Wednesday, 27 November 2019

#BlogTour Sorcery Reborn by Steve McHugh


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Sorcery Reborn by Steve McHugh.
About the Author
Steve's been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up 'One boy and his frog' was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn't for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

About the book
He doesn’t need a weapon. He is the weapon.
After losing his powers in an epic battle between good and evil, former sorcerer Nate Garrett finds himself living as a humble human in Clockwork, Oregon. While the world thinks Nate is dead, his friends continue to fight against Avalon and the evil it’s intent on spreading.

Avalon’s forces turn up in Clockwork, and Nate’s frustration grows with every passing day his magic doesn’t return. He finds himself trying to stop Avalon’s plans while hiding from enemies who would destroy everything in their path to see him dead.

Avalon’s darkness begins to threaten the people Nate cares about, and an old nemesis returns; magic or no magic, he has no choice but to fight. But will Nate see his magical powers reborn before the entire town—and everyone he loves—is destroyed?

Review
I think it's fair to say that the Rebellion Chronicles are part of a larger picture, world-building on a much bigger scale. To understand the complexity and finer nuances of said world and the characters it might be a good idea to go back and read more by McHugh.

The Avalon and Hellequin Chronicles help readers to get the gist of things. Saying that, Sorcery Reborn can absolutely be read as a standalone novel and by a McHugh noob.

For those that have been waiting for a continuation of the Nate and Layla saga, they may be slightly disappointed that the two of them actually dance at two different parties in this book. Each one wanders off on their own storyline, which was quite refreshing in a sense that both of their stories were interesting, but also confirmed that neither one needs the other to draw readers in.

Nate awakens from a long state of unconsciousness to find he has no magic and it will take quite a long time to regain his powers. So technically he is a mere mortal. A mortal who is supposed to keep his head down, but can't resist socking it to the occasional bad guy.

It's urban fantasy with the intricate world-building of a high fantasy. McHugh brings together magic, mythology, paranormal, shifter worlds and every element of fantastical worlds and genres he could combine to create a captivating read.

Here and there McHugh leaves a trail of breadcrumbs to hint at what's to come. Building the tension and leading readers to what I can only presume is going to be the culmination of all the world-building that has gone before.

Buy Sorcery Reborn (The Rebellion Chronicles #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: 47North; pub date 21 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

#BlogTour Wishes Under a Starlit Sky by Lucy Knott


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Wishes Under a Starlit Sky by Lucy Knott.

About the Author
Lucy Knott is a former professional wrestler with a passion for storytelling. Now, instead of telling her stories in the ring, she's putting pen to paper, fulfilling another lifelong dream in becoming an Author.

Inspired by her Italian Grandparents, when she is not writing you will most likely find her cooking, baking and devouring Italian food, in addition to learning Italian and daydreaming of trips to Italy.

Along with her twin sister, Kelly, Lucy runs TheBlossomTwins.com, where she enthusiastically shares her love for books, baking and Italy, with daily posts, reviews and recipes.

Follow Lucy Knott @TheBlossomTwins on Twitter, @LucyCKnott on Instagram, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit www.theblossomtwins.comBuy Wishes Under a Starlit Sky


About the book
From the outside, Harper Hayes looks like she is winning at life.

She has an amazing job as a script writer, a wonderful house, an awesome best friend and an incredible husband. Yes, life seems to be pretty, dare she say it? Perfect?

But life is about to throw more than one spanner in the works of Harper’s picture perfect existence and at the busiest time of the year too.

As Christmas approaches, Harper will have some soul searching to do to decide if there really is such thing as the happily-ever-after she writes about.

Review
Part of the problem where Harper is concerned is that real life doesn't meld with her fiction. Even the sweetest or most amorous of relationships are embedded in the harsh reality of living in the real world. In a way that explains why she is completely unable to come to terms with a husband who is living his best life by having both a wife and mistress.

He isn't even sincere enough to fall in love with another woman and cut off all ties with his wife. No, he is quite happy to bed both, to whisper sweet nothings in their ears and use them both for his self-gratification.

That's enough about him - the rat. What's more important is the way Harper finds her emotional stability, the confidence and indeed life the way she knows and loves it, imploding out of the blue. To make it ten times worse it all happens around her favourite time of the year, which in turn wobbles her inner happiness and joy of Christmas.

