Tuesday, 12 January 2021

#BlogTour The German Girl by Lily Graham

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The German Girl by Lily Graham.

About the Author

Lily has been telling stories since she was a child, starting with her imaginary rabbit, Stephanus, and their adventures in the enchanted peach tree in her garden, which she envisioned as a magical portal to Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. She’s never really got out of the habit of making things up, and still thinks of Stephanus rather fondly.

She lives with her husband and her English bulldog, Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.

Follow @lilygrahambooks on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit lilygraham.net, on Facebook, Buy The German Girl

About the book

'Our parents were taken. And if we go home, the Nazis will take us too…’

Hamburg 1938. Fifteen-year-old Asta is hurrying home from school with her twin brother Jürgen. The mood in the city is tense – synagogues have been smashed with sledgehammers, and Asta is too frightened to laugh as she used to.

But when she and Jürgen are stopped in the street by a friend, her world implodes further. Her Jewish parents have been dragged into the streets by German soldiers and if she and Jürgen return to their house, they will be taken too.

Heartbroken at the loss of her parents, Asta knows they must flee. With her beloved brother, she must make the perilous journey across Germany and into Denmark to reach their only surviving relative, her aunt Trine, a woman they barely know.

Jammed into a truck with other refugees, Asta prays for a miracle to save herself and Jürgen. Crossing the border is a crime punishable by death, and what she and Jürgen must embark on a dangerous crossing on foot, through the snowy forest dividing Germany and Denmark. And when barking dogs and armed soldiers find Jürgen and Asta escapes, she must hold on to hope no matter what. One day she will find her twin, the other half of herself. Whatever the price she has to pay…

Review

Ingrid has taken on the difficult care of her dementia ridden grandfather. He lives in isolation and dislikes the interference of others, which makes it hard for his loved ones to take care of him. He slips into the past more often now and whilst doing so he reveals memories his granddaughter is unaware of. A life he has kept hidden, heartbreak and pain that have made him seem irrational at times.

Jürgen and Asta live in Hamburg and are beginning to see the rumbles of hatred, racism and the forebodings of the worst time in history to come. Their parents however are like many others in a sense that they think everything will blow over and there will always be time to up and leave at a later date. Unfortunately waiting becomes a death sentence for many. 

Although the outcome may seem clear from the beginning of the story, Graham does a good job of giving readers something more than the presumption of what is to come. I think it's fair to say that the true reach of the Nazi regime before and during World War 2 is often forgotten and underestimated. Just how many countries they managed to invade and control, and how invasive their tentacles of evil were.

The story of Jürgen and Asta gives a voice to those forgotten invasions and the horror that people lived through, but many millions more died because of. It speaks to the trauma, the sacrifices and the incredulity of those involved at the destruction and malice behind the power of the Nazi regime.

It's a powerful piece of historical fiction. It represents the unspoken stories of many.

Buy The German Girl at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bookouture pub date 12 Jan. 2021. Buy at Amazon comHive

Monday, 11 January 2021

#BlogTour Blood Metal Bone by Lindsay Cummings

 

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Blood Metal Bone by Lindsay Cummings.

About the Author

Blood Metal Bone is the astounding new novel from New York Times best-selling author Lindsay Cummings. Follow @authorlindsayc on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit lindsaycummingsbooks.com, Buy Blood Metal Bone

About the book

Her destiny was death. The shadows brought her back.

Wrongly accused of her brother’s murder, Sonara’s destiny was to die, sentenced to execution by her own mother. Punished and left for dead, the shadows have cursed her with a second life as a Shadowblood, cast out and hunted by society for her demon-like powers.

Now known as the Devil of the Deadlands, Sonara survives as a thief on the edge of society, fighting for survival on a quest to uncover what really happened to her brother and whether he is even dead at all…

Review

Sonara is part of the revered Shadowbloods, and yet she is both despised and never accepted as one at the same time. Born to and by a mother who never wanted her, and treated like an unwanted skivvy. Not all of her half-siblings agree with the way she is mistreated though. Her brother, the heir to the kingdom shows her kindness, even if it has to be kept a secret.

