Adult Fiction, Debut, Giveaway, Literary, Review, Summer Reads

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

Today I’m delighted to chat about the wonderful debut novel from Alyson Rudd, the First Time Lauren Pailing Died. AND there is a giveaway at the end so do keep reading. 🙂

I remember a time when if fate had allowed I could have died.  It was many years ago now but the details are still as clear as if it happened only yesterday. It was Mother’s Day and I was cycling over to my parents house. I fell off my bike. I can still see myself falling and feel how I seemed to tumble in slow motion as I lost control of my bike and it toppled over. It was pretty busy that day and I fell to my right, straight into the path of the cars travelling alongside me. I still realise how lucky I was that the driver of the car was not distracted at that very moment or driving too fast. If he had been then Mothers Day could have ended very differently indeed and many things that now exist in this world, including my rather wonderful son, would not be here.

The possibility leaves me with a chill every now and then when I think of it. We all have those moments when life stands at a very obvious crossroads and can veer off into different directions. Of course we may not always notice them but they are often there. I found this a very interesting aspect of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd. It’s something that has always fascinated me. Sliding Doors, a 1998 film staring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah that looked at different choices or situations taking us on different paths leading to a very different or possibly ultimately the same outcome – questioning if our fate is set to be the same no matter what route we take. It is a question that has been explored many times on stage, screen and in the written form and always inspires pause for thought.

In The First Time Lauren Pailing Died Lauren Pailing is a girl with an ordinary childhood but there is also something quite unusual about her which we discover as we gradually get to know her.  I loved the historical details weaved into the story as we watch her grow up as a much adored only child.  It brought back memories from my own childhood.

Alyson explores the different realities of Lauren’s life and what happens after she dies as a thirteen year old girl. I found her technique fascinating and loved the way the story was built around the parallel timelines.  She portrayed reactions to grief and loss in an incredibly touching and, at times, heartbreaking way.  The only constant between each life was the disappearance of Peter Stanning and gradually as the story unfolds we begin to understand what happened to him.  There are so many comparisons I could equate this story to but Alyson has created something wonderful and unique.  Because although at times the story can be sad, dark and thought provoking,  there is always a sense of hope and that resounding feeling that we leave our mark on this earth, no matter how short or long our stay here.

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is published now by HQ and is available in Hardback, eBook and Audiobook, and would make a fantastic read this summer.

GIVEAWAY…

Now,  I have a hardback copy of this beautiful book to giveaway.  To be in with the chance to win please like AND comment on this post before Friday evening at 8pm UK time.  Your comment could just be to say hi but you need to do both to have your name put in the hat. 🙂  I’m afraid this giveaway is just for residents in the UK.

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The First Time Lauren failing Died by Alyson Rudd

Synopsis

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties,

And a child of the seventies.

She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to being found…

Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell, The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is a book about loss, grief – and how, despite it not always feeling that way, every ending marks the start of something new.

About the author

Alyson Rudd

Alyson Rudd was born in Liverpool, raised in West Lancashire and educated at the London School of Economics. She is a sports journalist at The Times and lives in South West London.

She has written two works of non-fiction. The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is her first novel.

Find out more by visiting the HQ Stories website here.

Thanks so much to the lovely HQ Stories team for my review copy and for inviting me to discover more about their amazing titles at Destination HQ.

Thanks so much for reading.

 

 

 

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Adult Fiction, Bookish Post, Debut, Fiction, Giveaway, Literary, Publisher Showcase

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd ~ Giveaway!

Last month I was lucky enough to visit #DestinationHQ for their summer showcase. The event has now been running for two years and I’ve been lucky enough to attend on both occasions. It’s a great evening where we get to hear about some fantastic new books and meet some equally fantastic authors (plus the lovely people at HQ). Oh and I get to enjoy this view…

There are some great titles coming this year, many of which I look forward to talking about on my blog over the coming weeks and months. One that immediately stuck out for me was The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd. Not only does it have the funkiest cover I have seen in quite some time but it also sounds incredibly intriguing. I’ll share the synopsis with you in a moment but suffice to say my ears pricked up when I heard that Lauren dies… lives again, dies… lives again, and so on. My interest was definitely piqued.

