#Q&A with Hugo Jackson Author of The Resonance Tetralogy @phoenixtheblade @InspiredQuill

Today I have the pleasure of offering something a little different from my usual fare – an Author Q&A with YA furry fantasy writer Hugo Jackson. The third book in his series, The Resonance Tetralogy, is due to be released later this month.

Read on my friends, and then be sure to share the Book Love!


 Synopsis

Ruin's Dawn“I want to hear everything, Osiris. All that you can tell me.”

In the desert town of Mahrae, a young fox is about to discover his power. A single bolt of crystal energy begins Aidan’s journey, one that will test him to his furthest limits and deepest loyalties. The gryphon Osiris takes Aidan under his wing and together they battle shadows and suspicion to bring warring nations to the pinnacle of invention and prosperity–the new city Nazreal. But not every creature strives for a bright and industrious future.

Conflict is an unsteady foundation for the burgeoning metropolis. The launch of a thousand incredible dreams plants the seed for an immeasurable disaster that even Aidan and his friends do not have the power to prevent. This is the story of Nazreal’s ascension… and the end of the world.

Purchase Link: https://www.inspired-quill.com/product/ruins-dawn


Q & A

Tell us about yourself.

I’m always so bad at these questions! Give me a fantasy world and I’ll dive right in, but exploring myself is always leaves me grasping for things to say. Most distinctly (from my perspective, anyway), I’m British, living in North Carolina. I have been a long-time fan of fantasy and storymaking, since even as a toddler, holding a fascination with telling tales and being crafted my own adventures by my older sister. Now I take the innocence of passion and creativity to heart as I stride through my thirties, remembering that there isn’t a limit to how long you can be emboldened or inspired by the world around you, or new ideas, and learn new things about yourself.

Give a brief description of your book.

Ruin’s Dawn is the third instalment in my series The Resonance Tetralogy, after Legacy and Fracture, and it’s a prequel to these events, set thousands of years in planet Eeres’ past. It’s a tale of an ancient cataclysm wrought by the struggle of a fair and promising world against those who wish to crush it by their own hand, emboldened by the presence of a rare, potentially infinite, power source. It follows the story of Aidan, the father of the young protagonist Faria Phiraco, from Legacy.

What other books or authors have inspired you?

My very first author inspirations were Robin Jarvis, of The Deptford Mice and Deptford History trilogies, and Diana Wynne Jones- specifically her book Dogsbody. The Deptford series had an incredible array of rich, balanced characters and what really struck me at the time was, for an ostensibly young boys’ arcane-horror-adventure, the lead was a female mouse called Audrey. Jarvis’ writing had a very profound effect on my style. Dogsbody held in it a fantastic and original story about a star who was cast down into the body of a dog. Being a child with a love of dogs and interstellar powerful beings, this was a perfect mix of suspense and creativity.

Is there a possibly unknown author or book out there that you think everyone should read? Tell us about them/ it.

I am not nearly as well-read as I would like to be, so even my ‘obscure’ book choices will be moderately mainstream! I feel like Garth Nix is underrated when compared to the likes of Neil Gaiman (whom I also very much admire, don’t get me wrong). They’re both very similar, but Nix has a style that just resonates with me a little more, and his standalone book Shade’s Children is one of terrifying action and suspense, woven in the tales of four renegade children surviving a world of disgusting and sinister creatures that have decimated the world.

What drew you to write this particular story?

The world of The Resonance Tetralogy has been with me for… probably almost twenty years now. I daydreamed constantly through high school, and eventually these characters formed their world in my head and, where I could find no book that would ever quite satisfy me, I set out to write one that I guarantee would. I wanted to see the book in the world that I needed when I was younger. I find animals enchanting, and get somewhat fed up of the fantasy tropes of different races being distinct from each other only by a sliding scale ratio of height to facial hair.

What do you love about this book? What makes this book special to you? Is there a part that makes you cry? Makes you laugh? Is there a part you’re secretly most proud of? What is it?

