#GuestReview: The Ghost of Bowness by M.J. Evans (@MartinE13715833) @BookGuild @TheQuietKnitter

ghost of bowness cover.jpg“The friends of a young girl called Tara, who mysteriously went missing ten years ago, hire PI Jordan Lewis to investigate her disappearance.

There have been frequent sighting of what witnesses describe to be Tara. Jordan tries to piece together these statements to try and uncover the truth.

However as her investigation deepens multiple bodies start appearing around the usually quiet Lake Windermere and Bowness.

As Jordan gets closer to the truth, the attacks become more frequent.

Can Jordan solve the mystery of Tara’s disappearance before more residents are hurt? Or will Jordan and the police uncover more than they had bargained for?”

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to damppebbles today as I have something rather special to share with you, a guest review!  But it’s not any old guest review, no.  It’s a guest review from one of my very favourite bloggers, the gorgeous Kate over at The Quiet Knitter.  If you haven’t already, you MUST give Kate a follow as her reviews are superb and she’s much better at this blogging lark than I am!

So, without further ado, here’s what Kate thought about The Ghost of Bowness by M.J. Evans:

“The Ghost of Bowness” is the third book written by M.J. Evans to feature his ex Police officer turned Private Detective Jordan Lewis.  In this novel Jordan is contacted by the  friends of Tara Marshall, who went missing some ten years ago and no trace of her was ever found.  Strange sightings around Windermere and Bowness have the friends spooked, so Amanda O’Neil and Tony Jenkins decides it’s worth hiring Jordan to look into the sightings and find out once and for all what happened to Tara.

As the case evolves, Jordan finds herself working in close connection with the Police, especially with the discoveries of multiple bodies in the tranquil and peaceful setting.  Mysteriously, someone seems to be trying to run an investigation alongside Jordan’s and keeps sending her their files, texts from unknown numbers etc.

I found the pace of this to be a bit of a slow build up, but more in the way that groundwork needs to be done to set the scene and provide a framework for the plot to flow.  There were aspects of the narrative that I found a little slow in places but this wasn’t enough to put me off reading.  I was keen to find out what was going to happen next and see just how the case would pan out.  Most of the characters were an interesting mix of unreliable, questionable or untrustworthy which made the mystery element of the story very interesting.  Who’s version of events could be trusted, were any of them involved with the mysterious events were just some of the thoughts buzzing around my head while I read this.

Having visited Lake Windermere and much of the Cumbrian setting mentioned I found it easy to conjure clear images of the locations described and found that the details matched up with the images stored in my mind.  The juxtaposition of the attacks and murders in such a tranquil setting was nicely done, almost poetic in a sense.

Overall this was an enjoyable read, and one that fans of detective fiction might enjoy.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing The Ghost of Bowness for me, Kate.

The Ghost of Bowness by M.J. Evans was published in the UK by The Book Guild on 21st July 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | The Book Guild | Waterstones |

about the author2

m j evans.jpgI started writing in 2010 after I had spinal surgery and I am loving every minute of it and wouldn’t change a thing. I recently handed my third manuscript to my publishers and that should be out on sale sometime next year (2016).

When I started writing in 2010 I did a home learning course in Creative Writing. Doing this course was probably the best thing that I did because I have received no formal training in writing.

Author Links: | Twitter |

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#GuestReview: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by @hannahtinti | @TinderPress | @baattyabtbooks

samuel hawley.jpg“After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter Loo to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past – a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come.

Both a coming of age novel and a literary thriller, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY explores what it means to be a hero, and the price we pay to protect the people we love most.”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today as I get to share another of my fabulous guest reviews.  And it’s publication day which makes it even more special.  Congratulations to Hannah Tinti and Tinder Press.

In order to try and reduce my #terrifyingTBR I decided to ask for help from the amazing booky community.  And they came in their droves…..OK, slight over exaggeration!  A small but very talented bunch of folks offered to help by reading  a couple of the TBR.  One of my willing helpers was the gorgeous Helen Claire who blogs over at baattyaboutbooks.  Check out her blog when you have a moment because it’s fabulous.

Here’s a little more about Helen:

Me.jpgAn avid reader, reviewer and blogger and a keen supporter of the written word since her childhood days, the joy Helen gets from reading and talking about books has never diminished (in fact it has only increased).

