Blog Tour: Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver

Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: A functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men.

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve.

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control.

She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group.

But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

What I Thought:

I’m relatively new to Will Carver – Psychopaths Anonymous is only the second of his books I’ve read – but I think we’re going to get along famously.

I found myself drawn into this book instantly, as Maeve’s voice is so clear and so compelling. She unashamedly voices many of the things that we are all thinking these days, from watching reality shows purely to revel in the car crash of peoples’ lives to acknowledging that social media exists really only to let us all have our 15 minutes of fame. She’s about as relatable as she can be – aside from all the killing, perhaps.

This aspect of Maeve is really interesting – she kills people, that’s all there is to it really. She has a perfectly reasoned argument for why these people had to die and, although she does keep it hidden for obvious reasons, she is completely at home with her psychopathy. It’s just part of who she is.

For a book that is quite dark and, in places, gory, I found it hugely entertaining! It comes from a place of assuming that psychopaths live among us, in plain sight and I’m sure that’s completely true. Are we to assume that they also kill with Maeve’s frequency? That’s for you to decide…

Regardless, having this book come out so soon after The Beresford, which I was lucky enough to read earlier this year, one wonders where Will Carver finds the time! Superb.

Psychopaths Anonymous is published by Orenda Books.

About the Author:

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the publication of Psychopaths Anonymous. Why not check out some of the amazing fellow bloggers taking part below:

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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My Plans for #NetGalleyNovember

Like very many of the book reviewers I know, I can get a bit carried away when looking at all the fantastic new titles that appear on Netgalley. Despite having plenty of books to read, the temptation is strong, which has lead to me have quite a number of titles still on my Netgalley shelf.

A couple of years ago, I started making a concerted effort to get this number down and get some of the older books read, reviewed and off the shelf with a view to getting my Netgalley percentage to the fabled 80%, which is when I came across #NetgalleyNovember, hosted by @emandherbooks and @tots_and_tales.

This is a great challenge which uses regular sprints and a healthy sense of competition to help us all get that shelf looking a bit more healthy, so this year I’m taking part.

So, a little late, my starting stats are:

And to focus the mind a little more, I’ve filled out my Netgalley Bingo Card with nine books I’m aiming to read – with the option to do a few more if I have time (ha!).

I’ve already finished two books (Little Black Lies and Fortunes Favours the Dead), so I feel like I’m on track at the mo…

Catch up with the other participants on Twitter, and I’ll try and give a few updates through the month too.

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Blog Tour: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by M. W. Arnold

A mysterious key left by her murdered sister, leads Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Betty Palmer on a journey of discovery and danger. Given up to an orphanage at birth, the parents she’s long thought had no part in her life force themselves back in, purely out of greed and self-preservation.

Penny’s life is unexpectedly turned upside down by a potentially life-changing situation, which causes her wounded husband to question their marriage. No-one seems safe in this year of turmoil in the middle years of the war, as some relationships face breaking point whilst others become stronger.

Kidnap, crashes and dogfights, the girls of the Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club have never faced such dangers. To survive may not be enough as they must find the strength to rise above the most trying times yet of their lives.

What I Thought:

The third book in the Broken Wings series has arrived as an early Chirstmas present (yes, I said the ‘C’ word!).

In I’ll be Home for Christmas, we’re back in Hamble with the Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club and solving the mystery that tantalised us at the end of book two – that of a small key that could open up the unknown parts of Betty Palmer’s own life.

Alongside this, the girls deal with family revelations, unwanted publicity and marital strife in what is the best yet of this historical fiction series.

Although it is, I’ll admit, a little early to be heading into Christmas, Mick Arnold perfectly evokes the rather constrained Christmases of wartime, with rationing and the shadow of the war lurking around the corner. He also provides his now trademark historical and technical detail which gels perfectly with the story.

Picking up this third book in the series is really like rejoining a gang of old friends. It’s very easy to become absorbed in the girls’ adventures and their personal highs and lows. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next in the series!

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is published by The Wild Rose Press.

About the Author:

Mick spent fifteen-odd years roaming around the world, courtesy of HM Queen Elizabeth II – gawd bless her – before becoming a civilian and realizing what working for a living really was.

He loves traveling, and the music of the Beach Boys, Queen, Muse, and Bon Jovi. Books play a large part in his life, not only writing, but also reading and reviewing, as well as supporting his many author friends.

He’s the proud keeper of two Romanian Were-Cats bent on world domination, and enjoys the theatre and humoring his Manchester United-supporting wife. Finally, and most importantly, Mick is a full member of the Romantic Novelists Association. I’ll be Home for Christmas will be his third novel with The Wild Rose Press.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: Drinking Custard by Lucy Beaumont

Known for her sharp, witty and surreal view on everyday life, Lucy shares the unpredictable craziness of being a mum in this brilliant and laugh-out-loud ‘mumoir’.

Mums everywhere will recognise the madness of it all. From when Lucy was hospitalised with indigestion in her third trimester (blame the burrito), to when she was this close to slapping her hypnobirthing instructor, to finding herself drinking a whole pint of custard in one sitting.

Drinking Custard also captures Lucy’s marriage to comedian Jon, as they navigate Lucy’s raging pregnancy hormones and balk at pram prices together.

What I Thought:

I’ll never tire of motherhood books that tell it like it is and I take a very dim view of those parenting manuals that assure you that baby should be running to your routine, will go down for a nap when you say, and go to bed when you say – especially when my youngest didn’t go to sleep unless he was being held FOR THREE YEARS.

