Friday, 27 December 2019

#BlogTour The Move by Felicity Everett


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Move by Felicity Everett.

About the Author
Felicity Everett grew up in Manchester and studied English Literature at Sussex University. She worked in children's publishing in London, whilst raising a family and is the author of more than twenty works of children's fiction and non-fiction.

After a short career break, Felicity returned to writing full-time and in 201 published her debut novel, The Story of Us, a funny and touching account of the friendships forged between five women at University in the 1980s. Her second novel, The People at Number 9, was published in April 2017, is a dark satire on sex, envy and betrayal in the suburbs. Felicity has recently returned from a few years living in Melbourne, with her husband and now lives in Gloucestershire.

Follow @Ittymay on Twitter, on Goodreads, on AmazonBuy The Move
About the book
Karen is driving through a strange landscape into a new life. Always a city girl, now she is on her way to an idyllic country cottage, refurbished for her with impeccable taste by he husband Nick. They're making a fresh start.

But something is awry in the new house - it's not just the fact that Karen and Nick are ill at ease in one another's company - that their recent history is far from picture perfect, it's the whole vibe. The landscape is breathtaking by day, eerie by night. If the countryside is supposed to be a place of peace, far away from curtain-twitchers, who is the person watching them from the hill? And who are their new neighbours?

With Karen only recently emerging from a dark place in her life, can she find the trust in her husband Nick to let go of events that have followed them to their new house?

Review
What's interesting about The Move is the way Everett gives it the vibe of a psychological thriller and yet at the end you realise it's something else entirely. Around every corner, in every nook and cranny, and behind every hedge and window, there is this suggestion of menace. Something evil this way comes.

The author writes the story in a way that invites the reader to imagine more than actually happens by describing scenarios and people that leaves everything to open to interpretation or more than one possibility.

There is this scene at the very beginning with Karen in the car - I swear till the very last word I expected some revelation about what had really happened. It's quite clever really, because there is this suggestion that people in general have the tendency to assume, imagine and pad out their experiences. Karen for instance tends to jump straight to paranoia, which is sparked by jealousy and low self-esteem.

Her husband Nick loves to gaslight his wife, despite the fact he is a cheat and an abusive parent, he likes to play the innocent hard-done by hubby. Poor Nick who has to put up with the crazy wife and the loser son. Perhaps he has a point though?

For me this is a story about discovery of self, empowerment and setting yourself free from oppressive emotional bonds. As soon as you recognise them you can set yourself free by severing the ties.

The author shows the emotional recovery of Karen and epiphany she has. It's all about comprehending that just because someone points the finger of blame at you it doesn't mean you are actually to blame. When someone tells you who they are - believe them the first time.

Buy The Move at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 23rd January 2020 - Hardback £12.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk.

#BlogTour Audiobook: The Counterplot by Dai George


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Counterplot by Dai George (Author), Harry Myers (Narrator), Audible Studios (Publisher).

About the Author
Dai George is a writer, critic and editor from Cardiff. His first poetry collection, The Claims Office (Seren, 2013), was an Evening Standard book of the year, and his work has been widely published in magazines and anthologies such as The Guardian, The White Review, New Welsh Reader, Boston Review and The Salt Book of Younger Poets.

Follow @dai_r_george on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit daigeorge.comBuy The Counterplot


About the Audiobook
The year is 1605 and Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, is struggling --  his writing career has waned and his patron, Lord D’Aubigny, has grown tired of his company. Throwing caution to the wind, Jonson pens a satirical play Eastward Ho! that includes the Monarch among its targets. But the laughs it gets cost its author dearly, landing Jonson in jail, his reputation in tatters.

Finally released, Jonson discovers that his wife Anne has gone missing. The two have been estranged, driven apart by the tragic deaths of their three children and by Jonson’s long absences from home. Eventually Ben learns that in her desperation, Anne has found comfort with the members of a Roman Catholic sect. Out of his desire to be reconciled with his wife, Ben himself becomes entangled in this secretive group, though when their planned treachery becomes clear he tries to expose them. His warnings are ignored by his former patron, Lord D’Aubigny. And after the Gunpowder Plot fails ignominiously, Ben and his wife are suspected of having been part of the conspiracy. Fittingly, it is only through his pen that Jonson can save them both.

Review
Set in the early 17th century, this is a tale of intrigue, but also one of a man who simply tries to reconcile his ambitions with his broken marriage and with his life in general. In a way the author creates a correlation between past and present by doing so.

The normality of his worries and attempts to make a living, whilst trying to regain some semblance of his previous marital relationship are really not that much different from someone in our day and age. Barring the ambitious assassination plots, the possibility of being jailed and beheaded for contentious words both written and spoken of course, perhaps even more dangerous when your words are played out on the stage for the entire city to experience.

The story is written very much with the feel and sound of the era, so at times it feels as if the listener has stepped into the 17th century and standing in the midst of the bustling streets listening to the characters or standing in the children's chambers as the parents confront their grief.

Chapter 19 is tragic and yet equally as beautiful in its unavoidable pain, horror and tragedy. Perceived as a natural occurrence and an event one shouldn't and couldn't spend time fixating on or indeed on the loss.

It's an historical thriller plotted with the pace of a piece of literary fiction - it's visceral and engrossing. George gives his listeners a combination of almost poetic like exchanges - old English - and a character who stumbles through life with an almost accidental propensity for danger, pain, embarrassment and ultimately survival.

