Review of The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris @Joannechocolat @BHHillustration @gollancz @orionbooks @TheWrite_Reads #JoanneHarris #YA #Fiction #Review

The Blue Salt Road
By Joanne M. Harris
Rating: *****


About the Author

Joanne Harris MBE, writes under both this name and Joanne M. Harris and lives in Yorkshire. Her books have been published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. This year she celebrates  20 years since Chocolat was first published in the UK. As well as writing books, she also writes stories that she performs to music with her band – Storytime. She plays a bass guitar and studies Old Norse. She also campaigns for libraries and author’s rights.

The Blue Salt Road Joanne Harris

Blurb

Passion drew him into a new world and trickery has kept him there.

But as he finds his path in a dangerous life, he will learn his notions of home, and of his people, might not be quite as he believed.

Illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is an original modern fairytale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas and drama on the land.

Review

I was fortunate enough to recieve this book as a Christmas present this year. The person who bought it for me knew I was interested in this book and that I have long enjoyed books by Joanne Harris. This book is rather different from my usual reads, but then that’s the beauty of books, they are easily accessible to try something new and to further expand the repertoire and discover something new. Even if a bit of fantasy is not your usual type of book, this book is relatable to and is worth exploring and in my review, you will see why and also you can see what else Joanne Harris writes, as she has written about every genre there is, which is impressive! Over the years I have come to admire her for many different reasons.

A modern fairytale that is nicely split into 7 parts, each beginning with appropriate verse from the Child Ballads. I had not heard of the Child Ballads before, but that’s the thing with even fiction books, there’s always something to take away with you or there’s some new nugget that readers have learnt about. This is a tale for young adults and adults alike, after all, fairytales were originally meant for adults. It is beautifully illustrated in black and white by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, who also illustrated A Pocket Full of Crows. The detailing is exquisite to say the least with each drawing matching the text very well. Be sure to look just inside the cover too.

The prologue is definitely very interesting and informative as it’s where it is learnt where the story comes from and are invited to take what we need from it and pass the story on. The way it is written is the beginning of being of  the enchantment of this book. It is about a Selkie. For those who don’t know a Selkie is a mythical creature that resembles a seal in the water but assumes human form on land.

Right from the first chapter the tale sweeps you along in its imagery of the islands as we meet the Grey Seal Clan, more precisely a young man of the clan who likes to hear tales of the Folk, who they live alongside, but there are warnings within those tales he is told to heed about the Folk. Despite warnings to take caution, he likes to observe the Folk. The Folk represent humans and are seen as only being concerned about their boats and harpoons. It is so thought-provoking and with such emotion and with such powerful beauty of the setting, there’s much to take in, but it is far from arduous. It’s a book that fits so well for today’s reading audience and is so relevant and it strikes a chord.

Mostly there are no named characters, except for Flora McCraiceann – one of the Folk, a determined young woman who wants to find a man of her own, and not necessarily one from the island. Down by the sea, there lies a bit of a love story. What love, but what pain can accompany it for both a Folk and a Selkie and what choices they must make, that impacts on their lives and the heart and the dreams don’t always match up and there are lost memories of a past life. It’s all beautifully and tenderly written with vast emotion and even though it is a fairytale, there is a grounding of realism within the book, which is relatable to.

We see the contrast between the Selkies and the Folk. The folk and all their weaponry, shows a darker side of this book, a more predatory, realism way that they had, compared to the magical power the Selkie has for readers and far different from the romanticism of them. The dark turn brings a sadness to this book as there’s a realisation of betrayal. It is all such a rivetting read and I found myself almost mesmerised and being pulled along like the waves of the sea. It’s so incredibly well written, it’s such a joy to read.

Throughout the book there is a Kraken, which is so well depicted to tell this story and is great for the imagination, but is written in a way that will be familiar to readers.

This fairytale, twists and turns as it begins to plunge into a tale of revenge later in the book. There is much that will keep readers wanting to turn the pages to see how it all concludes.

