#BookTag | #Friday56 – DYING TO LIVE by Michael Stanley @detectivekubu (12th July 2017, Orenda Books @OrendaBooks) 07/07/2017

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Title: DYING TO LIVE
Author:
Michael Stanley
Publisher:
Orenda Books
Publication Date: 12th July 2017

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Blurb:

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles… but where is the entry wound?

When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman? As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow.

A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

 

Never have I ever heard of ‘Sunshine Noir’ so this is certainly a step away from my ‘go-to’ reads. Looking forward to bringing you full review as part of the DYING TO LIVE blog tour 🙂 Be sure to check out all of the action across Twitter!

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This tag was bought to life by the wonderful Freda at Freda’s Voice

Be sure to go and check out her page for more information on how to get involved!

-S.

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#Top5FemaleAuthors – Laurell K.Hamilton @LKHamilton – #WomensHistoryMonth 17/03/2017

So we’ve reached my final favourite author and as they say I’ve saved the best until last…

5 – Laurell K Hamilton

The American author Laurell K Hamilton first began writing her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series back in 1993 and since then people the world over have become fans of this fictional world. I came to the series much later, when by chance I found a copy of Guilty Pleasures in my local boom store. Already a huge vampire/supernatural genre fan, I was open to the idea of broadening my horizon and I have never looked back.

The female heroine of this series is Anita Blake, a feisty, kick ass woman who will not be stereotyped and who can more than keep up, if not out do her male counter parts. From the first read of one out of 25 novels I knew I loved this story. I fell utterly in love with Hamilton’s style of writing and the characters drew you into their weird and wonderful world.

I wanted my characters to be like those in Anita’s world. Here is a writer who knows what she’s doing in the genre, who has made the Vampire both scary and monstrous. But we are blessed with other creatures of the night and never before has a shape shifter been so appealing. I love the balance between horror and beauty in the Anita Blake series, the way that Hamilton draws you into this bewildering world and you always go back for more.

The one thing that stands out for me as a reader and fan, is the openness to sexuality for our female heroine. Here we have a modern woman who finds herself either ankle deep in violence and/or sex, both of which she embraces. Never one to shy away from difficult situations, I love Hamilton’s head on approach to subject matters and the way our hero Anita handles every obstacle set upon her. With great flair, courage, determination and beauty we become enthralled by Anita Blake and her swarm of beautiful lovers.

It is safe to say Hamilton has spoilt me for any other series, I am utterly in love with Anita and the world created around this character. Hamilton is a very talented writer and an author who I greatly admire. I cannot wait to read more of her work and can only hope one day my writing is half as good as hers.

*M*

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#Top5FemaleAuthors – Christine Feehan @AuthorCFeehan – #WomensHistoryMonth 16/03/2017

Another day of celebrating the brilliant female authors in literature and we come to my number four.

4 – Christine Feehan 

I first became aware of Feehan’s work after seeing my Grams read a couple of the Carpathian novels, my curiosity piqued when I was informed that the characters were vampire like creatures but whole heartedly good natured. So with that in mind I picked up my first copy and have been hooked ever since.
Although Feehan writes a number of different novels in her genre for me it is the Carpathian series which really stands out. Here the author has made the Vampire into a monster, instead of the sexy, mischievous nobles from the Anne Rice series, we see them as utterly foul, grotesque and menacing creatures. Carpathian males who have been lost into darkness. The balance between the violent and turbulent events in each novel to the beautiful and romantic is done perfectly.
The male characters in this series are a testament to Feehan’s keen eye for handsomeness, another trait you find yourself drawn to when escaping into this wonderful world. Because for me, that is Feehan’s biggest endeavour, creating a world where we can escape. Because escapism is at the very heart of literature. But it is also the strong female characters that seduce you, these women who take on the might of the ultimate alpha males and put them in their place. Women who know what they want and will protect those they love.
Each novel centres on a different couple, so that despite the number of novels in the series, and there are quite a few, you can start reading at any book. I love these characters, this world created by Feehan and believe the supernatural/paranormal genre would be lost without them.
*M*
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#Top5FemaleAuthors – Jackie Collins – #WomensHistoryMonth 15/03/2017

As we continue to celebrate the brilliant female authors out there, we come to my next entry.

