Wednesday, 12 December 2018

#BlogTour All Wrapped Up in You by Sun Chara


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour All Wrapped Up in You by Sun Chara. She puts a modern twist on an age-old recipe for racing hearts and romantic interludes.

Enter the Giveaway below to – Win a $20 Amazon Gift card and an e-copy of All Wrapped Up In You (Open Internationally) 


All about the Author
Sun Chara, an Amazon top 100 bestseller, writes sexy, hip ‘n fun contemporary romance, and romantic comedies w/a divine twist for HarperImpulse. She makes her home in southern California, and has appeared on stage/film to rave reviews in How the Other Half Loves, General Hospital, and McGee and Me. She has a Masters Degree in Education and membership in SAG/AFTRA and Romance Writers of America. Sipping Frappuccinos topped with whipped cream/sprinkles, and dancing on the beach make everyday a celebration!

Follow @sunchara3 and @HarperImpulse on Twitter
Or connect with suncharaauthorpage on Facebook
Buy All Wrapped Up in You


About the book
Their marriage hangs in the balance, but on this wind battered Christmas Eve, a miracle is born…
When Ellie hooked up with world renowned neurosurgeon, Peter Medeci, aka 'Prince Charming’, she thought her dreams had come true. But the demands of being the model wife to his career triggers a mutiny within her and she decides to ditch the 'royal' life until he sees her as more than his bedroom playmate.

Review
This is a novella length romantic story. A tidbit of spicy love just in time for the holidays.
Ellie has decided to spend time finding herself after losing any sight of her old persona in the midst of her marriage to Peter. She can no longer see beyond the wealthy lifestyle, the charade of said lifestyle comes with so much pressure, and the two of them seem to be two ships passing each other in the night.

Where is the love they once shared? Not the breathtaking erotic moments of thrill or the lust that fills her from top to bottom when she sees Peter. No, where is the compassion and friendship they once shared. Ellie is willing to live like a matchstick girl until she gets the answers she needs.

What I will say is that it is always worth picking up a full-length novel by Chara. This short interlude does not give her creativity, storytelling and ability to create the kind of bodice-ripping characters a lot of readers enjoy, any justice at all. It is too short to be able to give Ellie, Peter or their relationship the depth they deserve.

Chara, and her writing, always remind me of the popular romance novels of the 80s and early 90s. Her style, the plots and her characters all have this vibe the readers used to hunger for, which is why the books were so popular at the time. She puts a modern twist on an age-old recipe for racing hearts and romantic interludes.

Buy All Wrapped Up In You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
All Wrapped Up in You at Amazon com
Read  my review of Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife by Sun Chara


Enter the Giveaway below to – Win a $20 Amazon Gift card and an e-copy of All Wrapped Up In You (Open Internationally) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway *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.*

Monday, 10 December 2018

#BlogTour Kosmos by Adrian Laing


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Kosmos by Adrian Laing. Laing mixes folklore, magic and the modern legal system to create a quirky courtroom story with an underlying moral core.

About the Author
Adrian Laing was born in Harlow, Essex in 1958 and was educated at Hillhead High School, Glasgow and Exeter University where he studied law, graduating in 1978. Adrian was called to the bar (Inner Temple) in 1979, aged 21. Following a sabbatical in Paris studying with Michel Foucault at the College de France, Adrian undertook a pupillage in chambers and was made a Tenant (2 Pump Court, Inner Temple) practicing at the criminal bar defending and prosecuting in jury trials for seven years.

Leaving the criminal bar in 1987 to pursue more commercial interests, Adrian worked as the Assistant Head of Licensing at the ITC during the Channel 3 franchise process and then as a full-time consultant to the Chief Executive of Thames Television (Richard Dunn), following which Adrian was appointed the Senior Broadcasting Lawyer for the Leeds-based firm of solicitors, Hammond Suddards working in the city of London.

In 1994 Adrian was selected to become the first in-house lawyer at the Murdoch-owned publishing house, HarperCollins, where he held the position of Director of Legal Affairs and Company Secretary till 2001 working with some of the leading authors and agents of the day.

Adrian qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and set up his own legal practice (Laing & Co) for over 10 years acting for a wide range of prestigious business clients and authors. Adrian presented or chaired a leading seminar for The London Book Fair 2003 to 2012.

Adrian Laing is the co-author with his wife (Deborah Fosbrook) of three leading law titles published by Bloomsbury Professional, the author of R.D. Laing: A Life a widely acclaimed biography of his late father, the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, and a novel, Rehab Blues.

