Sunday, 24 March 2019

#BlogTour Mama's Gone by Leopold Borstinski


Today it's my tun on the BlogTour Mama's Gone by Leopold Borstinski. An interesting story of loyalty, responsibility and culpability in this mob crime series.


About the Author
Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Follow @borstinski on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads,
Visit leopoldborstinski.com
Buy Mama's Gone


About the book
When children grow up, the parents must die.

California gang leader Mary Lou has built a criminal empire while her adult children are desperate for their mother’s attention and love.

As her mental faculties wane, Alice and Frank Jr must acknowledge their mother is not the woman she once was and that they need to step up and take the helm, despite the stark differences between them.

But their sibling rivalry blinds both of them to their weaknesses which threatens the family when the Russian mob moves into the state. How can they fend off those attacks while fighting to decide who will lead the family now their dear Mama’s gone?

Review
Cue the theme tune from the Godfather playing in the background.

The story starts with an assassination and ends with the same assassination. In between the reader discovers what made Mama Lagotti such an important target and how she built up a criminal empire she ruled with an iron fist.

This is the fourth book in The Lagotti Family series if you want to read more about this family of rogues. Each one of them take to crime like ducks to water. In the first three books Mary Lou's rise to power is chronicled, as she establishes herself on the mob hierarchy. In this book her children are confronted with the slow deterioration of Mama Lagotti's mental facilities and how it impacts their criminal dealings.

Weakness is the one thing that can make everything crumble around them. They can't afford to be seen as vulnerable, inconsistent or weak in the eyes of the criminal elements they work hand in hand with. So her grown children have to protect her image by covering up any mistakes. It also forges the way for one of them to slide into the position of head of the family.

It's mob crime with an iron fisted ruler, who expects loyalty and ruthlessness from the rest of her family. Borstinski asks a reasonable question, what do you do when the person in charge starts to lose control, due to an illness for instance. An interesting question of loyalty, responsibility and culpability given the political chaos in the United States at this moment in time. I wonder if the author thought of the correlation between the general premise and said chaos when he wrote the book? Hmm.

Buy Mama's Gone (The Lagotti Family #4) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in eBook format by Sobriety Press on 18th March 2019. Buy at Amazon com.


#BlogTour Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint. It's post-apocalyptic fiction with a futuristic flair.
About the Author
Amanda Saint's debut novel, As If I Were A River, reached #3 in the WHSmith Travel charts; was selected as a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month; and chosen as a Top 20 Book of 2016 by the Book Magnet Blog.

Her short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, twice appearing on the Fish Flash Fiction longlist and the Ink Tears Short Story shortlist. She runs her own creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs writing courses and competitions; and an independent publishing house, retreat West Books. Amanda also works as a freelance journalist writing about climate change and environmental sustainability.

Follow @saintlywriter @RetreatWest on Twitter, on Facebook,
Visit amandasaint.net
Buy Remember Tomorrow


About the book
England, 2073. The UK has been cut off from the rest of the world and ravaged by environmental disasters. Small pockets of survivors live in isolated communities with no electricity, communications or transportation, eating only what they can hunt and grow.

Evie is a herbalist, living in a future that’s more like the past, and she’s fighting for her life. The young people of this post-apocalyptic world have cobbled together a new religion, based on medieval superstitions, and they are convinced she’s a witch. Their leader? Evie’s own grandson.

Weaving between Evie’s current world and her activist past, her tumultuous relationships and the terrifying events that led to the demise of civilised life, Remember Tomorrow is a beautifully written, disturbing and deeply moving portrait of an all-too-possible dystopian world, with a chilling warning at its heart.

Review
It doesn't matter how far into the future we go, we can always rely on humans to never learn from history or their past. The human race excels at destroying themselves. For some reason they seem particularly talented at repeating the most heinous acts of the past centuries. The title of the book is therefore quite apt.

Instead of moving forward and evolving, a small community in the future has reverted back to the days when the mere whiff of suspicion could mean the difference between living in peace and being burnt at the stake for witchcraft. Healing becomes spells, witchery and the devil's work. This places Evie in the unfortunate position of being a target.

The fact that religion always seems to make an appearance in some way, shape or form is definitely part of the problem in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic and futuristic story. A once thriving community set in the year 2073 in England is facing increasingly harder struggles to survive. Food has become scarce, which makes people desperate.

Her own family uses religion to make Evie seem like a threat and the guise of her being a danger to the community is probably just hiding the fact it is a way to rid themselves of community members. Less people equals less mouths to share food with.

Humans tend to target the vulnerable, the different and the non-conformists to deflect from their own failings or hidden agendas. Evie and any other person refusing to become part the fanatical religious group have a big bullseye painted on their back.

