A literary journey around the world and back again

Literary journey around the world part 2 – more countries to cover and more adventures to be had:

EEgypt 

The Visitors

Sally Beauman

If you’ve ever wanted to feel as you’re standing beside an iconic figure in history as he makes that history, then how about meeting Harold Carter and being one of the first into the tomb of  Tutankhamen ?

I really enjoyed this book for the mix of fact and fiction. Much of it was based on real people and certainly real places and the iconic moment of discovering the tomb, revealed as if being there yourself, was just a very memorable reading experience. I love stepping back in time and seeing an event or a person as it might have happened and this was particularly real I felt. A book to read and immerse yourself in. I had no particular interest in  Egyptian history as such before reading this book but this was an eye opener!

OCEThe South Atlantic

How to Be Brave

Louise Beech

Two stories woven together in a very creative and clever way. A mother showing concern and love for her daughter who is sick, tells her the story of the girl’s grandfather who was adrift at sea. By telling her the story, they forget momentarily their own anguish but bring themselves closer to the grandfather and his bravery. The overall theme is survival and hope in the most extreme circumstances – lost in an illness or the ocean, the feeling is the same but bravery and the power of hope can help them all.

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/middle-of-the-south-atlantic-ocean-how-to-be-brave-louise-beech/

NNEPAL

A holiday retreat on a mountain

The Lie

C L Taylor

The sense of adventure with this book was breathtaking. Holidaying up a mountain retreat with your best friends? It might be in the wilds of nowhere but you’re with people you know and trust right? Isolation can b both relaxing and frightening at the same time and this for me ramped up the tension. A retreat sounded great, even if I’ve never done yoga myself, yet the twists and turns I  felt with this book made me think as if I have now.

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/the-lie-wales-and-nepal-c-l-taylor/

Back home….to the UK

WWales

I Let You Go

Clare Mackintosh

This was a novel I was not expecting. Not from the blurb or the general information out there on the web. I’d heard of ‘the twist’ but was still not expecting the one that came.

Written by a former detective, this gave it added gravitas but was especially clever was the way we followed Jenna and judged what she did and what she was doing without thinking of the bigger picture. Jenna is trying to escape but from what exactly? She settles in Wales and lives an isolated life but sometimes silence can be deafening. This book was one of Richard and Judy’s summer picks for 2015 and was reviewed on Loose Women so everyone was talking about it and still is!

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/i-let-you-go-wales-and-bristol-clare-mackintosh/

EngThe book that took me here there and everywhere

The Versions of Us

Laura Barnett

Remember those books that you read as a child where you could pick the end or the turn of events? Where you felt you had a part to play in the fate of the characters? This is the  grown up version of that idea – the Sliding Doors  of the book world – where you go literally on a journey with the characters and see how things could have turned out had they happened differently. I loved the style of this, the idea and the way it was written. It was one of the most involving novels I’ve read in a long while and stands out for being very different and a real treat. It’s on the Richard and Judy picks for 2016 and very well deserved!

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/the-versions-of-us-cambridge-laura-barnett/

Susan booktrailer

Advertisements

The Lie – Wales and Nepal – C L Taylor

The LIE

Why a booktrail?

What could be more relaxing that a girlie trip away with friends to a retreat up high on a mountain in Nepal? Well, anything as it turns out…as things soon descend into a nightmare…can you really trust your friends? And just what is this place?

Story in a nutshell 

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane goes on holiday with friends on what should have been the trip of a lifetime  but it was a trip that rapidly descended into a nightmare claiming the lives of two of them.

So who is Jane Hughes really and who is now not only looking for her but looking to destroy her?

Place and setting

Wales - Aberdare The shelter where Janeworks is in Bude, nr Aberdare in Wales England - Newcastle university - where the girls meet Nepal Kathmandu  the capital, has a mazelike old quarter filled with Hindu and Buddhist shrines. Chitwan Anapura range where the girls are headed to
Wales – Aberdare
The shelter where Janeworks is in Bude, nr Aberdare in Wales
England – Newcastle university – where the girls meet
Nepal
Kathmandu
the capital, has a maze-like old quarter filled with Hindu and Buddhist shrines.
Chitwan
Anapura range
where the girls are headed to

From Newcastle to Nepal, this is the story of four friends who meet in the northern city at the university there and keep in touch as they move to London for work. All stuck in jobs they don’t seem to like very much, they cling on to their friendship and even start planning a holiday to get away from it all.

