Hello, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like. First things first, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Meghan from Wednesday Books for reaching out and inviting me to take part in this blog…
Tag: blog tour
Hey everyone! I am so excited to be welcoming you to the blog today for my stop on the Again Again blog tour. This is actually the first E. Lockhart book I’ve ever finished – I know, why have I been sleeping on her?! – and I was pretty blown away by how creative this novel is.
I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Again Again a bit further down, but first I’ll share some more information about the book itself in case you’re yet to hear about this new release.
In this novel full of surprises from the New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud, E. Lockhart ups the ante with an inventive and romantic story about human connection, forgiveness, self discovery and possibility.
When Adelaide Buchwald’s younger brother succumbs to a drug overdose, she saves his life. In the aftermath, looking for distraction, she becomes a stylish, bright charmer who blows off school and falls madly in love – even though her heart is shattered.
Adelaide is catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times while fully confronting her brother, their history, and her own strength.
A raw and funny story that will surprise you over and over, Adelaide is an indelible heroine grappling with the terrible and wonderful problem of loving other people.
When I first heard people talking about Again Again, it sounded like it was going to be a Sliding Doors-esque YA novel with some Groundhog Day vibes, and my interested was piqued. I was hoping to discover something similar to Justin A. Reynold’s Opposite of Always, which was one of my favourite releases of last year, so it’s safe to say that my expectations were high.
The multiverses come into play very quickly: Adelaide is walking five dogs at the dog run in the local park where she meets Jack. This encounter plays out in a few different ways, jumping back to a specific point and running slightly differently each time. In one world Adelaide accidentally offends Jack, cutting their friendship extremely short, while in another they begin falling in love as soon as they meet.
I was reading an eARC of this book via NetGalley, and to start with I did think it was a formatting issue because it happens so suddenly. All of a sudden the characters are repeating themselves and you’ve got a horrible case of deja vu, before you realise ‘ohh, that’s the whole point!’. I don’t know how I expected the multiverses to play out – possibly in alternate chapters, jumping from one sequence of events to another – but this really did pull me up short, and I had question marks popping up around my head for the first few occurrences. I’m not sure if this is the case in the physical copy, but I’m not sure I read this one in the easiest format!
That being said, once I got my head around the abrupt nature of the multiverses I found myself very absorbed in this story. Because the timeline keeps changing and the previous events are linking up with the current events, you have to concentrate very hard: there’s no chance to put your brain on autopilot and speed read, because you need to try and work out ‘wait, is this the version of Jack and Adelaide who kissed in the bathroom or went and hung out on the hammock?!’. I’m still not completely sure I’ve managed to unravel it all perfectly, but it was a lot of fun to think you were with a Jack and Adelaide who had one version of their history only for them to reference something else which had played out earlier on.
This is a very short story, coming it at under 300 pages, but the themes that it tackles are really powerful. Adelaide’s brother Toby has recently come out of rehab, having been addicted to drugs since he was fourteen. His addiction has a huge impact on who Adelaide is as a person, and this is played with cleverly by exploring a few multiverses surrounding Toby, too. The portrayal of his addiction is painfully realistic, and shows the impact it has on the entire family. There’s also an in-depth exploration of first love and loss and the effect that both of those can have.
This is a book which makes you wonder ‘What if?’. With such simple alterations sparking huge changes in the events which occur, this is the butterfly effect in action, and although it can be a bit startling at first it is very cleverly written. I would absolutely love to see Again Again get the adaptation treatment, because I think this would be extremely effective on the screen: it would be far easier to keep track of everything, that’s for sure!
It’s hard to rate this book after a first read, because I think this is a title which I’d get a lot out of rereading, but I eventually settled on giving it 4 stars (rounded up from 3.5!). There are some aspects which I really wanted E. Lockhart to explore more thoroughly, only for that multiverse to be dropped and for the story to shoot off in another direction, but considering the limitations of the written word it’s impressive that she’s managed to convey a story like this so wonderfully and with the minimum possible amount of confusion.
