Monday 30 November 2020

#Blogtour Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag by Jeremy Elson

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour and also Publication Day for Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag by Jeremy Elson.

About the Author
Jeremy Elson found that most of his education went on outside the classroom. Learning things that he was interested in, away from normal lessons, was far more valuable. Now he and his wife home educate their son; Frank Penny was borne out of a desire to bring life to a home-educated child, as well as tell a compelling adventure story.

Jeremy lives in Guildford, UK. Apart from writing, his passions includes the outdoors, The Smiths, Chelsea Football Club and Star Wars Battlefront (apart from when he's being comprehensively beaten by his son!).

About the book
Power is not for the weak or faint-hearted. If Frank, Cas, Gabby and Anya want to find the next two guardians of the Simbrian and keep them safe, they need to journey across the dangerous borderlands and into the dark and shadowy world of Kzarlac, sworn enemy of Byeland.

Ruled by the fearsome Etamin Dahke, Kzarlac is no place for four naïve teenagers. Keen wits and a large helping of luck are no guarantee they will succeed and return safely.

Driven by their desire to protect the delicate peace that has existed since the time of Kester, their quest is about to take a deadly turn, and the exposure of an inconceivable secret may make Frank regret ever having started.

Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag is the third book in the Frank Penny series.

This is the third book in the Frank Penny series. This can be read as a standalone novel, however I would recommend reading the others in the series, not necessarily for the backstory - the author adds enough to get the gist, but for the read itself.

On their quest to find the guardians of Simbrian the group of teens must venture beyond their own safe borders and into the dangerous area of Kzarlac. Discovery could mean death or worse for themselves or anyone who decides to aid them.

It's hard to determine who to trust and when, but Frank seems to have an instinct for the when to do the right thing, as opposed what others think is right. I think it solidifies the way he makes decisions and his confidence going forward.

It will be interesting to see whether the young woman Frank has set his sights on will create a rift between the team, betray his trust eventually or become part of the bigger picture. Not everyone is enamoured by the pretty young thing and the budding relationship.

Elson does an excellent job of balancing the genre, the readership he is writing for and hooking the audience. The result is a read that will engage multiple age groups and readers eager to discover the secrets along with this intrepid team.

It's a Young Adult/Teen fantasy series. An adventure which gets a little more complex as the story goes on. One filled with secrets, betrayal and danger in every corner. Now that Frank has finally had his eyes opened what will he do with the knowledge he has acquired. I guess we will have to wait until the fourth book to find out.

Buy Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Eyrie Press pub date 30 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. At Hive. At

Sunday 29 November 2020

#BlogTour A Real Royal Christmess by Linda West

Today it's my turn on the Blogtour A Real Royal Christmess by Linda West.

About the Author

Linda West is the best selling author of the adorable and enchanting "Christmas Kisses and Cookies." It is a delightful series of holiday romances based around the town of Kissing Bridge and the magical Landers sisters who are the reigning blue ribbon cookie queens thanks to their mothers' 'special' recipe book. 

Linda was the owner of Mayberry - a celebrity-filled restaurant in Malibu where many of her recipes enchanted the regulars such as Tom Hanks and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Her recipes are sprinkled throughout her fiction books much to the delight of her fans.

Her newest venture is in the cozy mystery and humor genre. With - Death by Crockpot - the first in her newest series -Linda takes her favorite known characters from Kissing Bridge and throws them into some side-splitting funny adventures. 

About the book

Jess is trying to win back her boyfriend, who dumped her for being boring. Jamie is trying to complete his father's bucket list before he takes the Crown. Both of them are hiding who they truly are, and when the truth is discovered, it's a real royal Christmess!


Jess is still in disbelief about being used, dumped and embarrassed - not necessarily in that order. Her work colleague really messes with her head and she isn't quite ready to let go of the fantasy she had constructed in her head, so when she meets Jamie she tells him she has a partner.

Jamie is a prince avoiding his duties and his arranged marriage. He decides to have one last good time and tick off some things on his bucket list before settling down and running an entire kingdom. He doesn't expect to meet someone so obstinate and also simultaneously so intriguing to him. A young woman who is irritated by him and laughs with him at the same time.

Testing their bravery, experiencing excitement and lots of laughter. Eventually reality catches up with them both though. Jamie has to return to his duties and Jess has to face the difficult truth.

This is a fun escapism read full of warm fluffy romance and wintery feels. It's nothing overly complex and West doesn't purport to present anything other than other a read that makes you smile and feel good. If that's the kind of book you enjoy the author has plenty more where that came from.

Buy A Real Royal Christmess on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher:; pub date 6 Oct. 2020. Buy at Amazon com

Saturday 28 November 2020

#BlogTour The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt.