Buy The Counterplot at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Audible Audiobook: Listening Length: 15 hours and 21 minutes, Program Type: Audiobook, Version: Unabridged, Publisher: Audible Studios, Audible.co.uk - Release Date: 23 Dec. 2019, Language: English, English, ASIN: B0821KKMBN

Friday, 20 December 2019

#BlogTour A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum


Today it's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum. It's a poignant tale of oppression and also women's empowerment.

About the Author
Etaf Rum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by Palestinian immigrants. She teaches college English literature in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children. A Woman is No Man is her first novel.

Follow @EtafRum on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagramon Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit etafrum.comBuy A Woman is No Man
About the book
Palestine, 1990. Seventeen -year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naive and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children - four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra's oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda's insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can't help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path tht leads her to shocking truths about her family - knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and close cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

Review
Why wasn't this on some of the best book and prize lists of the year in the Uk? It has seriously remained almost invisible, despite winning recognition and accolades in the US. It should be compulsory reading for all girls and women, regardless of their background.

It speaks truth to the lies that are spoken by both men and women defending tradition, culture and religion. Tell us again how you revere women. How they aren't treated like sub-humans and second class citizens. Tell us again how keeping women silent and submissive is simultaneously cementing and honouring their place in society.

I came away a few times from this read, but ultimately when I finished it I was both enraged and saddened.

I think what many of us forget, and that includes the families who put children, and especially girls, in this position, is the difficult position they end up in when they grow up in Western cultures. The two contradicting cultures must be incredibly difficult to navigate at the same time. One culture is steeped in medieval and oppressive traditions and rules, whereas the other culture allows freedom in all areas. How are children and young people supposed to be true to both?

The story begins with Isra, a young Palestinian Arab girl who is married off to a family and moved to Brooklyn. Then we hear the story of her eldest daughter Deya as her grandmother Fareeda starts to pressure her into upholding the family honour and her duties by accepting a suitor.The stories of the two women play out at the same time as Deya discovers the truth about the parents she believes were killed in a car crash.

It's women's fiction and a poignant contemporary read about empowering women in a culture of systemic abuse and oppression. The author gives us a compelling and infuriating look behind closed doors. Girls born and bred to be nothing more than brood-mares, cleaners, cooks and objects of abuse - that's if they are allowed to live at all. No wonder Isra sinks into despair.

I think it's particularly tragic that her love of reading is what ultimately destroys what is left of her hope that there is more out there for her and her daughters other than pressure, oppression and pain.

I loved and hated this book in equal measures. It is an incredibly tragic and beautiful story, but it is also indicative of the systemic abuse and oppression of women in certain cultures.

One last thing - although it pains me to say this - the role other women play in both the oppression and abuse shouldn't be underestimated. Fareeda plays a leading role in this story, as do other mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who condone and contribute to never-ending cycle of oppression. Excusing it by labeling it tradition, culture or part of a devout upbringing is a farce and makes a mockery of any culture that sustains, welcomes and continues to uphold oppressive and abusive behaviour.

It is an excellent read.

Buy A Woman is No Man at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ: Published on 12th December 2019 - Paperback £8.99 - Available in eBook and Audiobook. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk Buy at Waterstones

#BlogTour Deathly Affair by Leigh Russell


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Deathly Affair by Leigh Russell. It's the 13th book in the Geraldine Steel series.

About the Author
Leigh Russell is the author of the Ian Peterson series (Cold Sacrifice, Race to Death and Blood Axe) and the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series:Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi,Class Murder, Death Rope and Rogue Killer.The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA), John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People's Book Prize.

Leigh is chair of the CWA's Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Follow @LeighRussell @noexitpress on Twitter, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit leighrussell.co.uk, Buy Deathly Affair


About the book
Four dead bodies. But who is guilty in this deadly web of secrecy and lies?
When a homeless man is murdered, Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel is disturbed by the cold-blooded nature of the crime. With the discovery of a second victim, the police hunt for a killer whose motive is as elusive as he is dangerous.

In an investigation plagued by police scepticism, Geraldine is relentless in her pursuit of the truth. Drawn into the lives of three people caught in a toxic web of love and deceit, Geraldine learns there is more to this case than she had imagined..

Review
This is the 13th book in the Geraldine Steel series, and I would write DI Steel but due to her actions in the last book Geraldine has been demoted. She is finding her feet in this new situation where she no longer takes the lead and has to be the subordinate again. The problem with that is her experience often points her in a different direction than the person in charge wants to go with the investigation.

Geraldine feels there is more to the death of a local homeless man for instance. Something about it just doesn't ring quite right, aside from it being a murder of course. She is also annoyed by the assumptions her colleagues make about the poor man. Throwing theories about that suggest he deserved his death or did something to incur the wrath of the murderer. The lack of general compassion for the victim because he had fallen on hard times.

It's a police procedural crime read. Russell combines it with the tumultuous story of a marriage with consequences and the result is nothing less than tragic.

It's an interesting way to let the complexity of an unfulfilled marriage and controlling behaviour intersect with the murderous intention of someone determined to get revenge. Just when everything appears to be straight cut the reader realises making assumptions is exactly the wrong thing to do when it comes to a crime read.

