Sunday, 26 January 2020

#Review: Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall @eithneshortall @CorvusBooks #GraceAfterHenry

Grace After Henry was published by Corvus Books on 3rd May 2018. I purchased a copy a while back and am so glad that I finally got around to reading it...

Winner of The Big Book Awards: The Best Page Turners, 2018 

Shortlisted for the Popular Fiction Book of the Year: The Irish Book Awards, 2018

An Irish Independent Book of the year, 2018

Grace sees her boyfriend Henry everywhere. In the supermarket, on the street, at the graveyard. 

Only Henry is dead. He died two months earlier, leaving a huge hole in Grace's life and in her heart. But then Henry turns up to fix the boiler one evening, and Grace can't decide if she's hallucinating or has suddenly developed psychic powers. Grace isn't going mad - the man in front of her is not Henry at all, but someone else who looks uncannily like him. The hole in Grace's heart grows ever larger.

Grace becomes captivated by this stranger, Andy - to her, he is Henry, and yet he is not. Reminded of everything she once had, can Grace recreate that lost love with Andy, resurrecting Henry in the process, or does loving Andy mean letting go of Henry?

My Thoughts:

Grace After Henry was a story that came along, swept me up and carried me along for the ride at a time when I was not reading very much at all. For that I am grateful, it brought back my joy of reading and made me laugh.

Poignant and moving, from the blurb you would be forgiven for thinking that this book is one big blub-fest but that sentiment is far from the truth as a whole host of characters are slowly unveiled to the reader. Characters like you and I, very real, authentic and argumentative and prone to their individual quirks. I particularly liked Grace's next door neighbour who was the proverbial noisy parker and also the three men at the cemetery who formed part of the tea club.

We enter the story of Grace and Henry with Grace at her lowest. She is sleeping under a pile of coats, consumed by a grief that seems inescapable. All of her plans set aside. Really this should read as 'their' plans because everything Grace did she did for, or with Henry and a tragic accident alters the path set out. Grace cannot see a way to move forward, her life was not meant to be like this. Grace gets chatting to a neighbour as she needs to get some work done in the house that was meant for her and Henry. The handyman that comes upon recommendation arrives and looks like Henry and could be Henry apart from the fact that Andy is Australian and Henry is dead.

Grace After Henry is so much more than a tale of grief. It is one of love and loss and how moving on doesn't diminish the love that you had for that person.

Eithne Shortall writes with a warmth and humour that had me laughing at the same time a tear rolled down my cheek. This story was charming, captivating, entirely absorbing and never twee. OK, yes it was a little or a lot predictable in places but I was willing to overlook that for it didn't matter to me a jot.

I would definitely recommend this and am going to make a point of reading the authors other two books.

About the Author:
Eithne Shortall studied journalism at Dublin City University and has lived in London, France and America. Now based in Dublin, she is chief arts writer for the Sunday Times Ireland. Her debut novel, Love in Row 27, published in 2017, was a major Irish bestseller, and her second novel, Grace After Henry, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards and won Best Page Turner at the UK's Big Book Awards. Three Little Truths was published in 2019. 

You can find out more on her website:

Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce #RachelJoyce #Review #HaroldFry

Well, Hello! It has been a while. I had to step away for a while to deal with some health issues. It has transpired that these are not going to go away, and besides I missed it here. Since the last time I posted I have just been randomly selecting books from my shelves. The first one I want to talk about is The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce which was originally published by Black Swan in 2013.

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life.

My Thoughts:

I can't remember where I bought this book or indeed who recommended it to me but I am pleased to have read it and I got through it in one sitting which is something of a rarity at the moment. 

Harold Fry is retired. He is seemingly unhappy and is constantly nagged by his wife Maureen. Things seem turbulent on the surface but there is an element of mystery as to what bubbles beneath the surface of their relationship. Harold can't seem to do anything right. 

When he receives word that an ex colleague Queenie Hennessy is dying and in a hospice he doesn't know what to do with himself. He knows he has to say goodbye and perhaps makes amends for something, but what?

Harold sets off to walk to the Post Box to send Queenie a goodbye letter, only he can't stop walking and what ensues is a poignant walk the length of the country to reach Queenie in time to see her once more. You see Harold believes if he keeps walking then Queenie will keep living and besides Harold owes Queenie big time. 

This is a book that deals with loss and relationships, families and forgiveness. An exploration of what happens to the people that are left behind after a death. 

There are parts of this book that I found a little irritating. The hangers-on that Harold seemed to pick up and the whole media storm that surrounded him. I also felt that the ending seemed a little abrupt, but perhaps that mirrors the finality of loss. 

On the whole I found this book hugely entertaining, particularly moving and I am going to ensure that I now read The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. 

