The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse @SarahVPearse @RandomTTours #TheSanatorium #mystery #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. I had been looking forward to reading this one for ages and it didn’t disappoint.

My huge thanks to Anne for my spot on the Blog Tour. Here is more about this excellent book…

You won’t want to leave…until you can’t.

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in…

Pre-order Link – Amazon UK Publication Date 4th February

My Review…

This is such a good book. It has the isolation of the mountains and that danger of an avalanche to add to the atmospherics. There is a nervous tension and eeriness to what is inside as well. Elin and her other half Will are at the Swiss sanatorium that has been remodelled into a luxury hotel.

Elin is a character who is struggling with life at the moment. She is a Detective from the UK who has been on leave due to a bad case and bad decisions. This has dragged up, memories from the past that she is struggling to get past and hopes that seeing her brother at the hotel will help. As she is trying her best to remain calm and to control her feelings there is something about the sanatorium that is unsettling. It is confirmed when a body is found, and then another person goes missing.

This really does have all the chilling, sinister vibes and I do think the author does a cracking job of bringing the sinister and intriguing history of the sanatorium into the story. It ups the tension and the isolation gives the feeling of a locked-in story.

As I was reading this I did give the odd feeling of The Shining coming through, a story I do love by the way. Sanatorium had that similar feeling of isolation, the feeling of something more going on than meets the eye, that there is a hidden agenda and something really bad has happened.

Without giving anything away there is definitely more to this than meets the eye. While it is a crime thriller it is also a mystery thriller, Elin’s character as the detective in this story is an interesting angle. She has no jurisdiction as such as she is a detective on leave in a foreign country.

Overall this is a fabulous read and one that definitely captured my attention. I did like the locked-in eeriness and the intriguing storyline. One for readers who like a suspense-filled, intriguing mystery, thriller read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Sarah Pearse lives by the sea in South Devon with her husband and two daughters. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and worked in Brand PR for a variety of household brands. After moving to Switzerland in her twenties, she spent every spare moment exploring the mountains and still has a home in the Swiss Alpine town of Crans Montana, the dramatic setting that inspired her novel. Sarah has always been drawn to the dark and creepy – remote spaces and abandoned places – so when she read an article in a local Swiss magazine about the history of sanatoriums in the area, she knew she’d found the spark of the idea for her debut novel, The Sanatorium. Her short fiction has been published in a wide variety of magazines and has been shortlisted for several prizes. You can find Sarah on Twitter @SarahVPearse and Instagram @sarahpearseauthor

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden @MichaelJBooks #histfic #publicationday #TheGatesOfAthens #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden. This is one for historical fiction readers and is an author who I really enjoy reading. Let me show you what his latest book is about…

490 B.C.

Two great empires are about to go to war . . .

The momentous struggle between Athens and Sparta as rival powers and political systems will last for twenty-seven years (431 to 404 BC).

It will end in the fall of a dynasty.

Filled with cunning political scheming and astonishing military prowess, invasions and treacheries, plagues and slaughters, passion and power, Conn Iggulden brings to life one of the most thrilling chapters of the ancient world.

Published by Penguin UK Michael Joseph Purchase Link from Amazon UK – HardbackKindleAudiobook (these links are affilaite)

Well, what a brilliantly addictive read this book was. I have read a few books by this author now and he is an author who I can rely on to give a riveting read that is also very well researched. This is an author who definitely knows his history and is also how to weave that historical fact into a story that is an incredible read.

I do like historical fiction and non-fiction books, although my knowledge is only small. What I did find with The Gates of Athens is that it felt right. This is a story that sees the historical battle between the Persians and the Greeks, it is the one that leads up to and includes the stand of the Spartan King at the pass in an attempt to stop the progress of Xerses into Athens.

The story focuses on key figures of the time in Athens, a city of democracy and that no one man can be above all others. It is a city of culture, wealth and politics. Now, wherever politics are involved there is also a certain amount of political wrangling. Of being seen to support certain figures or making a stand against them. I have to say that I really enjoyed this part of the story as I saw how subtle nudges and comments can lead to something much bigger.