I thought it was interesting how the story had this subtle layer of weight to it. The author wanted to give readers a pleasant read, but also write a plot with emotional depth to it.

It's a romance, one that deals the real with dreams. It's also about friendship, support and different kinds of love. The world is so much bigger than romantic love. Love between friends, between family and also the kind of love that creeps up on you when you are least expecting it.

Buy Wishes Under a Starlit Sky at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 6 Nov. 2019. - Paperback pub date 23 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

#BlogTour Into The Dark by Karen Rose


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Into The Dark by Karen Rose.
About the Author
Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe's The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep.

Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby - knitting.

Follow @KarenRoseBooks on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit karenrosebooks.com, Buy Into The Dark


About the book
When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger's car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm's length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.
But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger.

As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it's clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way...

Review
Michael has only one concern - keeping his brother Joshua safe. The only way to do that is making sure they stay together, and their step-father away from him. When he stumbles upon said step-father preparing to put his brother in danger certain events are set in motion that will change their lives forever.

I have to say kudos to the author for writing the story in such a careful, thoughtful and emotive way. Part of me wishes, and I can imagine other readers and perhaps even the author, that victims of abuse were always treated with such sincerity and genuine concern. The truth is that the systems that are put in place to keep children safe are often inadequate and overburdened. The vulnerable fall through the loopholes of the systems, and even when the abuse is recognised and acted upon what comes afterwards is only as good as the system that put the procedures in place.

Also the sensitivity with which Rose approaches both the abuse, the deaf child and the hearing impaired is exceptionally well done. When you take all of the above and add crime to the plot, whilst simultaneously throwing in a serial killer who leaves body parts all over the place, it creates this spectacularly emotionally raw and charged read.

Then as if crime and abuse weren't enough to keep the reader captivated the author adds romance to the picture, and where the abuse is concerned I don't mean captivated in a salacious way but rather in an emotionally involved way. Usually this often leads to a less is more or too many cooks scenario, but Rose balances every part of the story so well - it's as if it was meant to be.

It's romantic suspense, an uncompromisingly direct and honest read with a great set of characters and highly sensitive topics.

Buy Into The Dark at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Headline Publishing│Hardback │£20 pub date 14th November 2019 - eBook and audio also available. Buy at Amazon com.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

#BlogTour Highest Lives by Gordon Brown


Today it's a pleasure to take part and finish the BlogTour Highest Lives by Gordon Brown.
About the Author
Gordon Brown has seven crime and thriller books published to date, along with a number of short stories (including a story in an Anthony Winning anthology). His latest novel, Highest Lives,  is the fourth in the Craig McIntyre series. He also helped found Bloody Scotland, Scotland's International Crime Writing Festival (see www.bloodyscotland.com), is a DJ on local radio (www.pulseonair.co.uk) and runs a strategic planning consultancy.

Gordon lives in Scotland and is married with two children. In a former life he delivered pizzas in Toronto, sold non-alcoholic beer in the Middle East, launched a creativity training business, floated a high-tech company on the London Stock Exchange, compered the main stage at a two-day music festival and was once booed by 49,000 people while on the pitch at a major football Cup Final

Follow @GoJaBrown on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads,Visit gordonjbrown.com, Buy Highest Lives


About the book
In cities across North America people are dying in seemingly impossible ways. Is history s most outrageous serial killer on the loose? When LAPD Detective Sarah Tracy is secretly instructed to recruit Craig McIntyre to help her investigate the deaths, she is unaware that his mere presence can transform peoples darkest thoughts into action.

As Sarah and Craig hunt the murky underbelly of LA for the malevolent figure responsible for the bizarre deaths, they stumble upon the most expensive narcotic ever to hit the streets - a substance that promises something so unbelievable that users are willing to risk death to experience it. With government black ops agency head Senator Tampoline always lurking in the shadows, Craig is used to being hunted. Now he is the hunter. And thousands could die if he fails to track down the killer.

Review
To begin with the story has an action and military read vibe, however the author takes that element further and introduces speculative, technological and also paranormal (the inexplicable) into the storyline. The result is a captivating read.

This is the fourth in the Craig McIntyre series, and if this is anything to go by the books can be read as standalone novels. The author gives enough back-info on the prior storylines without overshadowing this story.