It's post-apocalyptic fiction with a futuristic flair. Given the rise of certain radical groups and the attacks upon specific religious groups and ethnicities at the moment, despite prior tragedies and atrocities in the last century, this isn't a far-fetched premise at all.

Saint captivates the mass hysteria of religious zealots, which supersedes any common sense or prior knowledge that questions the beliefs of the fanatics. It's a recipe for violence and disaster.

Buy Remember Tomorrow at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Retreat West Books; Ecopy pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Paperback pub date 17 March 2019.

Read my review of Word for Freedom and Nothing is As it Was.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

#BlogTour A Fool's Circle by Suzanne Seddon


It's my turn on the BlogTour A Fool's Circle by Suzanne Seddon. It's crime fiction with domestic abuse at the forefront of the plot.
About the Author
Suzanne Seddon was born in 1968 in Islington, London. After leaving school she had many interesting jobs, from swimming teacher to air hostess, and was able to travel the globe. Now a single mum to her teenage daughter Poppy-willow, Suzanne spends her days writing and has written several articles for magazines and newspapers.

Growing up, Suzanne witnessed mental and physical abuse within her own family which strongly influenced her when she wrote her first play, A Fool’s Circle, when she attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre. Suzanne, however, was not content to leave it there and decided to go ahead and transform her play into a novel.

Not one to shy away from exciting challenges, she also wrote, acted, directed, cast and produced a trailer for the book around her hometown in Islington with the support of local businesses, who recognised the drive and importance of Suzanne and her work.

Suzanne is a passionate writer and she is determined to be heard so that the issue of domestic abuse is raised amongst the public's consciousness, empowering others to speak out. She wants those who suffer at the hands of another to have their voices heard, loud and clear.

Follow @suzseddon on Twitter
Buy A Fool's Circle


About the book
Kate Sanders has suffered many years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abusive husband Alan, and convinces herself that she is only holding the family together for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter. If it wasn’t for her best friend Jill Reynolds, she would have taken the suicide option a long time ago.

As she desperately seeks a way to escape, she is contacted by a solicitor. Kate’s old aunt has died and she has been left a small fortune. For the first time, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She dreams of a fresh start, a new home, a new life. What Kate doesn’t know is that Jill and Alan have their own secrets, and are both desperate to get their hands on her money.

Kate soon finds herself falling for the charms of Jonathon Jacobs in what she believes to be fate finally intervening and offering her a second chance, unaware that each move he makes has been directed, orchestrated and well-rehearsed as he begs her to leave her husband Alan.
But is it all too late, as she finds herself in the frame for murder.

Review
Kate is the victim of domestic abuse. The behaviour of her husband has spiralled from small things to a constant barrage of abuse on a daily basis. She has convinced herself that staying with her husband is better for their daughter, but the truth is she is just too frightened to leave him.

Things take a turn for the worse when an opportunity for freedom arises, however Kate hasn't taken into account just how vindictive her husband can be and that she can't trust the people around her. Sometimes there is a fine line between someone being a friend or an frenemy.

The author mentions her inspiration for this story in the acknowledgements. Being a witness to physical and mental abuse has made her more determined to be an advocate for domestic violence.

The experience of witnessing abuse isn't the same as being a victim of abuse, it does however leave a lasting impression on that person. The repercussions of being in such a toxic environment can last a lifetime and often needs therapeutic intervention. It can taint the way a person interacts with difficult situations and treats the people around them. Unfortunately the abused and those who have witnessed the abuse as children, a small number of them sometimes – not always, go on to be abusers themselves.

The novel has been adapted from the play, also written by Seddon, which probably explains the awkward dialogue and repetitive use of names in said dialogue. It lacks smooth linguistic transfers or continuance and could do with a good edit.

It's crime fiction with domestic abuse at the forefront of the plot. It's all about how Kate tries to sever the destructive ties between herself and her husband, and protect her young daughter at the same time.

Buy A Fool's Circle at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Wallace Publishing; pub date 17 Mar. 2019. Buy on Amazon com.

Friday, 22 March 2019

#BlogTour 21st Century Yokel by Tom Cox


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour 21st Century Yokel by Tom Cox. It's comedy, it's a memoir and it's also about the way Cox experiences the world around him.


About the Author
Tom Cox lives in Devon. A one-time music journalist is the author of the Sunday Times bestsselling The Good, the Bad and the Furry and the William Hill Sports Book longlisted Bring Me The Head of Sergio Garcia. Help the Witch, a collection of folk ghost stories, will be published in October 2019.
Follow @cox_tom @unbound_digital on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, Visit tom-cox.com
Buy 21st Century Yokel


About the book
21st-Century Yokel is not quite nature writing, not quite a family memoir,  not quite a book about walking,  not quite a collection of humorous essays, but a bit of all five.