This is Alison’s debut novel and when I listened to her speak (having the nerve-wracking job of kicking off the author pitches) I was struck by how unassuming she was. Her story stood out and I immediately wanted to know more. At these events there are quite often proofs or advance reading copies of the books being chatted about. Unfortunately I missed out on the one of those on that evening but team HQStories responded to my desperate plea for a copy and, well to cut a long story short, I have ended up with two of these beautiful books. Now, even I, book hoarder extraordinaire, cannot justify keeping two copies and so I am going to give the extra away to one of you lucky lot. Generous gal aren’t I?

So if you fancy being the lucky recipient of this rather fabulous novel then read on dear reader and all will be revealed.

But first here is the synopsis…

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties,

And a child of the seventies.

She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to being found…

Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell, The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is a book about loss, grief – and how, despite it not always feeling that way, every ending marks the start of something new.

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd has been sitting in my tbr pile since then. My reviewing pile has been pretty full of late but she has been whispering to me, urging me to pick her up and discover how Lauren died, how she came to live again and who the mysterious Peter Stanning is?

I am right in the middle of reading it now and it’s every bit as wonderful as I imagined it. Quirky, unusual with a very distinctive voice, at the moment I can’t see what where this story will go but Lauren has certainly got a hold of me and I am absolutely loving it!

So, a few weeks ago, as I stood at @DestinationHQ listening to the authors speak, my reading list gradually growing and growing, I realised what a fortunate young(ish) lady I am. This may no longer be my day job but I absolutely love it and I love writing about these wonderful books! And I also love that I’m now able to share this wonderful novel with you guys with a giveaway.

How do I win a copy!? I hear you cry. It’s simple… just like this post and pop a comment down below. If you’d like to give me a follow and share this post too then that would also be fabulous. That’s it except…

* This giveaway is open to residents of the UK only. One winner will be drawn at random on Monday 15th July 2019. Good luck!

About the author

Alyson Rudd

Alyson Rudd was born in Liverpool, raised in West Lancashire and educated at the London School of Economics. She is a sports journalist at The Times and lives in South West London.

She has written two works of non-fiction. The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is her first novel.

Find out more by visiting the HQ Stories website here.

Thanks so much to the lovely HQ Stories team for my review copy and for inviting me to discover more about their amazing titles at Destination HQ.

Thanks so much for reading.

Blog Tour, Debut, Memoir

Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney

Welcome to Tales Before Bedtime and I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney.

Minor Monuments is a collection of essays about family, memory, and music. Mostly set in rural Irish midlands, on a small family farm not far from the river Shannon. The book tracks the final years of Maleney’s grandfather’s life, and looks at his experience with Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as the experiences of the people closest to him. 

Using his grandfather’s memory loss as a spur, the essays ask what it means to call a place home, how we establish ourselves in a place, and how we record our experiences of a place.

 The nature of familial and social bonds, the way a relationship is altered by observing and recording it, the influence of tradition and history, the question of belonging – these are the questions which come up again and again. 

Using episodes from his own life, and drawing on the works of artists like Pat Collins, Seamus Heaney, John Berger, and Brian Eno, Maleney examines how certain ways of listening and looking might bring us closer to each other, or keep us apart. 

What is it the binds us to others and to ourselves? If we can no longer remember, then how can remember who we are? Once we leave the house we call home, are we ever truly able to return to that place – that we have recreated in our imagination? 

Minor Monuments is a thought provoking and quietly devastating meditation on family, and how even the smallest story is no minor event.

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Sound intriguing doesn’t it?  There is so much in this brief synopsis that drew me to this book.  The enquiring look into ‘home’ and what it can mean to us.  The names Seamus Heaney and John Berger also struck a cord.  But it’s memory that intrigues me.  How our memory effects us and also diseases that effect it such as Alzheimer’s, something that is becoming far too common place,  and of course that one line that reads ‘If we can no longer remember, then how can we remember who we are?’

This is an absolutely stunning collection of writing.  Ian shares so much with us and writes in such a warm, intimate and honest way.  I felt in many ways that this book is about the nakedness of the end of life of someone close to us.  We begin to notice things never seen before, things that then become memories that we return to over and over again.  But memory is a tricky fella.