Nepal is the destination of choice – and a retreat in Nepal – Ekanta yatra – seems to be the ideal place to forget about things for a while. But its here that only two return..

At first Nepal sounds ideal –

There’s an amazing retreat in the mountains called Ekanta Yatra. My yoga teacher told me all about it”

We could spend a day in Kathmandu then do two weeks at the retreat, then we could fly to a place called Chitwan and go on a jungle safari. It would be the adventure of a lifetime”

However, the account of what happens in Nepal is pretty graphic and horrific and so vividly described, that there are images and sights and smells that will stay with you for a long time to come.

The holiday descends into madness and horror for what is on that mountain and what happens on that mountain – no one can really be sure. but the desire to escape is the one which drives them. The isolation, the mountain ranges with hard to access paths, the retreat and the steep climb, the cabins in the woods, it would seem as if once you’re there, there really is no easy way to leave…

At the top of a mountain in the middle of Nepal, no one can hear you scream..

Many years later and the two survivors are no longer in touch with each other. One now works in Wales, at a sanctuary for animals which seems as much as one for them as it is for her. Green Fields is a tranquil place about to become a lot less so –

“I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .”

Review – Susan at @thebooktrailer

Well now Ms Taylor, I think there should be a warning on your books as I’ve barely slept a wink after reading this! Yes it’s that good with the thrills and the spills that I m still thinking about it now. The four friends, the lies, time passing, people pretending and living a ‘normal’ life until that crashes around them, and a holiday that turned to disaster – the stories and characters are woven with such skill that I wanted to know them and wanted to escape them all at once.

The holiday in Nepal was reminiscent of The Beach – a secret paradise and a time that no one would forget. well, be careful what you wish for as this side of Nepal was shocking and chilling. Its effects echo throughout the book and provide the ideal contrast to small unassuming Wales and the next part of the story.

Although a rollercoaster of a ride is somewhat of a cliche – this does describe this book for all its shocks and surprises. Congratulations Miss Taylor, you’ve done it again and made this reader very excited about what you produce next!

I let You Go – Wales and Bristol – Clare Mackintosh

i let you go

Why a booktrail?

A world shattered, a haven on the Welsh coast, and a twist you will not see coming…

Story in a nutshell

It just takes one second for your entire world to shatter into tiny pieces.

But it was a tragic accident wasn’t it? It just happened, and so fast she couldn’t have prevented that, could she?

The fight or flight response kicks in in this type of situation but it was the  later which Jenna took. Fleeing to a hideaway in Wales, she is desperate to start afresh and put the past in a box never to be opened. But there’s never a lid on these things is there? Somehow and sometime that box will reveal its secrets

Meanwhile, back in Bristol, DI Ray Stevens is seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. The case is all consuming and he and his team want justice.

Jenna knows what happened but speaking out will put her own future in jeopardy.

Place and setting

Bristol - Fishponds Area Where the accident takes place Police station The Central Police Station, also known as the Bridewell is a historic building on Nelson Street The centre of the investigation takes place here Wales Penfach  - fictional but based on Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula- where Jenna escapes to Three Cliffs Bay, Gower Peninsula "As the photo of Penfach bay took shape in front of them Ray let out a low whistle. "
Bristol – Fishponds Area
Where the accident takes place
Police station
The Central Police Station, also known as the Bridewell is a historic building on Nelson Street
The centre of the investigation takes place here
Wales
Penfach – fictional but based on Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula- where Jenna escapes to
Penfach bay – Three Cliffs Bay, Gower Peninsula
“As the photo of Penfach bay took shape in front of them Ray let out a low whistle. “

Bristol and Wales – two places with two strands of the same story. In Bristol, thee story starts with an accident and the start of a police investigation. Retreating from the scene of the crime and the memories of what happened in that split second, Jenna moves to a Welsh hideaway but the police investigation continues apace ..

Bristol

It can never been easy for police officers to talk to a parent who has suffered such a tragedy but this is the job of Ray and his colleagues. a difficult job but an insight into the sensitivities of such a case and how something like this never leaves their minds. The ripples of the accident in the Fishponds area of the city, spread out and affect everyone of them. Ray in particular has the demands of family life to deal with. Want to know the sheer pressure that these men and women must face? The author has worked in CID for over ten years and the nuances in her descriptions shows.