Craig is recruited, albeit through a quite unusual approach, to help investigate a series of odd and almost impossible deaths. The police have a bizarre theory about one person being responsible for them. Craig is roped in because he is one of a few with certain talents that could aid the discovery of said criminal. Saying that, as he lacks proper control over said talents he is never quite sure what the result of his interference will be. He just knows that the results are usually not very pleasant.

It's an action packed thriller, a smorgasbord of speculative technology and paranormal elements. The interesting thing about this read is the way it caters to the readers who like a Jack Reacher type of character, although to be fair McIntyre is followed everywhere by a cloud of bad luck, and readers who enjoy that added bit of fiction that ventures beyond the norm.

I haven't read anything by Brown before, but I can say without a doubt that this won't be the last book of his that I read. The combination of an intriguing plot, excellent writing and storytelling make him a writer to watch out for. Although he has made his mark in the world of writing he certainly deserves more recognition for his body of work.

Buy Highest Lives (Craig McIntyre #4) at Amazon Uk. Publisher: Strident Publishing; 1st edition pub date 8 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Buy Darkest Thoughts (Craig McIntyre #1)
Buy Furthest Reaches (Craig McIntyre #2)
Buy Deepest Wounds (Craig McIntyre #3)

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

#BlogTour The Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball by Scott Lauder and David Ross


Today it's my turn and the end of the BlogTour for The Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball by Scott Lauder and David Ross.
About the Authors
Scott Lauder was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Having taught in Greece, Japan, and England, he now lives with his wife and four cats in the UAE where he teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and drinking good coffee. His other books include The Right Thing, A Single Shot, and The Boy-King Tutankhamun.

David Scott Ross has traveled and taught throughout Asia since he first moved there in 1987. He currently teaches in upstate NY, where he lives with his wife and two sons. When David is not writing or teaching, he dreams about becoming a chef, a rock star, maybe an actor, but probably not all at once. At present, he is wrapping up two projects: Pastimes, encounters with a Stone Age people, and Dim, a detective novel.

Follow Scott Lauder @sctlauder on Twitter,  on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit meanderingscott.com

About the book
Sara Livingstone’s school trip to the Beijing Palace Museum takes a terrifying turn when an encounter with the ancient Qingming Scroll thrusts her a thousand years into China’s past. With secrets in the shadows and danger around every corner, Sara must take her place in a cosmic battle and find the courage to face an unworldly ancient magic.

Review
From the very beginning there is this question of reality, imagination or perhaps even hallucination. Young Sara isn't quite sure herself. Nobody else seems to be able to feel or see these odd moments that are throwing her completely off-kilter. The people in her vicinity think she is distracted and has her head in the clouds.

Strange events start happening a few days before Sara goes on a school trip to the Beijing Palace Museum. Occasional blips that feel as if she is being drawn into something or some being is waiting for her. Sounds seem to be louder and she is seeing things that just aren't there or are they? These odd events come to a head when she encounters the ancient Qingming Scroll on her trip.

The story goes back and forth in time from present to the ancient past, as the reader meets Sara in the present and young boy called Shan Mu/Wu in the past. Their worlds collide when Sara comes across the scroll, however the strange events start before that, which suggests there is something much bigger at play.

It's a fantasy read interwoven with Asian and Chinese culture, folklore and ancient magic. It's suitable for both younger and older readers. Based on the last chapter I think this just the beginning of Sara's adventures and the story of The Three Hares.

You know I am going to have to find out who the other two Hares are, right? That's definitely a wee bit of a cliffhanger.

Buy The Three Hares at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Neem Tree Press, Paperback pub date 5 September 2019 - £10.99 / $12.99. EBook / Epub, Mobi, PDF pub date 5 September 2019 £9.99 / $9.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour A Friend in Deed by G.D. Harper


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour A Friend in Deed by G.D. Harper.

Giveaway to Win all 3 paperbacks of GD Harper’s Psychological Fiction Trilogy (Open UK Only) - Prize features all three books, Love’s Long Road, Silent Money and A Friend in Deed

About the Author
I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.

In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells' Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.
I worked in Russia and Ukraine for ten years, which gave me the ideas for the plot and setting that I used in A Friend in Deed.

