Tuesday, 13 November 2018

#BlogTour The Good, The Bad and the Rugby by Mark Farrer

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Good The Bad and The Rugby by Mark Farrer. It's dark humour meets dysfunctional family dynamics and a hidden crime.

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway below to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books. (UK Only)

About the Author
Mark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla panna cotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.
And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.
And mashed potato.
He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Follow @mark_farrer
Amazon Author page
Visit markfarrer.com
Buy The Good, The Bad and the Rugby 

About the book
Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room.
Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done. Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.

It's dark humour, pub talk and locker room dialogue meets dysfunctional family dynamics, arson and a hidden crime. When I say dark, it leans more towards the crude side than sarcastic or ironic. The crudeness is often voiced in sexual explicitness. In particular when it comes to scenes involving Gloria, especially the whole Banana Girl thing.

The banana show is way more in your face, literally in your face at times, than the infamous ping pong ball extravaganza. People in the know will understand the reference.

The whole Derek, Gloria and Duffy triangle was tragic and a creepy level of misogynistic. Oh hey my swimming soldiers aren't working so I need you to have sex with my wife indefinitely until one of your swimmers passes the finish line. No asking Gloria if she agrees with this arrangement mind you. She is expected to spread her legs and take it like a good little woman, which is why she feels as if her present has become her past again. The two men pretend to care, but in the end it is all about male ego.

Farrer spins together multiple storylines, which he brings together towards the end of the book. He also lets his readers know what happens to each of the characters afterwards. A little bit like a recap at the end of a reality show that shows what happened next.

For me it felt disjointed at times, but ultimately I think that may be the Farrer style, in out and shake it all about kind of thing. Whilst it wasn't my cup of tea I am sure it will appeal to plenty of other readers.

Buy The Good, The Bad and the Rugby at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Published in eBook on 18th October 2018.
Buy The Good, the Bad and the Rugby at Amazon com

UK Only Giveaway:
For your chance to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link.  Please note this a UK only giveaway.  The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer.  There is no cash alternative.  The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018.  Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Download Dirty Barry by Mark Farrer for FREE on Amazon Uk

Monday, 12 November 2018

#BlogTour No Time to Cry by James Oswald

Today it's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour No Time to Cry by James Oswald. It's the first part in a brand new crime series featuring tougher than old boot nails DC Constance Fairchild.

About the Author
James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries. The first two of these, Natural Causes and The Book of Souls were both shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. No Time To Cry is the first book in James's new Constance Fairchild series.
James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

Follow @SirBenFro @Wildfirebks
Visit jamesoswald.co.uk
Buy No Time to Cry

About the book
Undercover cops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.
Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He's been executed - a single shot to the head.
In the aftermath, it seems someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con's shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief... right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.
There's no place to hide, and no time to cry.

Quickfire Questions with James Oswald (supplied by the publisher) 
Give us three adjectives to best describe your new novel?
Thrilling, breathless, short
What are the three most important character traits of your protagonist?
Dogged determination, ability to think on her feet, she doesn’t much care what others think of her
Where is the novel set?
London, Northamptonshire, Perthshire and Angus
Who is your biggest influence as a writer?
Without a doubt, Terry Pratchett
Have you ever killed anyone off from real life in one of your novels?
Frequently. One friend even asked if he could be the villain. He dies naked in his bath.
What was your favourite ‘terrible’ review?
The Hangman’s Song, book three in the Inspector McLean series, has a one star Amazon review that ends
“Incidentally, even the title is misleading - there's no singing in the book.”
What is your favourite writing snack?
Chocolate. It’s the perfect brain food.
Which of your characters would you most like to have dinner with?
Madame Rose. Or maybe Mrs McCutcheon’s Cat.

DC Constance Fairchild certainly doesn't have time to cry or take a breather. It is non-stop action from the get go, from the very moment she finds her mentor, superior, colleague and friend murdered. Instead of the police trying to widen the net and look for possible suspects they zoom in on Connie, so she finds herself suspended and without back-up in a very precarious situation.