Buy Deathly Affair at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.Publisher: No Exit Press | pub date 12 December 2019 | Paperback Original | eBook available | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at No Exit Press

Read my review of Rogue Killer by Leigh Russell

Thursday, 19 December 2019

#BlogTour Love Like Blood by Sascha Aurora Akhtar


Today it's a pleasure to take part on the Blogtour Love Like Blood by Sascha Aurora Akhtar.
About the Author
Sascha Aurora Akhtar feels deeply connected to her ancestral roots in Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Pakistan.

Her first poetry collection was The Grimoire of Grimalkin (Salt, 2007), followed by 199 Japanese Names for Japanese Trees (Shearsman, 2016) & the first of its kind a deck of Poetry cards with fine art Only Dying Sparkles (ZimZalla 2018). In 2019, she has published The Whimsy Of Dank Ju-Ju (Emma Press 2019) & #LoveLikeBlood (Knives, Forks & Spoons Press 2019).

Her fiction has appeared in BlazeVox, Tears In The Fence, The Learned Pig, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Storgy. Sascha has performed internationally at festivals such as the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, Avantgarde Festival in Hamburg, and Southbank Centre’s Meltdown festival in London, curated by Yoko Ono.

Follow @AkhtarSascha on Twitter, on GoodreadsMeet Sascha Aurora Akhtar on poetryinternational.orgBuy Love Like Blood


About the book
With #LoveLikeBlood, which is the title of a very famous song Love Like Blood by 80's stalwarts Killing Joke, Sascha Akhtar takes her poetic journey back to her origins. The first poem in the book is called GirlChild of the 80's to send the tone straight from the beginning. She IS in fact an 80's child & wants others to know this, with the names of the Barbie dolls specifically from the 80's mentioned in the poem.

This collection of poems is meant to contain the poet's life - a legacy of mental imbalance, undiagnosed aspergers for most of her life - through language. 'I believe all of my life- from my father leaving when I was 4, to a legacy of abuse ( physical & emotional), a history of mental illness but striking out anyway on my own- leaving Pakistan, leaving America all of it alone - has been rupture and that is what this poetry collection contains: rupture, deep emotions & process but also alchemy & 'becoming' ( the poet is also a meditation guide & healer which was prompted through her own healing). The dedication reads: This book is dedicated to You, for there is no ‘I’ except in You
& the same love runs through our veins. Like blood

Review
A child or teen of the eighties will hear the rebel yell of the title of this book. The song speaks to and awakens the soul of the searcher, the seeker and the fighter. The poems are indicative of a poet with a soul searching for answers and connection.

The book contains the following poems: Girl Child of the Eighties, Love Like Blood, Nekyia of the Cataphiles, Ejaculate As a Noun, Ida Hexe, Sometimes the sun, Intimacy, Camino de Cadaveres, Machine-o-mancy: Found Poem, Spring Aspie Remix, Post-Colonial Theory, Anatomy of a Car - Crash, L'aeroport, In Utero, Heartwood, Nocturnal Emissions, Freak Beach, The Others,Mevlevi in a Gas Mask, Texted Plein-Air Poem on Bond Street Spliced W/Communist Manifesto, The Rape of Nanking by Men, Comforted by Rape, Harringay Train Station, Synaesthesia, poetry, Thangka Number 1 Bardo, 3:15, Retractable Patio Awning Systems, Line, Autobiographia, Poems for Eliot and A Year in Clouds.

Whilst the contents or listing the contents of the book may seem arbitrary they also, when viewed as a whole give the reader a certain idea of what to expect or not to expect. Just the titles speak of an almost inspirational Blitzschlag and experience. Akhtar feels in the moment - writes in the moment. Grabbing those thoughts in mid inspiration and grasping them tightly in case something visceral eludes her. The constant grasp and throwing down of words is mirrored in the way her poetry is portrayed.

There is no collusion with the norm. No rhyme or notion of order. Imagine her, the artist, with a paintbrush or even a hand dipped in paint throwing her words on the blank canvas. Sometimes she screams them, throws with a volatile motion and other times they are laid carefully onto the page.

It's experimental poetry - I would even go as far as to call it speculative poetry, because it doesn't adhere to norms or boundaries either spatially, emotionally or from a literary point of view.

Her poetry is an experience. No, let me rephrase that thought. Each poem is an experience in itself. The titles are doors asking, demanding, inviting and challenging the reader to come on inside and partake in her words as they themselves become the interior of her design.

Step inside and let the poet show you where her rooms and words collide with yours and mine.

Buy Love Like Blood at Amazon Uk. Publisher: Knives, Forks and Spoons Press - Paperback. Release date November 2019 - £12.00. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

#BlogTour Something to Tell You by David Edwards


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Something to Tell You by David Edwards. It's a smorgasbord of speculative fiction, science fiction, philosophy and theology.
About the Author
David Edwards previously published two anti-romance books under the pseudonym of Jack George Edmunson. He then published the historical novel, The Ebb & Flow, before moving over to children’s fiction with The Black Hand Gang. He currently lives in Switzerland. For more information visit davidedwardsauthor.com.



About the book
Something to Tell You follows the two families of Bert Leinster and his best friend Sam Murray, as the earth comes under bombardment by a Higgs Boson particle storm. The Central Control of the World council insists that survival depends on living underground, protected by The Envelope. As CCOW persuades humankind to hide in the Deeps, Bert cannot challenge CCOW nor comprehend why people cannot see the truth behind the lies.