There is also a good amount of other details of how people lived, the wealthy households are run from different cultures of the ancient world. Many of the details are brief but they help to show the differences between the various cultures.

If you like historical fiction that is set in Ancient Greece, that is full of battles, intrigue, politics and is simply a fabulous read then this is a book I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio from Author Page on Amazon UK

Born in London, Conn Iggulden read English at London University and worked as a teacher for seven years before becoming a full-time writer. Married with three children, he lives in Hertfordshire. Since publication of ‘The Gates of Rome’, Conn has written a further thirteen books including the wildly successful ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’.

Visit Conn on Amazon Author Page

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic @PenguinUKBooks #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic. Having read Simon Lelic’s previous book The House I was quietly confident that I would also enjoy this one. If you would like to purchase a copy you can do so from good book shops or Amazon UK My thanks to Penguin UK Books for my e-copy that I received via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

ONE ROOM.

TWO LIARS.

NO WAY OUT.

THE NEXT SPINE-TINGLING THRILLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE HOUSE

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life.

It was the only way to keep her daughter safe. But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?

Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt. And that’s when Susanna realises she was wrong.

She doesn’t know him.

He knows her.

And the girl he plans to hurt is her daughter.

My Thoughts:

Susanna is a counsellor, well she is now! But she has a past that she is trying to hide from her friends, her daughter and also herself. Adam comes to Susanna as a patient, he has never visited her before but something about him is unsettling.

This is a book that took me a while to get into as I struggled to really find my feet with what the story was about and where it was going. It is only now as I write this review that I realise that this was probably a little bit how Susanna felt when this stranger turned up. What was he about, what was his problem, did he have a problem? But even though it did feel a little slow to get going I was so glad I stuck with it. There was something quietly compelling about it that held my attention.

As the story of not only Susanna but also Adam started to be made known the sense of “there is something going on here” starts to make its shadowy presence felt. All is not as first appears. A lie told years ago raises its head, it was told to protect loved ones, does that make it right? Can telling a lie ever be justified? The author does a great job of teasing and taunting the reader, I felt as if I was being manipulated as the truth of the story gradually snaked its way out.

Even though I felt it had a slow almost vague start I found it compelling and in comparison the latter half of the book really does pick up the pace and the intrigue as well as the sense of danger. The as the dots started to be connected I started to get a better idea of what was going on, in a sense I started to see the bigger picture. It is when I realised how deceptive the story actually was that the author had very cleverly woven.

This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who like psychological thrillers with an emphasis on family, secrets, and lies. A book that I think would raise some interesting talking points for Reading Groups.

About the Author:

Simon Lelic is a former journalist and the author of three award-winning literary novels, and The New Neighbors, his first psychological thriller, inspired by a love of Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. Simon lives with his wife and three children.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BookReview : The Old Man and The Sand Eel by Will Millard @MillardWill @PenguinUKBooks @NetGalley

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I am delighted to be sharing a book that is a little bit different to my usual reads.  “The Old Man and The Sand Eel” by Will Millard is available for purchase from 1st March 2018 in various formats.  Published by Penguin UK.

Synopsis:

Growing up on the Cambridgeshire Fens, Will Millard never felt more at home than when he was out with his granddad on the riverbank, whiling away the day catching fish. As he grew older his competitive urge to catch more and bigger fish led him away from that natural connection between him, his grandfather and the rivers of his home. That is, until the fateful day he let a record-breaking sand eel slip through his fingers and he knew that he had lost the magic of those days down by the river, and that something had to change.

The Old Man and the Sand Eel is at its heart the story of three generations of men trying to figure out what it is to be a man, a father and a fisherman. It plots Will’s scaly stepping stones back to his childhood innocence, when anything was possible and the wild was everywhere.

