Friday, 23 October 2020

#BlogTour The Good Samaritan by C. J. Parsons

 

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Good Samaritan by C.J. Parsons.

About the Author

C J Parsons was born in Britain and grew up in Canada. She graduated from Montreal's McGill University with a degree in psychology and went on to earn a graduate degree in journalism. She worked as a newspaper reporter at Canada's Globe and Mail before moving to Hong Kong, where she became a columnist at The South China Morning Post. 

She also spent two years covering crime, seeing first-hand the disturbing forces that drive people to kill, something that has informed her writing to this day. After returning to Britain, she moved into television news, working as a broadcast journalist for both the BBC and CNN International. C J is now a senior producer at CGTN. She lives in north London with her twelve-year-old daughter.

Follow @charlopar on Twitteron Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit cjparsonswriter.comBuy The Good Samaritan

About the book

When five-year-old Sofia is taken from the park, her mother, Carrie, is beside herself with worry. Carrie has a condition which means she struggles to read facial expressions, so she is terrified she missed something that put her daughter in danger.

But just days later, Sofia is found unharmed. The police immediately suspect Josh, the man who found Sofia, but with no evidence against him they are forced to let him go without charges.

Josh is keen to make sure Sofia is safe and well and Carrie is charmed by his kindness. Carrie also befriends Tara, a mother from the park who helped with the initial search party. But with the identity of Sofia's abductor still unknown, how much should Carrie trust those who have offered their help?

Are they good Samaritans or has Carrie missed the warning signs?

Review

When Sofia is enticed away from her mother and disappears it is fair to say that a nightmare begins for Carrie. Could it be the child's own father, who struggles with mental health issues, was Sofia targeted or was she just a child in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Luckily the child is returned by a friendly stranger who just happens to find her. Instead of calling the police or calling for help, he just carries the child home. Slightly odd or just in shock from finding a young child who has been abducted? Carrie finds herself enamoured with more than just one good Samaritan on the day her daughter goes missing and is returned.

I think the automatic reaction for many will be the lack of understanding when it comes to the reactions of the mother, regardless of her diagnosis. It makes it seem, at least from her outward responses, as if she is missing any normal maternal instincts. Saying that, there are plenty of women without any difficulty with their social interaction skills and emotional responses, who also lack the ability to listen to a gut instinct, simply lacked maternal instincts or just don't care.

It's a dark domestic thriller, a worrying tale of trust and betrayal. How easy it is to lose what it is you love the most, despite your best efforts to keep everyone safe. Parsons writes the story from the perspective of a main character who doesn't interact with the world in the way society expects, and questions whether our lack of comprehension in that regard enables a lack of safeguarding for those on the spectrum. When it comes to both adults and children. It's an interesting take on the regular crime scenario.

Buy The Good Samaritan at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Headline ; pub date 26th November 2020 Paperback | £8.99. Also available in Ebook & Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

 

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline.

About the Author

Christina Baker Kline is the author of seven novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Money, More, and Psychology Today, among other publications. She lives in New York City and on the coast of Maine.

Follow @bakerkline on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit christinabakerkline.com, Buy The Exiles


About the book

London, 1840. Evangeline, pregnant and falsely accused of stealing, has languished in Newgate prison for months. Ahead lies the journey to Australia on a prison ship. On board, Evangeline befriends Hazel, sentenced to seven years’ transport for theft. Soon Hazel’s path will cross with an orphaned indigenous girl. Mathinna is ‘adopted’ by the new governor of Tasmania where the family treat her more like a curiosity than a child.

Amid hardships and cruelties, new life will take root in stolen soil, friendships will define lives, and some will find their place in a new society in the land beyond the seas.

Review

It's a very effective way of disposing of a problem - accusing them of a crime and having them shipped off across the other side of the globe. Evangeline finds herself at the wrong end of the stick, after being lured into a false romantic relationship. A gentleman who will say or do anything to get what he wants.

