Guest Post by Faye Bird – Author of My Second Life

23.07.2014
20:26

My Second Life cover

I am delighted to welcome Faye Bird to Bookbabblers today. Faye is the author of My Second Life, a fantastic book that we will be reviewing on Bookbabblers in the next week. Here is Faye’s guest post…

Identity and Second Lives
The central notion underpinning Ana’s story in My Second Life is that it is possible to have lived before, and as I am unable to explain Ana’s reincarnation, this notion absolutely presents the reader with a challenge: can we believe that Ana has lived a life before this one as Emma, and if we do, who is Ana?

Dr Ian Stevenson, a respected psychiatrist and scientist certainly believed the stories of the children he interviewed who spoke of having lived past lives, and so much so he set out to prove that reincarnation existed. His work in this field is documented and discussed in Tom Shroder’s book Old Souls, and within that book Dr Stevenson supplies some compelling evidence in the shape of common features that those children he interviewed shared.

Most of the children who spoke of past lives remembered excruciatingly ordinary details of their first life, made statements about their first life as soon as they started to speak and were able to recognise and name people from their previous life.

One child said, “I want to go home. This is not my house. You are not my mother. I don’t have a father. My father died.” He would not call his ‘second life father’ Daddy. He called him by name. And this was a detail I used when I wrote Ana’s story; Ana calls her second life mother Rachel, not Mum, because Rachel simply does not feel like her Mum.

Many of the children Stevenson interviewed displayed phobias that were related to traumatic experiences in their first life, and were able to speak matter-of-factly about their death. Some remembered how they died, but for some it was just the feeling or the action of their death that they remembered. One child described her death as ‘falling from above.’

And it is these sorts of sparse details, expressed so simply, that all of the children interviewed by Dr Stevenson shared in the telling of their stories, which brought home to me the feeling of displacement that they all so clearly felt.

These children did not feel like themselves. They were sure they knew things that the people around them did not seem to know or even recognise. They were conflicted, and they were alone, because when they spoke of their previous life and what they knew, they were mostly ignored.

One man Stevenson interviewed explained how his sister had asked him why he had never spoken of his previous life to her or their parents until now, when he was an adult. I did speak about it, he said, when I was 4, but our parents never listened to me.

And of course all of these feelings – the sense of loneliness, of being ignored, of being displaced – are not a world away from how I know I felt as a teenager.
No – I didn’t believe that I had lived before, and I didn’t experience a trauma during my teenage years that contributed to my feeling this way. I think I simply felt this way because of the emotional transitions my teenage years demanded.

Certainly, like most teenagers, I aspired to adulthood, but the reality of that aspiration – the reality of trying to work out who I was and where I fitted in the world – was a challenge. And that challenge, I realised in the writing, was no different to that of a child, whether we believe her or not, who tells us that she has lived before, and who is battling both with herself and those around her to be the person she wants to be. By the end of the book Ana knows herself better, and I hope that the reader too, whether he or she believes in past lives or not, will understand the precious value in this.

My Second Life by Faye Bird is out now. Read the first chapter online now at www.usborne.com/readmysecondlife. Follow Faye on Twitter @faye_bird. You can also search for #mysecondlife on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Faye Bird_website

Review of The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

22.07.2014
20:14

Assassins Blade cover

We first met Celaena Sardothien when she was imprisoned in the flithy mines of Endovier and have been steadily getting to know her over the two books Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of five novellas that show us an amazing glimpse into Celaena’s life before she became the personal assassin of the king of Adarlan.

Each novella is action packed and slowly begins to answer some of the many questions we as readers have asked ourselves about this feisty heroine. I am a massive fan of the series and really love Celaena’s swagger and sassiness. But these novellas stripped her back to her raw essentials and I fell for her story all over.

This collection of novellas will take you on an awe-inspiring journey across blistering deserts and remote islands, meet pirate lords and healers. It is a pulse-pounding, tender and dramatic read that will make you pick up Throne of Glass and ache for book three in this amazing series.

Reviewed by Pamela.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending us a copy to review.

Blog Tour: Giveaway and Review of Lawless by Jessie Keane

18.07.2014
20:58

Lawless cover
I am delighted to be hosting the Lawless blog tour today. This is the first book by Jessie Keane that I have read and I absolutely loved it.

Beginning in 1975, Ruby Darke is struggling to come to terms with the murder of her lover, Michael Ward. Her own business empire is starting to fall apart and, at the same time, her children Kit and Daisy are facing their own problems. Kit has reached an all time low after the revenge killing of Tito Danieri. However, things soon get a lot worse when it becomes clear that the Danieri’s will stop at nothing to get back at the Darke family.

