Thursday 31 January 2019

London Book Fair 2019 is back again with the UK Book Blog Awards!

The UK Book Blog Awards at the London Book Fair 2019. A Book Podcast of the Year category has been added to the awards this year, joining the three returning categories: Book Blogger of the Year, Bookstagrammer of the Year and BookTuber of the Year.

Celebrating the important contribution of social media influencers to the book industry, the UK Book Blog Awards debuted last year, with winners including popular blog The Literary Edit, Bookstagrammer Faroukh Naseem, and YouTuber Lauren Wade.

This year’s judging panel will include Rosie Beaumont-Thomas (Waterstones), Paul Black (Andersen Press) and author Shahroo Izadi (The Kindness Method).

It's official! The hunt to find the most influential book bloggers, bookstagrammers, book podcasters and booktubers of 2019 in the UK is on! click here to find out more

Press release: London, 9 January 2019: The London Book Fair is delighted to announce the return of the UK Book Blog Awards @ LBF, with a new category being added for Book Podcast of the Year.

Bloggers, social media influencers, members of the publishing industry, and the general public are invited to contribute nominations for Book Podcast of the Year, as well as for the three returning categories: Book Blogger of the Year, Bookstagrammer of the Year and BookTuber of the Year.

Once the shortlist has been revealed, a panel of judges will select one winner in each category, who will be honoured at a special awards ceremony at The London Book Fair. Building on the success of last year’s programme, the Fair will include seminars and networking events focused on bringing the social media influencer community closer to the publishing world.

Vote Now for your favourite or most influential Book Blogger, Bookstaggrammer, BookTuber or Book Podcaster of the Year. Do it now! Voting closes 1st Feb at 5 pm

Book Blogger of the Year
Bookstagrammer of the Year
BookTuber of the Year
Book Podcaster of the Year

Helen Clifford, Marketing Manager at The London Book Fair commented:
“Social media is a vital part of the publishing landscape, and the addition of a podcast category award highlights the growing number of ways in which influencers help promote authors and their titles. We are thrilled to recognise the important link between the influencer community and publishing once again with the UK Book Blog Awards @ LBF.”
The awards are open to any UK based book blogger, YouTuber, podcaster or Instagrammer. To put forward a nomination, or to nominate your own blog/podcast/Instagram account/YouTube channel visit:

For further information please contact Ben McCluskey at Midas Public Relations on 0207 361 7860

Go to 
Follow @LondonBookFair

So, this is happening and can I just say finally! It's about time the UK book industry took note of the effective marketing machine on social media powered by hungry and happy bookworms. Bookbloggers, Bookstagrammers and Booktubers who create hype, share their recommendations and reviews all over social media are an underrated tool of the publishing world.
Enter your favourite Bookbloggers, Bookstagrammers and Booktubers, and you can even enter your own BookBlog, Bookstagramm or BookTube!


- THE UK BOOK BLOG AWARDS 2019 are open to any blogger, YouTuber, podcaster or Instagrammer featuring books, who is based in the UK.

- Blogs, Instagram profiles, podcasts and YouTube channels can be entered by the brand owners, affiliates, or members of the public.

- The deadline for entries is Friday 1st February 2019 (the “Closing Date”).

- Judging: a panel of expert judges will decide a shortlist of three entries per category, one of whom will be the overall winner in each category.

- The Judges’ decision is final on all matters and no correspondence will be entered into.

- If the judging panel feels that none of the entries in a category reaches the standard outlined to them   in guidance notes, The London Book Fair may (under exceptional circumstances) cancel the category.

- The Winners will be announced at The London Book Fair, 12-14 March 2019

ENTER Book Blogger of the Year

ENTER Bookstagrammer of the Year

ENTER BookTuber of the Year

ENTER Book Podcaster of the Year

London Book Fair Show Dates
Tue 12th March 2019:  09:00 - 18:30
Wed 13th March 2019: 09:00 - 18:30
Thu 14th March 2019:  09:00 - 17:00

Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London, W14 8UX

Download the London Book Fair app here

Do you have a favourite Bookblogger, Bookstagrammer or BookTuber? Go ahead and nominate them now!

#BlogTour A Small Dark Quiet by Miranda Gold

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour A Small Dark Quiet by Miranda Gold. It's literary fiction with an entire story built out of memories, emotional turmoil, fear and distress. There is no doubt that poor Arthur will remain with readers long after finishing the book.

About the Author
Concert pianist in a parallel universe, novelist in this, Miranda Gold is a woman whose curiosity about the instinct in us all to find and tell stories qualifies her to do nothing but build worlds out of words.

Miranda’s first love was theatre and advises anyone after a dose of laughter in dark (along with a ferocious lesson in subtext) to look no further than the cheese sandwich in Pinter’s The Homecoming. No less inspiring were the boisterous five year olds she taught drama to and the youth groups she supported to workshop and stage their scripts. Both poetry and its twin, music, have been fundamental in her process as a writer and her hope is that the novel can tap into some of their magic to unleash the immediacy and visceral power of language – qualities that keep the reader on the page as well as turning it. Gatsby, To the Lighthouse and The Ballad of the Sad CafĂ© are books she will always come back to, always finding another door left ajar. Having the opportunity to mentor prisoners at Pentonville reaffirmed for her the connections that can be made when we find a narrative and a shape that can hold experience. There have been fleeting fantasies of becoming a Flamenco dancer, but sadly she has the coordination of an inebriated jelly fish.