I love this book because it’s part of the story I’ve had in mind the longest, since I first started writing Legacy back in 2006, and having it finally in front of me is just… an immense release. While I know I have more yet to write, I feel this is the best of my writing ability so far and there are many moments I almost don’t credit myself for writing because they feel too professional. There are some specific scenes that make me cry, that I won’t spoil. Moments of loss and grieving, some reflections on regrets or soulful reconnections.

Which was your favourite character to write? Why?

Three characters in this book have been great for me: Aidan, Elysser, and Kaya. Aidan, being one of the original characters from Legacy, has evolved a lot since his inception, and being able to tie in his younger moments to what happens to him later was very rewarding. Also being able to weave the influence that Elysser and Kaya have, both as two very independent spirits who influence him in similar, distinct ways, was a nice interplay to experiment with.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

For me, for a fantasy, there are the usual suspects like parts of a boat, or medieval weaponry, sections of a castle, etc. For me now, given how very different I am from when I first started writing in earnest. I take a lot of time to analyse my characters and make sure my tropes aren’t doing anything harmful. And some of this is just passive research that I have to more consciously apply later. Fantasy, particularly white fantasy, is very easy to steal or speak over or enforce tropes that harm people of colour, even unconsciously, so that’s something I’ve made a push to eliminate from my books. It’s something I hope to always be aware of and changing as I need so people can immerse themselves in my world fully and not come across things that have continually punched down onto them for years. I want my world to be an escape, not a reminder.

What did you edit out of this book?

There were two very distinct moments I changed, and that has been as a part of my listening to people talk about their life experiences. There were two separate moments where two different characters were to commit suicide, or attempt it. And while this was, to my younger mind, an acceptable mindset for those characters at the time, as I came to it now, I realised the reasons why I was having them do that were based on a poor perception of what it means, and what the specifics of the story would have done to them. And also, that at the time, I had not encountered that in my life before. A lot of things have changed since then. I want my stories to be about hope. The characters still go through the exact same events, but they no longer reach that precipice. I cannot in good conscience depict that as a romantic denouement for characters I have come to love so much, who I want to present as strong, especially in a world today where we need perseverance and hope above all else.

And finally, who else should love this book? Describe the reader who ought to know about it.

A reader who loves fantasy, loves animals, loves adventure and elemental powers used in inventive ways, loves action, and battles, massive set pieces and sprawling scenery. I love cross-referencing stories between each other so there are a lot of different hooks that latch onto each other between all three books so far; I hope that would make jumping from book to book create some fun moments of recognition when they’re seen! If a reader loves balance between characters’ dialogue and morality, and something soulful in their stories, I hope I would enkindle that through its pages. I hope, I guess, that the book doesn’t just come across as pure construction. There’s a lot of ‘me’ in this. I want it to be sincere. So if that’s something that a reader looks for also, I hope they would find that here too.


Author Information 

Ruin's Dawn - Sell SheetIn his spare time, Hugo is heavily involved with the furry fandom, standing as an advocate for LGBT+ rights, mental health awareness, inclusion, and artist/author visibility and fair treatment.


Many thanks to Sara-Jayne Slack at Inspired Quill for reaching out to arrange this Q & A and to Hugo Jackson for taking the time to provide such wonderful Q & A answers.

#SeriesReview: The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff #Fantasy #Nevernight #Godsgrave #Darkdawn

Thank you, my lovely book community, for pointing me towards the Nevernight Chronicles by the amazing Jay Kristoff. It is, by far, the BEST fantasy recommendation I have ever received. I was only half-way through Nevernight when I knew without a question that I would be buying Godsgrave and Darkdawn in short order. And it was not much longer after that I was getting quotes from the books tattooed on my arm. Talk about immediate impact. Wowza!

