Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Relationship Stories, Review, Romance

Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas.

Synopsis

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover. But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor. But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought. There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

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My thoughts

This is an absolutely gorgeous read that will warm the cockles of your heart and remind you that happiness can be found in the most unlikely of places.

I haven’t read any of Jo’s previous novels but I can honestly say that I absolutely adored Coming Home To Winter IslandIt has all the ingredients of a warmhearted, uplifting read that will take you away from the doom and gloom of everyday life.

Ruby Mac is on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of fall into place.  A recording contract is within her grasp and once she has signed on the dotted line she and her boyfiend Joe will finally be able to make their relationship more official and move in together.  He is her greatest supporter after all and wants only what’s best for her career. Unfortunately just as she’s about to perform the most important gig of her career her voice deserts her. Unable to sing she is sent away on a retreat for rest and recovery in the hope that her voice will come back. Things don’t go quite as planned though and before she knows it she’s on a remote scottish island visiting a grandfather she’s never met in an effort to try and sort out his long term care after he becomes unable to continue living alone.  What should have been a short visit to sign the relevant paperwork to sell the house and get him into a care home soon becomes riddled with complications including an unwanted house guest who just won’t leave. There is unfinished business waiting for Ruby at Teach Mhor and she soon begins to realise that her life is not quite as idyllic as it seems and that happiness may just lie in a very different place to what she previously thought.

This is such a delicious novel.  I loved everything about it.  Ruby is a very engaging, likable character and I really enjoyed watching her journey as she finally came to understand the truth that lies in her family’s past. Jo’s wonderful setting made me wistfully dream of living in such a location amongst a tight knit community,  a place to put down roots and build memories.  Wonderfully escapist storytelling that will whisk you away and leave you with a warm feeling in your heart.

Thank you to the lovely Ann Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Headline Review for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.  I abolutely loved it and look forward to discovering Jo’s previous novels.  LOVE discovering a new author. 🙂

About the author

1-2Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award.  Her follow-up novels, The Olive Branch, Late Summer in the Vineyard, The Honey Farm on the Hill, Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard, A Winter Beneath the Stars and My lemon Grove Summer are also highly acclaimed. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

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Blog Tour, Memoir

My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt as part of the Random Things Tour.

Synopsis

An irresistible mixture of memoir, biography, cultural analysis, experiment and hero-worship about one person’s enduring fascination. This is for anyone who has ever nursed an obsession or held a candle to a star.

Judy Garland has been an important figure in Susie Boyt’s world since she was three years old; comforting, inspiring and, at times, disturbing her. In this unique book Boyt travels deep into the underworld of hero-worship, reviewing through the prism of Judy our understanding of rescue, consolation, love, grief and fame.

Layering key episodes from Garland’s life with defining moments from her own, Boyt demands with insight and humour, what it means, exactly, to adore someone you don’t know. Need hero worship be a pursuit that’s low in status or can it be performed with pride and style? Are there similarities that lie at the heart of all fans? And what is the proper husbandry of a twenty first century obsession, anyway?

‘When Judy sang to me as I grew older she seemed to confirm things that I’d all my life held to be true:’

* Things that are hard have more of life at their heart than things that are easy.
* All feelings, however painful, are to be prized.
* Glamour is a moral stance.
* The world is crueller and more wonderful than anyone ever says.
* Loss, its memory and its anticipation, lies at the heart of human experience.
* Any human situation, however deadly, can be changed, turned round and improved beyond
recognition on any given day, in one minute, in one hour.
* You must try to prepare for the moment that you’re needed for the call could come at any time.
* There are worse things in life than being taken for a ride.
* If you have a thin skin all aspects of life cost more and have more value.
* Loyalty to one other is preferable to any other kind of human system.
* Grief is no real match for the human heart, which is an infinitely resourceful organ.

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My thoughts

Judy Garland was a big part of my life growing up and I didn’t even realise it. I adored The Wizard of Oz and even now as a woman in my mid-forties I still adore watching that movie. How magical it seemed. Can you imagine how it must have felt to have gone to see it in glorious colour for the first time in the cinemas? How could she have been anything but a star!? Even so I still can’t pretend to know too much about her at all. I know she was married several times, had a daughter called Liza and had a stunning singing voice and was loved by many. I also know that Jane Horrocks did a stunning imitation of her in the 1998 film, Little Voice. I’ve always been intrigued though and have felt that she was something very, very special.

