Monday, 6 July 2020

#BlogTour Pauper and Prince in Harlem by Delia C. Pitts


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Pauper and Prince in Harlem by Delia C. Pitts.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 5 x PB Copies of Pauper and Prince in Harlem (Open to USA Only)
About the Author
Delia C. Pitts is the author of the Ross Agency Mysteries, a contemporary private eye series including Lost and Found in Harlem, Practice the Jealous Arts, and Black and Blue in Harlem. She is a former university administrator and U.S. diplomat, who served in West Africa and Mexico. After working as a journalist, she earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. She has published more than sixty fan fiction titles under the pen name Blacktop. Pauper and Prince in Harlem is the fourth novel in the Ross Agency Mystery series. The fifth, Murder My Past, will be released in 2021. Learn more at her website, deliapitts.com/

Follow @blacktop1950 on Twitter, deliapitts50 on Instagram, on Goodreads, Buy Pauper and Prince in Harlem


About the book
A vulnerable kid. A brutal enemy. An addled ally. Blood runs cold on Harlem's hottest summer night when Drive-by assassins shoot up a crowded playground, killing the teenaged friend of private eye SJ Rook. Only fourteen, the kid was smart, affectionate, and alive with potential. His sudden death strikes the cynical Rook through the heart. Was this boy the victim of a cruel accident? Or was he targeted by gang hit men in a ruthless display of power?

To find the killers, Rook must enlist the help of another teen, Whip, a mysterious runaway witness. Whip is a transgender boy whose life on the streets has drawn him into the realm of a violent mob kingpin. Damaged by his mother's rejection, Whip doesn't want to be found. Not by the cops or by community do-gooders. And certainly not by Rook, a resolute stranger with vengeance on his mind. Rook's search for the elusive kid becomes a dangerous trek through the meanest corners of his neighborhood.

Racing from desolate homeless camps to urban swamps, from settlement houses to high-rise palaces ruled by greed and corruption, the determined Rook pursues his quarry. An unexpected twist in the detective's relationship with his crime-fighting partner, Sabrina Ross, threatens to derail his mission. Noble tramps, vicious thugs, and a pint-sized trigger woman also complicate Rook's efforts to protect Whip. When a mob prince and a hobo hold the boy's life in the balance will Rook's grit and imagination be enough to save Whip and bring the killers to justice?

Review
This is the fourth book in the Ross Agency Mystery series. I haven't read the others in the series, but absolutely feel this can be read as a standalone novel.

Rook is caught up in a drive-by shooting, which targets a crowded playground of all places. The shocking event is even more tragic because Rook sees someone he knows gunned down. There one minute gone the next. Simultaneously he sees something odd that makes him think that one person in particular knows more about the tragedy than they should.

Rook is determined to find out what Whip has got to hide, especially as it pertains to the crime and mystery he is trying to solve. Whip is just as determined to stay hidden and elusive.

It's contemporary noir and urban crime which combines the feel of cosy crime characters with important social topics of our era.

Pitts shines a light on the plight of transgender teens, who are more prone to experience violence, targeted abuse and become homeless. They often experience rejection by family and friends, which then leads them down some dark paths, especially when it comes to mental health issues. The lack of respect and acceptance can weigh heavily on their self-esteem and self-image.

It's a pacy series which delves into the uncomfortable areas society likes to gloss over and often tries to pack into little boxes full of misconceptions. The author gives Rook this element of helping the vulnerable and the rejected to feel recognised and empowered. I see you - I feel you, which in itself is a huge part of the story and character development.

Buy Pauper and Prince in Harlem ( A Ross Agency Mystery #4) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: BookBaby; pub date 18 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 5 x PB Copies of Pauper and Prince in Harlem (Open to USA Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –Only 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 be 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 Ride or Die by Khurrum Rahman


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Ride or Die by Khurrum Rahman. It's the third book in the Jay Qasim series.

About the Author
Born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1975 Khurrum moved to England when he was one. He is a west London boy and now lives in Wraysbury with his wife and two children. Khurrum graduated with BSc Honours and has been working in IT for a Local Authority for over 18 years.

His keen interest in fiction initially drove him to write screenplays and write for an independent film maker. However, his true passion lies in reading crime thrillers which have inspired his current work. He has employed his unique perspective and careful study of great writers to develop a fresh voice that crackles with originality.