About the Author

Ashley Meggitt lives near Cambridge, UK, with his wife Jane. He left school to join a psychedelic rock band when he realised that sex, drugs, and rock and roll was a thing. Subsequently he went back to education and became head of IT for a Cambridge University College. In recent years Ashley has retrained in psychology and is now an associate lecturer in sports psychology. He is studying for his PhD. He also holds an MA in Creative Writing. The Dark Chorus is his debut novel.

Follow @CallMeReg on Twitteron Facebook, on Instagram, on Goodreads, Visit, Buy The Dark Chorus

About the book

Oblivio salvationem Angelis opperitur - Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation - The Boy can see lost souls. 

He has never questioned the fact that he can see them. He thinks of them as the Dark Chorus. When he sets out to restore the soul of his dead mother it becomes clear that his ability comes from within him. It is a force that he cannot ignore – the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel. 

To be restored to the kingdom of light, the shard must be cleansed of the evil that infects it – but this requires the corrupt souls of the living! With the help from Makka, a psychotically violent young man full of hate, and Vee, an abused young woman full of pain, the Boy begins to kill. 

Psychiatrist Dr Eve Rhodes is seconded to assist the police investigation into the Boy’s apparently random ritualistic killings. As the investigation gathers pace, a pattern emerges. When Eve pulls at the thread from an article in an old psychology journal, what might otherwise have seemed to her a terrible psychotic delusion now feels all too real…

Will the Boy succeed in restoring the angel’s soul to the light? Can Eve stop him, or will she be lost to realm of the Dark Chorus?


The reader meets the Boy as he attempts to capture the soul of his mother. What he has to do is ultimately what lands him behind fences and in the midst of anger that simmers under the surface, and a professional who struggles with her own demons.

Catching a soul in a jar is such a beautiful and simultaneously creepy way of drawing parallels to the innocence of a child and perhaps the kind of madness that none of us can comprehend completely. The Boy sees deep inside, he sees what others can't, and what he can see is something that drives every decision he makes.

I really enjoyed the premise and the way Meggitt combined historical medical references to treatment of the mentally ill, religious zealotry that warps into the occult, the tinge of supernatural and magical realism, which all stands in stark contrast to the violence, abuse and racism.

I was also intrigued by the way the author keeps the main character as a non-identifiable persona. The Boy remains the Boy throughout, which is perhaps also part of the premise. This searching for identity, release and connection to his mother. He has no identity, because he has no idea where he came from. Nothing tangible to connect with - a core that drives every decision and moment.

I wonder if we will be encountering the Boy again. I definitely think there is a lot more where that came from and hope the author expands on the premise.

Buy The Dark Chorus at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : darkstroke books, pub date 14 Oct. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Bright Lies by A.A. Abbott

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Bright Lies by A.A. Abbott.

About the Author

British crime thriller writer A.A. Abbott (also known as Helen Blenkinsop) loves to escape with an exciting and emotional read, and that’s what she aims to write too. Based in Bristol, she’s also lived and worked in London and Birmingham. All three cities feature in her pacy suspense thrillers. Her latest psychological thriller, ‘Bright Lies’, begins in North Somerset with a posh art exhibition in Bath. Young Emily meets the man who will change her life and cause her to run away to a squat in Birmingham, work in a nightclub and get further entangled in a web of lies.

To write ‘Bright Lies’, Helen has had advice from thirty beta readers on subjects as varied as police procedure, drug abuse, grooming, art, music, DJing and clubbing. She’s grateful to them and to her editor, Katharine D’Souza, for making huge improvements to the story.

Helen’s earlier 5 book Trail series is a lighter read focused on a vodka business. Snow Mountain is a premium vodka made in the former Soviet Union, and its owners have blood on their hands. The saga follows the fortunes of two families running the business and what happens when they fall out with each other and with a London gangster. Glamorous heroine Kat is the girl readers love to hate at the beginning of the series, but by the last book, she has won them over. Book research for the series included prison life, hotel research and vodka. Helen especially enjoyed a tour and tasting with the helpful folk at the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire.

Like 10% of us, many of Helen’s family are dyslexic. While she is not, she wants her books to be enjoyed by readers with dyslexia and visual impairment too. She publishes her thrillers in a Large Print dyslexia-friendly edition as well as the standard paperback and Kindle versions. (You can also adjust the font on your Kindle to suit your needs.) Audiobooks are definitely on the cards – watch this space!

Helen likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles, and reading thrillers and short stories at live fiction events and on Zoom. If you're a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she’d love to hear from you.

Helen is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Bristol Fiction Writers' Group, and Birmingham's New Street Authors. Find out more and get a free e-book of short stories at

About the book

She’s learned too much, too young. Can she break free? Emily’s dreams come true when her mother marries wealthy painter, David. Thanks to him, Emily’s artistic talents shine. Then he starts teaching her things a 14-year-old shouldn’t know. While Emily breaks free, she’s forced to sleep in a rat-infested alley.