About the Author:
Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryPerfectThe Love Song of Miss Queenie HennessyThe Music Shop and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her books have been translated into thirty-six languages and two are in development for film.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Rachel was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2012 and shortlisted for the ‘UK Author of the Year’ 2014.

Rachel has also written over twenty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Bronte novels. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and Cheek by Jowl.

She lives with her family in Gloucestershire.

Friday, 17 May 2019

#BlogTour: Night by Night by Jack Jordan @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #NightByNight

Published by Corvus Books on 2nd May 2019. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy and inviting me on the blog tour.

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink . But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed - a journal dropped at Rose's feet.
She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won't the police investigate his disappearance?
Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her...

My Thoughts:
Night by Night is the latest novel by author Jack Jordan and I am thrilled to have been invited on to the blog tour for this one. I remember saying when I first read Anything for Her that I said that Jack Jordan was an author to watch. He is now going from strength to strength and Night by Night is his best book yet. 
With Jack Jordan has managed to create an emotive read with highly developed characters that was just simply heart breaking. Rose is the perfect narrator for this story. The first few chapters really set the scene. 
This story follows what happens after Rose has the encounter with Finn and finds the journal. In  a search for the truth when people don't necessarily want her too. Twists and turns and the authors trademark suspense made the pages turn incredibly quickly. 
I think that this is the authors most accomplished novel to date. I felt so many emotions whilst reading and I found the authors passion for the written word was all over every page. 
Full of suspense and drama, I was absolutely hooked. 
About the Author:
Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), and Before Her Eyes (2018). 

To find out more about Jack, enter numerous annual giveaways to win signed copies of his books, and be one of the first to hear of new book releases and news, follow him here:

Facebook: JackJordanOfficial

Twitter: @JackJordanBooks

Instagram: @JackJordan_Author

Goodreads: JackJordanOfficial

Please do check out the other stops on the blog tour:

Sunday, 7 April 2019

#BlogTour: Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella @dyedsouls @matadorbooks @rararesources #DyedSouls

Dyed Souls was published by Matador on 6th February 2018. My thanks to the Author and the Publisher for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me on to the blog tour. 

Described by John Lloyd of The Bookbag as "Catcher in the Cuckoo's Nest," Dyed Souls is a gritty coming-of-age literary novel, set in a residential treatment center in 1980’s California.
Charlie Lyle loves science, natural history, and the world of the mind, and it is his refuge and salvation as he copes with his drug-addicted mother and a world of circumstances well-beyond his grasp. More a work of philosophy than psychology, “For the teen it has a galling coming-of-age, redemption quest. For the adult it has that, as well as a literary look at a singular fictional life.”

Purchase Links

My Thoughts: 

Dyed Souls is a book that I am going to remember for a very long time. Memorable and written with heart, it certainly made me think and it really touched me. 

A coming of age story that is well thought out, Charlie Lyle is a victim of circumstances not of his own making. After having the start in life that he didn't deserve, and a Mother that seemed to have many other priorities than Charlie, this is Charlies story and what happens to him.

This book is an exploration of life and coming of age and what it means to not have the best start and the influences that can have upon somebody who is young and impressionable. There was a tangible sadness that pervaded this story. 

This is an incredibly well written story that captivated my heart and my mind. It is very different from what I usually read but the characters are completely captivating and this was such an engaging story. 

If you are looking for something light hearted this isn't it. If however you want a moving piece of literary fiction then this one will most certainly do the job. 

About the Author:
Gary Santorella, Owner, Interactive Consulting is a Lean implementation, organizational development, conflict resolution, and team-building specialist. He has a BA in Behavioural Psychology from Providence College, Providence, RI (1980), a Master’s Degree in Occupational Social Welfare from UC Berkeley (1990), and is a licensed cognitive-behavioural therapist in the State of California. His book: Lean Culture for the Construction Industry: Building Responsible & Committed Project Teams 2nd Edition was published by Productivity Press (a division of Taylor & Francis) in 2017. His first novel, Dyed Souls, was published by Matador Publishing in 2018.

Social Media Links –
Dyed Souls has won two awards:
Silver in the 2018 Global eBook Awards - Young Adult Fiction Category
Chill With a Book Readers Award. 

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour:

Monday, 25 March 2019

#BlogTour: Sea of Lies by Rachel McLean @rachelmcwrites @rararesources #SeaofLies

I am delighted to be taking part in this Publication Day Push for Sea of Lies by Rachel McLean. My thanks to the Author for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me on to the blog tour. 

Purchase Links

Sea of Lies
He abducted her. He fell in love with her. He helped her escape. Can she trust him?

Sarah Evans has returned home after being abducted and held in a dilapidated farmhouse by a group of men.

With her is Martin, who turned against the other men to help her escape. He says he’s not like them, and claims to be in love with her.

