collins in the Met’s Homicide Command is determined to find out what happened, but is soon pulled into a shocking new case and must once again work with a troubled young police officer from her past, Lizzie Griffiths.

PC Lizzie Griffiths, now a training detective, is working in the Domestic Violence Unit, known by cops as the ‘murder prevention squad’. Called to an incident of domestic violence, she encounters a vicious, volatile man – and a woman too frightened to ask for help. Soon Lizzie finds herself drawn into the centre of the investigation as she fights to protect a mother and daughter in peril.

As both cases unfold, Sarah and Lizzie must survive the dangerous territory where love and violence meet.

Released 6th April 2017!

My Review:

Just finished this novel and have to say, I am a little in shock! It’s such a rollercoaster of a ride. Shocking, emotive, graphic and very realistic. I can see people easily placing this in the police procedural genre, which it is but what will, really hit you as the reader is how often the events played out in the plot happen every day around us. To friends, family or people in our communities.

The novel centres on two Met police officers, of different rank and different roles. DS Sarah Collins is tasked with Operation Egremont, which is to solve the disappearance of Tania Mills from the cold case in 1987. PC Lizzie Griffiths is returning to work, at her new posting with the domestic violence unit, known within the Met as the ‘murder prevention squad’.

DS Collins has a complex cold case to solve that has many dead ends. But she pursues on in search of justice for Tania and her family. The original investigation was ran by (now) DI Peter Stokes. A career detective for whom the case has always stuck with him! Feeling the pressure from not only inside the Met but the pressure DS Collins places on herself she digs through the old case files. Tania was known at the time as a local ‘good girl’. But good girls often go off the rails, or are approached by predators. Did Tania run away? Did she have an accident? Or is it something more sinister?

PC Griffiths on her first day walks straight into a scene of chaos and violence with a domestic assault. With a young mother and her daughter in dire need of help, but refusing all attempts. When problems from Lizzie’s past spill over into the charging structure of the justice system, the abuser is released. How far will Lizzie go to protect the victims? What is the abuser truly capable of?

The novel throws up some interesting and conversation building points. Such as the difference in policing in an era with no social media, texts and CCTV. Attitudes towards domestic violence and sexual assaults. The way the justice system operates and how much the media get involved in cases of abuses against women. Given that both crimes are at an all-time high in 2017, I think this would be perfect for book groups to debate/discuss.

I absolutely loved this novel. It is tough, gritty and edgy! The characters have depth and their personal history is detailed, at times this makes for heart-breaking reading. The relevance of the personal history’s is to ascertain what creates monsters in disguise? What paves the way for murder? The author of the novel is an ex-Met detective and it shows in the writing; the questioning mind and need to understand why people commit crimes and what made the victims vulnerable to their abusers.

A highly recommended crime fiction read, one that will stay in my mind for some time! 5*

Q&A:

I was aware of Kate London and her debut Post Mortem. As my bestie is a friend and work colleague of Kate’s, also from the Metropolitan police service. It was my bestie, who knowing what a book nerd I am bought me a copy of the book. Kate’s new book Death Message is released 6th April so I was very keen to do a Q&A with Kate and ask her some questions about her writing, reading and police career.
Huge thanks to Kate for agreeing to feature on my blog in a Q&A.

 My pleasure, thanks for inviting me.

Q) Death Message centres around two female Met police officers DS Sarah Collins and PC Lizzie Griffiths. Was it important to you to feature the varying roles of women and the great work that they do in the Met police service?

A) I don’t really have an aim like that when I write. I write because a story is swishing around somewhere in the ether and I have to grab it by the tail and try to pin it to the page. Being a woman and having also been a police officer I suppose those two points of view come naturally but as you’ll know from Death Message they aren’t the exclusive voice of the book.  

Q) Death Message, has a plot that focusses on missing teenager Tania Mills. I know from many late night chats with my best friend, that teens have an immense vulnerability with regards to those who wish to do them harm. I know you can’t give specific details, but was the plot inspired by a case of a missing teen?

A) I never use real life incidents as the basis for stories but as both a police officer and as a civilian I have encountered young girls who came to harm. The truth is that we all have. It’s almost impossible to imagine a world in which young girls were not vulnerable to predators. Policing has shown me this happening close-up and in forensic detail. I’ve also witnessed how devastating it is for the victims and for families and friends when the worst things happen. That must influence my subject matter and how I write about it.

Q) I know how incredibly tough it is working for the Major Investigation Team. The long hours, sacrifice and gruelling work! There has been many a time, when I am trying to get hold of my best friend. Only to have her call back several hours later, to say she was at a murder scene! This usually happens after she has completed a 12-16hr work day. Is this difficult to fully get across in a novel? Are there some aspects of police work that are difficult to fully describe to the civvy crime fiction fan?

A) This is a difficult question for me to answer.

Firstly I’ve been surprised when I’ve been on panels for literary festivals how sympathetic and interested the public generally is in the real experience of the police. I’ve found this encouraging because I am still passionate about policing. It’s an incredibly challenging and important job that is often misunderstood, simplified and misrepresented. Policing is also an easy target for opinion pieces and the occasional drama that lives or dies by how incendiary the writing is. It’s hard for me as an ex police officer not to react to some of that.

However, your question is complicated.

As a novelist it’s not my job to write on behalf of the police. In fact that’s an impulse I have to resist. Ali Smith in an article in the Times says that the self is something to get rid of. “It’s just something else that’s in the way.”

