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Legend 100 Club

|Updated 30/11/-0001

Legend 100 Club

Join the Legend 100 Club and receive a free ebook ahead of publication to review!

Our tenth year has been our most successful to date as a publisher with major prize listings, tripling of print sales and fantastic reviews. As we look to double our list over the next year, we are incredibly excited about the books we have to publish in 2017.

While we are thrilled to be publishing each of our books, both personally and as a business, it is hearing what readers and reviewers think about them that is most important to us. As a result we wanted to find a way to get our new books into your hands and to hear what your thoughts are, which has led us to create the Legend 100 Club!

In 2016 we brought together 100 book enthusiasts who read and reviewed each book we were publishing in 2016 around the month of launch. In 2017 we are looking to expand this community, offering a free ebook in exchange for a review. This could be on your own blog, literary magazines, Amazon, Goodreads or wherever you like to tell people about books. We are also asking reviewers to tweet their reviews using #legend100

For more information about the club email lucychamberlain@legend-paperbooks.co.uk

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A selection of reviews from our November book of the month - Beneath the Ashes

'It's a fast-paced, thoughtful and totally credible book which was hard to put down… Jane Isaac has a talent for writing from inside the skin of each of her characters. She seems to have a real empathy for how different people might react in a wide range of situations. Her scenes are gripping, but not melodramatic and the results of the investigation itself are fascinating.' Rosie Rowell

'Excellent character building with plenty of motives and chequered history for an old hand such as DI Will Jackman to get his teeth into, despite the pressures and internal politics from above to maintain statistics and public opinion in their favour. A good “who done it” with many leaders away from the main plot such that suspicion falls on a number of candidates right to the end when an unexpected suspect suddenly appears and you wonder why didn’t guess this one in the beginning... I intend to make a point of reading other DI Will Jackman books and no doubt we could look forward to seeing them televised in the future.' David Ross

 

 

A selection of reviews from our October book of the month - Lily's House

'A delightful rollicking read. From the first page the author pulls you in with images and questions you want urgently to make sense of.  The writing is full of phrases that you could eat  ‘feel the incredulous pleasure on her face lick treacherously at my heart,’ ‘my room refuses to feel safe. It has, I feel betrayed me.’ Sue Reynolds

'First impressions can be unexpectedly deceptive. That gorgeous cover cleverly conceals a darkness where on the surface everything appears innocent, but it’s not until you dare to delve deeper that the brutal truth is revealed. I find it astonishing how words can stealthily raise ugly issues to such powerful effect, yet remain so beautifully written.' Little Bookness Lane

'Lily's House is an enchanting, quirky and often surprising tale of unconditional love between a grandmother and granddaughter.' Mad House Family Reviews

 

 

A selection of reviews from our October book of the month - Medea's Curse

'a gripping and twisted tale dominated by the psychotic and devious minds of several protagonists. As the tensions builds it’s impossible to put it down.' David Ross

'The whole is excellently well written with a plot far superior to that of most conventional crime stories.' Tony Warner

'If you are interested in the minds of these damaged women and Natalie’s efforts to reach them, you will find this book compelling.' Naomi Richardson

'Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll might not provide obvious comfort to victims of abuse but in Doctor Natalie King we are confronted with a forensic psychiatrist whose approach to mental healthcare is more black book than text book.' Rich Reviews

 

 

A selection of reviews from our September Book of the month - The Art Teacher

'The twist in the final chapter makes this book a satisfying and fun read.' Sue Reynolds

'That book was so fascinating and I was totally rooting for Patrick. And the plot twist was absolutely brillant!!' Butterfly in the Sky

'a frightening but highly compelling read - I read it in two sessions, terrified at what was surely going to happen.' Vikbat

'Gripping and consuming drama of the life and trials of teaching in an inner city school all too synonymous of the depravity experienced.' David Ross

'The writing style was simple yet brilliantly written, drawing me in straight away and bringing a vivid image to my imagination. Read also understands the importance of pacing, picking up at key moments and slowing down at others to really get your heart racing.' The Reading Lodge

