Friday, 31 May 2019

Dead If You Don't by Peter James

This is book fourteen in the DSI Roy Grace series.
I thought James brought this book back to the roots of Grace a wee bit. It was certainly a fast-paced read from beginning to end, but I am referring to a sense of nostalgia it awakens in relation to the earlier books in the series.

There was less focus on Grace, his family and his personal life, aside from the whole bomb fiasco. Instead the majority of the read is focused on the dirty criminal underworld Grace finds himself pulled into.

The story begins with a horrific scenario when Grace and his son find themselves in a stadium at the same time as the many lives in said stadium are under threat. Somewhere in there is a bomb, which is about to go off at any minute and there is no time to get out before it does. Thus Grace is thrust, head-first into this action packed thriller.

Whilst every ear and eye is on a possible detonation a young boy goes missing. The son of a successful businessman, who also has a nasty gambling habit. The kind of habit that ends up with him being the perfect target for a group of ruthless criminals. The type that doesn't mind if they kill a kid.

It had the feel of a television show, a weekly series featuring a popular police detective. It's a sound crime thriller with a decent pace. James tends to deliver a good read though. This is no exception.

It's very much urban crime meets modern mafia, which is tackled by good ol' Brit policing.

Buy Dead If You Don't at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Pan Macmillan; pub date 17 May 2018. Buy at Amazon com.
Follow @peterjamesuk on Twitter, Visit peterjames.com

Thursday, 30 May 2019

#BlogBlitz The Raven Coven by Emma Miles


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Raven Coven by Emma Miles. It's paranormal fantasy with intricate world-building.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 3 x Paperback copies of The Raven Coven (Open INT)

About the Author
Emma Miles: 'I presently live in the stunning county of Dorset where I’m a cat slave to Wolfe and Piglitt. I spend as much time as I can outside in nature and love exploring and learning about new cultures and languages. I’ve visited Greece, Serbia, Transylvania, Sicily and Norway as well as making several road trips around our beautiful United Kingdom. I paint, sculpt, dabble in photography and do a little archery but most of all – whenever I get a chance – I write.

My writing started from a very young age when I often found myself being the one taking charge of and entertaining all my younger cousins. They loved to hear my stories and although they mostly called for ghost stories it was fantasy I fell in love with when I read The Lord of the Rings when I was ten. I went on to write stories and short ‘books’ for my friends through school and college; then one evening whilst I was waiting for my aunt and uncle to visit an image came to my mind of a boy sitting beneath a bridge. I didn’t know who he was or why he was there, but from exploring those questions ‘The Wind’s Children’ trilogy blossomed and grew with roots going back into his far history as well as stretching out to his future. The boy’s name was Tobias.

I have since left Tobias's world of 'Naris' to explore the Valley with Feather in the 'Hall of Pillars' which is now available through Amazon. I am now presently finding my way through Elden, the beautiful Fulmer islands, the ravaged Borrows and haunted Chem with Kesta Silene; a shamaness of sorts with a big journey ahead of her. I hope you come along to share her story and join her adventure; she needs you and you won't regret it.'

Follow @EmmaMilesShadow on Twitter, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads,
Visit emmamilesauthor


About the book
Kesta had left her heart across the sea. They were at peace, her people saved from slavery, and yet… her soul was uneasy.

Chem lies in chaos, its people suffering as a result of the death of the ruling sorcerers. Refugees flee the cursed Borrows, begging for help from those they had made their enemy. A Queen unknowingly makes a dark, deadly pact, and new powers rise to fill the seats left empty by the Dunham necromancers.

Review
This is the second book in the Fire-Walker series, and I would definitely recommend reading the first book The Raven Tower. It has quite complex world-building, a lot of storylines and characters, which may seem unclear if you don't read the first. The fact the second begins with a series of correspondence between said characters speaks even more to the need to read the first book.

Kesta makes the ultimate sacrifice by leaving the man she loves behind, but in this book it becomes clear that her sacrifice may have been a lot of hot air. Saying it is one thing, doing it is something else entirely. When she reunites with Jorrun they both realise that neither of them can bear being apart. So the trick is being able to find a way to be together, despite the opposition and obstacles.

Miles has incorporated important topics such as the oppression of women, the prejudice, fear and discrimination against those who hold elemental power and the people who appear to be the enemy. Sometimes there are grey areas, and Kesta and Jorrun have to navigate these difficulties to find a way for everyone to coexist.

It's quite interesting how the two of them find it hard to balance the fact they are powerful in their separate universes, however when one of them steps into that of the other one of them becomes less powerful, which is probably the real reason they find it hard to agree about certain matters along the way. In this case it's Kesta, because she finds it hard to be relegated to a secondary position, hence the real reason for her inability to understand her adopted nation.