This book, although, not my usual genre, is a mythical masterpiece and really took me by surprise. So, I highly recommend this book, even to those who don’t normally read this genre.

Joanne Harris has been enjoying success and working hard on her writing for decades now. There are so many series and all of which I recommend. I have been reading her books for all those years and intend on continuing to do so.

I would like to thank Joanne for all the times I have met her, mostly at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and once at Aye Write in Glasgow and the other in Harrogate at the Raworth’s Literature Festival there. Each time has been a joy. Joanne Harris was the first author I met, when I came to know that authors could be met and signed books. No longer was it a bucket list dream, it became a lovely reality.

Gothic Novels: Sleep Pale Sister, The Evil Seed

Chocolat Series: Chocolat (adapted into an Oscar nominated film),
The Lollipop Shoes, Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure  The Strawberry Thief will be released 4th April 2019.

 Novels Set in France: Blackberry Wine, Coastliners,
Five Quarters of the Orange, Holy Fools

Malbry Novels: Gentlemen and Players, BlueEyedBoy, Different Class

Short Stories: Jigs and Reels, A Cat, A Hat and A Piece of String

Cookery: The French Kitchen, The French Market, The Little Book of Chocolate

Books written as Joanne M. Harris:
Norse Books: Runemarks, Runelight, The Gospel of Loki, The Testament of Loki
Folklore- inspired novellas: A Pocket Full of Crows, The Blue Salt Road

She has featured in many books such as Doctor Who, Dead Letters,
Fearie Tales, Paris to name but a few.

 

Joanne Harris pile of books

*Please note: This is an impartial review.

______________________________________
Title: The Blue Salt Road
Author: Joanne M. Harris
Illustrator: Bonnie Helen Hawkins
Publisher: Gollancz – an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group LTD
ISBN: Hardback: 978 1 473 22221 2    E-Book: 978 1 473 22223 6
Main Points of Purchase: Available widely in bookshops, libraries and Amazon.

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The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler – A Fascinating Insight into What Happened to 99 Authors @Peculiar @riverrunbooks @QuercusBooks #nonfiction #facts #authors #newbook #review

The Book of Forgotten Authors
By Christopher Fowler
Rating: *****


About the Author

Christopher Fowler was born in a less attractive part of Greenwich, London in 1953, the son of a scientist and legal secretary. He went to a London Guild school, Colfe’s, where, avoiding rugby by hiding in the school library, he was able to begin plagiarising in earnest.

He published his first novel Roofworld, described as “unclassifiable”, while working as an advertising copywriter. He left to form The Creative Partnership, a company that changed the face of film marketing, and spent many years working in film, creating movie posters, tag lines, trailers and documentaries, using his friendship with Jude Law to get into nightclubs.

He achieved many schoolboy fantasies including releasing a Christmas pop single, becoming a male model, posing as a villan in a Batman comic, writing in Hollywood, creating a stage show, running a nightclub, appearing in the Pan Books of Horror and standing in for James Bond.

Now the author of over forty novels and short story collections, including his award -winning memoir Paperboy and its sequel Film Freak, he writes the Bryant and May mystery novels, recording the adventures of two Golden Age detectives in modern-day London.

In 2015 he won the CWA Dagger in the Library award for his detective series, once described by his former publisher as ‘unsaleable’.

Fowler is still alive and one day plans to realise his ambition to become a Forgotten Author himself.

 

Blurb

Forgotten Authors closed99 forgotten authors, their forgotten books, and their unforgettable stories.

“Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead.

So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and back stories of 99 authors, who once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.

Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega seller or prize-winner – no author it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye: stories often stranger than fiction many of them wrote.

These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.

