Tuesday, 17 September 2019

The Last Letter from Juliet by Melanie Hudson

This is going back quite a few decades, but this reminded me of the television series A Man Called Intrepid. Romance, intrigue and the world of spydom set around WW2.  In this case it is also about women's empowerment and their role in supporting their countries during the war.

Katherine is enticed or persuaded to go down to Cornwall for Christmas. She is invited to stay in a holiday cottage owned by Juliet. Whilst there she finds notes and letters written by Juliet to remind herself of her own past, memories and those she loves and loved the most.

Letters written as reminders to a woman who fears she will one day forget everything she has experienced and more importantly forget the heartache and the love she experienced. Katherine finds herself captivated by the stories Juliet has left behind.

The story wanders from Katherine in the present to the beautiful story of Juliet in the past. It's the gripping heartfelt story of an incredibly brave and determined woman and the man she falls in love with. It's also a glimpse at the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary service during the Second World War.

Hudson captures those stolen moments in dangerous and desperate times. It's a love story and a story about loyalty, support and the love of flying. I enjoyed the way Hudson let Juliet's story play out. It was beautiful, nostalgic and emotional.

It's historical fiction with a charming love story at the core.

Buy The Last Letter from Juliet at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: One More Chapter; pub date 23 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @Melanie_Hudson_ on Twitter

Monday, 16 September 2019

#BlogTour The Worst Couple in the World by Holly Tierney-Bedord


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Worst Couple in the World by Holly Tierney-Bedord. It's a short read, a satirical look at the use of social media and the people who use it to promote themselves.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a $5 Starbucks Gift Card (Open to US Only)
About the Author
Holly Tierney-Bedord is the author of over twenty books ranging from serious women’s fiction to romantic comedies, domestic thrillers, humor, and cozy mysteries. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Follow @HollyTierney on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Linkedin, on Facebook, on Goodreadson Amazonon BookBub, Visit hollytierneybedord.com or hollyrecommends.wordpress.com

About the book
No longer content to just be Snappigram sensations, folk hop singers Zeke and Angelique are ready to move up from coffee house performances to the big stage. With songs like “Uh Huh, Future Baby Mama” and “Don’t Worry About the Bills, Little Missus” there’s pretty much no way they can fail.
But if their musical career takes off, will it leave their love behind?

This satirical novella about an over-the-top fame hungry duo is for fans of David Sedaris and Don DeLillo.

Review
I know this is satire, but it really makes me fear for our society probably because this is a pretty accurate description of the fakery that goes on. Young people, the up and coming generations, are only interested in self-gratification and the adoration of the invisible online world. It's all about likes, shares and followers.

It's a shame that people like the fictitious Zeke and Angelique are role models for children. And it's delusional to think that in a world where technology rules the waking hours of the young, that they won't be influenced by shallow role models who pretend to live perfect lives.

The danger in this is that it is teaching the young to aspire to the impossible. There is no such thing as perfection 24/7, and it is okay to be less than perfect. It's okay to just be you and not some version you think the world wants you to be.

It also teaches their followers to be willing to do anything to become insta-famous or popular. Lie, fake it, pretend. Use filters to create the perfect picture. Heck there are even social media influencers who create picture perfect cups of coffee ect with shaving cream for instance, because fake cups of foam and coloured liquid look better than the actual item they are promoting.

It's a short read, a satirical look at the use of social media and the people who use it to promote themselves. Unfortunately, and that isn't the fault of the author, I think this is closer to the truth than people would like to believe. A world a fakery and false expectations, which results in a lack of trust in anything we interact with.

Buy The Worst Couple in the World at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a $5 Starbucks Gift Card (Open to US Only)

*Terms and Conditions –US entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour Pedalo Pandemonium by Amanda Paull


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Pedalo Pandemonium by Amanda Paull. It's a contemporary romcom about a chaotic family and relatives who don't understand boundaries.
About the Author
My name is Amanda Paull. Well, that's my pen name, not my real one, which helps to keep my writing separate from my day job.