It's paranormal fantasy with intricate world-building. Although Miles brings everything together at the end there is always an opening to take the story forward from that point. It has a paranormal aspect to it, however I do think this has more of a high fantasy feel to it. Again, I recommend reading the first book in the series to get the full flavour of the story.

Buy The Raven Coven (Fire-Walker #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 3 x Paperback copies of The Raven Coven (Open INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway *Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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.

#BlogTour Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg

Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg Banner

  Swann's Down

by Charles Salzberg

on Tour May 1 - June 30, 2019

Synopsis:

Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg
When Henry Swann is asked by his quirky partner, Goldblatt, to find a missing psychic who's swindled his ex-wife out of a small fortune, he just can't say no. Although he doesn't actually expect to get paid, he figures it might give him a chance to finally learn more about his partner's mysterious past. His search takes him into the controversial, arcane world of psychics, fortune tellers, and charlatans, while raising questions in his own mind about whether or not there is an after-life.

While working his partner's case, he's approached by a former employer, attorney Paul Rudder, to track down a missing witness who might be able to provide an alibi for his client, Nicky Diamond, a notorious mob hitman who's scheduled to go on trial for murder he claims he didn't commit in a week. Swann's search for the missing witness, who happens to be the defendant's girlfriend, takes him from Brooklyn to a small beach town across the Bay from Mobile, Ala. But what does she really know and will she even come back with him to testify for her boyfriend?

Book Details:

Genre: Detective/Noir/Mystery
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 978-1-64396011-1
Series: Henry Swann
Purchase Links: Amazon | BN.com | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

1
The Age of Aquarius

"We're partners, right?"
Nothing good can come from that question when it comes from the mouth of Goldblatt.
"I mean, all for one and one for all, am I right?" he quickly added in an attempt, I was sure, to seal the deal.
"I think you're confusing us with the three musketeers. May I point out there are only two of us, and I'm afraid that's not the only fallacy in your declaration. But you might as well finish what you've started."
We were having our weekly Friday lunchtime sit-down to discuss what Goldblatt likes to refer to as "business." I have another name for it: waste of time.
Our venue changes from week to week but the concept is always pretty much the same: a cheap diner-slash-coffee shop somewhere on the island of Manhattan. Today's eatery of choice (Goldblatt's choice, my destiny) is the Utopia Diner, on Amsterdam, near 72nd Street. And as for the business we'd just finished discussing, well, to be honest, there never is very much actual business to discuss and today was no exception.
At this particular moment in time, we were going through a bit of a dry spell, which always makes me a little nervous because no matter how much I banish it from my mind, the rent is due the first of every month and at least three times a day I seem to develop a hunger that must be quenched. Still, a good fifteen, twenty years away from Social Security, and with precious little dough in the bank--okay, let's be honest, no dough in the bank--and no 401-K to fall back on, I need to keep working. And, as much as I don't like to admit it, lately it's been my "partner," as he likes to refer to himself, as opposed to my preferred albatross, who's brought in the bulk of our clients.
We'd already finished eating--though technically, Goldblatt never actually finishes eating which means a meal can easily turn into an all-day affair, if I don't apply the brakes--and we were just waiting for the check to arrive. This is a crucial point of any meal with Goldblatt because it is the opening gambit in what has become our weekly routine of watching the check sit there in no-man's land somewhere between us until I inevitably give in, pick it up, and pay. Otherwise, I risk one of two things: either we'd be there all afternoon or, worst case scenario, Goldblatt will decide he's still hungry and threaten to order something else. Neither one of these options is the least bit appealing.
"I'll get right to the point," he said.
Just then, out of the corner of my eye I spotted the waiter, like a white knight, approaching with our check in hand. If I acted quick enough I might be able to get out of there before I can be sucked into something I don't want to have anything to do with.
"That would be nice," I said, reaching for my wallet. "What is your point?"
"I need to hire you."
I was stopped in my tracks before I got my wallet halfway out of my back pocket.
"Really? To do what?"
"I want you to find someone for me. Well, to be more precise it's not really for me. It's for my ex-wife."
Wait a minute! Goldblatt married? Goldblatt with a wife? Goldblatt a husband? This was a new one on me, something I'd never even considered.
"You…you've been married?" I stammered.
Truth is, I never pictured Goldblatt being in any relationship other than with, yes, as irritating as it might be, me. I mean the guy isn't exactly anyone's idea of Don Juan, although I suppose in theory there are women who might find him if not attractive in the conventional way at least interesting in a specimen-under-glass way. Or maybe as a project. Women love a project. They love a challenge. They love the idea that they have the opportunity to remake a man in their image. Maybe that was it. But whatever it was, my world was shaken to the core. And what would shake it even more would be to find that he was actually a father, too. But one shock per meal is more than enough, so there was no chance I was going to pursue that line of questioning.
"Unfortunately, the answer is yes. More than once, in fact."
"Holy Cow," I blurted out, channeling the Scooter. "You're kidding me?"
At this point the same bald, squat waiter who seems to serve us in every diner we patronize, reached our table and dropped the check right in front of me.
"This is not something a man usually kids about."
"How many times?"
He held up three fingers.
"Three times! You've been married three times?"
"Yeah."
I gulped.
"Are you married now?"
He shook his head. "Nah. I'm kinda between wives. Giving it a rest, if you know what I mean.
But chances are I'll be back in the saddle again soon enough."
"Okay, so let me get this straight. You've been married three times and now you're single but you would consider getting married again?"
"Man is not meant to be alone, Swannie. You might consider the possibility that your life would be enriched if you found your soulmate."
You're fortunate if you find one soul mate in life and I'd already had mine. She was yanked from my life as a result of a freak accident, a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn't know if Goldblatt knew the circumstances of her bizarre accidental death, but I wouldn't have been surprised because he seems to know a lot of things he has no business knowing.
"Some men are meant to be alone, Goldblatt. I'm one of them and after three failed marriages maybe you should consider the possibility you are, too."
He smiled and puffed out his chest. "What can I say, Swann? I'm a friggin' babe magnet."
I would have laughed, should have laughed, but I was still processing the scary fact that he'd been married three times. That meant there were three women in the world who not only were willing to marry him but did marry him. I wanted to know more. Much more. Everything, in fact. But this was not the time and certainly not the place to delve into Goldblatt's mysterious, sordid past. Nevertheless, I promised myself I would revisit this topic in the not too distant future.
Still in shock, I avoided our weekly "who's paying for this meal" tango, grabbed the check and reached for my wallet...again.
"So, wanna know the story?" he asked.
"Which story would that be?"
"The story of why I want to hire you?"
"Desperately."
***
Excerpt from Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg. Copyright 2019 by Charles Salzberg. Reproduced with permission from Charles Salzberg. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Charles Salzberg
Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in New York magazine, Esquire, GQ, Redbook, The New York Times Book Review and other periodicals. He has written over 20 non-fiction books, including From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, an oral history of the NBA, and Soupy Sez: My Zany Life and Times. He is author of the Shamus Award nominated Swann's Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann's Lake of Despair, nominated for two Silver Falchions, Swann's Way Out, Devil in the Hole, named one of the best crime novels of the year by Suspense Magazine. He was a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and he teaches writing the New York Writers Workshop where he is a Founding Member. He is a member of the MWA-NY Board.