Follow @KhurrumRahman on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Buy Ride or Die


About the book
Two sworn enemies. One deadly mission.
Jay Qasim is trying to lay low after nearly being killed, for the second time. But then he gets word that notorious terrorist and his father The Teacher is still alive. And finally bringing him down means Jay breaking his vow never to work with MI5 again and turning to the person who has sold him down the river before.

Imran Siddiqui may have tried to kill Jay but now they have a common adversary. The one thing worse than death is watching the people closest to you die. And after the happiest day of Imran’s life becomes the most tragic, he vows to take revenge on the people who’ve caused him and Jay so much pain.

But when everyone has their own agenda, who can you really trust? Your most deadly enemy is about to become your closest ally.

Review
This is the third book in the Jay Qasim series and although all three books can be read as standalone novels I would recommend reading the previous ones in the series if only because they are really good reads.

Life is turned upside down for Imran. Tragedy overshadows anything that went before. It also catapults him into decisions and actions that he can never come back from, although one could argue that his actions give him a certain level of satisfaction and justice. Then again they won't turn back time.

His relationship with Jay is thrown into disarray and the two of them know that guilt, blame and shame will link them together forever. One decision made with the best intentions causes an act of revenge that breaks one of them forever.

It's a fast-paced urban crime read with elements of terrorism and spydom.

Rahman captures the world within the world - the cultural differences that draw boundaries, which then creates a domino effect when suspicion, paranoia and stereotypes are the norm and the truth becomes irrelevant. His characters aren't exactly of the squeaky clean persuasion, which is perhaps part of the charm especially when it comes to Jay.

I really enjoy the gritty urban feel of this series. Rahman writes with brutal honesty and calm fluidity, despite the violent and dangerous subject matter. He has his finger on the pulse and interprets the sign of the times with an intense authenticity.

Buy Ride or Die at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 9 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

#BlogTour The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane.
About the Author
SW Kane studied History of Design and worked at the RIBA before taking on a series of totally unrelated jobs in radio and the music industry, where she still works as a freelance music PR. She has an MA in Creative (Crime) Writing from City University. She began reading crime fiction from an early age and developed an obsession with crime set in cold places. A chance encounter with a derelict fort in rural Pembrokeshire led to a fascination with urban exploration, which in turn became the inspiration for her crime novels. She lives in London.

Follow @kinkstah on Twitter, on Amazon, on GoodreadsBuy The Bone Jar


About the book
Two murders. An abandoned asylum. Will a mysterious former patient help untangle the dark truth?

The body of an elderly woman is been found in the grounds of a derelict asylum on the banks of the Thames. As Detective Lew Kirby and his partner begin their investigation, another body is discovered in the river nearby. Gradually, the secrets of Blackwater Asylum begin to reveal themselves; there are rumours of secret rooms, unspeakable psychological experimentation and a dark force that haunts the ruins.

Urban explorer Connie Darke has her own interest in the asylum; it’s where her sister died in a freak accident and she’s determined to help Kirby expose its grisly past. Meanwhile Kirby discovers a devastating family secret that threatens to turn his life upside down. As his world crumbles around him, Kirby must put the pieces of the puzzle together to keep the killer from striking again. Only an eccentric former patient knows the truth—but will he reveal it to Kirby or Connie before it’s too late?

Review
When the body of an elderly woman is found on the grounds of an old mental asylum it not only evokes a sense of creepy and something nefarious lurking in the shadows, it also suggests someone wants it to feel exactly that way.

Detectives Kirby and urban explorer Darke are drawn into a scene that has its roots in the past. In a building that comes with its own nightmare echo of the patients and experiences they had there. How did the victim get there and who would want to harm a little old lady?

Kane creates this interesting combination of an atmosphere of the unexplained, the reality of medical experiments and how the resulting trauma can determine the way someone lives their life. The whole sleep experimentation sub-plot was intriguing, especially because it is an area the medical world is still not quite clear on. The irony of course is the way the subconscious drives specific parts of this read and the parallel of experiments on a similar area.

Although it seems at times as if Kane goes off in too many directions she does spend time bringing everything back together and tying up all the threads. It's easy to start multiple storylines the hard part is making sure you don't drop the ball along the way.

It has a strong urban crime feel to it and simultaneously this aura of something the reader can't quite grasp as yet. Hopefully as this series evolves whatever that certain element is will become more tangible.