When she is blamed for his untimely disappearance it is an instant death sentence and so begins the saga of Sonora. Her death is an end and a beginning. It's a journey of discovery, of worlds untethered and to be explored. The darkness that follows and fuels Sonora leads her to the answers she desperately seeks.

Cummings has created a smorgasbord of fantasy and sci-fi with a hint of brutal medieval times. The result is an extremely dark and yet intellectually invigorating read. The reader goes from the intricate woven threads of fantasy world-building only to be swept away to the heavens as the author opens the door to the sci-fi element of the story. Just roll with it.

Based on the premise and plotting I wouldn't be surprised to see this evolve into a series, however it absolutely can stand as a single piece of work. I would love to see Cummings delve into the Shadowblood and powers side of the story a bit more. Either way it is an engaging read.

Buy Blood Metal Bone at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Young Adult pub date 7 Jan. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. At Hive. Bookshop org. Waterstones.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

#BlogTour The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

 

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Wife Who knew Too much by Michele Campbell.

About the Author

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School. She worked at a prestigious Manhattan law firm before spending eight years fighting crime in NYC as a federal prosecutor. Her debut novel It's Always the Husband was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.

Follow @MCampbellBks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit MicheleCampbellBooks.comBuy The Wife Who Knew Too Much

About the book

Tabitha Girard had her heart broken years ago by Connor Ford. He was preppy and handsome. She was a pool girl at his country club. Their affair should have been a summer fling. But it meant everything to Tabitha.

Years later, Connor comes back into Tabitha's life—older, richer, and desperately unhappy. He married for money, a wealthy, neurotic, controlling woman whom he never loved. He has always loved Tabitha.

When Connor’s wife Nina takes her own life, he’s free. He can finally be with Tabitha. Nina’s home, Windswept, can be theirs. It seems to be a perfect ending to a fairy tale romance that began so many years ago. But then, Tabitha finds a diary. "I’m writing this to raise an alarm in the event of my untimely death," it begins. “If I die unexpectedly, it was foul play, and Connor was behind it. Connor—and her.”

Who is Connor Ford? Why did he marry Nina? Is Tabitha his true love, or a convenient affair? As the police investigate Nina’s death, is she a convenient suspect?

As Tabitha is drawn deeper into the dark glamour of a life she is ill-prepared for, it becomes clear to her that what a wife knows can kill her. 


Review

Nina was once called a gold-digger. Now she is the one holding the purse strings she has been accused of being brainwashed by one. Connor is young, handsome, smart and ambitious. He is easy on the eye and a pleasure in bed. Why would anyone think he has ulterior motives just because she is much older and worth a fortune? Why would anyone think marrying him is a mistake?

Tabitha never really got over her first love - her rich boy from the other side of the tracks. He made her believe she was special, was enough for him and more than just a physical distraction. The rude awakening she experienced has always remained with her, as has the passion and attraction she felt for Connor at the time.

When Nina meets an untimely end, which she predicts, suspicion falls on those closest to her and of course those with a motive. Sometimes things are just too convenient to be true though or are they?

Although this lacks the clarity and precise plotting of the previous books by Campbell it is still a driven and engaging read. It's a domestic thriller with plenty of paths leading in the wrong direction. What victim and suspect have in common is the belief that there is something like pure passion, devotion and love is out there for everyone, whereas the truth is a wee bit more cynical than that.

Buy The Wife Who Knew Too Much at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Hive. Bookshop org. Waterstones.

Read my reviews of A Stranger on the Beach and It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

#BlogTour Victoria Park by Gemma Reeves

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Victoria Park by Gemma Reeves.

About the Author

Gemma Reeves is a writer and teacher who lives and works in London.

Follow @g_c_reeves on Twitter, on Amazon, on GoodreadsBuy Victoria Park

About the book

Mona and Wolfie have lived on Victoria Park for over fifty years. Now, on the eve of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, they must decide how to navigate Mona's declining health. Bookended by the touching exploration of their love, Victoria Park follows the disparate lives of twelve people over the course of a single year. 