Catch Up With Charles Salzberg On:
Charlessalzberg.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


My Review
In this Henry Swann mystery, Henry is asked to look into two cases. He is asked to find a killer's alibi and to find a charalatan with a penchant for scamming the vulnerable out of a lot of money.

It's curious that Henry Swann doesn't describe himself as a private investigator per se. He just finds people and things, that's all. He doesn't solve crimes and he isn't responsible for anyone involved in anything considered a crime. He finds things - do you understand the difference? Yeh, I'm not sure he does either, although he makes a valiant attempt to convince himself and others of the distinction. It's probably part of his charm.

His charm, albeit a 'doesn't give a toss' and 'take it or leave it' kind of charm is what makes him such a compelling character. Swann really doesn't give two monkeys, and don't we know it.  The paradox is of course is that he is drawn into the crime, mystery or case, despite said attitude.

Another fascinating aspect is the relationship or rather reluctant partnership between Swann and the disbarred lawyer Goldblatt. Goldblatt is a little bit like the greasy oddball you have to hire because you can't afford a decent legal representative. He often walks both sides of the line.

I was pleasantly surprised by this read. I can say without a doubt that I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another book by Salzberg. He has this way of combining a Sam Spadey feel with a noirish vibe to create an engaging read. What's even more interesting is the way the author doesn't deliver or rather doesn't facilitate an ending the reader might expect. Not a happy one, a sad one nor a cliffhanger. Instead it's an ending with a sense of realism. In life there is no perfect storyline, so why should there be one in fiction, right?

It's mystery crime fiction that nods in the direction of the devil may care attitude of 1940s private eyes with a noirish vibe and to boot is dunked in realism.

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!




 Enter To Win!:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Charles Salzberg. There will be 6 giveaway winners. There will be 1 Grand Prize winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. There will be five (5) 2nd Prize winners of one (1) Print Edition of Swann's Down (U.S. Mailing Addresses only). The giveaway begins on May 1, 2019 and runs through July 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.
Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

 Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

#BlogTour The Refuge by Jo Fenton


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Refuge by Jo Fenton. This is the second book in The Abbey series and also the second book of this two book blog tour. It's a dark psychological thriller set in the aftermath of the disassembly of a religious sect. A fast-paced sometimes disturbing read.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 3 x E-copies of The Brotherhood and The Refuge (Open Internationally)

About the Author
Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Follow @jl_fenton on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit jofenton137.com
Buy The Refuge


About the book
Following the death of The Brotherhood’s charismatic but sinister leader, Dominic, Melissa and her husband Mark resolve to turn the Abbey into a refuge for victims of domestic abuse. But when Melissa’s long-lost sister, Jess, turns up at the Abbey, new complications arise.