My Judy Garland life has brought me so much closer to Judy (she actually had three children!) and the thing that I find so incredible is that the author is someone who never met her but has felt a lifelong connection with her. The impact that Judy has had on Susie’s life is incredibly moving and I think it is wonderful how this woman who gave so much of herself for her adoring fans and who had so much hardship in her own life, is still able to make such a difference to someone in the struggles and joy of life. After all this is not just a book about Judy, it is also a memoir and closer look at life. Susie is a beautiful author and not only does she bring Judy Garland to life but she also touched me with her own story. When I began reading it felt a little strange. ‘This woman is clearly obsessed’ I thought to myself and yet within just a few pages I felt I had harshly judged and knew that actually this is a very unique book and a complete celebration of how one person can touch and inspire another in their lifetime. An absolute joy to read.

About the author

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Susie Boyt was born in London and educated at Camden School for Girls and Oxford University. After a nerve-racking stint in a lingerie boutique and an alarming spell working in PR for Red Stripe lager and the Brixton Academy, she settled down to writing and is the author of six acclaimed novels including The Last Hope of Girls, which was short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and Only Human, which was short-
listed for the Mind Award. Of her last novel, Love & Fame The Sunday Times said
‘she writes with such precision and wisdom about the human heart under duress that the novel is hard to resist.’

Susie wrote a much-loved weekly column about life and art for the Financial Times Weekend for fourteen years and still contributes regularly to their books and fashion
pages. Last year she edited The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories for Penguin Classics. Susie is also a director at the Hampstead theatre in London and works part time for Cruse Bereavement Care.
She lives in London with her husband and two daughters. She is the daughter of the painter Lucian Freud and the great grand-daughter of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thriller

Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle

Today marks the end of a uniquely special month of blog tours celebrating the publication of the IWM Wartime Classics collection and I’m thrilled to be taking part to chat about this amazing collection and especially, Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle.

How do people cope with the experience of being at war? Those on enemy soil and those at home? For many it was a period left unspoken, the memories too difficult to share. Then there are others who found another creative outlet to release those memories. Surely sometimes talking about such difficult experiences may be easier when giving them to a fictional character. These four books from the Wartime classics collection show us just what can be created when stories are written from personal experience. These authentic, engrossing reads give you a unique insight into life at this time. There is something very personal about the stories and as I read them I feel that each author has captured the reality of the Second World War brilliantly.

Perfect for lovers of historical fiction but also scholars and students who may be trying to make sense of how the world was through the eyes of those who really lived it.

Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle

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Synopsis

Autumn 1943. Realising that his feeling for his sweetheart are not reciprocated, Major John Overton accepts a posting behind enemy lines in Nazi-Occupied Albania. Arriving to find the situation in disarray, he attempts to overcome geographical challenges and political intrigues to set up a new camp in the mountains overlooking the Adriatic.

As he struggles to complete his mission amidst a chaotic backdrop, Overton is left to ruminate on loyalty, comradeship and his own future.

Based on Anthony Quayle’s own wartime experience with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), this new edition of a 1945 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds new light on the fascinating true events that inspired its author.

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My thoughts

I remember lazy Sunday afternoons as a child.  Sunday roast and family time falling asleep in front of the TV watching a Bond or old war movie.  No doubt The Guns of Navarone would have been one such film but I don’t really recall.  As a young child I would have just thought of it as a piece of fiction,  I certainly wouldn’t have thought that the actors involved had actually served in the war.  Of course there was every possibility. In fact as I’ve grown older and learnt so much more about that time and the films and books that was born from it I realise that a great many of the actors probably drew on personal experience when acting.  Anthony Quayle was one such actor.

This novel, according to Alan Jeffreys in the introduction, was so well received when it was originally published back in 1945 that the author did consider turning from his acting career and becoming a writer.  He decided that he didn’t have enough experience for further endeavour and so continued with his wonderful acting career, which was I’m sure to great relief of the acting world.  He was incredibly well respected and within this novel we can see that his talents extended to the written word.  As with the other three novels in this collection, Eight Hours From England gives us a close up and personal view of the Second World War.  This time we are travelling to Nazi-Occupied Albania and the life as part of the SOE.

