MEET THE AUTHOR – Angela Dyson

THE LOVE DETECTIVE

RWS RATING: 3.5/5 STARS

RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 28TH 2018

 

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SYNOPSIS

“He’d thought himself the hunter, that I was easy prey but what he hadn’t bargained for, was contending with a woman who hadn’t eaten a square meal in twenty-four hours. I get mean when I’m hungry.”

Clarry Pennhaligan, low on ambition but high on energy, can’t seem to come up with a proper grown-up plan to kick-start her life. Planning really isn’t her thing. But then she happens upon her true vocation: Snooping. Discovering other people’s secrets and getting paid for it. What could possibly go wrong? Well……as it turns out, just about everything and soon Clarry finds herself in real danger. (Goodreads.com)

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Although the title leads you to believe that this story is a light, & fun mystery… it is in fact loaded with dark themes, and an almost sinister storyline. The Love Detective by Angela Dyson is a story about a woman who realizes her place, and what she wants out of life, all while involving herself in a world of mystery and snooping. When I got this novel, I was excited to indulge in a chick-lit type of novel after all the thrillers/suspense reads I get into. But – I was in for a surprise! The book takes quite a dark turn, and honestly, I loved that part about it!

I was thrilled to have author Angela Dyson come on RWS to discuss her debut novel, The Love Detective! Check it out below bookies:

Who’s your favourite author?

Oh, this is a tricky question. If I choose only one, it feels almost like being unfaithful to all my other favourites! But Sue Grafton I always enjoy.

Favourite book or genre to read?

There isn’t really a genre that I don’t read…except maybe Science Fiction. What’s so wonderful about novels is that you can choose them to match your mood, but one of my all-time favourites has to be Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier. Written in 1941, it’s about Lady Donna St Columb, a headstrong heroine who escapes from the tedium of life with her dull husband in 17th century London to live in Cornwall where she meets an infamous French pirate. I love it.

When was the moment you realized that you loved literature?
As a child I read The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame
over and over again. I wanted to live by the river bank with Ratty
and Mole and stay in Badger’s house right in the heart of the
Wild Wood.

I remember distinctly how alive their world seemed to me, how
vividly their different personalities and individual voices shone
out from the pages. And even today, many, many years on, I re-
read it regularly. This novel brings me comfort, peace and has
always made me feel safe. Literature does that and I’m a life-long
devotee.
What made you want to be a writer?

It allows me to dream. To create worlds that provide an outlet for
escapism, not just for myself, but for my readers.
What draws you to the “detective” type genres?
I love the idea of the amateur detective meddling and asking
questions and stirring up trouble. And by creating my own young
female private investigator, Clarry Pennhaligan in The Love
Detective, I could make her so much bolder, braver and more of a
bad-ass than I, in real life, could ever be! She gets to do things
that I long to do… but don’t have the chutzpah.
What gave you the inspiration for your newest novel, “The Love Detective?”
Female friendships are very important to me. Throughout your life, lovers, boyfriends, husbands, may come and go but your girlfriends can be depended upon to offer sympathy, understanding and many glasses of wine. Oh, and tough-love too, when it’s needed. Clarry in The Love Detective is enlisted by her best friend, Laura, to check out whether the new man in Laura’s life is on the up-and-up. What Clarry discovers does not go down well with Laura. It’s that whole don’t shoot the messenger thing. I wanted to explore the strength of friendship. In fact, the very first question in the book club notes that accompany the novel is: What did you think of the row between Clarry and Laura? Have you ever experienced the issue of jealousy (or at least the perception of it) with a friend?

I will be fascinated to hear how my readers answer that question!
Did your writing process change at all when you began writing this
book, compared to any writing you’ve done before?
I have always written in spurts. I’m not someone that compels
themselves to write every day. Honestly, sometimes I’m just not in
the mood! And I’ve learnt that there is nothing more depressing
than sitting down at the computer trying to find inspiration and
coming up empty. But with The Love Detective, there were
definitely far fewer gaps between writing binges. I just wanted to
keep going because I so loved the experience.

Can we expect any more books from you coming up?
I am currently working on the second in the series featuring
Clarry. It’s called The Love Detective: Next Level and it will be out in 2019.
Do you have any advice for young writers out there?

Yes, and it’s to find your own way to becoming a writer. Let it
become organic. Write when you have something to say, when a
story is so vivid to you that you absolutely have to get it down.
And, to prepare yourself for this, write about what you see… in a
casual way. Get used to expressing yourself on paper. This can take some of the fear out of the process and will ultimately release that particular voice that is yours and yours alone.

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Thank you Angela Dyson for coming on RWS to chat with me!

Dyson’s debut novel The Love Detective, will be available in stores SEPTEMBER 28th 2018!

You can also visit her website: https://angeladyson.com

 

 

BOOK REVIEW – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

THE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE

RWS RATING: 4/5 STARS

RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 18TH 2018

Imagine waking up in someone else’s body? Imagine reliving the same day over & over? Now, imagine you wake up in a beautiful mansion, in someone else’s body to solve a murder? Would you give up, or would you keep going?

In Stuart Turton’s debut novel, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, the concept of self discovery, right or wrong, and ultimate sacrifice are explored within this complex mystery.