Everything changes when he meets Her. Lily, a plant who becomes his enemy in the battle to save humankind, to save you... although 99.9% of you is empty space. Do you deserve saving?
Review
Speculative fiction can often be a marmite kind of read. It depends on how much a reader is willing to ride with the author whilst they bend boundaries, re-imagine the known norm and spread tentacles into every area of the universe and beyond. Expect your grey cells to be bounced around like flubber on a freefall from space in this read.

In essence it's an end of the world scenario from the point of view of Bert, his family and friends. The way those who control the world, or rather those who own the media, manipulate the people in an attempt to console and defraud. To what end? To lead the flock like lambs to the inevitable slaughter.

Positive and negative - good and evil - god and the devil. All of these are two sides of the same coin. Energy and reactions equal the actions of both good and evil. God and the devil co-exist in some screwed up semblance of what we regard largely as life. To kill one is to automatically also extinguish the other and we are destined to repeat this cycle ad infinitum.

It's a smorgasbord of speculative fiction, science fiction, philosophy and theology.

One could argue that less is often more and that clarification is better than an assumption of understanding. It depends on what you want to impart, how you do that and whether or not you are interested in the emotional resonance.

I can imagine quite a few readers walking away from this read and asking themselves, especially after reading the ending, what was the intention and/or what did I take away from this read.

For me it was the sense of powerlessness, because fate is dictated by an ever-turning and self-regenerating cycle, This also means we are programmed, whether by scientific fact or theological premise to make the same choices. mistakes or take certain paths over and over again - fifth, sixth or seventh world.

Buy Something to Tell You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in hardcover and ebook formats by troubadour Publishing in May 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Troubadour. Buy at WHSmith. Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

#BlogTour Gone by Leona Deakin


It's my turn on the BlogTour Gone by Leona Deakin. It's the first in the Dr Bloom series and it's a cracking read.

About the Author
Leona draws inspiration for her writing from her own experiences having started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police and her successful work in psychology since. She is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds.This is her debut thriller.

Follow @LeonaDeakin1 on Twitter, on Amazon, on GoodreadsBuy Gone


About the book
Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read: Your gift is the Game. Dare to Play?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic, and psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom is persuaded to investigate. As she delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed. As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the puppeteer. But is she playing into their hands?

An addictive debut thriller with an ingenious hook that turns the missing person plot on its head – what if the missing people are the dangerous ones?

Review
This is the first in the Dr. Bloom series and if this anything to go by then it's going to be a popular one, because this is a cracking read.

When random people start going missing there doesn't appear to be any connection between them until someone notices the invitations they have been receiving. Daring them to be true to their real selves and play a game - a game only a small number of people can play, because they are the only ones who understand the rules.

Jameson gets pulled into the mystery when a friend goes missing and leaves her teenage daughter behind. His friend Augusta Bloom slowly gets drawn in, especially because the subject matter  and actions of the disappeared seem oddly familiar. Simultaneously we follow her story with a young girl called Seraphine, who struggles to keep her true identity a secret and quite frankly is annoyed she even has to.

It's an engrossing and well thought out psychological thriller. Deakin plants red herrings here and there to try and trip the reader up, but they are easily found if you pay attention to the subject at hand.

What would you do if you found out someone close to you was a psychopath. Would it change the way you think about them, would you question their motives and reactions or would you just accept that they had different personality traits and way of processing things?

The truth is there are many among us, perhaps even someone you know. A lot of successful people in high positions have to be ruthless to the point of feeling no empathy or having no conscience. Perhaps one day they might be traits to embrace, as opposed to being uncertain or fearful of.

Buy Gone at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Transworld Digital; eBook - 9th August 2019 - Paperback | Black Swan - 12 Dec 2019 | £7.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk

Monday, 16 December 2019

#BlogTour I'll Be Home for Christmas by Abbey Clancy


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour I'll Be Home for Christmas by Abbey Clancy.

About the Author
Born in Liverpool, Abbey Clancy balances her home life with her career as a model and TV presenter. She is an ambassador for many of the UK's top brands and has designed her own clothing and jewellery lines as well as launching a range of baby products. Abbey is married to Premiership footballer Peter Crouch and has three small children. I'll be Home for Christmas is her second novel.

Follow @OfficialClancy  and @HQStories on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Buy I'll be Home for Christmas


About the book
Popstar Jessika Malone can't believe her luck! Not only has she signed a major record deal and is topping the charts with her latest single, she's just been offered the chance of a lifetime: a tour with gorgeous megastar Cooper Black...

It's everything she's ever dreamed of - except that it means travelling thousands of miles from her boyfriend, Daniel, just when he's finally got down on one knee and popped the question.

Far from home and followed by the paparazzi, her relationship is tested more than Jessika ever imagined - will she make it home for Christmas before its too late?

Review
Jessika doesn't really spend a lot of time reflecting on her own mistakes or choices. Everything is seen through the lens of her own frame of references. She feels hurt by the fact Daniel won't fly out and visit her, and yet doesn't consider doing the same thing. She feels jealous because he is spending all his time with an attractive superstar, but completely disregards the fact she is doing the same thing.

She acts like a spoiled child who is used to getting her own way and she certainly does when her bubble is burst on a surprise visit to her home.

I like the fact Clancy brought up abuse of power. It may not not seem important other than to magnify a certain dramatic point in the story, but it does speak to an ongoing issue that people with large followings have. The use of fans or followers to impact negatively on a third party or person. Doesn't seem like a big thing, but it can destroy lives, reputations and businesses. Not exactly the kind of behaviour that should be supported.