'a very enjoyable and pacy book which would make a great film.' Naomi Richardson

'The many twists in this wonderful story was a testament to the skill of Paul Read as an emerging and powerful author.' John Voulgaris

'This is a superb read which raises important issues. I loved the way Paul Read creates the slow build-up of menace and fear which suddenly progresses into a page-turning thriller... I can’t wait for his second novel.' Rosie Rowell

'Great read that keeps you guessing what's going to happen next.' Craig Gillan

'An excellent debut and I would happily read more by this author.' Susan Sollazzi

'Read's experience as a teacher really shows through in his tense descriptions of classrooms disrupted by troubled students and the absolute helplessness of teachers with no support from the higher-ups.' Marjorie De Luca

'Paul Read has crafted a book that keeps the pages turning.' Joshua Dixon

'It is everything a brilliant thriller should be: engaging, intense and a real page turner.' Her Nose Stuck in a Book

'A surprisingly gripping read.' Anne Smyth

 

A selection of reviews from our September Book of the month - The Dhow House

'Beautifully written encounter encompassing the religious and ethnic conflicts of the region, and the materialistic omnipotent expatriate whites who consider themselves African. These people are trapped in a rich environmental paradise where the author knowingly describes the abundant fauna and flora surrounding them in their stateless vacuum of an existence. Although an engrossing fictional story its nuances describing the characters are very true to life.' David Ross

'This is a fascinating book, very readable and well written.' Naomi Richardson

'This is one of those rare novels which took me out of my comfort zone, enriched my knowledge and satisfied a quest for beautifully-written fiction.' Rosie Rowell

'The writing is rich and there are many descriptions of fauna and flora native to East Africa as a background. The story is multi-layered as themes such as family relationships, finding your place in the world, working out your own value system, are explored. The novel provides a view into unfamiliar worlds which are nonetheless topical and leaves the reader with many questions. Well written and thoroughly enjoyable.' Anne Smyth

'This is a very intense read set in contemporary Africa in a country where there is severe unrest and the settled white population are made to feel in great danger in their own homes. The story follows a female English doctor working in the field in this country who finds herself visiting relations living there that she did not know she had. There is a secret side to the doctor that gets revealed through the story.
I thought that the book was very well written and very literative.' Martin Turner

'This was a well written novel with a rich vocabulary; no movie-of-the-week water treading here.' Joshua Dixon

 

A selection of reviews from our August Book of the Month - The Strays

'A wonderful childlike recollection of the lifestyles of two different families told from an adult perspective. Lily’s own family is completely overshadowed by the decadence of the 1930’s art scene in suburban Melbourne and the profligacy and somewhat bourgeoisie way in which the Trentham’s view life... An exhilarating and well written and bitter sweet memoir of the time.' David Ross

'What a powerful that shows the meaning of friendship and family. A very nice insight on how a family can survive on secrets, romance and pain. It's nice to see how a little commune is living its life after years have passed and to see if the friendship of Lily and Eva, that grew so strong still resisted to this day!' Butterfly in the Sky

'I really enjoyed finding out about each character. Each and every one of them had their flaws which made them even more likable/unlikable and helped to add to the feeling of disruption within the family whilst highlighting the animosity in society surrounding those from an artistic background.' The Reading Lodge

'It's a thought-provoking read that focuses on the female characters and paints a tender but ultimately damning picture of the ground-breaking artists and their life choices.' Cheryl Pasquier

 'This one is straight out of the top drawer. Emily Bitto’s control over her storytelling is immense; her own voice melts away into the story, leaving a host of characterisations that are subtle but vivid, characters themselves that are psychotically self-involved without being alienating, morals that are unambiguous but not preachy, events that are tense and dramatic without being sensational and emotions that are sharply drawn without being sentimental... Overall, this was seriously good!' Joshua Dixon

''Slightly reminiscent of Brideshead Revisited, The Strays portrays a young innocent, seduced by the glamour of all that is different to her own home.  It is a deeply personal portrayal of the observations and emotions of an outsider – and works brilliantly on that level... A finely-drawn concoction of strained relationships.' Susan Sollazzi 