If you’d like to learn more about Again Again, check it out on Goodreads. Alternatively, if you’d like to order a copy you’re in luck: it’s release day today! Again Again is available through both Amazon and Hive.
E. Lockhart is the author of many novels including the bestselling We Were Liars, a New York Times bestseller, and Genuine Fraud; also The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel; Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, and the Ruby Oliver quartet: The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Life Boyfriends. She co-authored How to Be Bad with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski. Her latest book is Again Again.
Thank you for checking out my stop on the Again Again blog tour! I’d like to say a huge thank you to Faye for organising this blog tour and having me along – it’s such a huge honour to get to work with an author like E. Lockhart. Wow.
See you soon!
Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on The Codes of Love blog tour. It means an awful lot to me that you’re checking out this post – considering the state of the world at the moment I’m sure you have far more important things to do – so I just wanted to say a huge thank you for visiting. I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves and your family and are staying safe in this pandemic.
As always, I’m going to share a little bit about the book first, then I’ll share my spoiler-free thoughts before letting you read an excerpt to make up your mind for yourself.
Ryan and Emily appear to have it all, successful jobs, a beautiful house and the secret to a happy marriage. A secret that involves certain ‘rules’. But beneath the surface trouble is brewing in the shape of Ada. Whimsical, high-spirited and beholden to no-one, she represents the freedom that Emily’s been striving for and the escape that Ryan didn’t know he wanted.
The Codes of Love isn’t the kind of book I normally pick up so I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone for this one, but I’m glad to say it paid off!
As soon as I read the synopsis I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure whether to expect literary fiction or a domestic thriller, but it ended up being an artfully weaved blend of the two. The writing definitely leans towards literary fiction – there are some very unique turns of phrase which I haven’t encountered before, and the writing flows in a very musical way – but there are some scenes set at night in the Welsh countryside that had my heart racing for no particular reason. Hannah Persaud is already a master at crafting atmosphere, despite the fact that this is her debut novel.
Ryan and Emily have an open marriage, but we quickly learn that it’s not the mutual agreement that it first seems. With each chapter giving us a different rule that their marriage follows, the reader is quickly whisked through the pros and cons of an open marriage, and they aren’t always exactly what you’d expect.
I struggled at times because this story is written in the third person present tense, which is one of my least favourite writing styles, and it made it a little bit difficult to follow some of the flashbacks. It helped that the start of the chapter told you where and when the next few pages were set, but the non-chronological way that the story played out had me flipping backwards and forwards at points, desperately trying to reacquaint myself with when and where we were.
That being said, I think it actually added to my investment in the story. I was trying so hard to figure out the timeline that I had it all very fleshed out in my mind, and despite the fact that I didn’t particularly like either of the main characters – they can both be horrible people, so I don’t think this is a hot take! – I found myself very interested in what was going to happen to them and how the story was going to end. It took me a few days to read the first half of the book but I flew through the second half in a couple of hours because the pacing picks up dramatically.
I did only end up giving The Codes of Love three stars, but considering there were a lot of things in there that would automatically put me off of a book that rating is much higher than I had anticipated. I’m certainly glad that I tried something new, and Hannah Persaud is an author who I’m going to keep a close eye on in the future.
If you’re feeling conflicted about whether to pick up The Codes of Love or not, see how you feel after reading this excerpt:
‘She needs a coffee. From the kitchen she can see snowdrops hunching in the corners of the garden. Spring is arriving, though the ground is still frozen in the mornings. Last week she came off her bike, didn’t see the black ice until it was too late. She was lucky, thirty miles an hour downhill and she skidded on a bend, spinning into the opposite lane. She picked herself up shakily and looked up to see the driver of the car she narrowly avoided standing over her. Embarrassed, she refused the offer of a hand and stood, trying hard to pretend that the world was not ebbing around her. Her helmet was cracked and her left thigh is still purple from hip to knee, but it’s nothing compared to what it could have been.
