Tuesday, 19 October 2021

#BlogTour The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe


 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe.

'The epic Second World War novel from Antonio Iturbe, the international bestselling author of The Librarian of Auschwitz. Translated by Lilit Žekulin Thwaites, this is a novel about love and friendship, war and heroism and the power of the written word.'

About the Author

Antonio Iturbe was born in 1967 and grew up in the dock-side neighbourhood of Barceloneta, in Barcelona. His first novel The Librarian of Auschwitz was the number one selling book in translation in the UK last year. It has been translated into 30 languages and has sold over 600K copies internationally.

Having grown up reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s books, Iturbe was inspired to write about the author’s extraordinary life. He conducted extensive research and, despite suffering from vertigo, even flew in a biplane so he would understand how it felt to fly. Iturbe hopes to translate not only the facts but also the poetry of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s writing in The Prince of the Skies.

About the book

Only the best pilots are given jobs at Latécoère - the company destined to become Aéropostale. The successful candidates include Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A man whose desire to fly will put him at odds with his aristocratic family and the girl who loves him – but who wants to keep him grounded. 

Together with his friends Jean and Henri, they will change the history of aviation and pioneer new mail routes across the world. But Antoine is also destined to touch the lives of millions of readers with his story The Little Prince. But as war begins to threaten Europe, is Antoine’s greatest adventure yet to come . .?

Review

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was torn between family expectations, the rules imposed on him by the woman he loved and his pleasure while experiencing the ultimate freedom and the power of flying above his fellow humans.

Whilst fighting against the restrictions he helps form the future of aviation and the stepping stones to where we are now. It's fair to say he left his mark on the world and in the clouds.

This is historical fiction or faction, and after reading this I wonder what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry would have thought about the impact of The Little Prince and the legacy he left behind in general. A legacy that becomes more poignant when you connect his life and disappearance to the story he created.

It's worth noting that Iturbe has chosen to lay more weight on the beauty and freedom de Saint-Exupéry experienced, especially whilst flying. His bravery, which went hand in hand with a recklessness. Perhaps that can be said of any person who commands and controls tonnes of metal in the skies.

I think this is a beautiful homage to a man who left an imprint on the world in the few decades he was alive. It's beautifully written - a swan song, as the swan prepares for its last flight.

Buy The Prince of the Skies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publishing in Hardback £16.99| Macmillan | 14th October 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday, 18 October 2021

#BlogTour Reunion by R.V. Biggs

It's my turn on the BlogTour Reunion by R.V. Biggs - the second book in the Sarah Macintyre series.

About the Author

R V Biggs lives in a small ex-mining village near Wolverhampton, England, with his wife Julie and Mags the black lab. He has four grown up children and eight grandchildren. Walking with the dog is a favourite pastime and much of the story line for his first novel was developed during these lengthy outings.

Robert worked for 35 years in telecommunications but changed career paths to a managerial supporting role within a local Mental Health National Health Service trust. It was during the period between these roles that the concept for his first novel was born.

Robert is a firm believer that destiny and co-incidence exist hand in hand and this conviction extends to his writing. He has a passion for holistic well-being and after first-hand experience of the potential healing powers of Reiki, a form of energy therapy, took a Reiki level 1 training course to heighten his spiritual awareness. 

Robert’s experiences in these areas helped conceive the ideas that led to Song of the Robin and its sequels Reunion and Broken, novels with central themes of fate, love, and the strength of family. His writing is not fantasy however but is set in modern times involving real people living real lives. Follow RVBiggs on Facebook, Visit rvbiggs.com

About the book

One random, violent act is enough to change Sarah Macintyre's life forever. Left unsettled, and yearning for a new beginning, Sarah is unsure of what to do with her life. But one day she discovers an anonymous letter hidden amidst a pile of unopened mail. The note, however, contains nothing more than a confusing riddle. Intrigued and excited, Sarah’s hunger for a new life compels her to search for the author to understand the puzzle and solve the mystery.

Embarking on a journey that will shape the rest of her life and that of her family, Sarah uncovers a past of which she had no knowledge, a present she must find a path through, and a future filled with intense grief and utmost joy.

Review

In this second book in the Sarah Macintyre series, Sarah is still coming to terms with the traumatic events that changed her life and the way she perceives life.

Since the event (sorry, I'm being purposely cagey for those haven't read the first book in the series), she often feels as if there is someone or something there. Feels touches, movements, pressure to parts of her body - a connection that wasn't there previously. A new world has opened up, but it has also brought unanswered questions and secrets with it.

