Wednesday, 22 September 2021

#BlogTour A Girl Called Ruthless by Melody Pendlebury


 It's my turn on the BlogTour AGirl Called Ruthless by Melody Pendlebury.

About the Author

Melody firmly believes that one should never completely grow up. That is why she has chosen to spend her days writing for a younger audience. Melody resides in Jacksonville Florida with her beloved corgi Gatsby, and her husband Dylan. She started her writing career with children’s picture books and has now pivoted to middle-grade novels. 

She believes that children are eager for more books with strong-willed characters that deal with darker and interesting topics. Her debut novel, A Girl Called Ruthless, is inspired by the fiery girls in her fourth-grade class. When Melody is not writing or teaching kids how to write, she can be found planning her next big trip to some magical place she has never been to. Follow @melodypendy on Twitter, @melodypendywrites/ on Instagram

About the book

A girl with ambition. A clever ruse gone awry. A fatal encounter… Eleven-year-old Ruthless will do whatever it takes to live up to her name. Slaughtering pirates, running an underground gambling operation, and intercepting Russian spies are just a few examples. 

In true Ruthless fashion, she claims the title of student body president, but her aspirations are cut short after getting in trouble. Not letting that stand in her way, she runs for Mayor with the help of her incredibly strong best friend, Owen. Her town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has no age requirement to run for the post. The chances of a child winning are slim, to say the least, so Ruthless and Owen disguise themselves as an adult with the good old ‘two kids in a trench coat’ ruse.

This seemingly harmless scheme has grave consequences that invite the turmoil of her mother’s past back to haunt her. When the dangers of the adult world come crashing down on Ruthless, she must learn how to live with her new reality, and ultimately use it to turn her life into a success story – and live up to her name. But will she be able to leave the past behind?

Review

Ruthless prides herself on swimming upstream - she is her name and her name is her. Nothing will stand in her way, even if it means walking over people to get there. She wants to be Mayor, ergo she shall be Mayor. She learns that life isn't always going to go her way and the best laid plans sometimes fail.

Whilst I am absolutely onboard and in agreement with the fact young readers need to encounter more strong-willed young female lead characters, I think Ruthless overshoots the mark by a mile though. What you have instead is a child written like an adult character. Strong-willed isn't the same as rude or lacking impulse control, boundaries and any regard for rules or authority. It's not relatable or a potential role model. You can write a rebel without her being an A-class miniature adult muppet or add half a decade to her age.

What I did like was the way her imagination, reasoning and her stories, and those of others, become part of the narrative. The fairytale, the memory, the life experience - all of them show the storytelling talent and simultaneously the contradiction in the main character. It's loud, brusque and ambitious. 

Buy A Girl Called Ruthless at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ darkstroke books pub date 21 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

#BlogTour The Family Man by Kimberley Chambers

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Family Man by Kimberley Chambers. 'A brand-new series from the queen of gritty crime.'

About the Author

A truly unforgettable character, Kimberley injects authenticity into her gritty gangland crime novels set around the east end. She came to writing later in life, having worked as a street trader (being promoted from tea girl to sales when she rugby-tackled a shoplifter), a DJ and a cabbie. Fed up of scraping a living, she set her mind to writing a novel, despite being laughed at by friends and family, who dubbed her ‘a female Del-Boy’. 

But with her creative mind, colourful life experiences and memorable covering letter (‘Take a chance on me, you won’t regret it. This time next year I’ll be wearing Prada, not Primark’), she quickly had five agents knocking at her door and a publishing contract. Fifteen novels and three Sunday Times number ones later, she’s top of her game and an incredible inspiration.

Join Kimberley’s legion of legendary fans on facebook.com/kimberleychambersofficial and @kimbochambers on Twitter.

About the book

Meet The Bonds… Kenny Bond is finally out of prison after doing a long stretch for killing a copper, and is determined to get back to life on the straight and narrow. He’s got a lot of time to make up for, he’s missed his beloved wife, Sharon, and his family is growing up fast.