Yet as we witness John Joe’s demise there is also a sense of hope and great love.  The things that only come from memories of the life that was before the disease took hold.  I think the way that Ian moves from subject matter to subject matter, memory to memory avoids this feeling desperate and sad.  It isn’t after all just a book about Alzheimer’s but also about processing our own grief and keeping those we love alive within our memories.

He was in the process of forgetting everything he’d ever known. He was fading out of the world, and I began to grieve long before the death was final. I wanted to record whatever it was he might say before it was too late. Not because what he had to say was particularly significant or even memorable, but because no one would ever say anything like it again.

It is heartrendingly sad in parts, but Ian writes with such beauty that it lifts the soul even so.  It was like listening to someone talk who you simply can’t pull yourself away from.  A wonderful conversationalist that uses words and sentences so beautifully that you almost feel you are living it right there with him.

There is so much more that I could say about this collection but I don’t want to spoil the journey for you.  I urge you to read it though and I think there will be much to discuss once you do.  I’m sure there is something in this book that each and every one of us will be able to connect to.  My only regret is that my reviewing schedule of late has meant I had to read this much faster then I would have liked but it totally swept me away and I very much look forward to returning to the pages at a slower pace once again.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.  So many wonderful books you bring to my door. 🙂

Thank you also to Ian for sharing tyour experience and memories with us.

About the author

Ian Maleney

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Ian Maleney is a writer based in Dublin. Born and raised in Co Offaly, he works as a freelance arts journalist and as an online editor at Stinging Fly. He is the founder of Fallow Media, an interdisciplinary journal for music, photography, and long form writing on the internet. Minor Monuments is his debut.

 

 

This blog tour will run until July 1st. Please do check out the post by my fellow bloggers.  Full details below.

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2+, 3+, Debut, Picture Books

When Sadness Comes To Call by Eva Eland

Sadness comes to visit unexpectedly. But when you let sadness in, you’ll discover this strange guest is not what it seems.

When Sadness arrives, try not to be afraid: give it a name, listen to it and spend some time together. Maybe all it wants is to know that it’s welcome. This beautiful debut by new author-illustrator talent Eva Eland takes a poignant but uplifting look at dealing with uncomfortable emotions.

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This is such a stunning, touching and emotive picture book.  It looks at embracing sadness and not being afraid when it arrives.  It gives subtle tips on how to deal with it and lets your little ones know that it doesn’t stay forever.  The illustrations are calming and beautiful with soft colours and with just enough on each page to tell the story.

When Sadness Comes to Call  is a beautiful calming story that will be perfect for helping young ones to understand their feelings and accept that they are all a part of life.

When Sadness Comes to Call by Eva Eland was published in Hardback by Andersen Press 

Many thanks to the lovely people at Andersen Press for this stunning review copy.

About the author

Eva Eland

To find out more about Eva please visit her website here.

You can follow Eva on Twitter at EvaEland

 

 

 

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Debut, Thriller

The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Pip Drysdale’s The Sunday Girl.

‘The Girl on the Train’ meets ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …

Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: ‘Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again.’ So Taylor consults The Art of War and makes a plan. Then she takes the next irrevocable step – one that will change her life forever. Things start to spiral out of her control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.

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“Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.” 

Intense, thrilling and an utterly gripping novel.  There were some times when I could have shaken Taylor, you can see the car crash she is heading towards but she just can’t seem to rein it in.  What starts off as a pretty amateur attempt at making Angus pay for the hurt and heartbreak she has caused turns in to a fight that Taylor could never have dreamed of.  Twists and turns a plenty but I was rooting for Taylor all the way.

I loved Pip’s technique of telling the story over a number days.  We begin on Sunday and Taylor is heartbroken after a break up.  But there is more to this tale than a love affair gone wrong; there are secrets, deception and revenge and it all unfolds in a deliciously suspenseful novel.  This would make a perfect holiday read and one that you’ll probably read in one sitting.

Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of the Random Things Tours Blog Tour.  Thanks too to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster for my review copy.

The Sunday Girl is available in paperback and eBook.

About the author

Pip Drysdale

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Pip Drysdale is a writer, actor and musician who grew up in Africa and Australia. At 20 she moved to New York to study acting, worked in indie films and off-off Broadway theatre, started writing songs and made four records. After graduating with a BA in English, Pip moved to London where she dated some interesting men and played shows across Europe. The Sunday Girl is her first novel and she is working on a second. She currently lives in Australia.

