The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

I’ll admit it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. In fact I thought it was going to be an homage to Hitchcock, because of the title. Instead I was surprised to find an intricate story, actually a Russian doll like story. It was a story based on a classic story, which in turn had a story inside it. Very much a Faberge egg of literary surprises, and most certainly an homage to the legacy of Emily Brontë.

What flows throughout the book is the love, adoration and admiration Coleman has for the Brontë sisters, in particular Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and of course Ponden Hall. Historical facts are woven into the fictional story seamlessly to the point where the reader is absolutely on board with the possibility that it could be true. And I also admit to googling pics of Ponden Hall, the bed and the window, after reading this.

One of points the author builds into the plot is the question about whether antique and first edition books should be kept secluded from the public in private collections or should the public be allowed to enjoy the magical pleasure of such precious items. There is something mystical about seeing (touching is not allowed) and being around antique books.

This is a ghost story, a thriller, and it’s historical fiction. It is also very much a love story – love for Emily Brontë. There are parallels between the story Emily finds and the one she writes. The destructive power of obsessive love, which readers often read with a romantic pair of spectacles on instead of seeing things in the cold light of day. It’s certainly a captivating read.

Buy The Girl at the Window at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ebury Press – Paperback pub date 8 Aug. 2019. Ebury Digital pub date 27 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow on @rowancoleman on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit rowancoleman.co.uk

#BlogTour Children of Sinai by Shelley Clarke

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Children of Sinai by Shelley Clarke. It’s an interesting combination of history, theology and biblical tales, genetics and magical realism.

About the Author

Shelley Clarke was born into a naval family in Kent in 1958, and consequently moved house a lot as a child. She had ambitions to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Royal Navy, and to become a carpenter, but these were not female occupations at that time. So she learned to type… which has come in jolly handy for putting her stories first onto paper, and now onto screen.

Shelley is a keen painter, poet, and karaoke enthusiast; she loves mad family get-togethers, hates olives, ironing and gardening, and currently lives in Devon with her husband Kev, and their two Tibetan Terriers Nena and Pepi, who make them smile every day.

Shelley often forgets she is a grown-up.

Children of Sinai is Shelley’s debut novel. The story had been bouncing around her head for many years, and putting it down on paper has been the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She certainly could not have got through this experience without a lot of cursing and chocolate!

Follow @Shelley62628484 on Twitter, on Facebookon GoodreadsBuy Children of Sinai

About the book

How would you feel if you got caught up in a secret so vast it threatened everything the world had come to believe?

That’s what happened to John Milburn, computer science lecturer, orphan, husband and father, who lived an ordinary life in Haverhill, Suffolk, England.

That is, until the dreams started…

From the idyllic calm of Cambridge, John Milburn is drawn to the dust and the heat of Jericho. Thrown into danger and intrigue, he discovers more than he’d bargained for.

‘A wowser of a tale that is exciting and thought-provoking with a cast of characters you’ll fall in love with. Inspired by Biblical events, historical finds, theories and the author’s own strange imagination.’Review

John is plagued by recurrent nightmares. In the dream he is climbing a mountain towards a cave. He sees no connection between his life and the dreams. No Freudian connection or repressed desires or fears. There is simply no reason he can think of to explain the dreams. Then something happens to make him realise that the dream is something powerful enough to change life as he knows it.

He is reluctant to admit fate is holding the winning hand in his game of cards, despite the fact the events that unfold suggest exactly the opposite. Was it always meant to be? Written in the stars, the sand and in the dreams of many?

Clarke lets each element meld perfectly into one story, and by not letting one overshadow the other, it becomes a read you can enjoy regardless of which genre you prefer as a reader. The biblical elements don’t veer off into a question of religion or faith, they are merely used as historical references in relation to the storyline.

I liked the way Clarke drew parallels to biblical figures and stories without pointing a big arrow at them. They are self-explanatory and well-known enough for readers to get the reference even if you only have basic knowledge and aren’t a bible-thumping zealot.

It’s an interesting combination of history, theology and biblical tales, genetics and magical realism. It has a wee bit of a Dan Brown meets genetics and encounters the fantastical vibe. To counter the parts that stretch the imagination the author gives us scenarios that are and could be a reality. The balancing act really sets the tone of the piece.