I think the two stories, the past and present collide as opposed to sliding smoothly into the narrative. The spirituality, the essence of something inexplicable perhaps supernatural or the shadow of memories reverberating in the present. There is a lot going on - it could do with more direction.

At times it feels as if the need to weave the philosophy and beliefs of spirituality into the story with such a vehemence that it's to the detriment of the story itself. I think I was more invested in the short moments with Amber than the majority with Sarah.

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

#Blogtour Shadow Shinjuku by Ryu Takeshi

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Shadow Shinjuku by Ryu Takeshi.

About the Author

Ryu loves to write. It’s a way for him to find and explore new worlds, both inner ones and those way outside. And this process is spontaneous and instinctive, his stories born out of a single image, following a path Ryu himself never fully understands – not its origin, nor its end -, immersed in the magic of the moment, and the magic of everything that surrounds us, the visible and the invisible. 

Ryu is a daydreamer, a believer in the magic of humanity, a friend to all the mystical creatures of the night, and a sucker for the visual beauty of anime. But above all else, Ryu is just a human being, like yourself.

Ryu was born in 1983, has a beautiful wife, a funny little dog, and a lovely daughter. He adores sumo, practices traditional kenjutsu, sometimes plays basketball (Go Denver Nuggets!), relaxes playing video games, watching anime and reading books. Oh, and he loves to eat! But who doesn’t…

Follow @RyuTakWrites on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, Visit ryutakeshi.com

About the book

The streets of Tokyo are different at night. - There is darkness behind the glitter and the neon lights, and people who prefer to stay in the shadows, to dwell in the underworld – whores, gangsters, the homeless, the lost. People like Sato. 

He’s part of this world, he always has been, but a feeling of change is lingering in the heavy air of the bustling city. A feeling brought to life by fateful encounters of solitary souls.

Shadow Shinjuku is a dark, yet magical journey into the depths of Tokyo’s nightlife and the depths of the human soul. 

Ryu Takeshi’s first novel is both a crime thriller and urban fantasy. It's a unique and mesmerizing blend of the imagery of Japanese animation and film, the colors and details of street photography, and the mystical lyricism of soulful music. But above everything, it is a gripping story that doesn’t let go.

Review

Let's begin with the end - I had to read the epilogue, and the chapter before that, twice. Huh? Ahh - ohh! Nicely played. Excellent ending. Now where does the story go from here? Does it go somewhere from here?

The story takes the reader from the present and visible, to the dark underworld and the corners nobody dares venture into. Souls wander and sometimes connect. Sato's story is very much driven by this atmosphere of being lost and understanding the same in others. At times he points them in directions they would never have taken otherwise.

The story is infused with magical realism, elements of fantasy, which is combined with a strong urban crime vibe. Set in a vibrant pulsing city in Japan the author has managed to give it a Sam Spade dark underbelly feeling, and the juxtaposition is the magic the reader is unable to define or put a finger on. What kind of powers lurk there?

I enjoyed Takeshi's writing and I thought the premise was interesting. There is a certain quiet, calm subtlety to the story. What I would like to see is that creativity be unleashed a little - be bold in language and scenarios. Let those ideas that are simmering below the surface flow into the character and worldbuilding. Tip of the iceberg.

Buy Shadow Shinjuku at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Purple Crow Press; pub date 5 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Could You Survive Midsomer? by Simon Brew

 

It's my turn on the BlogTour Could You Survive Midsomer? An Official Midsomer Murders Interactive Novel by Simon Brew.

About Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders is a TV national treasure. For over 21 years, residents of this quintessentially English county have hosted a series of homicides, which have been at the centre of over 100 episodes. With a huge international fanbase, Midsomer Murders has sold in over 220 territories. A top export of the UK detective genre, the show is hugely popular in Germany, France and all over Scandinavia, as well as having major fanbases in North America and Canada, Australia – and Japan!

About the Author

Simon Brew is the former editor and founder of Den of Geek - the popular culture news and reviews website. He is the author of three books including Movie Geek, TV Geek and The Secret Life of the Movies. Simon is also the founder of the magazine and podcast Film Stories. Follow @simonbrew on Twitter

About the book

Can You Avoid a Bizarre Death in England's Most Dangerous County? - All is not well in the beautiful county of Midsomer. On the eve of its first Villages In Bloom competition, a man lies slain, smelling of damson jam. Who could have done it?

Well, that's where you come in. Step into the shoes of Midsomer CID's newest recruit, choose your own path and decide which way the story goes. Could You Survive Midsomer? sets off on an engaging pick-your-own adventure format to challenge the reader to solve a crime or succumb to the county's suspiciously high death rate. 