Wales

Jenna has never been to Wales before but she’s grateful for the lack of ties and connections she has to the place. She is cautiously welcomed but Beth from the caravan park takes her under her wing. This new community is unsure what to make of this newcomer who wants to hide away. Staying in a remote cottage, the silence – in her head – is deafening as the past comes back to haunt her.

Bookish musings

A thriller which delivers . At first I thought I wouldn’t have any sympathy at all for Jenna and her situation nor really care what happened to her. But then I should have realised that Clare Mackintosh was, despite the title, not going to let me go. A clever one this but difficult to review without spoiling it. Just to say that the Welsh haven she escapes to is hauntingly beautiful and Jenna’s escape from Bristol to Wales is a sudden and perilous journey for all involved. You can tell a former detective has had a hand in this for the subtle nuances and unique insight into various places in the case.

A book chock full of human emotions – raw and brutal  – and when all interlaced together with the skill of a detective come writer, then you’re in for a rollercoaster ride.

Swansea – Hidden – Emma Kavanagh

PIC -Hidden

Why a booktrail?

A killing in a Swansea hospital …the events leading up to it and the consequences of what happened next…

Story in a nutshell

A gunman is stalking the wards of a Swansea hospital….

A mass shooting occurs….

What lead up to such an event? Who was involved and what did the witnesses see exactly? Who is the gunman and what was he doing there? A nurse is found dead. The situation is grim to say the least..

People there that day are brought together as the before and after are examined from the view point of the police and witnesses and to the man responsible for tracking him down. Not to mention the psychologist Imogen who may have a link to the killer…

No one knew that he was hiding in plain sight all along.

Place and setting – Swansea

Swansea police station Swansea Central Police Station Grove Place Swansea SA1 5DB Mumbles Road One of the narrow Mumbles Streets that Imogen finds herself weaving in and out of - all hills and terraces South Wales Evening Post Urban Village High Street Swansea SA1 1NW There’s no Swansea Times but imagine the reporters getting wind of the story of the shooting here Swansea Bay Charlie spends time here after a very hot day when Swansea is experiencing a heatwave. The sea air does nothing to relieve the heat. There are several hospitals in Swansea the largest being Morritson and the city centre one Mount pleasant hospital is fictional but it could be on Mount Pleasent road?

Swansea Central Police Station
Where the police are based who attend the shooting
Mumbles Road
One of the narrow Mumbles Streets that Imogen finds herself weaving in and out of – all hills and terraces
South Wales Evening Post
There’s no Swansea Times but imagine the reporters getting wind of the story of the shooting here
Swansea Bay
Charlie spends time here after a very hot day when Swansea is experiencing a heatwave. The sea air does nothing to relieve the heat.
There are several hospitals in Swansea the largest being Morritson and the city centre one
Mount pleasant hospital is fictional but it could be on Mount Pleasant road?

The cold clinical corridors of a hospital  – and a killer is stalking them in plain sight.

From the moment of the shooting we are catapulted back in time to the hospital and ground before the tragedy to follow each one of those involved, to see inside their minds, their memories of events and maybe even their motives…

Hospitals are busy places and chaos reigns on a daily basis but they are also places of safety and healing so to witness such a shocking crime jars with the healing nature of the environment.

Just who are the witnesses – patients, doctors and nurses, the firearms officers who patrol the hospital grounds in search of a suspicious character….

“The bodies litter the hospital lobby like autumn leaves blown inside on a gusty day. There are so many of them, the floor has vanished beneath them.”

All people who were there, someone you’ve sat next to in a waiting room, one of the many who wander in and out of the hospital foyer…Where do they come from? Why are they here? Does anyone know each other?

Anonymous figures in a busy chaotic environment. Where time stops still and the repercussions are deadly.

And a gunman in plain sight puts the fear into everyone..

We move from the hospital, the newspaper office and the police station, the death of a young nurse and an event which occurred a year earlier but it’s the character’s mindsets and journeys that provide the most chilling setting of all.

Bookish musings

Blimey, make yourself some sandwiches and a flask of coffee as you’ll be going nowhere when you pick this thriller up.

Hospitals scare me at the best of times and I always wonder who is sitting next to me and why everyone is there so I completely freaked out! Such a clinical place added to the chills of the shooting and the events leading up to it were done with aplomb. I didn’t guess how things were going to play out and the fact that the crime occurred right at the start made it feel unique and fresh.

Love books where you can see what happens and then work out why and how

Swansea and the Mumbles streets gave a nice relief from all the death and crime. A very well paced, exciting thriller!