The whole series is imaginative, intense, and utterly gripping. Kristoff’s writing is witty, engaged, and hilariously self-deprecating as the series progresses. If you crave fantasy that is free from the eight-instalment world building slog and is most definitely written for an audience other than teens, then The Nevernight Chronicle is like winning the freaking lottery. I can’t recommend these books highly enough.


Untitled designSeries Title: The Nevernight Chronicle

Author: Jay Kristoff

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Books: Nevernight (2016), Godsgrave (2017), Darkdawn (2019)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Themes: Revenge, Murder, Assassins, Family, Love, Loyalty


My Rating: 5+/ 5


Synopsis

Taken from the publisher’s website:

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.

Revenge.


My Review

Pardon me while I try to articulate my feelings to towards as series that has legitimately left me speechless and sobbing on so many occasions.

OH. MY. GODS.

So much love.

The whole series is high-impact, meticulously wrought, and utterly irreverent. And it has footnotes. No, seriously, it has lots of them. At first I was all WTF am I doing reading something loaded with footnotes that isn’t an academic monograph, couldn’t Mr. Kristoff just include these little tidbits into the story like any normal human being? But then I came to realize that these asides were 1) hilarious and often the highlight of the page and 2) the most ingenious method I have ever seen for bridging the narrator’s voice between the prologue and epilogue. I ended up loving them, and often found myself skipping ahead to see what delights these sarcastic, self-reflexive, and self-deprecating asides had to offer.

Footnotes aside, the world Mr. Kristoff creates is a beautiful and terrifying blend of realistic details and exceptionally imagined monsters and magic. Each and every element has meaning, purpose, and and comes together into the best damned finale that us mere mortals could ever image. The series takes the reader on a journey of growth, not just as Mia progresses through the Red Church, but also as a person. We see meaningful change in every sustained character that is in line with the events and circumstances taking place. The result is a plot-driven (sex enhanced) extravaganza with well-rounded characters that are dangerously easy to get attached to. I say dangerous because neither working as an assassin or partaking in a supernatural war has a particularly long life span attached. So guard your hearts my friends… and keep the tissues nearby.

Take Mia for example, despite the fact that she is a chain smoking, ever-cussing, master murderess she is one of the most interesting and likeable heroines I have come across in a good long time. She is bitter, vengeful, and terribly flawed but she is also human, real, and plagued by a tenderness that gets her into more trouble than it’s worth. I loved her sass, her unwavering determination, and the extreme loyalty that she shows towards those she’s come to love. And then there’s the absolutely ace set of supporting characters including Tric, Ash, Mercurio, and so many more. Each and every one them is clearly defined with their own story, quirks and personalities. And we can’t forget Aelius, our delightfully dead librarian, who has given me new aspirations in my own career – to live forever, tied by dark magic to the lives of my books and herder ravenous book worms.

Sec and blood and swearing aside though, this series tackles some pretty big issues like hypocrisy, the abuse of power, the lasting impact of colonial empires, slavery, gender fluidity, and the value/ power of libraries and librarians. That last one may not seem like much, but in a world where access to knowledge and information is becoming increasingly controlled, it was refreshing to see a librarian represented as a centre of rebellion and resistance rather than as nothing more than an aged, bespectacled, keeper of books. Mr. Kristoff’s style is such that you can read it face value for an exhilarating experience, or take your time and unpack some seriously deep layers of meaning. They’re the kind of books that you can read over and over again and find something new in them each and every time.

I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in badass heroines to read this series. You won’t regret following Mia on journey from the Godsgrave to the Silent Mountain, and from the fighting pits to Old Ashkahi and back again. Mr. Kristoff’s quirky and irreverent style will draw you in, and the characters will you trapped until the very end (and maybe even for a while after).

Ace tip: Read all three back to back… and then plan for some recovery time afterwards.

Nevernight, Godsgrave, and Darkdawn are my tops reads of 2019, and if you’re up for it, they can be yours too!


I purchased these books as a result of blogger reviews and recommendations. All opinions are my own.

