Welcome to my book-blog. I've spent the last 22 years as a teacher of English Literature and running a Stage School and Theatre. Alongside that, I spend as much time as I can within the pages of a book and hope you'll get some reading inspiration from my library. Catch me on Instagram as well as books.tea.and.me – I'm always looking for recommendations!
‘Thorn’ by Intisar Khanani is a really lovely fairy-tale retelling, linked to ‘The Little Goose Girl’ tale. The story centres around Princess Alyrra who had a difficult, restrictive and abusive (brother physical and mother emotional) upbringing. Her journey only becomes more desperate when she is betrothed to a stranger from another land. Magic and power becomes a dominant theme when a powerful sorceress strips Alyrra’s identity. I loved how she takes advantage of this to start her life afresh, and by living a more simple life finds genuine friendship, and an understanding of who she wants to be. The theme of responsibility, betrayal and justice are explored as Alyrra is drawn into a fight to save the Kingdom, and of the troubled Prince that is slowly capturing her heart.
The romance is a sweet one; the pace is steady, it does hold your attention throughout. A YA fantasy read that comes recommended from me: charming, creative and inspiring, a wonderful jump back into the fairy tales of your childhood.
I’m delighted to share an extract from ‘Deep State’ as part of the #RandomThingsTour for this debut thriller by Chris Hauty. With thanks to Simon & Schuster, and Anne for the invite. I’m looking forward to reading ‘Deep State’ and chatting about it soon.
THE DEEP STATE – noun A covert state hidden within a government; a secret organisation of high-level operatives; exerts control through manipulation and a culture of pain and fear.
About the book
Hayley Chill isn’t your typical West Wing intern. Ex-military and as patriotic as she is principled, she is largely vilified by her peers and lauded by her superiors – it’s a quick way of making enemies. It is Hayley who finds the body of the White House chief of staff, Peter Hall, on his kitchen floor having died from an apparent heart attack. It is also Hayley who notices a single clue which suggests his death was deliberate, targeted. That he was assassinated. Unsure who to trust, Hayley works alone to uncover a wideranging conspiracy that controls the furthest reaches of the government. And Hall is just the beginning – the president is the next target. Hayley must now do the impossible: stop an assassination, when she has no idea who the enemy is, all while staying hidden, with Peter’s final words to her ringing in her ears: Trust no one. Because the Deep State will kill to silence her. And they are closing in.
It is entrenched. It is hidden. It is deadly. Who can you trust?
EXTRACTfrom the PROLOGUE of the novel
She can remember every fight. Whether childhood brawls back home in Green Shoals, West Virginia, or organised bouts as an amateur fighter since enlisting in the army, physical combat is the fierce memoir of a hardscrabble life. The oldest of six children—her single mother laid low by multiple cancers—Hayley defended herself and her five siblings with savage determination.
Losing her first four fights, she absorbed hard lessons with each defeat. Eight victories followed those early routs, a dozen fights in total before graduating first in her class from high school. Hayley has fought as many times as an army boxer and remains undefeated.
Tonight, she defends her regimental title.
After thirty minutes of steady jogging, her muscles have become elastic beneath a sweat- drenched T- shirt and shorts. Her thoughts are as measured and orderly as her heart rate. Barely winded, Hayley stops and checks the time on a Citizen Eco- Drive Nighthawk Black Dial watch she took off an army pilot who challenged her to a barroom arm- wrestling match. At her feet is the loose stone and gravel of the construction site for a new PX. Hayley bends down and picks up one of the jagged rocks, clenching her fist tightly around it. The stone’s sharp edges send jolts of pain through her body, acute and clarifying. She maintains the intensity of this clench for ten seconds, then twenty more. Finally, Hayley takes a deep breath and drops the stone to the ground. Studying the palm of her hand with clinical detachment, she sees blood seeping from multiple quarter- inch lacerations. There is nothing to fear. Blood has been drawn. Now she can fight.
The Author – Chris Hauty
Chris Hauty is a screenwriter who has worked at all the major movie studios, in nearly every genre of film. He currently lives in Venice, California, in the company of a classic Triumph motorcycle and a feral cat. Deep State is his first novel.