The Abbey residents welcome the new arrival but find it hard to cope with the after-effects of her past. As Jess struggles to come to terms with what she’s been through, her sudden freedom brings unforeseen difficulties. The appearance of a stalker – who bears a striking resemblance to the man who kept her prisoner for nine years – leads to serious problems for Jess.

Meanwhile, Mark also finds that his past is coming back to haunt him. When a mother and daughter venture from the Abbey into the local town for a shopping trip, there are dreadful consequences.

A build-up of tension, a poorly baby and a well-planned trap lead Mel, Jess and their family into a terrifying situation.

Can Jess overcome the traumas of her past to rescue her sister?

Review
I'm sure this can be read as a standalone novel, however I do think reading the first book in the series puts everything into more perspective, especially because previous characters and events feature heavily in this one.

This book starts where The Brotherhood left off, with Melissa reunited with her baby and with Mark.
Her sister, who has been missing since she was child, has escaped her captors. She is reunited with her sister at the abbey, which is in the process of being turned into a refuge for victims of  domestic violence. Very apt considering the terrible crimes the members and leader of the sect committed.

Jess has a lot of trauma to overcome. Being held captive and both experiencing and seeing the depravity some people are capable of, well it's no wonder she needs time to adapt. It certainly doesn't help when someone turns up at her supposedly safe haven, someone who looks a lot like her captor. What are the chances of that happening?

It's a dark psychological thriller set in the aftermath of the disassembly of a religious sect. A fast-paced sometimes disturbing read.

This sequel follows on from the basic storyline and characters of the first book, which means there are bound to be certain similarities. I do think Fenton needs to move beyond the basic structure of this premise. The sexual harassment, crimes against women and rape tropes become repetitive or overdone the second time round. There needs to be a slight element of freshness.

Buy The Refuge at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Crooked Cat Books; pub date 28 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 3 x E-copies of The Brotherhood and The Refuge (Open Internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway *Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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.*

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

#BlogTour The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White


Two days late and a dollar short - here is my blog post for the BlogTour the Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White. It's a contemporary read and women's fiction with a focus on mental health.
About the Author
Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White has created her own idiosyncratic niche in mainstream fiction: hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her novels include:
The Unfinished Garden, Mira Books, 2012, winner of the Golden Quill for Best First Book 2013; The In-Between Hour, Mira Books, 2014, chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as an Okra Pick; The Perfect Son, Lake Union, 2015, Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-finalist for Best Fiction; Echoes of Family, Lake Union, 2016, WFWA 2017 Star Award Finalist; The Promise Between Us, Lake Union, 2018. (View the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLW9XFo0nlg&t=5s)
Barbara is also an OCD advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity.
To watch Barbara’s 2018 interview with Linda Hurtado on Fox 13, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJUPUBZLCf8&t=33s
For more information on Barbara, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com

Follow @bclaypolewhite on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook,
Buy The Promise Between Us



About the book
Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?
To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

Review
The core theme throughout the book is fascinating, and I have to say kudos to the author for trying to bring more understanding to the topic and for trying to educate readers. I think walking away from this read plenty of readers will look upon postpartum OCD, anxiety and OCD in general in a completely different way.

I think a lot of mental health conditions are thrown under the umbrella term of OCD, and perhaps equally just as many that belong there aren't. Claypole White shows the more intrusive and devastating side of the disorder. The side of OCD that is misdiagnosed, misinterpreted and often goes undiagnosed, due to a lack of understanding and information flow. More importantly she also writes about the genetic component to the disorder.

The author shows these quite well when it comes to Maisie. As her anxiety and worries grow her coping mechanisms deteriorate and the symptoms of her OCD multiply. It may manifest itself in a slightly different way to an adult, but it is far more realistic to assume that said symptoms may be confused for something else, such as hormones, teenage years and just being a girl. Yes, that sort of sexism and gender inequality does exist when it comes to young children and teenagers, especially in relation to diagnosing medical or mental health conditions. Heck it still happens in adulthood.

There is no one person to blame for the situation between Katie and her ex-husband, and yet neither of them are blameless either. His refusal to accept the need for therapeutic help isn't an unusual opinion, unfortunately there is still too much stigma attached to mental health.

It's a contemporary read and women's fiction with a focus on mental health. It's a story about family and what constitutes being a family in a world full of patchwork ones. The meaning of the word family has been redefined over the last few decades.