Simultaneously an old school friend asks her to look for her missing teen sister, which leaves Connie in the strange position of wanting to find the girl, but being unable to use the usual resources to do so. She soon finds herself in the middle of deeply buried family secrets and running for her life at the same time.

I loved her bolshy attitude. She is the rich kid, who dislikes her family and yet gets treated like a posh kid with connections, despite working hard to get where she is in her career. She is also a woman, which means having to deal daily with misogyny, sexism and harassment. Not exactly a raving endorsement for the police force. Her frustration and anger are understandable, so kudos to her for not whacking them all around the head with a baseball bat.

My second favourite element of the story was Pete. The fact the 'two' of them engage in dialogue brings an aura of the paranormal to the story, despite Connie telling herself that he isn't really there. Her conscience speaks to her in the most informative way. Sort of like the Watson to her Sherlock or the alarm signal in her gut.

Let's not forget the cat, the hardened fuzzy criminal who becomes a steadfast feature in Connie's life, albeit inadvertently. In fact overall all the characters came together so perfectly it's almost as if they were meant to be together from the start.

What Oswald does brilliantly and with such panache, is to deliver the tragic and serious with an almost indiscernible layer of wit. It's always there just hovering in the background waiting to spring forward into the scenes. This is the start of fantastic new series and I can't wait to read more.

Buy No Time to Cry at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Wildfire (1 Nov. 2018)

Saturday, 10 November 2018

#BlogTour Fishing for Maui by Isa Pearl Ritchie

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Fishing in Maui by Isa Pearl Ritchie. It's a story about family and the way we can be sat next to each other, and yet a thousand miles away from each other at the same time.

About the Author
Isa Ritchie is a Wellington-based writer. She grew up as a Pākehā child in a bicultural family and Māori was her first written language. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice.
Follow @IsaPearlRitchie on Twitter, on Facebook on Instagram
Visit isaritchie.com
Buy Fishing for Maui

About the book
A novel about food, whānau, and mental illness.
Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep – just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his Māori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but she’s the only one who can tell something’s not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?

I'm not sure whether the point of this story was to present each character, to give them a voice and opinion on a multitude of topics, in an attempt to show the reader how different we can be, even in the confines of our own family structure or just to have the opportunity to voice an opinion.

An opinion on everything you can think of, from religion, faith, abortion, abnormal cervical cell treatment, health systems in foreign countries, culture, myths, identity, mental health, veganism, mass animal farming, bullying, morality, sexuality, racism, colorism or shadeism, vegetarianism and many more. It's a lot, it eclipses any intention of a story, especially about Michael and his mental health issues.

I would like to have seen more depth when it came to Michael, the why, the tailspin and the recovery. There are primary causes of psychotic symptoms, but psychosis can also be secondary to other disorders and diseases (Psychiatric disorders, neurological illnesses and mental health disorders), including B12 deficiency. Everyone is still circling their own orbit, which is indicative of how the family members deal with each other, and the reason they miss it when other family members need support.

Elena's blog plays a huge role in her life and the story. It is her way of having a voice in the world and maintaining independence, whereas her husband believes it is the way the little wife escapes the real world. Among her blog-posts and reader commentary are topics such as prenatal healthcare and testing which are deemed 'invasive testing on the off-chance I'd abort an 'imperfect' child' and is part of the anti-abortion thought process of one character for instance. The same one who sees anti-stretch mark oils (petrochemicals) as bad news, so it's advantageous that the character has included a recipe and instructions on how to make homemade lavender skin balm.

Is it a story or is it a way to tell readers your opinion in an attempt to engage in a narrative or change they way the perceive certain situations? If it's the latter then there is no need for a fictional family.

Evie's story is about having to deal with the diagnosis of abnormal cervical cells (CIN3) and natural regression after lifestyle changes, such as diet and eliminating smoking. I think it is fair to say that adapting a healthier lifestyle will be beneficial to anyone who chooses to do so, and in doing so a person can strengthen their immune system and reduce the risk of many diseases. There is a growing voice for the more holistic approach in this area, but here is the thing, regardless of a wake-up call and lifestyle changes not all CIN2 or CIN3 lesions will progress to cervical cancer, which means there may be some misconception about what causes the regression or if the results remain the same after a period of waiting.