Her first novel, Starlings, published by Karnac (2016) reaches back through three generations to explore how the impact of untold stories ricochets down the years. In her review for The Tablet, Sue Gaisford described Starlings as “a strange, sad, original and rather brilliant first novel, illumined with flashes of glorious writing and profound insight, particularly into the ways in which we attempt to reinvent ourselves.” Before turning her focus to fiction, Miranda attended the Soho Course for young writers where her play, Lucky Deck, was selected for development and performance.

Follow @mirandagold999 @unbounders on Twitter
Buy A Small Dark Quiet

About the book
March, 1945. The ravaged face of London will soon be painted with victory, but for Sylvie, the private battle for peace is just beginning. When one of her twins is stillborn, she is faced with a consuming grief for the child she never had a chance to hold. A Small Dark Quiet follows a mother as she struggles to find the courage to rebuild her life and care for an orphan whom she and her husband, Gerald, adopt two years later.

Born in a concentration camp, the orphan’s early years appear punctuated with frail speculations, opening up a haunting space that draws Sylvie to bring him into parallel with the child she lost. When she gives the orphan the stillborn child’s name, this unwittingly entangles him in a grief he will never be able to console. His own name has been erased, his origins blurred. Arthur’s preverbal trauma begins to merge with the loss he carries for Sylvie, released in nightmares and fragments of emerging memories to make his life that of a boy he never knew. He learns all about ‘that other little Arthur’, yearning both to become him and to free himself from his ghost. He can neither fit the shape of the life that has been lost nor grow into the one his adopted father has carved out for him.

As the novel unfolds over the next twenty years, Arthur becomes curious about his Jewish heritage, but fears what this might entail – drawn towards it, it seems he might find a sense of communion and acceptance, but the chorus of persecutory voices he has internalised becomes too overwhelming to bear. He is threatened as a child with being sent back where he belongs but no one can tell him where this is. He wanders as an adult looking for purpose but is unable to find his place. Feeling an imposter both at home and in the city, Arthur’s yearning for that sense of belonging echoes in our own time.

Meeting Lydia seems to offer Arthur the opportunity to recast himself, yet all too soon he is trapped in a repetition of what he was trying to escape. A past he can neither recall nor forget lives on within him even as he strives to forge a life for himself. Survival, though, insists Arthur keeps searching and as he opens himself to the world around him, there are flashes of just how resilient the human heart can be.

Through Sylvie’s unprocessed grief and Arthur’s acute sense of displacement, A Small Dark Quiet explores how the compulsion to fill the empty space death leaves behind ultimately makes the devastating void more acute. Yet however frail, the instinct for empathy and hope persists in this powerful story of loss, migration and the search for belonging.

There are a lot of things going on in this story. Sylvie simply never recovers from the loss of her baby in childbirth and subsequently has mental health issues, which are compounded by lack of medical help and an abusive husband. Gerald is a man damaged by war, frustrated with his wife and conflicted by his religion, all of which he takes out on his wife and children.

Arthur, the new Arthur, wants to discover who he is as a person, including getting closer to his religious roots and finding faith as a new family to orientate himself by. There is also part of him that wants to know where he comes from, and although the truth is alluded to here and there, he never seems to want the answers enough. His fear of the truth and fear of being returned to the unknown place of his nightmares, keeps him from moving forward.

I can actually understand why Gold didn't give Arthur more of a story, because the sad truth is he is just one of many displaced children with no identity and annihilated biological roots. Sometimes there was no way to trace the origins, especially during the tragic circumstances of World War 2.

One of the other interesting elements of the story is the way Gerald views his own religion. Born and raised in the Jewish faith, the events of the war have made him question  and hate his own faith. Being labelled a Jew means to be a target. It means being vulnerable, so he reinvents himself and his family. Not an unusual reaction after the Holocaust. Many Jews changed their names, identities and hid their faith going forward, so they and their families would never become targets of hatred again.

So, here's the thing. With this story the reader always, almost constantly, feels as if they are on the cusp of something. The cusp of the sanity Sylvie grasps for on occasion, the cusp of Arthur discovering his truth, the cusp of any member of that household speaking something other than the illusion of happiness, the cusp of Arthur melding into his history and religion and the cusp of Gerald losing complete control.

And the hanging on to the cusp of so many storylines is both the issue for me and in equal measures what makes it an unusual read. The kind of read that makes people sit up and go hmm. I want to know, I want to go beyond the cusp. I want answers to my questions. I don't want to hang in mid-air with a sense of dissatisfaction. I want the characters to know, discover, acknowledge and live through their truths. Tell me the rest of your story.

The question is why Gold has chosen to give them some story, but not all of the story. I guess the answer is somewhere between reality and fiction. It's literary fiction with an entire story built out of memories, emotional turmoil, fear and distress. There is no doubt that poor Arthur will remain with readers long after finishing this book.