Adrian has appeared on radio and television many times most notably the BBC documentary ‘Just Another Sinner’ and Saturday Live with James Runchie.

Adrian now lives in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Buy Kosmos


About the book
Rookie barrister George Winsome, young and arrogant, defends an old boy who thinks he’s Merlin on a manslaughter charge. The riotous trial turns Merlin into a celebrity; money, greed and ambition take hold of George and his partner Heather until the secret of Merlin’s past is revealed as the spirit of Saint Yves intervenes to ensure George and Heather follow their true paths.

‘Kosmos’ is a modern-day jury trial, a feel-good love story and a spiritual journey involving Saint Yves, Nemesis and Merlin.


Review
George Winsome is assigned to represent an old homeless man accused of assault, a man who believes himself to be a great man of power and magic. Merlin thinks the meeting between himself and George is preordained, a way for him to keep the universe on track. Clearly everyone else thinks Merlin is a sandwich short of a picnic and George too big for his boots, which makes them the perfect peculiar couple.

Just based on this scenario it is quite easy to see how the innocent can fall prey to the criminal and/or legal system, and to get lost within misconceptions and misinformation. Aside from that Laing also shines a light on the archaic British legal system, and although everyone is amused by its eccentricities I wonder if they aren't detrimental to the people having to go through said system.

For me the most intriguing aspect of this concept was whether or not we (people) need to believe in the improbable to sustain some semblance of hope in a world filled with uncertainty, fear and violence. To believe in a fictional or mythical character to achieve some sort of comfort in difficult times.

It also steers readers in the direction of accepting an element of peace in a role in life you might not have imagined yourself in, and yet might accidentally fall into. The few that understand that small acts of kindness will exact change, even if only for a few people, which is often more important than a ruthless high-ranking job with plenty of material gains.

Laing mixes folklore, magic and the modern legal system to create a quirky courtroom story with an underlying moral core.

Buy Kosmos at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy Kosmos at Amazon com
Publisher: Flame Tree Press, Follow @flametreepress
Sign up to the new Flame Tree Press Newsletter

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

#BlogTour The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour for The Sorows by Jonathan Janz. Janz has a penchant for the unpredictable and the macabre. A perfect combination for a connoisseur and writer of horror.
About the Author
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories.
His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, and the School Library Journal.

His novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children. You can sign up for his newsletter Shadow World, and you can follow him on:

Follow @JonathanJanz @flametreepress on Twitter,
On Instagram
Visit jonathanjanz.com
Buy The Sorrows


About the book
The Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California, and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome murders in 1925. But its owner needs money, so he allows film composers Ben and Eddie and a couple of their female friends to stay a month in Castle Blackwood. Eddie is certain a haunted castle is just the setting Ben needs to find inspiration for a horror film.

But what they find is more horrific than any movie. Something is waiting for them in the castle. A malevolent being has been trapped for nearly a century. And he’s ready to feed.


Review
You get a fair idea of what to expect within the first chapter or so. Okay that's a lie, Janz loves to spring the unexpected on his readers and his poor characters.

I like the idea of the odd codependent relationship between Ben and Eddie. The whole deal with the devil to achieve ultimate success and wealth. The way Eddie is willing to go to such extreme measures to get Ben motivated or rather to get his creative juices flowing, well it borders on negligence. What he perceives to be amusing others would consider to be reckless and dangerous. Not exactly what I would call a great friend.

I'm not sure the group really understands the stress and pain Chris is going through. Life as he knows it is in tatters, and having to deal with a vindictive ex-wife who is alienating their young son from him, is destroying him physically and mentally. It makes Chris a liability and someone who is willing to take a big risk, Not exactly unusual for a gambler, which is how and why he ends up letting the risk craving group enter Castle Blackwood.

If you have read anything by Janz then you will probably be aware that he has a talent for the darkest depths of hell and horror. The Sorrows represents the beginning of his journey, and also shows how much he has honed his craft since then.

Low level male chauvinism and misogyny is alive and well in the men, and the women are objectified. Well, except for evil ex-wife perhaps. The sexual escapades seem more like gratuitous fillers and the horror is on the other end of the extreme.

Saying all that, the talent doesn't go unnoticed and is clearly evident in this first novel. What I really liked, especially at the beginning of the book, was the way Ben and Eddie reacted to each other and the events. It was almost as if Janz wrote each part without either character knowing what the other was going to do, and that surprise comes through bold as brass.