Told from their multiple perspectives in episodes which capture feelings of alienation and connection, the lingering memory of an acid attack in the park sends ripples of unease through the community. By the end of the novel, their carefully interwoven tales create a rich tapestry of resilience, love and loss.

Review

The read begins with Mona and Wolfie, both bound by a tragic past and a lifetime of love. Now everything is slowly slipping away from Mona, but her husband is unwilling to let her forget by herself. From those two the reader is taken in a hop skip jump narrative from character to character and month to month - all of them share the fact that they live in the same area.

In the midst of it all a crime, the tragic repercussions of it and the inability to find the perpetrator, wanders through the narrative. As a reader you almost forget it is trailing along with the rest of the characters and story. In a way I thought this was indicative of the way we react in reality. We are shocked, appalled and for a moment worry about becoming a victim, and then our lives and thoughts dismiss the crime and victim. Care and interest are but a fleeting moment in time.

This is a bit like a hyperlink film with interwoven storylines between multiple characters, who are connected to each other in this case via their surroundings. Their lives intersect at moments which seem to be trivial day-to-day events and conversations. Moments that can mean the world to one person and nothing to another. This is very much at of the essence of the story.

It's a Kodak moment of life in Victoria Park, which gives the reader a glimpse behind the twitching curtains of neighbours, family and friends. They are us and we are them - this in itself is at the core of the story. Being able to recognise and relate to emotions, humanity and each other.

Reeves draws the links between the characters like invisible threads - a bumper car ride of connections, which parallels the way we live our own lives. It's a riveting read, and yet I am convinced Reeves is capable of far more.

Buy Victoria Park at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Allen and Unwin Hardback & eBook | 7 January 2021 | £14.99. Buy at Amazon com. Hive. Bookshop org. Waterstones. 

Thursday, 7 January 2021

#BloggerDay Get A Grip, Love by Kate Lucey

 

About the book

Exploring the science behind mental illness and its treatment, and including stories from a number of sufferers of depression and anxiety disorders, Get a Grip, Love provides a witty, razor-sharp exploration of mental health, and a no-nonsense guide that explains where the advice to ‘go for a run’, ’stay off social media’ or ‘make some new friends’ comes from. It separates the facts from the fiction about what could work, speaks openly about how it feels to live with a mental health disorder, and demonstrates that it’s ok to feel the way that we do when we’re struggling, and that we certainly don’t need to get a grip.

Funny, irreverent, and understandable, Get a Grip, Love recognises that depression sucks, but that together, we can get through it. 

Review

Although it may not seem like it, because of the snarky and condescending tone, the title of the book is the perfect way to demonstrate certain attitudes towards mental health. If you haven't lived with a mental health issue it's often hard to comprehend how debilitating it can be. As someone with a close family member who has clinical depression I have often had to explain, defend and keep that person safe, due to the lack of understanding of others.

What Lucey does with an acerbic wit and debilitating self examination of mental health issues, is open the doors to a very closed off topic. It's not meant to be a pleasant experience or to make the reader feel better - it's supposed to inform and help give some insight into the daily battle with an all encompassing darkness.

I can't say how often I have heard common tropes used in relation to depression, which comes from a general misunderstanding of the physical and psychological torture and toil of depression. Comments and phrases that only serve to humiliate and question the person who is already going through hell, and often teetering on the brink of ending it all.

I can only recommend it. It might be very dark in places, although the snark helps and gives it a little light at times, however it is an extremely well informed piece of work. It might give a slightly different perspective on a personal battle or someone else who is going through their own daily fight with mental health issues. I can truly say it was an eye-opener for me in certain places.

Buy Get a Grip, Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Hive, Bookshop org. Waterstones.

Follow @KateLucey_ on Twitteron Goodreads,

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

#Review Highfire by Eoin Colfer


About the Author
Eoin Colfer is the author of the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl series, which has been translated into more than forty languages,as well as the WARP, Benny and Omar, and the Half Moon Investigation books, which have won numerous awards, including British Children's Book of the Year, The Irish Book Awards Children's Book of the Year and The German Children's Book of the Year. He has also written two adult crime novels, Plugged and Screwed. A Disney film adaptation of Artemis Fowl will be released in 2020, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Dame Judi Dench.