Forgotten Authors open

Review

I was given this book as a “Secret Santa” present, so quite some time ago now and I am so pleased that I have finally found some time to be reading it. I announced some time ago that I was going to include a book by Christopher Fowler in my blog. Ok, it took me longer than I had anticipated because other life events that were unexpected happened. I do however always remember and do what I say I will do, even if it takes a bit of time to get round to what is also such a pleasurable book to read. It was worth the wait for me.

The book begins by posing the most interesting question: “Why are good authors forgotten? ” The question is answered in a considered manner, as well as explaining the process a bit of how the authors you will find within the rest of the pages came to be included.

As I glance down the content pages, I can already see that this book is going to be an education of interest and wonderment. There are certainly plenty of names I have never heard of before, but now feel I ought to know and delve deeper into the book to find out more. There are also however names that interest me in the very fact that they are becoming forgotten by so many people and yet I remember them, such as Virgina Andrews,  Forgotten nonsense writers such as Edward Lear and Lewis Caroll, Keith Waterhouse, but I know full-well that they are becoming forgotten by different generations, even my own, relatively young generation didn’t all know who they were.

There are also fascinating sections such as: Forgotten rivals of Holmes, Bond and Miss Marple, The Forgotten Disney Connection. Who would have ever thought there were forgotten books by Charles Dickens?  Well there are. Some authors are not remembered, but their work has been adapted into a film, so that is what people remember, but not who created the original work in the first place. So, it’s interesting nuggets like that, which are highlighted or well-known authors who have created a larger body of work that what is actually remembered because the focus may be on their most well-known. Take Charles Dickens for example, the only other person I know to have talked (or rather acted) Doctor Marigold and some other relatively unknown stories in an amazing 1 man play was Simon Callow at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival many years ago. If it weren’t for that, then I would never have heard of this story.

There are, as I mentioned before, many authors who I had not heard of, perhaps some readers of my blog may have done such as Charlotte Armstrong, Kyril Bonfiglioli, Barbara Comyns Carr, Charles Hamilton to name but a few. These completely unknown authors to me also have their own interesting stories and it is fascinating how some authors have connections in some way or another to some authors, some generations do have memories of or are still on some library bookshelves.

These discoveries caused much intrigue within itself, so I had to find out more. I won’t of course spoil it for readers of my blog by writing what I discovered. Let’s just say it is very fascinating indeed.

With just 2-3 pages devoted to each author, it is tightly written and an excellent read. It’s such an interesting read. It’s non-fiction and yet the way the facts are presented, there’s still some twists and turns within them as there are new discoveries to be made and each has a great narrative. We get to know a little about the authors themselves and the books they wrote as well as what happened and how they became so forgotten about in the midst of time. It got me thinking about whether they were deserving to be so forgotten about. I would say, not necessarily so from reading this book that also gives a glimpse into what the authors wrote, the impact they made at the time and how perhaps some people may like to read some of the books today, but perhaps may never get the chance to.

The book flows so easily as it glides from one author to another. This is far from reading a text-book or anything of that ilk. This book is written in a way that would interest many people and is very accessible to all through its lightness and fast pace.

By the end of the book, I found that I learnt a lot in a relaxed, casual manner through new discoveries and reading about old favourites.

If you have ever wondered why authors can be forgotten or certain genres that they have written are less well-known to perhaps what they wrote most of, or what happened to certain authors and why they stopped writing, then this is one of the most enlightening, most interesting books for you. It is very much worth investing the time to read this unique book, which seems to be well-considered, excellently paced and well-researched. The enthusiasm of the author – Christopher Fowler to be dedicated to write such a book really shows through all he has written as he takes readers on his exploration to uncover what may have been hidden secrets of the forgotten authors if it weren’t for such dedication to discover the lost treasures in the writing world.

So I whole-heartedly recommend this book, even if non-fiction is not your usual book. The book is unique and I reckon will add insight to any reader’s knowledge about some fictional writers, well, 99 of them. It is an excellent book to either read all in one go or dip in and out of as you please.