 

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Debut, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou – blog tour 14th June

Today I am delighted to host the blog tour for Laurie Petrou’s debut novel, Sister of Mine.

TWO SISTERS.  ONE FIRE. A SECRET THAT WON’T BURN OUT.

The Grayson sisters are trouble.  Everyone in their small town. knows it.  But no-one can know of the secret that binds them together.  Hattie is the light.  Penny is the darkness.  Together they have balance.

But one night the balance is toppled.  A match struck.  A fire is started.  A cruel husband is killed. The potential for a new life flickers in the fire’s embers but resentment, guilt and jealousy suffocate like smoke.

Their lives have been engulfed in flames – will they ever be able to put them out?

Stepped in intrigue and suspense, Sister of Mine  is a powerhouse debut; a sharp, disquieting thriller written in stunning, elegant prose with a devastating twist.  And of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies  and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door will be utterly absorbed by this compulsive novel.

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Well this is certainly an engrossing read and a gripping debut from Laurie Petrou who sets the scene with unwavering tension that continues throughout the entire novel.  You are constantly just waiting for the truth to be spilled, for some further tragedy to occur and everything to come tumbling down.  Our narrator is Penny, abused by her husband and one day she snaps and he dies in a fire.  She shares her secret with younger sister Hattie and it’s only through the course of the novel that we find out what really happened that night.  Their secret begins to eat a whole in their quiet life. Of course secrets always have a way of being found out and this one might just tear them apart.

To be honest I can’t say I liked either sister very much but I was compelled to follow their story, I knew there was more to the fire that killed Buddy, the abusive husband, and of course there was.  The relationship between the sisters is intense, toxic and seems to burn all those who come within reach.  Sister of Mine is a well written debut that has a sense of menace running throughout, an eerie tension that pulls you into the story right until the very end.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

Sister of Mine is published by No Exit Press.

About the author

Laurie Petrou

1-5LAURIE PETROU has a PhD in Communication and Culture, and is an Associate
Professor at Ryerson’s RTA School of Media in Toronto, where she is also the Director
of the Masters of Media Production program. She has given several TEDx talks on
subjects including gender and rejection. Laurie was the inaugural winner of the Half
the World Global Literati Award in 2016, a prize that honours unpublished work
featuring female protagonists, for her novel Sister of Mine. She now lives in a small
town in Ontario wine country with her husband, a wine maker, and their two sons.

You can follow Laurie on Twitter at @lauriepetrou

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Crime, Debut, Mystery, Thriller

Murder At Macbeth by Samantha Goodwin

Whose deadly secret has taken centre stage?

When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates. But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady? As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit. Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…

INTERNATIONAL FLASH 500 NOVEL AWARD LONGLIST

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I do read a great deal of crime and thriller novels and so I was delighted to receive a copy of Samantha’s debut to review.

A young leading lady is killed on stage during the opening night of Macbeth, a play already shrouded in ill-fated superstition.  Soon the police are wading through a cast of characters each hiding secrets of their own but which one holds the key to the murder?

This is a good, old fashioned murder mystery.  Clues are drip fed along the way as each suspect is interviewed by the police.  Detective Robson and Detective Sergeant Zahra make a great team and there was an echo of Death in Paradise (without the paradise) to the tale. Flashbacks to events leading up to the night of the murder give us a greater insight into what is going on behind the scenes and each member of the cast could have been the culprit.  The end was a surprise that I didn’t see coming.

An interesting debut and I feel that we will see more from Samantha.

About the author

Samantha Goodwin

Samantha Goodwin has written professionally for her business career as a Chartered Marketing Manager for over a decade before turning her hand to fiction. As an avid crime fiction fan, she regularly participates in the renowned Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate and relishes attending literature festivals across the country as well as engaging in numerous online writing communities. Keen to support new and upcoming authors, Samantha recently launched the #IndieWritingWisdom initiative on Instagram to collate and share inspiring, original writing quotes from a wide range of different writers to encourage others. When not writing, Samantha enjoys reading, movies, musicals, countryside walks and almost all chocolate (but controversially not Oreos). She lives in Leeds, England with her husband, Chris, and young son, Jack. Murder at Macbeth is her first novel.

Murder at Macbeth is available in both eBook and paperback from Amazon.

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