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Saying hello – again!

It’s been almost eighteen months since I first wrote a post entitled ‘Saying Hello’ introducing myself as the author of one novel and four children’s chapter books.

Since then, nothing, except the quiet publication of a second novel, but it has been a hell of an eighteen months.

I hesitated to write this. The easier option would be to brush aside my silence and open up this blog with a review or one of the many great writing articles I have saved from other bloggers since becoming involved in the writing world. Continue reading

Review Wednesday – Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

I was drawn to this fictional account based around the last months in the life of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland.

Recently there seem to have been a number of excellent books whose narrative is set in snowy wastes and that can add great atmosphere to the story. Burial Rites is no exception.

After being convicted and sentenced for her part in the murder of two men, the authorities send Agnes to a remote farm to await her fate. The year is 1829. The family are horrified by this enforced proximity to a convicted murderer and, at first, avoid contact with Agnes as much as possible. But when the summer months give way to the harsh Icelandic winter sheer survival compels all members of the household to work together and the farmer’s wife and daughters, along with Tóti,  a young priest charged with the task of ministering to Agnes during her final days, begin to see that the story of Agnes is not as straightforward as it first may have seemed.

The ending is, of course, already known. It is shocking as is some of the background detail, like the sourcing of the axe and who should pay for the execution.

I have to say that, for me, the beautiful writing failed to bring me closer to Agnes and though I felt a deep sorrow for her she remained a shadowy figure. In contrast that bleak, Icelandic countryside was ever present. Being turned out of an isolated farmstead was nothing short of a death sentence in itself. There was literally nowhere to go, no one to turn to and only the bitter landscape for company. No wonder, in such circumstances, women found themselves bound to their home, no matter what the conditions.

Burial Rites is a good story set around true events and a memorial to Agnes whose true part in the murders is not known. I listened to the audio book and mention must be made of the narrator Morven Christie who did an absolutely outstanding job of switching between English and Icelandic pronunciation. In less capable hands the audiobook would not have had the haunting impact that it did.

 

 

 

 

Author Spotlight – Wendy Unsworth

Thank you so much to Aurora Jean at The Writer’s Treasure Chest for this feature about my work today!

Writer's Treasure Chest

Welcome! 

Please introduce yourself. 

Hello and thank you so much for inviting me here today.

My name is Wendy Unsworth. I am originally from Lincolnshire in the north east of England but I haven’t lived there since my twenties. A lifelong love and curiosity about travel has taken me and my family to many places and for thirteen years we lived in Central and East  Africa. We returned to England and spent some years in Cornwall and made our home in a cottage that was built in 1750. There are good and bad points in living in such an old property, but mostly good! These days I spend my time between Scotland  and the wilds of Portugal as we have family in both of those countries.

 

  1. When did you start writing?

Reading interviews such as these, it’s interesting to note that most authors tend to say that…

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Creating a Universal Amazon Link – One Link Amazon Sites in all Countries

I signed up to Booklinker the last time Don posted about this great service. It is such a time-saver!

Don Massenzio's Blog

I posted this tip a while ago and got some positive feedback. If you set up buying links for your books, many of you are probably posting Amazon links for each country that you think your book will likely realize some sales.

There is no need to do this.

I was getting frustrated when I ran a free book promotion weekend and experimented with placing a Facebook ad that reached out to multiple countries. My dilemma with doing this is that I didn’t have a way to post all of the links for the various Amazon sites in other countries on my ad without it looking clumsy.

I searched for a way to create a universal link for my book. A universal link, when clicked by a potential reader, is designed to take them to my book on the appropriate Amazon page for their country.

All they needed to do was…

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Review Wednesday – Whisky From Small Glasses by D.A. Meyrick

This is the first book in the series about Scottish policeman   DCI Jim Daley and is a great start. I read several reviews prior to purchasing the book that refer to the way the Scottish accents are written phonetically and that it made the story a little more difficult to get into. I listened to the book on Audible and can highly recommend the excellent narrator who brought the characters to life for me.

As for the story, Jim Daley is sent away to the remote Scottish town (fictional) of Kinloch where a body has been found in the water. At first it seems that the case will be straightforward and Jim’s biggest headache is the grumpy local police chief. That’s not his only problem though, simmering in the background is his shaky relationship with his wayward wife who, in the midst of everything decides to pay Jim a visit at Kinloch and whilst trying to deal with this development the case suddenly becomes more complex and nasty.

I was lulled at first by the narrator’s dulcet tones and the descriptions of Scottish life into a kind of cosy mystery feel where the murderer would be the last person anyone expected; the vicar or the librarian but actually this turned out to be quite a red herring in itself. The story becomes very dark with more murder, drugs and smuggling at its heart and though not peppered with violence when it does come it is quite graphic and shocking.

This was a good introduction to Jim Daley, his personal life and I really loved the ending!

 

Children’s Corner – The Great Jumperee by Julia Donaldson

This gorgeous new book by Julia Donaldson is sure to delight little children, perfect to cuddle up with!

Rabbit is on his way home one day when he hears an alarming voice coming from his burrow,

‘I’m the Giant Jumperee and I’m as scary as can be!’

Rabbit is understandably reticent to go into the burrow and cries for help. Along comes Cat who is sure she won’t be scared… she goes to the burrow and…

So it goes on, Bear and Elephant also being frightened off by the terrible voice. But then Mummy Frog comes along and all is revealed.

This is a familiar and winning format with the repetition that little ones love so much. A lovely story and most beautifully and finely illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

*Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children’s, Netgalley and the author and illustrator for an advance copy of this book*

Review Wednesday-Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton

I finished reading  this book today just in time for its publication and, I must say, it’s a great read.

The story revolves around Mags whose brother had fallen from a bannister and is in a coma. Very quickly the questions around ‘the fall’ come rushing in. Did he jump? Was he pushed? Or was it just a terrible accident? Mags is determined to find out what happened to Abe and her first port of call is his fiancée Jody who was with him moments before the fall.

Nothing in this book is what it seems, however and as we read from several viewpoints the mystery deepens.

After a pull-you-in start Tattletale was a little difficult to settle in to. The viewpoints chop and change and there are also flashbacks which made me backtrack a couple of times to establish who was who. But ultimately I was hooked and ready for the ride. None of the characters are wholly likeable but I think that is because, like Mags, I was suspicious of all of them and their motives. The converted church which is the main setting for the book and where Abe lived is a great, atmospheric location.

If anything, for me, the ending was a little drawn out with the author, perhaps too eager to tie up every loose end but as she had created a very convoluted plot better that than to leave questions unanswered.

With more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing, Tattletale is a good story and a satisfying read.

*Many thanks go to Orion Publishing Group, Netgalley and the author for an advanced copy of this book*

A typical day in the life of a #BookBlogger (in this instance ME!)

A very interesting post on a day in the life of a book blogger. All I can say is – thank goodness for them, please keep up the good work!

mychestnutreadingtree

I have found myself a little shocked recently at how much book bloggers are seen as people who gain in some way from what they do. So I thought I’d do something a little different today with this post and try to explain what I do as a blogger and how it is for me personally, Mrs Typical Book Blogger.

BUT YOU ONLY DO IT FOR THE FREE BOOKS, DON’T YOU?!?

Eh……NO!! And I probably don’t get as many books as you think. I’m a member of netgalley and get the majority of my review books from there. I’m not autoapproved by lots of publishers on there either-only two major ones Bookouture and Penguin Michael Joseph. And I only got the MJ one due to an email asking them what I could do to my profile to improve my chances of approval as they always declined my requests. And I…

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