Buy The Bone Jar at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Thomas and Mercer; pub date 1 July 2020 available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

#BookBirthdayBlitz Warbringer by Aaron Hodges


Today it's the Book Birthday Blitz for Warbringer by Aaron Hodges.
About the Author
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and explore the world. During his travels he picked up an old draft of a novel he once wrote in High School (titled The Sword of Light) and began to rewrite the story. Six months later he published his first novel, Stormwielder, and hasn't looked back since.

Follow on Goodreadson Facebook, on Amazon, Visit aaronhodges.co.nz/, Buy Warbringer


About the book
Centuries ago, the world fell. From the ashes rose a terrible new species—the Tangata. Now they wage war against the kingdoms of man. And humanity is losing.

Recruited straight from his academy, twenty-year-old Lukys hopes the frontier will make a soldier out of him. But Tangata are massing in the south, and the allied armies are desperate. They will do anything to halt the enemy advance—including sending untrained men and women into battle. Determined to survive, Lukys seeks aid from the only man who seems to care: Romaine, the last warrior of an extinct kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Queen’s Archivist leads an expedition deep beneath the earth. She seeks to uncover the secrets of the Gods. Their magic has been lost to the ages, yet artifacts remain, objects of power that could turn the tide of the war. But salvation is not all that waits beneath the surface. Something else slumbers in the darkness. Something old. Something evil.

Review
I enjoyed the idea of the fall of man being caused by greed, the need for endless power and a general lack of control. Isn't that a story as old as time? Then that greed separates man from beast, which changes the landscape of the world this story is set in.

Romaine is a warrior who knows he can show no mercy to the ruthless beasts that are slowly taking over the world he once knew. He rescues a woman from the Tangata, which leads him to becoming the only chance a bunch of fresh meat recruits, including Lukys, have against the vicious forces of evil coming their way. The three of them reluctantly connect with someone called the Archivist - a person determined to mine the past for treasures which will lead to the destruction of her enemies, but who are her enemies really?

I like a good cliffhanger, especially when the last few chapters sort of challenge the entirety of the story and the way we as readers have come to perceive the characters. Let's throw a nice little existential grenade into the midst of it all and leave them hanging with the possible repercussions.  Question everything, perception and frame of reference are everything. In a way it's quite clever how the author maintains a certain status quo throughout the read and yet the last chapter made me go right back to the beginning to reassess the story with this new information in mind.

Hodges needs to tighten the reins a wee bit when it comes to the plot. Less procrastination on sub-plots such as the training - more depth when it comes to the world-building and characters.

Aside from that it's an intriguing premise that combines fantasy, in a parallel dystopian world kind of way, with mythology and the supernatural. I wouldn't mind wandering in his creative worlds again.

Buy Warbringer (Descendants of the Fall Book 1) on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Katie's Cornish Kitchen by Rosie Chambers


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Katie's Cornish Kitchen by Rosie Chambers.

About the Author
Rosie Chambers loves writing uplifting, feel-good stories set in sun-filled locations around the world. Her stories are filled with fun, friendship and foodie treats, which Rosie hopes will bring a smile to her readers’ faces. She’s always on the market for quirky stationery and is never happier than with a pen in one hand and a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit in the other.

Follow @RosieCbooks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Buy Katie's Cornish Kitchen


About the book
Kindness, community and cake are all on the menu at Katie’s Cornish Kitchen.

After the heartbreak of being jilted by her fiancé, Katie Campbell has been mending her broken heart in Bali. She has local restaurant owner and new friend Agatha to thank for providing a listening ear in her moment of need. When Katie confides she’s worried about going back to what’s left of her life in London, Agatha has just the opportunity for Katie – to manage her old café in the beautiful, picturesque village of Perrinby in Cornwall.

Although reopening the café and making it profitable won’t be easy, Katie is determined to make the most of her fresh start. She quickly makes new friends in florist Jay, waitress Talia and handsome neighbour Oscar, and focuses on making the café a welcoming place for the community – from hosting floristry workshops to pizza-making nights and even the local knit-and-natter group. But, with the café under threat from the local property developers circulating just as she’s starting to grow closer to Oscar and finally feeling at home, can Katie find the recipe to make her Cornish Kitchen a success?

Review
Katie is still recovering from being dropped by her husband-to-be. She was lucky to meet someone who gave her enough distractions to not go off the deep end and now that person has handed her the keys to a new chance in life.