'Time-scales shift from the 1930’s to a more contemporary setting as the revelations of damaged lives are laid bare by the old friends reflections on their past and the reverberations of what isn’t said ring louder than the memories they feel able to talk about.' Rich Reviews

 

A selection of reviews from our August Book of the Month - The Blackbird Singularity

'WOW! I don't know how else to describe this book than simply WOW! As a debut novel goes, this is outstanding. I stand up and applaud you, Matt Wilven, this book is all you could wish for when you pick it up!' Bex Gawne 

'In this twisted disturbing  story, Matt Wilven challenges the concepts of what is real and what is imagination. Along the same line,  the author introduces the  the confusing and indefinite concept of what is 'normal' and what is not.' John Voulgaris

'The Blackbird Singularity is a brave and powerful book. I found the weight of Vince’s distress strangely hypnotic and couldn’t stop myself being drawn into the isolated world he found himself living in. It lays bare the spectrum of grief while offering a chink of light at the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.' Little Bookness Lane

'The Blackbird Singularity is a beautifully written story dealing with loss, relationships and fighting your way back up to the surface of life again. It is moving and meaningful and one that will stay with me for a long time to come.' By the Letter Book Reviews

'A compassionately written story that opens your mind to the frailties of the human brain and how easily we could all succumb and be tipped through the precariously poised trap-door into the hell that is madness.' David Ross

'I was also delighted to read a book told in chronological order. The only flashbacks take place in John’s memory, so we really do follow him through a consistent passage of time and see how he changes as he goes on. It sounds like a small thing, but it’s becoming increasingly rare in books that deal with the effect of the past on the present (even the ones that do it well), and it made for a compelling read; I finished the whole thing in two sittings.'  Joshua Dixon

''The brilliant thing about this book is how the rest of Vince’s family and friends act around him, the way they set him apart and treat him, is a very realistic look at how our reactions to people with mental health issues isolates them. A comment on how people strive to be accepting but that there are always limits. Another exceptional aspect is the juxtaposition of Vince being the one diagnosed with a mental condition, but yet it is his friends that are behaving as if they have lost their senses. For me this highlighted the fact that we as humans all have maniacal moments, and that there are only a few degrees separating what’s considered normal and what is considered unbalanced.' Naomi Richardson

'It’s a well-paced and well-plotted piece of writing, a moving tale of loss, bereavement, madness and ultimately redemption through love, which explores with empathy and delicacy issues of mental health. Highly recommended.' Mandy Jenkinson

'I think anyone who has suffered loss or depression or has known someone who has - and lets face it, most of us have experienced both in some form - will find this book utterly compelling.' Vik Bat 

'The surprising climax is reminiscent of an iconic scene from a Ridley Scott sci-fi classic but throughout we are aware of the author’s personal investment in the characters he has created and the off beat acceptance of a bird inadvertently leading the deranged out of the haze of madness somehow comes to make sense when it is ultimately one man wanting to know why and no one able to provide the answer.' Rich Reviews

 

A selection of reviews from our July Book of the Month - Owl Song at Dawn

'Reading this story was a compelling, enlightening and an enriching experience! … The main story line, about the occupants of Sea View Lodge and their issues was delightfully written and I feel richer for the experience. The author deserves enormous credit, for introducing the sensitive issue of human disability, with such enthusiasm and optimism. The description of Edith as a clever person in a disabled body, is indeed a wonderful description. Her story is both beautiful and tragic at the same time!; John Voulgaris

'A warmhearted, good read, a hint of mystery and a delightful elderly main character. An interesting collection of characters with special needs, who portray all the emotional turmoil, courage and hope that is too frequently reserved for the young and so called ‘normal’ characters. The book is sprinkled with delightful phrases that immediately take you into the setting, ‘the smell of warm wool, like milk about to turn’, ‘the sky the shade of smalls gone through the dark cycle by mistake.’ The end rounds off a thoroughly satisfying read.' Sue Reynolds

'a beautifully written story with a poignant narrative interrupted occasionally with short paragraphs which read like poems of the phrases and words that Maeve’s twin Edie would have used. The characterisation is very believable and the outcome satisfying as past and present collide together. A lovely read which makes you think.' CJ Browne