I would bear that in mind before recommending that women of all ages think about waiting for treatment, refusing standard health practices, because one of them might just be one of the percentage that falls into the 'evolves into cancer cell' categories. Do your own research, get advice from an medical expert and get a second, third or fourth opinion before making a decision based alternative methods. Saying that, living a more healthy and yet balanced lifestyle is never a bad choice for your body in the long run.

Lastly there is the home-birthing and Elena, the cuckolded wife and avid blogger. Let me just say that I think every woman should give birth in the way that makes them feel most comfortable and is safe for both baby and mother. In the book the opinion gives off an air of borderline birth-shaming, which is probably due to personal experiences and own frame of reference. Not every woman can deal with birth with just a hot wet towel on their back. Some women experience little or no pain, others experience unimaginable pain. Each woman has a different pain threshold and has a different body with individual health issues. Also, while there might be a correlation between mode of delivery and subsequent post-partum depression there are also things like the mother's age, number of delivery, acceptance, sex, education, maternal depression and previous medical history of depression which have to be taken into consideration.

Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth - 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. (WHO) Across the U.S., infant mortality rates for full-term babies were 50 percent to 200 percent higher than in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, the study found. Birth defects, or congenital malformations, accounted for 31 percent of U.S. infant deaths during the study. So-called perinatal complications, or medical problems babies developed shortly before or after birth, accounted for another 13 percent of fatalities. (Reuters)

Those are just a few statistics I would offer up as a reason to take all options into consideration, even giving birth at home if mother and baby are healthy. There are plenty of birthing houses that sway away from the sterile medical birth, and the majority of hospitals have birthing pools and special birthing rooms that try look and feel like a home environment.

I think Ritchie has a lot to say and so do her characters, in this case it's to the detriment of a storyline that never quite gets to unfold, because everyone is trying to tell the reader something. If you took all the characters out of Fishing for Maui and just let the person who wants to engage with the world have a dialogue with the reader throughout the book - you would have a completely different read. A non-fictional one, but a book readers would still want to engage with, regardless of whether it is to agree or disagree with the opinions and information Ritchie brings to the table.

If a book creates a reaction in a reader then the author has done their job. Mine may be different to others, but it is a reaction nonetheless. It's a story about family and the way we can be sat next to each other, and yet a thousand miles away from each other at the same time.

Buy Fishing for Maui at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Te Rā Aroha Press (4 July 2018)
Buy Fishing for Maui at Amazon com
Buy at Smashwords

Friday, 9 November 2018

#BlogBlitz The Cuckoo Wood by M. Sean Coleman

Today it's the Blog Blitz for The Cuckoo Wood by M. Sean Coleman. I can honestly say, after reading this book,  I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of his books. The Cuckoo Wood is a very well-written crime story with an element of paranormal and the unknown.

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway below to win a paperback copy of The Cuckoo Wood, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates (Open Internationally)

About the Author
Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.

He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.

He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.

About the book
Samantha Jaynes took her life in the cold lake. Now Rosie Trimble has done the same. Both claimed they had seen an angel. And they're not the only ones.
A spate of teenage suicides rattles the rural community of Kirkdale, in England's Lake District. Before they died, each of the girls talked about seeing an angel. Is this collective hallucination, or is something more sinister leading these young girls to their deaths?

That’s a question for Dr Alex Ripley, the so-called Miracle Detective. Brought in to help the police, she finds a community rooted in fear and suspicion, bound by their strange faith, unwilling to help, unable to forgive. Because the people of Kirkdale have buried their dark past once, and they’re not about to let Ripley dig it up again.

The Cuckoo Wood is the first Alex Ripley Mystery

Dr Alex Ripley explains away the unexplainable with scientific rationale, which includes miracles, miraculous healing and religious stigmata. She wants to save vulnerable, innocent and naive people from frauds. The kind of con-people who are able to convince masses of people of the existence of faith healing, miracles and angels.

Alex is determined to reveal the reality to people willing to hand over their last penny and the shirts off their back to someone with a fast-track to the world behind the invisible veil. It's easy to understand how people are lured into these schemes. Human beings are always looking for an explanation beyond what they have learnt and their own understanding, which is probably why it is easy to hoodwink people.

