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My name is Cara and I am a book lover through and through! I'm a Press and Marketing Assistant at Titan Books, I read, review, blog and am a published alt model. I also review for We Love This Book, Things and Ink and Starburst Magazine. Contact me if you would like a proof read and reviewed at thetattooedbook@yahoo.co.uk or follow me on twitter at twitter.com/thetattooedbook

Friday, 7 August 2015

The Daphne Du Maurier Blog Tour - Frenchman's Creek

Welcome to the Daphne Du Maurier Blog Tour! 

Having never read Daphne Du Maurier before, the brand new editions from Virago presented me with the perfect excuse to read a classic from her collection. I start with Frenchman's Creek that was originally published in 1941.


 Lady Dona St Columb was well known among the socialites of London. Any married woman who drank with her husband and his friends, surrounded by women of the night and wore britches to ride horses would be. She was bored of her life, bored of her adoring but useless husband and was doing all she could to keep her life interesting, but one day she went too far. 

Both in shame and in search of escape, Dona left the fast-paced life of London behind and travelled with her two children to the home her husband grew up in and still owned, in rural Cornwall. Soon after arriving, she hears of a pirate that is stealing from the wealthy families of the area but instead of being scared for her life she laughs away the idea of any threat, hiding the facts from her husband so she can keep her new found sanctuary.

The only servant who stayed on while the house was empty was a young man called William. She finds him intriguing and when Dona sees him disappear into the woods one night, her interest is piqued. The next day she follows the path he tread to come across a creek, completely enclosed by trees and hiding the pirate ship she has been warned about. As she turns to disappear back amidst the trees, a stranger grabs her and before she knows it, she's aboard the ship, where her life will change forever.

Reading Daphne Du Maurier for the first time, I came to this book expecting it to be good yet possibly slightly outdated. It was a joy to discover that she had crafted such a wonderfully confused feminist such as Dona that is relatable as any modern characters. Set in the mid-1600s feminism wasn't exactly at its peak, so much so that many of the remarks made by some of the male characters are enough to make the blood boil, yet Dona rises above it all, usually responding without anger but with wit and sarcasm.

Dona steals theshow throughout this novel but there are plenty of other superb characters, the pompous country noblemen, William the servant who is smart and funny,the children that adore ther mother but also hold her back. All of them are crafted brilliantly, often with incredibly vivid descriptions that bring them to life.

To simplify and undersell The Frenchman's Creek would be to describe it as a historical romance. It ticks those boxes but instead of normal romance that would normally repel me with cheesy lines, I was completely captivated. This is assisted by it's fast pace and swashbuckling action, especially when Dona throws herself in just as much as the pirates themselves. This is beautiful tale of the risks people take for love and the shackles of responcibility.

The Frenchman's Creek has been a completely perfect introduction to Daphne Du Maurier,  it has left me hungry for more and I look forward to delving into more of her work soon.

Buy Frenchman's Creek by Daphna Du Maurier from Amazon here.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland - Blog Tour

Hello and welcome to The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland blog tour!

Today sees the publication of The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland, a fast paced, high-concept thriller from an award-winning journalist. You won't be able to put this one down!

Journalist Madison Webb is obsessed with exposing lies and corruption. But she never thought she would be investigating her own sister’s murder.

Madison refuses to accept the official line that Abigail’s death was an isolated crime. She uncovers evidence that suggests Abi was the third victim in a series of killings hushed up as part of a major conspiracy.

In a United States that now bows to the People’s Republic of China, corruption is rife – the government dictates what the ‘truth’ is. With her life on the line, Madison must give up her quest for justice, or face the consequences…

To celebrate The 3rd Woman publication day I have an exclusive Q&A with the author himself. As well as being an author, Jonathan Freedland is he is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. He is The Guardian's executive editor for Opinion, overseeing Comment is Free, editorials and long reads.

What was your inspiration for The 3rd Woman?

The origin of so many thrillers is a “What if?” question. The 3rd Woman started with me regularly hearing politicians, diplomats and experts arguing over whether, when and how China would overtake America to become the world's leading superpower. I found myself wondering, “What if that happened? What would it be like?” I began to imagine how America would look and feel if it were no longer number one. In a world dominated by China, what food would everyone else eat, what cars would they drive, how would they talk? And then I began imagining a young woman - a brave, slightly reckless investigative reporter – forced to navigate through that world to find a truth that matters to her very deeply. 

How close do you think we are to the political scenario which forms the background to the novel?

I don't know when it will happen, but I think it's striking that in a new survey of the world's people, most said they believe China either will replace, or has already replaced, the US as the world's leading superpower. So this is happening. Whether it expresses itself the way I imagine in the novel – with a Chinese military presence on US soil – no one can be sure. All I would say is this: if you had asked British people in the 1920s whether they would one day play second fiddle to the US and have American military bases permanently stationed in Britain, they'd have laughed in your face. Yet that happened in 1945 – and has been the reality for 70 years. 