Christopher Fowler will be appearing at the Aye Write Festival 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland where he will be talking about The Book of Forgotten Authors.

 

__________________________________

Title: The Book of Forgotten Authors

Author: Christopher Fowler

Publisher: Riverrun an imprint of Quercus Editions Ltd – A Hatchette UK Company

ISBN: 978-1-78648-489-5
Ebook ISBN:
978-1-78648-491-8

Main Purchase Points: Waterstones, WH Smith, Amazon

Time Will Tell by Eva Jordan – A family drama with a murder and emotion, including some humour. @UrbaneBooks @EvaJordanWriter #LoveBooksGroupTours #amreading #newbook #Romance #Crime #BookReview #BlogTour

Time Will Tell
By Eva Jordan
Rating:****

I am pleased to say that it is my turn to be on the Blog Tour with an advanced copy of Time Will Tell by Eva Jordan. The book is published and released to the public on the 25th April. So it’s one you may like to look out for then or pre-order.

time will tell poster


Blurb

Time will tell bookWriter, Lizzie Lemalf, and her loving but somewhat dysfunctional family are still grieving over the loss of a much-loved family member. Lizzie is doing her best to keep her family together but why does the recent death of a well-known celebrity have them all in a spin? The police suspect foul play; Lizzie and other family members suspect one another. Lizzie begins searching for answers only to find herself being dragged back to the past, to 1960’s London to be exact, and to the former life of her father, that up until now she has never been privy to. Every family has its secrets but how can the past hold the key to a present day celebrity death?

They say the past comes back to haunt you. Surely the truth will out? Maybe, but only time will tell…

Review

This book spans across the years of 1945, 1965 and 1971 to present day. I find my attention grabbed in an instant on that first page. I wasn’t expecting it, but it is a great opener. Already there are questions forming in my head. Who is the protagonist and why has the person ended up in a certain place? Then, enter chapter one, which takes readers right to the present day. It begins with a death announcement on the news and social media. Already I want to know more about this person. So, already there’s a bit of a mystery as to who killed this celebrity character.
There are themes of family bonds and ties throughout that are strong, so the book isn’t all just about the death of a celebrity. There’s romance and poignancy within this book as well as some humour and a look into family dynamics.

There is much going on and a lot of substance and depth and many emotions within this book as a lot happens to the characters between the ages that it goes between. It is well written and although it flicks through a number of different times, it works rather well and creates an interesting story, although, unusually for me, I had to really concentrate on the time changes, especially at the very beginning. The eras themselves were captured well and there was certainly plenty going on in the 60’s.

There are three books featuring Lizzie and her family, this was the first one I read and it was indeed enjoyable and is well plotted and it felt like the author was invested in the characters, which I felt were thought out in a good way. I would however say that, from my point of view anyway, that they are possibly best read from the beginning to get more of the gist of this family, although to read it as a stand-alone works not too shabbily.

About the Author

 

Eva jordan picEva Jordan is a published writer of several short stories and Time Will Tell is her third novel. Eva lives in a small town in Cambridgeshire with partner Steve and three of our four children, who are a constant source of inspiration – they are all teenagers, need I say more! Eva’s career has been varied, including working in a Women’s Refuge and more recently at the city library. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her true passion.

 

_____________________________________________

Title: Time Will Tell
Author: Eva Jordan
Publisher: Urbane Publications
ISBN:  9781911583943
Category: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Pages: 288

 

Don’t Let Me Die in Disneyland By J.A. Marzan – Not all is What it Seems in This Gritty U.S. Book – Review @julio_marzan @book_glow #USA #Review #NewBooks #USPolitics

Don’t Let Me Die in Disneyland
By J.A. Marzan
Rating 3 stars
 ***


Review is written by Louise at Bookmarks and Stages.
https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog

About the Author

J.A. Marzán, a graduate of Fordham U., (B.A.), Columbia U. (M.F.A), and New York U. (Ph.D.), was Poet Laureate of Queens, N.Y. from 2004-2007. His novel, The Bonjour Gene, was a University of Wisconsin Press submission to the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. 
 