#BlogTour #Review: The Man at the Door by Desmond P. Ryan @BakerPromo @RealDesmondRyan

Text placeholder-2

Today I am delighted to be taking part in another blog tour for Canadian crime fiction writer Desmond P. Ryan. His third novel The Man at the Door brings back detective Mike O’Shea, his delightful mother, and the motley crew down at the precinct as they take on yet another complicated case and I must say, I loved this book even more than 10-33 Assist PC and Death Before Coffee.


MATD cover.jpgTitle:  The Man at the Door

Author: Desmond P. Ryan

Publisher: Copper Press Publishing

Publication Date: 

Genre: Fiction, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural

Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Crime

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4.5/ 5


Synopsis

Man At The Door, the third in Desmond P. Ryan’s Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, Detective Mike O’Shea solves a homicide, juggles an increasingly complex personal life, and continues to hunt for the cop-killer who has remained at large for the past thirteen years.

It all begins at 6:10 a.m. on a Friday morning when Glen Brebeuf calls demanding answers. He had reported his former lover, Elizabeth MacDonald, missing the previous day and Detective Mike O’Shea finds himself cleaning up the mess some rookie had made of the initial call.

Within hours, Mike takes over the investigation and is on the doorstep of the missing elderly woman’s home, determining that Elizabeth MacDonald—Sibby Mac to her friends—is not missing.

Sibby Mac has been murdered.

Along with Detective Ron Roberts and Detective Sergeant Amanda Black, Mike kicks the investigation into high gear. Very quickly, the ex-lover and a high-profile political figure become prime suspects, but, without a body, would there be enough evidence to charge either of them?

A day spent sifting through rancid garbage at one of the city dumps comes up empty for Mike and Ron, but a foul-smelling steamer trunk reported in another jurisdiction provides the eureka moment they need to proceed.

Meanwhile, Mike is doing double-duty, still investigating what he believes to be a link between the accused he has up in court now and his old partner’s killer.

And then there is his mother. Sensing that her son needs her, Mary-Margaret O’Shea has moved into Mike’s home—and his personal and professional life—pending further notice.

As the pieces of the Sibby Mac investigation start to fall into place, Mike follows up on a hunch and decides to take a detour on his way to work one morning. Using every trick in the book, he ends up saving a life, nearly ending another, and almost getting himself killed in the process.

Whether as a stand-alone or as your next step in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction SeriesMan At TheDoor will keep you reading far too late into the night following Detective Mike O’Shea through the twists and turns of a homicide investigation. Once you’re done, take a breath and get reading for Blind Spot, coming out in early 2020!


My Review

The Mike O’Shea books are fast becoming one of my go-to crime series when I’m in the mood for a police procedural. There’s drama, a wide cast of strong characters, and some genuinely interesting cases. And, they just so happen to have a Canadian twist that’s too rarely seen in crime fiction – and I’m a sucker for Canadian fiction!

Mike, is by far, my favourite emotionally damaged and yet amazingly functional detective. He’s got some serious PTSD trailing him after Sal’s shooting, a touch of permanent brain damage after taking a beating from a lead pipe, some serious trust and relationship issues after his wife walked out, a sweet little romance budding with a crackerjack lawyer, and momma that’s in full helicopter mode to help Mike through his troubled times. Through it all he still manages to be an ace detective, tracking down leads that no one else sees or believes in (in this case a touch more forgetful than normal) and is well worth his reputation on the force. I love the dynamic between Mike and Ron, but more than anything I love how Ron manages to retain his humanity and sensitivity despite the horrible things that he has witnessed and investigated.

The personal narratives in this third book though, were truly a step above! Mary-Margaret stole the show, Amanda Black stole the show, Ron stole the show – there was show stealing on every freaking page. Which, of course, keeps the pages turning and makes the logical part of my brain that tells me to go to sleep because I have work in the morning stop functioning. Hello 3:30 AM. But also, where the heck is book four? I need to know what happens with Amanda’s family! She is such a strong, badass, boss lady that it’s difficult to read her in a scenario that she isn’t 100% in control of.