Buy A Small Dark Quiet at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Unbound Digital (4 Dec. 2018)

Wednesday 30 January 2019

#BlogTour The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven

It's my turn on the BlogTour The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven. Poe is a character I would always return to, and Craven as a writer of course, because of the perfect balance of crime, injustice and jovial interaction between the characters.

About the Author
A brand new voice in British crime fiction, M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle. He joined the army at sixteen, leaving ten years later to complete a social work degree. Seventeen years after taking up a probation officer role in Cumbria, at the rank of assistant chief officer, he became a full-time author. The Puppet Show has sold in numerous foreign territories and has been optioned for TV by Studio Lambert.

Follow @MWCravenUK  @LittleBrownUK on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram,
Buy The Puppet Show

About the book
He pulls their strings. He watches them burn. Welcome to the Puppet Show...
A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District's prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he's ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive...

Washington Poe messed up big time on his last case. He made the kind of decision that cripples careers and brings them to a dead halt, much like his own at this point, and yet here is the force asking him to come right back into the fold. Apparently their latest psycho has made it a necessity for Poe to be on board.

The sideshow favourite has got to be Tilly Bradshaw, who needs her mother's permission to stay away overnight or engage in anything dangerous, bearing in mind that she works as an analyst for the NCA. Her naivety and intelligence combined with Poe with his devil may care attitude put the funny in this brutal serial killer plot.

However not everything is as it seems in this story filled with hatred and violence. It almost seems ironic that in the end the motives of the killer aren't dissimilar to something that might drive Poe to commit a crime.

Regardless of that, Craven keeps the ball rolling and the plot twists popping with this revenge driven crime story. The characters are strong and more importantly they are believable, especially Poe. He is the perfect example of the rule-bending, risk-taking and laughs in the face of authority kind of character readers warm to. You can always trust him to do the right thing. Not necessarily the legally right thing or the thing the upper echelon wants him to do, but always the morally right thing.

It's crime with a funny bone, despite the vicious nature of the crimes, and indeed the horrifying reason for said crimes. Poe is a character I would always return to, and Craven as a writer of course, because of the perfect balance of crime, injustice and jovial interaction between the characters.

Buy The Puppet Show at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable - Little Brown Uk: pub date 24 Jan 2019

Tuesday 29 January 2019

#BlogTour Among the Ruins by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Among the Ruins by Ausma Zehenat Khan. It's the third book in the Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery series. It's a crime story inspired by true events and history and set to the backdrop of a political powerhouse of a country.

About the Author
Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She has practised immigration law and taught human rights law at Northwestern University and York University. Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine.The first magazine to address a target audience of young Muslim women, Muslim Girl re-shaped the conversation about Muslim women in North America.

She is a longtime community activist and writer. A British-born Canadian, Ausma currently lives in Colorado with her husband. Among the Ruins is the third Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty mystery following The Unquiet Dead, and The Language of Secrets. It will be followed by No Place of Refuge in 2019.

Follow @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress on Twitter
Buy Among the Ruins

About the book
Ausma Zehanat Khan’s provocative third mystery is a powerful novel exploring the interplay between politics and religion, and the intensely personal ripple effects of one woman's murder. On leave from Canada's Community Policing department, Esa Khattak is traveling in Iran, reconnecting with his cultural heritage and seeking peace in the country’s beautiful mosques and gardens. But Khattak’s supposed break from work is cut short when he’s approached by a Canadian government agent in Iran, asking him to look into the death of renowned Canadian-Iranian filmmaker Zahra Sobhani.

Zahra was murdered at Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where she’d been seeking the release of a well-known political prisoner. Khattak quickly finds himself embroiled in Iran’s tumultuous politics and under surveillance by the regime, and when the trail leads back to Zahra’s family in Canada, Khattak calls on his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, for help.

Rachel uncovers a conspiracy linked to the Shah of Iran and the decades-old murders of a group of Iran’s most famous dissidents. As Khattak gets caught up in the fate of Iran’s political prisoners, Rachel sees through to the heart of the matter: Zahra’s murder may not have been a political crime at all.

When I read The Language of Secrets, the second in the Khattak and Getty series, I was impressed by Ausma Zehanat Khan's writing and ability to plot. In this third book Khattak plays a very dangerous game of politics in a country known for its lack of understanding when it comes to curious reporters, political activists and people who are brave enough to voice their opinion. They certainly aren't going to sit by idly and watch Esa work his magic.                                                                                  

Detective Esa Khattack finds himself drawn into this dangerous game of oppression and deadly secrets, a game which could cost him his life. I don't think he is ready for where his investigation ultimately leads him when he is asked to look into the death of Zahra Sobhani. Her death and the content of some mysterious letters she got her hands on put Esa right back in the firing line, except in this case he could just as easily end up in front of a firing squad.  

As the author points out in Author's Note the murder of Zahra Sobhani in this book was inspired by the real-life murder of the Canadian-Iranian freelance photographer and photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in July 2003. She was arrested for taking photos outside of and of Evin prison. The prison, located in Tehran, Iran, is known as the primary site since 1972 for housing political prisoners and enemies of the regime. Although the Iranian authorities ruled the death of Kazemi accidental, according to them she died of a stroke during interrogation, the medical examiner reported that she showed signs of being tortured, raped and of severe abdominal bruising.