And as a book publicist Helen gets paid to talk about books all the time! Helen is employed by Bloodhound on a freelance basis and plays a key role in ensuring our authors get as much publicity as possible, through arranging blog tours, book launch events and press coverage.

And here are Helen’s thoughts on The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley:

This is a very different kind of book. It is well written and keeps you hooked from start to finish and it certainly did me.

It is True Grit meets the trials of Hercules. It is extremely descriptive. Some of the scenes were so vivid, I really felt that I was there in the midst of it all. The characterisation is good, one character in particular. Read the book and you will guess which one I mean!

***

Thanks a million for taking the time to read and review this book for damppebbles, Helen.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti was published in the UK by Tinder Press on 28th March 2017 and is available in eBook format (hardcover is scheduled for release in April with the paperback following in 2018) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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hannah tinti.jpg

Hannah Tinti grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, and is co-founder and editor-in-chief of One Story magazine. Her short story collection, ANIMAL CRACKERS, has sold in sixteen countries and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her first novel, THE GOOD THIEF, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and winner of the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Hannah’s new novel, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY will be published in March 2017.

Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

 

#GuestReview: The One by @johnmarrs1 | @EburyPublishing @cluesandreviews

the one.jpg“How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…”

A very warm welcome to another of my fabulous guest review posts.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Sam to damppebbles who blogs over at Clues and Reviews.  Sam’s blog is fantastic so if you’re not already following her, I certainly recommend checking her blog out.  Sam has very kindly read and reviewed The One by John Marrs for me but before we find out what Sam thought of this incredibly popular book, here’s a little more information about her:

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 5.45.36 PMResiding in Ontario, Canada, with my book buddy, Ellie, I Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMteach by day and blog by night.  Although I would never discriminate, mystery, thriller and suspense novels fill my TBR list; dabbling in some books in the horror genre and occasionally some romance, come check me out at Clues and Reviews for my thoughts, reviews and general bookish ramblings. Twitter: @cluesandreviews  Instagram: cluesandreviews

Here are Sam’s thoughts on The One by John Marrs:

The One by John Marrs , was a book that I had seen people raving about for months on various blog tours and floating around in various Facebook groups; I was curious, but hesitant.  How often does a book really live up to the hype?

Well let me tell you, this book does.

Set in, what seems to be the very near, future, a gene is detected that allows people (with one quick DNA test) to identify their perfect partner.  The one they are genetically made for.   The narrative follows five different matches as they navigate their paths with their newly found soul mates.

This novel bent whatever I know about genre norms; this one was equal parts mystery, suspense, science fiction,, fantasy and romance all molded into one fast-paced, unputdownable read.  I was on the edge of my seat.

The characters in this novel were what got me.  Each character was intricately thought out and developed.   As each of their stories unfolded, I couldn’t help but in awe of Marrs and his ability to make the reader completely engrossed in their plights.   I was especially drawn into Christopher’s narrative as he hides a dark secret from his match and by the story of Amanda, who is desperate to find love.

I love my novels with considerable twists and turns and The One did not disappoint.  As soon as I felt like I understood where Marrs was going, he would deviate from the course and send me into a tailspin.

This rating was an absolute no brainer for me, 5/5 stars.  In fact, this one is a front runner for my favourite novel I have read this year.

***

Brilliant review, thank you Sam.  You can tell how much you loved this book and I’m glad I was able to help you ‘maybe’ find your book of the year!

The One by John Marrs was published in the UK by Ebury Publishing on 26th January 2017 and is available in eBook format (with the paperback to follow in May 2017) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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john marrs.jpg

 John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.

He has written for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook |

 

 

 

#GuestReview: Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan (@eva_dolan) @HarvillSecker @Tracie_Delaney

watch her disappear.jpg“YOU CAN RUN FROM YOUR PAST. BUT YOU CAN’T RUN FROM MURDER.

The body is found by the river, near a spot popular with runners.

With a serial rapist at work in the area, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are initially confused when the Hate Crimes Unit is summoned to the scene. Until they discover that the victim, Corinne Sawyer, was born Colin Sawyer.