The opportunity to reinvent herself without the burden of a catastrophic career and an ex-partner who has different priorities - the kind that have nothing to do with her. So it's off to Cornwall to try and run a cafe. A dusty neglected one that happens to be considered prime real estate by the local property developer, a smarmy tosser with a lot of determination.

The only thing about books that connect emotions with food, especially warm and fluffy ones, is that a read like this will probably have you either snacking throughout or hungry for something just as delectable. Chambers uses the food and recipes as a medium between the characters, their pain and ultimately their path to healing.

It's a lovely feel good story with romance at the core, but more importantly it is about being able to trust again and to feel as if you belong to someone, something and somewhere. At the same time it is also about comprehending that it is fine to be alone in the midst of many, because there will be someone to be pick you up when you fall down. Chambers gives her readers humour, hope and a heartwarming read.

Buy Katie's Cornish Kitchen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 6 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of A Year of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

#BlogTour The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn


It's my turn on the BlogTour The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn.
About the Author
Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. When not up a ladder or at the computer, she can usually be found rummaging through flea markets or haggling in the Marrakech souk.

Her second novel, The English Wife -- a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland -- is published in June 2020. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter from Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. She is currently writing her third novel, The Photographer's Daughters, the first of a 3-book series, to be published in 2021.

Follow @adriennechinn on Twitteron Facebook, on Instagram, on Goodreads, on AmazonBuy The English Wife


About the book
Two women, a world apart. A secret waiting to be discovered…
VE Day 1945: As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess’ happiness is overshadowed by grief. Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action.
Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.

Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do. But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home…

September 11th 2001: Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.

Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever…

Review
Ellie finds herself torn between two men, which is probably an emotional situation enhanced by the turmoil of living through war and in a city being bombed every night. Fear and anxiety are not the right bedmates for sensible decisions, but rather of emotional surges and bonds made during difficult times.

The relationship she has with her sister is one that becomes brittle over the years as Ellie follows her heart. Something she is forced to delve into again when her niece Sophie is forced to seek her out during an emergency.

It's historical fiction - a family saga that carries destructive secrets through multiple generations.
Chinn accurately captures what happens when sisterhood and sibling rivalry doesn't adhere to the rules of normal dysfunction and instead wanders into hatred and betrayal.

This was the part of the story that resonated with me the most - the relationship between the sisters. It isn't always a tale of support, love and protection. Sometimes being the people we are supersedes any genetic or blood connection, which also means the reality can be painful or simply mean the term sisterhood is obsolete because the relationship is non-existent.

It may seem like prime-time drama and fiction, but I found that aspect in particular had an air of authenticity.

Chinn also navigates the waters of family and blood connections quite well, and the essence of feeling at home or as if you belong somewhere. In regards to Ellie's path as the stranger and 'foreigner' who comes to comprehend that home isn't necessarily where you were raised.

Buy The English Wife at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: One More Chapter; pub date 25 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Amazon Ca.

#PublicationDayPush The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride by Virginia Heath


Today it's Publication Day for The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride by Virginia Heath.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 2 x e-copies of The Scoundrel’s Bartered Bride (Open INT)

About the Author
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
About the book
Marriage…To the highest bidder
Lady Lydia Barton cannot seem to avoid Owen Wolfe since he returned after being wrongly transported for stealing her family’s jewels! But Lydia has more pressing problems―like her impending arranged marriage. Until Owen makes her father a counter-offer for her hand. Is Owen purely after her society connections? Or does Lydia dare hope that the charming stable boy she once loved is still within her ruthless, wealthy new husband?

Review
It has a wee bit of a Heathcliff and Cathy vibe to it. Owen, the lowly servant, is wronged and returns on a more equal standing to those who got rid of him in the first place. He returns with intention of getting revenge. He wants to know who betrayed him and the girl he once loved is one of his targets, although one could argue that he actually tries to save her.

Lydia isn't exactly lucky when it comes to family. They just consider her a valuable commodity. Something they can auction off to the highest bidder. She is disgusted by the thought they are willing to sell her off, but perhaps more so by the fact Owen is eager to buy her as if she were a valuable racehorse.

