New Releases from @orionbooks #booksandbubbles

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I love attending events to hear about new books coming along so when this fabulous invitation dropped into my inbox from the lovely Alainna at Orion I was thrilled. Despite my train being delayed 40 minutes, as soon as I walked in to Drink, Shop, Do and was greeted by author Cathy Bramley I knew I was going to have a wonderful time.

In fact, I must apologise for not thanking the Orion team sooner for a brilliant evening on Wednesday. I was giving a talk to a local group on blogging yesterday, before attending a charity event with TV gardener Adam Frost in the evening so I didn’t get chance to write up my thanks.

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I picked up my glass of Prosecco, had a chat with a couple of Orion’s lovely team and wandered to see what fantastic books were coming up. What a feast for the eyes!

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The first item I collected was the catalogue of releases coming from January – July 2020 and I cannot believe what a wonderful set of books awaits us. With everything from fiction to non-fiction, young adult to adult, Sci-Fi and Fantasy to Women’s Fiction, there is something for every reader in the Orion Publishing Group. If you’d like to look for yourself, the catalogue can be found here.

It was so interesting to hear different publicists enthusing and recommending books and to chat with new to me authors as well as catch up with Veronica Henry, Cathy Bramley and Helen Rolfe amongst others.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend for as long as I’d have liked because of the earlier train delay, but I was thrilled to come away with a lovely goody bag and several wonderful books.

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The books I have added to mt TBR include:

For Emily by Katherine Slee

For Emily

A little dedication goes a long way.
That’s why Catriona Robinson, the country’s favourite children’s author, always dedicated her books to those who touched her life the most – not least Emily, her reclusive granddaughter.

Emily never thought too much about these dedications. But when Catriona dies unexpectedly, each one becomes a cryptic clue in a breadcrumb trail that apparently leads to her lost, unpublished manuscript.

It’s a mystery only Emily can solve. But to do so she will have to walk in her grandmother’s footsteps, into the wider world she’s spent her whole life hiding away from . . .

Published on 5th September 2019, For Emily is available for purchase here.

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly

The Family Gift

Freya Abalone has a big, messy, wonderful family, a fantastic career, and a new house.

But that’s on the outside.

On the inside, she’s got Mildred – the name she’s given to that nagging inner critic who tells us all we’re not good enough.

And now Freya’s beloved blended family is under threat. Dan’s first wife Elisa, the glamorous, manipulative woman who happily abandoned her daughter to Freya and Dan’s care and left the country, has elbowed her way back into their lives.

But Freya knows that when life gives you lemons, you throw them right back.

Can Freya put her family – and herself – back together? Find out in Cathy Kelly’s warmest, wisest and funniest book yet…

Published yesterday, 17th October 2019, The Family Gift is available for purchase through these links.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry

Christmas at the beach hut

Everyone adores Christmas . . .

Especially Lizzy Kingham. But this year, she is feeling unloved and under-appreciated by her family. The present-buying, decorating and food shopping have all been left to her. So she wonders … what would happen if she ran away and left them to it?

Lizzy heads to her favourite place: a beach hut on the golden sands of Everdene. There she meets an unlikely collection of new friends, all running away from something. But the spirit of Christmas gets under Lizzy’s skin: soon the fairy lights are twinkling and the scent of mulled wine mingles with the sea air.

Back at Pepperpot Cottage, her family are desperate to find her. For Christmas isn’t Christmas without Lizzy. Can they track her down in time and convince her she means the world to them, every day of the year?

Christmas at the Beach Hut will be published on 15th November and is available for pre-order here.

Would Like To Meet by Rachel Winters

Would Like to Meet

Long-suffering assistant Evie Summers will lose her job unless she can convince her film agency’s biggest and most difficult client, Ezra Chester, to finish the script for a Hollywood romcom. The catch? He hasn’t started writing it.

Suffering from ‘writer’s block,’ he will only put pen to paper if singleton Evie can prove to him that you can fall in love like they do in the movies. Forget internet dating, Evie can only meet a man the way that Sally met Harry, or Hugh Grant meets anyone. Cue her entering into one ridiculous romcom scenario after another. But can life ever be like the movies?