'an ultimately uplifting and positive book with life lessons for us all. The fact that the author draws on her own autistic sister for inspiration imbues the whole novel with compassion, tenderness and a level of understanding that make it into a beautiful work that can't fail to move you.' Mad House Family Reviews

'Emma Claire Sweeney however has put such a lovely book together that combines grief, loss, love and laughter. I can highly recommend it!' Butterflyinthesky

'A moving story that really will change perspectives, a heartwarming piece of work.' Shannon Hewitt

'If Hollywood don’t make this into a tear-jerking blockbuster I will eat it  page by page, an amazing book.' David Ross

'This is a life enhancing joy to read and you'll find yourself, like Maeve, laughing through the tears' Tony Warner

'This is a remarkable book, original, intelligent, heart-breaking, funny at times, acerbic at others, compassionate and tender; reviewing it tends to lead to a list of adjectives – all of them positive.' Mandy Jenkinson

'This is a tale of reminiscence and nostalgia, love, loss and regret; all well-worn themes across all tiers of literature, but there are a number of touches that make this a highly original and unusually compassionate book.' Joshua Dixon

'Owl Song at Dawn is remarkable, tender and heart-warming with realistically flawed characters. This is a beautifully written and uplifting novel that teaches compassion and provides life lessons for us all.' Her Nose Stuck in a Book

 

 

A selection of reviews from our June Book of the Month - Wild Life by Liam Brown

'One of the best books I've read in a while! … For anyone who loved Lord of the Flies, this is a book for you!' Katrina Vasey

'Park life is certainly surreal – Adam seems to delve deep into his own subconscious mind, where he encounters men symbolic of varying aspects of his personality. When his idealistic new routine turns sour, Adam realises that no one can escape reality without consequence... a staple read from Legend Press if you enjoyed Lord of the Flies and The Beach.' Mari Ellis Dunning

''fantastically well written and pacy' Naomi

'Gradually the self sufficiency utopia becomes a living hell as the liberating but ultimately toxic combination of fresh air, freedom and control turn the initially close knit group of inherently unstable males into an anarchic time bomb... by telling the story through the eyes of an outsider in a dysfunctional society we are also forced to question our own morality or one day face prospect of turning as wild as our surroundings.' Rich Reviews

'I really enjoyed this book and the concept and it brings hope that those living on the streets are able to live their lives in more humbly than begging and starving on the streets.' The Reading Lodge

'The novel demonstrates the harsh reality of what it is like to be utterly lost within something that is so comfortable. And in doing so juxtaposes it with an actual harsh reality of a natural habitat with its disorienting conditions and does so well.' Shannon Hewitt

'A truly absorbing and fascinating insight into the depths of despair to which people will plunge as a result of the stress and expectations of our capitalistic and greed filled modern society. A somewhat tribal and barbaric adventure tale far removed from the likes of Huckleberry Finn or Treasure Island. Liam Brown has captured perfectly, a loveless environment, where survival of the fittest and jungle law take precedence over normal human behaviour. Everyone who works in a cut-throat enterprise where reward outstrips normal earning should read Wild Life and reflect on what might be waiting for them after the next big deal has been closed and the champagne guzzled!' David Ross

'This book is fantastically well written and pacy.' Naomi Richardson

'I found Wildlife to be compelling reading. I devoured it in a couple of sittings. From the premise it should be a bleak, depressing tale, but it is nothing like that. It's fast-paced, with a sense of menace and unease that had me turning the pages with trepidation. My heart was in my throat as the story progressed' Vikbat

'The writer succeeds in creating a compelling story with the help of crisp narration. We all nurse private fantasies of leaving our stress laden, fast paced lives by returning back to nature. That is the ultimate idyllic fantasy. Wild Life deals with the warped realization of that fantasy where the protagonist literally head for the hills but as Murphy’s law goes, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.' Stacked Shelf

'inventive, compelling and sharp paced with a sense of apprehension and dark satire, making it a real page turner' Her Nose Stuck in a Book

 

 

A selection of reviews from our June Book of the Month - Chains of Sand by Jemma Wayne