Can Sarah trust Martin? Does she share his feelings? Or should she listen to her father, himself deceitful and abusive, and turn her back on the relationship?

Sea of Lies is a chilling psychological thriller about secrets, trust, and a family falling apart.

A standalone sequel to Thicker Than Water

My Thoughts:

I have read Thicker Than Water but have yet to have the opportunity to post my review. This one, Sea of Lies can be read as standalone and is written in this Authors trademark thrilling style. 

Rachel Mclean has a way of getting right into the heart of the matter and exploring the psychological aspects that not only make her writing exciting but also drives the plot along at an excellent pace and creates suspense and tension that keeps the reader of the edge of their seat. 

Sea of Lies is written with vivid imagery as floods have previously caused devastation throughout the country. Sea of Lies is about what happens after and the great many people who have been displaced. 

The relationship between Martin and Sarah was interesting and the exploration of boundaries was fascinating. This novel rests on secrets, lies, trust and families. 

Another excellent read by Rachel McLean. 
About the Author:
My name's Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you'd like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at I'll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I'll let you know when my books are on offer.
Social Media Links –

Saturday, 16 March 2019

#BlogTour: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl @KathMcGurl @HQDigitalUK @rararesources #TheForgottenSecret

Published by HQ Digital on 1st March 2019. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me on to the blog tour. 

The Forgotten Secret
A country at war
It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.
And a long-buried secret
A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.
For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence. 
Purchase Links

My Thoughts:

Well I don't really know where I have been where author Kathleen McGurl is concerned as The Forgotten Secret is the first book that I have read of hers. I am pleased to say though on the basis of this I will definitely be reading the others. 

The Forgotten Secret is a memorable historical fiction novel that has a dual time line, both of these things are not usually my cup of tea but I was completely wrapped up in the lives of Ellen in 1919 and Clare in the modern day. This is the story of two strong women and is a lesson in Irish history something that sadly I don't know much about. 

Clare manages to escape her life when she inherits a farmhouse, she sees this as a way of escape and a new start but it is Ellen's story that I fell in love with and her story of love with her sweetheart. 

In reading this book I feel like I really went on a journey with the characters, who were warm and likeable. This book wasn't overly long but it felt like something of an epic and managed to pack so much in to the pages. 

I love the way that past and present combined here to make a story that was a rich tapestry of lives lived. I admire the research that must have taken place in order to write this story with honesty and integrity. 

Engaging, with characters that just danced off the page. I could even hear their voices in my head. I was really impressed with this one. 

Kathleen McGurl has got herself a new fan! 

About the Author:

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.
Social Media Links –
Twitter: @KathMcGurl

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.

Friday, 15 March 2019

#BlogTour: Clarissa's Warning by Isobel Blackthorn @IBlackthorn @rararesources #ClarissasWarning #bookbloggers

Published on 14th November 2018. My thanks to the author for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me on to the Blog Tour. You can get your copy of the book here.

Clarissa’s Warning is a haunted-house gothic mystery set on Fuerteventura, Canary Islands.
A lottery jackpot changes Claire Bennett’s life.
She buys an ancient stone ruin on the island of her dreams. Her mystic aunt Clarissa warns her of danger, but Claire pays no heed.
Soon after moving to the idyllic island, Claire is confronted by a mystery. As the sinister story of her home slowly uncovers, Claire enters a world of inexplicable events and ordeals. Someone or something doesn't want her there.
But is it really a curse, or is there something else behind the events?

My Thoughts

Clarissa's Warning was a wonderful bit of escapism on the past few rainy windy days. Claire wins the lottery and buys a run down home on the island of Fuerteventura. What starts off with much excitement begins to turn a bit sinister in this nuanced plot of peculiarities that start to occur. Things that start moving about and that is just the start of it. 

This is the first book that I have read by Isobel Blackthorn and I must say that I found her writing to be particularly impressive. There is a great sense of location throughout and the fact that this was set on one of the Canary Islands was something that brought a unique factor. 

Claire was an intriguing character and one that I didn't particularly find endearing. However it would seem that she should have paid more notice to her Aunt Clarissa's Warning. I am loathe to give any more away about the plot as I don't do spoilers. 

This book is not fast paced, there isn't action at every turn but there is something of a slow boil to proceedings that crept under my skin and made me want to find out how things ended and I actually really enjoyed this manner of story telling. 

The mystery and intrigue is palpable throughout and I really liked it. 

About the Author:
Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of brilliant, original fiction across a range of genres, including dark psychological thrillers, gripping mystery novels, captivating travel fiction, and hilarious dark satire. Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism and carries a lifelong passion for the Canary Islands, Spain. A Londoner originally, Isobel currently lives near Melbourne, Australia, with her little white cat. 

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.