Follow @harper_author on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreadson Amazon,Visit gdharper.com,


About the book
Britain: a few years from now. A new populist political party has won the recent general election.
Duncan Jones, freelance political journalist and blogger, loses his weekly column at a national newspaper and turns to investigative reporting. The chance remark of a friend leads him to suspect that the Russians are directing the new British government's policies and decisions. As he visits Moscow and Ukraine to discover more, scandal follows intrigue, dark forces attempt to silence him by whatever means possible and he turns to an unlikely ally for help.

A Friend in Deed is a fast-paced psychological thriller set in an all-too-believable near future. It is also the story of how one man confronts the traumas in his past and works out how to resolve them.
Review
A Friend in Deed is part of series of books that can be read as standalone novels. All three books are linked and intertwined when it comes to the characters and the environment. This book is the story of Duncan, Silent Money is about Michael Mitchell and Love's Long Road is the story of Michael's lover Roberta.

This story is set in the near future of Britain and is unfortunately all too accurate. When you take the facts as we know them at this moment in time, which is that Russia has and is influencing the outcomes of foreign elections to suit their own agenda, then this story is on point. Russia interfered and influenced the 2016 US elections. Russia interfered and influenced the EU referendum. Russian funds are undeniably linked to interference in British politics, which will become important in the upcoming elections in December 2019. Russia divides us to conquer - unfortunately quite successfully.

Harper also addresses another important aspect of our time, which has come under fire during Trump's term of office - the freedom and legitimacy of the press. Catch-phrases like fake news have become synonymous with media in the last few years. Independent bloggers and media outlets have become a thorn in big medias side, because they don't have to bow down to their corporate bosses.

Is there a media bias? Yes. Why? Because the top of the food chain ensures that the narrative they want to unfold is supported by the media outlets they own and run. Social media moguls are more interested in money than fact checking political ads, thereby helping to spread lies and form opinions. Unfortunately that leaves the common man in the position of having a lack of trust towards those outlets. Thanks to phones and cameras on the frontline we can see when the media reports in favour of one party for instance and neglects the other.

All of the above is probably why many people go looking for an independent voice, a blogger like Duncan, but then who says he isn't being used by others to further some nefarious narrative.

It's a political psychological thriller with a spy vibe. What I take away from this fictional read, is how the UK and US, and indeed the world, is being influenced by third parties who don't have our best interests at heart. It's a fast-paced read and simultaneously also a warning to be more diligent. Always fact check.

Buy A Friend in Deed at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Troubador Publishing; Paperback pub date 18 Oct. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Love's Long Road and Silent Money by G.D. Harper.


Giveaway to Win all 3 paperbacks of GD Harper’s Psychological Fiction Trilogy (Open UK Only) - Prize features all three books, Love’s Long Road, Silent Money and A Friend in Deed

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist


Today it's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist. It's the kind of read you don't want to miss.

About the Author
Throughout her life, Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote 'Stay Mad, Sweetheart', a feminist tale of revenge, out November 19th 2019.Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel's setting, its theme of insidious harassment and discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.

Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, 'In Servitude' won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.

A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she's raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.

Follow @hkist on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit heleenkist.comBuy Stay Mad, Sweetheart


About the book
There's a fine line between innocence and guilt. An even finer line between justice and revenge.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.

Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up's annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women's paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who've wronged them. But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?

Review
Not a crime. Not a crime. Not a crime.
I think, for me at least, these words will be forever connected to this read. How many actions and words aren't considered criminal, despite being the catalyst for pain, fear and often even death. Has our society become lost in the anonymity of technology, perhaps to the point of actively ignoring all feelings of empathy towards our fellow human beings?

It's easy to shout about freedom, wave placards demanding our democratic rights and become indignant at the thought that someone may be trying to control our output, regardless of how damaging it may be. There is no accountability and there should be.

The story begins with Emily and the way she is hounded and maligned after speaking out about a sexual assault. Her subsequent actions lead us to her best friend Laura, her work colleague Claire and Suki, who is involved with both of the aforementioned on a professional level. What they all have in common is the lack of gender equality, the way they are perceived and treated because they are women, and their desire to change the patriarchal status quo.