'My book of the year so far.' David Cairns

'Loved the writers ability to easily and vividly set the scene and align the reader with the character. Loved her delightful turns of phrases that made the reader, read it again – ‘as though I am a puzzle we have decided to put together’, ‘the angle of the sun in the narrow cobblestone street coats the  whole place in rust’, ‘his rainbow grey hair sticks up around the blue Yakama, like decorative tissue paper in a shop display' Sue Reynolds

'This is the best book I have read for at least five years. It is so good that, I will read it again and again.' John Voulgaris

'Chains Of Sand is certainly an interesting novel that reminds us of the atrocities that still go on throughout the world today. It shows us how people are affected by it in their everyday lives and their relationships with others. Overall a decent read.' By the Letter Book Reviews

''Well written and emotive tale of several families caught up in forbidden love, prejudice, extremism, religious hatred. Gripping personal struggles of the main characters to try and overcome the injustices that history and their environment has placed upon them. An absorbing read that that could have easily been extended and perhaps lends itself to a sequel.' David Ross

'an important narrative to be told.' The Reading Lodge

'At one level a family saga and a love story, at another a profoundly political novel, it’s an immersive experience' New Books - Mandy Jenkinson

'Compelling from the first page, Chains of Sand is a well-paced novel with serious issues at its heart…  a thought-provoking book which is still with me and, so far, the best I have read of its kind.' Rosie Rowell

'The book explores some very challenging and contentious issues, eg. the state of Israel, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, the war in Gaza and anti-Palestinian/Arab feelings. It is a book that really makes you think, especially about prejudice and inter-racial relationships. It is a good story and does not just hit you about the head with serious issues. It is a very prescient read.' Naomi

'This was an original and thought-provoking attempt to tackle some seriously challenging and extremely topical themes.' Joshua Dixon

 

 

A selection of reviews from our May Book of the Month - Lingua Franca by William Thacker

'This is hugely funny, like a modern day Waugh, and gently satirical, poking fun at austerity, big business, dim local councillors and the whole advertising business. Part of the fun is watching Thacker walking the satire tightrope, waiting for him to fall off. This is one of those books that you read on trains, annoying other passengers with your giggles, be it at the cupidity of the 'customers', the sadness of graduates captured in the call centre or Miles' own marital problem.' Tony Warner

'In many ways it’s a parable of our times with the texting generation and their youthful patois seeping into every day communication and people unquestioningly adopting a dumbed down version of the spoken and written word.' Rich Reviews

'It’s both an entertaining romp and a serious indictment of the way we live today, with rampant capitalism sucking the soul out of once-proud working class towns.' Anne Goodwin

'I was in love with Lingua Franca from the first page.' Chloe Smith, The Reading Lodge

'An interesting and frightening look into the future where human emotions are consigned to the bin and corporate sponsorship takes over and where the little person can sometimes overcome adversity by saying nothing. Silence is golden after all!' David Ross

'I loved this book and would highly recommend it to people who enjoy satire and a view of the world in the future, only slightly changed from our own. I thought William Thacker’s writing was fantastic.' Naomi Richardson

'Ultimately this is an original, intelligent novel that invites deeper exploration because of, rather than in spite of, its possible inconsistencies (and the book as a whole is too short for these to do much damage anyway). As an experimental, slightly surreal parody of marketing gone mad it is a definite success.' Joshua Dixon

'This is a crazy story – funny, inventive, creative and dark... So how seriously should we defend our heritage – our language? William Thacker's answer is tongue-in-cheek, heart-warming, satirical and very, very funny. I was laughing at the very first line and carried on smiling each time the plot took another twist.' Rosie Rowell

'This is a quirky little tale penned by the impressive William Thacker... The story has the quality of an old Ealing comedy and I could well imagine an old black and white film of this appearing one afternoon on BBC2. However, most Ealing comedies were really good, as is this story. The good folk of Barrow hit back at this imposition on their place of residence in an interesting manner. The story moves along with an almost comic pace, though it is laced with tragedy too.' Martin Turner