Buy The Promise Between Us at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Lake Union Publishing' pub date 16 Jan. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Brotherhood by Jo Fenton


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Brotherhood by Jo Fenton. It's the first book of this two book blog tour. It's a psychological thriller, a crime story in a dark manipulative setting.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 3 x E-copies of The Brotherhood and The Refuge (Open Internationally)
About the Author
Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Follow @jl_fenton on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit jofenton137.com
Buy The Brotherhood
About the book
When a young woman becomes pregnant in a religious sect, how far will she go to escape the abusive leader and save the people she loves?
The Brotherhood – safe haven or prison?

After her parents’ sudden death, a grieving Melissa falls back on her faith and into the welcoming arms of a religious sect. Captivated by their leader, Dominic, she leaves her old life behind and moves to the countryside to join them.

But life in The Brotherhood is not as safe as it first appeared. When engineer Mark joins The Brotherhood, Melissa finds herself conflicted between her growing feelings for him and her crush on Dominic. With their leader's initial encouragement, Melissa and Mark grow close.
But as her haven becomes a prison, Melissa's newfound happiness is destroyed by Dominic’s jealousy. How can she escape and save the ones she loves?

Review
I have an intense dislike for people who purport to be the voice through which God speaks, and even more so for cults who target and manipulate the lost and the vulnerable. Regardless of whether they are out to take their money, control them or convince them that have a special connection to God.
Fenton uses that particular scenario to play with in this story.

The main character, Melissa, is grieving and completely vulnerable to the attention Dominic is showering upon her. It's not really a surprise when she lets him convince her to heal in a safe place. Except that safe space turns out to be everything but safe.

It's a hard read at times, perhaps more so because the people within the cult are controlled so easily. Basic human rights and needs are thrown out the window in an attempt to please the Messiah. Seriously, someone calling themselves the Messiah - that should be a huge alarm bell for anyone.

Abuse and torture go hand in hand with what is considered the norm in regards to punishment behind the doors of the sanctum of the brotherhood. The sexual abuse, the rapes and plenty of other heinous crimes aren't perceived as such, because hey the Messiah said so and he makes the rules.

It's a psychological thriller, a crime story in a dark manipulative setting. It should be a warning, despite the fictional setting and story. These types of cults and manipulative leaders do exist and they do pull masses of people in by playing on their weaknesses and their need to belong and be safe.

Buy The Brotherhood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Crooked Cat Books; pub date 25 July 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 3 x E-copies of The Brotherhood and The Refuge (Open Internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway *Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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.*

Monday, 27 May 2019

#BlogTour Have You Seen Her by Lisa Hall

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Have You Seen Her by Lisa Hall. It's a riveting psychological thriller, where there are no clear shades of black or white, because somehow everyone is guilty of something.

About the Author
Lisa Hall is the bestselling author of Between You & Me, which sold over a quarter of a million copies and was the fifth top selling title on Amazon in 2016. Since then, she's written two critically acclaimed books Tell Me No Lies and The Party, and she's a real rising star in the crime community.

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.

Follow @LisaHallAuthor on Twitter, on Goodreads. on Amazon,
Visit lisahallauthor.co.uk
Buy Have You Seen Her


About the book
Bonfire Night. A missing girl.
Anna only takes her eyes off Laurel for a second. She thought Laurel was following her mum through the crowds. But in a heartbeat, Laurel is gone.

Laurel’s parents are frantic. As is Anna, their nanny. But as the hours pass, and Laurel isn’t found, suspicion grows.

Someone knows what happened to Laurel. And they’re not telling.
Review
This is fraught psychological thriller about the disappearance of a young child, and how the weight of it lays heavily on each one of the characters.

I have to be slightly critical of Anna here, because who lets a really young child wander off in the midst of a large crowd and just assume that they are following their mother, and that the mother is aware of that fact.

Hall captures the frenzy of the press and the onlookers really well. Opinions sway between feeling sorry for the parents and pointing the finger of blame right at them. The author makes the comparison to the McCann case and the way the parents have been treated like the perpetrators from the very beginning instead of the parents of a missing child. The problem with presuming guilt and uncorroborated suspicions is that the attention is drawn away from the victim.

The other thing the author describes well is the often taut and fractious relationship between mother and nanny or au-pair. The child often develops a strong relationship to the care-giver, and depending on how little time the parents spend with the child, that relationship can supersede the parental one. It can cause jealousy between care-giver and parent, especially the mother.

Being a nanny or an au-pair can be a thankless job. It's often nothing more than the underpaid position of someone who is expected to take care of the children, cook, clean, shop and anything else the employers can think of, and then try to navigate the guilt, anger and pomposity of said employers at the same time.

It's a complex woven web of motives. Everyone is a suspect and appears to have something to hide. The author keeps the readers looking in certain directions, whilst the real culprit is walking around in plain sight.

It's a riveting psychological thriller, where there are no clear shades of black or white, because somehow everyone is guilty of something. Hall manages to keep the reader completely in the dark for the most part, which makes the read even better.