Unfortunately those choices lead to her ending up on a transport as a prisoner on the way to Australia. Pregnant and abandoned, but determined to survive for herself and her child. She connects with other women in similar situations. Their bonds become threads of support and survival.

You often hear jokes about the how the country of Australia or rather the non-indigenous descendants are for the greater majority ex-convicts. Hoards of men, women and children who were shipped off to the other side of the world, sometimes for merely stealing some food, but also more serious crimes such as murder.

The joking glosses over the inhumanity, the violence and the inequality of crime vs punishment. It was an easy way to provide the upper echelon with servants, labour and a way to establish a multiple tier society, such as the British were used to. Colonialism has a lot to answer for.

Of course that is entirely without taking the indigenous people into account. Their fate is often forgotten, perhaps because the fate of the Native Americans tends to be better known. The story of Mathinna is just an example that only hints at the horrors experienced by the Australian indigenous people.

Baker Kline writes a compelling story, historical fiction mixed with fact, which is always a bit of an eye-opener. It's a story of betrayal, violence and most of all of perseverance. Perhaps also that ou of bad can sometimes after many years come something good.

Buy The Exiles at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Allison and Busby; Publication Date 22nd October 2020 | Demy Format HB | £16.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Audiobook #BlogTour The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins by Shane Dunphy


It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins by Shane Dunphy - narrated by Shane Dunphy.

About the Author

Shane Dunphy was born in Brighton in 1973. A child protection worker for 15 years, he is the bestselling author of 16 books. His first nine titles dealt with his time on the frontline of social care work, and include the number one bestseller Wednesday’s Child. His series of crime novels (written under the name SA Dunphy) feature the emotionally damaged criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of True Crime books written for Audible, is critically acclaimed as well as being an audio-bestseller.

Follow @shanedunphy1 on Twitter, on Facebookshanedunphyauthor.comBuy The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins 

About the book

The Bad Place sees Shane Dunphy contacted by an old friend seeking advice about children who went missing in the 1980s. The call forces him to revisit a dark time in his early career as a child protection officer, when a young girl described children in care being taken to a residence known as the Bad Place. As a conspiracy emerges that goes to the top of the Irish police and Government, Dunphy recognises the MO of the alleged killer as The Dark Man, a terrifying figure he encountered over thirty years ago, who nearly ended his career before it had even begun.

Determined to confront his past, Dunphy decides to investigate, uncovering a vast international child trafficking ring involving cases of historical child disappearances, unsolved abductions, collusion with the Catholic church and its culture of secrets, lies and cover up

Review

I love the way the music, the talk of the culture, history and folklore of Ireland are interwoven into the stories. The frightening uncertain balance between fact and fiction, abuse and murder, and the general stereotypical ideas that come to mind when the country and people are mentioned.

Dunphy lifts the lid on the horrors, the reality and the unspoken is a direct contradiction to the image portrayed by anyone outside of the aforementioned. These brutally honest stories of True Crime will often make listeners shake their heads in horror, dismay and disbelief, especially given what appears to be complacency about the systemic abuse and murder committed against children and the vulnerable in Ireland.

Dunphy also delves into the status of the Irish Travellers as an ethnic minority. History builds a picture of why there is such a divide between the travelling community and the rest of Ireland. There is so much in this second book in the Stories from the Margins it would be hard to go into each story individually and would also spoil the listen for other listeners.

I'll be honest some of the stories are tough to listen to, others are riveting because they explain so many unanswered questions, but overall this is a fascinating listening experience. One I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

Dunphy's personal experiences result in a commentary, which will of course be uncomfortable for many, but it is important to open the doors on these horrors that the perpetrators want to keep hidden. Too many predators are organised in a way that is shockingly accurate, clever and done in a way that functions just below the surface of the face of normality. Somebody has to be the voice of the lost, the innocent and the forgotten. Shane Dunphy is one of those important voices.