Janz has a penchant for the unpredictable and the macabre. A perfect combination for a connoisseur and writer of horror.

Buy The Sorrows by Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Flame Tree Press, (New edition - 30 Nov. 2018)

Monday, 3 December 2018

#BlogTour Bait, Grist and Security by Mike Hodges


Today it's more than a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Bait, Grist and Security by Mike Hodges, the cult director of Get Carter and Flash Gordon. The stories have a gangster, old-school boys club vibe combined with shock-jock tactics. They shine a light on the corrupt cesspit of the world of influence and money


About the Author
Mike Hodges was born in Bristol, UK. As a television producer in the 1960s, he was invited to join the investigative programme World in Action. This took him to the US, covering the 1964 presidential election, and that same year to the war in Vietnam. He produced and sometimes directed the arts programmes Tempo and New Tempo . He is perhaps best-known for his work in cinema and television, including: Get Carter, Suspect, Rumour, The Manipulators, Pulp, The Terminal Man, Flash Gordon, A Prayer for the Dying, Morons from Outer Space, Florida Straits, Black Rainbow, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. He lives in London. This is his first book.
Follow @unbounders (publisher) on Twitter
Buy Bait, Grist and Security


About the book
Three darkly comic noir novellas from the cult director of Get Carter
In ‘Bait’, a slippery PR man, Mark Miles, is unaware he’s being manipulated and dangled as bait
by an investigative reporter until he’s swallowed by a sadistic mind-expanding cult from
America.
In ‘Grist’, the bestselling writer, Maxwell Grist, ruthlessly uses real people as fodder for his
crime novels before finding himself living up to his name and becoming grist for his own
murder.
In ‘Security’, an American movie star, unhappy with the film he’s working on, refuses to leave
his hotel for the studios, while in the corridor outside his luxury suite mayhem and murder take
over.
Review
Bait, Grist and Security are three novellas written by cult director Mike Hodges. It is fair to say that all three stories are an attempt to reveal the worst traits of humans and the failings of society. I think the noir is so dark and dirty that it might be considered crud, either that or sent straight from the depraved bowels of hell.

As a director, Mike Hodges has given us film classics, such as Get Carter and Flash Gordon. I am not sure his writing translates as well as his spectacular talent at envisioning what a film should look like to viewers. Then again perhaps it is just a matter of perspective.

The stories have a gangster, old-school boys club vibe combined with shock-jock tactics. They shine a light on the corrupt cesspit of the world of influence and money. Everything is pretty and polished on the surface, but beneath the shallow exterior lurks something uncomfortable and dark.

The stories are also crude, sexually explicit and often teetering on the border of politically incorrect and absolutely socially unacceptable. The scene with the woman in the field is like something out of the Linda Lovelace (also known as Deep Throat) autobiography, except in her case the bestiality was done unto her by a canine. Then there is the occasional lean towards paedophilia.

It's most certainly going to be a bit of a marmite read, as in not everyone's cup of tea. Hodges plays with the dregs of humanity in a sardonic way, then mixes this tone within the constructs of the individual stories, and then lets them take their course.

Buy Bait, Grist and Security at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Unbound (29 Nov. 2018)

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Into This Wild Abyss by F.J. Newman


This story is a coming-of-age, a realisation of the brutality of war, and the brusque reality of desperation and death. It is a wild excursion into turmoil and destruction, let alone a wild abyss.

To celebrate the publication of Into This Wild Abyss by F.J. Newman you can enter a Giveaway to win a copy of this fabulous fantasy novel. Just comment below this post between the 2nd - 10th of December 2018 to take part. (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand entries ONLY)
About the Author
F J Newman is a New Zealand bookseller and author. He developed a love of reading from a young age and tried his hand at his first book while in high school. Hopefully that will never see the light of day.

Follow @f_j_newman on Twitter
Follow F.J. Newman on GoodreadsAmazon Author page
Visit vermilionempire.com
Buy Into This Wild Abyss


About the book
Into This Wild Abyss is the first book in the Vermilion Archives.
The Vermilion Empire is in turmoil, rocked by murder, betrayal and revolt. Amid the chaos, three individuals face the brutal reality of a society collapsing around them.

Ashara is stranded in the city and desperate to return to the grassy plains of her homeland. Surrounded by strangers, she must learn the hard way who she can trust. As things go from bad to worse, she is forced to flee with nothing but her wits and courage to protect her.