My Thoughts:

The cover of this book caught my eye, then the synopsis did it’s job. I decided this was a title I definitely wanted to read. I know a little of the Fens and with the odd fishing trip with my dad, made me think this is a book that I would enjoy.

Will’s Granddad taught him a huge amount about fishing on the Fens then as he got older it was his Dad that gave him a chance to learn new skills.  This is not just a book about fishing, though it does feature heavily.  It is a book that looks at the wildlife, flora and fauna around the different watery habitats around the UK.  Over the years Will has used different rigs, baits and lures from the old traditional to the modern all singing dancing set ups.  He also discusses how fishing has changed over the years, along with the expectations of what is required.  From the ditches, drains, hidden ponds and wild runs to the commercial fisheries.  The way people have moved from the may catch a fish to the almost guaranteed catch one.  The commercial fisheries have their place, they are well stocked and well cared for, the fish are bigger well fed and produce the biggest fish for those who like to chase the record breakers.

But this book also takes a more personal look at his life growing up, it is full of amusing at times anecdotes, the old tales, traditions and also fishing folklore that has been handed down.  Sometimes it is not just about the biggest or largest catch, it is more about relaxing,  to stop stressing about things and just enjoy your fishing.

It has important and fascinating facts surrounding the environment, wildlife and nature, sometimes these work well side by side, but other times they can have been to the detriment of other species.  Things over the years have changed and now people are more aware of endangered species measures are being put in place.  We need to protect our natural environment and also to help put right what has been done in the past.

This is a lovely book that is full of wonderfully told memories and stories from Will’s perspective.  It ambled along beautifully, and had me laughing at times with some of his childhood antics, but it also carries some important messages and fascinating facts.  This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of memoirs, fishing, nature and environment.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for my eARC of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

me2.jpg  Will Millard is a writer, BBC presenter, public speaker, and expedition leader.

Born and brought up in the Fens, he presents remote Anthropology and Adventure series for BBC Two, and series on Rivers, Urban Exploration, and History for BBC Wales. In 2016 he won the BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Presenter and his series have received nominations for Best Series and Best Presenter in the Grierson, Broadcast, Bannf, Kendal, and the Televisual Bulldog Awards. Please visit the ‘Documentaries’ tab for more.

His first book The Old Man and the Sand Eel for Penguin (Viking) follows his wild journey across Britain in pursuit of a fishing record and will be out on March 1st 2018 (but is available for preorder now through Amazon), and his next BBC Two series, charting a year in the life of the extraordinary Korawai tribe in West Papua, will be on your screens this Easter.

Follow Will on Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Website

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it give a share or two.  Better still grab yourself a copy of this book 🙂 xx

#BookReview : Bone by @YrsaDaleyWard : pub by @PenguinBooks

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“Bone” by Yrsa Daley-Ward. Available in paperback and eBook format.  Published by Penguin UK.

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846149665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846149665
  • Amazon Link

Synopsis:

‘You will come away bruised.
You will come away bruised
but this will give you poetry.’

Raw and stark, the poems in Yrsa Daley-Ward’s breakthrough collection strip down her reflections on the heart, life, the inner self, coming of age, faith and loss to their essence. They resonate to the core of experience.

‘yrsa daley-ward’s ‘bone’ is a symphony of breaking and mending. an expert storyteller. of the rarest. and purest kind – daley-ward is uncannily attentive and in tune to the things beneath life. beneath the skin. beneath the weather of the everyday.’ nayyirah waheed. author of salt. and nejma

‘Sharing is her form of survival … A powerful collection of a woman facing tumultuous inner and external battles head on, delivered with a hard-hitting directness, yet with inflections of optimism throughout’ i-D Magazine

My Thoughts:

Now I admit not to reading modern poetry often, so I was really pleased to be sent this book.  The poems I read are mostly older classics, or the more well known mainstream ones. I am not up to date on poetic jargon so I am going to simply state what I found and thought, basically just the same as if I were reviewing a novel.