Is the timing of the book an alternative present or an alternative future?

Somewhere in between!

Previously you were writing conspiracy thrillers in the mould of Dan Brown. What makes THE 3RD WOMAN different?

I hope this book has the same exciting, page-turning quality which many readers have been kind enough to say they enjoy in the Sam Bourne novels. But those books also aimed to shed some light on the real world, either by drawing on events in history or by rooting themselves in carefully-researched fact. I hope The 3rd Woman does all of that too – a gripping story that says something about the world we live in. If some find it a more credible, more mature novel, that would be great too. 

Why have you come out from behind the pseudonym?

It was never a secret that I was the man behind Sam Bourne. But one big thing has happened in the nine years since the first Sam Bourne novel – The Righteous Men – was published: the rise of social media. These days, writers and readers are able to interact with each other directly online – and somehow a pen name felt like a barrier to that kind of direct contact.

It's also true that this latest book includes a fair amount of both journalism and politics – and since these are areas I've worked in for nearly three decades, there no longer seemed to be a gap between the two halves of my writing life, at least not the kind of gap that might once have required the bridge of a pseudonym. 



Thanks to the lovely people at Harper Collins I have a copy of The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland to giveaway. To enter, either comment below or RT one of my competition tweets on Twitter.

The competition is open to the UK only and closes at midnight on the 5th of July 2015.

 Good luck!

Buy your copy of The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland from Amazon here.

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulcio - Blog Tour

Welcome to the final stop of The Boy Who Granted Dreams Blog Tour.

 The Boy Who Granted Dreams tells the story of an Italian-American boy growing up in the gang-ruled lower East Side slums of New York in the early 1900s. From the actions that lead to his conception through to a single life defining moment, this tome will make you fall in love with the boy called Christmas.

Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the novel (which carries on directly from the extract at Raven Crime Reads) that gives you an insight into the life that Christmas' mother, Cetta escaped from when she moved to New York.


When she heard the boy she’d sent out to look for Concetta come running back screaming, the mother didn’t stop stirring the minestra of onions, and pig fat. But her breath ached in her throat. She heard her son saying something to his father, heard them rush down the three wooden steps that had been worn black as fossil coal. Only after a whole handful of minutes did she hear her husband shouting her name and her daughter’s. Then she left the pot on the fire and ran outside at last. Her husband was carrying Concetta in his arms, her face bloody, her clothes ripped, drooping like a rag in her father’s calloused hands.

“You listen to me, Cetta,” the mother said the next day after the others had all gone out to work in the fields. “You’re getting to be a big girl now, so you can understand me when I talk to you, just the way you can look in my eyes and understand that I can do what I’m going to say to you now. If you don’t do exactly what I tell you, I’ll kill you with my own hands.” She took a length of rope and tied it around Cetta’s left shoulder. “Stand up,” she ordered, and then pulled the rope down to her crotch, so that the child had to hunch over. Next, she knotted it tightly around her left thigh. “This is a secret between you and me,” she told her. From a drawer she pulled out a loose dress she had sewn from a remnant, with a pattern of faded flowers. The dress hid the rope perfectly. She had thought about what it would have to cover, and sewn it to do just that. “You’re going to tell everyone the fall left you crippled. Everyone, even your brothers,” she explained to the child. “You’ll wear this rope on for a month, to get used to it. After that, I’ll take it off, but you’ll still walk as though you were still wearing it. If you don’t, first I’ll tie you up with it again, and then, if you try to walk straight, I’ll kill you with my own hands. And when the padrone comes by in the evening with his beautiful automobile and honks his horn, you run out to greet him. No, better you already be outside on the road, so he can get a good look at you. Do you understand?”
The little girl nodded.
Then the mother took her daughter’s face in her gnarled hands and gazed at her with love and desperate determination.
“Now you won’t have any bastards growing in your belly,” she said.

Before autumn came the padrone had stopped sounding his horn when he drove past the shack, resigned to the idea that Cetta was hopelessly lame. By the beginning of winter, he never dove past their house. He took another road home.


Growing up on the streets of New York in the 1900's isn't easy and Christmas understands the need of respect in his rough neighbourhood from an early age. When honest work's tough, badly paid and hard to come by it's hardly surprising that crime looks like such a reasonable option. But one day he and his friend discover a girl in the street, bruised, bloody and seriously hurt. When he carries her home he's overcome by a want to protect her but he has no idea how she'll change his life forever.

The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulcio is an epic tale of love, pride,violence and friendship that will stay with you long after you've read the final page, leaving you fondly recalling Christmas like a genuine friend you used to know.

The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulvio is published 23rd March by Bastei Entertainment, price £4.99 as an eBook.