Heath excels at good old romance with the vibe of a bodice ripper, but with more emphasis on the emotional attraction, as opposed to pure physical gratification. The relationship and love story develops slowly and builds upon the nostalgia and bonds the two main characters have. Their relationship is combative and there is a fair amount of rejection. It's exactly what romance readers enjoy - the cat and mouse game of love.

Take a little, give a little and ultimately it becomes a battle of wits - of minds refusing to acknowledge what they both want the most.

Buy The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: Mills & Boon Historical;pub date 25 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 2 x e-copies of The Scoundrel’s Bartered Bride (Open INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter


I have been looking forward to taking part in the BlogTour The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter. 20 books - 20 years. Once again Slaughter gives us a fantastic read.
About the Author
Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 19 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant Sunday Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her.

The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television and Pieces of Her is soon to be an eight-part Netflix adaptation, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (Mad Men), and produced by Charlotte Stoudt (Homeland) and Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies).

Karin is the founder of the Save the Libraries project- a non-profit organisation established to support libraries and library programming. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Follow @SlaughterKarin on Twitteron Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit karinslaughter.com, Buy The Silent Wife


About the book
Atlanta, Georgia. Present day. A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police investigate but the trail goes cold. Until a chance assignment takes GBI investigator Will Trent to the state penitentiary, and to a prisoner who says he recognises the MO. The attack looks identical to the one he was accused of eight years earlier. The prisoner’s always insisted that he was innocent, and now he’s sure he has proof. The killer is still out there.

As Will digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the original case in order to reach the truth. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. And now he needs medical examiner Sara Linton to help him hunt down a ruthless murderer. But when the past and present collide, everything Will values is at stake.

Review
Two crimes that seem to be single entities are connected, which is how Will Trent is drawn into the search for a killer who has allegedly been caught, and the machinations of a criminal with ulterior motives. Whilst peeling back the layers of an historic crime he realises that somewhere along the line people have screwed up and in a way that has cost lives and left scars that will never heal.

Simultaneously he has to navigate the complicated boundaries of his relationship with Sara, which is easier said than done. It's hard loving a woman who admits that she will never love Will the same way she loved her ex.

Together they have to retrace steps and revisit mistakes to find a ruthless killer, which also leads them right into the clutches of little old troublesome Lena Adams. Such a great character, because she really doesn't give two monkeys whether she breaks rules, commits crimes or crosses boundaries.

On a side-note I really disliked Sara. Not Sara as the professional, but most certainly in her personal life. Regardless of her past and all her ex-hubby baggage - she really enjoys the drama, perhaps more than she should. It's a peculiar imbalance, because as far as being the expert when it comes to death and crime scenes she gives Cornwell's Scarpetta a run for her money.

It's a police procedural with the vibe of a vicious and meticulously plotted psychological thriller.

I really enjoy the way Slaughter plots. She plays the long game. As a reader you should be looking under beds, remembering every detail and looking out for the solution woven shrewdly into the story. It's there - if you look close enough.

What this author does exceptionally well is deliver a read you really want to solve. The story keeps you captivated from beginning till the end, which is always a sign of a great read and a talented author.

Buy The Silent Wife at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins; pub date 25 Jun. 2020.| £20.00 | Hardback. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Miseducation of Evie Epworth.
About the Author
Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in London. He is a design historian and academic writing tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the RCA. He has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial, and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers.

Follow @matson_taylor_ on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit matsontaylor.comBuy The Miseducation of Evie Epworth


About the book
Yorkshire, the summer of 1962. Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?

Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Girl Guides, cows, milk deliveries, lost mothers and village fetes. But, inspired by her idols (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen), she dreams of a world far away from rural East Yorkshire, a world of glamour lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds).

Standing in the way of these dreams, though, is Christine, Evie’s soon to be stepmother, a manipulative and money grubbing schemer who is lining Evie up for a life of shampoo and-set drudgery at the local salon. Luckily, Evie is not alone. With the help of a few friends, and the wise counsel of the two Adam Faith posters on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’), Evie comes up with a plan  to rescue her bereaved father,

Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save their beloved farmhouse from being sold off. She will need a little luck, a dash of charm and a big dollop of Yorkshire magic if she is to succeed, but in the process she may just discover who exactly she is meant to be.

Review
Being 16 is hard enough, but being a teenager on the cusp of adulthood is perhaps just slightly more so. Not a child, but not quite an adult either. Evie doesn't fit in either categories and being in between is often frustrating and confusing.