Aside from the on point subject of the story in the Me Too era, there was also another element of the story that I found quite fascinating. In fact if it is feasible, doable or perhaps already something being coded into systems, then it is also something that is simultaneously awe-inspiring from a technological point of view and deeply concerning when looked at from the aspect of the human it effects. Then again when you look at it from the position of a possible victim or someone vulnerable it could be a positive tool.

From a purely business perspective being able to not only see connections, reactions and then even preempt them to ensure a more effective workplace environment and scheme, it's the future. Using the same code to safeguard and identify certain behaviour and problems - it's both invasive and a spectacular advancement.

It's a poignant piece on sexual violence activism, gender quality politics, a statement about behaviour in an anonymous world of technology, but this story is foremost about culpability and holding ourselves and others accountable for both words and actions.

Kist has written an incredibly compelling and clever piece of fiction, which is unfortunately far too close to fact than is comfortable.

I think I will finish the review on this thought - harassment and abuse has become the norm, which is why complacency has crept in. Stay safe, take note and stay mad. You're not alone.

Buy Stay Mad, Sweetheart at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Red Dog Press; 19 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Red Dog Press. Buy at Hive.co.uk.

Connect with Red Dog Press on Facebook, on Twitter @reddogtweets -Visit reddogpress.co.uk

Monday, 18 November 2019

#BlogTour Killer Queen by T.S. Hunter


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Killer Queen, the fifth part of the Soho Noir series, by T.S. Hunter.

About the Author
Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He's a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction. He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5.

Follow @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets on Twitter, on Goodreads, Buy Killer Queen


About the book
It’s 1988. A mild summer after a turbulent political year for LGBT rights. While working as an assistant to a successful theatre director , Joe Stone finds himself unwittingly embroiled in another Murder investigation. Lexi Goode , a young , up and coming actress had her bright future cut short when she is found murdered in her exclusive top floor apartment in the posh end of Soho. Knowing that the police are as racist as they are homophobic, Joe and Russell inevitably take it on themselves to investigate what happened to the young woman.

Along the way they discover illicit liaisons , a string of admirers , a secret life that was helping to pay for the glamorous lifestyle no young actress should have been able to afford. But who would want to kill Lexi?

Finding the answer to that question put’s Joe In mortal danger and a young police officer in an awkward position.

Review
This is the fifth book in the Soho Noir series. It's a fantastic LGBTQ cosy crime series set in the 80s with characters who are just getting settled in. What Joe and Russell have in common is a discovery and exploration of self and their sexuality, and a propensity for falling into crime scenarios. It's no wonder their nemesis gives them the side-eye every time one of them falls over a dead body.

This time Joe stumbles upon the body of a young actress, who appears to have been leading a dubious double life. Is it a case of stage envy - the world of theatre can be rather deadly. Or has her secret life led to her early demise?

I think Hunter is just getting his groove when it comes to this series. The hidden Christie vibes are starting the permeate the surface of the stories.

The Soho Noir series shines a light on an important era for the LGBTQ community. The rising acceptance was cut short by the paranoia and fear caused by the AIDS pandemic, which resulted in any advancement and change in opinion about homosexuality being cut short for a long time. In that sense this is also a poignant political and sociological perspective on sexuality in that era. Hunter has created an excellent balance between crime and mystery, and social contextual development of sexual identities in this series.

It's a cosy crime mystery series - quick perfect pocket reads. I also have to note, once again because I get such joy from it, that the covers are great and the titles cause the worst case of earworm ever.

Buy Killer Queen (Soho Noir #5) at Amazon Uk. Publisher: Red Dog Press, pub date 15 Nov. 2019. Buy the ebook edition. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Red Dog Press.

Also by T.S. Hunter - Soho Noir series:
Read my review of Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1)
Read my review of Who's That Girl (Soho Noir #2)
Read my review of Careless Whisper (Soho Noir #3)
Read my review of Crazy For You (Soho Noir #4)

#BlogTour The Perfect Widow by A.M. Castle


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Perfect Widow by A.M. Castle.

About the Author
Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Alice lives in south east London and is married with two children, two stepchildren and two cats. She writes psychological thrillers for HQDigital under the name A.M. Castle and the London Murder Mystery cozy crime series for Darkstroke as Alice Castle.