This author is one who will cement her name in the world of fiction, due to her ability to wield the pen or keyboard and create compelling, introspective and erudite works of fiction. In this particular case her ability to meld fact with fiction, also brings an avenue by which she informs without being confrontational, thereby informing readers instead of repelling them with a sense of vigilantism or social justice warrior.

It's a clever and subtle way to go about it, so kudos to her for calling out Iran for being a murderous autocratic regime, whilst packaging it instead as a regime plagued by a turbulent history in a riveting fictional crime story. It's a crime story inspired by true events and history, and set to the backdrop of a political powerhouse of a country.

Buy Among the Ruins (Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 24 Jan. 2019

Read my review of The Language of Secrets ( Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery #2)
Buy The Unquiet Dead (Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery #1)

#BlogTour Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister

Today it's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister. It truly is an adorable, heart-warming and amusing story about loneliness and friendship.

About the Author
Seni Glaister worked as a bookseller for much of her career before founding WeFiFo ("We Find Food") in 2016. She is a novelist, founder and former CEO of The Book People. Her first novel The Museum of Things Left Behind was published in 2015.

Follow @SeniGlaister @HQStories on Twitter
Buy Mr Doubler Begins Again

About the book
Not every journey takes you far from home…
Mr Doubler lives all alone at Mirth Farm, on top of a hill.

Back when she was around, Doubler’s wife was always surrounded by friends. But Doubler is different. The only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.

So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything – and Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?

I adore this story. I also love the fact that I am now, courtesy of Mr Doubler somewhat of a potatoe aficionado and thanks to Mrs Millwood also able to debate the pomology of breeding a Granny Smith. I have to admit the latter isn't completely new to me after reading an excellent novel with the core themes of apple and tree breeding. Anyway, I digress.

At the heart of this tale is a man called Mr Doubler. He lives on an isolated farm, which is surrounded by land owned by rich businessman, who is determined to have the land Doubler lives on too. Mr Doubler has withdrawn since the death of his wife a few decades ago, almost to the point of agoraphobia. The only contact he has to the outside world are the occasional visits from his children and grandchildren, who are trying to force him into selling his land, and Mrs Millwood the woman who cleans his house.

Until Mrs Millwood is unable to come to work Mr Doubler doesn't realise how much he has come to enjoy their discussions and her company. He retreats even more and neglects himself, but he hasn't reckoned with the stubbornness of Mrs Millwood and her daughter.

It truly is an adorable, heart-warming and amusing story about loneliness and friendship. It might seem like a contradiction to mention loneliness and amusing in one sentence, but this story highlights the perfect contrast between chosen solitude and the descent into an almost hermit-like existence. It's a breathe of fresh air that shows the true breadth of human kindness.

It also shows the magnitude of small acts of goodwill. We live in an era that is known for being almost forgetful, neglectful even, to the elderly and the more isolated in our society. Glaister shows the reader what can happen when we pay attention to someone other than ourselves. It's a beautiful read.

Buy Mr Doubler Begins Again at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: HQ; pub date 24 Jan. 2019

Monday 28 January 2019

#BlogTour Black Matter by G.D. Parker

Happy Publication Day to Black Matter by G.D. Parker. It's a futuristic crime scenario with elements of realism. A premise we could perhaps be confronted with one day.

About the Author
GD Parker is the author of his debut novel, Black Matter. Book one of a three-part series that explores the depths of the unfolding high-tech world we now live in, making it a dangerous place. The novel will be available to purchase in e-book and paperback formats on the Amazon store.

Gareth was born in the UK in 1981. A family man spent much of his working life in South Wales working in a professional capacity. One day he made the decision write about an idea he dreamt about. Still working full time for a large organisation, he enjoys reading all manner of books, and spending time with his world - his family.

Follow @GDParker_Author on Twitter, on Instagram,
About the book
The future is now… it’s terrifying!!! Humanity locks jaws with the ever-increasing human desires towards highly advanced technological innovations making the world a dangerous place. Unanticipated horrific consequences unfold for Tommy McGregor when he partakes in a new high-tech innovation to enhance his health and wellbeing. He thought it would make him healthier, better looking and live forever…DI Valentina is out of her comfort zone when she’s tasked to track down a killer, unknown to her, hidden behind a digital mask.

The future has already fallen upon humanity as she soon discovers, nothing is as it seems anymore as society embarks in technology that’s already here. A terrifying mystery, it feeds your imaginative mind’s eye - a fast-paced “whoisit” thrilling crime, novel that will leave you guessing until the end, (or will it?) As it leaves the hairs on your arms stand on end as you uncontrollably turn each page in this 3 part series.

Intra-body Profiling Examination Application (IPEA), an implant which is attached to the central nervous system and gathers data about the implantee and their health. Not that this is a new idea per se - there are already similar implants in play in our era, but perhaps less invasive.

The real worry and fear behind an idea like this is who controls and receives the data, and what side-effects could there possibly be? What if the implant were designed to be controlled and person-X could control someone with an implant? Could they use them to commit heinous crimes, whereby the perpetrator was aware of nothing and the person in charge couldn't be blamed.

Tommy McGregor isn't really thinking of any tragic circumstances when he signs up to take part in the IPEA scheme, and it's the last thing he thinks of when he starts having blackouts and acting in an erratic and often volatile manner. He doesn't make the connection between his behaviour, his outbursts and the moments he can't remember, and the IPEA.