Of course, real life is never that straightforward . . .

Out under this cover in ebook on 26th November 2019 and paperback on 30th April 2020, Would Like To Meet is available here.

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes

The Matchmaker

For Caitlin Carter, love means business.

She’s taken matchmaking back to basics. There is no swiping left. No creepy location tracker. Definitely no unsolicited pics of areas of the anatomy no one wants to see. She’s made dating great again: personal, patient… and profitable. Her startup is going from strength to strength, with clients wanting to find the love she has with her own husband Harry, and she even has celebrities wanting to use her services…

Caitlin is living the perfect life.

Except it’s all a perfect lie. And Caitlin doesn’t know how long she can keep it up.

In an era of social media and dating apps, when we have never been more connected yet more isolated, The Matchmaker is a story about love, loss and loneliness, and learning to accept your reality.

Published by Orion imprint Trapeze on 28th November 2019, The Matchmaker is available for pre-order here.

The River Home by Hannah Richell

The River Home TBR

The river can take you home. The river can take you under…

In their ramshackle Somerset home, its gardens running down to the river, the Sorrells have gathered for a last-minute wedding.

Lucy is desperate to reunite her fractured family. Eve is fighting to keep her perfect life together. Their father hovers at the edge of events with his second wife. Their mother, Kit, a famous author whose stories have run dry, still seethes with resentment towards her youngest child. And Margot, who left home eight years ago under a black cloud, is forced to come face to face with her darkness…

As the family come together for a week of celebration and confrontation, their relationships are stretched to breaking point. Can you ever heal the wounds of the past? Or will it always rise up to haunt you – like the echoes of a summer’s night, like the relentless flow of a river…

The River Home will be published on 19th March 2020 and is available for pre-order through these links (and if my proof is anything to go by that cover will be a stunner!)

A Patchwork Family by Cathy Bramley

A patchwork Family TBR

Love, friendship and family come in all different shapes and sizes…

Gina has been going with the flow for years – she’d rather have an easy life than face any conflict. She runs her childminding business from her cottage at the edge of The Evergreens, a charming Victorian house and home to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age.

But when The Evergreens is put up for sale, Gina and the other residents face losing their home. To protect her business and save her elderly friends from eviction, Gina must make a stand and fight for the first time in her life.

As Gina’s ideas for saving The Evergreens get bigger and bolder, she starts to believe it might just be possible. The only thing is, does she believe in herself?

Also published on 19th March 2020, A Patchwork Family is available for pre-order here.

Like A House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

I don’t even have a ‘to be revealed cover’ for this one yet so I’m including Caroline’s previous book, The Adults available through these links!

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George and Stella’s marriage is over. They can’t decide exactly when that happened (Was it the coke can? Or that comment about Jurassic Park?), but they both agree that it has.

A couple of months after the separation, Stella’s mother, Margaret “The Force of Nature” Foy sends out invites for her murder mystery anniversary party – with George on the invite list. Stella hasn’t told her parents about the divorce, she couldn’t bring herself to. And with her father’s business shutting down, Margaret’s recent cancer diagnosis, and some very odd behaviour from her older sister Helen, now is clearly not a good time.

All they have to do is make it through the day without their secret being discovered. And in doing so, they may find each other again – or see their past and future both go up in flames…

Like A House on Fire will be published on 30th April and is available for pre-order here.

I’m well aware what a privilege it is to be invited to these events and I know how lucky I am to attend. Once again, I’d like to thank the Orion team for inviting me and I hope Linda’s Book Bag readers find some lovely new reads through this post.

Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium by #AuthorsontheEdge

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Last year, when Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings was published I was lucky enough to ask each of the authors involved in the anthology a question which they answered here! Sadly, I didn’t have chance to read the book and with all the glowing reviews from my fellow bloggers I was very disappointed not to have done so.

When author Helena Fairfax got in touch about a brand new collection of stories, Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium and asked if she could send me a copy I jumped at the chance finally to meet Miss Moonshine in person and am thrilled to share my review today.

Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium is available for purchase here where you’ll also find more details about the authors.

Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium

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There’s something magical about Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium, and at Christmas she brings an added sparkle to the inhabitants of the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge. Customers who step over her threshold find an eccentric collection of gifts, but Miss Moonshine has a rare knack for providing exactly what they need: a strange Advent calendar whose doors give a glimpse of a happy ending; a vintage typewriter that types a ghostly message from Christmas past; a mirror in a silver case that reflects the person you’d like to be.

Step inside Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, and the thing you need most for Christmas will be right there, waiting for you…

Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting festive stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the magic of Christmas.

My Review

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Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium

Nine short stories involving Miss Moonshine’s Emporium.

I loved every moment of my time in Haven Bridge with Miss Moonshine. My only complaint is that I had the overwhelming urge to eat mince pies throughout!

This is such a delightful collection of stories. Not one of them is less than perfectly written. I couldn’t believe how brilliantly the stories have unity with the setting of Haven Bridge, Miss Moonshine, her quirky clothes, Napoleon the dog and with romance at their heart and yet they retain an individual authorial style too, so that there is a tale for every reader’s tastes; there’s modern and historical eras, there is laughter and there are tears, there’s family, relationships, love and loss, birth and death so that whilst Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium can be read purely for heartwarming entertainment and sheer escapism, there is a wonderful depth too.

The characters in all of the stories instantly appeal because they have the same hopes, fears and problems as we all have, making them relatable and endearing. Miss Moonshine is the star throughout, however, in all her incarnations. I found her 1912 persona particularly touching because she is obviously fully aware of the events about to unfold just a short while later. The manner with which she understands just what those visiting her emporium need in their lives adds the perfect sparkle of magic to the stories making them wonderfully festive.

The quality of storytelling is so good. Each of these talented authors has crafted a narrative that draws in the reader and gives them a satisfying and diverting reading experience that is simply marvellous.

I absolutely adored this collection. It kept calling to me when I wasn’t reading it. I wanted to know who I’d meet in the next story and what Miss Moonshine might achieve. Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium brought me sheer joy as a reader. It lifted my spirits, entertained me royally and transported me out of my own world to that of Haven Bridge simply flawlessly. Magical, gladdening and beautifully crafted, I can’t recommend Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium highly enough. It really is a wonderful collection.

The Authors on the Edge

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The Authors on the Edge are Mary Jayne Baker, Sophie Claire, Jacqui Cooper, Helena Fairfax, Kate Field, Melinda Hammond, Marie Laval, Helen Pollard and Angela Wren.

Introducing @cicadabooks for Children

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When Lefki got in touch and asked if I might be prepared to review some of Cicada‘s children’s books I wasn’t expecting a lovely bundle to arrive so quickly. I’m delighted to be reviewing a selection today.

You can find out all about Cicada Books here and their books are available from Amazon and most book sellers.

I’d like to mention the overall quality of the books I was sent before reviewing each of them because they are presented on high quality paper with robust covers that make them a pleasure to handle. I can see them lasting a considerable time even with repeated use.

Iced Out Written by C K Smouha and Illustrated by Isabella Bunnell

Iced Out

The story of a walrus and a narwhal, who, with the help of a beluga, discover that being different can be cool!

Wilfred Walrus and Neville Narwhal are the only kids in Miss Blubber’s class who are not seals. Life is tough being the odd ones out – lunchtimes and football matches and school photos all present challenges to the two outliers. And they don t even like each other very much!

When Betty Beluga joins the class, everything changes. Betty is smart and independent and amazing at football. As a friendship forms, Betty helps the two boys to recognise that being different isn’t always a bad thing!

A warm, funny tale about friendship and fitting in that school-aged children are sure to identify with. Isabella Bunnell’s joyous watercolour illustrations are complemented by luxuriant packaging.

Iced Out is available for purchase here.

My Review of Iced Out

Iced Out is a heartwarming tale that illustrates perfectly that a child does not have to be like everyone else, especially through Betty Beluga who is a feisty independent female equally happy in her own company as well as with others.