This is a fantastic gritty and gripping read that I didn’t want to put down. There is so much suspense that I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through and the characters are brilliantly drawn. It is the sequel to Nameless, but read equally well as a standalone novel. Keane really brings the 1970s underworld to life and I found myself swept away with the fast paced plot, which is full of twists and turns.

5 stars

Thank you to PanMacmillan for sending us a copy to review.

We have 3 copies of Lawless to giveaway. To enter, retweet this post or leave a comment below. Giveaway is open to UK residents only and closes on the 31st July 2014.

Review of The Ties That Bind by Erin Kelly

13.07.2014
20:41

The Ties That Bind

Luke is a writer on a mission – he wants to write the ultimate true crime story. His first attempt, in his home town of Leeds, ended in disaster and he needs to rebuild his reputation. Having acrimoniously broken up with his rich, unbalanced and overly possessive partner Jem, he decides to get as far away from Leeds as possible. Brighton beckons, especially as a good friend of his, Charlene, works in an estate agent`s in the town. Charlene`s boss is a reformed gangster lord from the 1960s, Joss Grand, who now owns swathes of Brighton – the perfect subject for Luke`s masterpiece. He would write about the underworld of Joss and his sadistic partner Jacky Nye, who was killed in mysterious circumstances in 1968. He needs to persuade Grand to allow him to write a book about his life, thus allowing some digging into the details of Jacky`s murder.

He succeeds in persuading Grand to write his life story, but this comes at a price. The deeper Luke delves into Jacky`s unsolved murder, the more it seems he is putting himself in harm`s way. He needs to find the girl in the red coat who was seen running from the scene of the murder by the West Pier, believing her to be the key witness to the crime – that is, if she is still alive. He is constantly warned about the dangers of sifting through forgotten secrets but he is obsessive. Will he end up being part of the story himself? Not only that, but will Jem ever leave him alone? As Luke is pursuing the past, Jem is pursuing him.
An amusingly written, delightful read. I love the twists and turns of the plot, the surprises and the heartbreaks, the secrets and the revenge all together in a great book. A book not to be put down until the final word!

Reviewed by Liz.

Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for sending us a copy to review.

Blog Tour: Head over Heart by Colette Victor

08.07.2014
08:07

Head over Heart jacket

I am delighted to be today`s host on the Head over Heart blog tour. Here is an exclusive extract from the book…

Head Over Heart Chapter 1 extract

Blog Tour – Heartbreak Cafe: No Experience Required

02.07.2014
21:05

heartbreak cafe

I am delighted to welcome Janet Quin-Harkin to Bookbabblers today, as part of the blog tour for Heartbreak Cafe.

Books that Have Inspired me: By Janet Quin-Harkin

I have always been a sucker for happy endings. I love romantic movies—Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail. Nora wrote my kind of stories. I suppose that was what drew me to writing YA novels with that lovely touch of romance in them. But my reading choices were not romance novels, on the whole. I loved romantic suspense. Mary Stewart was my very favorite when I was a teenager. I still re-read those books now: My Brother Michael and Wildfire at Midnight. They really stand the test of time. But that suspense angle was important to me too: as a teenager I devoured Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, all those ladies of the Golden Age. I loved the puzzle aspect, the crime disrupting a peaceful society, but they never touched me emotionally. When I became a writer I wanted to write books that made the reader feel. I wanted a hero or heroine that the reader would care about and cheer for. I hope I achieved that in my teenage novels and more recently in my mystery novels.
The other books that have remained close to my heart all my life have been the Jane Austen novels. They have everything I love in a book—they are witty, funny, romantic and as true to life today as they were when written. I only hope that my own books have some of these timeless qualities.

Thanks, Janet!

Look out for our review of Heartbreak Cafe: No Experience Required, which is coming soon.

Review of My New Home by Marta Altes

30.06.2014
12:31

My New Home

My New Home is a beautifully illustrated story by Marta Altes. A little raccoon and his parents have just moved to a new house in a new area and he is very down about it. Everything is different and the little raccoon really misses his friends and feels lonely. However, soon the raccoon starts to meet new people and with that comes lots of excitement and new adventures.

This is a lovely book about friendship and moving to a new place that we highly recommend. It would be perfect for young children who might be worried about moving or be about to start school.

Thank you to Macmillan for sending us a copy to review.