There are quite a few sexually graphic and violent scenes. I personally found some of the language and actions towards women, even by other female characters distasteful. Emily in particular seems to think that a personal slight against herself gives her the right to treat others without any modicum of respect.

The premise is sound, but the execution could be better. Less chaos and more structure, character driven instead of an idea zipping and bouncing through the book  uncontrollably. It's a futuristic crime scenario with elements of realism. A premise we could perhaps be confronted with one day.

Buy Black Matter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Sunday 27 January 2019

#BlogTour The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir. It's an emotional fictional story that draws from tragic true events.

Enter the Giveaway below to win a signed copy of The Forgotten Children (UK Only).

About the Author
Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing - she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series.  These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Follow @SussexMysteries on Twitter, on Facebook,
Buy The Forgotten Children

About the book
A woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest periods
Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt that threatens to consume her.  For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born.  But now, in the summer of 1987, she decides to begin the search for her son.

Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness.  But it is when she decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons.

Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born. Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her own sad experiences.  Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.

The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.

At its heart, The Forgotten Children is a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is painful.  Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and governments, who should have known better.

Emily doesn't think about her past a lot, in fact she has successfully driven it from her daily thoughts, until the trauma of an unexpected pregnancy and a miscarriage drags up unpleasant memories. She is so overwhelmed by her repressed emotions that she cuts ties with some of the aspects in her life and seeks a time of solitude to reflect.

Whilst searching for the baby her parents made her give up for adoption, she more or less stumbles upon a terrible secret. Based upon true events the author delves into the atrocity of the fate of abandoned children and orphans sent from the UK to British colonies, without permission in the majority of cases I might add. Children from destitute households often ended up being taken into care under the guise of providing a better life for them, and they were subsequently shipped off too.

Names of children and their dates of birth were changed in an attempt to disguise the fraudulent actions, and the institutes on the UK end, including the Anglican and Catholic church, would 'lose' the documents. Thereby making it almost impossible to trace the children if anyone came looking for them. They were sent in an attempt populate the colonies with more white people, and used in the most cases as labourers and slaves.

Over 130000 children from the ages of three to fourteen, although I am sure there were plenty who fell outside of this age range, were sent between the 1920s and the 1970s to Australia, Canada and other colonies for instance. Only a small amount of these children were adopted and found love and safety with a new family. The majority of them were subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse in so-called 'homes' and orphanages.

The story of Emily and her search causes a ripple which reveals other hidden secrets, but in a way they help her to understand the decisions of those people who shaped her own life. Perspective is an interesting thing and it certainly helps the main character to come to terms with her choices.

The author is certainly right when it comes to shedding a light on injustices like this. In fact take a big huge spotlight and the brighter the better. Oh, and what a surprise the catholic church is involved in yet another scandal involving innocent children and their desperate families.

Although the topics are quite traumatic and emotional, the author gives the story an air of calmness in times of turmoil. She invokes a sense of peace and serenity, which in contrast to the more emotional scenes is quite a contradiction, but I think that is Muir putting her mark on it. It's a story of reflection, redemption and ultimately one of love.

Buy The Forgotten Children at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy at Amazon com
Publisher: Outset Publishing Ltd

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway below to win a signed copy of The Forgotten Children (UK Only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  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.*

Friday 25 January 2019

#CoverReveal Knowing You by Samantha Tonge

Yes, I know it's absolutely stunning!. It's vibrant, sexy and a wee bit sinister too. I am just loving the colour combo! The #CoverReveal was well worth the wait. It is available to purchase on the 14th March 2019, but you can pre-order it right now. Pre-order/Buy Knowing You.

About the Author
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and her passion, second to spending time with her husband and children, is writing. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.

When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.

In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

Follow @SamTongeWriter @canelo_co on Twitter, on Facebook

About  - Knowing You
An abrupt change; a new friendship; a dark secret...

Kind-hearted Violet has never fitted in, but despite being bullied at school is now content. She is dating ambitious Lenny, has her dream job in publishing and runs a book club at the local retirement home.

However, when her relationship with Lenny begins to falter, Violet, hurt and alone, seeks the advice of her new flatmate, Bella. She changes her image and with her head held high aims to show that she doesn’t need Lenny in her life to be happy and successful.

Her long-term friends Mable and Farah worry about Bella’s influence and slowly Violet starts to distance herself from them. When she was a child, her closest confidant and companion was a boy called Flint. Her mother didn’t approve of their closeness and he suffered a terrible end. She won’t let the same thing happen to Bella, no matter what anyone says...

Knowing You is about friendship and knowing who to trust with your deepest secrets; it’s about taking control of your life and not being afraid to stand out. Perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan, Gail Honeyman and Amanda Prowse.

Pre-order/Buy Knowing You at Amazon Uk
Pre-order/Buy Knowing You at Amazon com
Buy at Itunes, Google Play, Kobo, or via Goodreads
Publisher: Canelo; pub date 14 Mar. 2019

#BlogTour Cull by Tanvir Bush

It's  my turn on the BlogTour Cull by Tanvir Bush. It's a dystopian satire with futuristic ideas fixed in realism with both politically and socially relevant topics.