Iced Out would be an excellent book to share with children who are not fitting in at school, or to use with classes of younger children to explore how attitudes towards others might affect them. It was so rewarding to have unusual creatures featured through the beluga whale, walrus and narwhal as a change from the domestic animals that so often feature in children’s books. This could be a fantastic opportunity to research then environment and more unusual animals.

I’d have liked entirely lower case letters for speech and the title if Iced Out were to be used with emergent writers to model conventions, but there is a clear distinction between narrative and speech so that the grammatical aspects could be investigated too, making Iced Out educationally useful, especially when looking at the alliterative names too.

The pictures are simply drawn in a style that appeals to younger children and they illustrate the narrative perfectly. I thought it was inspired to keep to a reduced palette so that there is unity throughout.

I definitely recommend taking a trip to Miss Blubber’s School for Arctic Mammals!

The Inner Child Written and Illustrated by Henry Blackshaw

The Inner Child

Dear Kids, Did you know that all adults have a child inside them? They try to hide them by pretending to be busy and stressed all the time, but as you know, it’s impossible to keep children hidden. Sometimes they just have to come out and PLAY!

This is a delightful little book that will appeal to adults and children equally, explaining why adults behave in the strange ways that they do, and how important it is to preserve the place of playfulness and joy inside all of us.

The Inner Child is available for purchase here.

My Review of The Inner Child

The message behind The Inner Child is glorious and one we’d all do well to remember whatever our age. Henry Blackshaw explores how who we are as a child affects who we become as an adult and whilst the book helps children understand how adults think and feel, it reminds adults to allow their playfulness and childlike qualities to emerge too. This premise is especially well supported by the fabulous illustrations that literally show the inner child inside.

I thoroughly appreciated the range of gender and ethnicity presented as well as the fact that children are shown that adults have hopes, fears and desires just like children do.

I do prefer lower case writing in children’s books but I liked the handwritten quality of the text because I think children will be able to relate to it.

The Inner Child is a helpful and entertaining book for use with children of all ages!

A Million Dots Written and Illustrated by by Sven Völker

A Million dots

A stunning graphic visualisation of numbers, in which the number on each page is doubled, going from 1 to 1 million in 44 pages.

We start with a single tree; 1. As we turn the page, we are presented with a sum doubling the number on the page before it: 1+1 = 2; 2+2 = 4; 4+4 = 8. In this way, we reach a million (actually 1,048,576) within 44 pages.

Each sum is brought to life with a simple graphic illustration in the distinctive style of Sven Völker. The dots form the back of a ladybird, the bubbles in a cup of soda and the water in a swimming pool. On each page, a single neon dot illustrates what one means in the context of the sum.

Gloriously simple in its concept and execution, this is a book that will bring mathematics alive to parents as well as children and will also make a stunning gift book.

A Million Dots is available for purchase here.

My Review of A Million Dots

My goodness, what a clever book. A Million Dots is a perfect book to support both literacy and numeracy as well as create a sense of wonder. Doubling a number is the focus, but as the numbers grow the illustrations alongside them are perfectly presented to include the appropriate number of dots. I loved the way the numbers are represented visually through the images, numerically through the numbers and linguistically through the words so that A Million Dots helps make concrete what can be a very abstract concept in learning.

I actually gasped aloud with a smile at the end of the book when I found ‘one million. forty-eight thousand, five hundred and seventy six’ dots over a pull out page.

For such a simple concept, A Million Dots is beautifully and effectively presented and although this is a book for children, I think it would be a lovely gift to any adult interested in numbers too.

Don’t Hug the Pug Written by Robin Jacobs

and Illustrated by Matthew Hodson

Don't Hug the Pug

A simple story told in comic-book form about a baby that does a lot of hugging…. with one caveat!

Baby likes to cuddle. Grown-Up lets him cuddle the rug, the jug, the bug and the slug. But DON’T HUG THE PUG!
Why not? What’s wrong with the pug….? A hilarious and deceptively simple story that will have little ones shrieking with laughter.

The combination of speech bubbles, rhymes, very short sentences and a stinky twist makes this a perfect book for both the pre-school audience and early readers.

Don’t Hug the Pug is available for purchase here.