The introduction as with the previous titles is informative and enticing.  Alan Jeffreys informs us that this novel is so close to Anthony’s own experience that it’s almost a memoir.  This novel, just like the others, have given me an even greater insight into this time in history.  Yet it’s also an excellent novel, a thrilling read and one that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.

This is an absolutely brilliant series. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of these blog tours. I am so grateful for the IWM for bringing these stories back into print for a new generation to enjoy and to make sure they are not forgotten. I have purchased the entire series for my school library for both staff and older students to enjoy and my personal copies will remain firmly amongst my own collection.

Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in these tours and also to the Imperial War Museum for my review copies.

About the author

This is information taken from Eight Hours From England.

img_0246Anthony Quayle (1913-1989) was a successful British actor and theatre director, well known for his roles in classic plays on the stage as well as his film career. After appearing in music hall he joined the Old Vic in 1932, touring in various productions before the outbreak of the Second World War.

During the war Quayle served in the Royal Artillery, and later joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE), whence he was deployed to Albania, Eight Hours from England, is a fictionalised account of Quayle’s time behind enemy lines there. He also wrote a later novel, On Such a Night, about his time with the British Army in Gibraltar.

After the war Quayle returned to the stage. From 1948 to 1956 he was the director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, laying the foundations for the creation of the Royal Shakespeare Company and helping to establish Stratford-on-Avon as a major centre of British theatre.

Quayle’s screen career began on 1938 and he appeared in many classic films such as Ice Cold in Alex (1958), The Guns of Navarone (1961), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Quayle received both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), and his towering stage career took him around the world to both popular and critical acclaim. He was knighted in 1985.

About IWM

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, IWM’s flagship branch that recently transformed with new, permanent and free First World War Galleries alongside new displays across the iconic Atrium to mark the Centenary of the First World War; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

Want to find out more about the books in this series?  Check out my other articles for Plenty Under the Counter and Trial by Battle

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Thriller

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson.

Synopsis

The third book in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, featuring true-crime writer Alexis Castells and profiler Emily Roy.

Previous titles in the series, Block 46 and Keeper, have won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balaid’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards and sold in 19 countries. A French, Swedish and English TV series is in production, adapted by and starring award-winning French actress Alexandra Lamy.

Spain, 1938

The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Teresa witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Teresa gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016

A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells, and they soon find themselves on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer, in an investigation that takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule…

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My thoughts

Back in April 2018 I read and reviewed Keeper, the second instalment in the Roy & Castells series.  I absolutely loved it and so have been waiting in anticipation to see what would come next.  Johana Gustawsson is fast becoming one of my favourite crime writers.  She just sweeps me away with the story.  These ain’t no light hearted old fashioned crime novels.  They reach right in and grab you by the heart.  She brings the horror of the past into our modern world reminding us that these events remain with us, that the effects are still being felt.

The backdrop may be Franco’s dictatorship in which so many suffered and died but Johana shines a light on the evil amongst us that feed off of those darks times to satisfy there own ends.  Within her novel we see the pain and suffering of the innocent at the hands of those who should be sheltering and protecting them.  There were times when I wondered how one human being could do something so hideous to another.  There are parts that are quite distressing but Johana does not embellish or glorify those.  She brings them to the page with an eloquent, expert hand.  The historical aspects are brilliantly portrayed as she focuses on the effects on the everyday people, the victims of the heinous times. Do monsters breed monsters or are they living within us waiting to be unleashed.

Johana’s novels have strong, smart and professional female protagonists.  I like them very much.  There is a tenderness behind their steely professional exterior that add an interesting dimension to the story. After Aliénor’s family are brutally murdered profiler, Emily and writer, Alexis set out to track down the perpetrator.  Is it a serial killer satisfying a sadistic need or is there a more personal motive behind the killings?  We move back and forth between the present and the past as the crime takes us from Sweden to the blood soaked streets of Franco’s Spain.