Natan is a disappointment to his merchant father. He sees the civil war as an opportunity to prove himself but does not count on the bitter cost. What starts as the pursuit of adulthood ends in a quest for revenge.

Po is a novice monk in the Ba’re order. Idealistic but at times naive, he is drawn into a web of intrigue that sees him hunted by the notorious Ministry of Virtue. The information he safeguards could determine the future of the empire itself.

Loyalties are tested and human endurance finds its limits amidst the gritty and unrelenting backdrop of a world teetering on the edge of oblivion.

Review
This is the first book in the Vermilion Archives series, a high or epic fantasy suitable for YA and older readers. The story features three main characters, and their storylines weave in and out of each other's stories, as their lives connect and intersect during the tale.

Ashara, Natan and Po share an instinct for survival and self-preservation, and they also have a strong sense of loyalty. This story is a coming-of-age, a realisation of the brutality of war, and the brusque reality of desperation and death. It is a wild excursion into turmoil and destruction, let alone a wild abyss.

Ashara finds it difficult to trust and bond with people after she is brutally ripped from her family and her familiar existence. Being forced into servitude makes her question what she was always taught to be the truth, which is the beginning of her own personal rebellion.

Natan is used to being part of a privileged existence, so when his life is turned upside down he has to find the strength to retaliate against the kind of injustice he has previously watched and is now part of.

Po is quite an interesting character, because the violence, war and the strict rules of his existence as a monk present a conundrum for him. He is asked to ignore his instincts and behave with an almost negligent attitude towards his fellow human beings.

As their kingdoms explode into a vicious, volatile and 'take no prisoners' kind of war, each one of them has to make a choice about their allegiances and how to survive in this new treacherous world. It really does show how the paths they considered to be divine, a natural progression or the normal order of the universe, can change in the blink of an eye or a single decision.

Epic fantasy is an incredibly difficult genre, perhaps because it combines a multitude of sub-genres and usually has multiple storylines taking place simultaneously. Some authors have a flair for it and others do not. Newman does.

In fact for a debut novel this is incredibly well-written, developed and the world-building has plenty of potential. I would like to see him create a more emotional link between the characters and the reader, a little more depth so those readers will come back for more. Either way, he has my recommendation and I will certainly be coming back to read more by Newman. It's

Buy Into This Wild Abyss at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy Into This Wild Abyss at Amazon com
Publisher: Atlantis Publishing (NZ)
Atlantispublishing Facebook page

Friday, 30 November 2018

#BlogTour Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour for Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch. Petch shows the reader what true companionship, friendship and support is.


About the Author
A prize-winning author, Angela Petch lives half the year in West Sussex and the summer months in a remote valley in the Tuscan Apennines. She recently signed a two-book deal with Bookouture for her Tuscan novels and “Mavis and Dot” is a temporary departure from her usual genre. She has travelled all her life: born in Germany, she spent six years as a child living in Rome, worked in Amsterdam after finishing her degree in Italian, moved to Italy for her job, then to Tanzania for three years. Her head is full of stories and she always carries a pen and note-book to capture more ideas.

In May 2017, Angela Petch won PRIMA’S monthly short story competition and recently had a dozen stories published by The People’s Friend magazine.

“Mavis and Dot” was written in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle with ovarian cancer. All profits from sales of the book will go towards research into a cure for cancer.

Follow @Angela_Petch on Twitter, On Facebook


About the book
A warm slice of life, funny, feel-good, yet poignant. Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship.Meet Mavis and Dot - two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants. A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions.

Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You'll laugh and cry but probably laugh more."This book is quirky and individual, and has great pathos...[it] will resonate with a lot of readers." Gill Kaye - Editor of Ingenu(e). Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels.

Review
The friendship and relationship between Mavis and Dot reminds me of the friendship my mother has with a woman she met when she moved to a small seaside town. The two of them spend nearly their entire time together sniping and complaining about each other, all whilst going on regular shopping trips and excursions. When apart they complain to others about the annoying habits each of them has, and that is more or less what Mavis and Dot are like.

The differences between them seem insurmountable and yet the way each of them resigns themselves to those idiosyncrasies is what stands out in this story.

For me the core of this story is the odd couple relationship and the friendship they both grow into over time. The story pivots and shoots into a lot of different directions, which I felt was detrimental to the main plot at times, however saying that the eccentricity and the erratic nature of the storyline is also what makes this story.

Friendship happens between the strangest of couples and groups, and between the most unlikely of persons. The question is whether we are still able to do so in times when our society has become so standoffish, inhumane and uncaring towards the plight and pain of our fellow human beings. We have to accept that we are the same beneath our external differences or internal beliefs.