My Review of Don’t Hug the Pug

Whatever you do, don’t hug the pug!

Don’t Hug the Pug is a perfect children’s book. The humour of the reason why we shouldn’t hug the pug will appeal to all, making this a really fun book to share with young children.

What is so good about this book is the simplicity with which language is developed and extended through the -ug rhyme scheme so that children could emulate the story with other rhymes, building their vocabulary. This gradual collection of rhyming words helps both spelling and reading highly effectively.

Smashing pastel illustrations help bring the story to life and each noun from the rhyme is repeated in the pictures so that children can match them as the book is shared, reinforcing spelling.

I think Don’t Hug the Pug is brilliant.

Planet in Peril: An Anthology For Our Time Edited by Isabelle Kenyon

Planet in Peril

My enormous thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for sending me a copy of Planet in Peril: An Anthology For Our Time in return for an honest review. I knew that I would be in for something rather special with this book as I have featured Isabelle and Fly on the Wall before. You’ll find my reviews of other Fly On The Wall books here.

What is so wonderful about Planet in Peril: An Anthology For Our Time is that Isabelle is keen to get the book into as many libraries as possible and to work with schools on the issues raised. You can find out more here. I shall be donating my copy of the book to my local library later.

Out on 1st December 2019, Planet in Peril: An Anthology For Our Time is available for purchase in all formats here with a library donation scheme and currently in hardback only on Amazon. The paperback release is being delayed on Amazon because the hardback is FSC certified paper and Fly on the Wall want to ensure the project is as ethical as possible. 20% of profits will go to WWF and The Climate Coalition.

Planet in Peril: An Anthology For Our Time

Planet in Peril

When the sciences and the arts begin to work together, a powerful force is created. This anthology was founded upon the belief that words have the power to change. Through poetry, photography and art, creatives across the globe, from the age of 8 to 80, have united to express the urgency of global warming, facing the facts but never losing hope.

My Review of Planet in Peril: An Anthology For Our Time

A book of photography and verse with some factual passages that raise awareness of ecological issues.

Initially I thought the cover image of Planet in Peril was rather dark, but when I read the book and considered its message I realised it is utterly perfect. Wildlife is disappearing, becoming indistinct, if not extinct, and this shadowy cover encompasses that message absolutely. With the world reflected in its eye, this big cat is desperately hiding from the devastation we are wreaking on the planet.

Planet in Peril is a wonderful, wonderful book. Whilst its underlying principle may be sobering and stark, the way in which our desperate need to do something about climate change is presented is stunning. I found some of the factual passages saddening and would definitely say that reading Planet in Peril has given me cause to look at my lifestyle and see where I can make changes, but I finished this anthology with an overwhelming feeling of hope. We can do something.

I think this comes from the inclusion of wonderful writing from children and young adults in the section entitled Our Future. Ten year old Freya Wilson’s repetitive Don’t Forget was one of my favourite poems because her message is simple and impactful.

Aside from the important message in Planet in Peril, there is so much more to enjoy too. The quality of the poetry is gorgeous. Style, structure, vocabulary and image thrum with vitality across the anthology. I loved the lack of punctuation in poems like Anne Casey’s where once she danced, for example, as it illustrated to me the unraveling of the world’s natural resources with no means to stop it in the way the lines are never end-stopped. There’s beauty and creativity in the poems that is a joy to read. I also loved the explanations of how some of the poetry came to be written and I enjoyed the biographies at the end of the book too because they brought home to me that these are the words and feelings of real people so that I felt a genuine connection. With links to websites, Planet in Peril also affords the opportunity for the reader to find out more.

With many wonderful photographs from Emily Gellard, other artists also contribute so that Planet in Peril is a feast for the eyes too. Many images brought back memories for me such as the glacier in Antarctica or the image of a monkey trying to eat plastic in Bali’s Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest as I’ve seen both for myself.

In a sense Planet in Peril ought to be ‘worthy’ because of the message behind it, but instead it is beautiful, moving and affecting. It would make a sensational gift for any animal or nature lover. I thought it was wonderful.

