#BlogTour Wish You Weren’t Here by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Wish You Weren’t Here by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch.

About the Author

Gabby Hutchinson Crouch (Horrible Histories, Newzoids, The News Quiz, The Now Show) has a background in satire. Born in Pontypool in Wales, and raised in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, she now lives in Canterbury. Follow @Scriblit on Twitter

About the book

The Rook family run a little family business. Ghost hunting. And business has picked up recently. Something’s wrong. It’s been getting noticeably worse since, ooh, 2016?

Bad spirits are abroad, and right now they are particularly abroad on Coldbay Island, which isn’t even abroad, it’s only 20 miles from Skegness. The Rooks’ ‘quick call out’ to the church on Coldbay Island picks loose a thread that begins to unravel the whole island, and the world beyond.

Is this the apocalypse? This might be the apocalypse. Who knew the apocalypse would start in an off-season seaside resort just off the Lincolnshire coast? I’ll tell you who knew – Linda knew. She’s been feeling increasingly uneasy about the whole of the East Midlands since the 90s.

Review

The Rooks are the squad you call when the monsters come calling or something goes boo in the night. A family company that deals with ghosts and other stuff that isn’t supposed to exist. Even they have noticed that there seems to be a shift towards the inexplicable, which also means their business is thriving, but they also know something evil this way comes.

I can easily imagine this as a scripted film/series, because it has a certain chaotic dodge-ball dialogue going on between the characters. Sometimes it makes it hard to follow, but then the Rooks are quite a chaotic lot in general. The whole exchange at the beginning between Darryl, Janusz and the other Rooks, had me like – what, who?

It’s an acerbic, sometimes sarcastic, often witty venture into the paranormal world. The dysfunctional oddball family dynamic lends itself to the theme of the unknown and the lack of control said unknown tends to conjure up. How do you fix something if there are no instructions for it? The Rooks are so convinced of their ability to deliver the goods, that it doesn’t even dawn on them that it could go wrong in any way shape or form.

It will interesting to see this series evolve, as the Rooks venture into more paranormal mysteries. Will the dysfunction, a possessed family member or the conflicted emotional baggage the cuckoo Rook carries around with her, tear the team apart eventually. Or will the ghostbusting team prevail?

Buy Wish You Weren’t Here at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Farrago pub date 14 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Death and Croissants by Ian Moore

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Death and Croissants by Ian Moore.

About the Author

Ian Moore is a leading stand-up comedian, known for his sharp, entertaining punditry. A TV/radio regular, he stars in Dave’s satirical TV show Unspun and Channel 5’s topical comedy Big Mouths. He is also the author of two memoirs on life in France. À la Mod and C’est Modnifique. Ian lives in the Loire and commutes back to the UK every week. In his spare time, he makes mean chutneys and jams. Follow @MonsieurLeMoore on Twitter, Visit ianmoore.info

About the book

Richard is a middle-aged Englishman who runs a B&B somewhere in the Loire Valley. Nothing ever happens to Richard, and really that’s the way he likes it.

One day, however, one of his older guests disappears, leaving behind a bloody handprint. Another guest, the exotic Valérie, persuades a reluctant Richard to join her in investigating the disappearance. Richard remains a dazed passenger in the case alongside Valerie until someone also murders Ava Gardner, one of his beloved hens.

Review

Richard is one of the lesser known species that chooses to move around like a cuckoo looking for a nest for its egg. He has retired to France and runs a B&B, however one could say that he does most things with a unhealthy reluctance.

Things take a turn for the worst when someone kills the glorious Ava Gardner – how dare they –  and  leaves Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner very distraught. Bloody handprints are one things, but killing iconic movie stars is quite another. Richard is on the case.

Snark, self-deprecating humour, and an element of chaos and eccentricity. It’s a very specific type of cosy read. Similar to the Thursday Murder Club, but with a main character who isn’t exactly a willing sleuth – in fact he prefers his life to be a little more peaceful.

I can see this being the kind of series that gains traction as readers get to know Richard and his life in the Loire Valley, as crime follows him around like a little black rain cloud. I liked the hint of nostalgia courtesy of Richard’s love of old films and the nod to the original Avengers – style, charm and panache of course.

Buy Death and Croissants at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Farrago pub date 1 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Glass Coffin by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Glass Coffin by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch. ‘The final book in the acclaimed Darkwood trilogy – a modern fairy tale series to bewitch grown-up fans of Terry Pratchett and younger readers alike.’

About the Author

Gabby Hutchinson Crouch (Horrible Histories, Newzoids, The News Quiz, The Now Show) has a background in satire, and with the global political climate as it is, believes that now is an important time to explore themes of authoritarianism and intolerance in comedy and fiction. Born in Pontypool in Wales, and raised in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, Gabby now lives in Canterbury. Follow Gabby @Scriblit on Twitter

About the book

The tyrannous Huntsmen have declared everyone in one village to be outlaws, since they insist on supporting the magical beings of neighbouring Darkwood. Why won’t they accept that magic is an abomination?

Far from being abominable, the residents of Darkwood are actually very nice when you get to know them, even Snow the White Knight, who can get a bit tetchy when people remind her she’s a Princess.