Bad boy Jack has turned his life around. Working as a DJ with ambitions to open a club, he rescues Emily from the streets when he sees a woman in trouble. He doesn’t know she’s still only 15 - and trapped in a dark web of secrets and lies.

David must find Emily and silence her. As he closes in, Jack faces the hardest choice of all. If he saves Emily, he’ll kiss goodbye to his future... What would you sacrifice for love?


Emily is on the cusp of discovering herself and her own sexuality, which makes her a prime target for a deviant, but in her mind the experience of feeling special evokes a sense of something exciting and unknown at first. It's this confusion that victims find hard to reconcile with the reality of being abused. 

When Emily finally realises what is happening she tries to escape, which is when she meets Jack. A young man with his own demons, guilt and part of his own crimes includes being a party to indiscretions against the vulnerable. The question is whether he can change his path and make the kind of choices that will either protect Emily or put her in more danger.

It's a fast-paced psychological and domestic thriller. I felt it lacked clarity at times and was a bit rushed, the underlying premise and ideas are good though. More depth, better dialogue or giving characters the chance to delve deeper would do the premise more justice. 

Grooming is still a very misunderstood crime. People always think of strangers in connection with grooming and tend to underestimate the number of victims who fall prey to someone in their inner circle. Accepting that someone you know could be a sexual deviant is a hard pill to swallow, so it is easier to dismiss accusations and ignore alarm signals when you experience them. The thought of falsely accusing someone always rates higher than the voice of a victim - always trust your gut instinct.

Buy Bright Lies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Perfect City Press; pub date 23 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. At Hive. At

#BlogTour This Year Maybe by Liz Hinds


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour This Year Maybe by Liz Hinds.

About the Author

Liz Hinds -  'I’m a golden-retriever-loving granny, who enjoys walking by the sea or in the woods, who eats too much chocolate, and who gets over-excited when the Welsh team plays rugby.

I have self-published two novels, This Time Last Year, and The Dog-walking Club, but I'm also an experienced freelance writer and author of several non-fiction books published by Hodder & Stoughton, Scripture Union and Kevin Mayhew.'

About the book

Alison and David have been engaged for so long that even Alison’s mother has given up asking when, but it’s second time around for both of them and they’re not in any particular hurry.

That said, Alison is beginning to wonder if living with her has put David off the idea of marriage so when he suggests they set a date she is delighted. But that date is six months’ away and a lot can happen in six months – especially if you’re Alison!

‘My son’s been arrested, Great-aunt Millie’s fallen in love, my best friend suspects her husband of having an affair, and I still need to lose weight. How on earth can I think about getting married?’


Alison and David are finally heading towards the altar, which brings a certain level of anxiety with it and interference from every side. Alison finds herself being talked into agreeing to arrangements she wouldn't usually agree to. Feels pressured to lose weight, fulfill her mother's expectations.

She feels disconnected from her grown children, who have a tendency to lecture her as if she were the child now. It's as if middle-aged automatically means stupid, useless and no longer attractive when it comes to women. Ageism is a thing. More so in regards to women.

I think it's fair to say this story goes in an unexpected direction towards the end, which although amusing, I thought was detrimental to where I thought the author was leading the reader. A story about women coming to terms with the next stage in life, the pressure of expectations from society and family, and acknowledging that not all changes are the end of the world. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Hmm, but that's the beauty of imagination and creativity I suppose.

What starts off as wedding planning becoming everyone's business except that of the bride and groom soon ends up with confessions, tears and donkey escapes. Yeh, you'll have to read it to find out where the donkey fits in.

Buy This Year Maybe at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Independently published; pub date 24 Oct. 2020. Buy at Amazon com

Friday 27 November 2020

#BlogTour Christmas Island by Natalie Normann

 Today it's my turn and the last day of the Blogtour Christmas Island by Natalie Normann.

About the Author

Natalie Normann grew up in a shipping town on the west-coast of Norway and always wanted to be a writer. Actually, she wanted to smoke cigars and drink whiskey like Hemingway but settled for chocolate and the occasional glass of Baileys.

Her writing journey started with short stories in women’s magazines until her first book was published in 1995.

About the book

In the bleak midwinter…

A really frosty wind is making Holly’s life absolutely miserable. After all the years of hard work it took Londoner Holly Greene to become a doctor, now it could all be taken away and she only has herself to blame. She’s retreating to her brother’s rustic home on an island off the coast of Norway to lick her wounds. Only, it’s the middle of winter and icy slush plus endless darkness isn’t exactly the cheery, festive getaway she had imagined.

Nearly stumbling off the edge of a cliff in the dark, Holly is saved by Frøy, a yellow-eyed cat of fearsome but fluffy proportions, and his owner – grouchy, bearded recluse, Tor. Tor has his own problems to face but the inexplicable desire to leave a bag of freshly baked gingerbread men on Holly’s doorstep is seriously getting in the way of his hermit routine.