About Isabelle Kenyon

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Isabelle Kenyon is a poet, blogger and book reviewer. Her poems have published online for Bewildering Stories and as a Micro Chapbook for Origami Poetry Press. Isabelle has also featured in poetry anthologies such as Anti Heroin ChicLiterary Yard, the Inkyneedles anthology, Poetry Rivals, and the Great British Write Off. Isabelle has won awards and commendations from The Wirral festival of Music, Speech and Drama,the Festival of Firsts, the Langwith Scott Award for Art and Drama and the Visit Newark Poetry competition.

You can follow Isabelle on Twitter @kenyon_isabelle and visit her website. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan

A House of Ghosts cover

Although I’m supposed to be avoiding blog tours this year in order to reduce my mountainous TBR, when Tracy Fenton got in touch about W.C. Ryan’s latest book A House of Ghosts, I snapped up the opportunity to participate because I know what a fabulous writer William Ryan is. I reviewed his novel The Constant Soldier here and it was one of my books of the year in 2016. I’m thrilled to share my review of A House of Ghosts today.

A House of Ghosts is published by Zaffre and is available for purchase in all the usual places including here.

A House of Ghosts

A House of Ghosts cover

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .

An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.

My Review of A House of Ghosts

A weekend house party will have surprising consequences for all participants!

A House of Ghosts is a delicious read. I loved every moment of immersing myself in this wonderfully atmospheric, ghostly tale of espionage, betrayal and, quite surprisingly, romance.

What W. C Ryan has managed to do in A House of Ghosts is to write with complete authenticity for the era, especially through the direct speech, within the traditional unifying parameters of time, place and action and yet craft a narrative that is completely enthralling to a modern reader. I thought this skill was astounding. I loved the manner with which humour provides dramatic relief and the way W.C. Ryan presents the most unusual elements with an almost casual tone so that they are believable to even the most sceptical reader. Kate’s private thoughts in particular add an extra dimension that is so satisfying. The themes explored such as grief, spiritualism, patriotism, PTSD and revenge mean that there is something for every reader here. The short chapters make the book race along and each has an ending that simply refuses to allow the reader to stop. So many surprises await discovery that it’s exciting and surprising too.

The setting is just perfect for the narrative, especially when coupled with the pathetic fallacy of the weather so that much of the novel feels quite visual. I think A House of Ghosts would make the most amazing film. Blackwater Abbey’s passages and cellars, the lighthouse and the storm all create a creepiness that draws on readers’ knowledge of other traditions to intensify the mystery of the story.

In amongst the fast pace and captivating setting are vivid and compelling characters. Kate’s feistiness is so engaging and I can’t wait to read more about her and Donovan in any future books. With A House of Ghosts I truly felt as if I were watching the people first hand and observing them rather than reading about them.

I found W.C. Ryan’s A House of Ghosts thoroughly entertaining and engaging as well as elegantly written. I thought it was brilliant and cannot recommend it highly enough.

About W.C. Ryan

William Ryan

William Ryan is the Irish author of five novels, including the Captain Korolev series set in 1930s Moscow. They have been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Irish Fiction Award, the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, the Endeavour Historical Gold Crown and the Crime Writer Association’s Steel, Historical and New Blood Daggers. His latest novel, A House of Ghosts, set in 1917, has been described as ‘an atmospheric, hugely entertaining mystery that offers all the pleasures of a classic ghost story – with an appealing dash of romance’.

William lives in London with his wife and son and is a licensed mudlarker and keen cyclist. Not both at the same time.

You can follow William Ryan on Twitter @WilliamRyan_, find him on Facebook  and visit William’s website. All William Ryan’s books are available here.

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Cover Reveal: The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood

The Snow Killer

It’s an absolute joy to feature friend and author Ross Greenwood on Linda’s Book Bag with the cover reveal for his brand new thriller, The Snow Killer. Last time Ross was here he was writing all about seizing the day when his book Shadows of Regret was published in a post you can see here.

You can read also read a post in which Ross introduces his protagonist for Abel’s Revenge here. You can read my Lazy Blood interview with Ross here, a guest post and my review of The Boy Inside here and my review of Ross’s Fifty Years of Fear here.