At the moment her life or life as she used to know it is being slowly extinguished by the woman intent on owning her father, the widower. Christine is eradicating all memories of her mother and wants Evie gone too. With a little help from her friends, both real and imaginary, she concocts a plan to save her poor father. A magical rescue mission pure Yorkshire style ensues.

I loved this book. I hope someone recognises the potential and gives it to us in a screen version. It sorta speaks for every kid, especially teenagers, who are thrust into familial situations not of their own making and are expected to tow the line with a smile on their face. It's equally a siren call to the confusion they feel, the hormonal imbalance, the expectations of a world awaiting them like a star stepping onto the stage for a live performance - except the world isn't waiting for them and the realisation of that reality is a bitter pill to swallow.

Taylor is not only an author I would recommend, he is also one I would return to again without hesitation. The snark, the authenticity and the complete obliviousness of certain characters in equal measure, combined with a hilarious and memorable main character - well it just makes this an excellent read.

Side note for those who have read the book ( if not I really hope you do ), must dash I have buttons to grind.

Buy The Miseducation of Evie Epworth at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: pub date 23 July 2020 | Hardback | £14.99. Publisher: Scribner UK; pub date 23 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday, 29 June 2020

#BlogTour Verbal by Peter Murphy


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Verbal by Peter Murphy.
About the Author 
Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the U.S., and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He is the author of six historical/legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, including A Matter for the Jury and And Is there Honey Still for Tea? The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr, Calling Down the Storm and One Law for the Rest of Us. He is also the author of the Walden of Bermondsey series. He lives in Cambridgeshire.

Follow on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit petermurphyauthor.co.ukBuy Verbal

About the book
A clever, accomplished Cambridge graduate with a good job and an attentive lover, Imogen Lester seems to have the world at her feet. But when her parents are murdered abroad while working for the Diplomatic Service, she is suddenly thrown headlong into a murky world of espionage and organised crime.

When she is charged with drug trafficking, even Ben Schroeder’s skills may not be enough to save her – unless a shadowy figure from Ben’s past can survive long enough to unmask a web of graft and corruption…

Review
The world seems cruel enough when Imogen learns of the tragic brutal death of her parents in a foreign country. It appears as if they were in the middle of something politically complex and yet when Imogen returns to London and her world is turned upside down she realises there is so much more at stake than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It's a legal thriller with elements of spydom, politics and police procedural. It's a fast paced read that takes the reader in the direction of one thing and wanders slowly into a dark layer of corruption.

I recommend reading the Author's Notes at the end of this story. It gives an interesting insight into the plot and the historical factual basis some of the story is based on.

When you read urban crime and police procedurals that take place in a certain timeframe there is most definitely a line drawn in the sand when it comes to corruption and reputation of the police. Mentioned under the almost amusing catch phrases of tough policing, turning a blind eye and a sense of fear that stemmed from knowing lawlesss often included the very men who were meant to uphold the law - it defined the way policing was perceived.

What worth does a system have when the people in charge are as corrupt as the criminals they are supposed to be apprehending? How much respect can they expect when everyone knows it isn't the truth or justice that counts, instead it is all about profit, greed and hiding the uncomfortable truth. You turn a blind eye for one thing and before you know it is worth your while to turn a blind eye to everything.

Murphy brings that element of the Flying Squad and their notorious corrupt ways, although they themselves would say they did enough good to balance out the occasional black mark. Easy enough to live by when you aren't the person who has to suffer from the corruption.

Kudos to Murphy for a great read and for the really well explained political and cultural landscape of former Yugoslavia.

Buy Verbal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 25 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at No Exit Press.

Read my review of Walden of Bermondsey by Peter Murphy.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

#BlogTour Deep as Death by Katja Ivar


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Deep as Death by Katja Ivar.
About the Author
Katja Ivar grew up in Russia and the U.S. She travelled the world extensively, from Almaty to Ushuaia, from Karelia to Kyushu, before finally settling in Paris where she lives with her husband and three children. She received a B.A. in Linguistics and a master's degree in Contemporary History from Sorbonne University. Evil Things was her debut novel.

Follow @KatjaIvar @bitterlemonpub, on Amazon, on GoodreadsBuy Deep as Death


About the book
Hella Mauzer has just been fired by the police and is now a reluctant private investigator. Escaping the mind-numbing routine of shadowing unfaithful spouses, Hella finds herself at the centre of an investigation of multiple murders.