A Family Like No Other… Kenny’s son Donny might lack his father’s edge but his twin grandsons, Beau and Brett – well, they are Bonds through and through. Like him, they won’t let anyone stand in their way.

But They're About to Meet Their Match… Family comes before everything else for Kenny. There’s nothing he won’t do for them. But there are enemies from his past he can’t shake off, and a family feud is brewing. Kenny’s determined that nothing, and no one, will threaten his family. But can the Bond family stick together when someone’s out to take them down?

Review

Kenny Bond and his family of conveniently criminally inclined loved ones - give or take a few, those who swim against the stream are likely to clash with the head of the family. He is finally out of prison after a bit of a stretch and it's back to business as usual, but there are certain people who are determined to throw a spanner in the works.

There is no candyfloss and unicorns when it comes to rephrasing the hard parts for sensitive ears and eyes. Chambers does her gangland in a brassy, gritty and unforgiving way. No such thing as easing your way in or a romantic interlude - more like wham bam thank you mam. Put your big girl/boy panties on and pull 'em up yourself. Trigger warnings are for the faint of heart, then again I'm not a fan of those myself.

So, we are clear on the tone of the story, which is family orientated as only British gangland can be. Loyalty in the most peculiar of situations and yet brusque dismissive disloyalty in the next breath, depending on who is on the short end of the stick. The voice, well I had a constant combo of harsh Del Boy turned gangster in my head ( can't wait to hear this in audio version).

I think the author has definitely brought the odd boundary issues of British urban crime to the table. You feel connected and empathetic at times, and yet simultaneously completely angered and/or disgusted by the characters. The Bond family is certainly memorable, that's for sure.

Buy The Family Man at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins pub date 16th September 2021│ £14.99│HB EB Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogBlitz A Lethal Arrogance by D.S. Lang


 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogBlitz A Lethal Arrogance-An Arabella Stewart Historical Mystery  Book 3 by D.S. Lang.

About the Author

D.S. Lang, a native Ohioan, has been making up stories since she was a little girl, and she still is! Along the way, she studied English and social studies as an undergrad. After graduate school, she went on to teach government and American history in high school. She also taught English at the junior high, high school, and college levels. In addition, she has worked as a program coordinator, golf shop manager, and online tutor.

Now, she spends much of her time reading, researching, and writing. Most recently, she has delved into the Great War era and the years immediately after it. Her Arabella Stewart Historical Mystery Series was inspired by her Great Uncle Brice who served in the American Expeditionary Force during World War One, and by her love of historical mysteries. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, including her dog Izzy. Follow DSLang on Facebook

About the book

After returning home from her service as a United States Army Signal Corps operator in the Great War, Arabella Stewart’s goal, to save her family’s resort, seems within reach as the summer season progresses. She and her business partner, Mac MacLendon, look forward to re-establishing a successful championship golf tournament, once the signature event of the resort’s year. 

Problems arise when one of the contestants, an overbearing snob who has created problems at other competitions, clashes with more than one person. When he is found dead, the victim of a suspicious automobile crash, Bella once again helps Jax Hastings, the town constable and her childhood friend, investigate. As they pursue answers, Bella and Jax find several suspects who might have wanted to make the victim suffer for his lethal arrogance.

Review

Bella is determined to jump-start the family business again. The war has taken it's toll both emotional and financially. Nearly everyone has suffered loss, as has Bella. Learning to come to terms with life without her brother and the holes he has left in the family. It's actually this loss that connects her to Jax, although they refuse to confront the obvious.

Instead they band together to find the killer of an awful man, who was despised by many. The attempts to save Ballantyne Inn are threatened by the early demise of this particularly vile individual.

I think this is less of a whodunnit and more of a 'can you find anyone who wouldn't have dunnit' - yeh that's how likeable the victim is. Is there anyone who didn't have a reason to bump him off?