Published by Boldwood Books on 12th November 2019, Ross’s latest book The Snow Killer is available for pre-order through the links here. Let’s find out about the book:

The Snow Killer

The Snow Killer

‘FEAR THE NORTH WIND. BECAUSE NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU SCREAM…’

A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.

Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.

As an exhausted and grizzled DI Barton and his team scrabble to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the murders continue…

The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

Now doesn’t that sound a cracker of a read? I’ll definitely be adding The Snow Killer to my TBR.

About Ross Greenwood

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Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until he was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

Ross found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually, so he says “when things had gone wrong.” It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. And, according to Ross, he is “still a little stunned by the pace of it now.”

Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave the author the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep he completed it in the early morning hours.

Ross Greenwood’s second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and in September 2017, Fifty Years of Fear was published. The year 2018 saw the publication of his next psychological thriller, Abel’s Revenge. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

Ross Greenwood hopes you enjoy reading them.

You can find out more about Ross on his web site. You can also follow Ross on Twitter @greenwoodross and find him on Facebook.

Staying in with Dean Burnett, Author of Psycho-Logical on World Mental Health Day 2019

psychological

With friends and family suffering their own mental health problems, it feels absolutely right to be part of the Audible launch celebrations for the audio book Psycho-Logical by Dean Burnett on world Mental Health Day 2019. I’m delighted Dean is staying in with me today to tell me more about his work and would like to thank Anna Zanetti at Midas PR for inviting me to start off this blog tour.

Psycho-Logical is available for purchase here.

Psycho-Logical

psychological

Countless charities and awareness campaigns work tirelessly to show people that mental health problems are common and serious issues. But when it comes to mental health matters, one question that’s rarely asked is…why?

Why are conditions like depression and anxiety so common?

Why is our mental health so vulnerable to the stresses and events of modern life?

Why do so many mental health problems have pronounced physical symptoms?

Why, if mental health problems are so commonplace, does anyone need to be made ‘aware’ of them in the first place?

And why is there still so much confusion and stigma about mental health matters?

Drawing from nearly 20 years working in the areas of neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry, international best-selling author Dr Dean Burnett (The Happy Brain, Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It) hopes to answer these questions and more in his new audiobook Psycho-Logical (exclusive to Audible). Combining in-depth research with genuine testimonials from those who deal with their own issues on a daily basis, Psycho-Logical aims to uncover just what we think is going on with our brains when serious mental health problems occur, how and why the available therapies work (when they do), and just how flexible and uncertain much of the scientific understanding of mental health is.

Psycho-Logical combines in-depth research with genuine testimonials from those who deal with their own issues on a daily basis. Contributors are: comedians Bethany Black, Dan Mitchell and Guy Kelly; sex blogger Girl on the Net; writer and actor Amelia Stubberfield; journalist Rachel England; HR officer Lowri Williams; and social media manager Martha Mills. Each contributor has narrated their own section.

Expertly narrated by Matt Addis, and written in an engaging and straight-forward style, Psycho-Logical is must for anyone who’s ever dealt with mental health issues of their own, knows someone who has, or is interested in the ever-more-important subject matter of mental health, for whatever reason.

Staying in with Dean Burnett

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Dean. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Although I have a pretty good idea, tell me, which of your books/audiobooks have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

psychological

Hi. I’ve brought along my new book Psycho-Logical, a dedicated audiobook currently exclusive to Audible. While I’ve covered the subject in various ways and from various angles in my previous books and articles, this is my first book entirely about mental health. I’ve chosen it as it’s being released today, October 10th, which is World Mental Health Day 2019, which is very appropriate. It’s all about the science of mental health, about why it goes wrong, why therapies work or not, what’s going on in the brain, and more.

It sounds utterly fascinating Dean. Tell me more about what we can expect from an evening in with Psycho-Logical.

An evening with Psycho-Logical may be not what you expect if you’ve read other books about mental health, as Psycho-Logical is a bit different to most mental health books currently on the market. Most of the others are written by, or from the point of view of, someone who deals or has dealt with their own mental health problems, the journey they went on, what they learned etc. I take a different approach, as I don’t have mental health problems of my own (so far), but I have spent nearly two decades in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry, and mental health matters have played a big part in both my earlier and current life.