Call it kindness, call it Christmas, but Holly’s arrival means midwinter has never looked less bleak.


Holly is escaping professional embarrassment by spending Christmas with her brother on a remote island. Not sure Holly understands what that means when she actually arrives there and thinks nothing of setting off on foot in the dark and the cold. What could possibly go wrong?

Holly and Tor, and the beast called Froy aren't really what you would expect in a Christmas story, but then they come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and shades. I say shades because it isn't exactly a light jovial jingle bell story, but it does have its funny moments even if it takes place in an area that is quite cold and dark.

I liked the way Normann plotted the story. It gives the romantics what they want, but holds off on the magical elf dust. It becomes more of a two people meeting under peculiar circumstances and fighting a mutual attraction. There are dangerous cliffs in the dark and predatory cats that follow ladies who sing in the dark, which is the comedy that balances the more argumentative and somber moments.

It's a story with a strong Nordic vibe with beautiful descriptive passages on the surroundings, and yet it has all the ingredients of a romantic Xmas read set in any other setting, which makes it a bit of something for everyone read - oh and those with a hankering for Viking like hermits who are guarded by large cats.

Oh, and Froy needs his own book. Just saying.

Buy Christmas Island at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: One More Chapter, pub date 14 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon comAt Hive. At

#BlogTour Out for Blood by Deborah Masson

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Out for Blood by Deborah Masson.

About the Author

Deborah Masson was born and bred in Aberdeen, Scotland. Always restless and fighting against being a responsible adult, she worked in several jobs including secretarial, marketing, reporting for the city's freebie newspaper and a stint as a postie - to name but a few.

Through it all, she always read crime fiction and, when motherhood finally settled her into being an adult (maybe even a responsible one) she turned her hand to writing what she loved. Deborah started with short stories and flash fiction whilst her daughter napped and, when she later welcomed her son into the world, she decided to challenge her writing further through online courses with Professional Writing Academy and Faber Academy.

Her debut novel, Hold Your Tongue, is the result of those courses. Hold Your Tongue has been widely well reviewed by readers and authors alike, with many comparing her favourably to Stuart MacBride. It won the Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year 2020 and was longlisted for CWA New Blood Dagger 2020.

Follow @deborah_masson on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy Out for Blood

About the book

A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment. Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.

As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society. Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long - and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down... Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?


This is the second book in the DI Eve Hunter series. If you have read the first then you'll know that Eve is an abrasive often quite angry person. She clashes with colleagues who find her attitude, techniques and general demeanour hard to handle. Does she feel as if she has to act like a man in a career dominated by men?

This time the author gives the reader an insight into the world behind the police officer. The people who have to spend each day confronting death and violence, it's easy to forget they have personal lives that can be strewn with problems too.

I think Masson throws up an interesting conundrum about the way victims are perceived, in this case it is very much with the focus on the deaths of two young people. The death of a privileged young man and a young girl who comes from lesser circumstances. Straight away you have presumptions, expectations and a lot of stereotyping going on.

Then as the story progresses the narrative changes in regards to perception. Does wealthy and well-educated mean he was the better person? Does her lack of chance and choice in life automatically make her a person deserving of a bad fate? I actually really enjoyed the way Masson approached this aspect of the story, because it shows a fatal flaw in the thought process when it comes to society in general, and also often in policing.

The human trafficking element of the story melds into the above, because the victims tend to be considered vulnerable and are often forgotten people in society. The ones nobody misses. Masson gives readers an intriguing crime read with a lot of food for thought.

Buy Out for Blood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. 10th December 2020 | £7.99 | Paperback Original | Corgi Ebook available 19th November 2020. At Hive. At

#BlogTour The Sadeiest by Austrian Spencer

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Sadeiest by Austrian Spencer.

About the Author

Austrian had an unfortunate trauma aged eight, when a truck drove over him and his ‘Grifter’ bike. This made him bedridden and a captive of books for too many years. The habit persisted throughout his life (reading books, not staying in bed), to the extent that his daughter’s first painting was of him holding a book, rather than her hand. He has the picture framed in the upstairs toilet, to look at whilst feeling vulnerable.

He is the ‘glass-half-full’, an eternal optimist and believes passionately in you. You are doing exactly what you need to be doing at this moment in your life. He often thinks this, while staring at his daughter’s first painting.

Austrian does not watch horror films, though enjoys horror books.  His influences include Alan Moore, Dave Sim, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, The family King, Iain M.Banks, from whom he wishes to learn. Be inspired. He owes them everything, despite their beards. The Sadeiest is Austrian’s debut novel.

Follow @SpencerAustrian on Twitteron Instagram, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit, Buy The Sadeiest

About the book

Is today a good day to die? Death – a walking skeleton armed with a scythe, a rider of the apocalypse, it has always been assumed – is a man that brings the souls of the dead to wherever they are destined to go.