'Lingua Franca is an interesting read that explores issues of language, commercialism and human behaviour, but it handles these issues with a nonchalant air that eases you into this strange version of our world without struggle or need for disbelief.' A View from the Balcony

'Lingua Franca is absurdly original. This stunning book uses the power of words to make or break the world of farcical logic. One particular man’s world, to be precise.' Little Bookness Lane

'Lingua Franca I thought was a masterpiece. It was wrote so beautifully, exploring language and it’s uses.' Tea Cup Reader

'a clever, original and insightful exploration of language, greed, corporate power and is both amusing and hard-hitting. Well-written and well-paced, it’s good fun but with a serious undercurrent. Very enjoyable indeed.' Mandy Jenkinson

 

 

A selection of reviews from our May Book of the Month - The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Farrell

'The Wacky Man is a brilliant and remarkably clear look into the dark and disturbing life of a troubled teenager with mental issues.' John Voulgaris

'The writer’s writing style swishes you up from the first page, spinning you in and out of before and after, over there and back here again. The pace means not hanging on for the ride of this book is not an option. The writer has a way of phrasing things that cause you to pause and think for a bit before you read on – ‘Dad swings his walking stick through the air like a musketeer. He lands it on Jamie’s back and it makes a noise like a stick of celery snapping.’ The imagery lingers with you long after you finish the book and the writer brings an honesty that only experience can bring of the resulting dysfunction of children and partners of perpetrators of domestic violence.' Sue Reynolds

'This is a hard-hitting novel indeed, and one which feels totally convincing and authentic... She gets to the heart of what the effects of abuse really are, whether physical, psychological or emotional, and what abuse can do to a family and the individuals in it. The result is a brutally honest and searing account which cannot fail to move, but also enlighten, the reader. This is an excellent piece of writing, especially for a debut novelist, well-crafted, well-paced and very well-written.' Mandy Jenkinson

'As a portrait of the effects of abuse, both physical and mental, it is outstanding.' Susan Sollazzi

'The Wacky Man is a well written debut and the author has handled the subject matter of mental illness with great clarity, a recommended read as I feel it sheds new light on how impossible it is for people to cope when their small world has deserted them.' Shannon Hewitt

'a powerful and hard hitting story that by the end proved to be an emotional read.' By the Letter Book Reviews

'Well written and great insight into abuse. Brutal and upsetting at times.' Craig Gillan

'This is one of these books that you will recommend to everyone, is choking, scaring and sad, but Amanda's story has to be shared, to guide all of the Amanda May's in the world without the voice to ask for help.' Varietats

'A really strong tale which holds the reader throughout... A challenging first novel from this author.' Martin Turner

'It’s such a beautiful yet dark book that made me feel like I’m actually in the story. It was very emotional and will stay in my memory for quite a while because it was just so realistic.' Butterfly in the Sky

'This novel is astonishing and will consume you from the very first sentence.  It is poignantly written, deeply unsettling, heart-rending and terrifying all at the same time.' Her Nose Stuck in a Book

'The Wacky Man is a well-written and disturbing novel that tells an authentic story of a girl failed by her family and society at large.' Anne Goodwin

'Lyn Farrell’s prose style hits an emotional nerve and makes the pain she describes almost audible.' Rich Reviews

'It's a tough book to read, with the tales of abuse made all the more heart-rending by the simple, matter-of-fact way in which Amanda relates her story. It's a great read for mental health awareness and should help increase the compassion that is sometimes lacking, when people think that sufferers should just get a grip and pull themselves together.' Cheryl Pasquier

 

 

 

 

A selection of reviews from our April Book of the Month - Armadillos by P.K. Lynch

'it is riveting reading' John Voulgaris 

'PK Lynch creates a widescreen canvass of contrasting shades to evoke the emotional and geographical scenery.' Rich Reviews

'Armadillos is a powerful story that deals with hard-hitting issues and is filled with emotion. The prose is excellent as events and scenes are described with such depth. Aggie is a true survivor who Lynch magnificently brings to life in this brilliant debut.' Her Nose Stuck in a Book