Thick with owls and badgers, oak trees and wood piles, scarecrows and ghosts, and Tom Cox's loud and excitable dad, this book is full of the folklore of several  counties – the ancient kind and the everyday variety – as well as wild places, mystical spots and curious objects. Emerging from this focus on the detail are themes that are broader and bigger and more important than ever.

Tom's writing treads a new path, one that has a lot in common with a rambling country walk; it's bewitched by fresh air and big skies, intrepid in minor ways, haunted by weather and old stories and the spooky edges of the outdoors, restless and prone to a few detours,but it always reaches its destination in the end.

Review
What is a Yokel? An uneducated and unsophisticated person from the countryside. A country bumpkin, a peasant or an oaf. It's probably an oxymoron given the fact said yokel is from the 21st century. Is there such a thing given our level of technology, industrial development and advances in general?

You know, well some of you may know what I mean, when you are sat taking in your surroundings and the beauty of nature, design, architecture. Perhaps while you are sat breathing in the peace and tranquillity of wildlife, plants, the sunset, the sea or anything that catches your attention.

Think of all the thoughts that go through your mind. The dialogue in your head, then again you could be one of those people who say things out load into the universe. Now imagine those thoughts in writing combined with stories from your life or those of your family members, then top it off with opinion pieces, then you nearly have the 21st Century Yokel.

To complete it you need to add humour, a large side order of irony and the keen perception and understanding of self, then you have what this story or book is.

It doesn't fit in one category, it fits in many, which is probably what will draw readers to it. It's a smorgasbord of thoughts, experiences, imprints and emotions. It probably sounds like a lot to try and collect under one roof, however the charm of this unique and quirky piece of wok is not to be underestimated.

Cox has a way of describing his surroundings, in particular nature, in a way that transports the reader to the vivid imagery, scents and sounds he is experiencing as we are reading. Then he will jump into a memory or a story about himself or a family member, and approach it in a humorous and entertaining way. He would have made an excellent medieval minstrel methinks.

'Wonders if he wanders with friends and family and keeps them entertained along the way?'

It's comedy, it's a memoir and it's also about the way Cox experiences the world around him. It's a word-smith duelling with thoughts, images and experiences, in an attempt to convey them to world around him. I believe he does so quite successfully.

Buy 21st Century Yokel at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher:Unbound; pub date 16 Nov. 2017. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Saxon Wolves by Penny Ingham


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Saxon Wolves by Penny Ingham. It is historical fiction, however it also has the vibe of a Highland infatuation, but without the romp, the Highlands, and only a smidgen of romance.
About the Author
Penny’s father, a journalist, instilled her with a love of history from an early age. Family holidays invariably included an invigorating walk up an Iron Age hill-fort whilst listening to his stirring stories of the Roman attack and the valiant defence by the Britons. Consequently, Penny has a degree in Classics and a passion for history and archaeology.

She has enjoyed a varied career, including BBC production assistant, theatre PR and journalism, but her ambition was always to write historical fiction. Her first novel, The King’s Daughter, was awarded Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. Penny has worked on many archaeological excavations, and these ‘digs’ and their evocative finds often provide the inspiration for her books. Penny’s research also takes her to the many spectacular historical sites featured in this novel, including Hadrian’s Wall and Tintagel.”

Follow @pennyingham , on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit pennyingham.wordpress.com
Buy The Saxon Wolves


About the book
Britain 455AD. The Roman Empire has fallen. As the daughter of a king and a priestess of the sacred grove, Anya's life in Germania is one of wealth and privilege - until she dares to speak out against the high priest's barbaric human sacrifices. Her punishment is exile. Forced to leave her homeland, she sails to Britannia, to an island that is sliding into chaos and war, as rival kingdoms vie for power. Alone and far from home, Anya must learn to survive amidst the bloodshed, treachery and intrigue of fifth century Britain. Can she find a place to belong - a home, a hearth, a welcome?


Review
From the lands of Germania to the chaotic shores of fifth century Britain, the young noblewoman Anya is torn from her privileged life and thrust into the world of war and treachery. Her status as the daughter of a king and as a newly anointed priestess, becomes null and void when she dares to question the barbaric rituals of her fellow countrymen. Her father has no choice but to exile her.

Her half-brother seems quite intent of ridding himself of his half-siblings one by one. His father is unaware of his duplicitous personality, and doesn't comprehend how far his son is willing to go to get rid of them.

This includes using his sister as little more than a bargaining chip or foreign currency to ensure he is supported on his overseas quests. More or less selling her to someone in exchange for manpower and support in future battles. Not exactly the kind of betrayal Anya was expecting.

Anya is a healer and she has the power of foresight. The visions aren't always clear, but they do help her to guide herself and others in the right direction. The problem with these talents is that they could be construed as witchcraft or sorcery, especially whilst she is residing in a foreign country. The accusation of witchcraft can be thrown out there in a moments notice without any thought given to the consequences of such a suspicion, then again perhaps some people would do it on purpose.

The historical aspect of this story is woven into the fictional story subtly and in a way that doesn't overpower the characters. In a way Anya actually has a much easier fate than other women in similar situations. The author conveys the brutality and impulsive nature of the people and their different cultures without being overly graphic.

It is historical fiction, however it also has the vibe of a Highland infatuation, but without the romp and only a smidgen of romance. It is filled with politics, betrayal, treason and plenty of conflict. Ingham manages to give it a comfortable feel, whilst infusing it with history, and the sense of violence and chaos of the times.

Buy The Saxon Wolves at AmazonUk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Nerthus Publishing. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

#BlogTour Rogue Killer by Leigh Russell


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Rogue Thriller by Leigh Russell. This is a fast-paced police procedural with a killer who leads the police on a merry chase.

About the Author
Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi, Class Murder and Death Rope. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide.

Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow.

Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Follow @LeighRussell @noexitpress on Twitter, on Facebook,
Visit leighrussell.co.uk
Buy Rogue Killer


About the book
When the targets are random you could be next.
A man is killed in an apparently random attack, and suspicion falls on a gang of muggers. Only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel thinks this is the work of a more deliberate murderer. Two more victims are discovered, after further seemingly indiscriminate attacks, and this time the muggers have a concrete alibi. All the while the killer remains at large. When Geraldine finally manages to track down a witness, she finds her own life is in danger...

Review
DI Geraldine Steel is determined to find the killer, and is also enraged by the set of circumstances that create the perfect environment for someone to commit a crime that nearly passes as a group incident. Steel thinks it is more than just the wrong place at the wrong time.

The DI is opinionated, feisty and not afraid to seek the truth where others have already decided on the result of their investigations. She has a nose for crime and a penchant for trouble.

Russell incorporates an interesting view on mental health and culpability. When someone commits crimes, but is seemingly unaware of the consequences or commits them because there is a lack of support in place. Irrational, antisocial or volatile behaviour doesn't always equate to a mental health diagnosis though. If there are no mental health issues and a person commits crimes, especially when they involve clarity and planning, then surely they should be culpable for their actions? Instead of being grouped in as someone who isn't guilty per se by reason of insanity or due to mental health issues.

And why are people who show early or previous signs of severe mental health issues not evaluated sooner? This is often the case with children and young people, who fall victim to an inadequate system and end up harming themselves others.

It's certainly a slippery slope our society sits upon. This is a fast-paced police procedural with a killer who leads the police on a merry chase.

Buy Rogue Killer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; Ecopy pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Paperback pub date 23 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.


#PublicationDayPush The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton


Today it's my tun on the BlogTour The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton. It's women's fiction and contemporary fiction with a focus on friendship and compassion,


About the Author
Rachel Burton is the author of the international ebook bestseller The Many Colours of Us.

Rachel spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire with her fiance and their three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday....

Follow Rachel @bookish_yogi @HQDigitalUK on Twitter, and Rachel on Instagram, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Pinterest,
Visit rachelburtonwrites.com
Buy The Pieces of You and Me


About the book
They say time can heal all wounds…
When Jess and Rupert parted ways, it was the end of a great love story that might have been. Now ten years later, the very different paths they have taken in life will bring them back together for a chance meeting.

But with so much left unsaid about the break up neither ever recovered from and with each keeping their own devastating secrets, will they finally be able to make the fractured pieces of their love for one another whole again?

Review
You know what they say, sometimes it's the right person, but at the wrong time. I think that is what the relationship between Jess and Rupert is like. Sometimes life intervenes and throws obstacles in our path, which is how the two of them are drawn apart in the first place.

Rupert is very insecure and jealous, perhaps because he has already lost so much time with Jess. His reaction to Dan is over the top and almost controlling. In fact I found it hard to find Rupert sympathetic at times.

Chronic illness and ill health play a major role in this story. The way the healthy react to people with chronic conditions and more importantly how those with chronic conditions deal with life in general, especially when it's a condition like ME (chronic fatigue). There are still plenty of medical professionals who doubt the validity of the existence of said condition. I think perhaps the lack of understanding about how it takes a toll on the life of a person suffering from ME is more relevant to this story.

Jess has good days and sometimes really bad ones, and any romantic partner has to be able to cope with the erratic nature of the condition. Jess knows from experience that it makes some men run in the opposite direction.

It's a story about second chances, perhaps even fate in a way. It's women's fiction and contemporary fiction with a focus on friendship and compassion, rather than two people being swept away by passionate encounters. It's a slow burner with strong, yet at times quite self-serving characters.

Buy The Pieces of You and Me at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 21 Feb. 2019. Paperback pub date 30 May 2019.