Set in television’s most celebrated and murderous county, the book allows readers to see if they can get to the bottom of the mystery and bring the perpetrator to justice, avoiding an untimely, and possibly bizarre death, along the way. Your task is to make the right choices, solve the case and – most tricky of all – stay alive!

Review

Welcome to the county that has a disproportionate amount of murders per geographical space. This time you get to try and solve the crime yourself or add to the growing statistics. A choose your own story and adventure type of read.

Although this is an interactive novel and obviously it works really well on a digital platform. I have the hardcover, but I also tested it via the Kindle version. The digital allows for an instant jump as you make your choices, the back and forth is less evident or how interspersed each chapter or paragraph is within the book. With a physical copy this is more evident, because you have to look for the relevant pages or numbers within the book.

Rather than seeing the path/s you don't choose as a missed opportunity I them as an opportunity for a variety of ways to enjoy this book. More than one story to enjoy. What's not to like?

I do enjoy a Midsomer Murder episode and I love myself a mystery, so this book appeals to my inner Sherlock. I think it's a fantastic idea, and the fact each read will be not only subjective, as they always are of course, but also individual to each reader as they make choices and take different paths along the way - it's genius. It's also a brilliant read. I can't wait to share this with the world - or just everyone I know who loves a good mystery.

Buy Could You Survive Midsomer Murder at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Casell; pub date 30 September 2021 | 12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire

 It's my turn on the BlogTour A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire. A poignant coming-of-age story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans,' set amid the magic of Christmas in 1960s New York. (Author photo by Andy Newman)

About the Author

Gregory Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature from 1979-1985. In 1987 he co-founded Children's Literature New England. He still serves as co-director of CLNE, although that organization has announced its intention to close after its 2006 institute.

The bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad.

He has three adopted children and is married to painter Andy Newman. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

About the book

Laura lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in an aging brownstone with her old-world grandparents - but she may well be sent to a boarding school in Montreal in the new year after being expelled from school for behaviour unbecoming of a young lady.

Constantly telling herself stories about the events surrounding her to divorce herself from te tragedies of her life, Laura truly finds herself inside a fairy tale when a handsome boy with a swan wing in place of a left arm lands on her roof. But Laura must forge unlikely allies in her quest to keep this storybook character from overturning her life in all the wrong ways.

Greogory  Maquire conjures a haunting tale of magical realism that illuminates one young woman's heartbreak and hope as she begins the inevitable journey to adulthood.

Review

Laura has a hard time connecting to her peers and finds her grandparents rules and choices hard to comprehend. She is isolated, and yet lives in a family where her safety and wellbeing is paramount. When her life is disrupted by a young man with one arm and a wing for the other, she recognises him from the many fairy tales she has read. It seems so magical in the stories, however the reality of the swan boy is slightly more disturbing and disruptive.

I haven't read anything by Maguire before, but I will certainly be changing that going forward. He writes with such eloquence and projects the illusion of shallow, whilst delivering great depth. The fluid interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales as he merges them with a story filled with magical realism.

In a way it feels as if the story is an homage to Andersen, and simultaneously it is a postmodern tale with pinch of noir and a flair of repressed violence, which lends itself to a more speculative read. The balance between old-world and modern is noted in the relationship between the grandparents and Laura. The grandparents try to keep her cocooned in their bubble and views, to protect and nurture. Laura is trying to burst free of the constraints of her own anxieties, her additional needs, and the the grandparents who are reluctant to let her fly.

The swan boy becomes an analogy for the gilded cage, the fear of the unknown, the equally repressed fluttering of sexuality, the longing to escape and desire for love.

I absolutely loved it. It's a beautifully crafted story.

Buy A Wild Winter Swan at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: WmMorrowPB; pub date 14 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

#BlogTour The Woman in the Woods by Lisa Hall

 It's my turn on the BlogTour The Woman in the Woods by Lisa Hall.

About the Author

Lisa loves words, reading and everything there is to love about books. She has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl - either that or a librarian - and after years of talking about it, was finally brave enough to put pen to paper (and let people actually read it). 