I really can’t praise this highly enough.  It is a superb, engrossing read.  I am normally a lover of a paperback but on this occasion I was oh so grateful to be reading it on eBook so I could read on into the night whilst the rest of the house slept.  If you haven’t discovered this series yet then I strongly urge you to seek it out. I really don’t think there is an absolute need to read them from the start to finish but really, they are all fantastic so why stop at just one.  I’m excited to read that a TV adaptation is underway. I think it could make for some very exciting viewing.  Now I just need to to wait for the next novel…I do hope there is going to be one.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  I haven’t read one book by this publisher that I haven’t loved and this one is right up there with the best. They are an amazing team and their translators are heroes, bringing the authors stories to us and capturing every nail biting moment perfectly. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

About the author

Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons. She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Plenty Under The Counter by Kathleen Hewitt

Today I’m so delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt. This novel is one of four war time classics being brought to new readers by the Imperial War Museum.

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Synopsis

London, 1942, Flight-Lieutenant David Heron, home on a convalescent leave, awakes to the news that a murder victim has been discovered in the garden of his boarding house.  With a week until his service resumes, David sets out to solve the murder.  Drawn into a world of mystery and double-dealing, he soon realises that there is more than meets the eye, and that wartime London is a place where opportunism and the black market are able to thrive.  Can he solve the mystery before his return to the skies?

Inspired by Kathleen Hewitt’s own experience of wartime London, this new edition of a 1943 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds light on the fascinating true events that so influenced its author.

My thoughts

I do love a murder mystery and so was delighted when I discovered one of the four titles released in this project was one.  Often war on the frontline is covered in stories but this looks at the war from the Homefront.  Whilst men were away fighting life carried on whilst we hear plenty about the wartime spirit there were also plenty that took advantage of this difficult time.  Whilst many sheltered from the bombings others used the blackouts and misfortune of others to their own end.  This story shows that darker side, the side of a society pushed to their limits with the fear of the nightly raids, rationing and separation from their loved ones, and the criminals who take advantage of them.

Right from the get go the story drags you in with the discovery of a body.  David Heron is our protagonist and he becomes determined to help solve the crime.  The thing I liked most about this novel is that it perfectly sets the scene for battle worn London.  This wonderful series written by those who lived and breathed it captures the feeling and atmosphere of the time.  Kathleen Hewitt is a talented writer and I’m so delighted to have been able to read her work thanks to the IWM.  I read with interest the introduction written by Alan Jeffreys and I find her a fascinating woman.  I would definitely love to know more about her, not just her work but life in London.  We do get a glimpse of this in her writing.  Her plot is intriguing and her characters engaging.  Humour is splattered throughout and yet there is the undertone of the hardship that the war brought so many of the people simply trying to survive it.  We now know that the war eventually ended but at this time they had no idea how it would turn out.  This is a gripping murder mystery that perfectly captures a slice of British history and brings the realities of war on the Homefront to life.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to the IWM for my review copy.  I have already brought a copy all four of these titles for our school library and I look forward to sharing them with students and staff.

About the author

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Kathleen Hewitt (1893-1980) was a British author who wrote more than twenty novels in her lifetime, mainly in the mystery and thriller genre.  During the Second World War she lived in Marylebone, and belonged to the The Olde Ham Bone, a bohemian club in Soho, as well as frequenting the Ivy, the Cafe Royal and the Pen Club.  Hewitt enjoyed friendships with many literary and artistic figures of the day including Olga Lehman and the poet Roy Campbell.

 

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Here is a little more about the project:

In September 2019, to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, IWM have launched a wonderful new series with four novels from their archives all set during the Second World War – Imperial War Museums Wartime Classics.
Originally published to considerable acclaim, these titles were written either during or just after the Second World War and are currently out of print. Each novel is written directly from the author’s own experience and takes the reader right into the heart of the conflict. They all capture the awful absurdity of war and the trauma and chaos of battle as well as some of the fierce loyalties and black humour that can emerge in extraordinary circumstances.

Living through a time of great upheaval, as we are today, each wartime story brings the reality of war alive in a vivid and profoundly moving way and is a timely reminder of what the previous generations experienced.