Buy Have You Seen Her at AmazonUk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 2 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall

#BlogTour Beltane Bliss by Lilliana Rose


Today it's also my turn on the BlogTour Beltane Bliss by Lilliana Rose. It's paranormal romance with plenty of heat and heart

About the Author
Lilliana is an Amazon Bestselling author, who writes romance in the subgenres of contemporary, paranormal, steampunk, and rural. She enjoys helping characters overcome problems, or issues, and the misunderstandings that often plague relationships, to help them fall in love. Whether it city heels being replaced with country work boots, or some magic beyond this world, or cogs and gears and corsets, each story shows how love can prevail.



About the book
Edi Court is training to be a modern-day white witch, her unique ability is healing. Emotionally wounded from her ex, Anto, she has run away from the covenant with a need to heal herself. Following her psychic ability, she finds herself south, along the coast from Melbourne Australia, where she decides to set up her own healing shop, Crystal Sands.

Voltaire is a down to earth guy, a plumber by trade, he believes only what he sees in the physical world. The loss of his mom and sister to breast cancer and his ex, who stole his money and left him with a debt to work off, has caused him to close his heart.

Can Edi stop herself from rescuing another man and landing in deep water? Or with the Beltane energies thick in the air, can this be the start of a new relationship between two wounded souls?

Volt must become a believer in the Magiks and allow his heart to heal. And Edi must learn to trust herself again.

Will a non-believer and a believer find love over Beltane?

Review
Edi hasn't exactly finished her training to be a white witch. The need to heal herself was more important than completing her training. Her heart is still in pieces after her relationship with her ex. She stumbles upon the perfect location to take a moment for herself and in doing so meets someone who awakens quite a few emotions in her.

Not just the I like you kind either. More like the I want to eat you like a buttery croissant or an ice cream covered in chocolate sauce kind of way. Every time Volt is around her she feels like taking a bite. It seems to be a mutual affliction.

I enjoyed the way the author approached the aspect of healing. The combination of holistic healing verging into the area of white witchery and the use of both to heal a broken heart and to soothe a grief-stricken person. It speaks to the fact that not everything works for every person. There is no exact science for healing someone to overcome the death of loved ones

Rose clearly knows what kind of ingredients you need to write a paranormal urban fantasy romance. A little bit of magic, a pinch of witchery, a smidgen of romance and an undeniable physical attraction. The basics are all there, as is the plot, however it does need fine-tuning. It needs a good copy editor. Just for slight glitches in flow and grammar. I think this author has the capability to create smoldering reads whilst honing her craft.

It's paranormal romance with plenty of heat and heart. I would love to know more about Edi's pre-story, her training and the world she is running away from.

Buy Beltane Bliss (Pagan Pleasures #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

#BlogTour The Little Gift Shop on the Loch by Maggie Conway


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Little Gift Shop on the Loch by Maggie Conway. It's contemporary romance, an uplifting and delightful read.

About the Author
Maggie lived the first ten years of life in London before moving to Scotland. She has a degree in English Literature and spent many years working in offices dreaming of pursuing her passion for writing.

A perfect day would include an early morning swim, a good coffee, a great book and a few hours spent writing before the chaos of a husband, three children, a dog and a cat begins.

Having landed the role of chief dog walker, she spends far too much time roaming the streets but at least this gives her a chance to think up new storylines.

Follow @conwaymd910 on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon,
Buy The Little Gift Shop on the Loch


About the book
Home is where the heart is...
Lily Ballantine is still reeling from losing her job and the man she’s head over heels for all in one afternoon! So with her pride in tatters, she leaves the city behind her for the charming Scottish village of Carroch.

Bequeathed the tiny gift shop by her late, free-spirited mother, she only intends to stay until she sells the place – but instead, finds herself falling for the beautiful shop, the stray cat called Misty... and the rather handsome local, Jack Armstrong.

Lily’s not looking for love, but as the little gift shop weaves its magic around her heart, she wonders whether her mother might just have left her the greatest gift of all?

Review
I think it's fair to say that Lily likes her life to fit into certain parameters. She enjoys the routine and knowing where her career is headed. She is more than shocked when her her imaginary romance and promotion all fall flat in a matter of moments when she is fired by the man of her dreams. All of her plans disappear in flash.

She travels up to Carroch to deal with the small shop her mother bequeathed to her in her will. The differences between mother and child become quite clear as the story evolves. How did the free-spirited mother manage to raise such a structured and rule loving child?

Lily doesn't expect to make connections in such an isolated and yet superbly quaint village, where everyone knows your name and nobody is a stranger. She most definitely doesn't expect to find somebody she is attracted to. Oh, and let's not forget the pesky wee cat who comes with the shop.

It's all about Lily learning to enjoy what life has to offer no matter where she is at any moment in time. Learning to take a breath and see, and not just build her life around her career. The result is a heartfelt exploration of the person she thought her mother was and who she was for the people around her. Those two pictures are completely different, something Lily has to come to terms with.