Buy your copy of The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulcio from Amazon here.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer

Otto Laird lives a peaceful existence in Sweden with his second wife, only disturbed by his ill health and failing memory.
When he receives news that one of his finest architectural accomplishments, Marlowe House in London is set to be demolished he decides to sit back no more. He makes a few phone calls, re-acquaints himself with some old contacts and starts the ball rolling for an appeal on the buildings destruction.
When he's informed that the best chance of saving the 1960's development is to participate in a documentary on the building and it's inhabitants Otto isn't so sure. The London area is well known for crime, would it be safe? Is he even well enough to travel after his last operation? In the end he decides he must do everything he can to save the building so against his wife's wishes he heads back to the London streets he used to call home, to live inside one of his greatest creations. But what will he find when he gets there and is it really just the building he wishes to re-visit?

When you first feet Otto you cannot help but see him as a frail old man, losing grip of what made him famous, what made him unique. As you speed through the pages (and you will) you unravel his complex and touching story to realise he his far from this and is a man rich in history, love and passion for life. Due to it's main character being an older gentleman I am sure this will draw comparisons to The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but Otto really deserves to be appreciated in his own right. The descriptions of his darkened childhood, living hidden from Nazi persecution in a family friends cellar is enough in itself to make a fascinating read but to layer that with the years that lead from that to his retirement make it utterly captivating. This novel really will have you on the verge of tears one moment and laughing out loud the next, the storyline concerning his previous wife is especially moving and handled with great care. Overall The Restoration of Otto Laird is a joy to read and is sure to warm hearts across the UK and beyond.

Buy The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer from Amazon here.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis

As Millie sits among the giant, military style bras in the busy department store she reads through her Book of Dead Things and thinks back on how she could have made her Mother's life easier. Things have been different since her Dad died but that was ok, Millie would make things better, as soon as her Mum came back for her. Even as the store closes and the underwear section is plunged into darkness she continues hiding, knowing her Mother will come back for her at any moment.

Karl has been alone since his wife died and feeling like a burden under his son's roof he chooses to move into a retirement home. It doesn't take him long to realise the terrible mistake he's made, he has a million things to achieve before he belongs in a place like that. He leaves as quickly as he can and ends up at the department store.

When Agatha's husband passed away she replaced him with routine and anger. She never leaves the house, shouting insults at passersby and carries out her strict daily routine of measuring wrinkles and wobbly bits. Then one day she sees the neighbour's little girl return to her home across the road all alone and she knows something is terribly wrong.

A handful of pages into Lost and Found and Millie had totally stolen my heart. She's an innocent little girl with a fascination with death that turns even darker with her Father's passing. Her youth and bubbliness keep her away from 'Goth' territory but people are unnerved by her all the same. As a reader this misunderstanding just makes you love her even more, to the point where I was quite disappointed to move onto the other two main characters.

Agatha and Karl have both lost their partners but have survived in very different ways. Karl is desperate to experience new things and push himself, whereas Agatha is stuck in her ways and believes she's happiest closeted inside her routines. As they team up to help Millie they can't help but clash.

What unites this threesome of weird and wonderful characters is loss and regret. Young or old, they are all haunted by death and the mistakes they feel they have made in the past. Saying that this book is not a glum pondering tale but a fast, funny and touching romp. Lost and Found is sure to appeal to readers of Rachel Joyce and deserves to be just as popular. I'll keep my fingers crossed that we might see more of Millie in the future.

Buy Lost and Found by Brooke Davis from Amazon here.

Monday, 12 January 2015

A Look Ahead To 2015


2015 is already shaping up to be a damn fine looking year in the world of books, so I thought it might be worth taking a wander through the ones I adore and the ones I can't wait to get my mitts on.

Published 15/01/2015

This great thriller is already tipped to be a massive hit and after reading it late last year I can say it is well deserved.
Rachel gets a glimpse into the perfect couple's life as her train pauses outside their home almost every day. One morning she glimpses something that breaks the perfect image, it looks like the wife's cheating. She mulls the deception over and before she knows it she's on their street and the wife is missing.

Published 15/01/2015

This is a title I heard a small extract from at a Picador event a long time ago. If I remember right, it was a pretty graphic description of breaking bones...it's been on my wish list ever since.

Published 29/01/2015

This is one of the numerous books that I saw mentioned on Twitter and decided to investigate. I'm glad I did as it has an incredible lead in Millie. A seven year old girl with an obsession for death who is abandoned my her mother in a department store.

 Published 27/03/2015

I leapt at the chance to read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab after seeing so many fabulous reviews of her previous novel, Vicious. Schwab introduces us to Kell, a blood magician and one of the very last people who can travel to the four different Londons. Red London where skills in magic are highly regarded, Grey London, dark and dirty and without magic and White London, a violent land where anyone can murder their way to the top. Then there was a Black London, the city destroyed by magic...or is it?