Cover Reveal – The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow

29.06.2014
09:25

poppy factory cover

I am delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow. I loved Liz’s last two books The Last Telegram and The Forgotten Seamstress, so I can’t wait to read The Poppy Factory.

Inspired by the upcoming anniversary of the First World War, historical fiction author Liz Trenow has penned a captivating story of two young women, bound together by the tragedy of two very different wars.

Interviews with soldiers who have recently served in Afghanistan, along with an NHS paramedic and extensive research into the origins of the incredibly inspirational Poppy Factory which to this day helps returning soldiers to find work helped Liz to create remarkable characters inspired by real events.

With the end of the First World War, Rose is looking forward to welcoming home her beloved husband Alfie from the battlefields. But his return is not what Rose had expected. Traumatised by what he has seen, the Alfie who comes home is a different man to the one Rose married. As he struggles to cope with life in peace time, Rose wrestles with temptation as the man she fell in love with seems lost forever.

Many years later, Jess returns from her final tour of Afghanistan. Haunted by nightmares from her time at the front, her longed-for homecoming is a disaster and she wonders if her life will ever be the same again. Can comfort come through her great-grandmother Rose’s diaries?

For Jess and Rose, the realities of war have terrible consequences. Can the Poppy Factory, set up to help injured soldiers, rescue them both from the heartache of war?

About The Author

Liz Trenow is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. The Forgotten Seamstress is her second novel. She lives in East Anglia with her artist husband, and they have two grown up daughters. Find out more at www.liztrenow.com.

Review of Tangled by Emma Chase

26.06.2014
20:43

Tangled cover

Drew Evans has it all. He’s handsome and arrogant and the kind of cocky that knows it. He makes multimillion dollar business deals, can seduce a woman with a smile and breezes through life with barely a care in the world.

Then he met Kate Brooks. A new associate at Drew’s father’s firm, she is automatically out of bounds for him, but that doesn’t stop himself from fantasising. Kate is amazing at her job, smart, funny and gorgeous. And attached. When they are put in competition with each other the gloves come off but pretty soon office politics become serious flirting and sexual tension.

Kate embodies everything that Drew never wanted. Why have one woman when you could have any number? But something about this woman makes Drew want to pursue until he has what he wants and never let go. But just as he is on the brink of getting what he wants his ego destroys any chance he has.

I’m in two minds about Tangled. On one hand, it was okay. It passed easily without much involvement and while it was a good read, I’ve had better. But on the other, something about this book made it brilliant. It is written from Drew’s POV and in a very unique way. The best way I could describe it would be like Leo in The Wolf of Wall Street, and I actually heard that voice as I was reading. It’s one of those shockingly honest views into the male psyche and though we should hate him, something about Drew is pretty damn loveable.

All in all, an easy but very enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Pamela.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

Review of The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah

25.06.2014
21:00

Telling Error cover

Amazing writing and impossibly twisting plots are the power behind this story interspersed with delightful psychological insights into relationships and their raison d`etre. We are in the Culver Valley to where Nicki Clements, the main character, has recently moved house. She is trying to be “good” but is she really bad or is she a good person? Why is she as she is? Why can she not be content with a loving husband and two lovely children? Why is she conducting a cyber-affair with a man whose true identity she does not know and whom she addresses as King Edward V11? How is she involved in the murder of openly despised columnist Damon Blundy, who dies in unusual circumstances at home in his study, his wife downstairs at the time?
These and many other interesting questions need to be answered but not before we are introduced to DC Simon Waterhouse and his wife Charlie, also a policewoman, her married sister Liv, who is having an affair with also married DC Gibbs and the rest of the Culver Valley investigative team who are attempting to solve the case.
Amongst the suspects are all the people who detested Blundy`s caustic writings, usually attacking them personally, in the newspaper. Preeminent amongst these are Bryn Gilligan – a sprinter disgraced for taking drugs: Reuben Tasker, award-winning author, also partial to marijuhana to help him write his horror books: Kieran Holland, writer and supporter of Gilligan in his apology to the world for cheating in order to be the best, and finally, Paula Riddiough, ex-MP for Culver Valley whom Blundy lambasted continuously for her life-style.
The resulting investigation encompasses complicated layers of deception on the part of the main characters and a deep insight into the values, thought processes and life-choices of each of them. I found that the book gave me food for thought as well as being an engrossing puzzle. Highly recommended as a deeply exciting read.

Reviewed by Liz.

Thank you to Hodder for sending us a copy to review.

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