It's light on the heart-wrenching emotions and romance, it's the perfect mixture of both. The kind of read that doesn't ask for a piece of your soul and instead just invites you in for a nice cup of tea and piece of cake. It's contemporary romance, an uplifting and delightful read.

I wonder if that's the last we will hear from the small community of Carroch. There are plenty of threads and characters to follow up with.

Buy The Little Gift Shop on the Loch at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 31 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogBlitz Children in Chains by Lorraine Mace


It's my turn on the BlogTour Children in Chains by Lorraine Mace. It's police procedural crime fiction with a gritty realistic feel to it.
About the Author
When not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers' Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The Writer;s ABC Checklist (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel Vlad the Inhaler - Hero in the Making, and Notes From the Margin, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

Follow @lomace on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit lorrainemace.com  or thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com
Buy Children in Chains


About the book
Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is determined to shut down the syndicate flooding Bradchester’s streets with young prostitutes.

When a child is murdered, Paolo becomes aware of a sinister network of abusers spread across Europe, and spanning all levels of society. But Joey, the shadowy leader of the gang, always seems to be one step ahead in the chase.

Has Paolo come up against a criminal he cannot defeat?

Review
This will be an uncomfortable read for some readers. It's quite graphic when it comes to the paedophilia, especially the interactions between the children and customers or kidnappers. It's not pleasant and can perhaps come across as a little gratuitous at times, however having read the first in the series, Retriever of Souls, I do think it's a Mace thing. Her schtick or particular style is to not only show the reader a spade is spade, but also to show them the dirt under the fingernails when someone is digging a grave with said spade.

In this second book in the DI Sterling series, Paolo stumbles across an insidious network of criminals that are supplying deviants with young children. It could be connected to the same syndicate who seem to have an endless supply of young prostitutes.

Mace gives her main character a lot of depth by balancing the crime element with his complex personal life and his equally as challenging professional life. His daughter is still suffering from the traumatic events of the last book and his team at work seems to be having some internal problems.

It's police procedural crime fiction with a gritty realistic feel to it. Mace doesn't mince words or care for the readers with a more delicate disposition. This is what that kind of crime looks like. There is no smoothing over the dirty details of the most heinous of crimes.

I was a little taken aback by the last few pages. I didn't expect that and found myself shaking my head and saying: 'Oh no, don't do it Sterling'.

Buy Children in Chains (DI Sterling #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Accent Press Ltd; pub date 12 Feb. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Retriever of Souls by Lorraine Mace

Children In Chains is on offer at 99p/99c across all Amazon stores until June 15.


Saturday, 25 May 2019

#BlogTour You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson


Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson. This is an engaging and thought-provoking piece of non-fiction.
About the Author
Jodie Jackson is an author, researcher and campaigner.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of East London (UK) where she investigated the psychological impact of the news.

As she discovered evidence of the beneficial effects of solutions focused news on our wellbeing, she grew convinced of the need to spread consumer awareness. She is a regular speaker at media conferences and universities.
Jodie is also a qualified yoga teacher and life coach.

Follow @JacksonJodie21 on Twitter, Visit jodiejackson.com
Buy You are What You Read


About the book
Do you ever feel overwhelmed and powerless after watching the news? Does it make you feel sad about the world, without much hope for its future? Take a breath – the world is not as bad as the headlines would have you believe.

In You Are What You Read, campaigner and researcher Jodie Jackson helps us understand how our current twenty-four-hour news cycle is produced, who decides what stories are selected, why the news is mostly negative and what effect this has on us as individuals and as a society.

Combining the latest research from psychology, sociology and the media, she builds a powerful case for including solutions into our news narrative as an antidote to the negativity bias.

You Are What You Read is not just a book, it is a manifesto for a movement: it is not a call for us to ignore the negative but rather a call to not ignore the positive. It asks us to change the way we consume the news and shows us how, through our choices, we have the power to improve our media diet, our mental health and just possibly the world

Review
I absolutely understand why some people, including the author choose to step away from the negativity that drives the media. It has become almost like a shark feeding frenzy with the audience baying for blood. The more traumatic, brutal and soul-destroying the news is the better.

The news of today isn't the news of yesterday. We used to have media outlets with journalists who strived to give the world, their audience, the facts and the truth, albeit as they perceived it through their frame of reference. Nowadays you get opinion based journalism, sensationalist tabloid pieces and a slowly declining number of outlets and individuals who report the facts.

On top of that our media outlets are controlled by conglomerates and moguls who have bought up the majority of them, so it has become a kind of monopoly. There is a good reason the peasants rose up to demand Rupert Murdoch not be allowed to buy yet another media outlet that reaches millions of people.