'This is an exquisite book, a classic, one you start to live inside from the very first page. How can I write a review which does justice to the brilliance of its author? P K Lynch gives Aggie a voice which went straight to my heart. People on the margins of society don’t usually make for comfortable reading, but when you have a writer who doesn’t judge the flaws in her characters, but lets them tell it as it is, you have more than a bit of magic on the page. This is real life in the raw, beautifully written, which manages to show – not tell – the intricacies of family abuse through the eyes of a teenager who is determined to survive. Armadillos is a superb novel; it would make a great quirky movie for the Coen brothers. Someone should send them a copy. Thank you, P K Lynch, for the most enjoyable read I’ve had in years, and for your effortless prose.' Rosie Rowell

'Well written debut book about young girl running away from abuse and finding her way in life, good cast of characters too.' Craig Gillian, Goodreads

'The tone and spirit of the book reminded me of American classics such as The Color Purple and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, so I was very impressed to discover that the author is actually Scottish. This is her debut novel so I can't wait to see what else she will come up with in her future work.' Cheryl Pasquier

'a decent and steady read though and look forward to more by the author.' Sarah Hardy, By the Letter Book Reviews

'It takes great skill to conjure up convincing characters living lives on the margins, people who are subjected to extreme violence and abuse. The author navigates a fine line between overloading the reader with horrifics and glossing over the grittiness in denial of the damage wrought by such lives. Scottish actor and playwright, Pauline Lynch pulls this off successfully in her debut novel through the sheer sassiness of Aggie’s voice.' Anne Godwin

'This is a debut novel and the prose simply flows across the page and is a real page turner. I found it hard to put down and became totally absorbed in both the characters and the setting.' Martin Turner

'Gripping tale of a teenage country girls escape from a dysfunctional and abusive family. A journey into crime and another dysfunctional family of city folk that offer a safe but temporary haven. When her makeshift family and security is threatened Aggie realizes that there are other more traditional and stable ways to go through life but feels the need to exorcise her ghosts from the past. A fascinating adventure where the author makes you feel as though you are an accompanying drifter tagging along for the ride.' David Ross

'What would have 'On the Road' have been like if Jack Kerouac had been a 14 year old girl from an abusive family, too poor to afford bus fare, never mind her own car? He certainly wouldn't have found the hippy life so entertaining, worried about his safety, somewhere to live and something to eat. P.K.Lynch's heroine has these problems in spades, together with the perennial nuisance of predatory men. Then there are self-harming friends, spaced out landlords and a father who views all female members of his family as fair game. That sounds pretty grim but Aggie's optimism keeps us on track, willing her forward, frightened for her but still with a nagging confidence she will find a way forward, even if it is not the way we would have chosen ourselves, fearing all the time that she will fall victim to starvation, rape or worse. We come to love and care for her, however illegal or immoral her actions. A girl has to survive!' Tony Warner

'A lot of people have already commented on how the voice sounds authentically American and were surprised to find the author was Scottish, and I have to agree; the descriptions of the Texan desert and hitchhiking across vast distances were characteristic of the Great American Novel: John Steinbeck, or perhaps a more humane Cormac McCarthy, or even the middle passage of Lolita... I can see this being a worthy contender for GCSE studies of the Novel in years to come. An excellent read!' Joshua Dixon

'I liked the motif of armadillos and how they are used throughout the book. After finishing the book, I felt that I had been to Texas – the heat, the animals, the gas stations…..' Naomi Richardson

'This is an impressive debut novel, thought-provoking and compelling.' Galin

'It’s well-paced and well-plotted and the descriptions of the barren Texan landscape are very evocative and feel totally authentic.' Mandy Jenkinson, Nudge

 

 

A selection of When We Were Alive quotes (March)

'The author’s story telling prowess shines through as we realise the unconnected lives of these three generations of characters are in fact inextricably linked through life, death and the notion of re-birth.' Rich Reviews

'When We Were Alive is insightful, page-turning perfection. Its incredible vision is one you will want to discover for yourself.' Little Bookness Lane

'When We Were Alive is the authors debut novel. For a debut novel it certainly makes for a thought provoking and intelligent reading experience. It certainly makes you re assess the way you look at death and how at times it can consume us.' By the Letter Book Reviews