About the Author
Dr Tanvir Bush is a novelist, photographer and filmmaker. Born in London, she lived and worked in Lusaka, Zambia, where she set up the Willie Mwale Film Foundation, working with minority communities and people affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Her feature documentary Choka! – Get Lost! was nominated for the Pare Lorenz Award for social activism in film in 2001. She returned to UK to study and write her first novel, Witch Girl, which was published in 2015. She is an associate lecturer in creative writing at Bath Spa University. She is based in Wiltshire with her guide dog and research assistant, Grace.

Follow @tanvirnaomi @unbounders on Twitter,
on Facebook, Youtube

About the book
In a near-future Britain, the furore over the welfare state has reached fever pitch. A combination of state propaganda and aggressive austerity has divided the nation along poisonous lines: on one side, so-called freeloaders, crips and fakes; on the other, The Hard Working British Taxpayer.

The government has introduced the Care and Protect Bill, ostensibly to to relieve the economic burden of the disabled, elderly and vulnerable on society by opening residential care homes where they will be looked after by medical professionals.

But Alex – visually impaired and categorised as one of the dole-scrounging underclass – has stumbled across a troubling link between the disappearance of several homeless people and the extension of Grassybanks, her local care home… Helped by her guide dog, Chris, this discovery sets her on a path that leads all the way to the corrupt heart of government

It's supposed to be satire, but sadly a lot of this is already a reality in the UK, after the privatisation of certain systems in charge of the care and assessment of the more vulnerable in our society. Bush takes it one step further into a nightmare of organised disposal of the weaker individuals or those who need support.

One of the more amusing elements of the story is the character of Chris, who in his own way is quite opinionated and contributes to the story in a way Alex is unable to. He is there to support her as she is tested emotionally and physically, as she becomes increasingly frustrated and suspicious of the system.

The book 1984 described the Big Brother construct our society would eventually evolve into, Cull accurately depicts the threat of privatisation to the most vulnerable in today's society.This dystopian satire takes the disposable attitude of the Nazi regime for instance, the disposal of the vulnerable, least productive, physically and mentally impaired, and the undesirables, and combines this ideology with a futuristic setting. In fact some of the implemented laws are very similar to certain aspects of government driven health and social care 'solutions' which are already in place. In which case it is less futuristic and it's more of a 'as it is taking place as we read this' scenario.

Unfortunately this is only one of the negatives of privatisation, and indeed this dangerously reckless and opportunistic profit-mongering of our health and social care systems has been found to be grossly negligent towards its clients - those who are in greatest need of support. The UN have iterated their 2016 report citing systematic violations of the rights of disabled people in the UK. The system is set-up to make people fail and/or be sanctioned, which leaves them in a vulnerable position. Subsequent deaths, attempts at suicide and suicides of people, who have to endure the biased and unfair procedures and assessments by untrained individuals, have been linked to said systems.

It's a dystopian satire with futuristic ideas fixed in realism with both politically and socially relevant topics. Kudos to the author for shining a light on this particularly cruel injustice by wrapping it up in a clever little plot.

Buy Cull at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy Cull at Amazon com
Published January 24th 2019 by Unbound

Wednesday 23 January 2019

#BlogTour Severed by Peter Laws

Today it is an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Severed by Peter Laws. I have no idea why I haven't come across this author before, but I will be making a point to do so in future. It's an eclectic mixture of theology, faith, thriller and horror.
About the Author
Peter Laws is an ordained Baptist minister with a taste for the macabre. He regularly speaks and preaches at churches and events. He lives with his family in Bedfordshire.

Follow @revpeterlaws @AllisonandBusby
Buy Severed

About the book
During a communion service at a village church, the teenage son of a vicar brutally attacks his father with an axe. The horrified congregation watch the son escape and during a frantic police search rumours arise that the boy was involved in devil worship.

Professor Matt Hunter, an atheist ex-minister and expert on religion, is brought in to advise, yet he quickly suspects the church attack may have a far more complex cause. Meanwhile, a ten-year-old boy called Ever grows up in a small Christian cult. The group believe they are the only true humans left and that the world is filled with demons called Hollows, but they’re working on a bizarre ritual that will bring peace and paradise to the world. Soon, the worlds of Matt and Ever will collide in one awful, terrifying night where Matt is thrown into the frightening and murderous world of religious mania.

I have no idea why I haven't come across this author before, but I will be making a point to do so in future.

Matt Hunter is a one-time man of God, who now likes to dabble in atheism instead. Now he spends his time dissecting his own feelings of faith and his knowledge of theology. He is also the go-to man for all things macabre and faintly godly or devilish in any way, which is how he ends up in the middle of an unusual attempted murder in an old church.

A teenage boy attacks the local vicar during a service all whilst mumbling a strange language. At the same time the reader is introduced to a young boy called Ever, who lives in a seemingly idyllic, albeit odd, small community of very religious people. His family. The question is what is their connection to the events in the church?

I think one of the most interesting aspects of Severed is the way the author unfurls the complexity of cult mentality. How is easy it is to be sucked into a theoretical concept, which to the objective outsider may seem completely absurd. I mean how many people, including really intelligent people I might add, do you think would fall for a money making oppressive religion based on the failed sci-fi stories of an ego-maniacal author who envisioned himself as a leader of the 'enlightened' members of the human race. Oh wait, yeh, my bad. Loads of people already have and are paying through the nose for the privilege.