Monopolies change the way we receive information and more importantly they control the information we are being fed. They decide what to feed the masses, which means they can sway opinions and votes. Not exactly unimportant in our day and age when tempers are frayed and the extreme right is on the rise.

I think the saddest aspect of all of the above, aside from journalists not being journalists anymore, is that the majority of people don't realise they are being manipulated to think, vote and perceive information a certain way. That's not the same as being ignorant or uninformed. If you have no clue that someone is trying to dictate or influence your opinions, then you will be none the wiser.

It's a fact that the Russians have influenced political outcomes in multiple countries, and still are. They have buildings filled with people who plant false information and stories to influence the public - troll farms. Fact. It's also a fact that big media outlets no longer produce non-biased news.

We live in a world where the public is hungry for every detail of someone's life. Reality shows and Z-celebrities make money the more extreme, aggressive and dramatic they are. The other side of that coin is the fact that the public wants it to be delivered to them.

Jackson advocates for the audience to adapt a more balanced media diet. I concur with the general idea, however I do believe it is quite hard to do so. It's not easy for everyone to discern between fact and opinion, and whilst I agree that more positivity is needed to balance the negativity, I think it's becoming harder to find sources to deliver that.

Although the theoretical idea is one I believe will allow many to have a more productive life and be less stressed, I also believe it's important not to retreat into a false bubble of hope. I do believe it's important to educate people and to fight this war of negativity head on. You can't change something if you don't know it's already swallowed you whole and influenced you, which means helping others to understand what is happening is even more important.

This is an engaging and thought-provoking piece of non-fiction. In fact perhaps the world would be a better place if we had more voices like Jackson, who are trying to be heard through the cacophony of falsities. It is indeed a movement.

Buy You Are What You Read at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound; pub date 4 April 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Friday, 24 May 2019

#BlogTour Because of You by Hélene Fermont


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Because of You by Hélene Fermont. It's contemporary and women's fiction.

About the Author
Hélene Fermont writes character-driven psychological crime fiction with a Scandi Noir flavour. Known for her explosive, pacy narrative and storylines, she has published three novels – Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret – and two short story collections – The Love of Her Life and Who’s Sorry Now? Her fourth novel is due for release in the summer of 2019. After 20 years in London, Hélene recently returned to her native Sweden where she finds the unspoiled scenery and tranquillity a therapeutic boost for creativity.

Enjoying a successful career as a Psychologist, when she’s not working her ‘day job’, Hélene spends her time writing, with friends and family, or playing with her beloved cat, Teddy. All three novels can be purchased via her website helenefermont.com/books/

Follow @helenefermont on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest,
Buy Because of You


About the book
How desperate are you to get the one you love?

When Hannah and Ben meet at a friend's party, he knows she's The One. But Hannah's in an intense relationship with Mark and planning to return to her native Sweden to embark on a teaching career.

Desperate to make Ben fall in love with her, rich spoilt heiress Vanessa sets in motion a devious string of events that ultimately changes the course of four people's lives indefinitely.

Hannah is the love of Ben's life, yet Vanessa will stop at nothing to claim the man she is convinced is her destiny.

Because of You is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny.

Review
Before Hannah meets Ben she has a rather tumultuous relationship with Mark. In fact Mark takes up over half of the book.

Let me just say this; Ben, Mark and Linus aren't exactly excellent examples of male behaviour, yes even Ben now and again. Hannah is inexperienced, which is probably why she has no idea why their behaviour isn't always that of a gentleman.

Mark's actions and behaviour aren't romantic. He has no idea what consent means, he stalks, intimidates and emotionally blackmails Hannah. Unfortunately his behaviour is perceived as that of an enthusiastic and love-struck man. It's not. Nothing he does can be excused or waved away.

There is some semblance of acknowledgement by Hannah about his behaviour as time goes on, however her decisions are fuelled more by the anti-Semitism that comes her way. The story shows us her journey from a young girl to a woman of experience and strength. The people who have helped to nurture and define her, and the people who tried to keep her from evolving.

One could think that the author believes the harassment and behaviour tropes of the men in this story are romantic, hence expected to titillate and give readers a warm fuzzy feeling. 'Aww, he is just being a manly man and the silly woman doesn't know what's good for her'. Instead it's a way of shoving the inequality and abusive nature of the relationship right into the spotlight.

It's contemporary and women's fiction. For me it didn't fall into the category of Scandi Noir. It also doesn't fit into romance, however it is a contemporary read about abuse, anti-Semitism, consent, manipulation, chauvinism, privilege and jealousy. That paints a pretty bleak picture I suppose, but the story also features strong family bonds, friendships, coming of age and discovery of self. It levels out the more darker aspects of the story.

I hope readers, especially younger ones, take something away from this read. The ability to recognise abuse, coercion and oppression when they experience it, and that it has nothing to do with love or romance and everything to do with control.

Buy Because of You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Fridhem Publishing; pub date 15 Oct. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.