What’s beautifully done though, is the interweaving of elements from all of the previous books into the current narrative – like death before coffee, Sal’s investigation, the Robby scenario, and the guest appearance from old team members – as they all work together to create a sense of unity an continuity. But the best part is that you can read the individual volumes independently from one another without ever getting lost because they are standalone episodes in Mike’s life.

My only, and I mean only, complaint is that I would have liked to see some of the ongoing cases wrapped up, just for a selfish and personal sense of closure. I mean, we have two whopper cases on the go (one being investigated, one on trial), and a third that is about to consume Mike and Amanda’s lives. Again, where is book four?! But I get it, cases get dragged out in the courts more often than not, personalities get in the way, the media is a circus, and people ca be judgemental jerks. Sure, it would be nice to have a straightforward case and a win but the complexities of juggling court, investigations, personal lives, and recovering from workplace injuries makes for a much more grounded reality.

This little bite of crime is worth every minute of the read. Ryan’s experience on the force shines through in abundance, infusing his stories with both reality and depth. The Man at the Door is snappy, infused with humour, and just plain good. Read crime lovers, you won’t be disappointed.


About The Author

thumbnail_img_1467For almost thirty years, Desmond P. Ryan began every day of his working life with either a victim waiting in a hospital emergency room, or a call to a street corner or a blood-soaked room where someone had been left for dead. Murder, assaults on a level that defied humanity, sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the individuals who were no more than objects to the offenders: all in a day’s work.

It was exhilarating, exhausting, and often heartbreaking.

As a Detective with the Toronto Police Service, Desmond P. Ryan wrote thousands of reports detailing the people, places, and events that led up to the moment he came along. He investigated the crimes and wrote synopses for guilty pleas detailing the circumstances that brought the accused individuals before the Courts. He also wrote a number of files to have individuals deemed either Not Criminally Responsible due to mental incapacity, or Dangerous Offenders to be held in custody indefinitely.

Now, as a retired investigator with three decades of research opportunities under his belt, Desmond P. Ryan writes crime fiction.

Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction.


Many thanks to Shell Baker at Baker’s Blog Tours and Promos for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#BlogTour #Review: Death Before Coffee by Desmond P. Ryan @BakerPromo @RealDesmondRyan

Text placeholder

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Canadian crime fiction writer Desmond P. Ryan’s second novel Death Before Coffee. Picking up thirteen years after the death of his partner Sal, Mike O’Shea is back at it chasing down leads and raising hell in Toronto. Just as gritty and just as real as 10-33 Assist PC, this is an outstanding sequel and an intensely gripping read.


10-33AssistPC_FINAL224pgsTitle: Death Before Coffee

Author: Desmond P. Ryan

Publisher: Copper Press Publishing

Publication Date: February 8, 2019

Genre: Fiction, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural

Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Human Trafficking, Crime

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4.5/ 5


Synopsis

By 2:27 on a Thursday afternoon, the one-legged man from Room 8 at 147 Loxitor Avenue has been beaten to death with a lead pipe. Twenty-eight minutes later, Detective Mike O’Shea is testifying in a stuffy courtroom, unaware that, within an hour, he will be standing in an alleyway littered with beer cans and condoms while his new partner—the man who saved his life thirteen years ago—flicks bugs off of a battered corpse with a ballpoint pen. When a rogue undercover copper prematurely hauls in the prime suspect, Mike blows a fuse, resulting in an unlikely rapport developing between him and the lead homicide detective sergeant, a woman known for her stilettos and razor sharp investigative skills. At the end of his seventy-two-hour shift, three men are dead and Mike O’Shea is floating in and out of consciousness in an emergency room hallway, two women by his side. Death Before Coffee, the second book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, weaves a homicide investigation through the life of an inner-city police detective intent on balancing his responsibilities as a son, brother, and newly single father with his sworn oath of duty. When faced with death, Mike is forced to make decisions that stir up old memories, compelling him to confront his demons while fighting the good fight.