At night she wears leggings when she sleeps; she doesn’t want to give Ryan cause for concern, or worse, another lecture on responsibility. He already thinks her reckless, biking too fast, braking too little. He’s away much of the time, but when he’s home she finds herself tiptoeing around him. How quickly their home has become a storage place for secrets. Better this than an argument though, the inevitable descent into blame. When he returned from Plymouth she asked him how his hotel was, the one he hadn’t stayed at. ‘Fine,’ he’d answered, disappearing into his office. He still doesn’t know about the issue with Leo. She is glad now that she didn’t tell him while they were in Venice. The growing chasm between them has made a liar of her when she checks her email and takes calls from her boss. This is how a relationship erodes, layer by layer, like rust.’
If that doesn’t convince you to pick up The Codes of Love, I don’t know what will. There are so many intriguing plotlines and this excerpt touches on just a few of them. I dare you to be able to resist finding out what ‘the issue with Leo’ is!
I hope you enjoyed my stop on The Codes of Love blog tour. A huge thank you to Fiona from Muswell Press for getting me involved. If you’re interested in checking out any of the other stops on the blog tour, please visit the other bloggers mentioned in the header, and if you’re excited to read The Codes of Love feel free to contact Hannah Persaud on Twitter.
Thank you all for visiting, and I’ll see you soon,
Hello everyone! This is the most exciting blog tour I’ve been involved in all year, and I’ve been dying to share my thoughts on I Hold Your Heart – Karen Gregory’s third novel – with you all. I absolutely loved Countless and Skylarks left me…
Hi there, and welcome to my stop on The Partisan Heart‘s blog tour.
It’s a huge honour to have been invited to take part in this tour, and I’m so excited to be sharing a brilliant extract from Gordon Kerr’s newest release with you.
As usual, I’ll share some more information about The Partisan Heart before we dive into the extract:
The death of his wife has left Michael Keats bereft and the subsequent discovery of her adultery devastates him. Michael resolves to discover the identity of her lover. That journey leads him from London, to rural Scotland and back to the Italian Alps where stories from the present intertwine with another illicit love affair between a partisan and a villager during the darkest days of World War II. It marks the unravelling of a complex story of treachery and revenge as he uncovers five decades of duplicity and deception.
The Partisan Heart is Gordon Kerr’s first non-fiction book, set partly in 1944 and partly in 1999 and providing a fascinating insight into the Italian Civil War, which was fought from September 1943 until the German surrender in 1945.
Ready to read that extract? Well, here we go…
He had left the motorway some miles back and, after following the A75 for a distance that made him think he had gone too far, he came to the small town of Annan. Traffic was bad – it was early evening and the road was filled with people returning home from their day’s work. He should have been doing the same himself, of course, but had phoned Harry, his boss at the Evening Post, this morning to say that he could not get back for another couple of days. Harry had reassured him that it was fine, but Michael had picked up just a tinge of irritation in Harry’s voice. Probably just having a tough day, he thought, but just the same he reckoned it would be unwise to push his luck. At Annan he stopped to get petrol and peered in the dark glow of his interior light at a hotel guide that gave directions to the Lighthouse Inn. He pulled out of the petrol station, rain still spattering on the car windows and follow the sign for the coast road.
About seven miles later, the village he wanted was signposted to the left. It was dark by now and the road was narrow, barely wide enough to take two cars abreast. At least the rain had eased off, however, and the sky was beginning to clear, revealing a bright quarter moon scudding between the clouds.
He came to a village, which consisted of little more than a few houses and a shop, as far as he could see, and then followed the road along what appeared, in the dark, to be a rocky coastline. Then he saw a sign bearing a line drawing of a lighthouse with a beam spitting out of it on all sides. It announced that the Lighthouse Inn was one hundred yards further down the road on the right.
The Lighthouse Inn was an old sandstone building with an empty car park outside. It stood alone, staring grimly out to sea, its slightly lighter outline showing through the darkness. He took his overnight bag from the back of the car, the wind pulling at the car door as he struggled to shut it. He bent into it and ran the few paces to the hotel entrance.