‘I think the measure of a good book is whether it stays with you after you turn the final page. This is definitely the case with When We Were Alive.’ Shannon Hewitt

‘Initially fragmented and complicated dark tales…a modern day tragedy of Greek proportions…’ David Ross

‘I can’t stress the beauty of her writing enough; her choice of words and storytelling are outstanding. I haven’t read a book that has touched my heart like this in a long time…’ Her nose stuck in a book

‘This is a strong and admirable debut novel from a young author who obviously has great talent.’  Random Things Through My Letterbox

'The characters are raw and honestly described, the author’s dialogue is superb, and I grew to love the oh-so-clever interweaving of time and place.' Rosie Rowell

'Deep. Profound. Affecting. Character-driven. If you want your next read to boast these qualities, then look no further than C.J. Fisher’s When We Were Alive.’  Priscilla and her books

‘…this is a powerful and insightful debut from CJ Fisher, expertly crafted and very cleverly written…’  Squid Inc

'The book is sad and poignant in places and is not light reading but it is beautifully and intelligently written...' Suzy Bowler, Sudden Lunch

 

A selection of Fractured quotes (February)

‘What I loved about this stunningly tense novel is the way in which Chonghaile puts a face and a story to the horrors of war and despair that we hear about every day yet are so far removed from.’  Emma White

‘…the novel was a really interesting read, a great debut and really does beg the question – are we ever truly free?’ Rebecca Smith

‘The story is gripping…tense… and moves along at a pace. The author herself has a background of journalism and life in Africa and has drawn on her life experiences to good effect in creating very believable characters and the complicated lives that reflect how a lot of people are.’ Martin Turner

‘Fractured by Clar Ni Chonghaile is a fascinating debut novel…This is one of the books which makes you think about it, even after you closed the book on the last page.’ Galina Varese

‘As a debut novel, Fractured has all the elements of a great page-turner, and it delivers… A sombre, suspense-riddled, absorbing read…Michael Cowton

‘The author has a stunning ability to capture moments and emotions and vocalise them in a way that is so relatable…this book is hard to put down and I read this in two sittings!’ Katrina Vasey

‘…an utterly convincing narrative that the author tackled with great dignity, but still managed to create an engrossing and enjoyable account and I can’t wait to see what more she has to offer.’  Shannon Hewitt

‘This novel was a powerful, provocative introduction to a world that I didn’t know anything about.’  Joshua Dixon

‘I loved the different viewpoints and how it showed the realities of war affecting human behaviour. I loved the lack of clichés and stereotypes and I loved the writing style, which was easy to read and yet enjoyable to savour.’  Hannah Bradley

‘Fractured is a compelling and powerful story that flows wonderfully. It is a chilling and emotional read that really grips the reader. A stunning debut.’  Bytheletterbookreviews

‘…it is the strength of the author’s writing and her ability to make you think the characters are real people in real situations which makes this book very plausible and realistic.’ Hazel Howarth

‘Vivid descriptions of Somalia and daily life there, the atrocities that occur…gain an immediacy in this compelling and thoughtful novel, which is well-written, well-paced, and very enjoyable indeed. I look forward to reading more by this author.’  Mandy Jenkinson

‘Clar Ni Chonghaile is a superb writer who brings another dimension to the things that we see reported on the news…and a way with words that transfix and educate her readers.’ Random Things Through My Letterbox

‘Clar has produced a gripping tale of the conflict surrounding Africa, a story of hope and redemption that lies at the novel’s core. It is beautifully written, utterly compelling and eye-opening.’ Her nose stuck in a book

‘Hard-hitting, revealing and unreservedly thought provoking, Fractured is an intense political thriller which covers themes of captivity, terrorism and jihadism.’ Thebookshelfblog

‘One thing Fractured has in spades is tension – you can cut the atmosphere with a knife…’ If these books could talk

'The book is topical, realistic and makes one look at Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism from a different perspective. It taught me a lot I didn’t know about Somalia. The writing is excellent the characters believable and I felt sympathetic towards them. I heartily recommend it.' Suzy Bowler, Sudden Lunch