Buy The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins at Amazon Uk 

Listening Length - 7 hours and 43 minutes, Author - Shane Dunphy, Narrator - Shane Dunphy, Audible.co.uk Release Date - 15 October 2020, Publisher - Audible Studios, Program Type - Audiobook, Version - Unabridged, Language - English.

Stories From the Margins #3 – Ceremony For the Dead (to be released March 2021)

Ceremony of the Dead – A group of childhood friends are coming after the man who abused them and put one of their friends in a coma; can Shane Dunphy stop their murderous plans but still bring the predator to justice?

Thursday, 22 October 2020

#BlogTour Stonechild by Kevin Albin

 

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Stonechild by Kevin Albin.

About the Author

I served 25 years with the police in the UK, eight years of which were with a tactical firearms team. In 2002, I took a career change, and retrained as an International Mountain Leader working across the globe guiding on mountaineering trips and expeditions. 

I have led many trips to the jungles of Borneo, my favourite destination, an enchanting place that has sadly seen much deforestation. My trips were based on education and conservation.

In 2011, I won the Bronze in the Wanderlust Magazine World Guide Awards for my work..

It was whilst working on a corporate training day in London, when I pictured a statue coming to life to give my clients the answer to the clue they were working on. The rest grew from there. 

My hope is that my writing will continue to spread the word on conservation and protection of all species. - I live in France.

A word puzzle for the readers of Stonechild and with a prize to be drawn on the 10th December, which is Human Rights Day. Here’s the link with all the details https://kevin-albin.com/book-kevin-albin/puzzle-time-for-readers-of-stonechild/

About the book

Where do we go to when we die? Imagine human consciousness embedded in the molecules of a statue. So, when the statues of London come to life, it is a spectacle like non other, and they come with a specific message, and an offer we cannot refuse.

As the world reels in this wonder of science and religion, Molly Hargreaves has other plans and she sets out to prove that things are not as they seem. 

Chased, captured and confined, Molly confronts the statues and her own fears. But who can she convince? The people are welcoming, the Government has succumbed, and the police try to act, but how do you shoot stone and metal? Be prepared to be run ragged around London on a mystery worthy of the great Sherlock Holmes.


Review

It's an interesting question - where do we go when we die - does some part of our energy or consciousness go somewhere. In this case the people worthy or not worthy, depending on the historical context, of having a statue created in their honour, their consciousness is embedded at times inside the statue. One kind of wonders where everyone else goes - no?

When they suddenly come to life and start spreading the word about an important message they have for humanity, everyone around them is scared at first. Then the implications of these important historical figures demanding time and change is astonishing and then becomes sinister.

Young Molly has had a connection with them for many years ago, some of them recognise her and some of them try to warn her. Things are not as they seem, but she can't seem to make people believe that these statues aren't all equal and don't all have the same goal.

This story fits in the YA category, however I would also recommend it to younger more advanced reader. It's a combination of speculative fiction, magical realism and adventure. The sense of menace and the unexplained Albin weaves into the read suggests a larger picture we might be reading about again at some time. Who is pulling the strings and why? Is the reason they gave the real one or is there something more nefarious going on?

Like I said, the author leaves plenty of unanswered questions and threads which could lead to another venture into the world of Stonechild. It's a concept with plenty of potential, especially if Albin explores that interesting sentence between representation via a symbol not always representing the reality of the person in question.

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

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

#BlogTour Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse by Nina Schick

 
Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse: What You Urgently Need to Know by Nina Schick.

As a political advisor to select technology firms, Schick is at the forefront of trends emerging from the worlds of data science, machine learning and AI. In Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Schick tells us what we need to do to prepare and protect ourselves.

About the Author

Nina Schick is a political commentator, advisor and public speaker, specialising in how technology is reshaping politics in the 21st century. Most recently, her work has seen her focusing on the evolution of disinformation, and the fallout generated by election interference in the US (and around the world) since 2016.