Born in Ireland, Eoin was educated at Dublin University and qualified as a primary school teacher, before turning his hand to writing in 2001. Highfire is his first adult fantasy novel.


About the book
Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way - like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him...

An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke's unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy's reputation.

Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou - and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp...

For Squib Moreau, Regence Hooke and Vern, aka Lord Highfire of Highfire Eyrie, life is never going to be the same again.

Review
I think it's fair to say when it comes to dragons Vern is in his own league. Vodka swigging, shorts wearing, cigarette smoking dragon who likes to get comfy in his La-Z-Boy. He is hiding in a bayou, because humans are his mortal enemy, so it's death to anyone who discovers his existence.

Squib Moreau runs moonshine in the very same bayou, planning a way to keep the local cop Hooke away from his mother and his future success at the same time. He inadvertently sees something he shouldn't, which is the beginning of a bayou full of trouble.

It's more than fantasy it is a new sub-genre of dragon lore. Rural swamp inhabitant takes on the criminal underworld. Not because Vern is interested in saving the humans who are plagued by the insidious nature of the criminal world, but rather because they did something that irritated him. Whatever you do don't irritate him or he will rain hellfire on you or is that highfire?

There is no mistaking Colfer's trademark snarky humour and excellent talent for telling a story. It has a gritty urban crime feel mixed with the doubtful charm of a rural area. An area where dragon and alligators vye for equal space.

I do hope this isn't the last time we hear from Vern. He has made his very distinctive mark on the world of fantasy and dragons. 

Buy Highfire at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books  pub date 28 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Hive. Bookshop org. Waterstones.

Follow @eoincolfer on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit eoincolfer.com and worldofhighfire.com

Monday, 4 January 2021

#Review The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean


 Review

Jane is an unwilling participant in her marriage. She is a captive. She stays only to keep someone else safe, although her husband has made it impossible to escape his clutches. Hope seems to be a thing of the past until something changes her determination to break free of the chains that bind her so tightly.

Dean certainly is full of surprises, which isn't a bad thing when it comes to writing or creating captivating stories. Just when you think you have the measure of the flair, spectrum and ability, and then he goes and writes a complete curveball. A brilliantly engaging, intense and incredibly important one.

Aside from the immaculate plotting and on point characters there is another element of the story that absolutely deserves a kudos. The way Dean was able to immerse himself into the world of coercive, mental, physical abuse and the psychological abuse that goes hand-in-hand with trafficking and modern day slavery. You'll often hear or read cries of indignation 'why didn't he/she leave or ask for help, which of course is one of the many reasons abusive relationships are incomprehensible to someone who hasn't experienced them - the inability to comprehend the dynamics of control, power and abuse.

Whilst it is absolutely true that the young, vulnerable and inexperienced are statistically more likely to become victims, abuse does not halt before the intelligent, educated mind or person. It is far more complex than that. Anyway I digress.

My point is that Dean writes this with such an in-depth perception it made me wonder about the ability of certain storytellers to write beyond the construct and patriarchal dogma or bias of their gender, which is important depending on the topic and the gender of their characters. This story would have been ruined by tropes, instead it is a hard-hitting piece of fiction set in realism.

It is also written in an almost minimalistic style and mindset, which captures the isolation of the main character and the surroundings. An element I found extremely intriguing given where the story takes place. It serves as a stark reminder as to how disconnected the majority of us are from each other. Easier to look away and ignore the obvious signs than to become involved and help.

Above all Dean shines a spotlight on one of the most prevalent crimes of our modern era, although one could argue that slavery and human trafficking has merely evolved with the times and the demand. Unfortunately it's a very profitable, albeit completely despicable business and crime.

This is a cracking read. Oh and kudos to the author for the name and identity part of the story, especially in relation to Mary. Subtle, and yet simultaneously gut-wrenching and visceral. 

Buy/Pre-order The Last Thing to Burn at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; pub date 7 Jan. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. Hive. Bookshop org. Waterstones.

Follow @willrdean on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Youtube, Buy The Last Thing to Burn