Buy Children of Sinai at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogBlitz The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows by Jenni Keer

Today it’s my turn on the BlogBlitz The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows by Jenni Keer. It’s magical realism with poignant storylines, vibrant characters and a romance that brews like nice cup of tea.

About the Author

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker was published in January 2019. The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows is out in July 2019.

Follow @JenniKeer on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit jennikeer.co.uk

Buy The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows

About the book

When Maisie Meadows finds herself single and jobless on New Year’s Day, she resolves that this will be the year she focuses on bringing her scattered family back together. Romance is all very well, but it’s the people you grew up with that matter the most.

But a new job working at an auction house puts her in the path of Theo, a gorgeous but unattainable man who she can’t help but be distracted by. As their bond begins to grow, Maisie finds herself struggling to fulfil the promise she made to herself – but the universe has other ideas, and it’s not long before the Meadows family are thrown back together in the most unlikely of circumstances…

Can dealing with other people’s treasures help Maisie to let go of the past, and teach her who she ought to treasure the most?

Review

I loved the idea of the inanimate object having an underlying magic. Nothing tangible or written in ceramic, just something special out there in the universe. I also thought it was beautiful how the tea set became a synonym for family. The compelling premise of the tea set being incomplete also equating to a family being broken or torn apart.

Maisie Meadows love a planned life, an organised life and everything has a place. After an unfortunate break-up she finds a new job, new friends and an item from her past. An old teapot of an elderly neighbour turns up in the auction house. It causes flashbacks and she spends a lot of time reminiscing about her family and childhood.

In her mind they were the perfect family with the perfect sound-bite memories, but perhaps that is just the way the little girl Maisie wants to remember it. The truth is her family split in so many directions and has been for many years.

Maisie feels a pull to reunite the pieces of the tea set. She isn’t quite sure why it is so important, but she is determined to figure out the secret. Maybe she will find more than she ever hoped, perhaps it will help her to reconcile with some unacknowledged subconscious inner pain.

It’s a story that will resonate with many readers, because family is something the majority of us share, and unfortunately a lot also have broken ones. Broken can also mean far apart or growing apart.

It’s magical realism with poignant storylines, vibrant characters and a romance that brews like a nice cup of tea. I have to admit it made me laugh out loud quite a few times. Stickergate, that’s all I’m saying. It also made me thoughtful and sad sometimes, but overall it is a brilliantly loving read. It’s refreshingly perky and thought-provoking.

Buy The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway below to win a signed copy of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker,  pack of Scratbag notelets,  pretty purple pen and a Maisie bookmark (Open to UK Only)

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#BlogTour The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott. It’s a psychological thriller mixed with magical realism.About the Author

Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was The French Girl, which will be published by Berkley in February 2018 – available to pre-order on Amazon now!

When she’s not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won’t be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won’t be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn’t out of the question.

Buy The Missing Years

About the book

She thought she would never go back…

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago. Her father.

Leaving London behind to settle her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by the half-sister she’s never taken the time to get to know.

With the past threatening to swallow her whole, she can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her. And when Ailsa confronts the first nighttime intruder, she sees that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything…

Review

Ailsa returns to the home of her childhood. The one her mother ran from when Ailsa’s father disappeared with a bunch of diamonds. Now her mother is dead and Ailsa owns half a house she is unable to sell.

She returns to the Scottish Highlands with her half-sister Carrie, which sounds like an opportunity to bond. The two of them have a fractious and fragile relationship, which leads to mistrust, disagreements and misunderstandings. The hope is that the two of them will reconnect and instead of searching for the old bond, perhaps they can build a new relationship. On top of that Ailsa feels as if she has fallen into some kind of bizarre mystery that is the story of her life.

The Manse deserves character status in its own right. It lives, it moves, it breathes and it haunts. Ailsa isn’t sure at first, and to be fair it’s hard to differentiate between outside influences, human hand and something more sinister and inexplicable, but eventually she realises there is something more to the building she lived in as a child.

Between each chapter is a page, which sometimes reads as if Ailsa’s father has written or spoken it himself. He is in this country or that continent. He is married, single or gay. He is so many things except with Ailsa. After a while it becomes clear that these are the scenarios she has imagined during the time he has been gone. Reasons to explain why he isn’t with her. Why she isn’t and was never important enough for him to come home again.