Nina has advised global leaders including Joe Biden and Anders Fogh Rasmussen (the former Secretary General of NATO), through her research on next-generation disinformation and AI-generated deep fakes. She has also worked at the heart of historic campaigns, including on the presidential campaign, the Brexit referendum and with Emmanuel Macron.

Half German and half Nepalese, she speaks seven languages and holds degrees from Cambridge University and University College London. She divides her time between London, Berlin and Kathmandu.

Follow @NinaDSchick on Twitteron Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit ninaschick.orgBuy Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse

About the book

In Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Nina Schick warns us urgently of the impending information overload (known as the ‘Infocalypse’) and explains the dangerous political consequences of this Infocalypse, both in terms of national security and what it means for public trust in politics. Deep Fakes have been around for less than three years, to silence and for revenge and fraud. Government, business and society are completely unprepared.

Schick also unveils what it means for us as individuals, how Deep Fakes will be and are used to intimidate and to silence, for revenge and fraud, and how unprepared governments and tech companies are. 

The malicious use of Deep Fakes is not only a real threat for democracy but they take the manipulation of voters to new levels. With the impending US election, and with vast amounts of money being spent of social media, it is expected that Deep Fakes will become a huge story later this year - - AI generated fake content is here for good, and we will have to figure how to navigate a world where seeing is no longer believing.

Review

I think this is a book everyone should read, especially anyone engaging with social media or the media in general. Younger generations should be taught how information is manipulated to an extreme that decides political opinions, elections, actions and the landscape of how we receive and digest information. 

More importantly when you replace the word information with facts, how facts have become a nostalgic concept of the last century and how we are now governed by fakes news, deep fakes and misinformation steered by those who seek to determine their own narratives at the expense of others and the truth.

'We now exist in an increasingly dangerous and untrustworthy information ecosystem' - absolutely true. So the question is how do we awaken those in denial to this situation and how do we combat it going forward. Even now, despite clear evidence to the contrary, people are unwilling to accept that they have been and are still being deceived by deep fakes to sway their opinions and votes for instance. Sharing memes, gifs, pics and articles, which are constructed for the majority by foreign entities, who choose to intervene in the politics for example for other countries to gain control and manipulate world events.

The example of Estonia vs Russia is used quite successfully by Schick to demonstrate what is going on. What is hard to comprehend is the unwillingness of other, more powerful and well-equipped countries to accept this reality and do something about it. 

Perhaps it suits certain people too well, who are pulling their own strings behind the scenes. Cries of you are taking freedoms away, foundations of democracies are being threatened when you silence opposing views are heard, but that is an entirely separate issue. This is about power grabs. This an undercurrent of rebuilding what was lost and using doing so by any means possible.

Buy Deep Fakes on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Monoray; pub date 6 August 2020 | £8.99 | Paperback. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

#BlogBlitz Endless Skies by Jane Cable

 

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Endless Skies by Jane Cable.

Endless Skies will be 99p until 23rd October. 

About the Author

I write romance with a twist, that extra something to keep readers guessing right to the end. While my books are character driven my inspiration is always a British setting; so far a village in Yorkshire (The Cheesemaker’s House), a Hampshire wood (The Faerie Tree), gorgeous Studland Bay in Dorset (Another You) and rural Lincolnshire (Endless Skies).

I was born and raised in Cardiff but spent most of my adult life living near Chichester before my husband and I upped sticks and moved to Cornwall three years ago. 

I published my first two novels independently and have now been signed by Sapere Books. I am an active member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and contributing editor to Frost online magazine.


About the book

As archaeologist Rachel excavates a World War Two airfield, could a love story from the past hold a lesson for her as well?

After yet another disastrous love affair Rachel has been forced to leave her long-term position for a temporary role as an Archaeology Lecturer at Lincoln University. Rachel has sworn off men and is determined to spend her time away clearing her head and sorting her life out. But when one of her students begins flirting with her, it seems she could be about to make the same mistakes again...