“Marzán displays the wit and intellectual verve rarely seen in contemporary literature.”—Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos. 
 
Nonfiction credits include: The Spanish American Roots of William Carlos Williams, (U. Texas Press). Poetry credits include: Translations without Originals (English) and Puerta de Tierra (Spanish). Poems in English appear in several editions of various college texts, among them The Bedford Introduction to LiteratureLatino Boom, and Literature: Reading to Write and in distinguished journals, among them PloughsharesTin House, and Harper’s Magazine. A profile of him was published in the fall 2009 issue of Columbia Magazine.​
 

J.A. Marzán makes his home in Queens, New York.

Dont let me die in disneyland

Blurb

A picaresque, smart, and smartass memoir of Harvard lawyer Eddie Loperena’s Newyorican life in “the country I was offered.”

Brought to New York from Puerto Rico when he was seven, Eddie Loperena grew up dreaming of returning to his island paradise.

As he approaches forty, the loss of his wife and his business partner have landed Eddie at a crossroads, so he closes his legal practice when he gets a call from his estranged boyhood friend Carlos, now a well-known drug dealer. Carlos extracts a favour from Eddie to hold two suitcases full of “valuable papers.”

Surviving a vindictive D.A.’s threat to prosecute, citywide rumors that he has disappeared with his friend’s illicit money, and a media circus intent to cast the complex situation into a two-dimensional context, Eddie decides to write the third dimension of a tragicomic satire of the seventies, of the island of his birth that cast him adrift, and of his minority membership in “the country I was offered.”

Review

Don’t Let me Die in Disneyland begins with a well written poem of the same title, setting the scene of the story to come in some ways, but not in others. This book is in-fact not Disneyland as we know it, full of all the well-known princesses, prince’s, Mickey Mouse etc. It is however split into 5 sections by the names of Disney areas: Main Street, USA 1987, Adventureland, Fronteerland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

Our main character – Eddie Loperena worked within a legal practice and is seeking change in many ways. This is far from the lightness and fun of Disneyland. The setting is the Bronx  where there is a lot of knife and gun crime. Readers will get a real sense of unlawlessness, with cop killers included.

The book has many political ideals within it, which are still around today, such as equality for all. So, this book is actually relevant today.

The book is very dark and twists and turns, showing much of human life and events, such as the character Soc wanting to leave a will. Not far in and I realise it is a tale of woe, hardship, ill health, political leanings, with an elements of feeling like a social vicitim. There are also elements of other life events too such as school, university, romance.

Readers are taken within The Bronx, with its hard times and also its political leanings and a want for equality within the Hispanic community. It doesn’t all make for comfortable reading either, with a character believing they have to see themselves as a Latin intrusion to feel truly American. This however in someways has to be put into context of the times of when this book is set, in otherways, it is perhaps showing that America still finds it hard to accept people with other ethnicities. There does appear to be a bit of a social commentary running through it. Readers shouldn’t get offended however and would be advised to put it all into context, but also perhaps the story can be used within conversations in what is happening within today’s America as well as learning of something of the not so distant past.

Esteban seems an odd, but intriguing character and one who clearly doesn’t like undercover cops and carries a weapon which he isn’t afraid to show. Did Esteban commit a crime or not?

There’s a political group called The Front with their bombs to plant in key, strategic places, which just adds to the atmosphere of what was going on.

The book itself is well written and works well in its construction. Reading it, you get the sense of a dark, gritty atmosphere as well as setting. 

Readers will also get to know a bit about congress and the governor. Theres’ a sense of a desire to improve the Bronx. The writing during these parts of the book, is perhaps at its sharpest.

Find out whether the quest for perfect equality and a perfected democracy comes into being or not and if it was worth all the strife.