It's historical romance with cosy mystery as a sideline. Lang weaves the emotional fragility of war trauma, loss, post-war world rebuilding, romance and crime together in this read. The result is a tender approach to each other, whilst navigating a murder most wicked. Note: this dude totally deserved it.

Buy A Lethal Arrogance at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Secrets to the Grave by Steve Frech


 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Secrets to the Grave by Steve Frech.

About the Author

Steve Frech lives in Los Angeles. His novels, Dark Hollows, Nightingale House, and Deadly Games were Amazon best sellers. His next novel, Secrets to the Grave (Book #1 in the Detective Meredith Somerset series), will be published by HQ & Harper Collins in September of 2021. 

In addition to writing, his award-nominated podcast, 'Random Awesomeness', has been developed for television by the Emmy-winning team at 'Thank You, Brain! Productions'. He is also the co-creator of 'Sports? with Jessiemae Peluso' for Comedy Central. He is a frustrated fan of the Chicago Bears, finds cooking to be very cathartic, and is amazing at pub trivia. Follow @stevefrech on Twitter

About the book

The woman recoiled as she rolled the body onto its back. Deep bruises encircled the neck, but the most unsettling feature was the eyes, which stared lifelessly upwards. That was the moment the woman began screaming.

When a teenage girl is found dead on a quiet suburban street, Detective Meredith Somerset is haunted by flashbacks to the day her little sister vanished—the day Meredith should have been watching her. But with a murder to solve, she doesn’t have time for painful memories to cloud her judgement.

The victim is shoeless, the only clue to her identity a small silver medallion hidden in her grass-stained sock. Did she run from her killer across the smooth lawns of Willow Lane? And if so, how did no one in the surrounding houses see or hear a thing?

Meredith needs answers, or she’ll never shake the image of her sister’s face begging her for help. But Willow Lane has more than one mystery behind its doors—and to find the killer, Meredith must venture into a community that’s determined to keep its secrets hidden at any cost…

Review

The body of a young girl is found in the middle of a street and nobody saw a thing - allegedly. Detective Somerset goes door to door on Willow Lane, but the result is a big zero, although there are plenty of suspicions raised by odd behaviour, and perhaps because the chances of no person seeing anything is pretty slim.

Meredith is still haunted by the disappearance of her sister. Is it possible that this young girl stumbled onto something she shouldn't have?  Meredith's finds her own past is the best motivator when it comes to injustice and solving this mystery. Almost like survivor's guilt pushing her to solve this crime, because she is unable to find the solution to her own personal mystery.

I think it's fair to say that Willow Lane is a street with many secrets behind closed doors and a lot of people willing to go to extreme lengths to keep them hidden. This fast-paced crime read is a constant merry-go-round of secrets, half-truths and downright lies. 

Buy Secrets to the Grave at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: HQ Digital pub date 22 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour I Have Something to Tell You by Susan Lewis

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour I Have Something to Tell You by Susan Lewis

About the Author

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later, My Lies, Your Lies and Forgive Me. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. 

Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs. Follow @susanlewisbooks on Twitter, Visit susanlewis.com

About the book

About I Have Something To Tell You: High-flying lawyer Jessica Wells has it all. A successful career, loving husband Tom and a family she adores. But one case – and one client – will put all that at risk.

Edward Blake. An ordinary life turned upside down – or a man who quietly watched television while his wife was murdered upstairs? With more questions than answers and a case too knotted to unravel, Jay suspects he’s protecting someone…

Then she comes home one day and her husband utters the words no-one ever wants to hear. Sit down… because I've got something to tell you…. Now Jay must fight not only for the man she defends, but for the man she thought she trusted with her life – her husband.

Review

Jay is trying to reconnect the fragments of her marriage as she navigates her emotions in the wake of an ultimate betrayal. Anger, suspicion and overall a lack of trust are always at the forefront of any encounter or at least they are on the inside. On the outside she is the wife trying to pretend to try, but let's not kid ourselves - it's hard.