Police records reveal there have been violent attacks on trans women in the local area. Was Corinne a victim of mistaken identity? Or has the person who has been targeting trans women stepped up their campaign of violence? With tensions running high, and the force coming under national scrutiny, this is a complex case and any mistake made could be fatal…”

Welcome, lovely people, to another fabulous damppebbles guest review post.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the very lovely Tracie Delaney back to the blog with her review of Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan.  Tracie blogs at the fabulous Passionate About Books and previously featured on damppebbles with her brilliant review of Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall.

Here’s a little more information about Tracie:

tracie.jpegI’ve been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember. As a child, I could be found with one of two things in my hand; a book or a bridle (I was an avid horse rider in my younger years).

Reading is a wonderful form of escape. I love the way books transport you to different worlds and allow you to be a part of so many character’s lives.

I blog and write under the pseudonym Tracie Delaney. My first novel, Winning Ace, is due out in May 2017.

And here are Tracie’s thoughts on Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan:

My heartfelt thanks goes to Emma Welton at damppebbles.com for giving me the chance to read and review Watch Her Disappear.

Police are called to a horrifying scene early one morning; the body of a woman has been discovered by a river, a popular spot with runners. The woman has suffered severe facial injuries and has been strangled with the cord from her music earphones, dragged from the path while she took her morning exercise.

When Detective Inspector Zigic, Head of the Peterborough Police Hate Crimes unit is called in, he’s confused. Surely this is more a case for CID?

But then it is revealed that the woman, Corinne Sawyer, used to be Colin Sawyer. Halfway through her transition, she presented in real life as a woman, but Zigic has to consider whether she was killed due to mistaken identity, or was there a murderer on the loose targeting transexual females?

As Zigic and his partner, Ferreira, dig deeper into the closed and secretive world Corinne belonged to, they begin to uncover hidden and unreported crimes from a community living in fear.

And alongside this murder, CID are embroiled in investigating a series of brutal rapes. Is the serial rapist escalating? Are the cases connected? And if they are, will Zigic struggle to hold off CID from wanting to reassign Corinne’s case into their own department?

I absolutely adored this novel. I’ve never read anything by Eva Dolan before, but believe me, that will be rectified.

This book is a slow burn mystery/thriller. It isn’t one of those books where you are left breathless as wave after wave of shocks come at you, thick and fast. In this book, the author builds the tension slowly, carefully—and realistically.

The story is told over one week, from the time of Corinne’s death to the eventual capture of her killer, but through that relatively short timeframe, the author digs deep, showing the level of scrutiny and work I would imagine goes into a real murder investigation.

I loved DI Zigic. You got to see two different sides to the same character – Exhausted husband due to newly-born daughter Emily keeping him awake at night to tenacious and integrity-fuelled DI, determined to find the killer while at the same time, desperately trying to stop the case being returned to CID.

Ferreira, his partner, took me a little more time to connect with, although as the story went on, it left me thinking that she’s exactly the sort of copper I’d want if I ever found myself in a similar situation to Corinne’s family.

This author is clearly very talented; from the way she strings a sentence together that leaves you in awe, to the careful pacing of plot and the full and rounded characters she lays on the page.

As the front cover states in a quote from Ian Rankin – She’s top drawer.

***

Thank you for this fabulous review Tracie.  I really want to read this book, and hopefully soon (luckily I still have a copy on the #terrifyingTBR).

Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan was published in the UK by Vintage Books on 26th January 2017 and is available in hardcover and eBook formats (with the paperback to follow later this year) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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eva dolan.jpeg

Eva Dolan is an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poker player. Shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, Long Way Home is her debut novel and the start of a major new crime series.

Author Links:Twitter |

#GuestReview: Splintered by Kelly Miller (@MillerMystery) @BookaholicDee

splintered.jpg“Life turns from barely tolerable to complete hell when Maddy Eastin’s impulsive plan to win back the attention of her absentee father backfires. Word of her scheme spreads through her high school, but when mockery escalates to cyberbullying, Maddy and her failed stunt become headline news. But the worst is yet to come…

A disturbed man is fighting the overwhelming urge to surrender to his true nature—a moral code molded by a sadistic father who taught him that a girl needs proper training to become the perfect subservient woman. As he watches Maddy on the evening news, his already fractured psyche completely splinters. She’s the girl he’s been waiting for.