My Review

I have a confession.

Okay, maybe not the kind that needs to be recorded and documented but I feel it’s only fair to get it out in the open – I am typing this review rather heavily medicated for what seems to be the never-ending-February-head-cold and am worried that this may not be my best piece of writing. Please be kind when it comes to any spelling and grammar mistakes, as I am not catching things the way I normally do!

But on to the book which is fabulous, Canadian, and intensely action packed.

All of the things that I loved in Ryan’s first novel lived on in the second, and it was both refreshing and incredibly sad to see that Mike hadn’t walked away from Sal’s murder scott free. Too often I read crime fiction and series where the lead investigator witnesses tragedy after tragedy and seems to ruck on mentally unscathed – but that is not the case with Michael O’Shea. He’s broken, irreparably damaged, and incredibly real. He has flashbacks, suffers from PTSD, generally denies the reality that he needs some professional help, and yet manages to be stubborn and callous in the most endearing way possible.

I must admit though, I did not expect traffic man Ron Roberts to wind up as Mike’s partner, and loved how harshly their personalities clashed with one another. They were automatic chemistry, tension, and humour all rolled into one. And yet, I can see these two odd ducks – the living legend and the rules & regs man – forming a bond and partnership that will carry them through some serious cases and personal hard times. Of course, it makes sense that those involved in Sal’s open case would eventually gravitate back towards one another, and I simply can’t wait to see where this cold case goes given the whoppers that were dropped in the final pages. I mean – Oh. My. Giddy. Goodness. Who doesn’t love a little dirty-cop drama? And now we have to sit patiently for the next instalment to be released!

Impatience aside, this review would not be complete without some serious attention to Detective Sergeant Amanda Black. I am totally in love with this boss lady. Everyone might call her a bitch but she is seriously bad-ass! Driven, successful, damn good at her job and a family lady to boot, she sets the bar pretty high when it comes life goals. I absolutely adored her laser-vision attention to detail, ability to assess and manage a team, and especially her lady-balls when it came to dealing with condescension, insubordination, and the persistent gender gap in her given profession. She’s the perfect balance to Mike’s get ’em cowboy ways and Ron’s by the book approach, injecting a little femininity and a healthy dose of sarcasm into some seriously heavy police work. We need more ladies like her in fiction AND the real world. Period.

And let’s to forget the structure of the book itself. I loved how it was broken up into tightly packed segments delineated by date and time. It gave the feeling of reading through a police report while simultaneously drawing you into the action. It created this sense of everything moving both incredibly fast and unbearably slow at the same time, much the same way I imagine first 48 hours following a major crime feels to the investigating team. It allowed for intense focus on key moments as well as breaks in time to advance the plot while maintaining a seamless and easy to read presentation.

The case was tantalizing, and presented plenty of obstacles to ramp up the drama and keep the pages turning. I felt for the officers running the gauntlet with the media vultures, and found myself steaming with rage when officers went out of their way to disobey, or worse, looked like they might be dirty and on the take. I appreciated the power dynamics, the distinctly different units that have to converge to work on a case, and the need to balance safety with legitimacy when approaching any serious situation. The result was incredibly realistic and believable.

Would I recommend this book? In a heart beat! And I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge advocate for Canadian content, I’m saying it because this baby packs a serious punch and is shaping up to be an awesome series. Death Before Coffee is gritty, raw, and heartbreakingly real. It hits close to home, and makes you consider some pretty serious issues in an unobtrusive way. Read it my fellow crime lovers, you won’t be disappointed.


About The Author

thumbnail_img_1467For almost thirty years, Desmond P. Ryan began every day of his working life with either a victim waiting in a hospital emergency room, or a call to a street corner or a blood-soaked room where someone had been left for dead. Murder, assaults on a level that defied humanity, sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the individuals who were no more than objects to the offenders: all in a day’s work.

It was exhilarating, exhausting, and often heartbreaking.