Petch shows the reader what true companionship, friendship and support is, and it has no problem ignoring smelly coats and a bad dress sense. It can be filled with disagreements and still be a strong supportive bond worth nurturing. At the same time, looking beyond the sad aspect of loneliness, the isolation of the elderly and the way we deal with immigrants, there is also a thread of humour throughout the story. It keeps Mavis and Dot light and entertaining.

Buy Mavis and Dot at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy Mavis and Dot at Amazon com
Tuscan Novels
Tuscan Roots: A tangle of love and war in the Italian Apennines (Tuscan Roots - to be reissued by Bookouture in 2019)
Now and Then in Tuscany:Italian Journeys


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Attend by West Camel

I really enjoyed this gem of a read and I hope you do too.

Don't miss the fantastic BlogTour starting on Saturday the 1st of December and running for the entire month. Read the schedule at the bottom of this post to follow my fellow bloggers, as they take this debut book by West Camel, published by Orenda Books, for a ride through the Bloggerverse.

About the Author
Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing.  He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch.

He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.

Follow @west_camel @OrendaBooks on Twitter
Visit westcamel.net
Buy Attend


About the book
When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah. Seamstress, sailor, storyteller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.


Review
I think the first assumption one makes about this story is that Deborah is some kind of forlorn spirit or a ghost who is destined to wander the streets of Deptford for eternity. The truth is so much more complex. It's also what gives this story an essence of eccentric charm. You never really know for certain whether she is real, is she a figment of imagination or is she really walking among the living waiting for the right circumstances?

The only trouble with magical realism is the fact it is hard to distinguish between what is real and which elements belong in the magical category. So, with that said I am off to go look for Deborah in the tunnels or in her abode by the river.

One of the most poignant moments in the book is when Deborah asks if Anne and Sam can really see her. If you set aside the story for moment, it speaks to the lack of compassion and empathy in our society. The lonely walk through our world like invisible people. We look away from and turn our backs on things that make us uncomfortable, including the homeless, the abused and invisible in our society.

Not everyone sees Deborah, which in itself says a lot about the world she lives in, and a lot about the people who can or do see her. Does she connect with Anne and Sam because they need her in exactly that moment in time? Are their inner struggles and demons like a flare in the darkness for Deborah? Or do the paths of this threesome meld because fate has dictated this path for them?

I can't tell a lie, this story drew me in further with each word. I was mesmerised by the story of the young girl in the tunnel and her magical discovery. From the claustrophobic feel of the tunnels, the mysterious piece of cloth - to the Hansel and Gretel safety thread

Attend is a nod in the direction of magical realism with a noirish quality and yet simultaneously filled with the brusque reality of our modern world. The collusion between these different worlds culminates in an extraordinary piece of fiction.

Buy Attend (Kindle) at Amazon Uk
Buy/Pre-order Attend (Paperback - pub date 13 December 2018)
Publisher: Orenda Books

Starting on the 1st of December - the Blogtour for Attend by West Camel:


#BlogTour Too Far by Jason Starr


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Too Far by Jason Starr. Starr writes crime with the improbable in mind, so expect the unexpected.

About the Author
Jason Starr is the international bestselling author of many crime novels and thrillers and his books have been published in over a dozen languages. Many of his books are in development for film and TV. Starr's bestselling crime novels include Cold Caller, Nothing Personal, Fake ID, Hard Feelings, Tough Luck and Twisted City, followed by Lights Out, The Follower, Panic Attack, Savage Lane and his latest novel, Too Far. He is one of only a handful of authors who have won the Anthony Award for mystery fiction multiple times. He was born in Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan.

Follow @JasonStarrBooks @noexitpress on Twitter
Visit jasonstarr.com
Buy Too Far


About the book
One night. One date. What have you got to lose?

Jack Harper isn’t a bad man, but he’s stuck in a loveless marriage with a mediocre job just trying to keep sober. The only good thing in his life is his son. When an old college friend introduces him to a new extramarital dating website, he tentatively reaches out to find a distraction from his misery. But when he goes to meet up with his steamy online date, he quickly realises it was a dire choice.
Soon, Jack finds himself desperately trying to prove his innocence for crimes he did not commit, and the life he once had – unhappy as it was – is nothing but a dream. Now, he’s living his worst nightmare. . .