In order to stop the Huntsmen from wiping out all magical beings, Snow and her friends have to venture into the Badlands of Ashtrie, and seek the support of the Glass Witch – but she has plans of her own, and let’s just say they’re not good ones.

Review

This is the third book in the Darkwood series and I would definitely recommend reading the first two in the series, although this is also an entertaining standalone read.

The group of misfits aka alleged abominations finally make their way to the Badlands of Ashtrie to meet the Glass Witch (insert ominous music here). Their journey is a bit like Dorothy and friends travelling and confronting their fears, and coming to terms with the past.

The Glass Witch is an opponent like no other and if you have ever encountered a choose the right door puzzle, then you will have some inkling of how the GW works her manipulations.

There are so many unique characters with their own backstory and all worthy of a story of their own, which just speaks to how good the world building is. Crouch has certainly created a memorable series. Her very specific style and sardonic wit throughout combined with a new slant on old friends is absolutely what makes this a great read.

It’s the kind of story that makes readers out of kids, because it is an explosion of imagination and creativity. A reimagining of fairytales and favourite characters. It’s also unfortunately the last book in the series – one can only hope there will be some kind of spin-off, perhaps the World of Trevor by Trevor or getting into the nitty-gritty of Bin Night.

Buy Glass Coffin at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Farrago pub date 3 Jun. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Bad Day in Minsk by Jonathan Pinnock

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Bad Day in Minsk by Jonathan Pinnock.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinnock is the author of Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens, the Scott Prize-winning short story collection Dot Dash, the memoir Take it Cool and the poetry collection Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff.  

Follow @jonpinnock on Twitter, Visit jonathanpinnock.com

About the book

Tom Winscombe is having a bad day. Trapped at the top of the tallest building in Minsk while a lethal battle between several mafia factions plays out beneath him, he contemplates the sequence of events that brought him here, starting with the botched raid on a secretive think tank and ending up in the middle of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

More importantly, he wonders how he’s going to get out of this alive when the one person who can help is currently not speaking to him.  Join Tom and a cast of disreputable and downright dangerous characters in this witty thriller set in a murky world of murder, mystery and complex equations.

Review

This is the fourth book in the Mathematical Mystery series. It can be read as a standalone novel, although I can imagine readers wanting to read the other books in the series after reading this one.

The Vavasor papers are at the heart of this mystery, their journey and the mystery of their alleged existence and whereabouts also features previously in the series. The papers are also an object of contention when it comes to Tom and Dorothy. He doesn’t understand her professional obsession with them and she is annoyed by his irreverent attitude towards the Vavasor papers.

The unskilled asset is once again thrown into the deep end of undercover work as he stumbles through one awkward situation after the other to find the papers. If Tom were an on-screen character he would probably be described as slapstick and this is very much a comedy of errors. Where something can go wrong – it does.

Despite it being a mathematical mystery the read isn’t bogged down by anything complex, luckily for me, and is more of a cosy mystery full of humour. I do think that’s important to note, although the author mentions it himself, that it’s supposed to fun escapism, which it absolutely is. The mathematical element is like the snarky intellectual cherry on top of the sundae.

Buy Bad Day in Minsk at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Farrago pub date 8 April 2021. Buy at Amazon comAt Hive.

#BlogTour Cherry Slice by Jennifer Stone

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Cherry Slice (Cherry PI Mystery #1) by Jennifer Stone.

About the Author

Jennifer Stone was born in Essex and spent her formative years living within its borders and enjoying the delights of the multiple night clubs and alcopop-swigging opportunities available. After a stint in North Wales acquiring a degree and a further spell in Leeds, training to be a teacher, she returned to the south of England to teach English in a variety of schools. She is currently head of English at a boarding school in Suffolk and has just completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime at UEA. She lives with her wife and their small son.

Follow on Goodreads,  Buy Cherry Slice 

About the book

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of 3 million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it – didn’t they?

Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan Love… but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knickerless in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop and tries to forget all about Expose.

But when Kenny Thorpe’s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns the case inside out, Cherry realises it’s down to her to expose the real killer.

Review

This is the first book in the Cherry PI series.

Cherry Hinton isn’t exactly the kind of polished, pretty and perfect character or person you might expect. Her life is mired in scandal, due to an unfortunate experience with the world of reality television.

After accidentally blowing up her life with the help of the media, Cherry has resigned herself to baking for a living instead of being a journalist. When the sister of a murder victim asks for her help she is reluctant to agree to help, but she really can’t help herself or her gut instinct for the truth.

I really disliked the way Cherry Hinton was treated, and the way she just wouldn’t stick up for herself, but that is a different matter entirely. It is a book full of sexism, misogyny and the systemic mistreatment of women in a patriarchal society.

Assumptions are made about her character, which is maligned by the press, her family, her so-called friends and the world in general. Scantily clad woman equals someone of loose morals of course. Loose morals equals a woman willing to do anything for any man or man-child. It’s so sad and simultaneously frustrating.

It’s a murder mystery series with the kind of character who more or less stumbles through her investigations. Stone gives readers a character they want to cheer on and they want her to fight back against all her critics. Somehow the murder becomes almost insignificant in comparison to Cherry getting her jive back.

Buy Cherry Slice (Cherry PI Mystery #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Farrago; pub date 2 April 2020 – Paperback £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.