As a Detective with the Toronto Police Service, Desmond P. Ryan wrote thousands of reports detailing the people, places, and events that led up to the moment he came along. He investigated the crimes and wrote synopses for guilty pleas detailing the circumstances that brought the accused individuals before the Courts. He also wrote a number of files to have individuals deemed either Not Criminally Responsible due to mental incapacity, or Dangerous Offenders to be held in custody indefinitely.

Now, as a retired investigator with three decades of research opportunities under his belt, Desmond P. Ryan writes crime fiction.

Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction.


Many thanks to Shell Baker at Baker’s Blog Tours and Promos for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#BlogTour #Review: The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir @SussexMysteries @rararesources #Giveaway

The Forgotten Children

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir.  Disturbingly real, deeply emotional, and absolutely gripping Emily’s journey will leave you questioning the motives and secret histories of everyone you’ve ever dared to judge.


The Forgotten Children PAPERBACK frontTitle: The Forgotten Children

Author: Isabella Muir

Publisher: Outset Publishing Inc.

Publication Date: November 29, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Family

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4/ 5


Synopsis

A woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest periods

Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt that threatens to consume her.  For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born.  But now, in the summer of 1987, she decides to begin the search for her son.

Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness.  But it is when she decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons.

Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born.

Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her own sad experiences.  Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.

The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.

At its heart, The Forgotten Childrenis a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is painful.  Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and governments, who should have known better.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Children-chilling-inspired-events-ebook/dp/B07GZYHLKV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Children-chilling-inspired-events-ebook/dp/B07GZYHLKV


My Review

If you enjoy gushy, uplifting reads, walk away now.

The Forgotten Children is deep, uncomfortable, and entirely confrontational. It forces you to question motives, suspend judgement, and look more closely at ‘official’ histories. Oh, and did I mention that it’s an absolutely outstanding read?

Set in the not-too-distant past, the familiarity of the place and society of Emily’s world is so close that it’s almost tangible. Full of nostalgia, heartbreak, and lasting preconceptions it’s almost impossible not to get lost in Emily’s story as she strives to make peace with her past, her mother, and her son. Muir confronts loss on so many levels – through miscarriage, through adoption, through choice, between parents and children, amongst siblings, lovers, and friends. It deals with some incredibly harsh realities, and yet it delivers an incredibly cathartic experience that evokes both empathy and understanding.

Emotions aside, there’s a damn good story in the mix as well. I enjoyed being let into Emily’s life, especially those moments with Ralph, and felt that the journey she experienced was particularly believable. Walter and Patrick were a breath of fresh air, and I appreciated the ways in which Walter always turned a question in on itself. I also loved Gee, and her persistently optimistic outlook on life. But most surprising, was the degree to which I found myself empathizing with Emily’s mother. Granted, it took some time for me to warm up to her, but about the time she joined Emily in Wales I was as much invested in her story as I was in her daughter’s.

I must admit though, that I found there were a few too may happy endings given the circumstances. It seemed unlikely that there would be so many reunions in light of the times, the distance, and the practice of changing children’s name when they were transported overseas. The reality is that closed and/ or anonymous adoptions can be difficult to track at the best times, let alone across an ocean and when paper files were prone to natural attrition or convenient destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I needed a little hope and happiness after Emily’s rollercoaster ride, but this was perhaps the only element I found a bit stretched.

Regardless, The Forgotten Children is the kind of book that makes you think. It tugs at your heartstrings in every way possible, and has a relatable character for just about everyone. It’s balanced, provocative, and sadly sweet.  If you enjoy contemporary fiction with a bit of grit and a healthy does of drama this one will definitely be for you.


Giveaway

Giveaway  – Win a signed copy of The Forgotten Children (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494188/? 


About The Author

The Forgotten Isabella Muir

Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series.  These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMuirAuthor/

https://twitter.com/SussexMysteries

https://isabellamuir.com/


Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Forgotten Children Full Tour Banner