Also the way Cooper does this, which the rich and famous are wont to do. Using the medium of their career to diss or malign someone is childish at best and destructive at worst. The author incorporates this into the read in a subtle way and makes her point without losing the feel-good read aspect of the book.

It's a Christmas romance, a story that proves money and fame can't buy you love or happiness. That trust is an integral part to any relationship, and once it is gone it has to be rebuilt. Clancy delivers a fun, energetic read with serious undertones - just right for the festive season.

Buy I'll Be Home for Christmas at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Mills & Boon; pub date 14th November 2019 - Paperback £7.99 - eBook £5.99 - Audiobook £12.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk


Saturday, 14 December 2019

#BlogTour High Heels & Beetle Crushers by Jackie Skingley


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour High Heels & Beetle Crushers: The Life, Losses and Loves of an Officer and Lady by Jackie Skingley.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 2 x Paperback copies of High Heels & Beetle Crushers (Open UK / US Only)

About the Author
For Jackie Skingley, adventure has been her quest since childhood. Life with the British army allowed Jackie to live all over the world and gain huge appreciation for different cultures and customs. Since 1999, Jackie and her husband have lived in the Charente region of South West France where Reiki, jewellery making, painting and mosaics, as well as writing keep her fully occupied. Member of the Charente Creative Writing Group, mother and grandmother.

Follow @skingleyj on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Facebook, Buy High Heels & Beetle Crushers


About the book
A compelling memoir of post-war Britain. Jackie Skingley grew up with limited career choices but joining the Women’s Royal Army Corps offered her a different life, living and working in a military world, against the backdrop of the Cold War. Packed full of stories reflecting the changing sexual attitudes prior to the arrival of the pill and the sexual revolution of the mid 60s, Skingley’s memoir denotes a shift in the political and social fabric of the era. Follow her relationships with the men in her life from finding her first true love, which through a cruel act of fate was denied her, to embarking on a path of recovery.

Review
As the daughter of military parents who served during the Cold War, a lot of the places and scenes coincide with what my parents told me and where we lived during our time abroad and in the UK.

One thing that is always evident is the lack of equality when it comes to the treatment of women and men in the military. Where certain behaviour would mean the end of a career for a woman and yet just a reprimand for a man.

What I found interesting is how Skingley links her sexuality and sexual experience with nearly ever moment in her past. Of course that unfortunately also means having to go through harassment, sexual assault and in general a maligning of reputation. And perhaps the assumption by society that women aren't complete until they become part of a couple. An almost compulsory next step, because to do otherwise would suggest something more nefarious.

That's also something the author includes in her memoir - the treatment of homosexuals in the military, during a time in history when it was still a criminal offence to have a same-sex sexual relationship.

It's a post-war memoir that depicts the rather limited options of women in this era. I am sure there are plenty of moments that speak to the hardship of what she had to endure as a woman in the military in post-war Britain. The Cold War service often gets forgotten in the general mention of history, unless it is a spy driven story.

Forgotten are the men and women, who were expecting another conflict after the violent events of WW2, which then melded into other just as serious threats to the country and the world. It's important not to forget those nameless people.

Buy High Heels & Beetle Crushers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Chronos Books; pub date 14 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 2 x Paperback copies of High Heels & Beetle Crushers (Open UK / US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway *Terms and Conditions –UK & USA 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.

Friday, 13 December 2019

#BlogTour Audiobook: Cast a Deadly Shadow by Roger Granelli


Today it's a pleasure to kick off the BlogTour for the Audiobook Cast a Deadly Shadow by Roger Granelli. - Roger Granelli (Author), Andrew Wincott (Narrator), Audible Studios (Publisher)

About the Author
Cast A Deadly Shadow by Roger Granelli - From the author of gripping Italian crime dramas Still Waters, Tough Love and Under the Wide Palermo Sky.

Follow @RogerGranelli on Twitter, Visit Rogergranelli.comBuy Cast a Deadly Shadow


About the Audiobook
With Cast A Deadly Shadow Roger Granelli has followed his exciting series of Palermo Stories with a full-length novel that is a fast-moving tale of murder, betrayal and lust.

Cast A Deadly Shadow is a vibrant, fast-moving tale of murder, lust, and betrayal, as Inspector Carlo Carpanini and Sergeant Leo Bracchi continue their never-ending fight against the Mafia Dons of Palermo.

Carlo and Leo have managed to capture Bardolini, a leading Mafiosi and psychopathic killer who has been a long-time target. They are bringing him back from Milan to Palermo by train but things go badly wrong. Two other Mafia hit men attempt to free Bardolini, which leads to a bloody confrontation in the railway carriage. Carlo and Leo survive but this sets off a dramatic chain of events and all manner of criminals with their own agenda want to get involved, and none of them can be trusted.

To make matters worse, Leo’s partner Sylvia is kidnapped by one of Bardolini’s henchmen, causing Leo a terrible dilemma of having to choose between duty and the need to save the love of his life. In the midst of all this Carlo and Leo also have to deal with a major raid on a Palermo bank, carried out by the Camorra mafia from Naples who are trying to muscle in on their long-established Sicilian counterparts.

All roads eventually lead to the Villa Moretti, where Sylvia is being held. Carlo and Leo are in their tightest spot ever as they try to save her, whilst being threatened by three different mafia entities, all trying to gain the bloody upper hand over each other and the police in an explosive final climax.