Published 05/03/2015

If you'd have asked me a year ago if I was interested in reading a book about depression, it would have been a very quick 'no thank you' but after reading his fiction I think Matt Haig will make this an enjoyable and touching read.  


In my little world Stewart Lee is one of the gods of comedy, so I know nothing about this book at all but I'm still looking forward to it.

Published 26/03/2015

Discovering Sarah Hall was one of my literary highlights of 2014. Set in the Lake District and following one woman's attempts to reintroduce the Grey Wolf back into England, this novel is set to be one of her best yet.


Following up from Tigers in Red Weather comes Liza Klaussmann's second novel, Villa America.
Gerald and Sarah Murphy live a luxurious life of parties, style and art but when a stranger inserts themselves into that life, everything changes.

Published 23/04/2015 

There is usually one celebrity autobiography a year that grabs my attention and this is my choice for 2015. I grew up loving Blink 182, Boxcar Racer, +44 and still listen to The Transplants all the time but apart from his fascinating musical life Travis Barker's a hugely successful business owner (Famous Stars and Straps) and survived a terrible plane crash. I am sure he's got a lot of stories to tell and I for one am looking forward to reading them.

 Published 07/05/2015

When I first saw this cover online I just had to investigate, it's stunning! After reading the brief blurb I instantly added it to my wish list.
 North survives the sea flooded Earth on a circus boat, dancing with her beloved bear. She and the crew travel to the few and far between islands, trading their acts for food.
During a storm, North meet Callanish, a gracekeeper who tends the graves of those who die at sea and that chance meeting changes both their lives forever.

Published 07/05/2015 

A God in Ruins is the eagerly (to put it lightly) anticipated follow-up novel to Kate Atkinson's award winning, Life After Life. This book follows Ursular's brother Teddy from wannabe poet, to RAF pilot and beyond. I have a feeling this is going to break my heart just as much as Life After Life and I can't wait.

 Published 02/06/2015

I have already mentioned this re-release of Roman Dirge's The Cat With a Really Big Head in a previous post but this graphic novel has such a place in my heart I needed to mention it in this round-up. It's dark, funny, utterly gorgeous and has the sickest twist at the end.

Published 04/06/2015 

Tanya Byrne is simply one of my favourite YA authors, so I can't help but look forward to For Holly.
Lola Durrand's life is a mess. Her Mother's dead, her Father's re-married and she's been forced to move to France. Struggling to come to terms with grief and desperate for her Father's help she sets out to expose her stepmother for what she truly is.


This year sees the release of Last Act of Love by one of the loveliest ladies of the book world that is Cathy Rentzenbrink. This memoir concentrates on her families experiences after her sixteen year-old brother was knocked down by a car and left in a permanent vegetative state. Described as “incredibly devastating” by Picador's Francesca Main this book is set to be as raw as it is moving.

Published 02/07/2015

Way Down Dark is the first novel in The Australia series from James Smythe's and his debut for YA readers. After loving all his adult work, I cannot wait for this! 
The Australia abandoned a dying Earth and a it's colonists searched the universe for another planet to call home. Nothing suitable was ever found. As the humans aboard the ship fight for resources law and order breaks down. Soon The Australia becomes a ship rife with crime and gang wars. Amongst the chaos, Chan keeps herself to herself and gets on with everyday life but when she discovers a way to return to Earth she has no idea who to turn to.

Published 16/07/2015

Ready Player One has become a cult gamer novel since it's UK release back in 2011. I have only just seen the blurb for his long awaited follow-up so here it is:

Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school's courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he's sure he's still dreaming.

But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he's been playing obsessively for years isn't just a game; it's part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they'll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he'll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he's been thrown into.

There you go, those are my hot picks for 2015. I am sure there will be numerous books released this year that capture my heart but these are just a few. If you think I've missed something amazing, let me know!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Cat is Back!

Go back about twelve years and you would have found a version of me that was a lot less tattooed, wore a lot more eyeliner and spent far too much time in skate parks. A lot has changed since then, people would start worrying about their kids if I hung around in skate parks that much anymore, even if I do still like watching BMX. But one thing that hasn't changed is my love for Roman Dirge's work.

The original publishing of The Cat With a Really Big Head by Roman Dirge was the first full comic book I ever read and when I turned the final page I was hooked (not counting strips in The Face magazine). From him I went to Jhonen Vasquez, to Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin, from there I've never stopped reading reading and loving graphic novels.

To hear Titan Comics will be re-issuing The Cat With a Really Big Head and Monsters in my Tummy in one gorgeous hardback book is not only awesome news for a whole new generation of readers but for Roman Dirge's legions of fans who can't get enough of him. I'm extra psyched as I even get to work with it in my new role at Titan Books, so DM me on Twitter if this twisted gorgeousness appeals to you, like it does to me.

Check out Roman Dirge's other work here.