I grew up in the North East of England and couldn't wait to move away. However, after studying and then living both in England and abroad, I returned to the North East and wouldn't dream of living anywhere else now.

Going to Grammar school in the days when teachers wore black caps and gowns, and walloped at will, wasn't much fun for a shy, quiet child like myself. So, I just kept my head down, did my homework and tried to stay invisible.

I used to love daydreaming and making up stories in my head, but I never thought about writing them down. In those days, writing wasn't an enjoyable pursuit, it was more of a time to tow the line and avoid being hit by a flying blackboard rubber. I was the type of pupil who would have been mortified to have 'made' a teacher launch one at me, so I would have shown respect by not ducking.

A short career in teaching was a revelation, to put it mildly. After going back to University, I settled into my current post in the public sector, where I am very happy.

It was Jim, a work colleague, who suggested around 12 years ago that I write a book. Apparently, my contribution to coffee break conversations always seemed to be either tragic or hilarious. But to me it was just normal stuff. No-one would want to read about that.

Then, a couple of years later, while sunbathing in Mallorca with my boyfriend, who is now my husband, and a glass of Cava, the idea of writing a humorous fiction novel came to me. I didn't need to make it all up though as I had a plentiful supply of funny real life snippets.

To get started, I studied creative writing through the Open University, which fitted nicely around my job and, to my delight, was absolutely nothing like school. The Scott Family Short Stories started out as an assignment for this course. A Christmas Day Kerfuffle was the result of the fictional account of the first Christmas brunch my husband spent with my family. Of all the short stories, this one has more true snippets in it than the others. The taxi driver and bike box scene in Pedalo Pandemonium was pretty true to life, too. The driver looked different, but the airport to hotel transfer only required slight embellishment.
​​
I also write Women’s Fiction. Pictures in the Sky was my debut novel, and I am currently writing my second, Painting Bananas.


About the book
Laura and Ben are still together, against all the odds. Laura's Family the Scotts are adorable - but they wreak havoc wherever they go. The couple have survived first date silicon dog poo, Christmas mayhem and even dodgy marshmallows.

Their future together may have looked doomed on more than one occasion, but here they are at the airport – eating bacon sandwiches and watching planes take off, as they wait to board their flight to Mallorca.

A whole week in an idyllic Spanish fishing village. Just the two of them. Away from their families and the usual chaos. Wonderful.

What could possibly go wrong...?

Review
This is a novella length story and part of a series of short stories about the Scott family.

Can love conquer all? Can it conquer and overcome the fact the two families couldn't be more different. When I say different I am talking about one family believing they are better than the other. A higher social class than the Scott family, because they are just a normal family. They are also chaotic, unpredictable and often a pain in the behind.

If I were Laura I would cut my losses, dump Ben and find someone who doesn't sneer at my habits or my family. The pink-tinted glasses of first love won't last forever. When it does fade away they will be left with the things they don't have in common and the people they disagree about. Then it wont be so easy to just gloss over the obstacles in their relationship.

These are amusing short stories, quick reads for any spare time, for relaxing and they are the perfect holiday read. It's a contemporary romcom about a chaotic family and relatives who don't understand boundaries. It doesn't purport to be anything other than a fun and entertaining read.

Buy Pedalo Pandemonium at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at books2read

Sunday, 15 September 2019

#BlogTour The Last Landlady by Laura Thompson


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Last Landlady by Laura Thompson. It's a memoir, a collection of memories, thoughts and impressions of a strong woman in a male dominated world.
About the Author
Laura Thompson won the Somerset Maugham award with her first book, The Dogs, and wrote two books about horse racing while living in Newmarket. Her biographical study of Nancy Mitford, Life in a Cold Climate, appeared in 2003 (re-issued 2015) and was followed by a major biography of Agatha Christie. A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan was published in 2014, and 2015's Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters was recently sold to television. She lives in Richmond.

Visit Laura's website, Buy The Last Landlady
About the book
Laura Thompson’s grandmother Violet was one of the great landladies. Born in a London pub, she became the first woman to be given a publican’s licence in her own name and, just as pubs defined her life, she seemed in many ways to embody their essence.

Laura spent part of her childhood in Violet’s Home Counties establishment, mesmerised by her gift for cultivating the mix of cosiness and glamour that defined the pub’s atmosphere, making it a unique reflection of the national character. Her memories of this time are just as intoxicating: beer and ash on the carpets in the morning, the deepening rhythms of mirth at night, the magical brightness of glass behind the bar…

Through them Laura traces the story of the English pub, asking why it has occupied such a treasured position in our culture. But even Violet, as she grew older, recognised that places like hers were a dying breed, and Laura also considers the precarious future they face.

Part memoir, part social history, part elegy, The Last Landlady pays tribute to an extraordinary woman and the world she epitomised.
Review
This is a very personal story for the author, because it's the memoir of her grandmother. A grande dame of the English pub. It describes the way Violet fights for her independence in the industry. Not exactly an easy task when you're a woman trying to succeed and make your mark in a male dominated business.

The book is full of anecdotes and charming stories about Violet and her punters. It's a little bit like everyone knows Peggy Mitchell (Eastenders) as the epitome of pub landlady. Brash, loud and absolutely in control of everyone in the pub - no matter how drunk or belligerent. It's as British as it gets.

Thompson veers off quite often into opinions on today's society and in the era of her grandmother and long before her time. The culture of drink and drunkenness, especially as it pertains to women. How the pub and pub culture as we know it came to be.

It's not told in a narrative per se or in chronological order, but rather in a series memories, reflections and collection of impressions. Tales of eccentric patrons and amusing situations sometimes make light of how difficult it must have been at times for a woman in Violet's position.

At times it felt as if the world of Violet was being infused by the thoughts and opinions of Laura, which then made it less of Violet's memoir and more Laura's memoir. To be fair the blurb describes it as part memoir, part social history and part elegy.

It's a memoir, a collection of memories, thoughts and impressions of a strong woman in a male dominated world.

Buy The Last Landlady at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound pub date 5 September 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

#BlogTour Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams.

Ring Fenced is on an Amazon Countdown  Promotion – selling at 99c /99p  from  11-15 Sept 2019
About the Author
Having the background of a successful career in commerce and finance, Zach Abrams has spent many years writing reports, letters and presentations and it's only fairly recently he started writing novels. "It's a more honourable type of fiction," he declares.

Writer of the Alex Warren Murder Mystery series, set in Scotland, Zach has also written the psychological thriller 'Ring Fenced' and the financial thriller 'Source', as well as collaborating with Elly Grant on a book of short stories.

Zach is currently producing a non-fiction series to help small businesses -using the collective title 'Mind Your Own Business'. The first, 'So, You Think You Want to be a Landlord' is already available.

Follow @Authorway on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit zachabrams.wixsite.com


About the book
Sex. Money. Power. Control. Benjamin wants it all.

He is Bennie, a loving husband and father; Benjie, a beloved son. He climbs the ladder as Ben, a corporate banker, and rakes in money as a bestselling author. And when he wants to escape it all, Benjamin styles himself as Jamie — the lover of a beautiful musician.

His life, in a word, is perfect. But after years of keeping his separate personae a secret, cracks begin to appear in the fa├žade.

When an unexpected series of events topples Benjamin’s carefully crafted world, his separate lives collide with dire consequences.
Review
Benjamin, Bennie, Benjie, Ben and Jamie - all one and the same person, and yet they all lead entirely different lives with their own separate personalities. They even have a specific way of dressing and being perceived.

Ben (insert any other of his names here) is quite smug about his duplicitous behaviour and basks in his secret success. It's only a question of time before it all comes tumbling down around him. In fact he is actually quite condescending when it comes to the way he treats his family or rather his families. He keeps his wife and children away from his parents, because he doesn't want to meld his Jewish heritage with his non-Jewish pretend personas.

Perhaps he isn't really that different from everyone else in the sense that plenty of people pretend to be someone they aren't or adapt their actions and personality to fit into a variety of situations. Do we ever know anyone completely or do we just know and see the person they want us to experience?

The transitions could be a smoother and the characters need more depth, and less is sometimes more. It could do with a good edit. Saying that, the premise had potential, although the main character wasn't sympathetic at all.

It's a fast-paced contemporary read about expectations, secret lives, ego and greed. If you're so busy trying to press every bit of your own pleasure out of life then you might just find that it passes you by quicker than you think.

Buy Ring Fenced at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at NextChapterPub.

#BlogTour Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks


Today it's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks. It's a domestic noir thriller with elements of a psychological thriller.

About the Author
Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-east England. her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she's had eighteen international bestsellers. She's been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa and is a keen supporter of The National Literary Trust. She's lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband and son.

Follow @adeleparks @HQStories on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit adeleparks.com


About the book
Lies, Lies, Lies explores the darkest corners of a relationship in freefall in a mesmerising tale of marriage and secrets.

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three.

And so what if Simon drinks too much sometimes - Daisy's used to it, she knows he's letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.

Review
Leave it to Parks to pull a rabbit out of the hat at the last minute. She has this talent for sliding in the unexpected and catching her readers unawares.

The lie that turns Simon and Daisy's marriage on its head is a big one. The kind of lie you can't come back from and the kind that changes lives forever. It's not the cause of Simon's drinking problem, but it certainly exacerbates it. He becomes paranoid and suspicious. The trust between himself and Daisy is non-existent.

Meanwhile Daisy is putting on a brave face in front of family and friends. She has no idea Simon has caught her in a lie - blissfully unaware. What she does know is that his drinking is out of control and something has got to give. And it does, but not in the way either of them expect it to.

Whilst the two of them are so engrossed in their own brand of ego-trip and type of self-flagellation they do something unthinkable, which changes their little family forever.

Parks dives straight into the nitty-gritty of relationships and married life. Specifically what happens when the fragile balance between two people is thrown off-kilter by trust issues. Once there is an element of doubt in a relationship it grows like a weed.

It's a domestic noir thriller with elements of a psychological thriller. As usual Parks combines the controversial with the more normal everyday situations we have to deal with in life to create a captivating read.

Buy Lies, Lies, Lies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ - Harper Collins Uk pub date 5 September 2019 - Paperback £7.99 - EBook £5.99 - Audiobook £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of I Invited Her In by Adele Parks.

Friday, 13 September 2019

#BlogTour Irony in the Soul by Pete Adams


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Irony in the Soul by Pete Adams. It's a slightly chaotic character-driven crime story full of humour and action.
About the Author
Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, "made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think".

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.


About the book
As a disconsolate detective examines a series of religiously motivated murders, a conflicting internal struggle is roused – will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator?

Recuperating from a dauntless child rescue mission, disturbed but driven Detective Inspector Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired Colonel, who happens to be his new Chief Constable. When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins.

The second addictive thriller in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, Irony in the Soul follows DI Austin as he investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives. As the transgressor is revealed – and strangely befriended – DI Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he abet the malevolence plaguing the town, or arrest it?

Review
This is the second book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series. Although this can be read as a standalone I would suggest reading the first in the series, especially when it comes to Meesh and Jack. Their relationship and bond is defined and cemented in the first book. To understand the gravity of the situation, which brings the two of them together, you have to experience their story yourself.

Adams creates this interesting juxtaposition between the tone of the piece in whole, which is very much boys banter and Lock Stock and Smoking Barrels kind of gangster and police vs the very in-tune with his emotions Jack Austin. It certainly makes for some unusual scenes.

That's not even counting the crimes and the murders. It's fair to say Jack has his work cut out for him when it comes to the crimes he has to solve. At times he feels as if it's more than he can cope with or just the police in general. A power struggle between good and evil, and Jack feels as if it is up to him to control the ebb before the city is swallowed.

It's a slightly chaotic character-driven crime story full of humour and action. The author tries to give his readers a balance between lighthearted, emotionally charged, cheeky banter and intriguing crime scenarios.

Buy Irony in the Soul (Kind Hearts and Martinets #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Next Chapter Publishing in ebook and paperback formats on 28th June 2019. Buy at Amazon com. At Google. Book Depository.