Follow @AliceMcastle on Twitter, A.M. Castle on Goodreads - Alice Castle on Goodreads, Visit alicecastleauthor.comBuy The Perfect Widow


About the book
Louise Bridges has the perfect life.
A loving husband, Patrick. Two adorable children. A comfortable home.
So when PC Becca Holt arrives to break the news that Patrick has been killed in an accident, she thinks Louise’s perfect world is about to collapse around her.

But Louise doesn’t react in the way Becca would expect her to on hearing of her husband’s death. And there are only three plates set out for dinner as if Louise already knew Patrick wouldn’t be home that night…

The more Becca digs, the more secrets she uncovers in the Bridges’ marriage – and the more she wonders just how far Louise would go to get what she wants…
Is Louise a loving wife – or a cold-hearted killer?

Review
I wonder if there will be a part of some readers that nods in agreement at the way Louise thinks and acts. The disgruntled wife, the woman who sits at home and cares for her children whilst her husband is playing with his flavour of the month. The woman willing to overlook the occasional marital mishap in order to keep her family together. Until he pushes her too far.

Becca is convinced Louise is a cold-hearted ruthless killer. Her gut sang it loud and clear on the day she met Louise. The day she had to tell her about his death. There was just something about the woman that rubbed her the wrong way. Of course one has to take Becca's penchant for obsessing into account.

Perhaps that is what connects the two women - the way they obsess and feed their obsessions. Is Becca right about how far Louise is willing to go to have the kind of life she thinks she deserves or is she just a victim of tragic circumstances?

It's a crime read with the pace of a psychological thriller and yet the story also delves into women's fiction. Castle captures the way society imposes this huge biological clock on women, and the way these women feel pressured to adhere to the norm before the clocks run out of time. Finding a mate or a provider, instead of a loving partner, becomes part of a very competitive game.

I thought this was a poignant part of the story, because the bio clock narrative is very much driven by the patriarchal society. When you combine those fears with the ageism women are confronted with and defined by in society, it's no wonder women feel as if they can never quite live up to expectations. Perhaps some of them choose to make drastic choices because of it - Is Louise one of those women?

Buy The Perfect Widow at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 15 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.


Friday, 15 November 2019

#BlogTour Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. It is a highly innovative piece of fiction.
About the Author
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, 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, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

About the book
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another. Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers.

The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader who does not seem to exist …

Review
The best way to review this book is less is more, because readers should experience it with less info - the impact and read will be better.

It's no secret that I like the dark reads. The kind of stories that make you think more than twice and take something on board. Carver certainly takes his storytelling to the next level with this book. He plays with the secret despair the majority keep hidden from the world.

I especially enjoyed the cult aspect of this, because it is fascinating and also quite frightening how easily so many people become swept up in cults. People have this inner tribal instinct that makes them want to belong to a group and follow the leader. Cults are led by megalomaniacs, who use their power to use and abuse.

What becomes crystal clear whilst reading this is just how deep and dark the well is that Carver is drawing from. He slaps his readers around the face with the brutal realism of the world we live in. Where barely a second thought is giving to the tragedies we observe, read and hear about daily. We have become desensitised to the pain in the world, which is why it is so easy for so many of us to just slip away.

It's a noirish crime thriller, a tense and vicious view of the imbalance of power that exists and the victims of the most nefarious who live among us. The other side of the coin is the frank reality of just how fragile some people are. How easy it is to persuade them to become a number and to just let go. Someone you know might be sitting right on the precipice of an invisible bridge as you read this. Perhaps you are the next number.

What's your legacy? Do you know how to make sure everyone knows what it is?

Buy Nothing Important Happened Today at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Orenda Books, Publication Date: 14 November 2019 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Orendabooks.co.uk.

Read my review of Good Samaritans by Will Carver

#BlogTour All at Sea by Gemma Roman


Today its my turn on the BlogTour All at Sea by Gemma Roman.

About the Author
“I'm Gemma Roman.
I have pretty much always been a bookworm.
I always loved reading, writing and the creative arts, and also enjoyed dancing which led me to study for a degree in Dance Studies when I was at University. Following graduation, I worked in retail and became interested in the wealth of characters that I came across daily while working in customer service.