It all begins when a prostitute is found floating upside down in Helsinki Harbour. Not exactly a high priority case for the Helsinki police, so homicide chief Jokela passes the job to his former colleague Hella. It’s beginning to look like a serial killer is at work when another lady of the night narrowly escapes being driven into the harbour, handcuffed to the car by her client.

What begins like a taut whodunit turns into something more tantalizing as Hella turns her attention to different suspects, often to the consternation of the fascinating Inspector Mustonen, charismatic, ambitious and trying desperately to live up to the standards of his high-maintenance wife.
Review
Hella is always on the short end of the stick. Her career with the police, as the first female homicide detective, is over and her new role as a private investigator isn't really bringing in the much needed cash.

She is surprised when her old boss recommends her services on a case he is wanting to brush under the carpet. Pitting her against a charismatic ex-colleague seems counter productive, especially because she is known for digging her heels in even when it gets dangerous for herself and others.

It's Nordic crime that uses a bedrock of sexism, gender equality and the thin line between law and order and crime, which was still quite a prevalent imbalance in the era the story takes place in.

Ivar's stories have a Nesbo flair to them, but with more of a noirish feel. The crime within a crime which is laid upon a bed of evil. It makes for a glorius read.

The reader is pulled between doubt and certainty, especially in regards to the main characters. Is there ill intent or just fumbling foolishness, real danger or just a paranoia perceived out of circumstances?

Either way Ivar writes a cracking read and is honing her craft. I expect to hear more from this particular author.

I wonder whether the mystery mentioned briefly towards the end will be the focus of the next book in the Hella Mauser series.

Buy Deep as Death at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press; pub date 2 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Evil Things by Katja Ivar.

Friday, 26 June 2020

#BloggerDay Summer in Mayfair by Susannah Constantine


Today is Blogger Day for the delectable Summer in Mayfair by Susannah Constantine.

About the Author
Susannah Constantine is a television presenter and journalist. She lives in West Sussex with her husband and three children. She has co-written nine non-fiction books with Trinny Woodall. Summer in Mayfair is her second novel.

Follow @snhconstantine on Twitteron Goodreads, on AmazonBuy Summer in Mayfair


About the book
Secrets are hidden around every corner…
Summer, 1979. - Twenty-two-year-old Esme Munroe has finally left the Scottish Highlands for the excitement of London.

Working at a prestigious art gallery in Mayfair, she meets gorgeous, worldly Suki, who takes her to the most exclusive bars and clubs in the city.

But it’s easy to get lost in London’s glamour and chaos, especially when a long-hidden secret looms – will Esme discover it and who she can really trust, before it’s too late?


Review
Esme isn't a complete nube when it comes to the world of the upper echelon. In fact it's fair to say her life has been influenced and determined by her mother's friendship to a member of the gentry and her past of living her best life. Esme and her sister have gotten used to getting the short end of the stick, both in regards to their mother and the way they are treated by her so-called friends.

Esme is off to make her own way in life in London and quickly gets sucked into the glam, glitz and exclusivity. Old emotions about belonging and being unwanted surface as she slowly unravels secrets that have been hidden for a long time and for good reason.

It was quite interesting how well Constantine invoked the atmosphere of a certain era - not the late 70s it is set in per se, although the clothes and surroundings fit. It has a Golden Twenties feel to it. It has a very distinctive cultural edge combined with a certain economic prosperity. The world of landed gentry and those who inhabit their orbit crash into the world of plain old normality - more like being sucked into the Thunderdome also known as London.

In essence it's a story about coming-of-age and comprehending that family isn't always made up out of genetic connections, but rather a strong emotional connection.

Constantine delivers a story with depth, and yet also keeps it amusing, interesting and fun at the same time. I'd love to see that knack she has for creating a specific atmosphere create the story that is obviously just waiting to be told.

Buy Summer in Mayfair at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 25 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

#BlogTour Dead and Gone by Sherryl Clark


Happy Publication Day and it's time to kick off the BlogTour Dead and Gone by Sherryl Clark today! It's the sequel to Trust Me, I'm Dead, Sherryl's debut Aussie crime novel.
About the Author
Sherryl Clark has had 40 children’s and YA books published in Australia, and several in the US and UK, plus collections of poetry and four verse novels. She has taught writing at Holmesglen TAFE and Victoria University. She recently completed a Master of Fine Arts program at Hamline University, Minnesota, and is now studying for a PhD in creative writing.