I loved this element of the book. Partly because it isn’t clear where the info stems from and because it interjects so abruptly in the midst of the reality of her life. It’s a little bit like her dreams, her subconscious and then her conscious self competing against each other simultaneously.

The same goes for the magical realism aspect of the read. It gives the story a haunting gothic vibe, a house as fortune-teller and the bodyguard, whilst emanating the pain of the past throughout its rooms and halls.

It’s gripping, it pulls the reader in slowly with a captivating plot. It’s a psychological thriller mixed with magical realism.

Buy The Missing Years at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Corvus; pub date 6 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Jumble Sale by Lily Rose

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Jumble Sale by Lily Rose. It’s urban fantasy and magical realism for both young and old.About the Author

Lily Rose enjoys world building and creating characters for these unusual worlds. She enjoyed creating the misfit monsters world, and is looking forward to writing more of their adventures.

Follow Lily Rose on Goodreads and @LillianaRose2 on Twitter, and on AmazonFollow The Misfit Monsters Adventures on Facebook, Visit misfitmonstersadventures.com

Buy The Jumble Sale

About the book

Zadi is part zombie, part fairy with a little bit of robot, which makes her a misfit monster. She lives with other misfit monsters, with their quirky parts in their makeshift town. They survive by hunting at the nearby hunting grounds taking items discarded by humans and making them into something useful. Hunting is risky because they could be captured by humans. Zadi is an excellent hunter and maker, but now she’s finding it difficult.

Something unusual has happened. There have been no new deliveries to the hunting grounds. This means there are no new items which can be used to recycle into something useful, and they are beginning to worry and fight with each other.

Can Zadi come up with a plan which will help the misfit monsters and bring them together as a community?

Enter the world of the misfit monsters, their quirky lives, and be part of their fun and adventures.

Review

I wish this book had been around when my children were younger. My youngest son struggled with the UK school  reading system and their approach to teaching children to read. He just didn’t get phonics and couldn’t get his head around the whole non-words, real words and sounds. I reverted back to Ladybird books and taught him to read myself, but he always remained a reluctant reader.

To encourage him to read I always looked for books, illustrations and premises that were perhaps outside of the norm. Something that would capture his imagination and create interest in the written word. This is one of those books.

Zadi is a misfit monster, she is part zombie, part fairy with a little bit of robot. In fact each misfit monster is a combination of many things. They live not far from where humans dump their rubbish, which is excellent news for the monsters, because what they love to do the most is hunt. They hunt for thingmajigs, bits and bobs, whatsamacallits and stuffs. Anything they can use or make into something they can use has to be salvaged and reused.

Zadi decides it’s time to shake things up a little in monster town. Items are becoming scarce and competition is fierce, so they all need a solution. A jumble sale. It sounds like such a simple idea, but these monsters are protective of their treasures and don’t like to share. Will her idea work?

The Misfit Monsters absolutely fit into the category of stories that captivate and inspire. I adore the whole concept and love the way the author has integrated important social and environmental topics of our era into such a creative and fun story.

It teaches us mere humans a lot about consumerism, recycling and reassessing what we think we need, what we have and how we just throw things away. One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure. Not everything belongs on the rubbish tip or landfill.

This is a children’s book, about middle grade age, which I would also recommend for advanced readers from six years and upwards and for older readers too. I would love to see a version for really young readers with illustrations of all the different misfit monsters.

It’s urban fantasy and magical realism for both young and old. I absolutely loved it.

Buy The Jumble Sale by Lily Rose (Adventures of the Misfit Monsters #1) at Amazon Uk or the Paperback version at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Come Back to Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Come Back to Me by Daniela Sacerdoti. It’s a contemporary read with elements of magical realism combined with the concept of what family is for each of us. It’s a lovely read.About the Author

Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel Watch Over me was the 8th bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the 11th top-selling Kindle author. Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages. Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school.

Daniela’s children’s book Really Weird Removals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC. Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps.

To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit www.danielasacerdoti.com.

Follow Daniela on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads,

Buy Come Back to Me

About the book

Three separate lives. Three broken hearts.