When Maddy disappears, she’s labeled a runaway even though her mother believes it was foul play. Will the detectives investigating Maddy’s disappearance find her before it’s too late? Or has she already fallen prey to the vicious stranger hunting her?”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today for another of my fantastic guest reviews.  Today I welcome relatively new blogger Dee to damppebbles.  Dee can be found over at Novel Deelights and despite being new to the blogging community she’s already a firm favourite.  If you don’t already then please give Dee a follow.

Dee has very kindly read and reviewed Splintered by Kelly Miller for me.  But before we find how what Dee thought about the book, here’s some more information about Dee:

dee.jpgI have the attention span of a gnat. Or as I like to call it “ooh shiny disease”. Think of me as a magpie who sees some sparkly thing and is off. But put a book in my hands and I’m a completely different person. I’ll be able to concentrate like there’s no tomorrow. Shoot a canon off next to me and chances are I won’t hear it. That’s how much I love reading and how much books mean to me. They calm me, they help me escape reality for a bit. But most of all, they’re now enabling me to meet some wonderful new people in the blogging community. Thank you for the warm welcome and support!

You’re a very welcome addition to our little community Dee.  So without further ado, here’s what Dee thought about Splintered by Kelly Miller:

All actions have consequences.
Fifteen year old Maddie is not only struggling with the harsh teenage hormones but also with the recent divorce of her parents. It’s been five months since she’s heard anything from the father. One morning, Maddie claims someone tried to kidnap her. Is she telling the truth?
Her mother, Lily, isn’t having a good time either. Forced to move house and take on another job after her divorce, she struggles to deal with her own issues as well as her daughter’s.
Then there’s Hank, who had a brutal childhood at the hands of a predator for a father. Hank has been trying to do the right thing while all the while taking care of his brain damaged brother but can he keep it up?
Naturally when Emma sent me her list to choose a book from, I checked out links for descriptions. This one caught my eye as the premise sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the description listed on amazon and Goodreads is almost the entire plot. I kid you not. Which is a shame as I think I would have otherwise enjoyed this one a lot more than I did. As it is, I just kept waiting for something to happen that I didn’t already know was coming and sadly that didn’t start until about 60% into the book.
The chapters switch back and forth between five characters which I felt wasn’t entirely necessary. While they flowed nicely from one to the next, some I thought of as mere fillers that didn’t particularly move the story along. Then when the action finally hit in the last chapters, it was all quite rushed. It left me wondering if maybe the story hadn’t worked better as a drama focusing on the mother/daughter relationship between Maddie and Lily.
As I said, for me, it was slightly ruined by pretty much knowing the entire plot but I think you might enjoy it if you go in blind. Friendly reminder: DO NOT read the book description! I may have been a little disappointed but I still I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads.
Thank you lovely Emma for my copy of this book and for having me on your blog. 🙂
***
Thanks for your honest and considered review Dee, and it was a pleasure having you visit!
Splintered by Kelly Miller was published in the UK by Kindle Press on 26th January 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |
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kelly miller.jpegWriting has always been in my blood. Since the age of thirteen when I coauthored a cheesy romance novel in a blue, spiral bound notebook, I knew I wanted to pursue writing as a career. But somewhere along the way, I lost my voice. Sure I could craft a witty email or write marketing copy for other authors, as I did in a previous job, but to write that great American novel seemed just out of reach.

As is often happens, life simply got in the way. I got married, had three children, and adopted a black Labrador. As a stay-at-home mom, I was lucky to get an hour a day to myself. And when I found those few precious minutes, they were spent reading a good book. A voracious reader, I’ve been researching the mystery and suspense genres for more than two decades.

 It was in my search for my own identity after staying at home with the kids that ultimately lead me back to my love of writing. I started my journey towards publication in August 2010. The first draft only took four months to write, but was followed by an enormous amount of time rewriting, and an even longer time searching for a publisher. Determination, perseverance, and God’s blessing made my publishing dream a reality. I signed a contract with Black Rose Writing on May 18, 2012 and my first mystery novel, Dead Like Me, debuted in November 2012. The second instalment in the Detective Kate Springer series, Deadly Fantasies, debuted December 19, 2013. Since that time, the book’s rights have reverted back to me and I’ve gone indie!

 A third mystery novel, “Splintered,” debuted in January 2016. In this story, I introduced my readers to a whole new set of characters. “Splintered” was chosen as a 2015 Kindle Scout winner and the e-book and audio book will be published by Kindle Press.