The roar of the wind disappeared suddenly as he closed the door. He placed his overnight bag on the floor and stood there gathering himself, running his hand through his windtousled hair.
The Lighthouse Inn took its name seriously, indeed. Its walls were covered in framed photographs and paintings of lighthouses of every description. The window ledges held models of lighthouses, large and small. In the far corner was what he took to be the working of an old light – huge cogs interlinked and levers stuck out at irregular points. Ropes hung the length of the walls and had been stuck onto the bannisters of the stairs. The overall effect was that of a concept carried too far.
He approached the desk which, like every other surface, was edged with rough rope. The only sound was the cracking and spitting of a large fire, which roared into a huge chimney to his right.
“Hello?” He said hesitantly, before repeating it, almost shouting. “HELLO!”
He then turned and surveyed once again the bits of lighthouse that surrounded him.
A distant door opened and the sound of a familiar piece of music emerged – the theme tune to some TV soap or quiz show, he couldn’t quite remember. TV wasn’t really his thing.
“Good evening, sir, welcome to the Lighthouse Inn.”
She was about twenty-five or so, attractive with blonde hair tied back in a ponytail and wearing a blue skirt and a similarly-coloured jumper. Her skin had a slight glow about it, the glow that comes from sitting too close to a good fire.
“Good evening. I’d like a room, please.” He put his bag on the floor and rubbed his hands together to get some feeling back into them after the iciness of the wind outside.
“Would that just be for the one night, sir?” she said, handing him a form on which were spaces for his name, address and credit card details.
“Yes, I think so,” he replied.
“Well, if you change your mind and want to stay longer, it won’t be a problem. We’re a wee bit quiet at the moment.” Her Scottish accent was soft and precise and she had a slow, lambent smile that, when it flickered across her face, struck him as being well worth the wait.
“Is Mrs Stewart in tonight?” he asked, handing her the completed form and reaching into his pocket for his wallet so that she could swipe his credit card.
“Oh no, Jacquie went home ages ago, but she’ll be in early tomorrow morning.” She handed him his key, directing him to the first floor and added. “Enjoy your stay… Oh, and if you’re hungry or want a drink, the bar’s open.” She indicated a doorway to his left, under the stairs. “The restaurant’s closed tonight, but I can do you a toasted sandwich and some salad, if you want.”
“Thanks, I think I might just take you up on that,” he replied, smiling. “Give me fifteen minutes to freshen up.”
“See you in fifteen minutes then,” she said, filing away his form and letting another of those smiles drift across her face.
The hotel had an out-of-season atmosphere. It felt as if it were in hibernation. Needless to say, his room persisted with the lighthouse theme. The walls once again provided a photographic record, it seemed, of every lighthouse in the world and the window was round like an enlarged porthole. Nonetheless, it was clear, comfortable and quite spacious. He emptied his bag, laying the jacket he had been sent carefully on the bed. He showered quickly and changed into a fresh shirt and pair of black jeans before heading downstairs once again in the direction of the bar.
The girl was behind the bar, pulling at one of the pumps and emptying the results into a slops pail that stood in the sink. The walls around her were decorated with still more pictures of lighthouses and mysterious brass items – pieces of the workings of lighthouses sat on shelves.
“Hello!” she said cheerily as he entered, “I hope everything’s alright with the room?”
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of The Partisan Heart, it’s available in all good bookshops and on Amazon now.
About the author:
Gordon Kerr worked in bookselling and publishing before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of several non-fiction history titles but this is his debut crime fiction. He was born in East Kilbride and went to Glasgow University. Having worked in London for many years he now divides his time between Dorset and Southwest France. His band, Elsie at the Piano, will be releasing a single, The Partisan Heart, with lyrics written by Gordon Kerr, to tie in with publication. Move over Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, there’s another singing crime writer in town…
A huge thank you to Muswell Press for inviting me to get involved with this blog tour. Make sure to check out the earlier posts on the tour – it’s been running for a couple of weeks, and there have been some brilliant bloggers involved.