But what if we got that wrong? What if he were a ghost that, instead of moving your soul on silently after you had died, actually did the hard part for you? Death has to die, again and again, to pay for his sins, and to free trapped souls before their bodies perish – only to replace those souls, to die for them.

A Death whose existence is a curse, where the other riders of the Apocalypse are not his allies, but his enemies.

Armed only with his morals, his memories and the advice of a child teacher, Williams, a Sadeiest, travels through the deaths of other people, on his way to becoming something greater. Something that will re-define the Grim Reaper.

Death just came to life, in time to fight for a child hunted by the other horsemen of the Apocalypse. How do you want to die today?


The read is intermittently broken up with graphic novel illustrations and helps to cement the feeling of violence and uncertainty, whereas the words drive a wedge between what we think we know and an alternate reality. It's a dark hole that might make you feel uncomfortable, because what if all the other theories about death and souls are just an attempt to gloss over the horrific truth. Death becomes the victim, the sufferer instead of the looming figure everyone fears.

'Passionately believes you don't have to lead the reader by the nose. Let them think, dammit.'

Hmm good point and I agree to a certain extent, however it depends on what the reader is looking for in a read and perhaps even the genre. When it comes to a read like this one, which I would put in the Speculative Fiction or Speculative Horror genre, often the aspect of speculative may not allow for the reader to do the above.

Trying to outsmart the reader may not let them interpret the premise in the way the author thinks they will. Case in point - the blurb reflects an interesting idea, however the story itself reflects a different one entirely. At least it does for me, which is of course the crux of a reading experience - it's subjective one. Maybe a little more leading and a little less assumption about interpretation or that the reader will walk the intended path. 

I like a walk along the speculative road. It crosses boundaries, it's a way to experience creativity on another level and it opens up new worlds and ideas for readers. Spencer does that and I look forward to experiencing more of his ideas.

Buy The Sadeiest at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: darkstroke / crooked cat, pub date 27 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

#BlogTour The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn.

About the Author

Jessica Ryn is a former midwife and homeless resettlement worker. She has recently completed her MA in Creative Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University, and her stories have been shortlisted fr the Kimberley Chambers' Kickstarter Award, Wordsmag and the Val Wood Prize for Creative Writing. When she's not scribbling away, Jessica can be found meandering through the woods, reading stories that pull on the feel-strings and eating yoghurt-covered skittles. Jessica lives in Dover with her husband, two children and their high-spirited springer spaniel. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is her debut novel.

Follow @Jessryn1 on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon,Visit, Buy The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside

About the book

She’s always looking on the bright side...Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.

So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head. But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again. Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness? And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home…. 


The story of Dawn Brightside may appear at times to be just a life with some obstacles, but the reality is she is troubled, scared and needs support. Half of her life is spent in denial and fantasy scenarios, and the other is spent running away from what she fears the most. When she finally manages to find a place to stay she is torn between guilt, paranoia and the strong will to stay safe for herself and her daughter.

Ryn shows the precarious balance that caretakers or staff have to take into account when working alongside people who have slipped into homelessness, which is often part of a larger cycle of addiction, mental health issues and vulnerability. The line between professionalism, friendship and love can't be crossed when working in certain careers. 

The strength of the story however is in the way the author brings homelessness to the reader in a way that makes it easier to comprehend and digest. Its an uncomfortable truth that the majority of us walk by, ignore or simply feel powerless to help in any way. What is also a truth, albeit one more tied to vanity and money, is that help for homeless people is underfunded and not a big enough priority.

Cuts to funding are eliminating desperately needed avenues of help. Shelter, food, healthcare and someone to help people regain a certain status and skills in life again. Regain a level of security and safety we tend to take for granted. The roofs over our heads, the warmth and food, and to be able to live without feeling as if one is in constant fear of harm, insult and death.

It's a very introspective and reflective read, and it is also one with a slither of hope in it, which is what is most important for the characters and for people in similar situations. When the world seems to be against you there is always someone out there willing to help you.

Buy The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ pub date 26 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive. Buy at

Tuesday 24 November 2020

#BlogTour Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Hellenic Abduction by Columbkill Noonan

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Hellenic Abduction

About the Author

Columbkill Noonan is the author of the best-selling Barnabas Tew series, which features a proper British detective from Victorian London who ends up solving mythological cases for gods all around the world. She was was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, and teaches Anatomy and Physiology at a university in Maryland. Her writing is mostly speculative fiction (especially stories that involve mythology, or the supernatural, or any combination thereof). Some of her work is a bit on the spooky side, but usually there is a touch of humor (who says the afterlife has to be serious?) 

When she's not teaching or writing, Columbkill can be found with her rescue horse (whose name is Mittens), hiking in the woods, or doing yoga of all kinds (aerial yoga and SUP yoga are particular favorites). She is an avid traveler, and can't wait to get back to seeing the world again. 