The new case is the perfect distraction, then again maybe it becomes too much of one, because the man accused of brutally murdering his wife is very charming. Every piece of evidence suggests he is guilty, and yet Jay knows this man was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is up to her to make sure he doesn't go to prison for the rest of his life for a crime he didn't commit. At the same time she has to decide whether to fight for her husband. Drawn in two directions she has to choose where her loyalties are.

Kudos to the author for the ending - nice one. Suitably messed up, so very much in keeping with the disastrous relationship humans tend to have with the truth. I also wonder whether readers will have the pleasure of encountering Jay again, this plot seems like the perfect set-up for a legal crime series.

Buy I Have Something to Tell You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins; pub date 16th September 2021 | Hardback| £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday, 20 September 2021

#BlogTour The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman. 'Some secrets are kept to deceive. Hers were kept to protect.'

About the Author

Hannah Beckerman is a novelist and journalist. She is a book critic and features writer for The Observer and FT Weekend Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of publications from The Guardian to Red magazine. As a regular chair at literary festivals and corporate events she has interviewed a host of authors and celebrities, as well as appearing as a book critic on BBC Radio 2 and Times Radio. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Hannah worked in television as a producer and commissioning editor for the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel USA. She lives in London. The Impossible Truths of Love is her third novel. Follow @hannahbeckerman, Visit hannahbeckerman.com

About the book

The highly-anticipated new novel from bestselling author Hannah Beckerman, The Impossible Truths of Love slips between past and present, mother and daughter, to explore the secrets we keep to protect those we love.

As Nell’s father is dying, he makes a final declaration that hints at a long-held family secret. Feelings of isolation that have plagued Nell for years resurface, and suspicions about her past are raised. Thirty-five years earlier, Annie was devastated by a series of traumas: one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made were motivated by love, but she feared even then that nobody could ever understand her actions, let alone forgive her.

As their stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own. A gripping, emotionally charged novel, The Impossible Truths of Love is a moving story about identity, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.

Review

Nell is dealing with the impending death of one parent and the mental decline of another. As one reveals some odd sentiments about Nell, the other relives the past. Having to deal with loss and grief is made worse by domineering siblings and the sudden realisation that both parents were keeping secrets from Nell.

I am with Annie, gut instinct and certain genetics are most definitely a thing. Unfortunately she falls prey to this interesting phenomena when it comes to motherhood. There is an instant reorganisation of hierarchy from birth onwards - education, social status, job or age becomes irrelevant. There is this invisible, yet absolutely perceivable shift in the way people treat women who become mothers, even by other women. 

On top of that Annie has to deal with the burden of grief and the fact people think she is unstable, due to the trauma. The result is being ignored by everyone and silenced, but perhaps more tragically she is forced to overcome her natural response to reject, and her feelings of disgust. How easy it is to silence a woman who reacts to her instincts, because the world around her treats her as if she is unstable. Why doesn't anyone listen?

I really enjoyed the subtlety of the read. It's never overly dramatic, barring the usual family dynamics and dysfunction. It's a well crafted story about the concept of love and identity, also what family means to each of us and how we define it. Our connections and where we lay the importance of how we are connected, which is different for each one of us. What matters to one, matters little to another.

It's a great read. It's emotional, honest and absolutely a scenario we can all relate to or indeed relate to the characters and their choices. We can imagine Nell's reaction and follow the reasoning behind the decades of secrets. Definitely a book I will be recommending.

Buy The Impossible Truths of Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing; Publication Date: 5th October 2021 | Paperback Original £8.99 and Ebook. Buy at Amazon com.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

#BlogTour Me and the Monkey by Andy Darby

 It's my turn on the BlogTour Me and the Monkey by Andy Darby.

