The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup // Blog Tour

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Can the past ever be forgotten?

As soon as nurse Maura Lyle sets foot inside the foreboding Essen Grange, she feels shivers ripple down her spine. And the sense of unease only increases when she meets her new patient, Gordon Henderson.
Drawn into the Henderson family’s tangled web of secrets and betrayals, Maura can ignore the danger lurking behind every door no longer. Even the door she has been forbidden from opening…
Essen Grange is a house with dark and cruel intentions. But now that darkness has turned on her, can Maura escape before it’s too late?

 



First of all, a huge thank you to Anna Massardi at Harper Collins for sending me a digital copy in exchange for featuring this read on a book tour!
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I must admit that upon seeing this creepy cover, I just knew I had to choose this book to read. Creepy covers/mystery thrillers are my jam so I was more than happy to read and review this despite having read Ann Troup’s work before. As you can tell from the synopsis, we follow the story of Maura, a nurse dealing with depression after the death of her husband and betrayal of her sister but determined to carry on with life, she takes on the nursing job at the mysterious Essen Grange house despite knowing none of the details. What follows is a series of misfortune, horror and truth.
My biggest love from this book was definitely the atmospheric tension that Ann Troup created and kept throughout the entire novel. The beginning almost felt like you were reading a book about the supernatural or a haunted house and in many ways it is. The book is full of twists and turns… and a lot of dead bodies and it is our job as the reader to work out how all of these people are connected and who the actual killer is.
Another highlight was that there was a dog!! His name is Buster and he likes biscuits. Ok, this isn’t important to some people but I thought I’d add that. Feel free to message me to see if he lives or dies because if you’re like me, this will decide if you read the novel or not. Maura was a very realistic character, if not sometimes very un-nurse like in the way she treated Gordon at the start. She has quite a cold exterior and I must admit, there were times when I found her childish (the time she stuck her tongue out at the ‘house’ when she fixed a fuse) so I couldn’t connect and love her completely.Untitled_Panorama1Overall, this book definitely does what it says on the tin when it comes to being a mystery thriller. It’s very mysterious (even when you think you have everything solved) and it’s very thrilling and you never know which turn the story is going to take. There’s a vast array of characters (most dead) but we delve into their backstories as the main plot evolves. With the amount of crimes that are committed, the book could have turned silly but it manages to stay realistic all whilst keeping that edge of mystery by not revealing the ‘killer’ to us until the last minute. I’d definitely recommend this book if you are a fan of the spooky house trope, a good mystery thriller and an overall atmospheric, edge-of-your-seat novel.
Goodreads | Amazon


Lots of Love,
Angharad @
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The Red Thread by Dawn Farnham

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I was kindly sent The Red Thread in exchange for an honest review in the blog tour hosted by Monsoon. What drew me to this book was not only it being historical fiction which is a genre that I love, but the fact that it takes place in 1830’s Singapore, an era I have never read about and quite frankly, don’t have any knowledge of. However, after finishing this book, I feel as though I lived in that world, saw its people and smelled the air and visited the places. It is clear that Dawn Furnham researched this book meticulously and although sometimes I felt as though there was too much description, you can’t deny that the world just leapt from the page.
The story follows the interracial relationship between Charlotte, the brother of the head of police and Zhen, a triad member after they meet at sea. The two don’t come together until way over page 100 so this is definitely a slow-burning romance. However, when they finally do, their love, despite all its boundaries, is very clear. The book also features Farnham’s take on real life figures such as Irish architect, George Coleman who is responsible for most of Singapore’s famous structures.

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To summarise, this book isn’t just a love story, it delves into the history of Singapore and its people. Everything is detailed – the clothes they wore, the food they ate. Its beautiful prose is definitely what sets it apart and it is all brought together by the lovely but ultimately tragic love between Charlotte and Zhen. Zhen’s closest friend, Qian is also a wonderful character and his own thoughts are documented on page too. The entire book is filled with interesting and unique characters and the occasional tiger attack. I’d definitely recommend picking up this book that is the first volume in a series if you are interested in this era as you will finish with a whole lot of knowledge you didn’t have before.