A cult environment is bit like creating the perfect growth habitat for delusional thought fungi. They absorb the vulnerable, the rejected and the lost of our society, whilst the sharks at the top feed on their insecurities, fears and traumas.

This eclectic mixture of theology, faith, thriller and horror makes for a spectacular read. It bandies around the concepts of Christianity, religion, cults and atheism in a way that engages the reader in the narrative like a literary novel, despite the fact it is an action-packed horror read.

When you've read this book take a moment to read the author's note of acknowledgement - emotional and honest words on the thought process behind the story. In a way it says so much more about the story, the author and society, perhaps more than a mere read may.

Buy Severed at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Allison and Busby; pub date 24 Jan. 2019

Monday 21 January 2019

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

McAllister is getting quite the reputation when it comes to the premises of her books. She picks scenarios with no clear black or white answers. In fact her speciality is the murky variety of grey shades when it comes to questions of guilt, innocence and the foggy swampland of neither in between.

Izzy English isn't sure whether she should be relieved or worried. Today is the day her father is being released from prison. He has spent the last seventeen years behind bars for the murder of his wife and her mother. Izzy is sent into a little tailspin, because she doesn't know whether she should forgive him or stay away from him.

That is already a quandary, but what really shakes Izzy to her core is the fact her father maintains his innocence. The same man who was found guilty by a jury of his peers and who showed remorse to the parole board, is now saying that he didn't do it and that the guilty party is still out there somewhere.

She decides to start her own investigation into the brutal homicide of her mother, despite all the evidence pointing firmly in the direction of her family.

I enjoyed the way the author portrayed the main character in complete emotional turmoil. She wants what is left of her family back so badly that she is willing to risk her life to prove her father is innocent. At the same time she lies to her loved ones about looking for the real guilty party. and because they think her father is guilty in their eyes there is no danger.

It's a perfect game of cat and mouse, simultaneously it is a mind game full of paranoia and suspicion. Did he do it or didn't he? What does Izzy believe or rather what does she want to believe?

McAllister gives the reader a riveting read full of doubt, self-doubt and speculation. It's a psychological thriller that will keep you on your toes and keep you guessing until the end. You know what they say sometimes if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck - sometimes it's just a duck.

Buy The Evidence Against You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Penguin; pub date 18 April 2019
Follow @GillianMAuthor @MichaelJBooks on Twitter

Read my review of Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister
Read my review of No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister
Read my review of Everything but the Truth by Gillian McAllister

#BlogTour The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden. The life of an old man seen through his own frame of references. His sense of nostalgia about his escapades and relationships.

About the Author
Richard Lumsden has worked as an actor, writer and composer in television, film and theatre for 30 years. As an actor his films include Downhill, Sightseers, Sense & Sensibility and The Darkest Hour, as well as numerous television shows and theatre productions. THE SIX LOVES OF BILLY BINNS is his first novel.

Follow @lumsdenrich @TinderPress
Buy The Six Loves of Billy Binns

Billy Binns - A note from the author: I was twenty-seven in 1992 and living in Shepherd’s Bush when I first had the idea for this book. Inspired by old photographs on the walls of the library (now the Bush theatre) of trams on the Green, and an old white arch beside the central line station, I mapped out Billy’s story but became daunted by the amount of research required to detail all of the last century and turned to writing TV & radio scripts instead.

In 2000, I discovered a series of booklets published by the Shepherd’s Bush Local History Society. I phoned their secretary, Joan Blake, who invited me to their monthly meetings in the back of St Luke’s Church on the Uxbridge Road. Over the next few months I listened to stories of growing up in W12 through the 20s, 30s & 40s, and watched slide shows featuring the exhibition palaces and canals at White City. With the kind help of Joan and her friends I was finally able to get started. It took me eighteen months to research and write part one of the novel. Then, faced with more intensive bouts of historical research for parts two to five, I decided I wasn’t cut out to write novels and abandoned the idea.

By 2009, having already worked on a couple of plays for BBC Radio 4, I decided to write ‘The Six Loves Of Billy Binns’ as a play too. It still needed more research but a 45 minute radio script was less daunting than going back to the novel. In 2009 Sir Tom Courtenay gave Billy his voice, and the radio play, of which I’m very proud, still gets repeated from time to time. However, I knew I’d bottled out by not telling Billy’s story as originally intended.

In 2015 I turned fifty, and at a very different stage of life, twenty-three years after starting part one of the novel. A supportive literary agent encouraged me to get it finished. I went back to my Shepherd’s Bush Local History Society booklets and took another two years to complete a draft to send out to publishers.

It’s a story about love, disappointment, and the flaws that make us human. Billy has a tendency to re-interpret his own history, but ultimately he’s an ordinary man who lived an ordinary life, and I hope the readers might take him to heart on his journey to remember what love feels like.