Saying that, we don't know everything, and despite there being a scientific explanation for the majority of the unexplained and so-called mysteries in life, there is always room for knowledge to be expanded and learning to take place.

Situations like young girls being obsessed with and seeing beautiful winged angels. Angels leading them to their dark, cold and wet deaths in a secluded lake in Cuckoo Wood. Aren't angels supposed to protect the innocent? Keep them safe from harm? This particular angel seems to be luring young girls to their deaths.

I can honestly say, after reading this book,  I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of his books. The Cuckoo Wood is a very well-written crime story with an element of paranormal and the unknown. The plot is paced exactly right and the main characters are memorable without eclipsing the rest of the characters or the plot.

Buy The Cuckoo Wood at Amazon Uk or go Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Red Dog (25 July 2018)
Buy The Cuckoo Wood at Amazon com
Buy at Red Dog Press

Enter the Giveaway below to win a paperback copy of The Cuckoo Wood, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates (Open INTERNATIONALLY)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Come back on the 24th of November 2018 for my turn on the BlogTour A Hollow Sky (Alex Ripley Mystery #2) by M. Sean Coleman.

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

Thursday, 8 November 2018

#BlogTour Death Comes in Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Death Comes in Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage. It's an interesting combination of political intrigue mixed with crime, romance and topped off with an exotic flair.

About the Author
Teresa Dovalpage is a Cuban transplant now firmly rooted in New Mexico. She was born in Havana and now lives in Hobbs, where she is a Spanish and ESL professor at New Mexico Junior College. She has published nine novels and three collections of short stories. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004), Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010), and Death Comes in Through the Kitchen (Soho Crime, 2018), a culinary mystery with authentic Cuban recipes.

Her novellas Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event), Sisters in Tea/ Hermanas en Té and Death by Smartphone/ Muerte por Smartphone were published in serialized format by Taos News.

In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012),  Orfeo en el Caribe (Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013), and El retorno de la expatriada (The Expat’s Return, Egales, Spain, 2014).

Follow @Dovalpage
On Facebook/dovalpage
Visit teredovalpage.com (Blog in English) and/or teresadovalpage.com (Blog in Spanish)
Buy Death Comes in Through the Kitchen

About the book
Set in Havana during the Black Spring of 2003, a charming but poison-laced culinary mystery reveals the darker side of the modern Revolution, complete with authentic Cuban recipes Havana, Cuba, 2003: Matt, a San Diego journalist, arrives in Havana to marry his girlfriend, Yarmila, a 24-year-old Cuban woman whom he first met through her food blog. But Yarmi isn’t there to meet him at the airport, and when he hitches a ride to her apartment, he finds her lying dead in the bathtub.

With Yarmi’s murder, lovelorn Matt is immediately embroiled in a Cuban adventure he didn’t bargain for. The police and secret service have him down as their main suspect, and in an effort to clear his name, he must embark on his own investigation into what really happened. The more Matt learns about his erstwhile fiancée, though, the more he realizes he had no idea who she was at all - but did anyone?

Matt is on his way to Cuba to marry his sweetheart. He isn't sure what to think when she doesn't turn up to meet him. Everything passes through his mind except the fact she could be dead. He finds himself in a strange country in the unenviable position of being the main suspect in her demise, despite a clear lack of evidence.

The way Dovalpage incorporates Yarmila's food blog into the story is quite interesting. Not a new concept, but in this case it is more about giving the reader a flavour of the culture. How the food has such an emotional meaning, the nostalgia of each recipe and at the same time giving an insight into the Cuban culture.

In a way it lets Yarmila, despite her death, participate as an almost living character in the story. It takes some of the pressure off of Matt and also gives the reader a better image of her life without Matt. The main character sort of bumbles through his strange surroundings with the best intentions and with the naiveté of a man in love with a mysterious young woman who supposedly loves and lives life to the max.

It's quirky, colourful and vibrant, and yet it is also written in a way that shows both sides of a double-sided coin called Cuba. The underlying feeling of fear and the daily subliminal threat the majority feel about the political situation comes through with the strong characters who love life and yet fear for their lives at the same time.