About the book

Zeus is used to getting what he wants...but that was before he met Barnabas Tew!

Barnabas and Wilfred, the unluckiest detectives ever, are happily enjoying their time in India, working on mastering their emotions, and learning how to do all sorts of interesting yoga poses. They're having a splendid time, and feel as if they've finally found some peace in their lives. Everything changes, though, when Zeus suddenly whisks them away from their idyllic retreat and demands that they solve a case for him.

Having no choice, they reluctantly accept the job, but quickly come to realize that nothing is as it should be. Zeus' motives are suspect from the beginning, the rest of the Greek gods and goddesses are untrustworthy at best, and Barnabas' temper hasn't improved at all during his time in India. And, most importantly, who is the mysterious lady who keeps popping up just when they need her? Is she friend, or is she foe?

To make matters even worse, both Barnabas and Wilfred have unresolved feelings of their own. Can they settle their own emotional affairs, once and for all? Will they figure out what's right and what's wrong in this topsy-turvy world of lies, intrigue, and trickery? Or will the Greek gods and goddesses prove too much for them?


Barnabas isn't exactly the king of charm. I'd actually go as far as to say that in the direst of moments he often rocks the boat a little too much, which is when he needs Wilfred to steady the waters. This is especially dangerous when their next client turns out to be the king of the gods himself - Zeus.

He doesn't take too well to the backtalk and when people point out that he might be just be a tad sexist and the job he has for the peculiar sleuthing duo might be a bit on the dubious side, and that's without the side note of peddling young princesses for the great Zeus, he gets a bit cranky.

Noonan combines mythology with a quirky odd couple who tend to fall into their cases with a Victorian era colonialesque charm, if you can call it charm. It's a entertaining box of mixed chocolates. You just never know what you're going to get when you flip the page. 

I kind of liked the way Noonan makes a point without taking a foam finger and pointing straight at it. There is a fine line between good and bad, a reputation and the reality of a person and their character. Barnabas may seem like a pain in the behind, but he has the best intentions. The moral of the story he will tell is that sitting on a pedestal does not automatically make you an upstanding citizen and sometimes someone has to take a stand.

Buy Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Hellenic Abduction at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: darkstroke books pub date 17 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Saturday 21 November 2020

#BlogTour Akea - His Mother's Son by Elizabeth Jade


Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Akea - His Mother's Son by Elizabeth Jade.

About the Author

Elizabeth Jade was born in 1998 in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England, but moved with her family to Wellington in Somerset when she was very young. Her early schooling did not go smoothly, and as a result, she was home-schooled from the age of seven. Her parents soon learned she had a unique slant on life and quickly abandoned attempts to follow the national curriculum in favour of child-led learning.

Elizabeth stumbled into writing at the age of fourteen when she began to suffer from anxiety and depression and quickly found her story ideas pouring out faster than she could get them onto paper.  It wasn’t until the age of eighteen that she realised her struggles in school had been due to Aspergers Syndrome (an autistic spectrum disorder).

As an enthusiastic animal lover, Elizabeth volunteered first at the Conquest Riding Centre for the Disabled and then at St Giles Animal Rescue before moving on to the Cats Protection Homing and Information Centre.  Her gifted way with the cats quickly earned her the title of ‘Cat Whisperer’ from the staff. Since she had always possessed such a way with animals, it was only natural for her story ideas to revolve around them.   

Elizabeth’s personal experience as a young author with the challenges of autism, depression and anxiety, along with her writing theme of acceptance and overcoming obstacles, have led to her having a junior school class named after her. 

About the book

Akea is no ordinary husky and taking her place as Wolf Queen was just the first step in the journey set out for her by the Great Wolf. Akea's world turns upside down when humans raid their home, scattering the pack and capturing her hybrid son. Salvador struggles to adjust to a life in captivity quickly realising not everyone approves of his mother's rise to Wolf Queen. When the Great Wolf sends him warning dreams, Salvador discovers his true purpose for being there.


This is the second in the Akea series, it's a short novella length read and the characters are animals. Specifically the world of wolves and huskies, which has its own hierarchy and even a type of ideology that runs closely to eugenics. The Volk, the master race of animal in their species, which Jade accentuates by using certain language and words linked to destructive ideology, which determined the majority of the 20th century.

In the first book Akea asserts herself, against all odds as the Wolf Queen, which doesn't go down well with the purists in the pack. This idea of Akea being in a position not belonging to her, tends to rear its head when she leaves the pack to solve problems.

In this book the pack is faced with intrusion by humans and Akea has to resort to specific powers when her hybrid son has to navigate the difficulty of being on both sides of the genetic code. Is he a leader or will he kowtow to accusations and discriminations, especially when it comes down to the freedom of his fellow pack members and species.

It's a short story, one that can be read by children, young adults and older readers. Jade gives readers parallels between human and animal, which is perhaps a way of making people more aware.