So this is what I consider to be a book of contemporary poetry.  I dipped in and out of this book over several days, reading a few shorter poems or one of the longer ones.  I found that the length of the poems range from short ones with only a couple of lines, to multiple verses over several pages.

I did find the poems interesting to read, though I admit to not understanding all of them. As I read I was aware that these are a mix of sad, emotional and feel they are very personal to the author, using her own experiences as a base.

This is a book I did enjoy and would recommend to readers of modern poetry, with some interesting and personal reflections.  I feel I was more experienced with the modern style I would have appreciated, or maybe understood more.

I was lucky enough to be drawn as a winner of this book on a giveaway run by Penguin Books.  There was a question asked as part of National Poetry Day.  The question was:  “What is your favourite poem ?”  My response was a poem I had to learn at school when I was around 11 years old.  We had to learn where every comma, colon, capital letter as well as every word by heart.  I remember at the time finding this very tedious.  But it is a poem that has stuck with me through the years.  That poem was called “The Listeners” by Walter De La Mare.  It begins :

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
   Knocking on the moonlit door;
if you would like to read the full poem I have included a link here to The Poetry Foundation

About the Author:

413BuaEDjlL._SY200_Yrsa Daley-Ward is a writer of mixed West Indian and West African heritage. Born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Yrsa was raised by her devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents in the small town of Chorley in the North of England.

Follow Yrsa Daley-Ward  Twitter

I was lucky to be picked as a winner of this book, “Bone” by Yrsa Daley-Ward, a competition run by Penguin UK on National Poetry Day.  The question from Penguin was “What is your favourite poem?”, now I know that it is a random draw, but my favourite poem was

#BookReview The LimeHouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd #AskPenguin @PenguinUKBooks

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Penguin Uk have an #AskPenguin tag.  Give them some ideas about the sort of book you would like to read, they will respond with their book choice.  I had asked for a Victorian mystery and their suggestion was “The Limehouse Golem” by Peter Ackroyd. So I bought it and gave it a go.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (24 Aug. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784708208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784708207
  • Amazon Link
  • Other Formats available.

Synopsis:

London, 1880. A series of gruesome murders attributed to the mysterious ‘Limehouse Golem’ strikes fear into the heart of the capital. Inspector John Kildare must track down this brutal serial killer in the damp, dark alleyways of riverside London. But how does Dan Leno, music hall star extraordinaire, find himself implicated in this crime spree, and what does Elizabeth Cree, on trial for the murder of her husband, have to hide?

Peter Ackroyd brings Victorian London to life in all its guts and glory, as we travel from the glamour of the music hall to the slums of the East End, meeting George Gissing and Karl Marx along the way.

My Thoughts:

Set in London, in the 1880’s.  London is gripped by gruesome murders and the bodies are being found dismembered, the police have no idea who the murderer is.  Alongside the murders, is the story of Lizzie, later to become Mrs Elizabeth Cree.  When we first meet her it is as she is having the noose placed around her neck having been found guilty of a crime. From this point on we learn more about Lizzie’s life, her love and involvement in music halls and the characters she meets, as well as famous names of the time.

Peter Ackroyd has captures the dark and sinister aspects very well and made them quite believable.  He has built up a picture of what you would expect of Victorian London, dark, atmospheric and suspenseful.  I did at times feel that some of the descriptive passages were a little long at times, but not so much to detract from the story.  It is told in quick chapters that flit from the perspectives of Lizzie , the murder, and also diary entries, keeping the whole story moving along at a good pace.

This is a book I enjoyed and would recommend to readers who like Gothic Fiction, Historical and Literary Fiction.

The book was originally titled “Dan Leno & The Limehouse Golem”.  It has also been made into a film, and has a release date on DVD / Blu-ray of 26th December.  Amazon link HERE.

About the Author:

21ky5BEoSYL._UX250_   Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Dickens, Blake and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River. Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

 

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you like it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy the book.