Paperback
| Goodreads
Thank you kindly to Monsoon Books for allowing me to take part in their blog tour and make sure you check out the people listed above to see what they have contributed.

Lots of Love,
Angharad @
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dawnfarnhamAuthor Information 
Dawn Farnham is the author of The Straits Quartet (The Red Thread, The Shallow Seas, The Hills of Singapore and The English Concubine), as well as numerous short stories, plays and children’s books. A former long-term resident of Singapore, Dawn now calls Perth, Australia, home. Her new book, Finding Maria is published in October 2017.
Website: www.dawnfarnham.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/farnhamauthor

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones | Blog Tour – ‘My Favourite Literary Villains’

As soon as I came across Wintersong online, I knew I had to get hold of a copy ASAP. Marketed as being a loose retelling of Labyrinth (one of mine and my husband’s favourite films) aimed at a more mature audience, I couldn’t wait to read this, and was thrilled to not only receive an ARC of it but also be able to be a part of the blog tour! Wintersong was released yesterday and I would highly encourage you all to go and pick up a copy.

Today, I’ll be sharing with you a little insight into the mind of S. Jae-Jones (aka. JJ), author of Wintersong, on a topic close to my heart – favourite literary villains.

{PS. Don’t forget to take a look at the first two posts of the Wintersong blog tour: Day One & Day Two can be found here. If you’d like to follow along, all blogs included in this tour are to the left!}

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I love a good villain; so much so that I love reading books or watching movies told from the villain’s point of view, like The Mists of Avalon or Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. For me, a good literary villain is complex, with motivations that are understandable or even sympathetic enough to be chilling. The following are a few of my favorites:
Melisande Shahrizai from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series
Melisande is one of my favorite characters full stop. What I love most about her is that she isn’t driven by evil or megalomania; she’s a villain because she likes to play games. The prize she’s set for herself is the throne of Terre d’Ange. Matching wits with Melisande is like playing against a chessmaster; she’s always several moves ahead. Yet despite her cool, calculating mind, she’s rather a good sport, acknowledging when she’s been beaten at her own game. There’s no active malice in Melisande, but she is completely terrifying nonetheless, and I love that about her.
The Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha books
The Darkling could have easily been the tortured romantic hero in a different series. He’s brooding, he’s tortured, he’s vulnerable, and he’s so, so broken. Yet despite all this, he’s still a selfish, horrible person, and I love that Bardugo resists softening the Darkling’s edges to make him a palatable potential love interest for Alina. I love the Darkling because he’s all wrong, and I love that I love he’s all wrong.

Mrs. Coulter from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
There is a common thread through nearly all my favorite female villains: they are evil in their subtlety and complexity. Mrs. Coulter fascinates me because she’s amoral and completely selfish, yet also charming and charismatic. Even her love for her daughter seems to be an extension of her selfishness. Despite this, despite an entire life lived for power, she commits an act of ultimate selflessness, and this dissonance is what makes Marisa Coulter an amazing villain.
Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter

I will admit that some of my visceral reaction to Dolores Umbridge is personal. I was educated at an all-girls’ school, and for my first three years, I had a very McGonagall-like headmistress (down to the tartan print!). But in my final year, we had a new headmistress when the previous one retired, and this new one was Umbridge-like in every possible way: a toad-like face, affected girlish voice, and a saccharine manner disguising a terrifying authoritarian philosophy. I think we all know an Umbridge, and the fact that she actually exists in the real world in some form or another is the most terrifying thing of all.

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All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen, Liesl feels that her childhood dreams are slipping away. And when her sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. But with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Published 7th February 2017 from Titan Books


Read my full review of Wintersong here!



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S. Jae-Jones (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and erstwhile editrix. When not obsessing over books, she can be found jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, co-hosting the pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, or playing dress-up.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina, as well as many other places on the internet, including TwitterTumblrFacebookInstagram and her blog. Wintersong is her debut novel.



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