Buy Akea - His Mother's Son at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: i2i Publishing pub date 2 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at

#MiniBlogTour The Morning Star by Gita V. Redding

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Morning Star by Gita V. Redding.

About the Author

Gita V.Reddy lives in Hyderabad, India, with her husband and son. She writes fiction for both adults and children. Her books for children are written when she takes a break from writing for adults and vice verca.

She enjoys thinking up tales of different genres and has written historical fiction, women's fiction, and recently has made a foray into regency romance.

For children, she has written mysteries, adventure tales, fantasy, science fiction, and also a fable. In addition to writing, she is interested in art and has illustrated three picture books.

Gita Reddy also writes under the pen names of Heera Datta and Jessica Spencer (for regency romance.) Ms Reddy is a post graduate in Mathematics. In an earlier life that she voluntarily quit in 2011, she was senior manager in a bank.

About the book

Anything is possible if fate wills it. - A desperate woman calls a neighbor before dying in childbirth. Is it a coincidence that she chooses someone who will give her all to save the baby from its unscrupulous father?

When Sudha answers a telephone call in the middle of the night, she cannot know how it will change her life. From the moment Anu is put in her lap, she feels a strong connection with her.

Sudha loves Anu as much as she does her son. She is the daughter of her heart, a precious gift that fate has given her. She knows her husband doesn’t want Anu in the family but she can deal with it later. First, she must keep Anu safe. Only, it might cost her everything she holds dear …

The Morning Star is a story of love and sacrifice and the unseen hand of destiny.


Sudha feels responsible for Anu. For her safety and most importantly she sees herself in this small innocent child. Robbed of her mother and discarded like unwanted baggage, she sees the parallels in her own childhood. She is determined to create better circumstances for this baby.

What's disappointing and yet woefully true is the way women slip into the role of submission and are victims of abuse with no one to reach out to, because the consensus of society is essentially one of victim-blaming. Even the women, including Sudha, go through a process of blaming the victim before the perpetrator, and ultimately thinking about what they or Sudha could have done better. All of the above play into her decisions to protect Anu.

The solution, for me at least, was in the last few chapters. On top of all Sudha's trials, trauma and tribulations the core of her reaction to Anu and the breakdown in her relationship with her husband becomes so much clearer. The lack of respect and good communication, which are both needed in a well-balanced marriage, come to the forefront. If you are both going in different directions there has to be a consensus and a discussion, and consent. If not, one person will always feel as if they have missed out on something and become resentful.

Whilst the story could have worked in the majority of time periods, especially modern ones, the author has woven the tale into the very real reality of Covid. It shows the panic, the isolation and the way criminal elements prosper during the despair of others.

The premise of the story evolves around love and sacrifice, however Reddy also makes some important important points surrounding the attitudes of society towards women in India. It's an interesting balance of hope and reality.

Buy The Morning Star at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Independently published pub date 30 Aug. 2020.

Friday 20 November 2020

#BlogTour The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost by Jamie Adams

Today it's my turn and the last stop on the BlogTour The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost.

Follow @JamieAdStories on Twitteron Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit JamieAdStories.comBuy The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost

About the book

Three guys in their thirties have something in common. Their children all go to the same school. One day a tragic event leads to them having to deal with a lurking aftermath which draws them into each other's lives and causes them to rethink their attitudes to just about everything. The children tell the second part of this story, ten years after the initial events. The dust seems to have settled until one of them uncovers information that throws everything back into chaos. The third part… well that will have to wait.


This is a novella length read. The stories of three men and their sons, and how their lives intersect at moments and are woven together, even if they can't tell at times.

Fathers, who all have sons at the same school, become linked through more than just a school production, which is the starting point for a connection driven by tragedy, attraction and at times obsession.

It was nice to read a story from the perspective of men, as opposed to women, and the sons of said men. The majority of stories tend to be told the other way round. I think this is definitely an avenue worth exploring more.

I'd like to see Adams take the time to give his characters more depth instead of just glossing over the complex surfaces of their lives, decisions and trauma. Delve deeper into the topics he just dips his toe into. Be brave, be bolder and open that valve just a tad more - this is merely a trickle.

Buy The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers pub date 30 July 2019. Buy at Amazon com. At Hive. At

Wednesday 18 November 2020

#BlogTour Play The Red Queen by Juris Jurjevics

Today its a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Play The Red Queen by Juris Jurjevics.

About the Author

Juris Jurjevics (1943-2018) was born in Latvia and grew up in Displaced Persons camps in Germany before emigrating to the United States. He served in Vietnam for fourteen months, nine days, and two hours, his original departure date delayed by the Tet Offensive. He wrote two other novels, Red Flags and The Trudeau Vector, which was published in ten other countries. Publisher and co-founder of the Soho Press, Jurjevics worked for decades in the book industry.