Gripping and packed with shocking twists and turns, this intense psychological thriller plays with a basic anxiety we all harbour: What if one reckless decision could ruin your life forever?
Review
Jack, oh Jack, what can I say about Jack? He likes to blame everything and everyone else for his failures and mistakes. At least he is consistent throughout the story when it comes to this. He never accepts any responsibility for his actions. His wife makes him unhappy, which means it's okay to look elsewhere. His friend is more successful at life, so it's fine for Jack to want more from his own life.

Clearly his friend is there holding each finger to the keyboard as Jack sets up a profile on an extramarital aka cheating hook-up site. An invisible force makes him send flirtatious and salacious messages to women other than his wife, women who are also married or in relationships. When he goes as far as arranging to meet up for a dangerous liaison he finds himself in a bit of a pickle.

Jack, who wants a bit of fun on the side, becomes Jack the murder suspect and Jack the alleged killer. Within hours he has a very displeased wife, a detective gagging to pin a death on him and his life starts unravelling before him.

Starr presents a main character with a penchant for self-pity and a knack for finding himself in difficult situations. Not exactly the perfect leading man, but certainly a good pick for this rather unpredictable crime thriller. It's a read with infuriating scenes and characters, and they inadvertently also act as red herrings in a crime story with an apparently simple solution.

The author finishes the book off with an intriguing about-turn in a direction, which leaves the story open for a possible sequel. Starr writes crime with the improbable in mind, so expect the unexpected.

Buy Too Far at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: No Exit Press

Saturday, 24 November 2018

#BlogTour A Hollow Sky by M. Sean Coleman


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour for A Hollow Sky by M. Sean Coleman, the second book in the Alex Ripley series. Coleman gives the reader an intriguing mixture of mystery, crime and whodunnit, then surrounds it with a layer of mysticism and skepticism in equal measures.

Enter the Giveaway below to win paperback copies of The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky, 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.
Follow @mseancoleman  @RedDogTweets on Twitter, on Facebook
Buy A Hollow Sky


About the book
Jane Hewitt had been miraculously healed—cured of a terminal cancer that had been eating away at her body for months. After one meeting with an incredible young woman, Jane rose from her wheelchair and walked out, believing that her lifetime of devoted faith had been rewarded. The next day, Jane died in her husband's arms, devastated that her God had deserted her. Her husband, Ian, blames her hastened death on the faith healer she visited. But that faith healer is a teenage girl called Megan, who has been in a coma for five years, and has no say over how her gift is used.

When Ian is arrested after being accused of breaking in to Megan's house and trying to tamper with her life support, he turns to the only person he knows can help clear his name, and stop this family deceiving any other victims—Dr Alex Ripley, the so called Miracle Detective.

Fascinated by Megan's case, and needing a distraction, Ripley finds herself on Holy Island, off the coast of North Wales, caught up in an investigation that will prove more sinister and dangerous than she could have imagined. Ian is not the first person to complain about Megan and her supporters, but he seems to be the only one left alive. For now.
A Hollow Sky is the second Alex Ripley Mystery

Review
This is the second book in the Alex Ripley Mystery series. Both The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky can be read as standalone novels. One of the small scenes in the first book features a character who later becomes a main character in the second.

Dr Alex Ripley dedicates her life to exposing the charlatans who try and trick the vulnerable and the gullible. The fakes with a supposed direct line of contact to the dead and the ability to mediate between the living and their dearly departed loved ones.

Jane Hewitt visits a miracle healer, a young girl in a coma called Megan, and is dead the next day. Her husband blames the scam operation that made his wife believe she had experienced a miraculous healing, which was then ripped away again in a few minutes, for her death. In her last moments she was convinced her God had forsaken her. Now Ian wants to make sure everyone knows that coma girl is as fake as a tan on an Essex girl.

Obviously Alex comes up against quite a lot of opposition. There are plenty of religious people, who believe in miracles and the power of faith. Crying statues, sudden healing and the power of mass belief. Logic, science and plain old common sense are the last things people want to believe in when they think they are experiencing a sign from God.

Coleman gives the reader an intriguing mixture of mystery, crime and whodunnit, then surrounds it with a layer of mysticism and skepticism in equal measures. It makes for a compelling read.

Buy A Hollow Sky (Alex Ripley Mystery Book #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy A Hollow Sky at Amazon com
Buy A Hollow Sky at Red Dog Press
Read my review of The Cuckoo Wood (Alex Ripley Mystery Book #1) by M.Sean Coleman


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#BlogTour And The Swans Began to Sing by Thora Karitas Arnadottir


Today it is my turn on the BlogTour And The Swans Began to Sing by Thora Karitas Arnadottir. It's a heartfelt and emotional journey. Kudos to Gudbjorg for sharing it and for looking for help.