Therefore, this book is more objective, and instead of just making people ‘aware’ of mental health, I’ve tried to do what I can to show why mental health goes wrong so often, and how. It explores the current understanding of mental health from the clinical or psychiatric perspective, and why this always been changed and updated. It explores the mechanisms and benefits as well as the problems and issues with contemporary therapies, explaining why antidepressants or CBT work, or don’t. It looks at the underlying processes happening in the brain (as far as we know) that cause us to become depressed, or anxious, or addicted, and so on.

Overall, it’s a book about the hows and whys of mental health, how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. It’s basically me trying to put mental health in more tangible, concrete terms, in order to enhance understanding, reduce uncertainty, and ideally remove some of the suspicion and stigma it still regularly attracts.

I can’t wait to listen to Pyscho-Logical as I have friends and family who struggle with their mental health and it would be perfect to be able to understand more.

What else have you brought along and why? 

glass

It may seem a weird choice, but I’ve brought along an old pint glass. It’s one of those old-school glass-tankards you used to get in the 80s, the squat ones with a handle, that are basically a big transparent mug. This is from the Royal Hotel, which is the pub I grew up in, back in the Garw Valley, South Wales. The pub is derelict now, which is sad, but when we moved out we kept some souvenirs, and over the intervening years I’ve ended up with some of the old glasses in storage in my garage. I have one or two I use as pen and pencil holders in my office, which is an odd but perhaps ironic fate for something intended to help people get drunk; to assist a neuroscientist writing about mental health matters.

It does seem a bit incongruous to me. Can you explain more?

I brought this because Psycho-Logical covers matters such as alcoholism and addiction. Statistics show that those with mental health problems are at a greatly increased risk of addiction or substance abuse, and while it’s tempting to attribute that to compromised logical thinking and restraint due to the mental health issue, it’s arguably a lot more to do with self-medicating, with people trying to achieve some respite from the constant negative effects of a disorder, when little or no official help or resources are available.

It must be devastating for those who cannot access appropriate help Dean.

But I also bring this glass as it signifies where my journey, my interest in mental health, and my life in general, really began. I grew up in a pub, in a remote, isolated, economically-depressed community (the coal mine the village was built around was shut down around the time of my birth). When you have a village full of burly no-nonsense working-class miners suddenly unemployed, this has consequences. I saw a lot of mental health problems, being a child in a pub in such a context. I saw a lot of tragedy. If I knew then what I know now (and was an adult they’d take seriously) maybe I could have done something. It’s what motivates me still.

And, I keep these pint glasses around to remind me of who I am, where I’m from. I was the first person in my immediate family to even do A-levels, let alone more. The fact that I’ve ended up where I am is ridiculous, in hindsight. And when so many other academics and writers are from more privileged, more entitled origins, I think it’s vital to be conscious of my own ore rough-and-ready roots.

Well said. And you have my complete respect. I think Psycho-Logical sounds fabulous and would like to thank you for staying in with me to tell me more about it.

About Dean Burnett

dean burnett

Dean Burnett is a working-class Welsh science writer.

Having grown up in a pub in the former mining village of Pontycmer, in the Garw Valley, South Wales, Dean is now a doctor of neuroscience, an honorary research associate at Cardiff University Psychology School, and a Visiting Fellow at Birmingham City University. He is the author of four books and counting, which have been translated into over 20 languages, as well as countless articles and blog posts across a wide range of media platforms, including the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, LA Times, New York Magazine, and more.

Dean is much in demand as a speaker, pundit, talking head and all-round contributor for TV and radio whenever a complex brain-related subject requires explaining in the mainstream.

Part of his outlook and relatable style comes from the fact that Dean has also spent close to two decades performing stand-up comedy, having performed on stages as large as the Hammersmith Apollo.

Dean currently lives in Cardiff with his wife and two children, and their cat Pickle who, even by cat standards, is something of a psychopath.

To find out more about Dean, visit his website, follow him on Twitter @garwboy. There’s more with these other bloggers too:

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