Review
Granelli is the author of the Palermo Stories - singles - and this is a full length novel featuring detectives Carpanini and Bracchi.

Let me start off by mentioning how perfect the choice of narrator is for this audiobook. Andrew Wincott personifies the essence of the characters and the story - perhaps he was too perfect. (Wonders if he has a mafia sideline, that's how convincing he is.)

The story begins with the capture of the volatile killer Bardolini. He is a head honcho in the mafia and doesn't take kindly to being captured. Carpanini and Bracchi soon discover that they might have bitten off more than they can chew when Bardolini's men try to rescue him.

A tit for tat develops, which places one of the detectives in a conundrum. Should he pick his career and everything he believes in or should he save the person he loves. One would think the choice is clear, but at what cost does his choice come?

The author brings the coarse, abrupt and often brutal feeling of mob mentality to the table. Not the mob we know from the US - the romanticised gangster version. This speaks to the origins and the old school mafia, which is a completely different ball game. When you combine that with a character and story definition similar to Montalbano, Maltese or Il capo dei capi - you get a riveting read or listen.

It's an old school urban mafia crime story brought alive by a captivating narrator. He definitely does justice to Granelli's words and characters.This is a story I would recommend to listeners who enjoy crime that is abrasive and oddly charming at the same time.

Buy Cast a Deadly Shadow at Amazon Uk Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Audible Uk.

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 27 minutes,  Program Type Audiobook, Version: Unabridged, Publisher: Audible Studios, Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 Dec. 2019, Language: English, English., ASIN: B081VRMCN3

#BlogTour Anatomy of a Dress by Juliette van der Molen


It's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Anatomy of a Dress by Juliette van der Molen.

About the Author
Juliette van der Molen is a poet currently living in the United States. She is a poetry editor for Mookychick Magazine. Her books include:  Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse Collection (Moonchild Magazine), Mother, May I? (Animal Heart Press) and the forthcoming Anatomy of A Dress (The Hedgehog Poetry Press).

Follow @j_vandermolen on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit JulietteWrites.com, Buy Anatomy of a Dress


About the book
Anatomy of A Dress explores messages sent and interpreted regarding how women have historically been encouraged to dress, mainly for the pleasure and subjugation of the patriarchy. Folded into these pieces are my own experiences and internal conflicts with these issues. Sometimes encouragements or rules are handed down by those of our own gender (i.e. grandmothers, mothers) and reinforced by a male-led society that has a vested interest in the disenfranchisement of women. This poetry is speaks of the struggles women go through when making a decision most men would consider simple– What should I wear today?
Review
When I read the premise for this book of poetry it spoke to me, but I also wondered how the poet would vocalise said premise. When I read the first poem I knew. Zip Me - holds so much power and tension in the words, how one action can simultaneously mean so many things. The ability to conjure up a sensual image and yet also one of weakness. The prey waiting for the hunter to pounce. Fear sitting in the back of your neck. Vulnerability and exposure.

My Hem - what a strong impassioned statement about consent. A loud scream about physical appearance not being an invitation to invade, touch, harass or hurt. Appearance isn't open for debate. My Hem is followed by Buttoned Up , Dart, Won't You Call Me Sweetheart, Silhouette Shame, Schooled Pleats, Dupioni Darkling, Girls on Parade, S(mocked), Eye Let, Prêt-à-Porter, Painted legs, Pretty Thing, Unmentionables and Anatomy of a Dress. All of them hard-hitting punches straight into the very structure of our outdated society.

I would love to see the author/poet perform her words as performance art. Hear the strength and conviction that flows from the words she pierces onto the page. They are screams of outrage delivered in a calm, firm and determined manner.

It's bold, pulsing and passive aggressive poetry. Truth spoken through the iron barred windows of a patriarchal society. Van der Molen invites the readers to shine a spotlight on a seemingly innocent daily routine, which has so many conscious and subconscious implications for each individual. As a woman have you ever thought about how much time and energy you give to choice of clothes, as opposed to the lack of the same that men put into it.

How will I be perceived, if I wear this will someone think that? Have you ever told your daughter not to wear something because xyz could think of them a certain way? Just think of how much power that suggests. The male-centric and driven rules in regard to uniforms that impose skirts and dresses on girls because it suggests femininity, sexuality and cements the lack of equality and power in relationship between men and women.

Van der Molen is certainly a poet and author to watch.

Buy Anatomy of a Dress at Amazon Uk . Publisher: The Hedgehog Poetry Press; pub date 16 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk. Buy at JulietteWrites.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

#BlogTour A Portrait of Death by Rhen Garland


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour A Portrait of Death by Rhen Garland.
About the Author
Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large flock of stuffed sheep.
She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, and Terry Pratchett.

"I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy."

"A Portrait of Death" is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the first book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series.
Follow @RhenWitch on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Bookbub, on Goodreads,
Buy A Portrait of Death


About the book
In the quiet English village of Marmis Parva, a weekend house party is organised by a society hostess and all the top names are invited. But this is no ordinary party.

Two men are savagely murdered during the course of the first evening and a young man, presumed dead, returns home after two years imprisonment in South Africa bringing with him proof of treason.
Detective Chief Inspector Elliott Caine’s long-awaited holiday in the Lake District is cancelled as he is brought in to investigate the peculiar nature of the murders. More bodies are discovered and Elliott has to manoeuvre between high society, Government protocols, and the heinous nature of the crimes if he and his old friend Detective Sergeant Abernathy Thorne, are to catch the sadistic killer, and the traitor lurking amongst them.

