The Distance by Helen Giltrow is one of the She Reads Books of Fall and it is one fast paced ride through a pretty gritty world. This is one of those books that has you wondering at every second just what will jump from the page next.
In the public eye Charlotte is a society woman but in private she becomes Karla. In her life as Karla she specializes in information. She can find out anything, she can change data, she can literally do pretty much anything with a person’s life including making them disappear. What she does is not considered to be legal which is why it is so secretive so when someone from her past – Simon – shows up Karla knows something is up. Simon is a hired killer and he wants into The Program. The Program is a unique prison in that it is set up as a self-regulating village and Simon wants in. Can Karla get him in? Can Simon find his target and make it out alive?
The Distance is a fast paced thriller that really doesn’t give you a moment to breathe. Both Karla and Simon are great characters but because the book is basically plot driven you never really get to know them therefore the connection there is lost but really not important in this type of story. You know when you watch a horror movie and put your hands over your eyes – well that’s how I felt reading. I kept thinking to myself that these people were all crazy for putting themselves in such situations yet I kept listening. My only complaint is that I found the beginning hard to get into and until I got a grasp on who was who and what they were up to I wasn’t sure I would keep listening but when this story took off it did so in a big way!
I listened to the audiobook of The Distance which is narrated by Rachel Atkins and I thought she did a great job with this book. She had the right tone for the weightiness of the violence and secretive nature of what was going on. I hadn’t listened to her before but I would again. In the beginning when I was having trouble getting into the story it’s her narration that kept me going! One note though is that this is a very graphically violent book so it is most definitely not for the faint of heart so beware. If you’re a fan of heart pounding action then The Distance is the book for you.
Source: Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all thoughts and opinions are that of the blog owner.
Today I’ve got a guest post for everyone from author C.C. Humphreys and his newest novel The French Executioner which Mark Huffam, who produced the first season of the HBO hit series Game of Thrones, has signed on to produce the movie adaptation of The French Executioner, which has been optioned by an acclaimed Hollywood producer/director. I’ll be reviewing The French Executioner in November so watch for my review then. In the meantime enjoy the guest post and be sure to enter my giveaway for a chance to win your own copy.
WHY WRITE A NOVEL ABOUT THE MAN WHO KILLED ANNE BOLEYN?
Where do the ideas for novels come from?
I remember exactly what I was doing when the idea for The French Executioner hit me like a bolt of lightning. I was working out.
I was living in Vancouver at the time. Making my living as an actor. I’d written a couple of plays. But my dream from childhood had always been to write historical fiction.
I wasn’t thinking of any of that, on that day in a gym in 1993. I was thinking about shoulder presses. Checking my form in the mirror.
This is what happened. (It also shows you the rather strange associations in my brain!)
I lift the weight bar.
Me, in my head. ‘God, I’ve got a long neck.’
‘If I was ever executed,’ – Raise bar – ‘it would be a really easy shot for the ax.’
‘Or the sword. Because, of course, Anne Boleyn was executed with a sword.’
Raise bar. Stop half way.
‘Anne Boleyn had six fingers on one hand.’
Flash! Boom! Put down bar before I drop it. It came together in my head, as one thing: the executioner, brought from France to do the deed, (I remembered that from school). Not just taking her head. Taking her hand as well, that infamous hand – and then the question all writers have to ask: what happened next?
I scurried to the library. Took out books. I knew it had to be a novel. I did some research, sketched a few ideas. But the problem was, I wasn’t a novelist. A play had seemed like a hill. A novel – well, it was a mountain, and I wasn’t ready to climb it. So I dreamed a while, then quietly put all my research, sketches, notes away.
But I never stopped thinking about it. The story kept coming and whenever I was in a second hand bookstore I’d study the history shelves and think: if ever I write that novel – which I probably never will – I’ll want… a battle at sea between slave galleys. So I’d buy a book on that subject, read it. Buy another, read it.
November 1999. Six years after being struck by lightning. I’m living back in England and I find a book on sixteenth century mercenaries – and I knew the novel I was never going to write would have mercenaries. Twenty pages in, I turn to my wife and say: “You know, I think I’m going to write that book.” And she replies, “It’s about bloody time.”
I wrote. The story, all that research, had stewed in my head for so long, it just poured out. Ten months and I was done. I wondered if it was any good. I sent it to an agent. She took me on and had it sold three months later.
I was a novelist after all.
GIVEAWAY – OPEN TO US RESIDENTS ONLY
1 copy up for grabs!
*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter
Draw Date November 4/14
(comments are welcome but do not count as an entry)
Source: Giveaway copy provided by the publisher. No compensation was received for this post.
Butternut Summer by Mary McNear was just what I was expecting. A lovely, heartwarming story of a charming little town with a whole host of characters that you won’t soon forget. Butternut Summer is the second in the Butternut Lake Trilogy with the first being Up at Butternut Lake which I read last year and loved. Part of a trilogy this book does stand on its own although the benefit of reading the first book before this one would be familiarizing yourself with the characters a little more and getting a bit of back story. Both books are so wonderful and just perfect for cozying up with now that the weather is cooling off.
Daisy is home from college for the summer and nothing could make her mother Caroline happier. Daisy will spend the summer working with her mom in their diner called Pearl’s and Caroline is really looking forward to spending time with her daughter. Caroline is in for a surprise though because unknown to her Daisy has been meeting with her father for more than a year. The same father that walked out on Daisy and her mother when Daisy was just a baby. Of course Caroline is still very bitter towards Jack but has always kept that from Daisy and can understand that Daisy wants to have a relationship with her father but that doesn’t mean that Caroline has to as well. However it seems that Jack is thinking exactly that and he doesn’t seem to want to give up too easily in his determination to win Caroline back.
Daisy, on her way to meet her parents, ends up having trouble with her truck and has to stop at the mechanics. She ends up meeting Will a boy she went to school with but he was considered a bad boy then so he wasn’t anyone Daisy associated with. Even now the two have nothing in common. Daisy is on her way back to college at the end of the summer and Will is going nowhere really working at the garage. Secretly though Will remembers the fierce crush he had on Daisy in school and it seems that attraction is still there and now he’s brave enough to act on it. Will it be a summer of love for the two?
I loved this story of love and second chances. I love that the author dealt with some real issues in this novel like alcoholism and the effects that it has on a family. I like that forgiveness and moving on plays a big role as well. Caroline was one of my favorite characters from the first book and it was great getting to know her so much better. I love that she got a second chance at life and love. I thought Daisy was a great character too. For a young woman and especially a young woman in the throes of her first love she still maintained a sensible outlook on things. The author also does a wonderful job of making the reader fall in love with Butternut and it sure made this reader wish she lived somewhere so beautiful. I was lucky enough to snag the audiobook from my local library and it was wonderful. It is narrated by Carrington Macduffie who I’ve not listened to before but would again. She really did a great job of bringing these characters and this story to life for me.
I can’t wait to see whose story will be told in Moonlight on Butternut Lake which is the third and final book in the trilogy. Butternut Summer is perfect for fans of women’s fiction and romances. Highly recommended!
Source: Digital review copy was provided by the publisher however audiobook is from my local library. No compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Please join Piers Alexander as he tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Bitter Trade, from October 13 – November 14.
Publication Date: April 7, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback; 448p
Genre: Historical Adventure/Thriller
In 1688, torn by rebellions, England lives under the threat of a Dutch invasion. Redheaded Calumny Spinks is the lowliest man in an Essex backwater: half-French and still unapprenticed at seventeen, yet he dreams of wealth and title.
When his father’s violent past resurfaces, Calumny’s desperation leads him to flee to London and become a coffee racketeer. He has just three months to pay off a blackmailer and save his father’s life – but his ambition and talent for mimicry pull him into a conspiracy against the King himself. Cal’s journey takes him from the tough life of Huguenot silk weavers to the vicious intrigues at Court. As the illicit trader Benjamin de Corvis and his controlling daughter Emilia pull him into their plots, and his lover Violet Fintry is threatened by impending war, Cal is forced to choose between his conscience and his dream of becoming Mister Calumny Spinks.
The Bitter Trade won the PEN Factor at The Literary Consultancy’s Writing In A Digital Age Conference. Jury Chair Rebecca Swift (Author, Poetic Lives: Dickinson) said: “The Pen Factor jury selected The Bitter Trade based on the quality of writing, the engaging plot, and the rich and unusual historical context. Dazzling and playful!”
Praise for The Bitter Trade
“A fantastic debut novel” – Robert Elms, BBC Radio London
“The ambitious, cheeky Calumny Spinks is a great guide through the sensory overload of 17th century London, in an adventure that combines unexpected insights with just the right amount of rollicking ribaldry. I hope it’s the opener to a series.” – Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant and May novels
“This debut novel is a gripping evocation of late seventeenth century London, rich in persuasive dialect and period detail and with a bold protagonist. An unusual thriller that just keeps you wanting to know more about the many facets of this story. You’ll never view your coffee in quite the same way again.” – Daniel Pembrey, bestselling author of The Candidate
“A very exciting and superbly researched novel” – Mel Ulm, The Reading Life
About the Author
Piers Alexander is an author and serial entrepreneur. After a successful career as CEO of media and events companies he became a Co-Founder and Chairman of three start-up businesses. In 2013 he was awarded the PEN Factor Prize for The Bitter Trade. He is currently working on the sequel, Scatterwood, set in Jamaica in 1692.
GIVEAWAY – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY
1 paperback copy up for grabs!
*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter
Draw Date November 1/14
(comments are welcome but do not count as an entry)