On Maternity Leave!

IMG_1995Life is strange. This time last year, myself and my husband had just lost our little boy. 2019 was an incredibly hard year for us. I was on maternity leave from work so I concentrated on recovery, reading, blogging, writing my first book (which still isn’t finished), and attending writing events around Ireland. I met some wonderful people and some of my favourite writers at some fantastic events including Noireland, the Listowel Writers’ Week, and several events in Dublin and Cork organised by the formidable Vanessa Fox O’ Loughlin. I also learned so much about the writing process and got lots of ideas. Thanks to all of the fantastic writers and publicists that sent me ARCs for the last few years. I love reading and reviewing and hope it’s always something I can do.

This year is a bit different because we’ve just welcomed our little girl. Our rainbow baby. So for the next few weeks/months, I probably won’t be posting reviews for newly published books. Instead, I’m taking a break and I’m going to try to get through some of my TBR pile which includes a lot of books published in the last two to three years that I didn’t get a chance to read. I also have a lot of Stephen King books that I’ve wanted to read for a while. I might post reviews of these older books if I have time and I might also blog about my own writing if I get any time to write!

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for but I’ll see you on the other side 🙂

The Long Way Home by Richard Chizmar

43297534._UY400_SS400_Gathered here for the first time ever are seventeen short stories, two essays, and a short script by award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, Richard Chizmar.

Eerie, suspenseful, poignant, the stories in The Long Way Home run the gamut from horror to suspense, crime to dark fantasy, mainstream to mystery. This brand new collection features more than 100,000 words of short fiction, as well as more than 5,000 words of autobiographical Story Notes. Continue reading

NOIRELAND International Crime Fiction Festival, Belfast 2019

IMG_1547-28th to 10th March 2019, Europa Hotel, Belfast

The NOIRELAND International Crime Fiction Festival doesn’t have to worry about distinguishing itself from other literary festivals in Ireland because it takes place in Belfast, a city known for its dark past. In addition, the festival took place in the Europa Hotel, the perfect location for a crime fiction festival from a historical perspective. Although a bustling cosmopolitan city today, the tension between the Belfast of the past and the present came up in several panels as writers sought to leave the Troubles behind and focus on more straightforward crime fiction. At the moment, crime writing is flourishing in Northern Ireland and writers agreed that it was born out of what they experienced growing up in the North but that it can only really thrive and be fully expressed in peaceful times. Co-organised by David Torrans, owner of No Alibis in Belfast, the North’s only crime fiction bookshop, and Angela McMahon, the festival perfectly celebrated this creativity both in Northern Ireland and internationally and the ongoing fascination we have with the darker side of human nature. Continue reading

When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy

33905006In its allusion to A Portrait of a Writer as a Young Man, the title of Meena Kandasamy’s second book reflects Joyce’s tale in which a fictional alter ego searches for his identity in late-nineteenth century Dublin. Similarly, in When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife, Kandasamy describes her own experiences as an abused and dehumanised wife in South India and her struggle to both retain and also create her identity. Her husband, a respected university English lecturer gradually dominates every facet of her life, including what she writes and who she talks to. Continue reading

Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, presented by Kevin J. Kennedy, edited by Brandy Yassa

Collected Christmas FinalChristmas has always struck me as being the strangest time of year. Whether you’re a fan of Christmas or not, or an Andy Williams or Grinch as Nev Murray describes it in the Foreword, Christmas feels different to the rest of the year. People are more stressed out whilst simultaneously telling themselves that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s enough to make anyone crazy. This collection of short stories and poems captures the weirdness of the Christmas season perfectly. Continue reading

Broadswords and Blasters Issue 2

cover2Broadswords and Blasters, the new magazine from Matthew X. Gomez and Cameron Mount, declares itself as “pulp with modern sensibilities” and, before I started reading, I wasn’t really sure what this was going to be. As an incredibly varied genre, pulp encapsulates popular or sensationalist writing that is stereotypically of poor quality. Thankfully, the magazine does feature genre storytelling, all of which is very well written, without the misogynistic and racist elements of the pulp tradition. Continue reading

This is the End: A Review of End of the World: The Beginning (Book 1) by Nesly Clerge

33010239It’s 2050. The Order of World Society controls civilisation by chipping and tracking the privileged via a system called KATE (Kinetic Advanced Transitional Emissions). Those that are not chipped are mysteriously “disposed of”. The secretive Order oversees the movements and activities of society, predicting what people will buy, what they will want to watch, and where they will be at all times. They even control the weather. Nothing is left to chance. Continue reading

What Lies Beneath: A Review of Lies by TM Logan

What if your whole life was based on lies?lies

Joe Lynch has it all. Or so he thinks. He has been happily married to Mel for nearly ten years and has a four-year-old son William.  TM Logan’s intriguing debut novel begins with Joe spotting his wife entering the car park of a hotel when she should be at work. He decides to follow her and finds her engaged in an animated conversation with Ben, the husband of a friend. The encounter that follows, and its aftermath, change his life forever. Continue reading

Family Ties: A Review of The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

the-roanoke-girls

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

For me, the word ‘Roanoke’ immediately conjured up images from the last series of American Horror Story and I expected the book to be a horror. Although it isn’t a work in the horror genre, it’s one of the most disturbing books I’ve read in a very long time as it tackles one of society’s ultimate taboos. Continue reading