My job is to tell stories and that process is mysterious.

I’m lucky to have a reservoir of real experience to draw on that helps bring the writing alive. The reality of an investigation would in places be quite a dull read: all those leads that go nowhere, all those negative statements that are taken to make sure everything is covered. On the other hand a character experiencing the frustration of those things might be part of the story. When I talk about DS Sarah Collins sleeping in the office on a camp bed it’s not because I want to tell people how hard policing is but rather because that’s what Sarah does when she’s working such long hours that she can’t get home. It’s in this way, I hope, that something authentic lingers in the way that I write about policing.

Q) Having previously worked for the Met police service. You must have a wealth of experience, which must generate so many themes for characters and plots. Are we allowed any snippets of information about possible future themes?

A) Book three will start with violence – this time between young men. This is a subject close to my heart and I’m hoping that I can make it a gripping and moving read. Avoiding spoilers I can say that some of the main characters will be back too, trying to make sense of it all and of their own lives.

Q) The crime fiction genre has some fantastic authors and I am a huge fan of so many authors and series. What are your recommended reads? Favourite authors?

A) So many! There’s some fantastic TV writing: The Wire of course but I also admire the English TV series Happy Valley. Breaking Bad is fabulous crime that is larger than life but still has something real to say. Favourite novelists include Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, Philip Marlowe, Patricia Highsmith, P D James. I’ve recently enjoyed William Shaw’s Birdwatcher. Not strictly crime I know but I’m also a fan of Le Carré. I’m thrilled he’s written another Smiley book after all this time and I’ll be one of the first people in the bookshop for A Legacy Of Spies.

Q) What is your writing process, do you have a set routine to your week?

A) Oh, it’s a mess and my ‘routine’ changes every time. When I started writing the first book I had no plan at all, just started writing. I was still in the police and wasn’t even thinking very clearly about publication. I just couldn’t stop writing because the world was so compelling and the characters came alive.

Now that I am lucky to be a full time writer I’m starting most days with a swim outside early in the morning to clear my head. In principle I try to average about a thousand words a day but that doesn’t really work because so much time is spent plotting, thinking and so on. If I find a scene isn’t writing well then I take that as a sign that something’s wrong so I need to stop and think about it rather than soldiering on. I hope I’m getting better at recognising this and not wasting time disappearing up a blind alley.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) There are many moments to choose from but I’ll choose the moment my first copy of my first book, Post Mortem, arrived in the post. I was alone writing and there it was on my doormat in a jiffy envelope. I wanted to run out and show it to people.

Follow Kate Lomdon
Web Pgae: https://www.facebook.com/KateLondonAuthor/
Twitter:
@kate_katelondon

*Huge Thanks to Kate London for agreeing to this Q&A. I wish you every success with the launch and publication of Death Message

Thank you. What a coincidence that you are best friends with someone I worked with. Send her my love.

author pic
Credit: Time Flach

Kate London graduated from Cambridge University and moved to Paris where she trained in theatre. In 2006 Kate joined the Metropolitan Police Service. She finished her career working as part of a Major Investigation Team on SC&O1 – the Metropolitan Police Service’s Homicide Command.  She resigned from the MPS in August 2014. Her debut novel Post Mortem was published by Corvus in 2015.

 

Review: The Last Night by Cesca Major

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The Last Night by Cesca Major

The Synopsis:

In a quiet coastal village, Irina spends her days restoring furniture, passing the time in peace and hiding away from the world. A family secret, long held and never discussed, casts a dark shadow and Irina chooses to withdraw into her work. When an antique bureau is sent to her workshop, the owner anonymous, Irina senses a history to the object that makes her uneasy. As Irina begins to investigate the origins of the piece, she unearths the secrets it holds within…

Decades earlier in the 1950s, another young woman kept secrets. Her name was Abigail. Over the course of one summer, she fell in love, and dreamed of the future. But Abigail could not know that a catastrophe loomed, and this event would change the course of many lives for ever…

My review:

I must say, I rarely comment on a books cover, but this one is fantastic! I love the summery feel and I am sure it’ll have a lot of success as a beach read. The novel opens in the summer of 1952 with the discovery of a dead body washing up in the sea. An unknown woman, a corpse, a mystery!

The novels coastal location really enhances the atmospheric feeling. I live by the coast and can actually see the Solent from my bedroom window, yet I am still a sucker for a coastal setting and love a good mystery too.

The novel has two interwoven stories. The present with Irina a furniture restorer who is drawn to the past via an antique bureau which she feels a presence surrounding it. Abigail is the character whom is set in the post-war era of 1952. Abigail is a dreamer and longs for the day she may make her future dreams a reality and make for America!
The novel speaks from various different characters perspectives and essentially moves from past to present very well. I can’t establish too much on the plot for fear of leaving spoilers but I can elaborate on what I loved about it.

I picked this novel due to reading a lot of darker crime fiction or fiction with darker cultural/political/historical theme. I wanted something that would hit the feels, but also where I would drift away to the location within the novel and it achieved both excellently! It has tension, emotion and is very thought provoking. The main thing I loved about this novel, was that the individual relationships were paramount to the story. Whether it be friendship, lost siblings, changing sisterhood or family. They all play a part in the love, jealousy, intimidation, loneliness and the secrets the past, holds dear. Unbeknown to all of the characters, something is brewing that will change all of their lives…………….

Highly recommended, Historical fiction, mystery & relationship theme 4*

*Thank you to Corvus Books for a copy in return for an honest review! 🙂