Haunted by his wife’s death, Matt arrives on Seal Island determined to be alone and unable to escape his grief.

In the island’s hospital, a young woman named Rose lies in a coma, trapped by the memories of events leading up to her accident.

Grace, the island’s doctor, is at the heart of the community. Only she knows how much she regrets turning down the chance of love and a family years ago.

For these three people hope seems gone. But life is about to offer an unexpected new beginning…

Review

There are many types of reading experiences; the ones that leave you feeling happy, sad or angry. Now and again you get a book that reaches from the pages and takes a piece of you, even if just for a moment.

It may give you a sense of peace, a few seconds of indignation or fill you with rage. It doesn’t really matter what emotion or thoughts linger, but if they do then the author has done their job by extending a hand to invite you inside and you entering their house of words, staying for a while and leaving with some of their powerful words imprinted in your memory forever.

Sacerdoti evokes that kind of magic with her story. It is a perfect fictional exploration of grief, forgiveness, accepting life and the obstacles it throws in your way, and finding your own type of happiness.

This is the third book in the Seal Island series and the focus is on multiple characters who become connected through the island. Matthew is still riddled with guilt after the death of his wife. He welcomes the isolation of and on the island. Grace keeps herself busy to avoid thinking about her all her regrets, about the life and family she should have had. Then there is Fergus and the strained relationship with his teenage daughter, a young girl who feels abandoned and neglected by both parents.

The story of Rose runs alongside the others, but takes place in the past, as we see her navigate the complicated oppressive relationship between herself and her brother.

On the surface that may seem like a normal contemporary story about family, relationships and love, but the author makes it stand out from the crowd by adding a layer of magical realism to the story. It falls over a certain character like a soft, soothing and healing blanket.

It’s a contemporary read with elements of magical realism combined with the concept of what family is for each of us. It’s a lovely read.

Buy Come Back to Me at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Headline in eBook on 1st May and available in paperback original on 25th July. Buy at Amazon com.

Attend by West Camel

I really enjoyed this gem of a read and I hope you do too.

Don’t miss the fantastic BlogTour starting on Saturday the 1st of December and running for the entire month. Read the schedule at the bottom of this post to follow my fellow bloggers, as they take this debut book by West Camel, published by Orenda Books, for a ride through the Bloggerverse.About the Author

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing.  He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch.

He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.

Follow @west_camel @OrendaBooks on Twitter, Visit westcamel.net

Buy Attend

About the book

When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah. Seamstress, sailor, storyteller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

Review

I think the first assumption one makes about this story is that Deborah is some kind of forlorn spirit or a ghost who is destined to wander the streets of Deptford for eternity. The truth is so much more complex. It’s also what gives this story an essence of eccentric charm. You never really know for certain whether she is real, is she a figment of imagination or is she really walking among the living waiting for the right circumstances?

The only trouble with magical realism is the fact it is hard to distinguish between what is real and which elements belong in the magical category. So, with that said I am off to go look for Deborah in the tunnels or in her abode by the river.

One of the most poignant moments in the book is when Deborah asks if Anne and Sam can really see her. If you set aside the story for moment, it speaks to the lack of compassion and empathy in our society. The lonely walk through our world like invisible people. We look away from and turn our backs on things that make us uncomfortable, including the homeless, the abused and invisible in our society.

Not everyone sees Deborah, which in itself says a lot about the world she lives in, and a lot about the people who can or do see her. Does she connect with Anne and Sam because they need her in exactly that moment in time? Are their inner struggles and demons like a flare in the darkness for Deborah? Or do the paths of this threesome meld because fate has dictated this path for them?

I can’t tell a lie, this story drew me in further with each word. I was mesmerised by the story of the young girl in the tunnel and her magical discovery. From the claustrophobic feel of the tunnels, the mysterious piece of cloth – to the Hansel and Gretel safety thread

Attend is a nod in the direction of magical realism with a noirish quality and yet simultaneously filled with the brusque reality of our modern world. The collusion between these different worlds culminates in an extraordinary piece of fiction.

Buy Attend (Kindle) at Amazon Uk, Buy/Pre-order Attend (Paperback – pub date 13 December 2018), Publisher: Orenda Books

Starting on the 1st of December – the Blogtour for Attend by West Camel: