Monday, 17 February 2020

#BookBirthdayBlitz From Here to Nashville by Julie Stock


Today it's the Book Birthday Blitz for From Here to Nashville by Julie Stock.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a signed paperback copy of From Here to Nashville, a bookmark and a guitar magnet (Open to UK Only)
About the Author
Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace in March 2017. Over You (Sam's Story) and Finding You (Jenna's Story), her follow-up novellas to From Here to Nashville were published in 2018, making the From Here to You series complete. She has also published a boxed set of the From Here to You trilogy of books. Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and The Society of Authors.

The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge was published in August 2019, followed by Bittersweet, a collection of 12 Short Stories for Modern Life in September 2019.

Julie is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

Follow @wood_beez48 on Twitter, on Amazon, on Instagram, on Facebook, on Goodreads, Visit julie-stock.co.ukBuy From Here to Nashville

About the book
Two worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?

Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville's Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset. When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide 'Open Mic' competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.

But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?

Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again to see whether their music really can unite them.

Review
Career or love - what a dilemma, eh? Rachel has to make a choice between following her dreams or following her heart. It really depends on which one is more important. Or can she have both?

Rachel comes to the attention of Jackson, an independent record label owner, whilst singing with her band. He suggests they audition for a competition, which may lead to bigger opportunities, like the dream Rachel has of being a country singer in Nashville - the home of country music.

The emphasis is on the pull and push romance between Rachel and Jackson, which is built upon the relationship Rachel has with her music and lyrics. The desire to achieve success on a certain level, to be able to share her passion. It becomes a battle between what she wants and what she needs. Her ambition and path to success isn't necessarily what her band wants though.

It's a romance - more of a traditional contemporary read about love.

This is the first book in the From Here to You series. Some of the characters that have a more minor role in this story tell their own stories in the next book. I think Stock purposely doesn't develop certain characters, so it's an opportunity to show depth in the next book. You can give depth and background in multiple books without boring the reader, when they interact with different storylines and characters they can evolve differently.

Buy From Here to Nashville (From Here to You #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Clued Up Publishing, pub date 16 Feb. 2015. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a signed paperback copy of From Here to Nashville, a bookmark and a guitar magnet (Open to UK Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –UK 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.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

#BlogTour Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds by Nick Albert


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds: Living the Dream in Rural Ireland by Nick Albert.
About the Author
Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980's he qualified and began coaching sport professionally.

After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland - a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.

In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Follow @NickAlbertautho on Twitter, on Instagram, on Goodreads, on Youtube, on Amazon, on Facebook and NickAlbertAuthor on Facebook, Visit nickalbert.co.uk  nickalbert.allauthor.com  nickalbertauthor.blogspot.com, Buy Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds


About the book
Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free.
Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

Review
What is a nightmare to one person is a dream to another. A series of events in Nick's life lead him to a new path in life. He wants to change the way his life is built, the way he spends his time. No more being a hamster powering a tiny wheel in the huge machinery of his industry.

It's interesting how some events can seem almost like an omen or a sign, perhaps more so because some of us perceive them as much, whilst many of us just ignore them and carry on. A health-scare  jolts Nick and Lesley into action, it awakens forgotten wishes and a need to be relaxed instead of constantly stressed.

Albert wrings the comedy from the eccentricity, the boldness and the determination. Simple tasks often become mole hill to mountain situations, so it's easier to cope when you can laugh at yourself and others.

This is a humorous memoir, the beginning of a series of books that explore life in rural Ireland. A chosen life, as opposed to a life that is forced upon us as we try to navigate the problems and find pleasure in the small moments. Nick and Lesley take the bull by the horns and do what many of us would like to do - build a life that gives not only stress, but also peace, fulfilment and happiness.

Aside from that if you come away with anything from this read it will probably be the love of Ireland. The reverence, admiration and love for the surroundings is palpable.

Buy Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ant Press; pub date 25 Sept. 2017. Paperback Audiobook. Buy at Amazon com. Paperback Audiobook

Saturday, 15 February 2020

#BlogBlitz Mile Marker 139 by Cynthia Hilston


Today it's the Blog Blitz for Mile Marker 139 by Cynthia Hilston.
About the Author
Cynthia Hilston is a thirty-something-year-old stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she finally stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Visit her website at www.cynthiahilston.com for more information.

In her spare time - what spare time? - she devours books, watches Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Follow @cynthiahilston on Twitter, on InstagramGoodreadson Facebook, Visit cynthiahilston.com
Buy Mile Marker 139


About the book
At mile marker 139 along the Ohio Turnpike, a mysterious woman named Shelley Parkinson arrives at 3:14 at the rest area every night. She sits outside at one of the picnic tables, her fragile hands clutching one cigarette after another. Troubled people swirl around her, battling their own sorrows.

Gruff old janitor Mike Popkins works third shift at the facility and has been lost since his wife died, cutting himself off from his only son and going through the motions of his job. Idealistic young Sarah Wilcox whips up drinks at the happening new coffee shop at the rest stop, but her mind whips of dreams of traveling the world and living the life her late grandpa did as he drank a coffee on all corners of the globe. Heartbroken middle-aged trucker Russ Jacobs would rather spend long hours on the road than fall in love again. They all befriend Shelley. Each one desires something different, but none of them know why she haunts the rest area.

Unexpected death, disease, and accidents force Mike, Sarah, and Russ to make hard decisions to move forward, ripping them from their pasts. Can these three motley friends find healing in their own lives and help a woman who says she doesn’t need anyone, even as her brokenness spills onto them?

Review
It's quite common for people to be drawn to beauty spots. They share an appreciation for these places. Is it really a stretch to think they could also be drawn to places that conjure up a more morose association or sense of despondency. Perhaps also being able to perceive someone who is lost or in need, and in doing so also reflect on their own problems.

The lives of Mike, Sarah, and Russ intersect with a strange forlorn figure. A woman who sits in the same place come rain, sun, snow or high winds, whilst repeating certain numbers to herself. One by one they are drawn to this strange women who doesn't seem to care about herself or her surroundings. She just is.

It's a contemporary read - a contemplative read about despair and the need for human interaction.

Hilston creates this micro-cosmos inside a bigger picture, and in a way the world or rather humankind is structured with small connected worlds. Worlds made up of emotions, be they painful or joyful ones. People looking for comfort, connection, support and kindness. It seems like such a simple thing, but in a world full of people who are for the majority quite disconnected from themselves and each other kindness is no longer a natural reaction.

I think one of the more poignant aspects of the read is Hilston making a point about loneliness. Feeling lonely doesn't automatically equate to being alone. You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. Sometimes you just need someone to reach out and care, and take note that you are there.

Buy Mile Marker 139 at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Pub date 13 Dec 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of Rocks and Flowers in a Box and A Laughing Matter of Pain by Cynthia Hilston.

Friday, 14 February 2020

#PublicationDayPush The Single Best Thing by Elaine Spires


Today it's Publication Day Push for The Single Best Thing by Elaine Spires.
About the Author
Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine's keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series - Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!  Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

Follow @ElaineSWriter on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram, on Amazon, Visit elainespires.co.uk
Buy The Single Best Thing


About the book
Almost four years have passed since Melv followed Eve back to England refusing to throw away their long awaited chance of lasting love and happiness. Much has happened in that time. No longer a tour manager for Travel Together, Eve is enjoying unexpected success in her new career. Has she forgiven him for hurting her so deeply? Was her love for him simply enough? And what about her own dark secret?

Provoking smiles and tears this glimpse into Eve’s future brings the Singles’ Series to its final conclusion.

Review
In this final part of the Single series, which should probably be read in order to get the full gist of the characters and the story, the reader gets to see what the future holds for Eve.

She finally works up the courage to put pen to paper and ultimately finds her way to becoming a published author. The heartache, confusion and pain are channelled into the written word. Eve evolves as a person, which may have come a little late in the day, but the results speak for themselves.

It's a contemporary read about love, relationships and the kind of secrets that destroy lives. I like the way Spires doesn't lay the blame on one person. Even if Eve doesn't want to acknowledge it at first, part of her realises that some of the blame can also be laid at her door.

I'm not quite sure where real life begins and ends, but it certainly seemed as if the author built Eve's experiences as a budding author from many of her own. Although wandering from present into the past wasn't a new storyline for this series - this time it didn't gel as well. Possibly because the information on blogtours, hosts, bloggers and helpful authors is based on fact and real people - with a little moment of displeasure re a certain review. For me it took away from the rest of the story.

This book brings the Single series and indeed the story of Eve to a conclusion. Will she finally be able to resign herself to the fact the past is over and done, which means she can forgive herself for her own choices and life altering decisions. You shouldn't spend the present focusing on the past, because that will define your future.

Buy The Single Best Thing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Singles, Set & Match by Elaine Spires.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

#BlogTour A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan


It's really is a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan. I really enjoy this series. Khan is a gem of a writer.
About the Author
Ausma Zehanat Khan is a novelist, human rights lawyer, lecturer and commentator. She holds a PhD in international human rights law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. After graduating from Trafalgar Castle, Ausma completed her B.. in English literature and sociology at the University of Toronto. She went on to complete her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of Ottowa.

Previously, Ausma served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine to reshape the conversation about Muslim women across North America. Her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead, won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. It is followed by The Language of Secrets, Among the Ruins and No Place of Refuge in the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty mystery series. She is a longtime community activist and writer. Born in Britain, Ausma lived in Canada for many years before recently becoming an American citizen. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Follow @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit ausmazehanatkhan.com, Buy A Deadly Divide


About the book
In the aftermath of a mass shooting in a mosque, small town tensions run high. Clashes between the Muslim community and a local faction of radical white nationalists are escalating, but who would I have motive and opportunity to commit such a devastating act of violence?

Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are assigned to this high-profile case and tasked to ensure the extremely volatile situation doesn't worsen. but when leaked CCTV footage exposes a shocking piece of evidence, both sides of the divide are enraged.

As Khattak and Getty work though a mounting list of suspects, they realise there's far more going on in this small town than anyone first thought.

Review
I can't say it often enough about this series and the author - Ausma Zehanat Khan should be on your radar. The writing is spectacular, the characters and storylines are culturally aware and authentic. The politics, religion, culture, ideologies and just in general the socio-political topics she weaves into the crimes and the lives of her characters, are astute and relevant.

This story is absolutely in keeping with the problems in the world at the moment. The rise or re-emergence of the far right, white supremacists marching the streets, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have become the norm instead of rare glimpses of hatred and ignorance.

Khattak and Getty land in the midst of a nest of simmering hatred, bigotry and racism. A local mosque becomes the scene of a mass shooting. The local police are quick to point the finger at a young man who fits the stereotypical prejudice they often fall back on when it comes to solving crimes.

Esa and Rachel are alarmed to find there has been a build-up to this incident, things that show a pattern of escalation - one the police chose to ignore. This implies systemic hatred and the fact they haven't brought an active neo-Nazi group to heel puts all the events in a different light.

It's a crime thriller with culture, race, religion and ideology at the centre. A brutally honest account of ignorance and hatred in our day and age, which the author pinpoints which frightening accuracy.

Khan doesn't want her stories, perhaps this one in particular, to come across 'as message books or as didactic', which they don't but they are an eye-opener. There are many words, sentences and paragraphs that are quote worthy. This book has a different feel to it. There seems to be an awareness of how important each word is, perhaps because the topic is so divisive and controversial. The fast-paced action is replaced with reflection and a head-on confrontation with the truth.

Don't be surprised if some of the dialogue is difficult to read. It's vile, ignorant and frankly unworthy of a world that is very much aware of how the persecution of a specific race or people can end in genocide. It's important to speak up. Too many look the other way or laugh things off as minor irritations. They aren't. Tell that to Holocaust survivors being confronted with swastikas and 'Juden Raus' again. Tell the Muslims being told to go home, spat at and all thrown in to the same category as terrorists, to just forget about it. We are all accountable when we choose to ignore hatred, because confronting it is too uncomfortable.

Once again Khan gives readers a compelling and driven read. A fantastic writer I wouldn't hesitate to buy or recommend.

Buy A Deadly Divide at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 6 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.


Read my reviews of The Language of Secrets, Among The Ruins and  No Place of Refuge by Ausma Zehanat Khan.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

The Women at Hitler's Table by Rosella Postorino

Review
This story is inspired by true events and the life of Margot Wolk. For whatever reason Margot chose to take her secrets and her story to her grave. I can imagine she perhaps felt guilt in some measure. She was the only one of the women to survive and they didn't die of old age - her connections proved advantageous to her survival at the time. There was also possibly a feeling that she was one of the people keeping Hitler and his officers alive.

Rosa is picked by the SS to work in Hitlers Lair, as one of a group of women who taste the food before Hitler and his officers partake of the same meal. Make no mistake this wasn't voluntary, and despite there being austerity and a lack of food due to the war, eating the food was no pleasure.
When a meal turns into a game of life or death each mouthful of food becomes a balancing act between culinary delight and painful death.

Postorino shows the eccentric and paranoid side of Hitler. The way he was consumed with fear, which in turn fuelled his hatred and anger. It has an element of Roman pomposity to it - taste my grapes peasant.

In a way I found it disappointing that the author didn't actually speak to Wolk - this is actually the aspect of the story I felt was missing, because it lacks the authenticity of an eyewitness. There are moments that speak to the trauma, the ruthless methodology of the regime. Then there are others, which smack of gratuitous drama.

Don't get me wrong, the read and the story that inspired the book, are absolutely compelling. Postorino gives life to one of the stories that vanish in the many folds of historical accounts.

Buy The Women at Hitler's Table at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins; pub date 14 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @rosellapost on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon,

#BlogTour Hidden Steel by Stuart Field


It's my turn on the BlogTour Hidden Steel by Stuart Field. It's the second book in the John Steel series.
About the Author
Stuart Field was born in the UK, in the West Midlands. He spent his early years in the army, seeing service in all the known (and some unknown) hotspots around the world. He now lives in Germany with his wife Ani. When not engaged in highly confidential security work, he writes thrillers which perhaps mimic his life-experience more than the reader would like to believe.

Follow @StuartField14 on Twitter, on Facebook, on GoodreadsBuy Hidden Steel


About the book
In the UK, Detective John Steel is investigating the organization who killed his family. When he comes across information that something big is going to happen on the cruise ship Neptune, Steel goes undercover. He has fourteen days to figure out what is going to happen - and to stop it.

In New York, Steel’s NYPD partner, Detective Samantha McCall, is investigating a series of deaths. All seems run of the mill for the homicide detective until they find out that the deaths are somehow connected to the cruise ship John Steel is on.

McCall is convinced there is a mole in the department, but can she figure out who he is - and who he's working for? Meanwhile, Steel is running out of options... and the clock is ticking.

Review
This is the second book in the John Steel series, both books can be read as standalone novels.

The book seems to be split into two storylines with no apparent connection, aside from the fact John Steel and Sam McCall know each other. Steel is on a cruise ship playing his - my name is Steel, John Steel - role. He does have a wee bit of super spy aura going on. He is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.

He is working undercover chasing something based on information that the Neptune is linked to a possible crime in the making. He isn't sure what he is looking for he just knows that something wicked this way comes.

Meanwhile Sam McCall and the rest of the NYPD team are dealing with a series of deaths. What appears to the inexperienced to be accidental is something more nefarious to the more weathered eye of McCall.

I like the way the author creates this imperfect perfect and almost mystical figure in Steel. His reputation proceeds him as he appears to save people and situations with such ease and power. Then Field balances the story by giving readers the normality of his police colleagues. The banter, the crime and the personalities, it all gels really well.

It's a fast-paced thriller, a combo of police procedural and action thriller. Field presents both storylines as separate entities at first, which makes for a split read, but not a disjointed one. The two are woven together naturally as the read progresses.

Buy Hidden Steel at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback and digital formats by Next Chapter Publishing on 25th December 2019. Buy at Amazon com.