It's an interesting combination of political intrigue mixed with crime, romance and topped off with an exotic flair.

Buy Death Comes in Through the Kitchen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Soho Press
Buy Death Comes in Through the Kitchen at Amazon com
Buy Death Comes in Through the Kitchen at Soho Press

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

#BlogTour Night Shift by Robin Triggs

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Night Shift by Robin Triggs. It's a well-written and superbly plotted crime thriller based in the Antarctic

About the Author
Writer of speculative fiction and extremely poor cricketer. #Proofreader and #SfEP member. Debut novel NIGHT SHIFT out Nov 2018. He/Him/The Monstrosity

Follow @RobinTriggs @FlameTreePress on Twitter

About the book
Antarctica. A mining base at the edge of the world.

Anders Nordvelt, last-minute replacement as head of security, has no time to integrate himself into the crew before an act of sabotage threatens the project. He must untangle a complex web of relationships from his position as prime suspect.

Then a body is found in the ice. Systems fail as the long night falls. Now Anders must do more than find a murderer: he must find a way to survive. Will anyone endure the night shift, or will ice and frozen corpses be all that remains?

You are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by ice, there are only thirteen suspects, well twelve because you're one of the thirteen and you know you didn't do it. Cut off from civilisation as you know it and with your impending death a more likely scenario than being rescued, how do you figure out who is taking the Night Shift out - one by one?

I have to hand it to Triggs this is an excellent crime story. It combines the helplessness of being in a dangerous living situation, geographically and logistically speaking, with the mistrust and paranoia of people living in isolation the majority of the time.

At times I felt sorry and frustrated for Anders, because the new guy is automatically the most convenient suspect. He arrives and people start dying and things start blowing up. Some people would say that is a coincidence and others just think that is enough proof to point the finger at him.

He tries really hard to catch the culprit, but whoever it is always seems to be ten steps ahead of him during the entire story. This person can hack computer systems, set bombs and come and go without leaving any evidence at all.

The pinhead cameras made me realise what was going on. Perhaps not the exact execution of the how or why, but it did reveal the culprit. It has an underlying aura of suspense, as the events unfold and the suspicion is cast in every direction. It's speculative fiction with a whodunnit vibe and an aura of creepy suspense.

This a well-written and superbly plotted crime thriller based in the Antarctica. This is the first in a planned trilogy, so hopefully we won't have to wait too long to read more by Triggs.

Buy Night Shift at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Flame Tree Press; US paperback edition (1 Nov. 2018)

Flame Tree Press is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

Bitter by Francesca Jakobi

I think many readers may dislike Gilda and be extremely concerned about her behaviour. Her stalking, the drinking, the impulsive choices, the way she neglects her son and her obsessive need to control her son's life.

I felt sorry for her, regardless of all the crazy and the selfish actions. I even shed a tear or two for her towards the end. In a way Bitter is everything but, it just depends on your perspective on the situation.

This is life with all its ups and downs, disappointment and joy, betrayal and love. Gilda could be any one of us in any era. Living with the guilt of separation and divorce. Trying to function within the confines of a patchwork family. Sitting on secrets to ensure the truth doesn't destroy the fragile relationships between child and parent.

It's interesting and also tragic to note that not one person asks Gilda how she is feeling. How she felt being targeted as a Jew in Germany, about the guilt she carries because she got out and others couldn't. The fact she is treated as if she doesn't love her son, when in reality she just finds it difficult to show her real emotions, is a tragedy.

I loved this little gem of a book. It just really spoke to me, perhaps because it portrays so perfectly what it is like to be misconceived and eternally being on the short end of the stick. History is written by the victors or the ones in positions of power, which includes divorced couples who share children. Parental alienation and blaming one parent, as opposed to getting on for the good of the child or children.

It's a really intriguing read and not what I was expecting. In fact I was surprised at how much I was drawn to and felt sympathy for Gilda. I highly recommend it.

Buy Bitter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Pub.date 4 Oct. 2018
Follow @fjajakobi  @wnbooks on Twitter
Visit francescajakobi.co.uk