It certainly made for very different reading for me. Was it entirely a book for me? Well, not completely, but it is never a bad thing to try something different to see where it leads. I did however appreciate the writing and the points it was making and issues it was highlighting. People who enjoy reading about the US and its politics and all its issues with an air of grittiness will get much enjoyment out of this book.

This review will also feature in online magazine – Book Glow when published there. It is with pleasure that I was asked to write reviews for them. Thanks to Kelly Huddleston from the magazine for writing to me and offering me that opportunity. Thanks to them for sending me an e-copy of this book.

My review is impartial.

 

Sunshine & Secrets – The Paradise Cookery School by Daisy James @daisyjamesbooks @ElliePilcher95 @canelo_co #NewReview #fiction #food #Romance #Newbook

Sunshine & Secrets – The Paradise Cookery School
by Daisy James

Rating *****

 

Daisy James picAbout the Author

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Daisy would love to hear from readers via her Facebook page or you can follow her on Twitter @daisyjamesbooks or on Instagram @booksdaisyjames.

Paradise Cookery School

Blurb

When newly heartbroken, Michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity.

Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia. But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected….  

With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed and with cocoa pods going missing from the plantation, Millie’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Barker, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?

Pack your bags and jump right into the sun and secrets of The Paradise Cookery School.

 



Review

Travel to St. Lucia to escape all your problems in this book and enter the Caribbean and all its life and food. That’s what main character, Millie did! She escaped the fact she has  a broken heart after newly breaking up with her boyfriend Luke. The original destination was Nice, France, until such a great opportunity in St. Lucia, she was persuaded not to pass up on came her way.
There is a new cookery school is opening up at Claudia’s villa in the hills overlooking the bay at Soufrière in the south of St Lucia. She won’t be alone though as she meets other people inhabiting the island. The characters are all well written and really fit well into this book. They are all characters that I found I wanted to read about and I am sure other readers will want to as well.

I love the descriptions of the setting and the warmth that oozes from them as they will take readers on a journey in such a way that anyone can delight in being able to picture themselves there and basque in the warm glow. There’s also tenderly written romance and broken hearts and thoughts of past love in the paradise that is St. Lucia. There are also twists and turns along the way and paradise isn’t all what it always seems to be as well as lots of food.

Firstly, when readers encounter the new cookery school, the kitchen has to be installed and there are emails that need tending to with what is to be expected. The emails are well thoughtout in their font as it is different from the rest of the type in the main story, so they stand-out well.

There are plenty of food and recipes being created within this book, which makes it different and quite fun, especially if you like reading or eating food, or both. The food is so well written that any reader will be able to imagine what it could actually taste like, its a treat for the senses.

It isn’t just people who work around the cookery school and the cocoa plantation, which is also owned by Claudia. There is also Henri,who is a journalist in St. Lucia, when readers meet this character. He would enlighten any reader as he talks about whatelse goes on this seemingly paradise island, such as drugs and corruption. It’s clever of the author to point this out I reckon and it prevents the story from being whimsical as well as informing readers that all is not always as it first seems on this island as there is a darker side to the paradise backdrop.

This is an excellent, effortless read to escape into for awhile, where the story glides across the pages at a good pace. It’s warm, it’s scenic, it’s got some twists as secrets are uncovered, it has emotion. It is also a delicious read with all that food, to make you end up with an appetite of your own. With all that going on, it’s a well thought out, well written and paced book that is thoroughly enjoyable. I very much recommend this book.

With thanks to Ellie Pilcher from the publishers – Canelo for sending me an e-book review copy and for the author Daisy James for contacting her publishers and for allowing me to review her book. Thanks also to Daisy James for supplying me with her author bio and photo.

*This review is impartial.

________________________________________
Title: Sunshine and Secrets – The Paradise Cookery School
Author: Daisy James
Publisher: Canelo
Main Purchase Points: Amazon
Other books by Daisy James can be purchased from WH Smith.