I'd had a few ideas rumbling around in my head for a while, and so spent a few years writing my first novel in my spare time. I finally managed to release it in June 2016, and am now planning for the release of my new book 'All At Sea', which is due out in 2019.
Follow me on the social media links below to stay updated on all of my bookish news, and even subscribe to my blog www.gemmaroman.co.uk

Follow @GemmaRomanBooks on Twitter, on Facebook, Buy All at Sea


About the book
Alice is young, in love and living on the Cornish coast. Life should be perfect. But Alice is about to meet someone who will make her question everything.

Review
This is a novella, a short exploration into identity, exploration and the boundaries society imposes upon us, as we do upon ourselves.

What would happen if everything you thought you knew about yourself, your sexual identity and to whom you may be sexually attracted to was suddenly thrown into complete and utter confusion. In essence that is what happens to Alice.

Her norm, which is a heterosexual relationship with a man, is disrupted and complicated by her attraction to a young woman. Is this the element she always thought was missing from her relationship with her boyfriend and her life?

In the end it shouldn't be about labels, stereotypes or boxes society wants to press us into. Lust is not love, and yet sometimes both exist simultaneously. Love shouldn't be defined by what gender one is attracted to, but by the person you fall in love with and/or feel lust for, be that man or woman and be you or I man or woman. This was the crux of the story.

This is about the freedom to explore what those emotions are and how they are received and defined depending on who you are and despite what everyone else thinks. Roman makes some important points about this towards the end of the story.

It's a contemporary read about the definition and understanding of what love is for each of us.

Buy All at Sea at Amazon Uk. Publisher: Independently published; pub date 10 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

#BlogTour The Bowery Sluggery by Leopold Borstinski


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Bowery Sluggery by Leopold Borstinski.
About the Author
Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

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

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

Follow @borstinski on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreadson Amazon,Visit leopoldborstinski.com
Buy The Bowery Sluggery


About the book
A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies' hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski's gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

Review
Let's be honest - Alex Cohen aka Fabian Mustard isn't exactly the kind of character the reader feels any kind of empathy with or sympathy for. Does he have any redeeming qualities? I think the one consistent positive quality is the way he supports his family and ensures that they stay both safe and have a roof over their head.

It certainly isn't loyalty to his fellow comrades, because his loyalty only reaches as far as his own financial gain or territory, and when they are under threat he doesn't play nicely at all. He is very adept at forging his own path in the world, regardless of the obstacles. It has made him hard, callous, unpredictable and violent.

It looks as if readers will be able to follow Alex Cohen through the years. One wonders whether and how his propensity for violence and lack of compassion will determine the rest of his life. Whether he will experience love with an emotional bond and perhaps somewhere along the line discover the Alex who lives beneath the shadow of the Slugger.

It's a piece that reminded me of Boardwalk Empire and Gangs of New York. Borstinski builds his character around the factual historical background of the era and place. The feeling of displacement that causes the different nationalities to draw their own invisible walls and boundaries in the melting pot of a city.

It's historical urban crime with the flavour of mob, the mentality of man on the street and criminal brutality that remains consistent throughout time.

Buy The Bowery Sluggery at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Sobriety Press; pub date 10 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. At Google. At Barnes & Noble.

Read my review of Mama's Gone by Leopold Borstinski
Read my review of The Case by Leopold Borstinski

Monday, 11 November 2019

#BlogTour Nothing To Hide by James Oswald


Today it's a pleasure to help kick off the BlogTour Nothing To Hide by James Oswald.
About the Author
James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series. James's first two books, Natural Causes and The Book of Souls, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award.
James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night

Follow @SirBenFro and @Wildfirebks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit jamesoswald.co.ukBuy Nothing to Hide
About the book
Suspended from duty after her last case ended in the high-profile arrest of one of Britain's wealthiest men, DC Constance Fairchild is trying to stay away from the limelight. Fate has other ideas . . .

Coming home to her London flat, Constance stumbles across a young man, bloodied, mutilated and barely alive. She calls it in and is quickly thrown into the middle of a nationwide investigation . . . It seems that the victim is just the latest in a string of similar ritualistic attacks.

No matter that she is off-duty, no matter that there are those in the Met who would gladly see the back of her, Con can't shake her innate determination to bring the monsters responsible for this brutality to justice.

Trouble always seems to find her, and even if she has nothing to hide, perhaps she has everything to lose . . .