Lisa lives in a small village in Kent, surrounded by her towering TBR pile, a rather large brood of children, dogs, chickens and ponies and her long-suffering husband. She is also rather partial to eating cheese and drinking wine. Readers can follow @LisaHallAuthor on Twitter, Visit lisahallauthor.co.uk


About the book

She’s out there. Waiting for you. - When Allie moves to a quaint old cottage with her husband, it’s their dream home. Nestled in the village of Pluckley, it seems a perfect haven in which to raise their two children. But Pluckley has a reputation. It’s known as England’s most haunted village. And not long after the birth of their new son, Allie begins to notice strange things…   

 What’s the flash of white she sees moving quickly through the woods to the back of their house? And what’s the strange scratching noise from the chimney?

 As Allie discovers more about the history of their new home, she uncovers a story of witchcraft and superstition, which casts a long shadow into the present day. And not everything is as it seems. Her family might well be in danger, but it’s a danger none of them could have foreseen…

Bestseller Lisa Hall’s The Woman in the Woods is full of creeping unease and nerve-wracking tension, and will have readers on the edge of their seats…

Review

Allie has moved into a old place with a dire history she is as yet unaware of. She has a husband who is a bit of a workaholic and two young children - one of which is a new baby. She is tired, stressed and a little fed-up with people interfering with her life in general. Out of every corner the question of how she is coping is being forced upon her. 

Popping Co-codamol while you're breastfeeding  also isn't the done thing and certainly wouldn't be prescribed by health professionals to a nursing mother due to the codeine, but perhaps that is indicative of the downwards spiral Allie is heading towards. The question is whether she is being pushed in that direction by malevolent forces or is there something in the world around her with nefarious intentions?

I thought this was a cracking read, especially because Hall takes you in multiple directions and as a reader you quite willingly follow where she leads you, only to be confronted with something else entirely. I have to say this story made me angry - a lot. Angry for Allie and the way she was treated. Angry at Allie for not telling people to get stuffed. 

The author delivers a great plot with an important message, and yet in the end the reader is also left with questions. Is the solution really that simple or is it just a temporary plaster? 

Buy The Woman in the Woods at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HQ; pub date 30 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Friday, 15 October 2021

#Blogtour Highland Games by Evie Alexander


 It's my turn on the BlogTour Highland Games by Evie Alexander.

About the Author

Evie Alexander is the author of sexy romantic comedies with a very British sense of humour. She takes a method approach to her work, believing her capacity to repeatedly fail at life and love is what has given her such a rich supply of material for her writing.

Her interests include reading, eating, saving the world, and fantasising about people who only exist between the pages of her books. She lives in the West country with her family.

About the book

Welcome to Kinloch, and the hottest winter Scotland’s ever seen. Zoe’s always played it safe, just as her parents wanted. But when her great-uncle dies and leaves her a ramshackle cabin in the Scottish Highlands, she decides it’s time to change her life.

Upping sticks seems like a good idea in her cosy flat in London, but the reality is very different. There’s no electricity or running water, the roof leaks and there’s no front door. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s moved up in the depths of winter and her scorching hot neighbour wants her out.

Rory’s got a fifty thousand tonne problem. If he can’t make Kinloch castle profitable, he’s out of a job. He needs a clear head, but there’s someone living in the cabin he saw as his own and she’s turned his world upside down.

Rory needs Zoe out of Scotland, and out of his life. The trouble is, she has no intention of leaving. Let the games begin…

Follow @Evie_author on Twitter, on Facebookeviealexanderauthor on Instagram, Bookbub, Pinterest, Goodreads, Visit eviealexanderauthor.com

Review

Am I the only one that thinks the cover looks like the young lady is partaking in a bit of cheeky up the skirt/kilt viewing and enjoying it a wee bit too much?

Life Rules - Always wear clean, or in this case your best, underwear in case you get run over by a bus or mauled by a bear! My grandmother swore by that rule, although admittedly she never mentioned any bears unlike the main character, so it definitely made me laugh.

Zoe is fulfilling her uncle's last wish and doing something for herself, something not everyone is supportive off, but then that is understandable seeing as she is alone in the Scottish wilderness (is that a thing?) in a cabin. Turns out there is someone invested in seeing the back of her, but she digs her heels in.

What evolves from a risky adventure is hot romance built on mutual attraction and a budding friendship. The meeting of two people who genuinely want the best for each other - and of course the fact they are drawn to each other like magnets and find it hard to resist each other, well it helps and also means the story gets a bit hot and heavy at times.

Kudos to the author for coming up with the steamy scene index in the back. I think it's a brilliant idea and hopefully it will catch on with readers who would like enjoy certain moments over and over again.

Buy Highland Games at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Emlin Press pub date 15 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Highland Games, Shortbread and more… (Open to UK Only) -Prize is a signed copy of Highland Games, Exclusive postcard and bookmark, Personalised heart & Shortbread

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