About the Author

Andy Darby, would-be Viking, and lover of the bizarre. Mission – infest the world with his strange creations. He is the author of Me and The Monkey.

Son of a WW2 Commando, growing up in 1970s Birmingham, as a teenager Andy became a fan of heavy metal, fronting several metal bands over the years. His passion for martial arts also began in the 70s and has continued to the present. Competing as a bodybuilder and playing American Football for the Birmingham Bulls took up much of his 20s.

Following a mixed career involving working in a jewellery factory, spraying cars, and office work, he finally managed to follow his other passion, art, and began a career as a designer. A marketing department honed his skills, and he became aware of the world of designing for live events, joining a small production company, and eventually becoming creative director of their larger parent company. Moving to Cornwall he decided it was time to go freelance setting up his own business focusing on motion graphic design.

In the late 1990s he began to get the urge to write and his laptop drive is littered with the unformed creations that have popped into his head. Me and The Monkey is his first novel, coming to life as an experiment in having the discipline to write something every day during a period when he was travelling extensively for work. The story was written during train journeys, flights, backstage at events, 2am in hotel rooms, even during stops at motorway service stations, and was often written on his phone or iPad.

Andy lives on the north coast of Cornwall with his artist wife, teenage daughter, cat, two ponies, and constantly growing library. He still secretly thinks he could be a big wave surfer regardless of what reality tells him. 

Follow @MeandTheMonkey0 on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit meandthemonkey.co.uk

About the book

Well there’s this talking monkey who won me in a game of Othello in a coffee shop in Amsterdam. He came back to Cornwall with me and has become a prolific reader and dabbler in magic. He also has past life flash backs – the most prominent of which are the Nam special forces ones. We have partially deceased girlfriends who apparently eat dead bodies. 

The Monkey created a sort of black hole in the spare bedroom and now we have a team of nerds investigating it and trying to stop ‘things’ coming out of it. A bunch of Oriental hit men who appear to believe he is a god attempted to steal The Monkey’s magic lolly pop sticks, but he managed to blow them up in their caravan. We are off to Cambodia in search of a temple from which came a monkey faced pendant with glowing eyes and we seem to have upset an international cabal who are out to get us. Oh, and did I mention that The Monkey likes a cigar and we regularly get very drunk on Jack Daniels… 

Review

What is the Monkey god though? Are we talking more on the lines of devil on the shoulder, subconscious, or a really detailed delusion? Or is this really a being with ancient power and very bad habits, who thinks nothing of diving in at the deep-end, whilst swigging whiskey and other vices.

Monkey also seems to be the voice that lacks any kind of empathy or thoughts for humankind. His go-to choice is always destructive, mischievous and seemingly intent on destruction. Bit by Bit of course. All in the name of a good time of course. Hmm let's flip the switch on that and assume he is representing the worst of our base instincts.

Conspiracy theories run galore and cause a wide ledge the sane can stand on to watch the insanity as it happens. It's a it like a frat party on hairy legs. The juxtaposition to that is the way the author relays the information in a calm way in diary or blog like entries.

To put this book into perspective, although whilst writing that I am aware that Monkey and Darby would have a scathing commentary about the fact it doesn't need any such thing, and the whole point is that it is anti-perspective and anti-fits in a particular genre. It is niche, alternative and a cult in the making, which is what Bad Ink stands for.

Personally I like the idea of a core essence or guilt manifesting itself in monkey god form, but perhaps that is too easy. Is it actually just us reacting without impulse control aka societal rules and purely on gut - instant gratification.

I just have to mention what a quality hardcover book it is. Very much a book you can leave on your coffee table or in your bookcase - it will certainly generate some interesting conversations.

Buy Me and the Monkey at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Bad Press Ink Limited pub date 10 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a signed Hardback of Me and the Monkey, limited edition print and more (Open INT) a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 9 x Runners up prize. - 1 x signed spliff bookmarks & 1 x signed and numbered promo print

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