So, in Drinking Custard, when Lucy Beaumont’s daughter Elsie says ‘Right, I’m in charge.’ we may chuckle, because we all know it’s true…

If you’ve ever had a little tyrant in your life then this is the book for you, as reading Lucy’s adventures in motherhood strikes home on many levels – from having your boob grabbed by a well-meaning breastfeeding nurse, to feeling the pressure of living up to the Instagram-Mummy-Blog images of How To Be a MumTM Lucy’s book is honest, and that’s really all I ever wanted from a parenting book when my kids were young. There are amazing things about being a parent, but there are an equal number of shitty things and, despite things like Why Mummy Drinks, the shitty bits are still not talked about enough.

I know I don’t really need to say this, given that she’s a comedian, but Lucy’s writing is so funny, and yet there is a great mix of the hilarious and those touching, emotional moments that come with being a parent – a child that doesn’t look back as they head into school is a testament to your abilities as a parent, but it sure is a dagger to the heart too! This comes across really well in this book and will have you nodding in agreement as you read.

Lucy’s voice is warm and relatable, and I couldn’t help hearing it in her voice as I read, and the corrections and clarifications from Jon Richardson set the tone early on. They seem like a nice couple when they’re on TV things, and that comes across here too.

I highly recommend you step away from Instagram and grab this book instead – with or without a tin of custard!

Drinking Custard is published by Octopus Books.

About the Author:

Lucy Beaumont is a talented stand-up, comedy actress and writer. She is the writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s To Hull and Back, writer of Channel 4’s Hullraisers and cowriter of Dave’s Meet The Richardsons which returns for a second series this year.

Lucy is a well-known daughter of Hull and is passionate about her hometown. She has appeared on numerous entertainment shows; Artsnight (BBC2), Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier (Dave), Alan Davies’ As Yet Untitled (Dave), QI (BBC2), Drunk History (Comedy Central), Jonathan Ross Show (ITV), The One Show (BBC1), Cats Does Countdown (C4), What’s Going to Kill Us (C5), Live At The Electric (BBC Three) and featured in a Maltesers advertising campaign.

This post is part of a blog tour celebrating the release of Drinking Custard. For more reviews and exclusive content, check out the other participating blogs below.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire

Following her brother’s death and her mother’s emotional breakdown, Laura now lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in a lonely townhouse she shares with her old-world, strict, often querulous grandparents. But the arrangement may be temporary. The quiet, awkward teenager has been getting into trouble at home and has been expelled from her high school for throwing a record album at a popular girl who bullied her. When Christmas is over and the new year begins, Laura may find herself at boarding school in Montreal.

Nearly unmoored from reality through her panic and submerged grief, Laura is startled when a handsome swan boy with only one wing lands on her roof. Hiding him from her ever-bickering grandparents, Laura tries to build the swan boy a wing so he can fly home. But the task is too difficult to accomplish herself. Little does Laura know that her struggle to find help for her new friend parallels that of her grandparents, who are desperate for a distant relative’s financial aid to save the family store.

As he explores themes of class, isolation, family, and the dangerous yearning to be saved by a power greater than ourselves, Gregory Maguire conjures a haunting, beautiful tale of magical realism that illuminates one young woman’s heartbreak and hope as she begins the inevitable journey to adulthood.

What I Thought:

I think by now that Gregory Maguire is acknowledged as the master of retellings – as I’m sure is the case with many people, I was introduced to his work by Wicked after loving the musical but that book is so different to the show, with much, much greater depth than what you see on stage. The book also uses fantasy to explore important and pertinent issues in modern life woven into the story in twisty and creative ways.

So on to A Wild Winter Swan – a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans. In case you’re not familiar, the story tells of a girl whose brothers are turned into swans until she can weave moonlight into garments, and cover them, to turn them back. She is not quite able to turn them all back, so one brother is destined to go through life with one swan wing.

In this story, social misfit Laura finds the swan boy crashed on her roof one snowy night and has to help him go free, while she is also struggling to find her own place in a world where she is the weird girl with no social connections. In helping the boy, can she find help and friendship in unexpected places?

Once again, the fantastical elements of the story are rooted in the real world – this time 1960s New York – as Laura deals with personal tragedy with little support from her hard-working grandparents. Is she still part of a family when so many of the family are no longer there? Is the swan boy still part of his family when he is alone, and still part-swan?

I think this story is going to be one of my go-to Christmas re-reads – it has such a warm, Christmassy feeling, despite the sadness and grief that runs through the Ciardi household and Laura herself, as the wintery scene is so vividly captured in the falling snow and city slush.

I’m reminded by this book that I must make more time for Gregory Maguire’s books – his writing has such a sense of poetry to it, even when capturing the modern. He even manages to turn a slushy, city street into something beautiful!

Although the book is a retelling of The Wild Swans, it hints at it, rather than absorbing full elements of that story into it. Using it as an exploration of grief and the experience of immigrant families is much more the basis of the novel, which I think comes across very well.

A Wild Winter Swan is published by HarperCollins.

About the Author

Gregory Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature from 1979-1985. In 1987 he co-founded Children’s Literature New England. He still serves as co-director of CLNE, although that organization has announced its intention to close after its 2006 institute.

The bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad.

He has three adopted children and is married to painter Andy Newman. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

This post is part of a blog tour celebrating A Wild Winter Swan. For more reviews and exclusive content, check out the participating blogs below:

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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