 As time got tight with starting a part-time job while keeping up with my three kids and husband, I switched over to writing on a smaller scale. I began writing novelettes which will eventually be put into a box set called My Nightmare Series. Each will feature a new psychopath and will revolve around a different color that’s integral to the story. The first is called My Blue Nightmare is only available for FREE when you sign up for my newsletter. Tee second is My Emerald Nightmare and comes out in the Spring of 2017. (Bio taken from Kelly Miller’s website.)

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#GuestReview: Madam Tulip by David Ahern (@DaveAhernWriter)

madam tulip.jpg“Out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell is young, talented, a teeny bit psychic … and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, and with a little help from her theatrical friends, Derry embarks on a part-time career as Madam Tulip, fortune-teller to the rich and famous.But at her first fortune-telling gig – a celebrity charity weekend in a castle – a famous rap artist will die.

As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of celebrities, supermodels and millionaires, she finds herself playing the most dangerous role of her acting life.Trapped in a maze of intrigue, money and drugs, Derry’s attempts at amateur detective could soon destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.

Madame Tulip is the first in a series of Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.”

Hello booky people and welcome to another of my rather wonderful guest review posts. Today I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Nicki to damppebbles.  Nicki blogs over at Nicki’s Book Blog.  She’s a pretty voracious reader so there’s always something new on her blog.  You can also catch her reviews on Goodreads.

Here’s a little more information about Nicki:

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Hi, I read around 20+ books a month of mixed genres, my favourite being psychological thrillers. I have reviewed for just over 2 years and put all books on my blog- https://www.facebook.com/nickisbookblog/?ref=bookmarks.

My other hobbies include a range of animals and rescuing disabled hens (hence my Amazon and Goodreads name of Misfits farm), beekeeping, running, baking and riding. I love the outdoors but also love nothing more than to tuck up with a coffee and a good book.

(Emma: love the picture!)

And here are Nicki’s thoughts on Madam Tulip by David Ahern:

Derry O’Donnell is the daughter of the seventh son of a seventh son and therefore has “the gift”, at least that’s what her father tells her. She is skint, as is he and they need to make some money pronto. She is an aspiring actress and has read cards before. Madam Tulip becomes her “mystic” being and she accepts an engagement to a party to tell fortunes as part of the entertainment. Whilst there a famous singer is discovered dead. What transpires is Derry trying to accept what she has “seen” and that there could be another plot afoot. A lighthearted entertaining easy read. I love the characters especially Derry and the descriptions are excellent. You could picture this happening in a different era although it is set in modern times. A lovely comfortable read.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

***

Thank you very much for reading and reviewing Madam Tulip for damppebbles, Nicki.

Madam Tulip by David Ahern was published in the UK by Malin Press on 3rd April 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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david ahern.jpgDavid Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate and taught in major Universities but could never explain to his granny why he didn’t own a stethoscope.

Finding the challenge of pretending to know things exhausting, David Ahern shaved off his beard and absconded once more, this time to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

For no particular reason, David Ahern took to writing fiction. Madame Tulip wasn’t his first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. The second in the Madam Tulip mystery series, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, was published in autumn 2016. He is now writing the third Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

Author Links:Website | Email | Facebook | Twitter |

#GuestReview: Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall (@RuthDugdall) @Legend_Press @Tracie_Delaney

nowhere girl.jpg“When Ellie goes missing on the first day of Schueberfouer, the police are dismissive, keen not to attract negative attention on one of Luxembourg’s most important events.

Probation officer, Cate Austin, has moved for a fresh start, along with her daughter Amelia, to live with her police detective boyfriend, Olivier Massard. But when she realises just how casually he is taking the disappearance of Ellie, Cate decides to investigate matters for herself.

She discovers Luxembourg has a dark heart. With its geographical position, could it be the centre of a child trafficking ring? As Cate comes closer to discovering Ellie’s whereabouts she uncovers a hidden world, placing herself in danger, not just from traffickers, but from a source much closer to home.”

Have I ever mentioned that my TBR is pretty darn scary?  Hmmm…think about it, it may be difficult to remember (hahahaha).  OK, so I mention my #terrifyingTBR in virtually every post I write, and I can guarantee that it’s not getting any smaller.  Hello, my name is Emma and I’m a book addict.  So it’s time to do something about it and I will do that with the help of some incredibly generous, amazing guest bloggers and reviewers.