The remarkable IWM Library has an outstanding literary collection and was an integral part of Imperial War Museums from its very beginnings. Alan Jeffreys, (Senior Curator, Second World War, Imperial War Museums) searched the library collection to come up with these four launch titles, all of which deserve a new and wider audience. He has written an introduction to each novel that sets them in context and gives the wider historical background and says, ‘Researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

Each story speaks strongly to IWM’s remit to tell the stories of those who experienced conflict first hand. They cover diverse fronts and topics – preparations for D-Day and the advance into Normandy; the war in Malaya; London during the Blitz and SOE operations in occupied Europe and each author – three men and a woman – all have fascinating back stories.

These are Second World War novels about the truth of war written by those who were actually there.

War Time Classics

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Thriller

In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone.  This is an absolute must read for lovers of psychological thrillers.

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Synopsis

In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue. Chilling, perceptive
and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…

My thoughts

‘Superb’ springs to mind when I think of how to describe this novel.  It’s an absolutely chilling read and right from the moment John discovered that single, mysterious shoe I was absolutely enthralled with the story.  Any parent will admit that a child disappearing is their worst fear.  never knowing what happened to them?  How can anyone deal with such a thing?  And yet there is so much more to this story then that.  The mystery surrounding the family is intriguing and throughout the novel a darkness is hinted at with whispers of memories hidden, memories that are bound to erupt above the surface leaving catastrophe in their wake.

John is an interesting character and you know that there is so much going on there, he is struggling with something but he doesn’t know what.  All he knows is that drink and avoidance keep him sane. He craves normality.  A good job and a woman to love but something is holding him back.  The self destruct button is never far away.   Life begins to spiral out of control as he begins to investigate a brother he has no memory of.  So what happens when the memories can no longer be avoided, what happens when they begin to return?

This was a fantastic page turner and one that I really didn’t want to put down.  Another fantastic novel from the team at Orenda Books and another author that I can add to my ‘must read!’ list.

Thank you so much to the lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Orenda Books for my review copy.  Another absolute cracker you guys!

About the author

1-1Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Debut

Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton

Today is a glorious day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton.

Synopsis

Depression can be hell.

Heartbroken and lonely, the narrator has made an attempt on his own life. Whether he meant to or not he can’t say. But now he’s stuck in his own head, and time is running out.

To save himself, he embarks on a journey across an imagined America, one haunted by his doomed relationship and the memory of a road trip that ended in tragedy.

Help arrives in the guise of Jon Bon Jovi, rock star and childhood hero. An unlikely spirit guide, perhaps, but he’s going to give it a shot…

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My thoughts…

Now to be honest there is a lot of strong language and sexual references in this book. The language is crude and raw at times but can I just say that it is oh so beautiful. Dan’s writing is eloquent and emotive. I was absorbed into the storytelling by the strange surreal, nightmarish quality. It is absolutely compelling, poetic and powerful. Dan shows such sensitivity that he moved me to tears on more than one occasion. Johnny Ruin is an absolutely stunning read that will grab you hard by the heart and soul.

One line that particularly stands out for me ‘I thought you’d be taller‘. Read the book and find it yourself. Perhaps you’ll see what I mean but to me this one sentence encapsulates depression perfectly. It looms over life filling it with shadow and sadness before attaching itself, heavy and suffocating. Dan has written depression in it’s very darkest moments, he gives it a form and in that is turning it into something that can be defeated. It can try to hide from the light but it will be found. Despair can feel overwhelming and Johnny Ruin shows this but it also shows that there is still life out there even in times when we feel there is no future. This is a story of broken hearts and broken dreams but most of all it’s a story about finding your way, even through the dark.

Johnny Ruin has been published by Unbound and is available in hardback, paperback, eBook and audiobook.

Many thanks to the wonderful Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. Many thanks also to Dan and the lovely people at Unbound for sending me a review copy.

About the author

Dan Dalton

1-3Dan Dalton is a writer and freelance journalist covering books and pop culture. He is a former Staff Writer at BuzzFeed.

A graduate of the University of Leeds, he was born in West Yorkshire, and lives in North London.

You can follow Dan on Twitter at @wordsbydan

 

 

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