About the book
The Six Loves of Billy Binns is a deeply moving, bittersweet century-spanning debut set in London against the backdrop of the changing 20th century. It is reading group fiction perfect for those who loved the quirky pathos of Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and the warmth and humour of Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

At well over a hundred years old, Billy Binns believes he’s the oldest man in Europe and knows his days are numbered. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time.
As he looks back at the relationships that have coloured his life - and the events that shaped the century - he recalls a lifetime of hope and heartbreak.
This is the story of an ordinary man’s life, an enchanting novel which takes you on an epic yet intimate journey that will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on the universal turmoil of love.

As Billy reminisces about his long life he does so from his care home and often when he is walking through the many memories he has. There are plenty of those after over a century of lived moments. At times it is hard to differentiate where Billy is at any given moment, sometimes he is right there in the moment and other times he is just muttering about the past.

It's a sweet premise, however it is defined by the one voice and one character approach to the story, which means a subjective experience. So with all of Billy's loves there is no attempt to view his story from anything other than his own, as opposed to his many loves and their points of view.

Perhaps Evie would have seen his escapades in a slightly more negative light, and his other conquests might have had a word or two to say about it too. It's written very much in a boys will be boys jargon with crude language and especially when referencing women's anatomy.

The story seems disjointed at times, perhaps because it has a screenplay or radio show feel to it. In fact I can imagine myself listening to Billy tell me all about his life, loves, trials and tribulations. It has the feel of a Hendrik Groen, but with less political posturing and wit. I think the charm it tries to evoke gets lost in the selfish and thoughtless actions of Billy. It's hard to engage with a character who is so fundamentally flawed and yet in awe of his own choices.

This is the difference between Billy Binns and Harold Fry or Eleanor Oliphant. The latter two acknowledge their imperfections and mistakes. As it stands Billy Binns is an old man living in the past thinking about the most important romantic connections in his life and how his choices determined his path in life. It's ambitious, but has a strange pull instead of a peculiar charm. The life of an old man seen through his own frame of references. His sense of nostalgia about his escapades and relationships.

Buy The Six Loves of Billy Binns at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Tinder Press; pub date 24 Jan. 2019

Sunday 20 January 2019

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

This isn't just your run of the mill psychological thriller. Why not? Well it's a book by Tudor and she likes to mix her thriller and mysteries with an element of the inexplicable, which in turn often wanders into the genre of horror.

Joe is drawn back to his hometown when he starts receiving emails that reference the disappearance of his sister many years ago when they were both children. It reminds him of the fact that he has scores to settle and perhaps he will finally find out what happened to Annie. Then again maybe he has a fair idea about what happened and just doesn't want anyone else to come to the same conclusion.

He starts working at his old school as a teacher, which throws him straiht into the same kind of debilitating oppressive atmosphere of bullying and intimidation he had to put up with as a kid. History is repeating itself, but this time he isn't going to sit by and watch it happen.

It also brings back memories of a traumatic event in his life and the disappearance of a second child under similar circumstances makes people start to ask uncomfortable questions again. Is it just a coincidence or is there a bigger plan at stake?

I really enjoyed The Chalk Man by Tudor and highly recommend it if you haven't read anything by this particular author yet. The story of Annie Thorne may just leave you with nightmares or at the very least a healthy fear of entering underground caves. You just never know what might be waiting there for you.

It's so much more than just a psychological thriller. The whole essence of the story is infused with a feeling of menace, a silent threat just waiting to welcome the reader into its inner folds. It surrounds the characters like a soft blanket of mist and even manages to penetrate the pages and draw the reader inside its nefarious web.

Buy The Taking of Annie Thorne at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Michael Joseph; pub date 21 Feb. 2019
Follow @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks
Read my review of The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor.

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

Laurel and Primrose are little girls who like to play in the woods. Two little girls who take a baby with them into the woods and only two of the three little girls come back out again. The world despises them, the nation spends years hunting them, but only one of them spends time behind bars,

Even after so many years the public believes Laurel and Primrose deserve to be punished until they themselves take their last breath.

Laurel, the elder of the two, is seen as the main perpetrator and locked up. The youngest girl is renamed Rosie and is raised normally in society as if the events had never taken place at all. The public and the family members of the victim keep finding out where she lives, so she feels like a hunted animal.

When another young child goes missing where Rosie happens to be spending the night she becomes an instant suspect, thanks to the help of a writer, who is hungry for a sensational story. She is then forced to reconsider her attitude towards Laurel and whether or not she should help her get parole.

There are definitely parallels that can be drawn between the Bulger case and the fictional Flower Girls, and it invites the reader to ponder and perhaps even debate what happens when a child kills another child. When children commit a heinous crime, it's perhaps worse than the horror of any adult on child crime, because it is so hard to fathom how a child can do such a terrible thing.

The author goes for the more hard-nosed approach with this plot, so you might think it is going a specific way, but it doesn't. Clark-Platts allows the story to hover over the dark abyss and takes the reader on the steep decline into the desolate landscape of a cruel and calculated mind.

The Flower Girls is a tense psychological thriller, which takes the reader on a difficult journey of justice and morality. Is there any right or wrong in such tragic circumstances? Then just when you think, as a reader, you have come to a conclusion you feel comfortable with, the author blindsides the reader with the truth. Not a read you should miss.

Buy The Flower Girls at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Raven Books; Hardcover release 24 January 2019
Follow @aclarkplatts @BloomsburyRaven