When Caine’s past comes back to haunt him, will his judgement be too clouded to focus on solving the crime? Will the Boer spy’s identity be uncovered before they can flee? How are these murders connected to another in New York?

Review
Think Downton Abbey with the mystery vibe of a Christie and the murderous intent of a paranormal story with a hint of horror.

A weekend house party turns into a nightmare and the place of intrigue, death, threats, treachery and betrayal. Detective Chief Inspector Elliott Caine has to follow all the leads and disentangle the motives to find the real culprit. It's fair to say he discovers more than he expected to.

The upstairs, downstairs culture plays an important role in the storytelling, especially when it comes to the hierarchy in both of the structures and class elements. The intricate structures that determine the life they lead. How the vulnerable become victims of those who use their power status to oppress and abuse.

It's a Victorian crime mystery with elements of the paranormal and the mysterious brutality of a modern killer. Murder committed in the form of a shadow. A faceless unknown entity that comes and goes without leaving proof of existence.

At times it seemed as if less would be more, because it is fast-paced with lots of characters and different threads and the beginning takes the reader to different time sequences.

Garland brings multiple genres together in this crime mystery, which is set in the late 19th century, but often has the feel of a more vicious and modern crime read. The scenes with the murderer and the crimes give off this feel of something very dark and intense. It's quite interesting how the author sets the imagery of gruesome and bloody scenes without relying on gratuitous details and yet manages to instill this feeling of unseen and very much imagined horror.

Buy A Portrait of Death (Versipellis Mysteries) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy Amazon com.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

#BlogTour Too Many Heroes by Jan Turk Petrie


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Too Many Heroes by Jan Turk Petrie.
About the Author
Jan Turk Petrie lives in the Cotswolds, S.W. England. She is the author of the fast paced Nordic thriller series: the Eldísvík novels. All three of these novels are set in 2068 in a fictional city state just below the arctic circle.

'Until the Ice Cracks' - the first of the trilogy was published in July 2018. Volume Two - 'No God for a Warrior' was published in November 2018. The third and final volume - 'Within Each Other's Shadow' was published in April 2019

The ebook boxset - The Eldísvík Trilogy was published in August 2019. Jan's fourth novel - 'Too Many Heroes' - a gripping new post-war thriller set in the East End of London was published in August 2019. She is currently working on her fifth book - 'Towards the Vanishing Point.'

A former English teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Gloucestershire, Jan has also written numerous, prize-winning short stories.

Follow @TurkPetrie on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit janturkpetrie.comBuy Too Many Heroes


About the book
Where can a wanted man hide in a country full of returned war heroes?
It’s 1952 and Frank Danby has been looking over his shoulder for the last ten years, forced to lead an itinerant life, getting work wherever he can while trying to keep one step ahead of the police.

Returning to London, he finds a job in an East End pub, where he becomes entangled with Grace, the young and beautiful wife of the landlord. Then the law comes knocking. Facing a justice system prejudiced against him, Frank must find a way to escape the gallows.

Too Many Heroes is a gripping period thriller, exploring love, belonging and betrayal in a country still recovering from WW2. A must for fans of the post-war novels of Philip Kerr, Kate Atkinson and Sara Sheridan.

Review
Frank wants to be able to make a living without attracting a lot of attention. He wants to stay under the radar - way under the radar. Living a normal life isn't possible when you're technically a criminal. What's worse, in the eyes of many people being a deserter is the ultimate betrayal to all of those who fought and lost their lives in the war. Hiding away instead of supporting his fellow soldiers - there is no excuse for that and it is simply cowardice.

There is no consideration for the fear someone like Frank might have felt or guilt he may have burdened himself with. The why doesn't matter to the country. So Frank lives like a nomad.

He doesn't expect to meet someone like Grace and feel an instant connection. Unfortunately she has a husband and isn't in a position to embrace the attraction she feels for the wanderer. The clandestine relationship ends in tragedy for the two of them.

It's historical crime fiction set after WW2. The author lets the story and the tension between the characters develop slowly and gives the reader glimpses, via flashbacks, of why Frank is in such a precarious position. They tell a tale of torment which he carries within him on a daily basis. A side of him he is reluctant to share with the world for fear of judgement and disdain.

I would have liked the author to explore the topic of desertion and perhaps even conscientious objectors a little more, aside from the information in the appendix. In another story perhaps? The trauma and permanent psychological scarring of people who are or were involved in war or combat is underestimated, and even in our day and age the support for veterans is severely lacking.

Buy Too Many Heroes at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Pintail Press; pub date 23 July 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

#BlogTour Storm of Ash by Michelle Kenney


Today it's a pleasure to kick off the BlogTour Storm of Ash by Michelle Kenney.

About the Author
Michelle is a firm believer in magic, and that ancient doorways to other worlds can still be found if we look hard enough. She is also a hopeless scribbleaholic and, when left to her own devices, likes nothing better than to dream up new fantasy worlds in the back of a dog-eared notebook. Doctors say they're unlikely to find a cure any time soon.

In between scribbling, Michelle love reading, running, attempting to play bluegrass and beach treasure-hunting with her two daughters (dreamers-in-training).