3 – Jackie Collins

With a career spanning over 40 years, Jackie Collins was a true storyteller. Her first novel was published in 1968, to much criticism and distaste. Here was a female author who did not shy away from talking openly about sex, drugs, booze and cussing. A truly authentic voice in a world that was not ready to embrace her brilliance.

For me, I became aware of Jackie Collins as a teenager, seeing her novels on my Mum’s book shelf, curious I asked questions and received the most appropriate of answers. One thing I remember hearing is that the lead character was a woman, something I found fascinating. As an adult I decided to venture into the world Collins created and meet the brassy, ballsy women she so lovingly created.

I am so happy I did. For the first time as a reader I found a heroine who wasn’t perfect, a character who knew what she wanted and would be damn sure to get it. The character of Lucky Santangelo really stayed with me, I loved how in charge of her life she was, how determined to prove herself in a man’s world and how she owned her sexuality. Unlike the heroines of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, here was a female character who would not be defined by a man. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the female characters from classic literature and love them in the context of their era but Collins created a new generation of female characters that reflected the attitudes of society at the time and today.

As a reader I want my heroine to be fierce, loyal, confident and good hearted. Collins never failed to deliver in her work, always making the reader root for their heroine. Because that is something Collins did so brilliantly, she created a series of works that in themselves have become classics. Characters that are far from perfect but brilliant all the same.

Here we have an author who impacted the literary world by representing women in their own way. Her style and sass were beacons of identity for female characters that would make their own way in a man’s world.

*M*
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#Top5FemaleAuthors – Anne Rice @AnneRiceAuthor – #WomensHistoryMonth 14/03/2017

Continuing my top 5 favourite female authors now … Here goes

2 – ANNE RICE

Anne Rice was another female author that brought the monsters out into the light. Her very first vampire novel in 1976 had all the elegance and drama of the earlier gothic novels like Dracula and Frankenstein but here the Vampire was our hero. Rice made it acceptable to fall in love with a character that previously wouldn’t have been the subject of affection.

For me, Louis was my first literature vampire. Rice’s first novel grabbed my attention at a young age, a time when I was enthralled by the gothic and embraced the style of that subculture. And what a novel to begin my obsession. Immediately we fall for this character, a lost soul brought into the darkness by his companion Lestat. Not only were these the most elegant of vampires but the undertones of a male/male relationship were always there.

Though I have read many vampire novels, progressing onto the classics like Dracula and Carmilla, for me Interview with the Vampire and Rice will always be a favourite. Reading became on obsession, vampires became an obsession and if it wasn’t for the beauty of Rice’s first novel, I do not believe I would be so strongly drawn to the characters.

Whilst the Vampire character continues to be popular among the masses, my love for them stemmed entirely from this novel and I will cherish Rice’s work spanning the years.

*M*

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#Top5FemaleAuthors – Mary Shelley – #WomensHistoryMonth 13/03/2017

My favourite female authors is a growing list, as with each new addition to my bookshelves more and more authors are strong, talented women.

Narrowing down the list to just 5 is hard but I’ll begin to try.

1 – Mary Shelley

An old favourite of mine is the author of Frankenstein, a woman who came from a time when female authors were few and far between. When literature was a male dominated industry. Shelley was the daughter of a very forward woman, her mother was independent, a philosopher and pioneer for women. It only seems fitting that Shelley became famous in her own right. A friend of the devilish Lord Byron and John Polidori an author who also created a another favourite novel of mine.

Frankenstein was the first novel that I read where I felt the essence of a gothic novel, that highlighted the time of its composure. Shelley cleverly created a story that has had readers riveted for decades, with many adaptations over the years it is the original novel that still hits you.

The story for me highlighted that although the creature is seen as the monster, it is in fact Dr Frankenstein himself who is the monster. He created something, brought the creature to life from the deaths of others. Shelley has stayed with me through the years, the beautifully tragic tale shaping me as both a reader and a writer. The gothic essence is something that I’ve loved from a young age, that I embrace whole heartedly.

Shelley really was unique and so influential to the world of literature. To me.

*M*

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#AuthorFeature – Suzanne Collins – #WomensHistoryMonth 10/03/2017

Welcome to the final day of my features for this week where I talk about just some of the women that I personally feel have helped shaped not only the literary world, but also my tastes as a reader. These are not going to be lengthy essay types – they tend to drivel on. We want our features to be short and sweet!