Sherryl's debut novel, Trust Me, I'm Dead, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. It is the first novel in the Judi Westerholme series, followed by Dead and Gone.

Follow @sherrylwriter and @Verve_Books on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon,Visit sherrylclarkcrimewriter.comBuy Dead and Gone


About the book
There's nothing more dangerous than revenge. Judi Westerholme has been through it. Brave and strong-willed, she's just about coping in her new role as foster parent to her orphaned niece, taking a job at the local pub to help make ends meet. Then the pub's landlord and Judi's friend, army veteran Pete 'Macca' Maccasfield, is murdered, and her world is suddenly turned upside down.

Despite warnings from the city police to keep out of it, Judi can't help but get involved in the search for Macca's killer. But she soon becomes deeply entangled with some ruthlessly dangerous men. She must act fast and think smart to work out what they want - before anyone else gets hurt...

Long buried secrets resurface in Sherryl Clark's pacy crime novel that pushes Judi Westerholme to her limits to protect the people she loves most.

Review
This is the sequel to Trust Me I'm Dead the first in the Judi Westerholme series, but can absolutely be read as a standalone novel.

Judi's boss Macca is murdered, which throws her for a loop, not only because they were great friends but also because the police think it was down to his involvement in something dodgy. His corpse hasn't even been buried before the first vultures arrive to pick at the bones.

Simultaneously Judi has to deal with the fact she might lose Mia. She is torn between it might be better for her niece to live with her maternal grandparents and wanting to keep her promise to take care of her. Mia has become a constant fixture in her life and can always be counted on to throw some light or reality into any serious situation. I respect any woman who thinks of cake in the most curious of moments.

Clark has a very specific style to both her writing and the tone of her work. It's not quite staccato or abrupt, but it is terse at times. Sharp corners and quick direction changes. I liked it. It gives the story this tough as old boots feel without resorting to misogyny or macho tropes. The same applies to the main character, Judi isn't a marshmallow fluff happy ever after girly type and yet also doesn't come off as wanting to be one of the guys. I really enjoyed the balance Clark found in both the plot and characters.

It's a jolly good read and a series with plenty of potential.

Buy Dead and Gone at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Verve books; pub date Ebook: 25 June 2020 | Paperback pub date: 27 August 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Verve Books.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

#BlogTour The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith


Today it's an absolute pleasure to take art in the BlogTour The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith.
About the Author
Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis,her debut novel The Waiting Roomswas shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.

Follow @evecsmith on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit evesmithauthor.com, Buy The Waiting Rooms 


About the book
Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable: a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms.’ Hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother's past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything.

Because Kate is not the only secret that her birth mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern world to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

Review
There will probably be a consensus about how freakishly timely this plot is given the whole Covid-19 situation we are living in at the moment.

Kate is on the frontline of life and death, perhaps it's better to say death and more painful death. The world post-catastrophe is one of division, policies and a general lack of humanity. Lily is on the cusp of entering the disposable human age and Mary takes readers back to a time before a new-age plague changes the world forever.

Woven into this dystopian tale are the very real threats that govern policy choices when it comes to healthcare and costs. Antimicrobial resistance has been laid at the feet of decades of overuse of antibiotics and the lack of new drugs to combat new strains. In this scenario cost cutting measures are written and put into place to the detriment of the elderly. Everyone above the age of seventy is no longer given anything to combat any infection. It's a little more complicated than that obviously, but I don't want to give everything away.

It's a Logan's Run scenario, for those who remember the old nugget. People are sorted into two categories - before and after the cut-off date. There is only fear, pain and the feeling that death has become a well-oiled machine that makes a profit.

I thought it was interesting how Smith drew in the topic of euthanasia. Having a directive or not becomes the difference between painless choice or painful torture, which is clouded by public opinion viewing it as murder.

Smith is an excellent storyteller. Dredging every fear that goes through our heads, things none of us can possibly control and are unable to fathom in their entirety, to create a frighteningly realistic futuristic scenario. Then as if the science, medicine and fear weren't enough the author raises the stakes by adding a complex family dynamic and our possible future to the mix. It's an incredible read.

Buy The Waiting Rooms at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date ecopy - 9 April 2020. - pub date Paperback 9 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Orenda Books.