Michelle holds a LLB (hons) degree, an APD in Public Relations and is an Accredited Practitioner with the CIPR (with whom she's won awards for Magazine & PR work). But she's definitely happiest curled up against a rainy window, with her nose in a book.

Book of Fire is the first in a brand new YAFantasy Trilogy published by HarperCollins HQ. City of Dust, Book 2, was published October 2018 (digital) and December 2018 (paperback), and Storm of Ash, the final instalment is out on 11 December (Digital) and February 2020 (Paperback)

Follow @mkenneypr on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, on Facebook, Visit michellekenney.co.uk, Buy Storm of Ash


About the book
The brand new novel from Michelle Kenney, author of the Book of Fire and City of Dust!
As Talia treks back through the treacherous North Mountains, she knows only three things: Pantheon has stolen nearly everyone she loves; Her blood is the only control over the Voynich's oldest secret; And Cassius won't stop hunting Arafel until every last outsider is destroyed. Will Talia finally face her legacy and defeat Cassius before it is too late?

Review
This is the third book in the Book of Fire series. It absolutely can be read as a standalone novel, however I would highly recommend reading Book of Fire and City of Dust to get a better overall view and to be able to enjoy the vision and complexity of the storytelling.

This book starts with the conundrum Talia faces when it comes to Lake. The draco-chimera has become a potential threat to everyone, as Talia always thought she possibly would. Can the power be tamed and controlled or is Lake destined to be an object of destruction?

It's difficult to talk about this third part without giving too much of the plot away, so I am going to keep the details to a minimum. Needless to say both Lake and Talia bring fire to the table in their own specific way. The bond between them since the day Talia discovered the chimera will be drawn and chipped at, but perhaps not quite in the way certain adversaries expect it to be. Belief, friendship and ultimately trust is what speaks from their connection to each other.

Kenney writes fantasy the way it should be written. She wants her readers to sink into the folds of the intricate world-building and become immersed in the worlds she weaves. Much like a spider, she spins a web that one cannot help but fall into.

I was impressed by how many different elements the author wove into the structure of the story. History, mythology, evolution and of course the power of magic, which is defined and controlled only by the boundaries of her imagination. It is however also without boundaries, exceptionally expressive and simultaneously filled with rivers of emotion that flow throughout the story as it evolves.

It's high fantasy with elements of evolution, history and magic. The powerful world-building is combined with strong descriptive writing and an excellent plot. It's a cracking read, especially if you enjoy your fantasy intense, complex and relentless.

Buy Storm of Ash (Book of Fire #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: HQ Digital, ebook pub date 11 Dec. 2019 - Paperback pub date 6 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday, 9 December 2019

#BlogTour Hanukkah at the Great Greenwich Ice Creamery by Sharon Ibbotson


It's the start of the BlogTour Hanukkah at the Great Greenwich Ice Creamery by Sharon Ibbotson.

About the Author
Sharon was born in Sydney, Australia but now lives in London with her husband, two small children and two black cats named for desserts. She started writing ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ fanfiction aged 15, which eventually transformed into the historical romance novels she writes today. She has two novels published by Choc Lit, and when not writing, can be found baking cakes badly or drinking wine well.

Follow @seibbotson on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit sharonibbotson.comBuy Hanukkah at the Great Greenwich Ice Creamery


About the book
Cohen Ford is a man who could do with a little bit of sweetening up. It’s no surprise that when he walks into The Great Greenwich Ice Creamery on a typically gloomy London day before Christmas, he insists on a black coffee rather than his childhood favourite – strawberry ice cream.

But then he meets River de Luca, the woman behind the flavours. After their first encounter, Cohen begins visiting the ice creamery every Tuesday, gradually learning more about the intriguing River. Could her influence encourage cynical Cohen to become the man who embraces Christmas, Hanukkah and even strawberry ice cream?Hanukkah days, Christmas nights and strawberry ice cream …

Review
Cohen is on an errand. The kind of annoying errand only a parent can send you on, so he certainly isn't expecting to walk into an Ice Creamery and make the kind of visceral connection that is very rare. An instant attraction - the knowledge that somehow you are meant to connect with a specific person that just happens to walk into your life.

The way Cohen talks about River to Rushi, and vice versa, in the first few chapters and in general - I found it uncomfortable. It's as if everyone in her vicinity infantilises River, because of her deafness. Talking about her over her head, making decisions about her and for her as if she were a child. It wasn't concern for her well-being, but rather an attempt to control in the name of concern.

Romanticising the behaviour felt wrong, and in a way I think the author calls attention to the attitude and behaviour of the hearing in regards to the deaf by doing this. The ignorance and arrogance that accompanies the treatment of the deaf when those who can hear find themselves in a position to have to move beyond their usual methods of communication.

The author also makes a point about how men are taught to curb and discount certain talents and things they enjoy merely because they could be seen as effeminate. Cohen is taught to feel shame and embarrassment for hobbies that bring him pleasure.

It's romance that crosses the boundaries of the senses and communication to allow love to blossom. Ibbotson combines the early blush of attraction with the physical feelings of desire, which culminate in two people acknowledging a deep connection between the two of them.

On a side note: I think sign language, obviously which kind depends on the country, should be a made a compulsory part of curriculum to create an even playing field for all individuals both hearing and non-hearing.

Buy Hannukkah at the Great Greenwich Ice Creamery at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Choc Lit; pub date 4 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.