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PLOT SUMMARY

A brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…(www.kobo.com)

OPINION

Well, this book is going to stay with me for a long time. I’ve always been a fan of mystery stories – particularly murder mysteries. This book has so much to direct, interpret, and I think it would make a perfect October book club pick! It’s got a mixture of personalities all in one setting over the course of a few days. This is important to me in a murder mystery because it really does catch you off guard in terms of who the murderer is, and also the true nature of each of the characters. When faced with such traumatic events, a person’s true colours begin to show when faced under pressure and scrutiny. The beginning of the book actually includes a cordial invitation to the Hardcastle’s Masquerade which outlines every guest that is set to attend and their relationship to each other. This was SO incredibly helpful because there are so many characters to keep track of! Aiden Bishop bounces between different “body hosts” in the book, and at times it would get confusing at what was going on, and who was involved, but at the same time…I kind of liked that! I loved the amount of personalities that were involved in this book, and how everyone can be seen as guilty or innocent depending on the situation, and the body host. It’s all about perspective, right?

Along with that, the setting of the Blackheath house, owned by the Hardcastle family is so interesting, and so vast that it’s difficult to keep track, but it keeps you on your toes! At the beginning of the novel, a map of Blackheath House is actually included, allowing the reader to reference back throughout the story.

The main protagonist in the story, Aiden Bishop, is so complex, that at times I felt so bad for everything he was going through. One moment he was invited to a party by a well known, respectable family, and the next moment he is waking up in different bodies trying to solve a murder of one of his dear friends. Not only is this a classic murder mystery in some ways, but I loved the gothic element in this story. This novel had plague doctors, footmen, and just so much mystery, suspicion, and superstition! This novel kind of reminded me of a 1930’s murder mystery, with the ghosts of Mary Shelley’s past coming to visit. 

All in all, this book was eerie, curious, and really pushed the boundaries of an ordinary murder mystery. I loved the twists, and I loved how Turton was able to conjure up such a unique story within such a beloved archetype. Turton’s writing is eloquent and crisp, and truly had me wanting to turn the page and never put the book down.

Pick this novel up if you’re looking for a murder mystery with a twist!

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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton will be available September 18th 2018 at Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, Google Books, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and this does not affect my views , opinions, or thoughts on this book.

BOOK REVIEW – An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

AN UNWANTED GUEST

RWS RATING: 4/5 STARS

RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 7TH 2018

READ IF YOU LIKE: 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

 

A quiet hotel in the midst of Winter, contrasting personalities put together, and murderous events happening over the course of a weekend makes up this chilling and suspenseful murder mystery by Shari Lapena. Lapena is known for her novels, The Couple Next Door and A Stranger in the House – a mixture of dialogue with strange, unique characters, and mysteries that keep you guessing until the very end of the book. But, An Unwanted Guest is most definitely her best novel yet.

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PLOT SUMMARY

A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away
It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.
Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm. (www.goodreads.com)

OPINION

This book would be the perfect winter read…cozying up by the fire, while it’s storming outside, and trying to figure out a puzzling mystery within this book. I loved the Agatha Christie vibe throughout this entire book. When I say that though, it’s got a more And Then There Were None type of feel. A bunch of strangers are together during a certain amount days, and slowly, one by one, a guest gets murdered.

When I first heard of Shari Lapena, it was November 2016, and I got her first book, The Couple of Next Door as an early Christmas gift. I devoured that book so quickly. And by quickly I mean I literally finished it in about seven hours because I was just dying to know how this baby went missing. The Couple Next Door had a lot of dialogue – more of “he said” then “she said” type of dialogue, which at times, began to get hard to read and a bit repetitive with no proper flow to the story, or the characters.

But this book has shown how much her writing has grown and flourished since her first one. Shying away from the “he said, she said” type of dialogue, Lapena carefully crafted together the dialogue between characters that made the book flow together perfectly! Page by page, chapter by chapter, I was eager to find out who was behind the murders, and by the end, Lapena did deliver and surprise with the big murder reveal.

The one thing I do wish this novel had was a bit more character background. I loved how each chapter had a different character telling their perspective and feelings, and some of those characters were so interesting, that I just wanted to read more about them!

An Unwanted Guest had themes of human survival and instinct, complex characters, and an incredible mystery!

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An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena is in stores at Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, Google Books, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and this does not affect my views , opinions, or thoughts on this book.

BOOK REVIEW – Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

RATING: 4/5 STARS

CANADIAN RELEASE DATE: SEPT 4TH 2018

A heartbreaking read of revenge, justice, and the love of community. Backman’s Us Against You, the sequel to his highly acclaimed Beartown, is so well written, that the characters stay with you forever. Fredrik Backman is known for his novels like A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologies, and of course, Beartown. Fredrik Backman’s writing in his novels are so unique, that the characters are relatable to the reader, and the events that take place in his books are almost like they are true events.

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PLOT SUMMARY

After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.

Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent. (Goodreads.com)

MY REVIEW

Backman is an incredibly talented writer, & that reigns true through each sentence of this book. Every character is carefully thought out, rounded, with ample growth shown throughout the book, not to mention they are mixed in with such an intense plot that leaves you wanting more.

Benji and Amat are probably the two most real, and heartbreaking characters within the book. Benji is an 18 year old boy, who’s best friend committed such a horrific act, left town, and now Benji is left to discover who he is and what he stands for. Benji is quiet, and so misunderstood, that he doesn’t even understand himself at times. But, I think that’s what makes him so endearing as a character, and so relatable. Amat is a 16 year old with such a profound love for hockey, but an even more intense love for his mother, and the search for truth and justice. Amat is a character that completely represents the right in a right or wrong situation, and even when the rest of the world is against him, he rises to the occasion with bravery. Both these characters in this book are so admirable on so many levels, and I think they both gave this book such depth.

It’s hard to review such an amazing book like this without giving anything away.. but all I can really say is that I was literally hooked from the first page, and with the dialogue between these interesting people residing in Beartown, I just couldn’t put it down.

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman is now available everywhere at Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, Google Books, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.