My final feature this week is Suzanne Collins

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Collins’ career started in writing for children’s television before venturing into children’s fiction. Collins’ first published works were the UNDERLAND CHRONICLES. It was in September 2008 that THE HUNGER GAMES was first published. A series inspired by her father’s career in the Air Force – giving her an insight into the affects of war.

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It will forever be refreshing to read about strong, independent woman who fight for what they believe in. Unfortunately there are too many novels out there where the woman is shown as the victim, they are weak and dependent on men. Katniss Everdeen is up there with some of the greats; Sarah Connor, Buffy Summers and Eileen Ripely to name a few!

Be sure to check in next week when *M* takes the reins!

-S.

#AuthorFeature – Mary Shelley – #WomensHistoryMonth 09/03/2017

Welcome to DAY FOUR of five features this week where I talk about just some of the women that I personally feel have helped shaped not only the literary world, but also my tastes as a reader. These are not going to be lengthy essay types – they tend to drivel on. We want our features to be short and sweet!

Today features the woman who wrote the first science fiction novel; Mary Shelley.

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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was a novelist (among other styles of writing including short stories, travel writing and essayist) best known for her Gothic novel; FRANKENSTEIN

It is reported that early tragedies in Shelley’s life inspired events featured in the now famous tale of a Doctor’s quest to construct a living being from dead human parts.

Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen.

At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein. (Source: Goodreads)

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FRANKENSTEIN is a book that makes you think about the lengths you may go to to save a loved one. How grief can take over a persons mind and drive them towards. It also makes you think about how a 20 year old woman was able to publish a novel with such dark themes, in a different time where woman were encouraged to stay and tend the marital home. A book that was written 200 years ago – but still has relevance today.

If a woman like Shelly can break the norm back in the early 1800’s – then there is hope for our young women today.

-S.

#AuthorFeature – J.K. Rowling @jk_rowling – #WomensHistoryMonth 08/03/2017

Welcome to DAY THREE of five features this week where I talk about just some of the women that I personally feel have helped shaped not only the literary world, but also my tastes as a reader. These are not going to be lengthy essay types – they tend to drivel on. We want our features to be short and sweet!

Today is all about this woman here – J.K. Rowling

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It was on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990 where Rowling first had the idea for the young wizard Harry Potter. After seven years of writing and battling her own personal issues, she released HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE in 1997.

It’s safe to say that her career rocketed from there – winning multiple literary awards, movie adaptations, merchandise and even theme parks! But what was next?


After the phenomenal success of the Harry Potter series – Rowling ventured into adult fiction and released THE CASUAL VACANCY under her own name, but she was always keen in taking on crime fiction.

Keen to write under a pseudonym – Robert Galbraith was born and THE CUCKOO’S CALLING was released in 2013. The press soon outed Rowling for writing this book and it soon became public knowledge that she was behind the new novel.

I don’t mind this at all! I can see why Rowling would want to change her name to release new material that isn’t all about wizards, witches and Dementors. I can imagine it was difficult releasing THE CASUAL VACANCY under her own name as readers would automatically make a judgement based on her earlier work, despite it being marketed for a completely different demographic. But the comparisons were there and they are hard to shift.

I thoroughly enjoyed her Coromon Strike series and hope to read more. Rowling is a great crime fiction writer!

J.K. Rowling will forever continue to surprise me 🙂

-S.

#AuthorFeature – Val McDermid @valmcdermid – #WomensHistoryMonth 07/03/2017

Welcome to DAY TWO of five features this week where I talk about just some of the women that I personally feel have helped shaped not only the literary world, but also my tastes as a reader. These are not going to be lengthy essay types – they tend to drivel on. We want our features to be short and sweet!

I could not do this week without mentioning one of my favourite female authors; Val McDermid.

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McDermid was a journalist after leaving university before penning her first novel in the Lindsay Gordon series; REPORT FOR MURDER

Since then, McDermid has gone on to release many standalone books, as well as books in four separate series; Lindsay Gordon, Inspector Karen Pirie, Kate Brannigan and my personal favourite; Tony Hill & Carol Jordan.

-S.