And the first willing volunteer (notice I didn’t say ‘victim’!) is the very lovely Tracie Delaney over at Passionate About Books.  Not only is she a fantastic blogger but she’s just about to release her debut novel!

IMG_1003.jpegHere’s everything you need to know about the very lovely Tracie:

I’ve been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember. As a child, I could be found with one of two things in my hand; a book or a bridle (I was an avid horse rider in my younger years).

Reading is a wonderful form of escape. I love the way books transport you to different worlds and allow you to be a part of so many character’s lives.

I blog and write under the pseudonym Tracie Delaney. My first novel, Winning Ace, is due out in May 2017.

And here’s Tracie’s review of Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall:

When I offered to read and review Nowhere Girl for Emma Welton over at the fabulous damppebbles.com, I had expected a new arrival on my Kindle. So when an actual book arrived in the post, I was super excited. The first thing I did on opening the package? I opened the book and sniffed the pages. Now, to non-book people, that would seem very odd, but to us book-types? The most normal thing in the world!

When seventeen year old Ellie Scheen goes missing at the local fair in Luxembourg, the police don’t appear to be taking the disappearance seriously. After all, this isn’t the first time Ellie has gone missing.

And when a witness at the fair reports that she saw Ellie’s mother, Bridget, hit her daughter and, on further investigation, it doesn’t seem to have been the first time, the police start to focus their attention on Bridget.

Cate Austin, the partner of Olivier Massard, the detective in charge of the case, doesn’t think the police are taking Ellie’s disappearance seriously and so decides to investigate Ellie’s disappearance for herself.

 My Review

The blurb of this book really intrigued me and I was very much looking forward to reading it. However, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. The story is intriguing and all the elements of a great novel are there, but it just didn’t hit the mark.

The present tense style of writing is not one of my favourites, but I can easily get past that for a great story, but in this novel, I found it rather distracting. The pacing of the novel was extremely slow. If 20,000 words had been cut during editing, it wouldn’t have hurt the story; in fact, it would have helped to create a faster paced novel with more tension and intrigue. The pacing picked up as we reached the climax of the novel—as it should—but at least seventy five percent of the novel was too slow for my tastes.

I also found it difficult to connect to any of the main characters, apart from Amina, a young Algerian girl smuggled illegally into Luxembourg in the hope of a better life. It was almost like watching a movie through a pair of net curtains. You could kind of see what was going on, but the detail was missing. I wanted to get deep inside the character’s minds, to really feel what they were feeling and experience their terror, horror and panic at what was happening, but the author fell short in translating that closeness from page to reader.

Despite the novel’s blurb telling us that Cate decides to investigate matters for herself, I found she was very easily persuaded onto a different path. With a few sharp words from Olivier, Cate seemed to oscillate between half-hearted attempts to find out what happened to Ellie, and then, just as quickly, she would decide she couldn’t do anything. In those moments, her purpose in the novel seemed to consist of taking her daughter to school and walking the dog. Again, it was the last quarter of the novel where Cate digs her heels in and, despite her better judgement telling her to leave well alone, she finally finds the grit and determination to bring Ellie home.

This novel deals with very serious subjects; the hopelessness of people in certain parts of the world, the risks they will take to secure a better life for themselves and the horrifying reality of the hidden crime of child trafficking. However, for those concerned with that subject, it is dealt with very sympathetically, and there is only hints of what is going on, rather than graphic description.

I wouldn’t put anyone off reading this novel if, like me, they are intrigued by the blurb. The very parts that didn’t suit me may be exactly  what others love to read.

My heartfelt thanks, once again, goes to Emma Welton at damppebbles.com for giving me the chance to read this novel.

***

Thank you so much for your fantastic review Tracie.  I rather like this guest reviewer lark so if you are a blogger or reviewer and would like to read one of my (many) books then please let me know and I’ll send you my epic book list.

Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall was published in the UK by Legend Press on 31st October 2015 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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ruth dugdall.jpgRuth studied English at university and then took an MA is Social Work. Following this she worked in the Criminal Justice System as a social worker then as a probation officer. Part of this time was spent seconded to a prison housing serious offenders. She continues to work within the Criminal Justice System, most recently in Luxembourg.
Ruth’s novels are informed by her experience and are “authentic and credible”.

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