About the Author
Thora Karitas Arnadottir studied drama in Britain and is best known for the award winning TV series, Astridur, in her home country and for hosting Unique Iceland, a highly popular travel magazine show about Iceland.

Thora is currently working on her first novel, which will be released in Iceland in 2019.
Thora Karitas is an Icelandic actress and author and this is the English translation of her Icelandic debut. It's a narrative non-fiction about her mother's life in Iceland. Throughout her childhood Thora's mother, Gudjborg was raped on a regular basis by her grandfather.

Follow @ThoraKaritas @Wildpressed on Twitter
Visit thorakaritas.co.uk
Buy And The Swans Began to Sing


About the book
The swans on the pond, quite abruptly began to sing. It was a singing so loud they were almost screaming. The swans were screaming, screaming as if they saw the horror of the world.

Gudbjorg Thorisdottir has been hiding from the ghost of an ugly secret for most of her life. When she finally faces the truth of what happened throughout her childhood, the ghost floats away. Painting an evocative picture of her life in Iceland, this is the story of a little girl who didn’t know how unnatural it was to experience both heaven and hell in the same house.

Thora Karitas Arnadottir (b. 1979) studied drama in the UK, and is a producer as well as appearing on stage and television. And the Swans Began to Sing is her first published book; her mother’s story, and formed the final dissertation for her MA in Creative Writing. The book was nominated for the Icelandic Women’s Literary prize Fjoruverdlaunin in 2016.


Review
This is the story of Gudbjorg Thorisdottir, the grandmother of Thora Karitas Arnadottir. In a way it is her way of healing the wounds of the past by telling the world her story in her own words, even if it is through the pen or medium of her granddaughter. She is facing the gossips and the tellers of tales head-on.

I think this is one of the things that seems to hurt her - the fact others have taken it upon themselves to tell her story, her secret. People, and I am thinking of her ex-husband in particular, who believe it is their secret to share just because they think it is their knowledge to control. Gudbjorg is an adult, who has confronted her abuse, has worked through it in therapy and is trying to come to terms with it, so it is her secret to share with others.

It would be entirely different if we were talking about an ongoing situation or someone who needed help to deal with the abuse. If you do suspect a child is being abused, especially if it is a gut reaction, then don't wave it aside. The majority of sexual abuse is ignored because adults would rather not confront a taboo or label someone by mistake. Believe me you will know, but our instinctive reaction is to ignore what we find impossible to believe. This is definitely the case when the abuser is a family member.

The other element of this tragic story that shines through is the relationship Gudbjorg has with her mother, and the question of whether she knew what was going on. I think Gudbjorg is well aware, after talking to friends and family many years after the fact, that her grandfather was a known abuser, which then leaves her with the difficult truth that her family left her in a vulnerable position. Her mother chose to ignore her instinct, and her family members turned a blind eye, because placing the truth on the table would have broken the family apart. Difficult to acknowledge, but often the case in family abuse and incest.

I think it is incredibly brave of Gudbjorg to speak out, even after all these years. I hope it brings her some peace and lessens the guilt. The guilt that doesn't belong anywhere on her shoulders by the way. The drink didn't make him do it, the grief didn't make him do it, and I can guarantee you he had more victims than Gudbjorg realises.

All of that is irrelevant though, because the most important thing is that she was a child and he stole her childhood, her innocence and many first moments from her. It's time she stopped letting him steal from her.

It's a heartfelt and emotional journey. Kudos to Gudbjorg for sharing it and for looking for help.

Buy And The Swans Began to Sing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for an other retailer.
Publisher: Wild Pressed Books (10th January 2019)

Friday, 23 November 2018

#BlogTour Good Samaritans by Will Carver


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Good Samaritans by Will Carver. Carver defines the kill in killer and the clean in crime scene in a whole new way.


About the Author
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Follow @will_carver @OrendaBooks on Twitter
Buy Good Samaritans


About the book
One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

Review
I really do appreciate the kind of opening chapter or pages that seal the deal in an instant. It sounds like such an easy task, however it is surprising how many authors can't deliver the 'slap to the face' approach. It's usually a case of casting a line, waiting for a bite and slowly drawing a reader in, which is equally compelling, and yet it doesn't have the same feel or appeal to it.