Read more about books by Juris Jurjevics at Goodreads, on AmazonBuy Play The Red Queen

About the book

Vietnam, 1963. A female Viet Cong assassin is trawling the boulevards of Saigon, catching US Army officers off-guard with a single pistol shot, then riding off on the back of a scooter. Although the US military is not officially in combat, sixteen thousand American servicemen are stationed in Vietnam “advising” the military and government. Among them are Ellsworth Miser and Clovis Robeson, two army investigators who have been tasked with tracking down the daring killer.

Set in the besieged capital of a new nation on the eve of the coup that would bring down the Diem regime and launch the Americans into the Vietnam War, Play the Red Queen is a tour de-force mystery-cum-social history, breathtakingly atmospheric and heartbreakingly alive with the laws and lawlessness of war.


Whilst the story begins with the hunt for an experienced unapologetic assassin, who is taking out Americans in broad daylight on the streets of Saigon without a second thought - the story ends with betrayal. She is bold, fearless and is working on a schedule - a plan with consequences. She personifies the lack of gentleman's rule and white man's war game the Viet Cong became famous for - ruthless and anyone can be the enemy. 

It's been quite a while since I have read a story about the 'skirmish' in Vietnam that manages to catch it with such accuracy. Jurjevics writes this mystery war crime with the sharp tongue of a social commentary. One of the most contentious periods of the US political interference in foreign countries, which was never officially deemed as something on par with other wars, hence the word skirmish, despite the losses and trauma it left in its wake. It also opened up a controversy on homeland soil the likes of which the US is still recovering from and still apologising to its veterans for. Rightly so.

As the story leads the reader into the above events it's important to add a footnote that warfare against the VC was something the westerners were completely unprepared for and they experienced a completely different thought and tactical processes that cost many lives, killed many and left survivors with lifelong trauma and some never returned at all. 

Vietnam Veteran is a word bandied about without a lot of thought, but it's important to remember that they didn't and still don't receive the accolades survivors of other wars did and do. People find it really hard to separate the concept - soldiers act on orders and are not the ones making the decisions - the top brass and upper echelon does.

I think a great writing talent has been lost where Juris Jurjevics is concerned, but readers can take solace that he left a fantastic body of work in his wake. His books are infused with a stark sense of realism, due to his own experiences, which always gives the reader a different kind of experience. This book is one of those.

Buy Play The Red Queen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 12 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. At Hive. At

Monday 16 November 2020

#BlogTour The Silent Daughter by Kirsty Ferguson


It's my turn on the BlogTour The Silent Daughter by Kirsty Ferguson.

About the Author

Kirsty Ferguson is a born and bred Australian. She writes crimes and mystery novels. Her stories center around strong women and dark themes that are topical and relevant to today. Kirsty chooses to deconstruct and enthrall her readers with the secrets of any everyday person behind closed doors. She has long been a lover or writing and reading, creating stories from a young age

About the book

Secrets can kill and Danni Brooks knows that better than anyone.

When her husband and two of her three children perish in a devastating house fire, Danni is sure it is arson. She’s even more sure that her and her eldest daughter Mia were meant to die in the fire too. But they are just a normal family. Who would want them dead? 

Mia doesn’t talk. She can’t. She is locked in her own world where no one, not even her mother can reach her. 

Desperate for answers, and convinced the truth might help her to reach her daughter, Danni tries to piece together the events leading up to that murderous night and uncover the arsonist. But with so many lies to untangle, what is the truth?

Prepare to have your breath taken away by an unforgettable twist that will leave you reeling...


It's one of those stupid accidents, everyone does it. A mistake, but one with devastating consequences. Now the only person Danni has left is treating her with utter disdain. Is it grief or is there more to the story?

It's a very dark domestic thriller and perhaps one that will make people uncomfortable about a few home truths there are in it. The first being that sisterly love is a concept romanticised by the media, society and most definitely social media. Why? Because it sounds so much better, the cotton candy fluffy supportive love between sisters, as opposed to the destructive, violent, jealous and often hidden hatred that lurks just beneath the surface. Then again sometimes it doesn't even bother lurking.

Kudos to Ferguson for that, even if the storyline is merely in the fictional context of this story- it is still refreshing to read the reality of what a sisterly relationship can look like when it doesn't conform to the norm. When movies, books and people tell you that the person closest to you in the family unit should be your biggest supporter and confidante, and instead is your most vicious enemy intent on harming you. It happens - it's very real.

This is a dark, sinister read with graphic scenes at times and characters who are quite unforgiving when it comes to emotional distress and harming each other. It's not escapism and it doesn't try to be. Ferguson wants you to wonder about the the stories and gossip you hear, perhaps this will make you look at someone from a different perspective.

Buy The Silent Daughter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Boldwood Books; pub date 10 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive. Buy at Buy at Boldwood Books