She distracts herself by taking on some freelance work for local property developer, Jonathan Daubney. He introduces her to an old Second World War RAF base. And from her very first visit something about it gives Rachel chills…

As Rachel makes new friends and delves into local history, she is also forced to confront her own troubled past. Could a wartime love story have any bearing on her own situation? Could this time be different?

Review

Rachel isn't exactly always on the right track when it comes to men. In fact crossing boundaries, breaking rules seem to be habits of a lifetime. Her last disastrous relationship resulted in a transfer and is making her rethink her career options. It also leads her into a life that includes new relationships, friendships and a connection with the past.

Her need to cross the line or rather the inability to say no when she should gets her into a lot of trouble. Meeting Jonathan is where life starts to change and perhaps his lack of interest in her is what draws her to him and a job that opens up her eyes into a world, which walks alongside us all everywhere we go.

Memories and energy of the past. Unresolved pain, emotions so strong they are shadowed in the present. Rachel is drawn into a long forgotten mystery. A story that helps to heal her own wounds, mistakes and perhaps even change the path she has put herself on.

Cable has created an interesting combination of historical fiction, romance, magical realism and ghost story. All elements of the story flow really well into each other and the result is a read filled with all the elements that may tug at the heartstrings and the yet it is also a mystery that will keep the readers engrossed until the end.

Buy Endless Skies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Sapere Books; pub date 27 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

#BlogTour The Deptford Girls by Patricia A McBride


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Deptford Girls by Patricia A McBride.

About the Author

Patricia lives in Cambridge, England with her husband Rick. She first wrote non-fiction, mainly self-help books, but became inspired to try her hand at fiction. In addition to writing she volunteers for a local museum and Addenbrookes Hospital.

Follow Patricia McBride on Facebookon Amazon, on GoodreadsBuy The Deptford Girls

About the book

A country at war. Friends in trouble. A fascist traitor. Stepping up can only lead Lily to danger. Rescuing friends or spotting spies; Private Lily Baker always gets involved.

While London burns she looks out for workmates and girlfriends but also uncovers a web of deception at the Depot where she works.

When the ruthless suspect knows she’s closing in, she must act fast to unmask the traitor and save her friends, herself, and the brave soldiers overseas whose lives are at risk.

The Deptford Girls is the fourth in the Lily Baker wartime series. This heart-wrenching story features courage, friendship, betrayal, compelling characters, and a captivating plot.

If you like vivid stories that take you right into the world of the characters, you’ll love The Deptford Girls. Cuddle up with a cuppa and enjoy this exciting, warm-hearted read.

Review

This is the fourth book in the Lily Baker wartime series. This can be read as a standalone novel but I would suggest perhaps reading the others for continuity of character stories.

As London is turned into complete chaos and the person next to you can easily become the next victim, Lily is still alert and invested in keeping those around her safe, even if it is difficult at times. She uses her gut instinct, which serves her well in this story, and yet also never loses her empathy for others, despite the difficult and often challenging circumstances.

The sub-plot of Lily's friend is indicative of the time - plenty of women and children became tragic casualties of old-fashioned rules and societal norms. Scandals that often led to lifelong regrets, damaged individuals and traumatised women.

McBride captures the brutality of living in a country at war. The repercussions of battle on soldiers, who often suffered from conditions, which were yet to be correctly examined or diagnosed. How those left in Britain coped with being a target of vicious bombings. The evacuation of their children, the destruction and death around them. The loss of their loved ones.

On top of that considering the implications of the enemy working from the inside out to weaken the strategy of the opposition, and those who chose to put profit above safety and hide in the chaos of wartime. It certainly shows the reader that life goes on regardless of what is going on around them in a greater context.

It's a quick pleasant read that delivers, drama, action and the emotional turmoil of the genre.

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