Sean loves his wife and hates his wife, despises his job and is being driven just a wee bit insane by his insomnia. His only moments of joy are when he connects with strangers in the middle of the night via random phone calls. Hadley is one of the strangers he connects with when she reaches out to find someone to talk to. Someone who will keep her from harming herself. Their story is one of coincidence and also one of fate, then again it might just be fateful for one of them.

It's kind of ironic that the story suggests that trust is a forgotten character trait and no longer something we can automatically rely on. The message is trust no one, because you just never know who might be hiding behind the seemingly innocent exterior.

The more poignant message in this story, in my opinion, is the one about loneliness. The depths of despair we keep hidden from others, the feeling of being completely and utterly lost and not knowing why or how to fix it. The smiles we fix upon our faces to greet the world every single day, whilst wanting to disappear from the world in equal measures. I think the author captures that particular essence of humanity and relays it, albeit through the eyes of potential killers, in a way we can all relate to.

I'm not quite sure whether it's a compliment or not, but based on his plot, and all-round worryingly creepy and accurate descriptions of both the killing and the killers, Carver would probably make a highly efficient serial-killer. Just putting that out there into the universe. You just never know when you might need a new career.

Don't expect it to be pretty or romanticised, this is not only the hardcore reality of pleasure induced by killing, it is also a snapshot moment of the systemic misery and darkness hidden in our society. It's the kind of psychological thriller that makes you feel sorry for the killer and dislike them all at the same time. Carver defines the kill in killer and the clean in crime scene in a whole new way. Note: One shall no longer be singing three bottles of beer on the wall, from now on it's bleach...

Buy Good Samaritans at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Orenda Books (15 Sept. 2018)


Thursday, 22 November 2018

#BlogTour Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willet. It has the feel of a rural mystery with a whiff of sadism and a screwed up killer.

About the Author
Anna Willett is the author of Backwoods Ripper, Retribution Ridge, Forgotten Crimes, Cruelty’s Daughter and the best-selling thriller, Unwelcome Guests. Her new release, Small Town Nightmare is available on Amazon. Raised in Western Australia Anna developed a love for fiction at an early age and began writing short stories in high school. Drawn to dark tales, Anna relishes writing thrillers with strong female characters. When she’s not writing, Anna enjoys reading, travelling and spending time with her husband, two children and their dogs.

Follow Anna Willet: On Facebook on Goodreads on Pinterest Amazon Author page
Visit annawillet.info
Buy Small Town Nightmare


About the book
A young drifter is in deep trouble, his sister is his only hope...

Lucy’s younger brother has gone missing. When she sets out to find him, the trail takes her to Night Town. It’s a rural backwater deep in the forests of south western Australia. Lucy tries to enlist the help of the local police, but she is met with hostility. She befriends a man who might help her cause. Yet he is not quite who he says he is.

As the locals begin to resent her presence in the town, danger quickly mounts. The town has secrets and they seem to centre on the enigmatic Samuel Nightmesser, its wealthy benefactor.What connects her missing brother to this grim boondock? And why do the townsfolk want rid of Lucy?

As the story unfolds we are immersed in a creepy, claustrophobic drama in which everything is at stake. If you like books with a strong female lead that keep you on the edge of your seat, you’ve found your next favourite read

Review
Lucy is looking for her brother, a drifter who has gone missing. One of the invisible people nobody cares about and not many miss when they just disappear from the face of the earth. Luckily she can pinpoint where he was when he made his last phone call, a small rural town in Western Australia called Night Town.

The attitude Lucy comes across is in the title. Small town mentality, to be more specific, the small town cop mentality. Nothing exists outside of the parameters of the town. They make their own rules, follow the law if and when they choose to. When the safety of their secrets is compromised then all bets are off - to the detriment of any stranger or person just passing through.

I have to say I think Lucy is naive and trusts easily, especially when it comes to strangers. Just because Damon just happens to be searching for a missing person too doesn't mean he is harmless. The search connects the two of them, as does the lack of care they have for their own safety.

I'm not sure anything can prepare Lucy or Damon for the bizarre and insane truth hidden behind the allegedly peaceful exterior of Night Town. The brutal and unapologetic madness of the criminal machinery funded by privilege and wealth, and by the constant 'look the other' way attitude of others.

It has the feel of a rural mystery with a whiff of sadism and a screwed up killer.

Buy Small Town Nightmare at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy Small Town Nightmare at Amazon com or at  BookBub
Published on 29th August 2018 and available in paperback and eBook formats.