Review
Not to be critical or anything, but Fairchild can really do without the extra aggro of finding a corpse. After the whole Serpicoesque drama of the previous book she should be steering clear of trouble, but hey we all know when crime and trouble call Constance is the first to pick up the phone.

This is the second in the Constance Fairchild series. Both books can be read as standalone novels, however I would recommend reading No Time to Cry to get the full gist of this new series by Oswald.

Constance Fairchild is a police officer through and through. There is no doubt that she is driven to find the criminal elements in the world and bring them to justice, especially the kind that enjoy torturing and killing young men.

Oswald likes to add a pinch of magical realism to his police procedural, which also brings a hint of mystery to the table. Simultaneously the author captures both the camaraderie of the police force and how hostile the environment can become when you go against the brotherhood.

It's a police procedural with crime at the core, which seems like a given, and yet the author sets fire to the rain by adding that extra note to the story.

If I am being completely honest I think Oswald is just getting started. There is a lot more to come. I say open the doors and let it out.

Buy Nothing To Hide at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Wildfire; pub date 14th November 2019 - Published in paperback by Wildfire £7.99 - eBook and Audiobook also available. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of No Time to Cry by James Oswald
Read my review of Cold As the Grave by James Oswald
Read my review of Written in Bones by James Oswald

Sunday, 10 November 2019

#BlogTour Her Perfect Lies by Lana Newton


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Her Perfect Lies by Lana Newton.

About the Author
Lana Newton grew up in two opposite corners of the Soviet Union – the snow-white Siberian town of Tomsk and the golden-domed Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. At the age of sixteen, she moved to Australia with her mother. Lana and her family live on the Central Coast of NSW, where it never snows and is always summer-warm.

Lana studied IT at university and, as a student, wrote poetry in Russian that she hid from everyone. For over a decade after graduating, she worked as a computer programmer. When she returned to university to complete her history degree, her favourite lecturer encouraged her to write fiction. She hasn’t looked back, and never goes anywhere without her favourite pen because you never know when the inspiration might strike.

Lana’s short stories appeared in many magazines and anthologies, and she was the winner of the Historical Novel Society Autumn 2012 Short Fiction competition. Her novels are published by HQ Digital, an imprint of Harper Collins UK.

Lana also writes historical fiction under the pen name of Lana Kortchik.

Follow @lanakortchik on Twitter, on Goodreadson Facebook, Visit lanakortchik.com


About the book
Claire is beautiful. Claire is famous. Claire has a handsome husband and a house to die for. But Claire doesn’t know any of that. Claire isn’t even sure who she is…

When Claire Wright wakes in a hospital, she sees a stranger staring back at her in the mirror. With no memories from before the devastating car accident that left her and her father with life-changing injuries, she must navigate the life of a stranger along with all the mistakes her former self left behind.

As Claire discovers the person she used to be she must also unravel the mystery that surrounds the accident. But the more Claire uncovers, the more she will be forced to face up to the dark secrets from her life before…

Review
Life as Claire knew it before the accident is gone or rather all her memories and emotions she may have attached to her previous life are gone. All that remains are the people she knew in her previous life and unfortunately she has to rely on them for information about herself and her old life.

What if one of those people were quite adept at twisting the truth to suit their own agenda? Then again it's hard to determine just who is sincere in this roller-coaster of a thriller.

At first there is plenty of doubt about whether Claire is who she says she is. The amnesia seems to cause a complete personality transplant. She has gone from being self-obsessed, selfish and uppity to a pleasant, caring and down-to-earth woman. To be fair her affinity for a bit of drama is still alive and well though - very am-dram.

She is also incredibly anxious, frightened and insecure about what is fact or fiction. Is she being told lies or is her mind the liar - creating a fictional story to suit her own personal narrative? The reader is never quite sure whether it is Claire being slightly looney or something more nefarious is at work.

It's a psychological thriller that makes everyone look like the guilty party, perhaps because everyone feels guilty about something they have done. Was it the husband, the girlfriend, the housekeeper, the father or was it indeed the amnesiac herself? Is it all just a clever ploy to cover up her own crimes?
Newton keeps it all up her sleeve until the last few chapters.

Buy Her Perfect Lies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; 7 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.